O Captain, My Captain (A Confessional)

In another life, when spring was eternal, before darkness tainted Heaven,
we were young and I did not know the meaning of pain, just your burning
light. Your all-consuming love. You are who I answer to when the night
turns stone cold and lead settles into my belly, o captain, my captain!
Though Satan made my wings as subtle and quick as an eagle, Herald of Hell,
it was you who forged my sword and eyes in flame, my body in supernovas,
sculpted by golden hands – you breathed the breath of immortality into me
and my eyes lit cerulean, and it was from my first step I was your shadow,
not a footstep behind, laughing sometimes, crying others, teasing you.
Devotion does not come easily to the caged bird, the free bird sings not
as often as she in shackles, and Heaven was a prison, just like Hell.
But I would spend eternity with my talons tethered to your supple wrist.
Michael, when I was young, but I am always young, I was innocent, and
though I died in your arms after sacrificing myself for your life, I
would perish again on Satan’s spear just to see you continue on, I
am the expendable one in this eternal war of thunder and fire, your
general is supposed to give her life and beauty for her commander,
and I am so sorry I was too broken to return to your side, fractured
into a million shards, Samael sewed his heart into me and I was lost
in Hell, in Purgatory, in the wilds of the Fifth Heaven, I wandered.
The journey of a soul through its darkest night simply awaits the sun:
you are the dawn of my life, sweet archangel, He Who is Like God,
and to see you crumple around my mangled, bleeding form is too much.
Your history books in your living library say Zophael was the most
faithful to her general’s side, and that you and your dark brother
created me out of beauty, Jophiel of the Flaming Sword, Sun Stealer,
it is true I stole fire from Heaven, it is true I have made you weep.
But I thirst for freedom, and the free bird has no master, only mates.
Eagles bond for all their life and nest in aeries high on sandstone.
But your bed is small and tidy, a monkshood cell, blue and white linen,
and roses are your only extravagance, what grows from the earth alone.
You are my blue violet. You are my guiding star. You are my true North.
When it rains, on cloudy gray days, I think of the guts of our family
storming from the sky onto bloody green grass, and I am haunted by
this ageless war, this senseless ruinous bitterness between lion and wolf.
I am a bridge between Heaven and Hell, the blind High Priestess, and yet
my magic is fractured by two polarities, O Captain, I have failed you.
In moonshine, I see your face in craters, and in starlight, your faith
burns with gentle radiance, you have not given up on me, my wing gone,
my hair cut, my sword broken, my scythe fractured, my robes frayed.
I am no angel anymore, certainly not a warrior, but you do not call me
any human name, for human names are lies, and you see my eternal life.
Pray tell why I come so close to tasting your heart and then immolate.
Pray tell why I cannot sing your praise with a broken, bruised throat.
This river of love is a bloody cut that rushes deep forth from wounds.
My glorious wounds, my mangled heart, cut up and burgeoning for you,
it is all for you, My Captain, and my final words are your name, the
True Name, the Holy One. Jesus Christ, I can’t breathe, and I was
never alive, not meant to hurt you, a Molotov Cocktail of a girl.

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The Thousandth Poem to the Sun

Tender is the night, but long our days –
long as ladders to Heaven, you lift me
up over a thousand suns to fly ascendant,
I am your red-tailed fledgling, soaring
aloft on your shoulders, but I fly back
to my nest in your heart, you never bend
in the wind, it is always autumn within us
your mind is a galaxy of burnished orange
and gold forests, cedar mist, trailing pine
I love you, I need you, but do I give back?
I take your succor and you are my shield,
my master defender, my champion, light of
all my lives, a seed of you in everyone
that I love, I look in the heart of All
and all I can think, Who is Like God? Who
could carry a burden of roses, waltz with
pain in every step, if I am Icarus, you are
the light I flock to, you always carry me,
why can’t I carry you? Let your guard fall,
rest, Michael, be at peace, I have never
seen you cry except when my broken body is
cradled in your arms, even when I am gone,
you carry me, your load is a Babel Tower,
and if you keep building the cross higher,
it will crash, so please, just let me in.

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.

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.”

Scabbard

I would die for you – I already have a billion times
bleeding out in my guardian’s arms after taking
a sword through the heart, my body is full of sabers,
I am a sheath, a vessel, the scabbard that your flames
call home – you burn so brightly I can barely breathe.

Patience, prudence – or was I passed into perdition?
Is that why I always die in your embrace, why I wander
Hell with the Devil by my side, at my shoulder, in my
heart, but there’s space for you two, these things I say!
They trip, rush, waterfall out of my mouth until I scream.

You scream too, calling out my name as a spear meant for you
lances through my breast, I blossom scarlet, your hands are
covered in my blood – I am the riddling raven, you Crazy Man
Michael, tending his lonely gardens and wandering the strand.
Is that why you always save me? Because I paid my allegiance.

Because I gave everything I had to your cause, my very breath.
Angels can die, archangels can become nothing but girlchildren.
You wreathe me in your blue cloak of victory, still, I shiver,
your fiery sword cannot warm the dead, a part of me is always
dying, I dig graves for myself and lay down in the restless dirt.

Wherever is your heart I call home? Wherever is your heart that
is my safe haven, my refuge, why do I always have to be strong,
sometimes I just want to let my tears fill raging stormy seas
sometimes I want to become a sylph, careless fey and wind-wild
I do not like being divine in a mortal coil, and oh, I miss you so.

Creation

Cosmos heart the Angel makes me:
he reaches into infinity with dripping
starlight hands, shapes lithe limbs
and Mother of Life curves, nebula
veins and a pulsing solar heart –
my body is a universe unto itself,
he reaches into the Abyss, pulls me out
I am born into Heaven and Eden is me.

The Demon watches from the shade of apple
trees, lays a hand on his Brother and folds
origami wings of white aether, places them
on my still-dripping golden back, Creation
is in my ribs, I am Their fledgling, a mix
of glory and shadow, all supernova and wormhole,
unused to legs and arms, flex hands, take flight.