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Human Hearts

and other oddities

Melanie Quinlan

Copyright © 2017 Melanie Quinlan

All stories, memoirs, and poems are copyright of the above-mentioned author.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the authors.

Cover design and interior illustrations.

Copyright © 2017 by Aubrey Diamant


ISBN-10: 1543085830

For all those, who had their

hearts broken by recent events.

YOU ARE not alone.




Paper-cut hearts


Blue heart


Splinters in my heart (cut deep)


Black are the hearts of men


Cross my heart




The blood of kings


Looking blindly


Breathe fire


Ode to a Goblin King


Ballad of a Necromancer


Human Hearts: a meditation


Heart limerick


We are X


Time is fleeting


About the author


About the illustrator


Language of the heart



This book started out as Aubrey Diamant's way of dealing with post-election blues. I admired his art on both his Facebook and Instagram feeds, where I would see new additions – successions of hearts, skulls and skeletons – daily. I was intrigued.

Then, out of the blue, Aubrey suggested I should write some of my infamous 'songs without music', which are my attempt at writing pop lyrics. Of course, I can neither read nor write music, so it's just the words from me. Hence the name I gave those little silent ditties.

However, in addition to those, I wanted to try something else, so I got out my trusted copy of Stephen Fry's

'An Ode less travelled' and tried my hand at some of the described forms of poetry. From the Ode and the Ballad to the Heroic Verse. You, dear reader, be the judge on whether I succeeded.

So, thank you to Aubrey Diamant for constant inspiration, to the flatmate aka fellow author Sabina Skye for being my test audience and to all of you who decided to pick up this book.

Love to you and blessed be!

Melanie Quinlan

Paper-cut Hearts

Paper-cut hearts

bleed ink

form letters and words

expressing what we think

Paper-cut hearts

ink dark as night

runs through your veins

since love has died

Paper-cut hearts

newspaper words

in your blood

cause the deepest hurts

Paper-cut hearts

they crumble in the rain

blow away on the wind

holding all your pain

Colour your paper-cut hearts

paint them a bright rainbow

vibrant, flaming and loud

setting the night aglow

Drench your paper-cut hearts

in your falling tears

bitter, salty and hot

expressing your anger and fear

Light your paper-cut hearts

with the brightest of flames

let it never go out

that's the only hope in this game

Blue Heart

Blue Hearts

Dissect me

while I still breathe

let me feel the pain

as you strip

the flesh from my bones

Cut me open

while I can weep

tears of salt and blood

for your

dark, unloving soul

Break my ribs

pull them apart

show me my heart

it still beats

pumps blood so sweet

Layer by layer

take away my humanity




and muscle

right down to the bone

Paint your hands red

walk in blood and gore

breathe in my screams

take everything

burn me

reduce me

to a pile of ash

but tell me

was it not you

who lost your soul

amidst this slaughter

while you send mine

straight up to the stars?

Splinters in my heart

(cut deep)

My world is littered

with broken dreams

shards of wasted lives

pieces of souls cut to shreds

My world is filled

with splinters of hope

crushed under heel

by those ruling with ignorance and hate

My nights are crammed

full of fractured aspirations

crushed like bones

under never ceasing blows

My nights are gathering

dust of a thousand

dying dreams

pulverized by senseless violence

Splinters in my heart

cut deep

deeper than a knife-blade

ever could

Splinters in my heart

cut deep

deep and deeper still

right to the bone

Yet my poor broken heart

hold onto your love

beats without fear

pumps hope through my veins

Yet my poor broken heart

dreams the dream

of a better future

one without hate or fear

because you are right here

Yet my foolish heart

skips a beat

when you walk in the room

when our song plays

Yet my foolish heart

can't help but

pity those who hate

'cause they hurt themselves most

Splinters in my heart

cut deep

deeper than a knife-blade

ever could

Splinters in my heart

cut deep

deep and deeper still

right to the bone

Splinters in my heart

cut deep

so deep

they draw blood

Splinters in my heart

cut deep

so deep they hurt like hell

Splinters in my heart

cut me, bleed me, hurt me

as much as you can

you won't see my break

Splinters in my heart

cut deep

but not deep enough

to make me hate you

like you hate me


Black are the hearts of men

Black are the hearts of men

who rule with hate and fear

who turn dreams

into nightmares

and nightmares

into realities

Black are the hearts of men

who judge with contempt and stolidity

who turn lives

into existences

and existences

into early graves

Black are the hearts of men

who revel in greed and avarice

who turn work

into labour

and labour

into slavery

Black are the hearts of men

who have no conscience or morals

who turn wealth

into poverty

and poverty

into starvation

Yes, black are the hearts of men

Cross my heart

'Cross my heart

and hope to die.'

You say

When in truth

you lie.

Cross my heart

and hope to die

if only it were so

exposing your lie

by a malfunction

of said heart

fatal moment

of cardiac arrest

like lightning

from above

Cross your heart

and hope to die

Problem solved

no more lie

Cross your heart

and hope to die




kind gentle

beating caring pulsing

passionate muscle paralysing emotion

blinding gearing raging

cold cruel



eternal human

hoping knowing guiding

ultimate spirit mindless matter

enslaving calculating confusing

dull dark



vibrant vital

exciting intoxicating celebrating

existence dream extremity darkness

boring haunting weeping

fatal fearful


The blood of kings

The blood of kings has long since dried

when long ago the last true heroes died

What happened to being brave, noble and kind?

Our leaders only have their own gain on their mind

What happened to reason, love and respect?

What we don't understand, we simply reject

Tell me, fair people of today's lands

where are the heroes lending their hands

to those in trouble and need

those with too many mouths to feed?

Where is the glittering castle named Camelot?

Did hope die in '63 after a single gunshot?

Who will pull Excalibur from the stone?

And forever be the rightful heir to the throne?

Go, find the cave where Charlemagne lies

or bearded Barbarossa, never to see the open skies

Go, wake them, wake them, wake them!

Find Drake's drum, the old gem

Beat it until the air resounds with the noise

blow the horn that stone wall destroys

set them free, our heroes of old

those, whose stories forever re-told

Who will free wise Merlin from his oak?

Do we pay in sweat and blood of regular folk?

How many more tears must we weep?

Before noble Arthur rises from his sleep?

Swords, magic and a few cannon balls

we could use to restore those earthly halls

there are still dragons to be slain

too many evil kings ready to reign

too many horrors to be witnessed every day

which turned too many hearts into senseless clay

So resurrect all that was good in the past

make sure our dreams will last

tell of Arthur, once and future king

and of true Thomas the rhymer you'll sing

Pray for Henry Hotspur to be on our side

as into the final battle we ride

Looking blindly

The skull looks blindly with its vacant eyes

made eternal without flesh and blood

the skull, it mocks our desperate lies

With yellowed bone it feebly tries

to remind us of our human soul

yet the skull looks blindly with its vacant eyes

Decries the blood with which we paint the skies

with ghastly echoes of our in-noble past

the skull, it mocks our desperate lies

Though depths of deep despair he tries

to hide in shadow and in night

the skull looks blindly with its vacant eyes

No ears to hear our futile cries

no heart to feel compassion

the skull, it mocks our desperate lies

Pray friend, be more than your disguise

of skin and bone; without a heart and soul

the skull stares blindly with its vacant eyes

the skull, it mocks our desperate lies

Breathe fire

Breathe fire

set the dark aglow

Breathe fire

Breathe fire

Deal the system a deadly blow

by breathing fire

breathing fire

Give me your hand

let's talk heart to heart

we've got a wound to mend

so please don't stand apart

Breathe fire

set the night on fire

Breathe fire

Breathe fire

Deal the system a deadly blow

by breathing fire

breathing fire

Spread your splendid wings

jump into the open air

expose those false kings

the ones who just don't care

Breathe fire

set your heart alight

Breathe fire

Breathe fire

Deal the system a deadly blow

by breathing fire

breathing fire

Ride the upcoming storm

be fierce, my dear child

let us fight their deadly norm

let us all run wild

Breathe fire

set your soul aflame

Breathe fire

Breathe fire

Deal the system a deadly blow

by breathing fire

breathing fire

Ode to a Goblin King

Stars, prepare to dim and fade

the Thin White Duke to eternal rest was laid

Something did happen on the day he died

on the day millions sobbed and cried

Will we fulfil his gloomy prophesy?

More sense perhaps, than oddity?

When his heart burst and stopped

a source of greatness from the world was robbed

start the countdown, sound the bell

planet earth will go to hell!

The hate, the madness and the strive -

the eternal struggle to survive -

we endured listening to your songs

comments on our rights and wrongs

Five years for the starman to save us all

five years to break our destined fall

for four years hell has home in earthly realms

four years for hate to overwhelm

The good and noble in our soul

Let's make defiance our daily goal

Draw inspiration from his restless mind

so that his body rest might find

Let him return to being stardust

Let him be the one in whom we trust

If we keep Ziggy in our mind and heart

this darkness will be overcome by art

Ballad of a necromancer

Now let me tell you a story

of magic and such

it might be a bit gory

but it's true nonetheless

A magician, he worked for the glory

of succeeding where others had failed

turning stone into gold was obligatory

one of his easiest feats

Our warlock, he set his sights

on a maiden so fair

she was called angle by rights

so he spoke of love to her

Being the sisters of chivalrous knights

the maiden, she refused his pleas

“I'd rather take my last rites

than be wed to man as godless as you!”

That the fair lady said, being true

the magician did not take kindly

to this brisk rejection; he flew

into a rage. And he cursed and he swore:

“I will bid you forever adieu

oh maiden, who would not be mine!

Where the hangman's tree grew

you shall swing on a rope soon!”

So he spoke and he meant it

they found her not three days hence

cold as clay and clearly tormented

noose 'round he slender, pale neck

When he heard, the magician repented

but no tears did he weep

not her suffering he lamented

only his own loss he spoke of

She was laid to rest on a cold morn'

her brothers all attended

and her poor mother, her heart torn

she wept and her tears fell onto the clay

The magician came at the dead of night

when clouds were low, the moon dark

and he performed his evil rite

calling on demons and devils from the deep

In the coffin she lay in her garment of white

beautiful even in death

lips unkissed, yet red, so bright

hair like spun gold

“Raise he up, my one true love!”

This he begged. “Let her walk the earth

and I'll renounce God and angles above

if only on return she'll be mine!”

He said his spells and sang his chant

cast a circle, walked whiddershins

to darkest spirit to enchant

and bend them to his evil will

He thought he's done something grand

when the maiden did stir in her grave

but she was to be no confidante

as our magician soon realized

For the look in her eye, it was ghastly

and her smile, it was cruel

with cold hands she reached for him steadfastly

and put them around his treacherous neck

She choked him with a strength vastly

until the magician lay dead at her feet

“Alas, united we are everlastingly

You broke my sweet peace

And I shall have yours

Forever this place you will haunt

locked for you be Heaven's doors!”

So spoke the maiden in her distress.

“Stranded on this night's shores

you shall not be,” an angle declared

“Maiden mine, close those eyes of yours

blissful sleep shall enfold you!”

So the maiden returned to her grave

lifeless once more, cold as clay

save from the vain glory the magician did crave

pure and secure in her love

To his day they say the spot is haunted

tainted by the magician’s dark deed

a place forlorn and unwanted

only shadows walk there at night

But don't let yourself be daunted

by this tale of magician turned necromancer

embrace love if you want it

but don't take to desperate measures

True love is given freely

not taken by force

returned, ideally

love conquers all

Human hearts – a meditation

Are we human or are we dancer? (The Killers – Human)

Human Hearts- the expression strikes us as terribly familiar. Of course we humans have hearts.

It's nothing remarkable, is it?

Not if you are thinking flesh and muscle. The organ which pumps blood through our bodies in a circular system, though a complex network of an ever finer growing web of veins and arteries.

That heart is a powerful muscle, one that beats from before we are born to the second we die. It never rests, it never ceases in its work and if it misses a beat, you are having a serious problem. We know that a human heart has four chambers and lies beneath the ribcage in the upper left side of the body. When we talk of biological hearts, we think of blood, of science and of disease.

Heart murmurs, cardiac arrest, heart failure.

As for the human part, we are self-aware enough to know that we are humans. Whether or not everybody accepts the science of evolution and the archaeological proof that states that we are in fact Homo sapiens sapiens, the modern human, the last surviving kind of humans among the human species, be as it may. We are human. Not ape or monkey or alien but human.

The biology is simple: we walk erect, on two feet, use our hands to make tools and our brains to solve problems. We have eyes to see with, a mouth to talk and consume food with, lungs, muscles, flesh and bone. And we have hearts.

Which brings me back to the beginning.

Human Hearts.

If we are more metaphorically speaking, away from the mere matter of flesh and bone and blood, can we be sure that all existing members of Homo sapiens sapiens are truly human? Can we be sure that all human being possess a heart?

Maybe I am splitting hairs but my point is that we are more than matter, we are made of mind and spirit at least as much as of cells and fibres. Strip that away and what have you got? A biological automaton, a robot made of organic materials rather than metal. A zombie.

Mind and spirit, heart and soul… What makes us humans human? Is it only the sum of our bodily functions or the chemical reactions in our brains? Or is there more?

What or our dreams and passions? Our visions and believes? Our goals and aspiration? What of kindness? Of friendship? Of love?

Is it not all those foolish emotions that defy all logic that make us truly human?

That we can weep and laugh and cry and wail and sing songs to express our love, our hurt, our fear and hope?

Since ancient times mankind believed that the heart was more than just a part of the human body. Depending on the civilization you examine, you will find that the heart was to be thought of as the seat of life, or emotion, or reason, will, intellect, of purpose or the mind, the very centre of human existence.

The ancient Egyptians expressed this very vividly in their belief of the weighing of the heart. To be reborn into the afterlife, the human spirit had to overcome several tasks. These included a ceremony of negative confessions, where the deceased would swear not to committed neither of up to 26 sins, like lying or eavesdropping. To keep one's heart true, the Egyptians employed amulets in the shape of a scarab, or heart beetle. If the deceased had succeeded in stating his case, he proceeded to the weighing of the heart in front of the God of Truth, Ma'at. His heart was put on a scale against a feather, which symbolised purity and truth. Osiris, the lord of the underworld oversaw the procedure. Should the heart of the deceased prove to be heavy with wrongdoing, it would be eaten by Ammit, the Devourer, a demon, part crocodile, part leopard and part hippopotamus. All hope of an afterlife vanished if you failed this test. If the heart balanced against the feather then the deceased would be granted a place in the Fields of Hetep and Iaru, where they would live happily ever after.

When we think of a heart, we often do not think of the organ but the famous symbol that every school child can draw. The origin of that shape is unclear, the first similar shapes we find in ancient Greece or Rome or even Buddhist art, depict stylist leaves such as ivy or fig. A popular theory is that the shape was inspired by female breasts or other parts of their anatomy. We know that the heart shape as a symbol of romantic love was first used in 1250 in the romantic tale called Li romanz de la poire (Romance of the Pear) and grew in popularity in Europe, especially in the 16th century. The 19th century saw the symbol grow more and more popular, as it got used on Valentine's cards, candy and chocolate boxes and as one of the four suits in playing cards.

One can have a heart of gold or a heart of stone. We are heartbroken, faint of heart, put our hearts in our mouths or wear them on our sleeves. We should follow our hearts, have our hearts set on achieving our heart's desire. Never lose heart, or strike fear in someone else's heart. And wouldn't it be wonderful if we all had our hearts in the right place?

My heart starts missing a beat. Every time (Pet Shop Boys – Heart)

Heart Limerick

There's this thing called a heart

love, it can break it apart

still hate is much worse

it's a real curse

don't dare to resist Cupid's dart.

We are X

We are mutants
All of us
More or less
It’s in our genes
Or something else
We are mutants
In flesh and blood
And skin
And prison
We are mortal
All of us
It’s in our genes

Time is fleeting

Be mindful of death, time is fleeting

Our time is cut too short

Draw a deep breath, keep your heart beating

There is no way of cheating

The end will come for us all

So be mindful of death, time is fleeting

Enjoy the company of people you are meeting

There is no second chance

Take a deep breath, keep your heart beating

What’s the use in pure competing?

Love, life, laugh

Be mindful of death, time is fleeting

Everything you do, everything worth completing

Do it now, not later

Take a deep breath, keep your heart beating

So, man don’t ignore the holy greeting

Be alert, alive and true

Take a deep breath, keep your heart beating

Be mindful of death, time is fleeting

About the author

Melanie Quinlan (* 1973) cannot recall a time without books or imaginary friends. Even though she made some very dear real friends and is at least theoretically grown up, she still loves telling tales and getting to know the many characters that live inside her head.

Her fascination with books lead her to studying librarianship in what later became her home town of choice, Cologne.

Her writing can best be described as Dark Queer Urban Fantasy. Some has touches of romance, others of steamy adult fun. A fascination with LGBT culture has influenced her work at least as much as her love of 80s pop music, everything Victorian, fairy tales, folklore and whatever may hide in the dark shadows under her bed.

Currently she's working on her first novel and several other projects and shares a flat in Berlin, Germany with fellow author Sabina Skye.

Social media links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieQuinlan

Twitter: www.twitter.com/fundamellie

Pinterest: https://de.pinterest.com/melanie_quinlan/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/MelanieQuinlanauthor/

About the illustrator

Aubrey Diamant, who did both all the illustrations and the cover art work, is a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

He has been a professional artist since was 16.

A self-taught artist, he is skilled in pencils, ink, marker, and acrylic paints. Born in 1976, Aubrey has worked in the independent zine trade, as a freelance commission artist as well as ink assistant and writer in the comic book industry since the 90's.

When he's not working on his art, he is plotting, planning and writing as one half of Diamant, a writing partnership he set up with his twin brother Jordan Christopher.

Social media links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/diamanttwins

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wearediamant

Tumblr: http://wearediamant.tumblr.com/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/diamantbrothers/


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