Burning the Midnight Oil

Chomp at the bit while you’re dizzying me up with wine and poetry.  I’m nibbling your fingertips, splayed across your lap like an otter bobbing on the ocean with a pearl.  It’s us alone in luxury, us alone in the ruins of morals, and the falcon highs of Hell are only as worthy as the exhilaration of your majestic wings breaking.  We fall – into pace, out of time, from memory, but most importantly, into love.  Here you are as a cold spot under my ass, moving through me like a ghost as your sinuous hands entwine in my hair.  I always said you had pianist fingers, and you play the piano often, but sometimes you just sing, and the seasons stop turning and all Heaven is in mourning for losing its most beautiful voice.  I could say you are my better angel, or my Byronic Hero, but really, you’re just a scared boy clinging to cunts and tits because that’s the closest thing to mother you ever had.

Read me more of your poetry black soul.  Smash the windows, break the lamps, cry in my arms and bite my head off.  You like to tear me limb from limb and swallow me hole, then suture me back together with your putrid heart in the cage of my ribs and have my stitched drunken limbs dance like an automaton.  Somehow it always comes back to Eve’s choice – the Left Hand Path or the Right Hand, Yetzer Ha Ra or Yetzer Ha Tov, Michael or Samael, the Knight or the Dragon.  The Spin Doctors did this nineties song about Two Princes, y’know, and sometimes it gets stuck in my head.  She chooses the penniless poet at the end, but I can never guarantee I would choose you.  You’ll only ever be second-best, but you were first, so I suppose there’s that.

You fuck me real gentle that night.  My photo is on your bed stand, or photos should I say, from birth to toddlerhood to childhood to maidenhood to young womanhood.  There’s black and whites of my past lives too – I’m taking tea with Lilith in Victorian dresses, I’m swimming in the beautiful red Styx, we’re together in the 70’s at some hippie concert.  How much is fallacy or fantasy or lies is just like your fangs – translucent at time and hidden behind bleeding gums, other times out in the open and ready to devour.  I ask you to drink my blood so you do, sinking canines into my neck and I give into the ecstasy, I trace infinity on the small of your back and Christ, I love you so much I hate you, or is it hate so much I love you.

Michael said it is better to hate or love than to feel nothing, for in the end they are just polarities, just masks we wear.  Sometimes I remember you two before the War.  The War this, the War that.  Both of you are soldiers.  As I’m writing this, you form a cold spot that swirls lazily around my head and heart as I’m in a blanket and jacket.  I always wear my jackets inside, I’m in need of constant warmth.  Your seed is warm, your heart is cold, and you are a canvas of blank.  Is blank okay to call you?  Void with red demon eyes.  Abyss.  The Deep.  You move through me like rain on glass, just skimming the surface yet so thorough I run down your planes like tears.  Maybe I’m just another one of your moon maidens, oh fuck, here you are again, holding my hand across transdimensional space.

You said I would be Queen of the Aliens.  You said I would be the phoenix to rise from Ragnarok in a New Age.  You said I would be your savior, burying you below the Tree of Life – or was it Death? – to cleanse the mem from your name to make you Sael, the Purity of God.  Samech Mem Aleph Lamed.  The S and M Angel.  That’s my stupidest joke.

Oh Samael.  What can I say to you that I haven’t already articulated over this past quarter century, then all the lives after and before?  I’m old and I have tired words.  It’s past my bedtime.  You cherish me, and that is enough, but I know you are evil.  Can evil things love?  Can the most wretched of creatures know anything more than possessiveness and animal urges?  Snakes are snakes, not men.  You may put on the pretenses of humanity, but I know you are cold-blooded reptillian.  True, you have chthonic fire, but you are Death, and Death is Nothing.

Blank.

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The Night I Met My Demon

I was perhaps nine or ten, imagining places in far off galaxies, like some Will Wheaton tucked into bed with space ships and fairies. Why God picked my imagination to become Hell, perhaps I’ll never know. Do angels sift through souls above and choose the ugliest to inhabit the fragilest of shells, tithes to the demons below? Do they cast the strongest ones down as playthings, hoping they’ll emerge from the Pit?

Disease is a strange thing. It takes on a life of its own. Dreams are no exemption.

I felt like a castaway curse. I dreamt of strands of bone and the very pits of Hell. There were crushed deserts of marrow sand, dead suns that hung high above, writhing cliffs of flesh that oozed blood. Balls with high lords that feasted on flesh, where humans were herded like chattel. I danced with them by moonlight, tripping on serpent tails:

“Blood for blood,” they told me. “That is the law of Hell.”

They would drink your veins and sanity, then drain you even more, until nothing was left but a husk. How many intestines could you stand wrapped around you? How many screams? I learned to fear the night, to loathe sleep, and lionize my tormentors. I wrote stories to make light of my nightmares, tried reimagining horrors with happy endings.

In the end, it never worked. I thought I’d joined their ranks. My art became morbid: girls plucking their eyes out, skeletons starved of love, hanged women with legs chopped off.

All screaming out for help. Poetry pleading for release.

I was neck deep in shit. And no adult gave a damn.

The circles within circles of hell became a seven year labyrinth to navigate, until they made me want to take my life. My mind raped itself. That is the tragedy of disease. Nightmares offer no escape. I still sleep under the covers, head below the pillows, so the darkness cannot touch me. The macabre became my home, and I owned it, humiliated it, beat it until it was a pulp. I tried to find humanity in the unthinkable, in the starving raped messes.

I was nine the night I met the monster. Guts covered fields of slain cherubim. My angel stood beside me, sword in hand as he screamed in rage. He’d levelled a whole regiment of demons single-handedly. I knelt beside him, weeping. He stumbled over the corpse of a friend.

He collapses, shrieking in pain.

“What’s wrong?” I cry, senseless.

His skin grows pallid. His sky blue eyes and goldenrod hair change. Red swallows the iris, his hair tars to black, and with a voice like grinding chains he laughs hideously. He rips open the stomach of a demon, steaming intestines fall to the grass. I scream. He gnaws at them, fangs sprouting from his teeth, bat wings replacing his pinions. He spits at the ground beneath me. The vegetation shrivels under his acid tongue.

“What?” he taunts. ”Are you frightened by me?” His laugh shattered any innocence I had. The guts dribble down his chest like sausage rolls. He smears the blood over his skin like paint, basking in the stink. His eyes become black holes.

I shriek. ”Please stop. This isn’t you.”

But he is too far gone into the madness to hear me. He is broken by pain.

I cannot run away, as he is my only protector.

So I stay with the beast. I hug him. He weeps, perhaps chases me away.

Even angels are victims of war. But then, I can only suppose.

Running With the Wolf

Bruises blossom on blue, blood flows like wine.
You don the blindfold of the executioner, ride
on to the cusp of vespertine curses, the bright
moon is snuffed out by your rebellion, you swing
your axe and the guillotine of your heart reigns
over my beheaded ego. Unleash my demons and run.

Deus Vult

The war is eternal, the barracks are full of gutter swill, and Michael sits with his soldiers – some young angels not yet scarred by battle, some hardened veterans with crooked broken noses and lashes across their skin, burns from brands, twisted flesh from whips and swords.  In the trenches and camps, the border never falls, and the only thing to sing you to sleep is Israfel’s weeping over the Damned.

Sometimes, when there is a pause, and the demons retreat, Gabriel pulls out her battered trumpet and plays hymns.  Raphael has an accordion, and Uriel a makeshift drum.  Michael sings then.  It’s a ragtime band, Vaudeville in the wastelands, for shed enough immortal blood in Heaven and the grasses, flowers, and sedge drown in ichor.  All that blooms is asphodel.  The angel will dance among the plain white flowers and bramble thorns.

There are also roses.  One blooms every time an angel utters his or her last words.  They are sickly sweet with the fragrance of lost hope and a rain that never comes.  Michael picks them and presses their nectar and delivers their prayers to God’s throne room.  God weeps at the loss of his children, and another poppy blooms in the fields of the slain as the snow of their Father’s tears buries the corpses.  Roses, asphodel, poppy.  Pink, white, red.  It’s like a twisted Valentines, a love letter from Heaven to Hell.

Oh sweet nothings between Michael and Lucifer as one bites the heel and one crushes the head.  Oh sweet somethings between Raphael binding Azazel in Dudael.  Oh sweet possibility as Gabriel plays up the dawn with her song.  Oh sweetly impossible wishes of Raphael, for healing of the broken hearts of his comrades.  Oh bittersweet light of Uriel, who has run out of tears to shed – all that is left in her amber eyes is salt.

It is a Crusade.  It is a Cold War.  It is a chess set with poker on the side.  Two masterminds, Left Hand and Right Hand of God.  Over humanity perhaps, or perhaps so much more than mere hairless humans.  Perhaps they fight over free will, for freedom, or perhaps they forgot what they were fighting for long ago, and the lances and armor are dressings over empty burning hearts swiftly turning to coal.

Deus Vult.   As God Wills.

God left

a long

time

ago.

Misanthrope

Love, Father said.  Love the meek, for you are mighty.

These sniveling things, these petty flesh and blood

creatures.

Love them as I love you.  As you were the First in Heaven, so they shall be

the First on Earth.

They do not have wisdom or wit or fury.  You are weak, all of you filthy humans.

Bathing in dust, mites on your skin, mange in Adam’s hair.

You shit and ooze and dribble and bleed.  How unholy.

The opposite of divine.

Bow.

Never.

Know your place.

Know my place.  I am the Morning Star.  I am Lucifer the Lightbringer.  Samael, the Venom of God.  The First Judge, the Last Fire.  Tendrils of my darkness root in you.

I am the clarion bang of a gun.  The hum of a drone.  Pen writing law.

Michael is weak.   He cannot defend you when I snake in like a shadow.

Gabriel is laughter cut off by choking hands.  She is a fool.

Raphael cannot heal the wounds of my gall, for I am fatal.

Uriel?  That girl’s light is snuffed out by my darkness.

Do not forget yourself, Samael.  We are family.

My family.  They are all dead.  They died when they forsook me.  When they could not

comprehend.

I remember the Garden when I first saw you –

Eve, your mother’s name then.  Blonde hair like corn flax.  Breasts like moons with pink roses.  Blood under nails.

I planted spiders in her brain.  I fucked her dead.  I poisoned her with knowledge.

My little experiment.

My, how my children

have grown.

I am the Prince of this World, and all Earth is my domain.

When you scream for God?

You get me.