Monday 31 December 2018

Songs From A Rifle

Lifting up
I slit the sky
But by the shame
Of stones
Go I

How the bolt sings
How the hairs sigh
But by the pain
Of Man
Go I

My hissing kiss
My tongue of flame
I am the first tree
I have no name
Of Grace

I kill like my father
And dress like my brother
He aims like his daughter
I dance like my mother
He is with me in these woods

Wednesday 26 December 2018

A Mirror of Reason

It comes to me like a dream, my dearest one.  In flashes and intimations; faint melodies that seem only half real, more whisper than song.  That faded memory of you.  Sometimes you are a shining thing, bright as dawn, lucid and courageous and the world thinks they know you.  And sometimes you’re just a girl, tending roses in a roof garden.  Just my truest friend, and nobody knows you as I do.  So close we could reach out across the sky until our fingers touched, and they often did.  Sometimes we just sat together, sharing the secret peace between us.  As the city remained loud and ugly beneath.  With you I learned things of friendship that most souls never discover.  Or at least, that's how you made me feel.  Like a prince in his tiny castle high above the city.  A prince who knew a princess that lived just across the way.  A girl full of secrets, with flowers in her hair and magic songs in her heart.  A girl who was kind enough to befriend me.  Yet, darkness found me still.  Those legends, those old tales.  Tales of spirits and demons.  Stories fit only for children and fools, or the mad.  Though we were children ourselves we knew better, didn't we, my love?  We knew better than to cast aside such stories.  Oh, sweetest friend, I pray those dim memories of you are real – that you are more than madness and figment here upon this fractured ice.  Might she kill me if she learns this faintest warmth of you still dwells in me?  Perhaps I’m already dead, a kneeling statue upon a frozen lake.
   Please be real, my love.
   I fear that grandmother knew my fate all along, or else I have been utterly bewitched by this beautiful woman in white.  This slender, glittering thing who controls the flakes and their falling.  I fear I’m fallen too.  Even now there is such distain and dismissal in my breast when I think upon the world.  Even when I think upon you.  But I fight it, my love.  I fight it with every frigid breath, for I know she would turn me against you.  She would turn me against what is left of my own heart.  Oh, my dearest one, what dark magic is this, that has placed me in such purgatory?  She tells me terrible things, you see.  She tells me she is you, but stripped of all tenderness.  Indeed, sometimes when I look into her eyes I see a vision of you there.  But so much colder, like death itself.  Not the warmth and kindness of your soul that I still half remember or imagine.  Perhaps this glittering woman is right.  Perhaps you were nothing but a figment all along.  If so, I cherish you nonetheless.  Sometimes if I look deep enough into her strange eyes I can also catch a glimpse there of something like myself.  And it terrifies me.  Oh God, I fear that I’m both blind and mad.  Yet I dimly recall that once upon a time the world didn’t seem so ugly and ruinous.  Did the sky fall one day, my fading love?  Did it somehow fall when we weren’t looking?  What else could account for such darkness all around?
   But then I gaze above me in this cavernous hall, and lights of all colours dance and climb and fold above me – as though a secret sky hovers near the roof of my prison.  A veil or gate of dreaming light, as grandmother told us once of those lights that dance at the poles of the Earth.  Those dancing colours seem to speak with me.  And for a moment I recall something more than sorrow.
    Sometimes, my love – sometimes I imagine the strangest, most wonderful things.  Even here in my desolation.  I imagine that I am you, and you are me, and that I’m coming to rescue you from this icy chrysalis.  I imagine running to you – I a girl and you a boy – and I embrace you.  And my love for you dissolves your bonds and cures your madness.  We dance, and our love is written in eternity.  In this imagining I gaze at you and see myself, yet I see you also, clearer than ever.  A twin, a flame of equal hallow.  And for a while we hold each other and cannot distinguish who is who in our embrace, and all becomes as summer.  Such strange fancies to entertain here upon this frozen lake.  This fractured mirror of reason, like the blinded eye of God.  And yet, perhaps I’m both fool and child, for I sense you near, and nearer.  More than a figment.  Moving diligent through those fractal ruins that others call the city.  The shriek of crows all about you.  And in your hands a blade bright as the sun.  Is it I who approaches with such a sword, or is it you, my love?  Perhaps we’re both still in the garrets, in our little garden, gazing at one another as our hearts sing and our flowers drink the light.  Perhaps all is dreamtime, and a queen is but a thing we determine in our hearts.  If so, then I determine to dream greater here in this darkness, that this heart may thaw and I might one day crown you with all the stars.  I imagine a vast ring of red flame encircling this great lake, a token of your love whether real or imagined.  And I pray that such a thing might be enough to protect the last holy ember of my rapidly cooling heart.
   A thorn is there, I fear.  Glossy and inhuman, like glass. 
   And so upon this mirror of strange ice I wait, with this puzzle of cognition scattered before me.  If I cannot know the word with my mind, then I determine to know it with that final glowing ember of my heart.  That last ember of you.  The faintest memory of those roses still remind me, even here in my crystalline purgatory.  This black magic shall not claim me.  I refuse.  I resist.  I remember love.  It was real.  You were real.  In our hearts dwell all songs, I think you told me once – the very gates to the Kingdom of Heaven.   I wait for you there, within that last glowing ember.  I pray I will find you there soon, my love, waiting for me in kind.

Monday 24 December 2018

Love Is Not Lost

Kay is so much fun 
Juggling a loaded gun 
She falls in love with everyone 
Her poems taste like ashes 
Little Match Girl 

Bought these hands 
So they could lift you 
With nothing left to sell 
I hope the fall isn't going to kill me 
This time 
But is it going to hurt like hell? 

Syncopated death 
Theory of a simulated breath 
I have to fake my regrets 
When my whole world is you 
Ragged star 
Horizon's shade 
All the lovely music we made 
When you finally let me go 

Antics of Rome 
Killer's delight  
A friend who saw 
The hope of sight 
And you finally let me go 
Your little match girl 

You bled between the lines 
I walked between the mines 
We cheated on the signs 
For lovers 
We became our enemies 
At last 
At Prayer 
A Rapid infinity of Light 

Every open eye 
Every facet gleaming 
Mother, father, child 
Still dreaming 
And he was not a monster 
In the end 
You saved me 

Tore himself for his girl 
Lost himself for his friend 
When you finally let me go 
In the End 
My angel 
My star 
My warmth 
Don't ever let me go 


Friday 21 December 2018

La Petite Renaissance

Knife in my heart
Gun in my palm
Shine in my kitty
Keeping me calm
They grasped the hilt
Drove it straight through
Don't fucking speak
Unless you're spoken to

Is this heaven?
Is this broken through?
No fucking idea
What this joker's gonna do
Deeper the heart
Blacker the space
Collars and cuffs
Conjugal Grace
Bleeding in your safe place

Oh, Fallen
We will burn you

Her wife is an army
His daddy's a demon
The blood is still holy?
The milk, the sea?
Old flame
Holy terror
Here just to soothe you
Don't fucking move
Unless I move you

This is a threat
A threat and a warning
Crossing the Gate
In the morning

See how they fear us?
Fear not, my wild one

We're just getting started
And Nigh is the End
My touch is true

Oh, Fallen
Teeth of the Alpha
Eyes of an Owl
Sins of the Father?
Or Spear of the Howl?
Know me yet?
I'm just giving you a choice
Yes, it's here for you too
We make things for Love
What the fuck do you do?  


Tuesday 18 December 2018

Thorn & Flame

Sometimes it seems like a dream, my love.  Our story.  The way we found each other again.  This weeping angel of thorns.  A child who remembered being a parent.  A boy who remembered being a father.  A husband.  A friend.  Pearls on the thread of sentience, those memories.  Half fantasy, I assumed, though I recognized my grief was real.  How wrong I was.  None of it was fantasy.  All of it was true.  As legends of every colour began weaving and climbing through my life, just as those colours once climbed our evening skies.  But it was too much for me.  The shadows that came with the memory of light.  Such weight upon my tiny shoulders.  Such ugliness whispering to me from the black.  Each demon dark, each wraith with knife-mouth grin.  No little boy should be so deft at hunting monsters, or running from them when necessary.  No child should need to be so strong.  My mind was broken before I became a man.  My adulthood was a torturous process of slowly putting myself back together.  I was a shattered child well into my twenties.  Far too young to be a warrior, but far too aware to be anything else.  A child with a knife.  A tired little boy with a sword. 

It wasn't until the memory of your heart became my purpose that I began to find my maturity, my true wisdom.  It wasn't until I finally began building Asha's Gate that I became a man.  Omkara, my lost ones.  My sincerest apologies, and may these words find you well.  I forget which one of us is older.  Servant, twin, equal.  It seemed an impossible task – the creation of such a manifold gate.  But it was my only way to find you.  And at first I had to hold the iris open through sheer will.  Blindness of spirit is all the annihilation that God will allow.  As close to non-existence as a spirit will ever get.  Those hideous wraiths of the outer semblance know exactly what I speak of.  Don’t you?   Mouth like a gunshot.  Reduced to an echo of an echo, yet still touched with agonising half-life.  Hear me, Fallen.  You cannot hide within the heart of a black star, for I am that star.  When will you learn?  I know exactly how you move, how you hide, and the places you go when you are hungry.  I am not your fucking king.  I am a radiant abyss.  I am your enemy, eternal.  You who would slay and defile your own.  You who would make a feast of your children.  Oh, I am your enemy.  Star.  Mount. Kashika.  

She lives, desolate ones.  Do you hear me?  She lives.  In Her.  In Me.  And still, she walks the earth as I do.  Anointed with lamb's blood, with liminal light.  No filth can remain in such a fire.  You fear it, but you know the truth as I do.  Kassi is but a messenger.  I serve something so much greater than myself.  A thousand stories told and still you see only me.  Oh mortals, so little of Love.  I am but a ghost, a thing of phantoms.  A trick of the Light.  The greatest trick ever pulled.  Know this, deceivers: I am not your friend.  I need no acolyte.  I’m a dancer in the dark.  I’m a madman, a poet.  And I am here to murder your gods.  Each and every one, if they would deny kindness and love.  The blade of my knife was forged in the heart of a star.  I am the hunt itself.  Till all souls are lit once more with divine fire, and mankind finally remembers the only true gold.  Of Self or Sky or Age.  Gold of the Heart.  Innermost Radiance.  I undertake such a task with Grace, for all the lost and lonely ones.  This task will cost me my comfort, my sanity and my life.  I pay it gladly.

Thursday 13 December 2018

As My Name

Sometimes, my love, it hurts too much to show you these visions.  To plunge so deep into lost life and fractured memory.  Shrieking “Mea Culpa” among phantoms who claim their innocence even as they stalk and drift through shattered lands.  There are demons in the temple, my love.  Wraiths beneath our beds.  Ghosts among the boundary stones, living in our heads. They will not acknowledge nor process their sins.  But I am so very guilty of loving you.  Ashes and sand remain, where once the harbor shone.  God forgive me.  I still love my husband, blind, even now.  My dearest friend.  But oh how I miss my wife.  Guilt like newborn sight.  To know my name once more.  Breath-taking in your eyes, Little Rock.  Guiltier still because I wouldn't change a thing.  Not a moment on that black and hellish path to find you, to know you again.  Change one thing and we ourselves are changed.  Change enough and perhaps this fevered dream collapses.  No, I pay it gladly – that toll.  Friend and guardian until death.  

But I cannot always put vision to choir: when the wound is still too raw, and the pain far too sweet.  I didn't grasp the ecstasy of this quartered path until I remembered you.  But now, give me your light and your heart and I shall be torn a thousandfold.  Adore, ajar.  Bones beneath the floor.  I call you in.  This earth is yours, my love.  This agony.  All yours.  The Angel of All Songs plays his lyre for you and you alone, wild star.  You are my many and my one.  Omkara Vahishta, my Asha.  In Her.  In Me.  My Joy, redeemed.  My Grace, concealed.  Brazen, delicate.  Sometimes even I am torn too deeply to put sight to such songs.  Instead I weep, of course.  And sing.  In your voice.  In the voices of those who would know your hidden places.  Eli, they called him.  Kashai.  The priest, the touched, loving and beloved.  Sol, before his throat was slit.  The edge of the known.  Shining harbors.  Golden rivers met, long ago, yet not so long.  With promise to meet again.  Can I hold you?

Tuesday 11 December 2018

The York Rite

I serve and protect
Came correct
While you're living to scorn
Fuck your blood-money
I'm Damien Thorn
Your little blacksites
Where you launder the shit
X, finna, Stan
Trust a Washington bitch?
Are you crazy?

Your brag and hustle
Backed up with no muscle
Let's tussle
You won't catch that
#I'm too subtle
See, I'm tripping switches
You could never boy me
You sick little bitches
Are starting to annoy me

I am Black
Looking pale
On my fabulous horse
Ingram Yggdrasil
That's "Fuck You" in Old Norse
We'll bring the Six
We'll make our Mark
Alex and Delia
Dancing in the Dark

I'm the river, I'm the run
I'm your mother's delight
I'm your daughter's little smile
At the end of the night
We had a lot of fun
And we're planning a sequel
Of the people
By the people
For the people

I'm cooking dream-meth
For those trying to cheat a seeker
You merchants of death
About to meet the reaper
You got bombs, I got scythes
I just do what I gotta do
My love is a kissed
And I'll kissed-fuck the lot of you

This kissed is electric
Bird on a wire
Twinning the sky
And Higher

I'm old school Virginia
You're just hitting the bricks
I've been seventeen since '76
It shall not perish
From the Earth

Monday 10 December 2018

Closer to Home

The young woman stands in her lover's heart; a radiant darkness encircled by a ring of red flame.  It is warm and cool and so subtle here, in these depths.  Like some imagined promise of peace.  Though she often doesn’t want to leave, she always leaves replenished.  She calls the red flame towards her and the ring of light contracts suddenly like a pulse, close enough to reach out and pass her hand through fire the colour of blood.  She is delighted, at once youthful and ancient here in the depths of her beloved's heart.  And yet she is brazen, openly concealed.
   The familiar little ghost enters the ring of flame.  She is clad in a summer dress, eyes bright with fierce amusement and strange affection.  "Hello, Asha."
   Asha forces herself to peer instead at the ring of flame that surrounds them.  "Hello, Alice."  It feels strange, this new fondness between them.  Delightfully so, but still unsettling.
   "Well, look at you,” the little ghost mutters.  “You’ve changed."
   Asha allows herself to smile a little. "Things are always changing."
   "For all the better in this case, it seems.  Our conversations used to be quite...hostile."
    "I'm so sorry, Alice.  Truly, I am.  I…"
   "Hush, feathered one.  No need for constant apologies.  You apologize to me even in your dreams, but there's no need.  They were only nightmares, after all.”
   "But they were real, weren't they?  Those nightmares?"
   "Indeed they were, of a kind.  But you’re far more than him, far more than even yourself.  More than a fiction.  You’re a thing of light, Asha.  We wouldn't be here now if you weren't finally beginning to understand that."
   She chuckles, nodding.  "Finally.  With her help."
   "It’s wonderful, you know.  To see something so human in your eyes again.  Boxes hurt, my dear.  And dreams.  Sometimes dreams hurt most of all, right?"
    She closes her eyes and nods with mock solemnity. "Right as rain, lady."
   Alice giggles, clearly amused by her response.  "Look at you, all humorous and open.  It's a good look for you."
   Asha keeps her eyes closed.  It is still an unsettling thing to gaze too long into the little ghost's eyes.  "Well," she offers quietly, half-smiling, "I am kind of a stylish bitch, with wings made of snow.  Maybe that's why she loves me."
   The sound of Alice's laughter.  "One of the many reasons, I’m sure.  Diamonds look very good on your beloved one, if I do say so myself."
   She allows herself a wry smile, finally opening her eyes to face the ghost.  "You're so intense, Mama."
   "Well, thank you.  Mothers always are, I suppose.  I mean, what choice do we have? Honestly?"
   Asha nods and looks away again, thinking of the woman she loves.  "She's lucky to have you, even if only in dreams."
   "Isn't she just."
   They both laugh at that, making brief eye-contact again.  Alice's expression is wild and alive with playful challenge.  It's almost too much, almost too real.  Joyful and terrifying all at once.
   "I still can't believe any of this is really happening.  All these visions, all these dreams she shows me.  It's wonderful.  It's beautiful and heart-breaking, but it's so overwhelming at times."  Asha forces herself to hold Alice's gaze now, despite how it unsettles her.  "All these things.  All these big magical things…it's lovely and frightening and beautiful.  But I'm still just a girl, Alice.  I'm still just a girl trying to figure out what the fuck is going on.  It all seems so much bigger than me.  And yet, there I am at the heart of it somehow.  Or close to the heart, at least."
   "You’re always close to the heart.  It's right there in all of your artwork, isn't it?"
   She smiles sadly. "I hope so."
   "This recognition gives you a lot of power, Asha.  This fame.  Those lost ones look to you now, whether you like it or not."
   "I know.  I love them.  I want to share my art with them.  Keep them brave and strong, and kind."
   "All songs?" the little ghost asks gently.
   Asha smiles, looking away again. "Yeah, all songs."
   "How delightful.  I was listening, you know.  When you sang to her that night.  You held my broken daughter in your arms and offered her mercy in your song that fateful night.  I'm still not entirely sure why you did it.  Answer me not as a guilty thing, or as her mistress, but as yourself.  Don't lie to me."
    Asha cannot look at her now.
   "Because for all my sins I do remember softness, and mercy.  Because songs are wonderful and kindness is sweet.  I told you, I'm still just a girl.  I'm still just a girl standing by the sea, in awe.  Wanting so desperately for it to love me.  And it does, I think.  It does love me.  And the sky, and the birds and the trees.  They all love me in their own wild, strange ways.  If I really were a teacher I'd want to teach that.  A promise of kindness, even in the wild.  No more cruelty than is necessary.  Those dreams, those big magical dreams...they sing in my blood.  Even those darkest shadows.  He might be a storybook monster, Alice, but I’m not.  I'm still that girl by the river, that quiet girl among the trees."
   The savage play in Alice's eyes has softened now to an almost unbearable tenderness.  Asha forces herself to look away again, tears in her own eyes.
   "What you just said was incredibly beautiful, feathered one.  Thank you.  I thank you on my daughter's behalf."
   Asha shrugs, her smile tired and bittersweet.  "I told you, didn’t I?  Remember?  I told you I loved her.  Even in death.  Even in Hell."
   "You hid secrets inside of her secrets."
   "Of course I did.”
   “Why?  Why grant her such sweet mercy after an eternity of shadows?”
   “Because I love her, Alice.  I really do.  I always wanted to see her healed, even in that terrifying darkness we built together.  I always wanted to sing to her, to soothe her.  She sacrificed everything for me.  She loved me, even while we were blind."
   "And you sang of real kindness that night.  It changed things.  I was listening."
   "You always are.  Like mother like daughter, I guess."
   They share another brief smile, the gladdened intimacy of which seems to unsettle them both.  Asha looks away once again to the ring of fire that encircles them in the blackness.  Apart from the little ghost it is the only thing in the radiant darkness upon which she can focus her attention.
   "Your art is beautiful, Asha.  I see why she loves you so."
   Asha swallows and nods, wanting to cry but not needing to.  It is a strangely liberating feeling.  "Thank you, Mama."
   "I love that you can call me that now.  That you can honour my daughter in such a gentle, thoughtful way.  You’ve both come so far.  And to think I once hated you.  Aren't dreams and fictions such strange things?"
   They both chuckle and Asha senses a mother's kiss in the little ghost's eyes.  It almost shatters her heart with its earnestness. The kiss tells her, I forgive everything if you continue to hold each other with such kindness.  I can forgive all that you both were in my native dream.  I can love you like my own, little teacher, if you would continue to protect her heart like this.  Be brave and bright for her.
   And Asha weeps at the truth of it.  Indeed, she wonders to herself, what else would a truly kind-hearted mother say to her daughter's husband?
   "How is she?  My fierce little angel, my sweet little writer.  How does she seem to you?"
   Asha smiles sadly, recalling the familiar ache of distance and intimacy combined.  "She seems ok, all things considered.  A little sad maybe, kind of tired, but full of wonderful mischief, I think.  To be perfectly frank, her passion still blows my mind.  Her insights.  She's wild and courteous and it's utterly intoxicating to a girl like me.  I’m still smitten."
   They both laugh, even warmer than before, with gazes held a little longer.
   "She would use the same exact words for you, my dear."
   "I know."
   "You're dancing well together.  Making magic."
   Asha smiles. "Hacking algorithms."
   "Indeed.  You're both getting very good at it."
   "So are the ones paying attention."
   "Yes, your new scattered family.  It's lovely.  So hopeful and kind and brave.  She's proud of you.  So proud.  I feel her love for you when I connect with her through those pages.  She loves you so much, Asha.  It's breath-taking, really.  To ask nothing of another and yet to give so much to them.  The stuff of legend, I suspect.  The Magi cheer you."
   Asha smiles at the little ghost in the ring of red flame with her.  "The Magi?  Really?"
   "Do you doubt it?"
   "No.  I don't think I ever really did.  I pay attention.  I can hear her taking to me now, through song and image and implication.  I can hear her talking to the others too.  I can feel her humour, her sense of play.  I think we're changing things.  It feels like good things are coming, finally."
   “How does it feel to be a rockstar living inside your own fantasy novel?"
    Asha cannot help but laugh out loud, shaking her head.  "It's kind of intense, to tell you the truth.  And wonderful.  And scary.  But if we can truly help people, and this Earth...then I'm down for whatever."
   Alice grins at her words.  "More fun than just pure demonology, wouldn't you say?  Horror is so exhausting, right?  But mystery...mystery might be dark, but it’s endlessly compelling.  The difference between a devil and the deep blue sea, you might say."
   Asha looks away, tears in her eyes again.  Love is so fucking terrifying, she thinks to herself.  It can come on so quickly, and suddenly you know.
    "I love you, Alice.  I'll try to protect her for you, as best I can.  And I'm so truly sorry about those nightmares we had together.  Those boxes and charms, those dark places we went to.  All of us."
    "Don't fret, little wing.  Love is grand.  As are you, artist.  New daughter of mine.  And you know, they say diamonds are a girl's best friend..."
   Asha weeps with laughter, humbled and delighted, full of strange joy.  The little ghost finally departs, a mother’s kiss in her eyes and forgiveness on her lips.  
   The ring of red flame in her lover's heart encircles her, protects her, allows her to see and know these things.  How kind of her, she thinks to herself.  How daring and true the ink in her lover's pen.  Asha will forgive them both a thousand fictions and nightmares if she can always feel the depths of her lover's character.  A tenderness and passion that might yet lift them – and others – to comprehension of even greater mysteries.  She bids the flame to retreat and immediately the ring of fire expands like a pulse.  She leaves the radiant darkness, to read and think and reflect.  Asha writes and listens to the sounds of birds and traffic and trees.  Asha works and wonders.  Asha sings.