Whispers from the Wolf

The Fenris Wolf is marsh chomp madness, Nastrond froth
at lip like knives, man in a silver pelt with dog nose,
beard of woman binding, sweet lies his eternal weeping.

He whispers in my skaldic ear of a sister long-lived,
but long-dead, Hela Jodis, horse of the blue ancestors,
Othala and Nauthiz and Hagalaz, crowned in black bog.

She dances in shadow and peat, painted skeleton cobweb,
tattered dress of white taffeta and lace, decay mask
gapes open to reveal the infinity of endless green wyrd.

“My sister is the only one who braves the blizzard to
feed me, the starving ruin of Asgard, and I weep for my
family, torn apart by the Aesir, I shall devour all but
her.”

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Monster Girls

She’s got moonglow tits that bob in night waters, perfect round globes like curled-up white rabbits with black peaks of areola and gray nipples because she’s all poison and ebony eyes and milky skin. She’s curled up in my closet in a nest fit for the Zu bird and sweet seraph curses and she crows and speaks the language of birds that are girls, or girls that are monsters, with scaled legs and owl wings from ancient Sumerian carvings, but she’s not perched on two lions, her thin wan legs are jumping on your bed and you’re throwing pillows at each other and painting her lips and talons with a pop of cherry poison. It’s all fun and games until arsenic kisses and slashed throats of words fly, it’s all spin the bottle with succubi until neon lights at your favorite strip mall get busted to splinters by her rage. She’s wailing, she’s railing, and it’s so fun to terrorize the neighborhood with your monster girl. She smells like mothball and tastes like whiskey but it’s all swell, all is well, because you’re gay, just a little bit, for a lot of your pretty murderesses, like that goddess of death whose bone feet you kissed as you rubbed one out on grave dirt. You’re just a shadow drowning in moonlight, really, just a paper cutout in the shape of curves and gold and blue and you seek a black hole to consume you. Void Mother you toast to past the witching hour with a new best friend, she’s in Gaia training sitting on a hill in armor with a sword and donkey, learning from Valkyries the recipe for hurricanes, and she’s a piece of the Mother, just like you are, just like every girl you know is, and men fear us all. Your monster girl is feral, like pine barrens in a blizzard, or the nothingness at the lip of a night full of pain, and she has fangs sharp as a wolf and toes that end in bruises from kicking too many cans barefoot. She’s dressed in bandages, she’s dressed in a gown, and her hair is ratty black tangles. Oh how you love dressing her and prettying her up and confiding in her your soul, for you were raised to be a doll, but not her – no, she is a hyena, and their women are the kings. When you scissor, it’s to old jazz that switches between Frank Sinatra, and as your hands tangle the curls at her parting later on as you drink white wine, you and her watch the rain and know the sky is crying for its lost moon.

No Fruit In Hell

You tore out the curse from your chest, planted ruin in my ribs,
and in blackest necromancy I was the Devil’s seed of perdition,
reborn crowned in Hellish red and scythe-diamond white, captive
princess in Satan’s glass castle, I threw rocks at transparent walls,
I raged as Eve unfettered who had tasted the blackest of fruits,
born again but ever to late to atone, when filth is stitched inside
every palpitation of the void in your heart, the Angel of Sedition
placed his eyes in my skull, I saw his soul crawling with shadows,
and through his gaze, my beautifully destructive rotting chambers.
I am clear rain with a hole of night in my depths, glimmering ooze.
A rose blooming red fractals with wyrd of void strung right through.
I fell from heavens into a cycle of cages, I rage, I reave, I judge.

Sixpence At My Feet

There’s the twist of a dance, a candle flame whirring,
a staff carved with a snake that I pound out runes, a
crevasse so dark in bone-strewn Catacombs, I drown in
dust, my broom flies high through onyx nightmares nine,
why do dreams always come with sixpence and rich liquor?

I, the Caged Bird, Cannot Sing

The caged bird trills a mournful tune
and with regret sings down the moon.

The free bird thermals up the sun
and never rests on laurels won.

The caged bird plucks her feathers blue
and asks the stars of what to do.

The free bird knows not what pain means
immune to wounds found inside dreams.

The caged bird gnaws on her silver lock
and wears down the Grim Reaper’s clock.

The caged bird never flies, wings of stone
so she crawls in shambles to the unknown.

The free bird sees the caged bird crawl
and he laughs above, no help at all.

But for water, but for dreams,
the caged bird gives a scream,
and her dirge is heard the world
over, the free bird is hurled
aback her gale, his wings break,
and together their falls make
the foundations of hope quake.

For the caged bird has tasted freedom.

Schoolboy Fights

It is burgeoning autumn bordering on frozen, gray winter rain.
I sit at the back of Calculus, chewing my eraser, ever watching
my angel at the front of the class, the one with flaming hair.
To bring the holy to holed school walls spins fractal equations.
To descend unsure of human flesh to court a schoolgirl is whimsy.
He flexes as he punches numbers into a calculator, smiles at me.
We speak telepathically as only young lovers can, and I laugh at
the boldness he has, of constructing a fragile academic reality
out of the horns of gate and ivory, Morpheus’ velvet turned math.
Derivatives are whirling dervishes, the bell rings, we scamper
out to the courtyard and he says he wishes he could have been my
youthful sweetheart, my first love, my first kiss, but immaterial
seraphim are not meant for mortal desires, he cannot even hold my
hand, for he is a ghost, and I suggest next time we play out daily
doldrums of integrals and singularities, that he be the teacher.
He ruffles my hair and pecks my forehead like an eagle unsure of
his sharp beak, then it is off to English. The Devil is reading
Milton, that blind psalter of Satan’s sorrows, and I scoff at
his ballsiness, to interrupt a high school nightmare with epics.
As if I have not lived the pages of Paradise Lost a hundred times,
late at night as a cold sweat drenches me in blood-hum memories.
So Satan writes poetry on the board, and I roll my eyes at wrath.
Lunch comes, and my angel and demon tussle on the football field.
Do they wish they could have suffered the tragedy of puberty and
unsureness of first infatuation, sloppy kisses under oak trees,
fumblings in the back of cars and hot hands questing for answers?
Have the Devil and angel always been ancient? I never knew them
as youths, and they say they fight for my name, but really they
fight for a dream of an innocent girl, whose hands are stained
with graphite, Wite-Out, and paint as she caresses a canvas with
her muses’ forms, ink spills over, time spills in fall semester,
and I am forever a student of the heart, wandering through Hell.

Old Man Wonderland

Written at 17, from my earliest memories of the Alfather.

“Goodnight moon,” I whisper.
I am three. I dream.
That night my crib opens
and becomes a ladder to the sky.
Stuffed ducks in hand, I climb it,
blanket around me like a shawl.

I climb up to the sky
I float and laugh and dream
playing with falling stars
alone in the beautiful blue,
I sleep in the curve of the moon.

Old Man watches with eyes
the blue of the storm and sea
He watches over me.
His laugh is deep and hearty
I yelp in surprise and blush,
hide like a fawn behind a cloud
But He bids me to play with him
He looks like the Saint Nicholas man
who comes each December and puts clementines in my boots
so of course I have to trust him.

I sing my stories and songs
Wonderful things I made in my head
I crave his adoration.
Old Man listens, more than indulgent
I bask in his affection
And keep on telling them.

He reads me story books
Has the stars dance to send me dreams
He is master of raconteurs and wanderers,
his traveler’s cloak stuffed full of tales.

He weaves things from the wind and clouds,
bringing my dreams to life
I laugh as I dance amongst them,
young, pink-cheeked and open.

When I’m tired, I cling to his knee
knowing he is the safest place in the world.
I love Old Man like a grandfather,
with his stately beard and crow lined-eyes,
laugh lines are etched in his skin,
deep like cracks in the sidewalk.

He rubs me with his beard, and I laugh,
steal his hat, and run off with his winds.

And I, who was almost named Snorri,
have bleach blond hair to my waist
I’m bait for elves and trolls.
I frolic in leaf piles and forest,
wander across cliffs and the sea.

I grow up. I sometimes forget him.
But his touch is all around me
Grandfather’s beard in the clouds

Old Man is the brine and gale.
He is sea and sky and wind.
The North and soft snowfall
At night, he rides the storm.

He is Nereus, Odin, Njord,
The god with the big white beard.
Nicholas, Mannanan Mac Llyr
He wears a lot of hats.

But really, he’s just Old Man.
My Old Man of the Sea
The Elder of the Crossroads
He smells like pine and New England.

He looks like a lobsterman,
The perched crow on my shoulder,
there are riddles and pipes in his beak.

He had bone-aches when the world was born
And now I’m a hypochondriac,
I share my imaginary ailments with him.

“I think I’m getting arthritis, Old Man.”
“Look at how my wrist creaks!”
“I’ve been writing too much again.”
The writing is his gift, I think.

He looks at me askance, smile crooked
“Knowledge is pain,” he laughs quietly
It sounds like thunder behind clouds.
“Trust me, girl, I know.”

We’re in the beautiful blue again,
The stars sing, and I know they’re angels.
I wave at the ones I know.
The Milky Way is his road
he walks it with staff and cloak.

Galaxies dance around us, gods dart to and fro
Squabbling as they always do
Beautiful in their petulance
He smiles at them, then moves on

Always moving on.

I can barely keep up.

His wanderings- they’re like the moon.

“Did you know, Old Man” I say,
“I used to think this place was Disneyland?”
“When I played here as a kid.”
“I thought you were Mickey Mouse.”

He crooks his head over his shoulder,
runs his fingers through his beard:
“Do I look like Mickey Mouse?”

“No, but there was a commercial in the 90s.
These kids wished on a star
To go to Disneyland.
And the star falls into their hands,
and the star- it took them there.”

“When I was a kid,
I’d stare out my window,
waiting for stars to fall.
But you know what?”

“What?” he asks.

“I had it all along.”

He smiles, points at my heart:
A young star dances within,
glowing blue with wonder.

He snaps his fingers. It disappears.

I grin ruefully. ”I never got to go.”
But this place, Old Man? It’s better.
It’s worth all the Disneylands in the world.”

“And I’m going to need your staff soon,
Because I am getting old.
My back will bend like a willow,
And I’ll wear a hat like yours.”

“And someday, you’ll be young to me
and you’ll carry me then, like a child
So I can travel with you
The old lady on your back.”

“And when all my days have fallen,
Old Man, you’ll be at the prow,
and we’ll sail across the sea together.”

“Together, we’ll go home.”