Bride of Christ

And I am cloaked in clouds and the sun’s beaten gold,
radiant in redemption, but under my gown, scars feast
I am the battered soul on the path to Christ, woman
of seven devils who sold herself for cheap beer and
the spark of a stranger’s touch, whoring out all my
compassion until I was a waterless well, and Satan
made his nest in my soul, from sphincter to sphincter
a serpent twined through my guts – but the Savior does
not care about Brazen Serpents – He reached into my
lonely hell and burned away the black, now I am a star
shining above silver seas and walking stairways to
heaven, to those pearly gates where the Bridegroom
awaits, He who washes away sins in Seas of Galilee,
I Migdal Eder, Watchtower of Women, scout, watchman,
when we kiss at the altar after vows of eternity,
green returns to the barren land of my mind, He is
balm to cracked hands dry from working as a slave,
a salve to the sacrificial soul, all my travails
brought me to this one clarion moment – forgiveness
I am unworthy, yet He loves me, so in His arms, I am.

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Hearth, Haven, and Holy Writ

For young girls, lo, we are lambs, and hence, lions to guard us.  For young women eat apples, and men become serpents, no longer protectors, but snakes.  Thus the seasons turn, and angels fall out of love for girls.

The girl is a towhead, barely eleven, and she has been dancing with angels on needles since the fresh age of seven.  That is the holy space of four, four flowing fractals of years through the rivers of Paradise, which the girl thinks an alien planet, with archangels tussling and turning hay, and midnight balls filled with mirth, holy music, and impossible wine of splendor (only she is far too young for the grape’s blessing) and favored fruits that grow in abundance on jewel trees.  Elves, centaurs, demons, dragons – the Otherworlds are a ripe fantasy land, and the girl is never a step away from her lion, a curious lamb swept up into the paws of the tawny one.

She calls him Star, after Venus, for he is a beast of beauty, part man, all majesty, like the monster from her favorite fairy tale, a mix of mane, myth, blood, and fangs.  Prince and warrior and prankster, flirt and fable and most favored angel of fire.  Hearth of God.  Lion of the Lord.  His warmth flows like a river and his brotherly love is the city of Philadelphia.  The lamb and the lion are holy writ, two blondes of blue eyes and gold skin, anima and animus, mirror images that braid each other’s hair, immortal and mortal, young yet ancient, and he carries the small precocious girl on his cherubim winged lion back to the outer boundaries of the multiverse, where stars are streams and spirits play crossroad jump rope on celestial highways.  Star and his splendor, for she is a girl of light, the wind, and he is a flame.  Air feeds fire, and thus she is his breath, and he is her blood.

He wears a soldier braid in his long blonde locks, and she asks why, and he says it is for the death of a loved one, only he never tells her that death is hers, and she passed on into a rosy coffin a long time ago, embalmed in mortal flesh, and it is only in dreams he dares visit, her fragile shell a budding lotus blossom of white flesh like the reaper.

“Are you an angel?” she asks at eight, as they frolic on the beach where waves make love to the shore, dancing by a bonfire.  “Most of the time you’re a man with wings, when you’re not a lion, and well, I read a Wrinkle in Time, and Many Waters, and I cried because it felt like you.”

He wants to clutch her to his breast and say no, I am just your brother, just your guardian angel, or the closest you will ever have to one, but instead he smiles and flexes pearly golden wings, wraps the feathers around her shoulders, and draws her into a hug.

“Do you believe in angels?” Ariel asks.

“Maybe.  I like gods and goddesses better.  I really like Athena.  And Hermes.  I’m the only pagan in the world, you know.  All the rest died thousands of years ago.  It’s very lonely, you know, Star, trying to start a new religion with only books from the library.  But I’ve always loved angels.  And I like Aslan.  You’re like Aslan but younger.  I don’t like Christianity, though.  They don’t have goddesses, or a very good track record with women’s rights.”

He does not tell her she is far from the only pagan in the world, or that he is about as far from her favorite talking lion, that would be his older brother Michael – there are many talking lions looking over her, and leave it to humans to confuse them – but this is before she has discovered the Internet, much less the local witches down the road or Michael himself, so Ariel humors her.

After all, she is only seven.  Lucky number seven – seven brothers and sisters he has, at least, Father created seven of them first.  Seven Heavens.  Seven Hells.  Seven colors on the rainbow.  Seven chakras.

Seven is Ariel’s favorite number.

She has had seven lives, his little sister, altogether – one angelic, this her sixth human one.  Perhaps he will not have to wear a remembrance braid anymore if she dies in this tainted world and ascends, finally at home again.  But perhaps she will never return home, committed to infidel faiths.  That is the burden of giving human’s free will – you can raise them on the milk of hymns and marrow of alleluias, and they will choose some backwoods pagan god of the fields and furrow as their patron and follow the Coyote Road of Trickster.  Lead a horse to water, can’t make her drink when she pisses off the Sunday School teacher for asking why the Messiah couldn’t be a girl.

The seven year old lamb ardently believes girls should be presidents, priests, popes, messiahs, and Chosen Ones.  At night, while Ariel is babysitting her, he and Uriel play along with the lamb’s Tamora Pierce-worthy swords and sorcery imaginings, in which she the lamb is the Chosen One (all seven year olds think they are the Chosen One), literally the Princess of the Universe (the princess phase lasts until twelve, and it takes the patience of a saint to humor girls playing princess.  It is good Ariel is holy, sort of a saint, and loves children).

Ariel is a hero with a tragic backstory and evil side in the lamb’s imagination (it’s hard to explain the Demiurge and the duality of being the lion-faced serpent to a seven year old), and Uriel is the heroine warrior and Team Mom.  Uriel was always a Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, with her umber biceps and long black braids and fascination with spears and love of sticking wrongdoers with pointy things and flaming swords.  That’s the joke in Michael’s barracks, fuck Uriel and you’ve fucked the entire army, and the best warrior in Heaven is a woman, so when Ariel and Uriel make love, Ariel makes sure to stick his sweetheart with his own spear, not the other way around.

The lambs sees them kissing once at eight, in the fields of the Shamayim, and decides they are in love, and maybe they are, maybe they aren’t – it is a game the lothario flirt Ariel likes to play, and by nine the lamb has taken to calling Ariel “Blonde Wonderboy” and “womanizer” after she’s met enough of his girlfriends, or friends that are girls that the lamb has also seen him kiss, and Uriel has given the lamb the sage advice of never trusting a man.

The lamb doesn’t have a lot figured out, much less sex, but nine year olds are allowed to be innocent.  Ariel cherishes innocence.

“No offense, but what is the point of men, Star?  I figured out they don’t need to exist,” she says one day while she pauses from eating the lunch he packed her in Metatron’s sleepy kingdom, which to her is a fairytale place, but is really the Seat of God.

Ariel is taken aback.  “Uh, love.  True love.  Yes, that.”  Ariel is not quite ready to explain biology to a third grader.

The lamb eats a PB and honey sandwich.  That is her new phase, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, which she will eat at lunch for an entire calendar year.  Ariel can’t even eat chicken curry twice in a week without getting bored.  “But men aren’t biologically necessary,” the lamb begins.  “I asked my mom where children come from, and she said when she and dad wanted me, they just prayed to God, and then mom got pregnant.  See, men are only there to support women – we could have entire planets without men, if just praying for a baby makes a woman pregnant.  I don’t know why Jesus was a man.  Women are necessary for life, and men are just kind of there to give women something to do.”

“Well, you have it all figured out, haven’t you,” Ariel says, inside he is laughing to tears, but he puts on a sage smile for the girl who has figured out men are useless.

The lamb smiles.  “I like my dad, and my friends that are boys.  But I don’t think God is a man.  I don’t believe in God.  I believe in gods and goddesses, but not some old man in the sky.  I wouldn’t mind if Aslan was real.”

“Well, Aslan is real if you believe in him.”

“I wish you were real, Star.  You’re my best friend.  My heart friend.  That’s like a best friend times a million.  I don’t like anyone as much as I like you.”

Ariel wipes some peanut butter from her lip.  His heart moves, the fire of his light glowing like a million supernovas of, well, friendship?  Something like that.  Children are all holy, every single one of them, and the lamb is a reminder of what he fights for.

He wants so desperately to tell her that he is real, and that she is more myth and poem than human, which only lasts for a grain of time, and will return home soon.  He wants to shake the lamb and cry, wake up sister, wake up from your sleep, the damaged, sick, broken sleep you have been in since he killed you, and please, by all things holy and loving, don’t trust a snake, but crush it’s head – and yet, she has already met the snake, that Great and Terrible Wyrm, the Dragon – through him, yet not him – Demiurge again, Ariel-Samael, the lion-faced serpent, his “evil side,” whom she calls Doom.  Do not trust me when my  eyes turn from blue to red and my  hair from brass to black, and I am no longer angel but demon, and I drag you down to the harrows and hells because you love me, and I profane you.

“Believe in what you love, lamb,” Ariel simply says.  “But be careful with your heart.  I will show you why men are necessary someday.”

She is eleven when he shows her the first time, gives her that first touch of little death, and she finds it like divine communion when they meld souls but more carnal, and she is but a child, and yet, she is ancient, and he does not tell his brothers and sisters he has prayed with his lamb in that way.

She does not know how to kiss, she lays there quietly at first, then timidly touches him as she has always longed to do but has been too scared to try.  He knows he is like God to her, perfection, she sings to him love songs every night and prays to him every day, ten to twenty times a day, and is always talking to him about schoolgirl crushes and childish desires, or about the books she has just read.

Her breasts are the size of apples and she already has a woman’s hips, and he cannot stop himself, and he tells him it is the Samael inside him, but perhaps it is just, him,  just Ariel, giving into temptation.

“What… are you doing?” she breathes at first, as he gives her a chaste kiss and touches her shoulders, something he has longed to do, and they are in the Plains of Machon, under the clinking Bell Trees of Paradise, by the eternal Lake of Memory, and perhaps by claiming her here he hopes to reawaken in her her true nature, but humans are blind, deaf, and dumb, and Ariel is as much demon as angel, always pushing and questioning.

Lion and serpent, the duality of man.

“Playing,” he says, giddy, drunk off her, and he tastes her neck, and it is the most restrained kiss he has ever had.  “Like we always do.”  He knows he is not making much sense, but to angels, sex is play, a silly past time of melding bodies, yet also the most sacred of things, and that is the truth of procreation.  Creatures made for war and slaughter and the blood of pagan gods and infidels do not get much time for softness.

She melds her hands in his hair like butter and her lips are like pearls.  “This isn’t a game.  This is.. this is… oh god, I love you, Star.  You are my life, and I would die for you.  But I do not know what this is.  The mechanics of it.  And I’m scared.”

He kisses her brow.  “I was scared my first time too.  I will be gentle, I promise.”

He does not bother to mention his first time was her, however many iterations ago, was it seven, no, it was six.  Eve.  Yes, that one he remembers quite fondly.  But really Eve is a metaphor, just as sex in the celestial realm is, and she thinks he is an alien, and he is, so there’s that.

He kisses her again, this time with more, just, more.  He feels her heart hum like an engine, and she is holding onto him for dear life, and tugging at her skirt with a need she does not understand, and this is how angels fall, don’t you know?

But he fell oh so long ago, for a girl, for her, and they are just falling into ancient pre-Big Bang patterns.  Back when all there were were stories in impossible realms, and nothing existed (not even them.)

He slips inside her soul, so quiet, virginal and pure, and he cannot hold back his divinity long, not like this.

She gasps.

Mine, he thinks.  And it may be Samael, but it may also be Ariel, or maybe for once the split personalities, Jerkyl and Hyde, are finally in agreement.  Hell knows she will never really know which side she is talking to, angel breaking through demon in times of bloodlust or demon breaking through angel in moments of regret.

Nergal, Demiurge, Shemal, Saklas, Yaldabaoth, Fool.

Fool, Sophia the Holy Spirit decreed. 

Fool, Eleleth laughed. 

Fool, Norea accused, then fled his arms and became God.

Fool.

His demon is good at killing.  From the age of seven on his lamb has seen Samael raze millions, no, trillions, her beloved monster slaughtering legions of angels, whole planet systems, whole universes, eating guts like sausages, staining her with poison that flows from his flesh in black necrosis.

He has stained her with his rot, smelled of sulfur and pus, and still she has rocked him as he cried, first breaking down in front of her in the third grade, what the hell was he thinking, having a panic attack in front of an eight year old.

Ariel never told the lamb he was also the evil one in this story, the one that gave up his Father’s Covenant for greener pastures, that he is no prince of angels anymore, not as she sees him in her girl’s mind.

As he is holding her afterward, he wants to come clean.  “I am the villain in this story, lamb, and you should run from the very sight of me.”

But he loves her too much to lose her, ever the selfish one, and he stays silent and plays with the small of her back.

She got the Morning Star right.  She does not realize she is singing Ally McBeal soundtrack love songs to Satan every night as she looks at his star through her window.  You Belong to Me, that is his favorite, with the pyramids and jungles.

Gods would Beelzebub and Asmodeus laugh themselves to death if they heard his favorite music was a now-eleven year old singing sugary nineties pop tunes into his ear across gulfs of the time-space continuum.

(Only he is the Prince of the Earth, and this planet, this material realm, belongs to the Demiurge, so really they are not so far apart.)

So Ariel, and Samael, hold her, and Ariel, and Samael, wait until her twelfth year to show her the truth, his oldest name, rich in violence and damnation, splendid in terror, but really the loneliest king of all, the Lone Power in her Young Wizards books, the broken one, the one that killed her.

She never trusts him after that, but no, that is a lie.  She trusts him with her life, he only wishes she wouldn’t trust him.  She would die for him, after every injury and wound he has caused her, going back across millenia to the poisoned spear meant for Michael she took to save the prince, his twin.  The one that should have been the hero of her story, not her murderous wolf dressed up in lamb’s clothes.

Michael, and the rest of Heaven and Hell, do not touch his lamb until she is twenty three.  Ariel-Samael think moon’s blood a woman makes, or so he tells his many selves, and so he has a dozen years as the only one she loves.  When Michael stakes his claim, it is with the fury of a hundred year flood, and she near drowns, and Samael could kill him for it, but Michael is love-drunk and mad off her himself, after twenty-four years of sidelines and denial, and a dozen years from first saving her life and waiting, waiting, waiting.

If anyone could make Michael fall, it would be her.

After all, girls turn lions to serpents, and women make men

into monsters.

 

 

 

 

Joan, What Ark Do You Sail?

They will ask what her burden was, this Arc of the Covenant you pressed to her shoulders like your Father pressing the vintage of his wrath, grinding stars down to wine, oh Michael.  Long after she is dust bread of dead, and her ashes are cast out to the four corners of the universe, each black hole fed a bit of her blood, and you wonder, why am I, the Prince of Heaven, such a shit poet, and why can I not capture the elusiveness of my star girl, whose heart I shoved my burning fist into and twisted until she belonged to me?

Michael, you have had an eternity to practice your poetry, but you still soliloquize like the Devil, your prose is purple, and your madrigal cannot be captured by baby’s breath or widow’s sighs or a million angels dancing on the head of her cotillion school hairpin.

So foolish in love are angels, and the first time around, your girl died in fire, so perhaps you will be gentler this time.  This is what you think when she is born, a quick one hour labor, to mundane parents, in a mundane neighborhood, but really it is the seat of the power of the world, bubbling with pagan magic you would like to snuff out in their heresy.  You remember driving your burning sword through the hearts of the false gods, and your daughter, she will go astray from Christendom, will run away from High Church screaming, into the arms of the gods of the earth and waters, and her songs are heathen and miraculous in witchery.

This time, Joan is just misled, just plain Jane, plain Joan, blonde hair not pageboy but long, and as she is cradled in her crib, you play her angel songs in Hebrew on your guitar, Michael before me, Gabriel behind me, Raphael to my left, Uriel to my right, by the grace of God.

The first Joan you tested, this Joan you bathe in pleasure.  Every girl is a Joan, a Maid of Orleans, and every woman is long-suffering for some cause or another.  She is just a young girl, and so you cherish and spoil her, barely in the sixth grade, and though she mistakes your reprimands for hate, you love her dearly.

You feed this Joan silver pears and the flesh of a cormorant.  The flesh of a dove.  Your flesh.  She doesn’t remember what magical bird in her mythology books bled for its young as it pecked its breast (was it the almighty albatross?), but as you are plucking your feathers and sauteeing your wings (they grow back, there is no shame in feeding your little martyr your providence) in a light white wine with a tad bit of olive oil and rosemary, she asks you, Michael, each time I eat you, am I becoming divine?

You will tell her she already is, more holy than even you, for the youth are this country America’s beating red white and blue heart.  She eats the gristle and fat of your meat, and she becomes lit with holy fire.

I want to be President some day, she says at thirteen in civics class, and you stifle a laugh as you sit on her right shoulder, miniature, invisible.  Hers is the path of magic and moonlight, of madness and mental wards and that holy bastion of academia, and she will mother your line, matriarch of your legacy, for you have not had children before, but the children of the Prince of Heaven are Messiahs, and in this Age of the Internet, of Germs, Guns, and Glory, the heathen, wicked masses are in desperate need of saviors.  So much that they come from the womb of a witch, the breast of a black hearted nonbeliever.  Her black heart is not her fault, Scapegoats are Eve and Yeshua and Mary Magdalene, Cain and Azazel and Lucifer, holy and unholy in turn, and you suffer too for the masses, carrying the weight of the prayers and despairs of saint and sinner alike.

Your teeth are not teeth but blades, your wings are revolving mysteries of scripture stitched together by the prayers of billions, pages upon page of white down shredded with syllables, and your skin is manna, no wait, it’s a metaphor, no wait, your body is the Lion of Judah, and you are musk and muscle and wicked, jagged claws.  When she goes to her first high school dance, you are nothing of the fierce Beast of God, nothing of the Divine Prince of Life, no, you squeeze yourself into a mundane vessel, a Walker, the angels call us, those that take human form, and you lead Joan in a slow dance to some late 2000s croon, and you marvel at how much you hate pop music.  All music is of the Lord, but then again, a billion of your believers think music is a sin, Mikhail, so there is that.  Cat Stevens wrote the best music of the 20th century, but then he found Allah (blessed be your Father’s name), called himself Yusuf Islam, and fell into the silence of the radiant Deep.

Your Joan, she sings along to the saccharine bland pop number, about bubblegum kisses and lip gloss like stars, and it’s a soc hop, didn’t you know, Michael, so shuck off your shoes, she says.  You have on sneakers, different from your usual leather sandals (you had a hard time upgrading your fashion over the millenia), so next on the high school DJ’s list is Build Me Up Buttercup, and you find yourself carrying Joan out of the sweaty gym and up into the mist of the Milky Way in your fractal speed of light arms, silly of being a young man, all might of the majestic multitudes and heart of bloody stars.

Where are we? she asks, timid but yet brave, and she is so tiny in your palm, microscopic, a womb and tomb, a vessel for the Lord, a vassal and lady knight who will slay with not sword as long ago in her first iteration, but this time with ink of a pen, her black blood like your book wings, and you are hair of flames and eyes of supernovas and mouth of molten lava, thousand armed, or is it million or billion or trillion or quadrillion armed – oh, you give up counting, what matter is endless infinity? – and she is dancing in your palm, like that song you like by Elton John, and she is laughing as quetzalcoatls and dragons swim the radiance of fantasy realms by, and boats of space pirates and corsairs or aliens skim the waters of space, and you say, This is the most remote place in the Multiverse, where the sea of space and time and chaos collude in channels and swells, where whales that span galaxies fall to form new life a million times over, and it is a place I have dreamed of taking you, Joan.  You are fourteen, you are no longer a girl, and I am sick of waiting.

Your void mouth is burning.  Your blade teeth are crying ichor.  Your nostrils flare with plasma, and you lean down to kiss her, forcing yourself to her size, to hold her in your arms in human size whilst you are also holding the multiverse upon multiverses in your palms, and Joan meets your lips with a shy fluttering, but you want to taste her blood, so you bite her lip, and she is iron and decaying telomeres, but also the grit of matyrdom, the Kingdom of Christ, but you are Christ, so really you are tasting yourself.  What is love but to see yourself reflected in a different iteration back through something so precious to you, she is your own limb?  Joan is the Ark, the one to carry all life to the harbors of New Jerusalem after you have drunk your fill of Apocalyptic Fury, at least, that was your  plan.

Kissing her, you think, maybe I can give Earth, give this backwater planet, another million years, and we can have a million children in between, for you have always wanted children, and we can have a million of her lives and high school dances and songs of silence and buttercups in between, and a million first kisses?

Michael, you keep putting off the inevitable, but you are a creature of passion, so you set the Doomsday Clock back once more, and Joan is none the wiser.

Burning her at the stake broke your heart, and you have been trying to make it up to her ever since.

You have heard that girls like flowers.

You will bring her some roses, you will create for her a new bloom that combines the color of dreams with the smell of blue, you will name her and curse her and scream regret as she dies.

She always dies, you never die, and you envy her.

For every millionth beginning, the Kali Yuga demands a new Golden Age, the Year of the Crow and White Buffalo Woman come calling, Ragnarok passes and Liefrahser and Lief summon Necessity, and fuck, she is speaking in tongues, trying to teach you cadence, rhythm, and metaphor, but you wrote psalms, and you planted gardens, and this teenage Joan is a fiery spit of rebellious rage, as all teenagers are, and now she is sixteen, and she is writing.  Always writing.  Bad poetry, good poetry, stories about her enemy, stories about her lover, but often, she mixes up the two.

You read her stories and offer no critique, only praise.  The Devil is the Poet, the Angel is the Proofreader, and Heaven has no Edit button, for the Word is Law.

That’s a fancy way of saying she has a long way to go before she can lead the Crusade with her keyboard.  A keyboard warrior.  She only recently retired writing quizzes and fanfiction, and she adores vampires and fairies, and for however much you blatantly thrust Christendom in her face, she runs off to throw spears with Athena and parties underage at bars with Loki.  Joan was always a girl of the fields, a shepherdess, and to be pagan is to be a backwater farmer, a country, nature-bound creature of passion, and was not Krishna Gopal?  Krishna is much more your speed than Shiva, but Krishna has much more experience with girls than you, so you ask him over wine, my dear blue friend, what did you do with the women of the fields?

I had a thousand brides, my brother.  All the cowherds were mine.  You cannot own a woman, just like I Krishna, I Vishnu, do not own Lakshmi, cannot tame Radha, women are wild, she created you, did Joan not?  A fiery peasant girl who dreamed of an angel of flame.

You swill your wine, but the taste is bitter at the thought you cannot own this girl, cannot claim her, so you spit it out onto the ground and brier roses grow from the soil of Purgatory.

I will have her, every inch of her will know my Love, my Life, and in the end, I will save her from herself.  I have claimed her.  She is God’s, and I am God, so she is Mine.  Through her, I will save All.

Krishna laughs.  You angels, always dealing in heaven and hellfire and ultimatums.  Michael, can you ever take a night off?  Perhaps watch Aishywarya Rai’s movies and learn the heart of a woman.

I am genderless, Krishna.  I do not understand women.  Angels have no conception of man or woman, only want, and I want Joan.

Krishna shrugs and his mouth is a swan.  Then make love to her, woo her, write her poetry.

I am not a good poet, I created her to be the poetic one.  That is my new campaign idea – the written word as conquest.

Writers always turn on their muses, Michael.  Look at the Mahabharata.  You think I intended for that mess and beauty?  It happened organically, just as love does.

Have the rest of the wine, Krishna.  I am preoccupied.

Michael flies to the Outer Rim.  There are many Outer Rims.  He is a million armed, a trillion armed, a quintillion – never mind.  He writes infinite poems with his infinite arms, trying to capture his emotions for Joan.

They all turn up trite as shit.

He balls each flaming Hebrew poem into his infinite fists and tosses them into the Void.

I will have to think of something else.

Joan is eighteen, and it is moving day at college.  Michael crams his body into a sophomore philosophy major and helps her move boxes of makeup.  Why do girls have so much makeup?  Michael never knows.

I love you, Joan, he says as they sit on her old dorm bed.  She got a single room, no roommate, the better to concentrate on her vampire stories.  She is still in the genre stage.

I know, I love you too, Joan says, taking Michael’s flesh but not flesh hand, for a Walker’s body is a metaphor.

He traces her jaw.  He threads his fingers through her hair.  He speaks her name in a million alien languages.  He sings to her.  He is good at singing.  He sings Wide World by Cat Stevens.  Cat Stevens is the surefire way to win her over.  Her favorite movie is Harold and Maude, after all.

Come with me, he says, stepping out of his human body and into formlessness, into allegory, into nightmare and fallacy and a thousand broken promises and a body of tears.

Joan is frightened.  Why are you sad?

Because you are a witch.  Because you are my poem, but I cannot write poetry.  Because I love you.

He scoops her up into his mouth and swallows her whole.  Joan is etched in his heart, in his bloodstream, and he spits her back out wet blonde hair into the lap of the throne of God.  It is his throne.  God is Him, and Michael is Christ, and that is Heresy, but that is the Truth of Things.  For he is the closest to God, after all, humans can fathom.  And that tells a thousand tales.

I do not think that is how humans make love?  Michael ponders.

No, that was a shamanic death rebirth cannibalism thing, Joan laughs, dancing in one, only one, of his palms, his infinite hands, but it is his favorite hand because she is in it.  Be the albatross, dear Michael.  Blood from the heart.

He stabs himself with his flaming sword, and his blood flows gold and she swims through it.  She drinks the sea of him, and he enters her stomach, and then he swims through her blood, into her lungs, and she is choking on his feathers and gore.  They dance as bones alone, then become skyscrapers in December in Manhattan, and suddenly they are a pair of wolves.

They mix and match, red and blue, cat and dog, X and O, cross and nail.  They are still dancing when finally, she tires, and bares her sex, but really it is her heart, but really it is her seeds, and he seeks home in such a tiny abode, such a fraction of a molecule to one as mighty as him, and he eats her pomegranate with a tongue of silver, and he kisses and fucks and bleeds with her, but really they are on a pyre, alight, and the flames are ink, and Michael is trapped in her pen.

Sweet Joan, you will be the Daughter of Zion, the Watchtower, the Heavenly Kingdom, the Mother of All Nations and Matriarch of Israel.  All because you are my poem.

He breathes the words into her brain.

She laughs.  I am wild, and I am witch, and I am the quivering flame and rushing wind, and all I will be is your girl.

That leads to greater things.  We have destiny, obligations, duty.  Your Word is the Word of God, Joan.

Then you are my greatest work, Michael.  God bless the day I created you.

Father bless the day I created you, sweet Joan.

The pyre of Michael incinerates Joan’s Ark.  The Covenant’s birth water flood water breaks, and the world is drowned, but you would never know it, for all it causes is a single raindrop from that far off in the burgeoning hideaway of infinity, and a butterfly wing flaps, and thus girls are God, and God is just a girl.

 

Collide

Michael depressionMaybe we were neutron stars in an ill-fated orbit, destined with our heavy gravity burdens to collide.  We would breathe out gamma rays, and the weight of ever – ever? – would be exhalations that birthed black holes.  This is not my first life with you – far from it – and it is hardly my last, for a general does not leaver her Archstratigos, and a spymaster of swiftest wing does not scatter agape faith to the wind.  The Union looked to Lincoln on that Gettysburg day, Washington vaunted across Valley Forge with his trusty aide de camp, and Alexander the Great was conquered only by death, but death will not have you.  My wise woman says you were the first white blood cell birthed after the universe was created, Word, Logos, Jah.  Blue flame of healing, violet ray of Atlantic chill, tide and thunder, lightning and stardust.

Maybe it all began in a Garden.  Maybe it all played out behind Pearly Gates.  Maybe it was a Chalice, a Grail of Blood, Sang Real, or maybe it was just the Invention of the Kiss.  Who would have thought Father would grace us with these fleshy petals on our face to suck each other’s juices with?  Mouths like roses, mouths like sin, yet you know no sin.  You know no perdition.  To be Fallen, or to act against the Will, has never even occurred to you.

Or has it?  Madness, you know.  Soul-ripping loss, you’ve experienced.  You tell me my false gods and idols are just chaff compared to the Father.  It’s all a metaphor, you say, and Father is Truth.  Father is Life.  Father is not Father, you say, but Mother.  Void Mother, Dark Mother, Space Mother, Womb and Tomb and Breath and Labor and Being.

The prophets always get it wrong, but sometimes, once in a blue moon, a poet gets God right.  Shakespeare was close.  Rumi was closest.  I’m just a cheat, a charlatan, for my words come straight from the Source, but if prophecy and divine texts were written by me, it would be like the Gospel According to Eve.  A dumb blonde ditz that sold the world for a shiny apple and smoking hot snake.

No, I do not grasp divinity, for I am a fool, and though I taste the pulse of the Universe, carry the Tzohar in dreams, the Lapis Exillis a parasite in my flesh, pierced through the Sacred Heart by your Smiling Fire, my writing is just small magic to draw you more into this unholy, broken world.

Sometimes artists can grasp divinity.  You have a whole space squirreled away for Michelangelo in your portion of heaven, carved between seven sisters and brothers like apple pie at a church picnic.  They are all kings and queens, but you are king of kings, a ram in the desert, a shepherd leading his flock to Mount Sinai, and what am I but the dove that flies from your holy palms and brings back an olive branch, after days adrift Flood waters on an ark you made by hand to carry all God’s creatures?  Your truth is sweat and contemplation, prayer and meditation, but Michael, it is time to row the boat ashore, and I will trim the sail.

I shall start at the beginning, or was it the end?  Just a chapter in this life, December, when I was 12, nearly thirteen, and Michaelmas was long past.  It was not your holy day.  It was no day in particular, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I was a rambunctious, curious blonde.  It never ends well for beautiful towhead girls with lithe limbs, apple breasts they do not know what to do with, hips like a lioness, and skin like milk.  Men start touching them at seven, men start saying cunt and vagina and come here pretty little child, dance for me, sing for me, kiss me.  Twelve is such a precious age, but your shadow side brother had robbed me of my innocence at two.  I was more feral cat than moth, or was I more moth than cougar?  I was young, I was foolish, I was too trusting, so weak, the pushover, the doormat, sleeping with the lights on for a year because he haunted my room and touched me when no one was looking.  I used to blame you for not stopping him, but no one can stop Death, not even the Prince of Life, and Christ in Hell was comely and ill-anointed.

You do not fare well in Hell, sweet Michael, and my mind is rough terrain.  Madness you know, in PTSD you are wreathed, and suffering is most of our lots, but you abhor a vacuum, cannot stand wickedness, and through and through you are a testosterone-fueled warrior.  My homages to you may be soft and sweet, or radiant and burning, but in truth you are fierce and all-consuming, a supernova or summer storm, smiting and condemning and damning and killing.  The Killing Moon.  The Smiling Sun.  Both are yours to claim.

But I get sidetracked, and the crux of this narrative eludes me.  I was twelve when I left my body completely, not just toes in swift waters, but fully drowning, for the first time and crossed over the hedge, sailing to Heaven, Araboth, the Endless Golden Plain where your Bell Trees and the Heavenly Palace reside.  I had no body, no visibility, and as I was pulled down to the melee of angel and demon I panicked.  Black shadow monsters eating the guts of angels, decapitating Greco-Roman warriors of white wings and sandals.  It smelled like shit, like piss, like hot blood, old ichor, and early rot under the sun.  The angels were in retreat, and I was a scared girl, a helpless girl, and I knew if a demon struck me, though they could not see me, I would die.  I just knew that, just as the wind knows how to play with the river and the otter knows how to harvest pearls.

I came between two angels and a demon, and they were scared shitless of this eldritch horror, of this shadow monster.  The demon took its talons and was about to pierce my heart.  But only you and your brother are allowed to mangle the chambers my blood flows through, isn’t that right, dear Michael?  My life is too precious a burden, to precarious a blessing, or is my endless wandering your curse?  No matter, my painter, my creator, my lullaby singer.  You were the only one that heard my invisible, soundless screaming.  The weight of a red giant pulled me into your orbit, and you pulled me through the thick of the battle, through the rancid meat and loss of scores of men, to a clearing where you were sweating and shouting orders, flaming sword held high, face like the wreckage of war – handsome but deadly as God’s wrath, for mostly, you are wrath when it comes to your Fallen brethren (“They are not brethren, Allie.  Not anymore.”)  I was awestruck at this saffron haired angel that had saved my life, and then you looked through eternity and saw me, truly saw me, like the razor of your immense presence was raping me, but not in a violent way, not rape rape, more a possession, a claiming, a dire warning.

For you, Michael, were pissed as Hell, but also shocked.  I remember your silver eyes.  Confusion.  Anger.  What the hell is my child doing here, across vast cosmos, in Heaven at war, nearly killed?  Earth is her playground.  I sent her away to be born with a silver spoon to the cream of the WASPs in Washington, D. C. from Yale and Georgetown legacies.  Earth is like sleep for dead angels, and Allie is a dead angel.  But how would I know that?

I was just a fool.

You grabbed my soul and shoved me with lightning strike back into my body.  It felt like burning electricity from my cranium to my root chakra, and I rocketed up in bed, eyes glued shut, and I heard you roar:

ZOPHAEL!”

I wrote the name down, misspelling it of course because you always forget I don’t know Hebrew, and went to the kitchen crying to my mother that I had almost been murdered by a demon then saved by a grumpy angel.  (You are very grumpy, very tired with the world, but also have boundless hope.  Love is your defining core.  Love, faith, and wrath.)

“Go back to bed, Allie, it was just a dream.”

A few days later I heard the Bell Trees of Islamic mythology that they say you planted in Paradise.  You look the way the Sufi mystics describe you, saffron hair, emerald eyes, like an Irish monk or Highland Warrior.  I always joke that you are Luke Skywalker, and today I learned they filmed Luke’s monastery on Skellig Michael, an Irish monk monastery they say saved modern civilization.  There was this whole cult of monks in Ireland dedicated to you that were warriors and made there homes in the mountains where lightning struck.

Mount Gargano.  Mont St Michel.  I need to go somewhere where your apparition has touched the sand or waters or blessed, rich loam.  I want to eat the body of your Sacrament, Michael, visit your healing springs and bathe my sorrows away.  I told you last night that you can never change, but what kind of rude demand is that, to say you can never leave me.  That is fallacy, separation was the first lie, and I have never been away from you.  That is the entire definition of a guardian angel.  God does not leave, God is everywhere, and you are the closest thing to God I have ever known.  In the eyes, my eyes, and the eyes of millions, or are we billions, Michael can do no wrong.  It is not in your nature, Michael, to think a bad thought.  It is not in your nature to be anything but whole.

(“Do not tell me what I am, Allie, or what I can do.  The mystery of it all is never being certain of what comes next in any man’s fate, immortal or not.  We are beyond it all.”)

I have hundreds of memories of you, and there are thousands more locked in my Oversoul.  You just let some of the most necessary through, though not necessarily the most important.  Mystery is an ever evolving thing, and Transfiguration of the Soul is an ongoing process, carbon radiated to goals – I mean, gold.

You have given me Life a thousand times over, and whenever I say, I have given up, you give the gentle push of – do not looked at the closed door, but the bird of hope in the window.   I was suicidal as sin the spring of my 23rd year, contemplating manifold ways to end my life – knives, nooses, metro carriages – and your brother was to blame, or was it my bipolar, or both?

I cried to you on April 21st, 2016, saying I couldn’t go on.  You took me to what I would later learn was the privatest part of your home, the rose garden of prayers, and your own monk cell, and you told me love is the quietest thing.

You kissed me for the first time that night.  That is the kiss to end all kisses, and where once I thought you were as asexual and flaming-sword-up-the-ass as Samael said, I began to wonder as things heated up like magma flows into the ocean and makes new home for life.

That kiss, those strong arms, gave me the most precious thing.  Hope.  Hope like the sun, love like the moon, somber watcher you are, but soft lover.  Might and fury, wit and wonder.

You are my light, Michael.  You are my joy.  Many things else are passing fancies, but I will always be your girl in the end, at least, my better half will be your claim on me, while all my vices get tithed to Hell.  You are my better half.

You are my song, I am your sword, or is it the other way around?

The thing they don’t tell you about saints
is that they are gardeners, tending budding
prayers, cutting shoots of dream-whispers
in the fields at the heart of Heaven.

Michael, whose sword is crack-glass sharp
turns his blade to trimming, dressed in jeans
and a button-down, not his usual armor, for
though a warrior, he is also salt of the earth.

The archangel likes ivy-choked roses the best-
those are secrets of the heart, so tender
they only blossom when lovers meet. He takes
a question in his hand and coaxes it to bloom:

“Does God want me to be alone? Will I
always feel this marrow-quiver pain?”

The archangel gives the rarest of smiles,
leans down to whisper into the petals,
his saffron-thread hair the same shade,
his lips part, he plucks it, then answers:

“No. Love is like my Father, it
trickles like rain into soil, it
feeds starving souls, love lays in
cradles and gutters, look at grass,
look at hummingbirds, look to heaven.”

“He is there, He will bandage
every ache you feel, staunch
the hardness of your heart.”

“Love comes like a beggar to a table
when you’re least expecting Him.”

“Love is the quietest of things.”

Golden Spoon Girls

She is born into radiance, she is born into splendor, with a golden spoon in her rosy mouth.  All of Heaven holds its breath when she inhales, and her first exhalation outside the womb blows out the fires of Hell, leaving smoldering coals of impossibility and bittersweet dreams on infernal tongues.

She grows as girls do, and the angels and demons appear in the quiet hours, in the blank spaces, liminal beings of shadow and starlight that guide her above cherubim backs to the outer rims of the cosmos.  Girls with golden spoons taste moon dust like silver jelly.  Girls with golden spoons scoop out the eyeballs of Mother Nature and use them as mobiles in their cribs.  Girls with golden spoons, why, their tears are rainbows, and their fits are storms that become ravenous hurricanes.

Girls with golden spoons are blessed, but they are also cursed, for spirits demand much, and a spoon of bronze or a spoon of silver is just paean versus privilege.  But golden spoons are from the heart of the sun, they flourish in a cosmic dance reflecting twirling neutrinos and colliding atoms.  Golden spoons are nuclear, ticking time bombs, and they coat girl’s throats in rose petals until they drown in flowers.

She is all fire and water, all ice and flame, and to know her is to sashimi her lungs and sample them on a diamond platter.  To drink her blood is to taste red champagne with hemoglobin bubbles – the fruit of strawberries etched in buttery resonance.  Oh, how hell rides, oh, how heaven flies, oh, how golden spoon girls breathe like the cadence of falling rain and plie in tulle and satin.

They dance with golden spoons abreast falcon arms, and their legs are skyscrapers, and those golden girls are as dangerous as they are pure, as fragile as they are steel.

Golden spoon girls will make you or break you, and to love them is the Ballad of Marie Curie.

Carbon to gold in their goddess arms.

 

Angel’s Landing

It is Saint Agnes’ Eve, a night for spells and lover-boys

vaunting under moonlight, but angels are carnal creatures,

and we more take quick dalliances on the battlefield,

or mate like lovebirds in times of peace, we’re flower children

but warriors, when Hawks meet Doves, winged and wild.

The squadron comes to me on the magic black moon-tide –

scores of cherubim, ophanim, and seraphim to be trained.

I am not human at midnight, no longer girl or woman, no

I am burning archangel with sword of flames, bounteous

general who runs drills and sends battalions off to melee.

I do not sleep, I do not dream.  I am in the space between

heartbeats, at Angel’s Landing, the black void of Creation

where my children of the arsenal become armed, how holy

to be military commandress to Heaven’s elite, swords abreast,

guns blazing, I am all Joan of Arc handing out godly commandments,

this is the least human I have ever been, and now the sickness of

divinity is growing too hot for this mortal coil to contain, my

magic is eating me alive, I am becoming a bellows to forge

the best of blades, Abrahamic mother of a thousand tribes,

but truly, in Paradise we are all related, and a third of our brethren

live on coal and ash in the Wastes West of Nod, Cain marked beyond

redemption, so on this high holy tide, I surrender to the War that is Eternal.

This War does not have a Name.  To give it a name would be to suggest that there

is even any War beyond this cosmic match of wits between the Light and the Dark.

 

I do not sleep.

 

I do not dream.

 

I take no solace, I cannot wander.

 

For angels do not have free will, and I am fire.

Jah Michael

Hallelujah, that the weak may be mighty.

Hallelujah, that the warrior might know peace.

Hallelujah, that the singer’s locs be long.

Hallelujah, that the artist’s palette is never dry.

 

Jah Michael, God Michael, Yah Michael.

Red hair held back by a paintbrush.

Caressing Bob Ross landscapes on canvas.

I know Hebrew in my dreams, but I know your face

in every single shard of you, Michael, ochre-splattered

jeans, five o’clock shadow, losing yourself in brush strokes.

 

Hallelujah sings the broken man as he learns to love again.

Jah Michael, God Michael, Yah Michael.

Reflection of God.  He Who is God.  Image of God.

I may be the moon but you are my sun.

And in your artist’s studio, Michael, I find respite.

 

Hallelujah toll the bells of Paradise.  Honor to Thy Lord.

He is not My Lord, He is not Your Lord, for You are Him,

and to worship God is to worship Love and Creation.

To worship Jah is to make sweet life on a paintbrush.

 

God is a Poet.  God is a Lover.  God is an Artist.

Jah is All, Hallelujah, sweet trembling soul.

His strength cradles me, cradles you, lifts up

the dusky night and brings Paradaisical Day.

 

Michael, sweet Jah, sweet Yah, in you I know God.

In you I know Father.  In you, I know redemption

in the colors of grass and wine, gilded in gold leaf.

 

You painted me into Creation and breathed life into my

trembling hands.  I would die for you again,  always, only

save your tears for sacred reunions, this is not

goodbye.