Epigraph of the Wanderer

Inked on my hand in charcoal swaying
is the Ancient Wanderer, silent hang
from a yew that bends with sweet sap.

His one good eye a forgotten breeze,
his hands like tines raking the dirt,
searching past waterfalls for language.

There is a lightning swastika sun,
an emblem once holy, now cursed,
his corpse is blood-drunk but holy.

Blindi can see with more than nerves,
for his bones are in the web of wyrd,
now a Runic rock carving on my skin.

Advertisements

Gold Mother

Your silky milky legs part, and out spills the new sun
you moan in ecstasy and from your mouth a rainbow,
from your heaving breasts sweat of mead and amber,
from your glorious cunt streams gold, sweet Freyja,
oh you are the Mother of Light, Mistress of Honey,
brass hair buzzing like bees, womb a bubbling hive,
your heart the seat of all magic, Bright Vanadis, Hail!

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.”

Fear of Falling (Into Love, and the Unknown)

Before I met you, I was bold in front of Death,
and graveyards never scared me, terminal cracks
in star-bright skin were things of murky legend,
but now I have a knight to carry my banner, I
cannot stop drowning in shadows of gloomy wonder,
and I hate Death, and he is a fiend, to ever dare
dream of taking You from Me. My heartbeat is not
my own, but the whisper of willows in your lungs,
your boughs fall and form my windy limbs, I climb
treehouses to the canopy in dreams to drink the sun,
and my star is you – but stars die, cattle die, and
kindred die – it is names that live on, and Alfather
won’t stop quoting the fucking Havamal to allay fears
of a world where you do not exist, or are torn away.

You are too precious to die, my love. So ascend.
I will carry you to Valhalla, perhaps Heaven, wherever
you are kept safe, and warm, cherished, and loved.

I never feared death before I met you.

The Lord and Lady of Autumn

Freyr and Freyja rode out into the sun-dappled woods,
bows and falcon-fletched arrows ahand, aback boars,
the twins wore cloaks of wolf, fall was at its apex,
the smell of loam and Nerthus’ autumnal perfume rose
in mist like an intoxicating oracle past oak and ash.
The Golden Twins were hunting the white hart, dashing
through Vanaheim aback war sow and hog, spilling ruby
blood of Freyr’s sacred antlered stags, Freyja saw a
spiderweb woven of gold, and as Freyr roasted the hart
she strayed in her feather cloak and moonlight dress to
a dwarven hollow, where a soot-rough duergar smithed a
beautiful bracelet shaped like the sun, Freyja swelled
with gold-lust, for Gullveig is her witch-name, and the
metal of morning and dawn is her domain. Freyja spoke
words of want to the blackened dwarf: “Lay with me this
harvest tide, and you shall mine gems and find Baltic
amber on shores of the cold northern sea, my veins run
with starlight and I will give you a taste of my mead.”
They tussled and turned hay, and bliss was Freyja’s gift:
two shining arm bands her gift for a gift, she cares for
the small folk, be they man or wight, and she is never
selfish with kisses or praise, sweet Freyja raises men
and immortals up with her charm and enchantments, shining
Freyja is the first taste of morning dew on a strawberry,
and when winter came, the dwarf kept a strand of her hair
to remind him of the warmth of the Lady of Brilliance,
so was won the shining bracelets of Freyja Long-Weeping,
and so Freyr and Freyja returned to Asgard full-bellied,
precious white buckskin and golden ornaments for the glory
of the Van, that night they ate at Noatun with kind Njord,
and the gulls cried of apples and barley, and the earth
began to sleep, dusky autumn had arrived, peace abounded.

The Monster Comes at Night

It goes like this.  The girl is born with a silver spoon, with gold hair and teeth like pearls, but inside she is death and moonlight magic, a graveyard his coffin fits into, and the Devil lusts after the glimmering strands of her wyrd, like an amber and pink aurora borealis, and the way her blood redeems him simmered to a fine stewing panic on his tongue.

She is in love with his poison and makes a bed of ruin with Satan, for who could understand her monster better than the most deformed, wicked, tortured and enfettered drunkard in the world?  Who else lashes out with the storm of a bipolar hurricane?  They smash bones and slit throats, they drink down the gore of each other, and it is hate fuck after drunk nude after shitty love poem after breakup and makeup and make out and early fumblings in preteen years then knowing each other’s bodies like a favorite instrument.

Their love is a house on fire, with a wife and husband trapped inside that is too busy screaming grit out of lungs at each other over another high and lush fight to notice flames licking their flesh.

The Prince of Darkness comes early  at the stroke of three, when she is cradlebound, and he sings to her in a voice so sweet and eldritch, with eyes like a Lovecraftian abyss.  He is the Prince of Lies, but never does he come disguised as an angel of light to her.  He would rather show her his rot, with red siren eyes and chains grating along with the shrieks of the Damned.

A two-year old does not know good from bad, polarities or light or darkness, just that the blackness holds her demon.  That he tortures her and eats her father as a hellhound at four, that in daylight hours he is the Shadow Man that feels like Kelvin Zero, absolute cold who stalks the house and slams doors.

At six she’s making monsters, drawing chimeras of angels and demons, and she gives him the name Doom.  Rood or curse or whipporwill, for his song is sweet and of the fall, or perhaps a mourning dove, in mourning for nothing but his pride, for he is a dirge and the tolling of chapel bells at a funeral.

He gives life and takes it.  He makes her and destroys her.  She claws and hugs and kisses and grows into an iron rose.  At twelve she meets him – Samael, the Venom of God – and he is rich claret Martian robes on a marble throne, golden circlet, and fine long black hair and rose eyes.  She always called his eyes roses, when anyone else would have run, anyone else would have screamed rape and abuse and sometimes she still does, but angels are drawn to darkness, don’t you know the heart of a seraphim is so burning she must slake her brilliance in the abyss?  Don’t you know that Life loves Death?  Don’t you know that Love needs Hate?

These names can go on and become meaningless, as meaningless as lover’s spit on invading tongues and cum mixed with blood, but in the end is the Princess and the Dragon, at the fairytale’s close is the Grim Reaper and the Lady Life he reaped.  Samael planted a twisted vine in Paradise that fruited into the heart she carries, and she is half-man, half-pain, all beast.

He tells her enough stories to fill a universe, and wounds her enough to fill an ocean of blood.  There are strands of skeletons, there are cliffs of rotting organs, Hell is black chasms and sulfurous red skies and the bloody Styx.  But it has such a wretched beauty, and Satan is a wretch, the monster that pulls at her heart and squeezes the chambers to remind her he owns her, he created her, but really she owns him, doesn’t she, and at night the monsters come, at dusk there’s the tingle of the spine, and no matter how much ink she bleeds onto the page, she will never be free of her demon.

 

Dance of Flames

Your hair is tendrils of autumnfire, burnished orange and gold,
the canyons ring with the drums of the earth, raging hum of All,
and in the balefire you are arms outstretched, feathered cloak
of souls, spinning your chalice to the lips of far-off angels,
to touch you is to be incinerated, and to see you surrender to
the rhythm is to be entranced by the eagle’s thermaling skyward,
feathers aflame, you caress the dead, place them as stars in sky,
oh sweet Prince of Heaven, you are so young in this moonlit vision,
and I ache for the solitude of the crackling fall, peace of ribbons
of sinew twined round your ankles, tethered to my glassblown heart,
for I am a pocket of air trapped by your lips, dreamweaver, and I
want nothing more than to watch the stomp of a multitudinous heart
that belongs to my maker, dusty mesa clay rises, the crickets call,
and we eat meat so sweet our teeth ache, all is just, all is fair.