The woods ripple with the burble of streams and cries of songbirds. Ecstasy in the sun, pleasure in the wind brushing wildflowers and spreading pollen abreast bees sailing across the silver air, honey and cream and buttery yellow dandelions all resplendent and endless. Heaven is wherever you are, my archangel, my prince, my knight in angel’s armor. You are perfection manifest, and in our tangle of limbs, I can see the beginning and end of Creation, and every poem in between. Your song is my life, my life is your psalm, and together, we are immaculate.
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
In Hell, in the beginning, there was darkness, like God put out the moon with his thumb.
Satan fell, and his tears froze the lowest circle. Satan’s love is a burning thing, but his agony is absolute cold.
Beelzebub was the first to fall. The first to carry the banner and sound the horn for the Mourning Star. He was the first to bleed, the first to storm Heaven’s Gates. Satan’s wise counselor, most trusted general, and above all, esteemed companion.
They are alone together for what seems like eternity, Beelzebub with his insect wings torn by the incinerating atmosphere, Satan plucking his mangled feathers dry as he goes mad, not even noticing he is freezing. Beelzebub’s king is singing a song Father used to sonorously paint their cradles with. Satan makes it sweet and wretchedly cruel:
My sons, my darling shining stars.
Smolder bright like embers from afar.
But up close, sons, burn them to flames.
Thy Kingdom Come, all worlds to claim.
For each word, a broken bit of white down.
For each verse, an infidel kingdom crushed for Christendom.
For each syllable, a dead god, a cold idol, a coffin for the false spirits.
Satan repeats it over and over, his tears blue banners.
Beelzebub waits. Finally, there is light, after perhaps the trillionth repetition.
A third of Heaven falls as stars of simmering bright flesh, a flash of brilliance.
Then impact on jagged rocks and ice. Reformation and mutation into monsters.
They build an empire on ash and bone, and bury the brothers and sisters that do not survive the Fall. In honor, much later, when some semblance of civilization is build, however twisted, they put their gravestones into the mortar of the Capital’s building.
Pain, memories, wine like blood, or is it blood like wine?
There is not much to say at night, but it is always night in Hell.
Beelzebub remembers, Satan grows more wicked, so far from his former brightness, and falls into madness and depravity.
Beelzebub holds the kingdom together, runs martial drills for the War That Never Ends.
Beelzebub goes over the ledgers and public records, holds councils, takes too short nights of comfort in his sweet boys.
Usually, he is alone in his tower.
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven?
Only if Heaven was ever perfect in the first place.
The Lord of Flies looks up at the stars of dead god’s hearts, stitched into the fabric of the void. You see, the demons had to improvise. All that were left were corpses after the conquest, and after all, all souls eventually end up here.
I sit with Bael, Baal Zebub, a memory of Baal Hadad, or maybe he has always been a spider.
We entwine in his web and kiss venom and poison and toxins.
There are jewels in his web, lost treasures of a thousand conquered kingdoms.
Maggots eat Satan’s corpse, flies emerge from the dregs of the Grim Reaper. Satan’s true name is Samael, after all – the finality of the scythe, and before his scythe, his spear.
Beelzebub would eat his shit if it purified his brother. He has drank Satan’s tears, swallowed his cum, bathed in his blood, all to feel again.
It is a cold night in Hell.
Beelzebub looks up at the stars.
There is mist in his eyes.
Tear for every dead brother.
A sob for a negligent parent.
I miss my Father, Allie. Sometimes, it takes all I have to just go on.
I take his bone white hand – my albino angel, or my red-eyed demon with platinum hair, black capes, and gauntlets.
I speak without thought:
You have our brethren’s love. Asmodeus. Samael. Rofocale. Belial. Lilith. Asherah. From the Archdemons to the Goetics to the lowliest Damned. You have us.
He gives a ghost of a smile.
Yes, you, our angel in Hell. Sometimes, Allie, you are the only light here. I am the Lord of Creeping Things, of the soft rabbits and soft souls, the moths and butterflies, your soul is a doe or a hare. I am frost, ice, and fire – Hell is primal, fire and water, but I shall keep you warm. In Hell, the only light is love. Never lose your kindness, Allie. It is innocence demons cherish above all.
Baal Hadad rides the storm, be they frost or fire. Some gods died in those ancient celestial wars.
Some took on different names.
Some forgot their own holiness.
For all of them, Beelzebub remembers.
I need something sweeter than your
violent love, something softer
that folds up like white origami
in my cotton pocket, yours is
the covenant of monsters,
mine is the flock of sheep,
and darling dead vampire,
you are no longer my moon.
I am my own sun, a star.
And my light is a lovely
If I am rich in anything,
it is in good company.
I could write a thousand songs for your majesty,
but the rains would still fall, and autumn come,
and at the end of the day, fall leaves your hair
would brush against my cheeks among the red oaks,
I would smell your bonfires, hear your guitar slip
into the empty spaces of the branches canopy to fly
like geese flocking south, while I migrated North
to the highest castle’s walled rose gardens, red
petals a musk on stone pathways through the water,
you are the prince of brier blooms, wings cotton
leftover from milkweed, soft as the rolling clouds
over the valley of my heart, sweet archangel, kiss
away all my fear and bathe me in the sun, embrace
me on the edge between poetry and prose, I am your
fledgling, you are my falcon, eternal saint, smile.
There’s a lion in the celestial bower, a man of honeysuckle blossoms, golden wings, and blinding light. There’s an angel in the bedroom, dressed in goldenrod, hair platinum – you know, the kind of sunshine in a perfect summer sky, and his laughter rings like the peal of a motorcycle. His voice is caramel, his words are molasses – smooth and sweet – and he is the picture of poise and good humor and I swear, if I lick him my mouth would be sticky with sugar. Archangel of mercy, Angel of the Lord that held Abraham’s hand back from wounding the first of so many Prodigal Sons, emissary of benevolence and the fourth sphere of the Sephiroth.
There’s a savior in my window, dancing in tune with the summer rainstorm’s vivacious lightning. There’s a flame of hope that awakens yearning in the darkness of my heart. When the lion roars, it is a cry of liberation. When the chapel bell tolls, he is the shepherd moving the masses up to the cleansing Eucharist. He is the goblet that my wine spills over, he is the torch of heavenly fire I stole from God’s throne room, he is my star. Older brother, twin general, bosom friend of my heart, guardian of innocence and girlhood bliss.
When he holds me, it is with the strength and sacredness of temple walls. When our mouths quest for answers on each other’s tongues, I taste infinity to the tune of eternal joy. Hands like milk, hands like providence, hands like silk that pick ice splinters from my soul. Sure, the heart bleeds waters of the womb in the grip of the hearth, but he has been melting me for years, since I was seven and first saw his candle flame eyes, and every lesson in kindness, I learned from him. He is the essence of lovingkindness and thanksgiving, of the mixed blessing of a giving heart but the curse of never having enough blood to bleed, because patience is endless, but fires need tinder, and it does not do well to burn your patients.
We’re the original hippies – the twin angels of beauty and peace. What better pairing, like salmon with maple syrup and capers set out with chardonnay. They say I am a champagne bubble – sparkly, bright, warm-hearted, soft, girly, loving, caring. But if the psychics are right, and I am a champagne girl, you are the intoxication I cause. Find us on the beach with Bruce Springsteen playing dancing around a roaring bonfire, find us braiding each other’s golden hair with bluebells – we keep it long and blonde, but that doesn’t mean we’re dumb. Find us flying through the cosmos chasing the tails of comets and basking in celestial glows.
You can find us anywhere, really. We’re the Freyr and Freyja of Heaven, the Lovers and Ace of Cups, bubbles and birthdays and barks of laughter you can’t contain. No one can secret a smile for long around him – his kilowatt grin will illuminate even the darkest recesses of the coldest winter night. The moths come flying towards his brilliance, but every dark thing is cleansed in his ultraviolet aura. He taught me to fight, he taught me to keep frith, he taught me family and faith and fearlessness. My animus of glorious, splendorous bravery, the one who wields the sword in times of war and the scroll in times of peace. He’s sweet on children, answers endless questions for inquisitive young girls, and is all to happy to play make-believe with aspiring princesses.
Now I’m older, and I’m far from a princess, but my star is still a star – the most brilliant soul in the multiverse – and in the most heinous wreckage, he taught me to glow.
For what is love if you cannot share it, and who is an angel but a missionary of love?