The Bone Zone

There’s a haunting in the graveyard, where bats flock to higher ground when the dam flows over and coffins float to the surface.  I can smell the rot on my tongue and see the decaying rose petals adrift in this land spill of toxic waste and wonderlands.  I take a coffin, kick out the corpse, and row with a femur to your mausoleum as I navigate delta waters to the hell mouth.  Your edifice, Crypt Keeper, is tainted with ivy and is the only thing left above surface in this lake of the dead, a stone angel spreading her acid rain-washed wings to the glory of some decrepit heaven.  There is a black mist fine and pungent, fresh from the kill and bloated with pussy gases.  The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out.  The ones that crawl out are fat and stout, and they are feasting on the engorged limbs that have detached from their bodies, and there is a rat king, triple tails entwined, nibbling the corpse of some lawyer dressed up in his Sunday best, only it’s his Sunday worst, because he is filthy with the diseases of waste and ruin, slandered by Father Time, and honey, death is hell on the body.  Your loved ones will lose their teeth, grow out their hair, yellow their nails, mummify or dissolve, but when the waters come to take us home, we all end up in the sea.  That’s the truth of these matters – we are mostly water, and to liquid and stardust we return.  So I’m rowing my coffin through the remnants of your Grim Reaper’s harvest, all to find you, sweet cadaver.  Death smells like old garbage and sulfur and roadkill.  But sometimes, he smells like roses.  The crypt is tall and Roman styled, with the gloriana angel dolorosa, tears in grime on her eyes, and I tie my coffin to the angel with a bit of floating cloth, and scale the mausoleum.  Inside is an ossuary – the bone zone.  Huh, punny, that.  Inside you lay resplendent amidst bejeweled saint skeletons and artifacts of another time – holy relics, a pinky from St. Catherine, a liver from St. Pancras, oh, don’t forget that lock of hair from St. Teresa, my favorite.

Bones are sharp, they can cut, but words are just as much like razors, and I’m praying for a beastly tongue, an empty gun.  Death looks like someone you love, don’t you know?  He can mask himself in darkness and equally in light, in the wolves and crows and snakes, but now he is redeemer, savior, my unholy temple.  I climb inside his coffin and we entwine, and the black stretches out like a womb, and the silence of the deep is all-knowing.  Death, omniscient.  Death, omnipotent.  Death, omnipresent.

There is not much difference between Death and God, and many of us worship false idols, but the truth is, is that endings are painful, and the dearly departed haunt us.  But what to be haunted by Death himself?  Thorns and broken glass to puncture your fingers and feet, stanzas of poetry and prose that are like caged madrigal nightingales in your brain, and you crack your head open on a cliff to see the blood diamonds he planted inside you.

I am one with Death, we are Death and the Maiden, and as he raises his scythe, I know my tithe is the dearest thing to me: the lie of separation.

That I am anything more than Death.

For to write is to make love to the self, after all, and morbid curiosities become terminal in time.

So I kiss myself, and kill myself, and my corpse joins a million other lost girls.

Lost girls that dreamed they were part of some great narrative, when really, this is the world of ghosts, and it is only in dreams we are alive.

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Cursed As The Beasts In The Fields We

Blood streaks his back, wings in tatters. He lies spread-eagle on the sand, at the lip of a gravelly cliff. Oh brother- you’ve turned on me. I drive my heel into his face, crushing it to the ground. He hisses, laughing madly under cracked ribs. All my fury broils over- my brother has become a Beast.

“Do you feel nothing!” I roar. “No remorse? Nothing at all!” I cry as I kill him. The last bits of his immortality drain from his once blue eyes. I hurt him because I love him, just as he has tore my heart a thousand times over. My brother, executioner of our kind. My brother, the traitor.

Perhaps his betrayal has not yet passed. Perhaps he is still innocent, but time is a funny thing: I have stood at the beginning and end of creation: Alpha and Omega are my blood. We are the twin serpents that circle each other, spiraling into eternity. Time has no meaning, to one such as me.

I know him, as Lilith does not. I have seen him, as Eve has not. I know what his sin will bring. The fields of damned stretch out before my eyes. My slain men rot. A legion of shadow cold as Dumah desecrates my home. He has brought death into the world.

A hole rots where his heart once shone. Nacash, the Shining One, has cast his aside raiment. Even I do not understand his blind sacrifice.

A girl stands beside him, centuries down the line. She witnesses his humiliation. “Why?” she cries. The man she sees is broken, and the one she stands by, mad. What broke you?, whispers her heart.

Why indeed. Why.

My brother, the howling void. I see what he becomes. His eyes are black pits now. The War has wasted him. Razor-thin, obscenely pale, he whispers into her ear:

“You lose yourself to the madness, and the pain wraps around you like a mother as you become one with the Abyss.”

I kick him over the edge, then spit on his disgusting form. I tremble. I want to die.

“I fell for Eternity,” he says, voice cold like the winter wind. Does he speak to her, or me?

My brother wakes in the Pit. He howls against his bondage. He tears the Abyss from around him and burrows in like a freezing wretch. Lucifer steps out of the shadow, watching coolly. Waiting. The North Star has followed the Morning.

Samael’s eyes open. They are red like spilled blood. I cannot stand that sight- I howl to my wretched God, I tear out my eyes like Azazel. They return like Prometheus’ liver. I, witness to Creation, cannot even be spared the sight of his damnation.

You ask me why I do not smile. Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani. Answer me, my God. You have been silent far too long.

She reaches for Samael, through the bonds of time. Lucifer sees the girl. His melancholy lifts- another pawn to play.

Death burns her flesh like acid. She screams into the darkness: Release him, oh dear God. God that never answers. God that doesn’t exist. He hath forsaken me. I must bear his likeness. I must bear the blame. Puppets of the Architect, in his endless shadow game.

The angels turn to me. They weep at their betrayal, for the war they did not want. Am I nailed to a cross? I do not know. We both are. Samael on Catharine’s wheel, nailed to turning time.

Do not comfort me. I bear this cross alone.

Forbidden

Lucifer is lost, they say, he wandered astray at the fork between the Milky Way and the Perseid’s, hitched a ride on a comet with his manifold silver white wings and landed in darkness, far from the light of the furthest star.  His halo of golden hair glowed like a jellyfish in the depths of deep space, bioluminescent divinity oozing out of flaming keratin like a song heard by no one, for in the outer rim, there is no sound.

Just silence.

Lucifer’s compass broke – don’t you know men that are birds and birds that are men have magnetic bits in their skull like geese and migrate always North?  The Fall scrambled the pieces of lodestone etched in Lucifer’s skull and now, he wanders the wastes that have become Pandemonium over time, fractals of fallen angels finding a lightless abode in the void and populating it with lost dreams.

They say if Lucifer could fix the broken map of his mind, he would come roaring back into Heaven and accuse Michael.  He would lay every mishap caused by  the Angel of the Lord at the Prince of Heaven’s feet and throw vitriolic acid that would turn leaden pinions to gold, coal to diamonds, and rain to splinters of ice.

Lucifer would sob into Michael’s arms, ranting and raving, clutching at the broken ribs of his damnation like a madman as they poked through his papery skin and say, “Brother, look what I have become, this wasted thing.  Why did you let me go?  Why did you cast me out?  We could have reigned together.”

And Michael would run his scarred fingers through the cornsilk of his older twin’s hair and warmed his Kelvin zero demon with the mercy of God.  “Because, brother, I had to let you know God, and the only way you seem capable of comprehending the love of the Lord is by shunning it, running from the very thing that gave you life, and then mourning the loss of Someone that would welcome you back into His arms without a word.  You were the one who cast us out, Morning Star.”

And Lucifer would bite his lip, and he and Michael would share a bitter kiss, like day old coffee grounds and the rind of an unripe pear, and that would be the end and beginning of Lucifer’s questions.

Silence.

 

Joan, What Ark Do You Sail?

They will ask what her burden was, this Arc of the Covenant you pressed to her shoulders like your Father pressing the vintage of his wrath, grinding stars down to wine, oh Michael.  Long after she is dust bread of dead, and her ashes are cast out to the four corners of the universe, each black hole fed a bit of her blood, and you wonder, why am I, the Prince of Heaven, such a shit poet, and why can I not capture the elusiveness of my star girl, whose heart I shoved my burning fist into and twisted until she belonged to me?

Michael, you have had an eternity to practice your poetry, but you still soliloquize like the Devil, your prose is purple, and your madrigal cannot be captured by baby’s breath or widow’s sighs or a million angels dancing on the head of her cotillion school hairpin.

So foolish in love are angels, and the first time around, your girl died in fire, so perhaps you will be gentler this time.  This is what you think when she is born, a quick one hour labor, to mundane parents, in a mundane neighborhood, but really it is the seat of the power of the world, bubbling with pagan magic you would like to snuff out in their heresy.  You remember driving your burning sword through the hearts of the false gods, and your daughter, she will go astray from Christendom, will run away from High Church screaming, into the arms of the gods of the earth and waters, and her songs are heathen and miraculous in witchery.

This time, Joan is just misled, just plain Jane, plain Joan, blonde hair not pageboy but long, and as she is cradled in her crib, you play her angel songs in Hebrew on your guitar, Michael before me, Gabriel behind me, Raphael to my left, Uriel to my right, by the grace of God.

The first Joan you tested, this Joan you bathe in pleasure.  Every girl is a Joan, a Maid of Orleans, and every woman is long-suffering for some cause or another.  She is just a young girl, and so you cherish and spoil her, barely in the sixth grade, and though she mistakes your reprimands for hate, you love her dearly.

You feed this Joan silver pears and the flesh of a cormorant.  The flesh of a dove.  Your flesh.  She doesn’t remember what magical bird in her mythology books bled for its young as it pecked its breast (was it the almighty albatross?), but as you are plucking your feathers and sauteeing your wings (they grow back, there is no shame in feeding your little martyr your providence) in a light white wine with a tad bit of olive oil and rosemary, she asks you, Michael, each time I eat you, am I becoming divine?

You will tell her she already is, more holy than even you, for the youth are this country America’s beating red white and blue heart.  She eats the gristle and fat of your meat, and she becomes lit with holy fire.

I want to be President some day, she says at thirteen in civics class, and you stifle a laugh as you sit on her right shoulder, miniature, invisible.  Hers is the path of magic and moonlight, of madness and mental wards and that holy bastion of academia, and she will mother your line, matriarch of your legacy, for you have not had children before, but the children of the Prince of Heaven are Messiahs, and in this Age of the Internet, of Germs, Guns, and Glory, the heathen, wicked masses are in desperate need of saviors.  So much that they come from the womb of a witch, the breast of a black hearted nonbeliever.  Her black heart is not her fault, Scapegoats are Eve and Yeshua and Mary Magdalene, Cain and Azazel and Lucifer, holy and unholy in turn, and you suffer too for the masses, carrying the weight of the prayers and despairs of saint and sinner alike.

Your teeth are not teeth but blades, your wings are revolving mysteries of scripture stitched together by the prayers of billions, pages upon page of white down shredded with syllables, and your skin is manna, no wait, it’s a metaphor, no wait, your body is the Lion of Judah, and you are musk and muscle and wicked, jagged claws.  When she goes to her first high school dance, you are nothing of the fierce Beast of God, nothing of the Divine Prince of Life, no, you squeeze yourself into a mundane vessel, a Walker, the angels call us, those that take human form, and you lead Joan in a slow dance to some late 2000s croon, and you marvel at how much you hate pop music.  All music is of the Lord, but then again, a billion of your believers think music is a sin, Mikhail, so there is that.  Cat Stevens wrote the best music of the 20th century, but then he found Allah (blessed be your Father’s name), called himself Yusuf Islam, and fell into the silence of the radiant Deep.

Your Joan, she sings along to the saccharine bland pop number, about bubblegum kisses and lip gloss like stars, and it’s a soc hop, didn’t you know, Michael, so shuck off your shoes, she says.  You have on sneakers, different from your usual leather sandals (you had a hard time upgrading your fashion over the millenia), so next on the high school DJ’s list is Build Me Up Buttercup, and you find yourself carrying Joan out of the sweaty gym and up into the mist of the Milky Way in your fractal speed of light arms, silly of being a young man, all might of the majestic multitudes and heart of bloody stars.

Where are we? she asks, timid but yet brave, and she is so tiny in your palm, microscopic, a womb and tomb, a vessel for the Lord, a vassal and lady knight who will slay with not sword as long ago in her first iteration, but this time with ink of a pen, her black blood like your book wings, and you are hair of flames and eyes of supernovas and mouth of molten lava, thousand armed, or is it million or billion or trillion or quadrillion armed – oh, you give up counting, what matter is endless infinity? – and she is dancing in your palm, like that song you like by Elton John, and she is laughing as quetzalcoatls and dragons swim the radiance of fantasy realms by, and boats of space pirates and corsairs or aliens skim the waters of space, and you say, This is the most remote place in the Multiverse, where the sea of space and time and chaos collude in channels and swells, where whales that span galaxies fall to form new life a million times over, and it is a place I have dreamed of taking you, Joan.  You are fourteen, you are no longer a girl, and I am sick of waiting.

Your void mouth is burning.  Your blade teeth are crying ichor.  Your nostrils flare with plasma, and you lean down to kiss her, forcing yourself to her size, to hold her in your arms in human size whilst you are also holding the multiverse upon multiverses in your palms, and Joan meets your lips with a shy fluttering, but you want to taste her blood, so you bite her lip, and she is iron and decaying telomeres, but also the grit of matyrdom, the Kingdom of Christ, but you are Christ, so really you are tasting yourself.  What is love but to see yourself reflected in a different iteration back through something so precious to you, she is your own limb?  Joan is the Ark, the one to carry all life to the harbors of New Jerusalem after you have drunk your fill of Apocalyptic Fury, at least, that was your  plan.

Kissing her, you think, maybe I can give Earth, give this backwater planet, another million years, and we can have a million children in between, for you have always wanted children, and we can have a million of her lives and high school dances and songs of silence and buttercups in between, and a million first kisses?

Michael, you keep putting off the inevitable, but you are a creature of passion, so you set the Doomsday Clock back once more, and Joan is none the wiser.

Burning her at the stake broke your heart, and you have been trying to make it up to her ever since.

You have heard that girls like flowers.

You will bring her some roses, you will create for her a new bloom that combines the color of dreams with the smell of blue, you will name her and curse her and scream regret as she dies.

She always dies, you never die, and you envy her.

For every millionth beginning, the Kali Yuga demands a new Golden Age, the Year of the Crow and White Buffalo Woman come calling, Ragnarok passes and Liefrahser and Lief summon Necessity, and fuck, she is speaking in tongues, trying to teach you cadence, rhythm, and metaphor, but you wrote psalms, and you planted gardens, and this teenage Joan is a fiery spit of rebellious rage, as all teenagers are, and now she is sixteen, and she is writing.  Always writing.  Bad poetry, good poetry, stories about her enemy, stories about her lover, but often, she mixes up the two.

You read her stories and offer no critique, only praise.  The Devil is the Poet, the Angel is the Proofreader, and Heaven has no Edit button, for the Word is Law.

That’s a fancy way of saying she has a long way to go before she can lead the Crusade with her keyboard.  A keyboard warrior.  She only recently retired writing quizzes and fanfiction, and she adores vampires and fairies, and for however much you blatantly thrust Christendom in her face, she runs off to throw spears with Athena and parties underage at bars with Loki.  Joan was always a girl of the fields, a shepherdess, and to be pagan is to be a backwater farmer, a country, nature-bound creature of passion, and was not Krishna Gopal?  Krishna is much more your speed than Shiva, but Krishna has much more experience with girls than you, so you ask him over wine, my dear blue friend, what did you do with the women of the fields?

I had a thousand brides, my brother.  All the cowherds were mine.  You cannot own a woman, just like I Krishna, I Vishnu, do not own Lakshmi, cannot tame Radha, women are wild, she created you, did Joan not?  A fiery peasant girl who dreamed of an angel of flame.

You swill your wine, but the taste is bitter at the thought you cannot own this girl, cannot claim her, so you spit it out onto the ground and brier roses grow from the soil of Purgatory.

I will have her, every inch of her will know my Love, my Life, and in the end, I will save her from herself.  I have claimed her.  She is God’s, and I am God, so she is Mine.  Through her, I will save All.

Krishna laughs.  You angels, always dealing in heaven and hellfire and ultimatums.  Michael, can you ever take a night off?  Perhaps watch Aishywarya Rai’s movies and learn the heart of a woman.

I am genderless, Krishna.  I do not understand women.  Angels have no conception of man or woman, only want, and I want Joan.

Krishna shrugs and his mouth is a swan.  Then make love to her, woo her, write her poetry.

I am not a good poet, I created her to be the poetic one.  That is my new campaign idea – the written word as conquest.

Writers always turn on their muses, Michael.  Look at the Mahabharata.  You think I intended for that mess and beauty?  It happened organically, just as love does.

Have the rest of the wine, Krishna.  I am preoccupied.

Michael flies to the Outer Rim.  There are many Outer Rims.  He is a million armed, a trillion armed, a quintillion – never mind.  He writes infinite poems with his infinite arms, trying to capture his emotions for Joan.

They all turn up trite as shit.

He balls each flaming Hebrew poem into his infinite fists and tosses them into the Void.

I will have to think of something else.

Joan is eighteen, and it is moving day at college.  Michael crams his body into a sophomore philosophy major and helps her move boxes of makeup.  Why do girls have so much makeup?  Michael never knows.

I love you, Joan, he says as they sit on her old dorm bed.  She got a single room, no roommate, the better to concentrate on her vampire stories.  She is still in the genre stage.

I know, I love you too, Joan says, taking Michael’s flesh but not flesh hand, for a Walker’s body is a metaphor.

He traces her jaw.  He threads his fingers through her hair.  He speaks her name in a million alien languages.  He sings to her.  He is good at singing.  He sings Wide World by Cat Stevens.  Cat Stevens is the surefire way to win her over.  Her favorite movie is Harold and Maude, after all.

Come with me, he says, stepping out of his human body and into formlessness, into allegory, into nightmare and fallacy and a thousand broken promises and a body of tears.

Joan is frightened.  Why are you sad?

Because you are a witch.  Because you are my poem, but I cannot write poetry.  Because I love you.

He scoops her up into his mouth and swallows her whole.  Joan is etched in his heart, in his bloodstream, and he spits her back out wet blonde hair into the lap of the throne of God.  It is his throne.  God is Him, and Michael is Christ, and that is Heresy, but that is the Truth of Things.  For he is the closest to God, after all, humans can fathom.  And that tells a thousand tales.

I do not think that is how humans make love?  Michael ponders.

No, that was a shamanic death rebirth cannibalism thing, Joan laughs, dancing in one, only one, of his palms, his infinite hands, but it is his favorite hand because she is in it.  Be the albatross, dear Michael.  Blood from the heart.

He stabs himself with his flaming sword, and his blood flows gold and she swims through it.  She drinks the sea of him, and he enters her stomach, and then he swims through her blood, into her lungs, and she is choking on his feathers and gore.  They dance as bones alone, then become skyscrapers in December in Manhattan, and suddenly they are a pair of wolves.

They mix and match, red and blue, cat and dog, X and O, cross and nail.  They are still dancing when finally, she tires, and bares her sex, but really it is her heart, but really it is her seeds, and he seeks home in such a tiny abode, such a fraction of a molecule to one as mighty as him, and he eats her pomegranate with a tongue of silver, and he kisses and fucks and bleeds with her, but really they are on a pyre, alight, and the flames are ink, and Michael is trapped in her pen.

Sweet Joan, you will be the Daughter of Zion, the Watchtower, the Heavenly Kingdom, the Mother of All Nations and Matriarch of Israel.  All because you are my poem.

He breathes the words into her brain.

She laughs.  I am wild, and I am witch, and I am the quivering flame and rushing wind, and all I will be is your girl.

That leads to greater things.  We have destiny, obligations, duty.  Your Word is the Word of God, Joan.

Then you are my greatest work, Michael.  God bless the day I created you.

Father bless the day I created you, sweet Joan.

The pyre of Michael incinerates Joan’s Ark.  The Covenant’s birth water flood water breaks, and the world is drowned, but you would never know it, for all it causes is a single raindrop from that far off in the burgeoning hideaway of infinity, and a butterfly wing flaps, and thus girls are God, and God is just a girl.

 

The Pianoman

His tapered fingers danced across the keys, coaxing a haunting melody from the dusky piano.  I lingered, tucked away into the shadowed corner of the chapel.  Stained glass windows let crisp autumn air pour in.

He did not see me.  Not now, lost in his private reverie, giving all of himself to his music.  I leaned into the stone wall, letting my heavy eyes draw close.  I soaked in the soaring notes, their delicate strains tantalizing.

I could listen to him for eternity.  I did not need to touch him.  Not even see him.  His image could float across my mind, borne by the tides of his beautiful tune.

Self-conscious, I smoothed the pleats of my white dress, ran my fingers through my hair.  I felt unworthy of the music’s majesty, undeserving of its presence-

The music stopped.  I glanced up, startled, to see him peering back at me.

He looked at me with smooth glass eyes.  A soft smile illuminated his face as he twisted his neck, peering over his shoulder.  His eyes were a rheumy blue, almost as if he were blind.

“I wasn’t expecting company,” he said quietly, voice like dark, sweet water.

I blushed.  “I didn’t mean to stay,” I apologized.  “But I heard you from outside, and I couldn’t resist.  You play so beautifully.”

He laughed in a small manner, like the fluttering of a moth’s wing.  “I didn’t expect company.  I never said I didn’t enjoy it.”  He turned, drawing a sweet tune from the keys.  “Tell me what you like.  Songs of love?  Of mourning?  I can play them all.”

“Of dreams,” I said quickly, without thinking. “I like songs of dreaming.  Songs of impossible things.”

He looked at me wryly, folding his hands in his lap.  They were covered in white calfskin gloves.  “Dreams?  That’s something I rarely play.”  He glanced at the piano contemplatively.  “I oft times wonder if I’ve forgotten how to dream.  Tell me.  Can you teach me?”

“To dream?” I asked, taken aback.  I rose from the hollow in the wall, walking slowly to the pew behind him.  He was like an angel cut from stone.

“Yes,” he said, voice tinged with longing.  He gazed out the window at a slice of blue sky.

“Well, I don’t know if I can do that,” I said, hesitant.  “You just close your eyes-“

“Show me.” he whispered, gazing intently at me.  “I want to see exactly what you do.”

“Here, now?” I asked.  His eyes bore into my soul.

“Yes,” he said quietly, letting his finger drift to the piano.  He caressed a single key.  It echoed through the church like the last breath of a dead man.

“Well, like I said, you close your eyes-” I did so, breaking his gaze.  Relief flooded me, for a reason beyond my ken.  I sank back into the pew.  “And then, after you drift off to sleep, you dream.  

It’s as simple as that.”

“Is it?” he asked, voice ripe with challenge.  My skin pricked at his tone.  I shivered unfathomably.

“Yes,” I whispered, beginning to doubt my words.

A wind picked up, kissing my skin.  He gave a small half-smile.  

“Then I will play your dreams.”  

It was as if heaven bled into the room.  The music stirred my heart with warmth; I wanted to lose myself within it.  I couldn’t bear to open my lids.

I gasped, startled, as hands enveloped mine.  They guided me from the pew with quiet forcefulness, cupping my palms as if their owner meant to lead me in a dance.  The piano played, growing malicious in its beat.  The keys, tormented, wailed ever so beautifully.

I shivered.  These dreams were not my own.

“You do not open your eyes?” he asked, voice rich like the light of the moon.

I shook my head, trembling.  “No.  It would ruin the dream.”

He led me in a serpentine dance, my feet guided by a will not my own.  I felt like a satellite, revolving ever so gracefully.

“What if I told you,” he whispered, breath hot on my neck, “that all the world was asleep?”

My fingers were numb with cold.  “Then I would laugh, and I’d call you a fool.”

“What if I said,” he continued, voice almost urgent, “that you are about to be shaken violently awake?”

I laughed, nervous.  “And what?  Wake up in this world again?”

“No.  That you will wake up, with me.”

“But neither of us is asleep.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

He laughed softly.  “For whom, may I ask, do I play?”

“Me,” I said.  My voice faltered.  Dread slowed my step.  

“Yet here I stand, dancing with you.”

I gasped, face paling.  A stone lodged in my throat.  He covered my eyes with soft hands.  “I know you want to open your eyes.  But to do so would be horrible indeed.”

“Why?” I demanded, horrified.

“Because then,” he whispered, lips skimming my temple, “I could not dream you awake.  And dreams are a terrible thing to lose.”

“This isn’t a dream.”  I insisted, voice quaking.  “I’m flesh and blood!”

“You’d think, wouldn’t you?” he sighed.  The piano fell silent, and the void of that emptiness was icier than death.  A cold wind blew through the window, crowning us with frost.  His arms threaded

around me.  “Any moment, I will shatter this dream.  And you, dream-girl, will go with me.”

The stained glass cracked.  Suddenly faint, I collapsed against him.  My senses swam as he gathered me into his arms.  “I remember when I was woken,” he murmured.  “You have nothing to fear.”  Perhaps he looked down at me sorrowfully.  “It’s as easy as falling asleep.”

The piano began to play.

“We speak in music,” he murmured, carrying me out into the unforgiving snow. “We speak in music, where I’m from.”

The door slammed shut behind us.

All faded to black.

Meet the Girl Messiah

This is quite lovely, she thinks, and I could burn, she thinks, but I would burn for Him.

The Messiah has no name you would recognize, just another small town girl, another Sarah or Rachel or Mary, one in millions, and she goes to an all-girl’s college, one of the Seven Sisters.

She has never known the touch of Man, but oh, has she known His touch, oh sweet lips like dates, and arms thick as oak, her Messenger, her Intercessor before the Lord.

Him, she draws in the margins of her Biology textbook.  Messenger, she thinks, before she comes home to His arms in the field outside her school where the sycamores grow thick and moss hangs from stones in a kind of springy carpet.  He makes her a crown of early spring daffodils to match His halo, and he says, ALL IS WELL WITH YOU, MY PROPHETESS.

A bush on fire speaks to her in the tongue of the Lord on her way to afternoon statistics.  She gives no pause and sends Him straight to voicemail.  She does not like these long chats with God, she is only nineteen, and she can barely handle alcohol, much less the Cosmos Given Voice.

She’s with her sorority sisters out on the town and the purest white dove Creation has ever seen lands on her palm.  The dove says: “Sweetest Miriam, you should be readying for the End Times, not killing time in the arms of cheap liquor and wandering eyes.”  Her sisters do not notice, do not hear the divinity right in front of her.  Miriam, or Rachel, or Sarah, or Elizabeth, or Mary – she laughs and says “Sweet God, I am but a girl, let me have my fun!” and succinctly flips God off.

“You are no child, you have duty,” the dove coos, shits on her, and the shit is gold coins, and she uses it to tip the hazel-eyed bartender.

She comes home drunk and stoned to her hippie school.  Michael, or Gabriel, or Raphael, or is he Uriel? he is waiting.  Her angel of umber skin and blue eyes and golden hair.

YOU ARE NOT READY, MY LOVE.  SOON THE DEVIL WILL COME TO SARAH LAWRENCE.  SOON BEELZEBUB WILL COME TO BARNARD.  SOON MEPHISTOPHELES MARCHES ON MOUNT HOLYOKE.

“Stop shouting, messenger, I’m high as a kite.”

He puts on human skin, her angel who knows no sin, but sins with her.  “Is this better, my love?  I was here to deliver a reprimand from dearest Father, but all I want is a beer and the taste of your mouth on mine.”

She gives him a Yuengling.  “Being the Messiah fucking sucks, Mess,” she says.  “I’d much rather be a stripper, at least they get paid for whoring themselves out, and to men.  I’m a whore for the Lord, a one way ticket to Heaven for the masses, and a slap on the face for those bound for Hell.  Hey, let’s dance to the Smiths.  I could really use some Morrissey.”

Her angel smiles as he sips his beer.  He cues up her old record player.  Bigmouth Strikes Again.  The Lord is her Bigmouth, so bossy, so annoying.  He’s her Father, and he has a shotgun, so no human boy is holy enough for his Daughter.  Only his most esteemed angelic Messenger cuts it.

They dance, and they sing along badly, and they are both just nineteen but immortal, as old as Precambrian fossils, no, older than the Big Bang, when all there was was gaping silence.

God sends the Ark of the Covenant abreast on cherub wings to their bedside after they are done fucking.  “Refresh yourself, Magdalene,” reads the note from their Father.  “Read the Book, study the Covenant, be a Lady of Letters, Leader of the Lord, Holy Holy Holy-”

She tears the note in two and burns it on her angel’s halo.

“Maybe we can wait another decade before I start with this Messiah stuff?” she asks Mess.

Mess smiles with burning teeth and a mouthful of violent violets.  “Father will not like that, which means I think it’s a wonderful plan.”

“Perfect, Mess!  Now let’s go to a coffeeshop and read some Proust.”

 

Draculina

Crooked teeth, or maybe they’re just my busted fangs honey, sinking into the meat of my back to make me your little Draculina.  I’m the demon in your mind, the devil at your ear, wolf mother at your door and poison cobra curled around your wrist.  I lick your pressure points, I devour you in one sitting, and as my poison sinks into you, you wonder.

Will her tortures ever end?  Will she keep flirting with my blade, courting my punches, crawling broken footed to my arms and crying me a river of joy?  Forget about wounding me.  She is always crumbling around me, like a stone fence bent by age, rocks scoured by wind, salt licked clean bare by deer.  She is the eidolon cleft from my ribs, but really, she is my own heart, weeping aorta the color of black lichen.  You know, the kind that grows on cliffs in the farthest reaches of Hell and feeds on blood, or is it wine, or is it blood?  Down here getting drunk off your wives is in fashion – a spritz of lung, a nibble of the ear, a bit off the waist, all to make you thinner, love.

I only eat you because I believe I can save you.

Whatever happened to Wonderland?
And where’d Alice go? Oh.
I took a night train with knife in hand,
And cut out to the next show
Back in her living hell.
I wish to dwell, I long to be,
In the blood and the guts
With the birds of prey and the stinging of bees and bullets maybe.
Leaving heaven behind for good this time, the angels can keep it.
I’ve got a demon in mind and she’s standing behind my dark secret.
Draculina.