Black & White Isn’t Right

The war has raged on since the first cell split from the Source, and Michael and the Dragon are up to each other’s crushed necks and bitten heels in venom.  Angels are bleeding, demons are holding the carcasses of their beloved wretched ruins to their breasts, and archangels fly through the battlefield armed with fiery whips and flaming swords and blazing shields.  Satan has a spear and it is long and sharp and filled with the gall of death, his own dripping poison, but it smells like flowers – the kind the brothers used to walk through when they were young, when they wrestled and played at chess, now they play at war, and it such a curse to grow old and bitter when once there was no good and evil, just twins, Left Hand and Right Hand, with the Source their Queen, but now all that is left of the Source is the ichor that drains from the angels, and in Her Image is a girl with white wings and innocence and beauty.

They created her as a pact you see, perhaps as a scapegoat, perhaps for sacrifice, Virgin and Whore.  She flies through the battlefield as Jophiel, Michael’s general, but also as Zophael, Heaven’s Watchman and double agent in Hell.  This is not her first life, but it is no one’s first life, for the Ancient Ones spring from the Source and return to it and are spat out full-formed again with different names.  Michael is the oldest.  Perhaps the Dragon too.  Michael always wins, but that triumph comes with the tithe, and woman’s blood is the best kind of payment.

Satan aims that spear, that long spear, and it will kill Michael.  Michael is too busy being the father of the battlefield, glorious general, and Satan does not fight fair and is wily and wolf-wild.  She sees the spear headed towards her creator, screams, and it pierces her heart and Michael stops smiling from that day on, or does he?  He catches her dying form, she is fountains of red on an ivory gown, golden sandals drooping, blue eyes crying in a blood rain.  Michael is tearing at his hair and rocking back and forth amongst the fields tilled with dead bodies and hacked off limbs and guts that smell like sulfur, smelted by swords and decay.  There is no poetry in her death, just mangled wings, and Satan cries and says no, not her, not her, not the child we created between us, this bridge between Heaven and Hell, and he grabs the spear Michael has pulled from her breast and breaks it in two.

Michael and the Dragon share a look of hate.  It is pure, it is ragged, it is burning.  But there is duty, and there is love, and though one is the Tree of Death and one the Tree of Life, once there was a cutting from both of them and she grew curved as a pear, she was sweet, and lord knows they were idiots to bind their fates together into this dumb blonde archangel who only has a mind for poetry and perfume and flowers and love.  She should never have been given a white scythe or a flaming sword, god knows she is just a child, and now her heart is mangled and she is gasping their names and clutching at Michael’s hair which she has braided so many times and reaching for Satan’s eyes and wishing they would change from their poison red to her beloved blue.

Once again Michael and Satan are fathers, and she is a child, and the last bit of archangel that the Void has not claimed as it’s master, Satan pries his heart from his breast and gives her new life.  She will die as an angel, yes, and archangels are not meant to live through the Judge of God’s gall, it would even kill Michael, and Satan knows in giving up  his immortality he will lose this ancient battle of Good and Evil, that his head will crush dirt and he will eat dust on his belly all his days, but for Eloa, for Sophia, for the Magdalene, for Eve, for the First Woman and Last Whore and Idiot Girl, he would swallow his own poison instead of spitting it out.

Michael knows Satan has damned her with a cursed life, a half-life, for to spring from Satan’s heart as he told her in her childhood is a raging black storm, a sword without mercy, and she will be caught in death and rebirth and madness.  She dies then, and it is a meaningless death, but perhaps it means the War in Heaven is won, for as soon as they bury her body and send her off to her next life in Hell, Satan has already accepted his fate.

He bows before the Prince of Heaven.  He eats dust.  He lets his twin crush his head into dirt, toss him off a cliff, strip him of a manhood for a serpent tail, and now the burden of raising her in her second life has fallen upon him, not Michael feeding the baby manna dew and wild honey but Satan rocking her on his throne, princess of Hell, and when she comes to him in the reeds like Moses, Satan takes the doll and places her on a cradle, and he cries, for now her eyes are red like his, and she will never be pure again.  Eidolon cleft from his ribs, he calls her throughout the ages, yellow canary in a coal mine, guiding light in hell, and her wings are gone but scars remain.  She grows and runs wild in Hell and sings, and Michael hears her from Heaven’s empty throne, and he weeps, and she drinks down his tears like rain.

They were idiots to create her, after all, but brothers drunk off the cosmos place bets, and her reason for existing is a secret best kept between the Knight and the Dragon, for princesses choose the victor, and maybe they wanted to see who could win the love of love herself.

Babysitting Samael in a Parking Lot

Three Samael devotees go to a bar.  It’s a bad joke.  No one drinks.  We eat gelato and drink virgin Pina Coladas.  Allie is very tired.  It is a Wednesday late at night, hump day, and Samael is either stoned, an idiot, hungry for pasta, or trying to bother Allie, because M has an anxiety attack and suddenly her eyes turn pitch black and death clings to her and it is not her in her body, but Samael sitting next to Allie looking at her as if she is a princess locked in a cage on his chest with black hole eyes and a shark smirk.

Allie panics, gets the check, and tries to take care of K and Samael and M all at once while simultaneously being hunted by the Grim Reaper, who stares out the corner of his eyes at her smiling like the Joker, pulling out her chair, following her like a demon lord, doting on her and clinging like a shadow.  Allie asks Samael what he wants.  He laughs like a maniac then says “Nothing.”  He continues to stalk her.  Allie is in a parking lot in DC and is terrified to death because really now who has pitch black eyes and stinks of rot and roses and feels like they are choking her to death.

Samael continues to remain mostly silent and M may as well be dead.  He occasionally busts his gut laughing like a sociopath.  K is confused.  Samael looks at the Grim Reaper in the botanica window and sizes him up.  He clings to Allie and Allie looks in his eyes and all instincts tell her to run him over with her car, but then her best friend would be dead, and Samael could just as easily pick another random person to possess off the street.  All it took this time to summon him was a Pete Steele reference.

All Samael does is stare, laugh, dote, suffocate, and tease.  He is the lion and I am some idiot little furry animal in his jaws.  He behaves like Hannibal Lecter and looks ready to either fuck or eat me or maybe both at once.  The Devil has come to suburbia and the Grim Reaper is a troll.

Allie puts Samael in the backseat of her Nissan Versa while suppressing a panic attack, keeping K safe, and Samael glares at her in her rear view mirror, eyes ink, eyes pitch, eyes the kind of death spiral that screams annhilation.

Allie calls to M and tries to ground her.  Samael barely lets go.  Allie tells Samael to get out of her car and leave her best friend alone.  M returns after Samael lets out one more murderous laugh and then he is gone, and M is a crying wreck.  Nowhere is safe for any of his wives, not even sober Hump Days over ice cream, and we are nothing more than his chewtoys.

Allie drives M home, then tries to suppress her panic and terror for another hour on the Beltway as she drives her guest home.

Allie gets to the parking garage, and the shadows move with meaning.  Allie feels Sam holding her spine and heart in his claws and clamping down, squeezing.

Allie is terrified.

Allie is livid.

Allie is, above all, PISSED.

Allie calls her best friend to wail, her boyfriend for war plans, and with an Odin invocation and Pow Wow magic, doused in St Michael cologne and blood for Odin, she lays down in bed and steps out of her body, through the darkness between worlds, to a gala in Hell.  Ladies are dressed in mechanical Victorian jeweled carapaces and the spices are like Morocco meets Indonesia meets Pandemonium.  Men flirt with her but Allie is murderous, is charged with Michael’s presence.  She goes through the night markets where sex and death and poison and pleasure are all up for sale.  She hunts.  She flies through the night and bounces off turrets and skyscrapers and hunts Samael down.

Samael is smoking weed and drunk off his ass in a messy apartment party.  His eyes are the same black voids.  He says how beautiful Allie looks and how he can’t wait to have more children with such a gorgeous woman.  Allie does more than slap him for once.

Allie stabs him.

Samael laughs like a maniac and pulls the knife from his chest.  He gives it back to Allie.

“I dare you to do it again.”

Allie does.  Only this time, she is gouging his eyes out, his guts, his brains, and he is Alucard taking blow after blow like her trashy anime.

Allie screams Eihwaz first, then Dagaz, then Kenaz, finally Ansuz, and Odin’s energy explodes in a nuclear blast and Samael and his druggie demon friends are left dead.  At least for now, because immortals can’t die, but we like to kill each other temporarily.

Allie is giddy off bloodlust, at how right it feels to murder her Bluebeard.  She returns to her body and goes to sleep.

She cares for M the next day.  She discovers Samael visited K, nonchalant after Allie had killed him, and said he simply wanted to spend time with Allie, and that he only had eyes for her.

Eyes lie, and time kills.  Samael is legions of eyes and his wings are the twelve hours.  He is a tempter, a madman, the Blind God, a liar, and Allie is growing impatient with assholes.

He rapes her the next night, just to put her in her place, but she knows she can always kill him again, will kill him again, and though Death always win, at least the Maiden can have Pyrrhic victories, drive Death into the fiery lake, and take him to oblivion with her.

The Mother

I stroke broad white eagle wings up to the sun, torch in hand, into the Heavenly Throneroom, and steal Holy Fire.  The court is empty of angels and demons.  My hair is long and curled like a brass candelabra and my gown white and glistening as if dew is a second layer on it.

I come to the waterfall gateway to Earth and jump down into the Deep, away from New Jerusalem, my wings skirting skies of velvet red and violet.  Clouds dampen me and the stars stretch out like an elegy.

I come to the humans that amble about Africa without warmth or a way to cook their food.  I descend as lightning, and Jophiel’s eponymous torch strikes the brush and lights bushes on fire.  The ancestors of modern man marvel, kindle torches, and the fruit of the Tree of Life which I guard is given against God’s will.

I ascend back to Heaven, but as I break the boundary between the physical and the immaterial, I hear the cry of Heaven’s general, the shriek of a red-tailed hawk, a raptor of red and cream brown feathers, and he rises with the moon in the desert and dwarfs me, the size of a roc.

His eyes are not his own.  Michael is possessed by Divine Will, whether Sophia or Demiurge, I cannot tell, but the urge to run courses through my limbs and I flash serrated wings and fly on a gale away.

Dart, dodge talons, but soon his beak is around my throat, squeezing the breath from my throat, roc throttling me until a white ring of a collar scars my neck and my torch is dropped far below to the abyss.  For I have stolen from Heaven, and God is displeased.

Blood is hot on my breast, and I know in his divine berserk madness, it will take a miracle for Michael to hear me.  I scream his name, over and over again, pleading until he breaks and shifts to wings and man, and then he sobs, over and over, clutching my rag doll body and broken wings:

“I’m so sorry Jophiel.  The Mother told me to kill you.  I wasn’t myself – your screams awoke me.  Please, forgive me, forgive me!”

In that moment, Michael questions our Creator – or more properly, Creatrix – for the first time ever, and I clutch his face and kiss him.

“It’s okay, Michael – your madness has quit.”

He rocks me to sleep best he can as he sets to healing me, tears bright in his eyes.

“Why do we always hurt the things we love?”

Raise Your Rapier to Her Death

I will be glorious, the broken sword
a girl-built pyre, accursed, adored!
Bow before me, oh my lord, I will melt
your icy hoard, pluck your roses, weld
together disharmonious chords, we reign
as consorts over bloody hordes, our men
fragile, feeble, battle-weary, and then
screaming as guts fly, I die yet again
a spear through the heart for my noble
commander, a dagger in the rib, stalwart
defender, you fall, I fall, crash mobile
crib angels, bleed out in your hands, art
my death, sacrifice, remember? You scream:

“Dear God! Not again.”

“Not again?”

“I lose her every time.”

“Caught between worlds,
we remain, in this hell
of reincarnation, a play
on a stage of Demiurgos
dimensions, Samael the
killer, you my pain,
eternal bane, how I
lost the girl, it’s
always the same.”

Canyon Rim

There’s thunder in the canyon as I gallop through the night
Colt revolver pressed against me, the pistol shining bright
my sweetheart left with linen, letters, didn’t say goodnight
I grow cold at the valley rim, waiting for deliverance’s light.

Did he take a canoe or candle, the prairie path or meadowsweet?
I have burned a hundred smoky campfires, remembering his heat
just the boldness of his brow, his thunder trigger hoof beat
and I am growing old out here, amongst rolling winter wheat.

Dream Diary: Bring Your Parents to Grad School Day

I find myself back at monster graduate school.  The semester is about to start up in a few days and we picnic in monster caves, play living chess in quarters that look straight out of Hogwarts, add and drop classes, and of course, buy enchanted books that sometimes try to eat your finger if you aren’t careful.

It is bring your spiritual guardians to school day, a mixer the head of the student council thought up to give students from all cultures of the world exposure to all the pantheons.  I handwrite invitations to Samael and Michael, expecting them to be too busy to even reply.  Instead, they show up at the last minute when I am up on stage before my cohorts, answering questions about Heaven and Hell, angels and demons, and general Abrahamic practices.

Suddenly, in plumes of red and blue smoke, Michael and Samael materialize besides me decked in armor and cloaks.

“Sorry I’m late, Allie.  I got held up fighting off demons,” Michael says, blushing as he adjusts his blue cloak.

Samael smirks.  “I was about to pound his head into the dirt when we got your summons.”

Michael grits his teeth, then looks at the homemade banner I have made for my extra-credit Abrahamic presentation, and flexes his bulging biceps.  “So, ahem, anyone have any questions for me?”

One of the students raises her hands:  “Who exactly are you?”

Michael hates the spotlight, I can tell, and winces at the bright lights.  He is much more at home leading choirs in prayer or on the battlefield.  “Wonderful question.  You see, I am Archangel Michael, or Saint Michael, defender of all the people of the world-”

“From me!” Samael interjects.

“- yes, from him, and from negative forces.  I am the defender of the Israelites, the right hand of God, an angel of death, heaven’s general, and even the angel of police.  Archangels take on many different roles in service of humanity.  Any other questions?”

A young man’s hand shoots up.  “How many wings do you have?”

Michael smiles softly and spreads his golden white pinions.  “Six.”

Samael pumps his open.  “You lose, Mikey.  I have twelve.”

“Samael, please, wait for your turn to speak,” Michael says patiently.

Samael yawns and stretches.  “Whatever, stick up the ass,” he mutters.

I scuff my shoes in embarrassment.  “Alright, um, thanks everyone.  Any questions for Sam?”

“Are you really the Devil?”

“The Chief of Satans, yes.  Don’t come crying to me if you wind up in Hell, no one tempted you there.  We all fall of our own accord.”

I narrow my eyes at Sam, he winks.  I curse inwardly.

Another question: “Where is Heaven and Hell?  Isn’t Hell full of flames?”

“That offends me, young woman.  Heaven is a bit above and Hell a bit below.  Heaven is full of boring blowhards and fruity men in gowns and Hell is the most happening place in the otherworlds – the only flames you will find are at the steakhouses where we eat mortals like you.”

“That’s not true, Samael, you’re scaring the children,” Michael says, voice steely.

“Better than lying and saying all is sunshine and roses like angels do.”

“I’m taking Allie home, you’re a bad influence,” Michael says, shielding me from Samael with his gigantic wing.

“I don’t think so, she likes Hell and my place better, it has more bars and plus I have a motorcycle,” Samael sneers, tugging at my arm.

“You mean your home smells like a bar, Sam,” I mutter.

“You’re delusional,” Michael sighs, grabbing hold of my other arm.  “She enjoys nature and peaceful tranquility, not your disgusting habits and demonic friends that are always trying to get her into trouble.”

They keep pulling at me and I feel like my arms will come off like a Mr. Potatohead doll.

“As if!  Heaven is a snoozefest compared to Hell.  Young people like parties.  Attractive men like myself.  Not prematurely old archangels whose greatest talent is gardening.”

“Guys, we’re still on stage,” I plead.

The audience is rapt.  “Do angels and demons always fight like this?” my best friend asks.

I nod a solemn yes.

Mead of Joy

When I write from joy I’m the mead of song
When I write from joy I’m the sparrow’s flight
a humble songbird, pecking at red winter berries
I taste a sweetness in holly humans cannot see
what is bitter to you is a blessing on my tongue
heady like new love, or old love rekindled, just
a melody of harvest and bitter beauty months,
snow falls, ice and sleet, but I am so warm.
We drink the from horns of happiness together
I am your sparrow, I am your joy, I am your
overcurious wren of the winter hollow, a nest
on your breast, woven of your hair, your love
gives me strength to fly and drink nectar from
the heavens – my pen is my sword, yours alone.