Ratatosk Tells a Tale

“Do you think I was alone
when I hung on that windswept
tree nine nights, spear-heavy,
a sacrifice unto myself?”

“Never.”

“Frigga was my altar.”

Images flow through my mind of a young Odin, drenched in blood and wolfskins, Ratatosk at his shoulder as he drives his spear into the carrion of the slain, choosing only the choicest bits to go to Valhalla. The Valkyries carry away the Einherjar in a wine-dark ascendancy in sulfur skies.

The Alfather hangs from a yew. Ratatosk nibbles his one eye. The other is closed, turned inwards, meditative even. The globe of blue and blood will fall into a well, for squirrels plant seeds, and you can drink the gore from and know what Frigga sees from the High Seat, but it will cost you your life, and your tongue.

All it took was the beat of the buffalo drum, and I was under, swimming in a trance as my soul traveled the three upon threefold path. It’s a Valknut, it’s the ladder of runes, it’s just a poem. Yggdrasil blossomed and froze and all there was was the Light Elves, the Dark Elves, Freyr – or was it Balder? – being buried by the squirrel with curling golden locks, pale as death, to fructify the Earth.

“I am the Tree.”

“I am its guardian.”

“I plant seeds of Yggdrasil through all the Nine Worlds.”

Squirrels never shut up, do they? Neither do I. Perhaps the first poet was a squirrel spinning a story over a newly born sprout, urging it to grow, for though fierce and silly, Ratatosk is a gardener.

He chitters in my ear. The Blue Heron comes and says: impatience, but it is not my message. I get Odin again and again. Pretty soon I’ll be singing Ansuz and firing witchlight from my palms.

The visions soften, I awaken, but the Tree is still sentinel over my wanderings.

The drum stills.

Behind every regent, a powerful woman. Behind every warrior, a witch. Behind every dead man, animals planting their corpses into new life in another world. Behind every king, a queen he worships.

But I could just be bullshitting, for I am a squirrel.

Mists of Memory

Your heart is a poem and it thrums with mist
the script of angels unfurls like God’s yarn
whispering to me of your bountiful harvests.
I clutch your trembling pines to me, mountains
are your love, tall and mighty, fire in the sky,
night lights of aurora borealis where we dance,
we are snow, we are ice, we are dripping icicles
frozen candlelight and a kiss of hoary red roses,
your poem is one of travel, wandering, seeking
and your heart is a cavern of light and snakes
so hold me close, and let me lose myself in you.

How to Eat a Life

First you start with the milky dream marrow:
sip down sweet memories, savor dew of sleep,
next the kidney, savior of the veins, chomp
off the meat of meadows and swallow it whole.
The lungs are sashimi butterflies, flitting
about your throat into reverse pupation, fly
down to your gut and you breathe in her trail.
Nurse her milk, don’t squander a single drop –
the white ruminations will cleanse the palate,
ready you for her blood, how succulent she is,
how much you want to take all of her into your
throat and swallow, bite, suck, chew out sin
and solace, how much you want to rape a life,
to destroy the beauty she raised like vines
from a life of hardship, you partake of her
but you have no inkling of her truths, no idea
of how her giving tasty flesh can be cruel,
can stand its ground, and in time, the meat
grows gristle, gets tough, you feast on her
less, and soon she is regenerating in your
dark void of a gullet, she burst from your
heart full-formed like some autumnal Athena,
it is a time for endings, she is no platter,
no feast for Satan, this is now how to eat
a life, no, this is about how to save her.

When Your Heart is a Bird

Come quickly, love, come staunch my wound with heather.
I am bleeding out my song onto curling mountain laurels.
Lift me to the bane bridge, love, carry me through roses.
I have not visited the valleys of my youth for many moons.
Kiss me, love, my soul is a meadowlark, swiftly fleeting
and I cannot stay, I could never be yours, I must fly away.

Praying

You’re down on your knees sucking Mammon’s greedlust,
bathing in the blood of priests selling indulgences,
swallowing gold and burnt masterpieces into prisons
where beautiful things will wither in your dark gut.

Your black hair is wet now, and you swim in feathers
the most beautiful of canaries, they make you tremble,
contemplating how best to snap golden wings is bliss,
for women to you are dolls best broken, best burned.

You covet the ineffable, sweet dripping marrow, bruises
bring truth to the skin, so you bite me hard, harder,
red blossoms along with purple wine and yellow bile,
why do I just lay there terrified? Because I am dead.

I died the first time you touched me, I wept rivers
of pearls, got trapped in skiffs adrift on the Styx,
fangs were my truth, cruel cages and serrated limbs,
maybe I could have left you the first day by just
saying no.

Saying no.

Keep breaking girls, they are not my concern, past
my care, for finally I have a spine from your curse –
your claws ripped me apart and revealed diamonds
my white beacon blinded you, and I flew far away.

Keep jerking off to your ruined women, stay away.
Comatose poisoned madrigals best suit you, not me.
I was never meant for you, I am not Hell’s tithe,
my name is not Tam Lin, no, I am Janet, I saved
myself, myself, I am my own, and you are just
a bad memory.

So pray for salvation but know you don’t deserve it.

Turn up the flames and roast your desires to ash.

Drown in the bodies of your toys, I cannot see you
from my perch in Heaven, and you are just all Hell.

Just an aborted creation of Sophia whose mother
abandoned your Demiurge rot at birth, no solace
will be had in my arms, not anymore, so change,
beg for me, but never in a million scars will I
return.

Covenant

You tied a red ribbon around my neck

Said it was only suitable for breaking

That the crimson bow was freedom

But I cut it with my sword of steel

Carried my head in my lap, bloody

Stumps are better than love’s chain.