Title art by L.H. Grey



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Nine Inch Nails “At The Heart Of It All”




Down boy




Kneel at my feet


Roll over
Play dead


for the ordeal you’re facing is one you entreat


Such puppy dog eyes
Such whimpering cries


It feels almost cruel to




I almost care
I’m almost prepared
to play fair


Not quite


What kind of host would I be
if I tossed you a key


If I slid off the shackles
and let you walk free


Do I look like the type
Is that how you’d describe


your Lord and your Master
when your hands remain tied


Do I look like I’d bend
Make pretend


or distend
such a pardon to one who took time to come by


This dank oubliette
is no place for regret



Not yet
when there are still so many rules to be set


Call it tryst if you will
I insist on goodwill


Now slather my boot
From its





It’s a view to a kill from up here
I’ll review your appeal from up here


and should you displease me then you’ll just


I’m a butcher you see
know my way around gristle


will be too busy carving
to hear your tin whistle


You’ll abide my command
or I’ll slit this here gland



There’s no place in this chamber
for such trite contraband


Would I falter


Ten-inch patent heels
Make it easy to stumble


Or perhaps I’ll come over all humble


Think again
And again


Make the most of your last


Soon be passed


Is that a solitary tear I discern


Is your spirit broken


A token gesture


I’d much rather your vesture


The very pelt from your marrow I’ll cleave


and that bleeding red heart I’ll retrieve

If I wish


Or maybe I’ll make you my slave
Seems a waste just to
Spit on your grave


I’d much rather spit in your face


You fucking disgrace


Oh bless


Are those feelings I’ve hurt


Have I been too curt


Does the rasp of my breath




Lift that chin from the dirt


Look into mine big brown eyes



Doth they falsify


are they not a midsummer night’s dream


is not their reflection serene


If you find such suggestion obscene




Free will
is just blood yet to spill


We’re not done by a very long stretch


Now fetch





Richard Charles Stevens


Keeper of The Crimson Quill



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  1. Good verse, Rich. Dark visions, very Trent Reznor inspired. Now, I’m Down in It. Head Like a Hole. Bow down before the one you serve. You’re going to get what you deserve…..

    1. Love that you picked up on the Trent Reznor inspiration. One day, we would like him to read this, and know just how much his music inspires.

      This one was all about stepping into character and was so much fun to conceive and build. So glad you enjoyed it my friend.

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