Poem: Lost Lady of the Library

words-labyrinth.jpg

Letter, letters, letters – words received via mail

That can spear or save a heart, I, this lone woman,

Have been waiting. They will not see the likes of my

Grief again – stabbed and impaled on many a pen

*

My sisters they do not understand,

With empty heads and flirting hands,

Better they were trapped in some loveless marriage,

Than kept alive to torment me

*

Don’t you see the spittle on their silken gowns –

They way they bray like toothless, slobbering hounds,

Trussed up and misaligned in fashion’s untenable manacles?

*

I am glad I am not thus;

That god did not misalign my judgement

To make of me a painted harlot

*

What have I to wait for?

I do not flirt with hands,

But a stream of words –

Words, that, strung together,

Become as molecular rivulets of opium

To soothe my stirring blood

*

Oh, blithe and inalienable nepenthe of literature!

You are the only thing that cuddles me when I have

No arms to hold me; you are the only things that reminds

Me the sun stills beats when winter casts its thorns about me

*

They all mock and laugh at me –

Indeed, call me ‘Spinster of the Library!’

And what worldly wealth have I to deny it?

I am married to my books – I cannot unproof it –

I find my husband’s arms in the lisping torrent

Of pages; in footnotes and marginalia I see the

Remainder of all those conversations I’ve never

Had, and most like, never shall

*

Why do I read?

Books speak to me when no one else does,

Books satisfy me when nothing else does,

Books take all the confusion and misery of

The world, and offer them up as delectable

Jewels – fragments of a shark’s broken teeth,

That are all the better for being shark-stricken

*

And, if I keep on reading, I hope that those words

Will mute the pain of the awareness that no words

Come to me from others – that I play a marginal role

In a play with no other characters

*

And when I am dead, I will still be here –

Then they’ll not call me ‘Spinster’ but –

‘The Lost Lady of the Library,’ – and I’ll

Be a comfort for all those that love to learn;

But to those that returneth letters not, I’ll be

As a scourge, a curse; I’ll be the maggots that

Brew in the throats of those that are unworthy,

Whose vengeful quills prick out the spark of each

And every bubbling hope; when the hangman’s not

Near, I’ll be the rope – and when suicide is least

Expected, it is then meet that I will have it staged

*

But though this librarian, irrevocably, be lost,

I am not graduated to ghosthood yet,

So I will cast myself on a bonfire of letters,

And carry myself to bed.

*

 

Advertisements

Poem: A Winter’s Tale

winter

Winter’s Tale, winter’s tale,

Bodies grouped into bed – Chinese,

Tibetan, brick-oven mattress, keeping

Their bodies warm. We clap if we think

There are ghosts around – ghosts need

Applause

 *

Spices fill the air, vapours of

Cinnamon, cloves, cloven hooves,

Mulled wines and smoked viands,

Purling down the hall, rolling up

Chimneys to exchange greetings with

A night crisp and cold as a frost giant’s

Thumbs

*

What will the norns have to say

About this? They have kept my

Fate simmering in the larder for

Longer than I can remember, my

Family crumpled together, like

Skeletons in a crypt

*

Chinese, Tibetans – but certainly

We are in London – the mayor flicks

His yak-tail whisk, and hides himself

Under many skins –

Offerings to the Mountain Gods

*

“I am but one man – a friend

Called me a medieval bard – but

I have all of Tibet and China within

Me; perhaps, too, samples of Mongolia,

And blizzard-faced Siberia, where my

Throat-singing can still be heard.

 *

“I should like to go to some fireside

Tavern, and tan my hide into the devil’s

Leather.

*

“You see, he’s just been misunderstood.

We need the devil as much we need that

Which shuts him out.”

*

My cloven hooves clattered over

Cobblestones, streaky sludge from

Mysterious snow, where the wisteria

Faintly grows

*

I lay down in the cold.

I wanted to die.

I wanted my follicles to be

Fingered with the flame of

Every piercing frost.

 *

And lo! The Lord of Frosts

Appeared before me in his

Glistering kingdom. He set

The sails astrand that lets

Every mucker know, his

Iceberg would soon come

Into land.

 *

 “But my family!” I pleaded.

“My wife and her daughters

Are all squeezed into bed in

One Tudor room!

How will they escape you?

How will they fly from

Pneumonia’s embrace?”

 *

“They won’t,” said the Lord

Of Frosts, coldly. “All freeze

Whom I dare to freeze. And

Have I not frozen? Your case

Is lost with me.”

 *

“Please,” I begged him. “Is there

Nothing I can do to save them?

Take me – not them!”

*

The King of Frosts was not

To be appeased. He had a

Hunger for human women.

He wanted to feel their skin

Cripple beneath the

Tenebrosity of his arctic flesh.

A disgusting rapist of the realms.

Yet he dared call himself lord!

*

But then he had a thought:

*

“I have never experienced this

Thing called ‘heat.’ He said to

The man. “Give us leave to

Wear your body, and perhaps

Thy wife and daughters will be

Spared.”

*

“Perhaps?!” cavilled the man.

“Am I to lease my life on the

Crumb of a perhaps?!”

*

“What man can promise

Any kind of certainty

In a world such as this?

Take what I give you.

Perhaps they will be

Spared.”

 *

The man nodded his assent.

*

Casting his soul out with a

Scream, The Lord of Frosts

Took habitation in his body,

And instantly founding it wanting

 In pleasance. But he knew this was

Only because he knew not heat.

Hence, findeth heat he must.

 *

II.

The man, meanwhile, was in

 A graveyard of shivers. Arctic

Demons sang out in symphonic

Shrieks to towering snowmen –

To Kings of Death, and Queens

Of Hate.

*

They ushered his chill soul

Into their almighty halls,

Racing through with blistering

Winds, and immense ravens with

Jet plane wings.

*

“We loves the cold,

We loves the old,

We cuddle death,

And the wind’s palsied breath!

 *

“We loves the snow,

We loves the frost,

Into the icy sea,

You will be tossed!”

 *

Thus, they tossed him into

The sea. He would try to cleave

His way out, but the only adjacent

Landmass was an archipelago of

Madmen, who would throw him

Back in again, laughing, every time

He tried to come aboard.

*

III.

Meanwhile, The King of Frosts

Acclimatized himself to human flesh;

To the misery of chilblains, and the constant

Hell of living in an environment,

Never intended for life.

*

“Oh wifey! Oh kiddies!” he crooned

Down barrel-dragon streets. Drunkards

Lurched glaringly out of newspapers,

And tawny owls screeched above; a

Midnight curse to all they do not

Love.

*

IV.

At last, he found his house.

He walked up the sooty stairs,

Screeching at any guardians of

The threshold who might prohibit

His malfeasance.

 *

His wife and kids were on the

Second floor, crammed into a

Four-poster bed. In a palace, faraway,

A Haydn oratorio was carousing the night

Air. But, this was not a palace – just a den

Of sleep.

*

The Winter Demon could see inside

The dreams of the children. They

Dreamt of the redemption of hunger –

Of larders overwrought with cakes, and

Jellies, pastries, and hard toffees. No

Cinnamon smoked here – just the parlous

Perfume of ice.

 *

The Winter Demon tried to see his

New wife’s dreams. But

Her dreams were only whispers

Of a plea, degraded into

Sepia – A Husband’s Return

 *

The Frost King loomed over

The bed. He saw the piled-up

Coverlets, and was reminded

Of an avalanche – a love letter

From Abomination.

*

“Pneumonia, my pretties! Sweet

Lung-spattering pneumonia!”

 *

“Stop that muttering, Henry Giles,”

Murmured his missus from the bastion

Of the covers, “and get into bed! Your

Heads all a-muddle from

Those night-terror colds! Get

In here where it’s snug and

Warm!”

*

“Warmth!” The Frost King drooled.

“That’s why I’m here!”

At his wife’s insistence, he stripped

Off his sodden, slush-soaked clothes,

And crawled into bed beside her. He

Did not know what to do. He had never

Shared a bed with a human woman

Before, except in the catharsis of

Death.

 *

But the wife directed him. She

Cradled her soft, fat body against

Him, his loins nestled betwixt her

Buttocks like toad-in-the-hole. Then

She took his hands, and sternly clasped

Them to her milksome breasts.

 *

“There you are, my dear!” she said,

Delighted. “That’ll warm you up! Just

You hold on tight, and those winter

Demons won’t plague my Henry

No more!”

*

“But I AM a Winter Demon!”

The frost king wailed miserably.

*

“Of course you are, my dear!”

Missus Henry cosseted him.

“Now, you just snuggle up

With your missus, now, and

We’ll see if we can’t thaw

That winter demon out!”

*

V.

And, true enough, the Winter

Demon melted like butter in

The arms of his wife. And, except

For a little sniffle every now and

Then, no more was said about

It.

*

But, what of poor Henry Giles?

Was his soul still floundering at

The Bottom of the Ocean being

Snapped at by sea demons?

I shall leave that for the reader

To decide. Otherwise:

*

It’s all in winter’s night, my friend,

All in winter’s night!

 

 

Poem: Just Talk

donad

My cock hasn’t felt

This rock hard

Since I last killed a man

It was a splendiferous night

Red wine

Making me feel fine

As you roasted in the oven

But all of this is just talk

You know I’m a tender-hearted vixen really

I don’t want the blood of the dead

I want the blood of the living

Flowing through the arteries

Of all forms of life

Like a corpuscular wife

Loving you

Into

Being

 

Poem: The Beautiful Chef

cauldron-of-the-sorceress-1879

How can I

Take this sorrow

This pain

This agony

And turn it

Into something

Beautiful?

I set the cauldron bubbling

And, climbing in

I take off my skin

My organs

My limbs

My bones

All of my memories

All of my experiences

I take them off

And throw them into

That bubbling morass

Churning it into

A milky froth

I see all of the pain

Of a million lifetimes

Horrifyingly distilled

Into a fetid ooze

The kind of maleficent syrup

Sadistic Victorians

Would feed to their children

I turn up the heat

And wait for my soul to scald

Waiting for the vajras

Waiting for the diamonds

And waiting for the body

That knows no body

But I feel helpless

Hopeless

And ignorant

I need a professional chef

Who will know just how

To prepare me

Season me

Cook me

Please

Let me be a tasty dish

That the universe will want to consume

 I want so much

To be a part of everything again

To be one with everything again

Instead of feeling

Like a despicable morsel

No one would want to eat

Let alone smell

I need help

I need a culinary expert

Who knows

How to tame the spirit

And make it sacred

Because at the moment

In this loving demon’s arms

I simply do not know how

To make this rotting dish

Beautiful

At all

 

POEM: Insidious Silk

spider

The day you’ve been waiting for

Has finally arrived

How long have you been

Wrapped up

In this insidious silk?

Trapped in this web

With no means of escape?

But just as the spider approaches

Time seizes him

And tears him to pieces

Now your silken prison

Has become a silken gown

And your noose

A sacred scarf

You can die happy

In such opulence

As the contentment of freedom

Squeezes your breath away

Poem: Descent into The Atrocious Palace of Yamantaka

YamYam

Heaven and Hell

Are exactly the same

It just all depends

Whether you let the flames

Heal you

Or destroy you

Though they must destroy you

Before they can begin to heal you

I descend into

The Hall of Abominations

Climbing up –

So many heaps of corpses

So many heaps of gold

Desolate gongs

Throng with oscillations

Cleaving the air

Into merciless ripples

Reaching the inglorious throne room

Yamantaka

The Father of Deathlessness

Bathes in a corona of atrocity

Cleansing himself in the scalding flames

Whilst ravenously merging with

His hideous consort

Swimming, mouth open

Through galaxies and galaxies of blood

My transformation is incomplete

But insanely exquisite

Sitting down at the table

I eat Sunday Lunch with my parents

As though nothing has happened

Knowing I will return

When my heart mantra sings

Poem: The Violence of Waiting

Shadow

I come into my room

Where the scent of piss

Wafts across the chaise lounge

Nailed up cupids

Disdaining to swear

Lavish the carpet

With their broken teeth

Uniting dentists in yearning

Who can put that brush

Between the gravid teeth

Of my ambition?

Music catastrophizing through my veins

And longing to be sung

I’d feed you my skin

If you could make it all happen

But let’s not turn corrupt

 Through The Violence of Waiting

Mouthed words of violence

Seduce me from my golden tomb

And you’ll find me

In The Palace of Nimrud

Lying in a pile of coats

Until the party’s over

Poem: World’s End

Stained

The sacred will become mundane

The Pyramids of Giza

Will be turned into gift shops

And the Parthenon

Will rehouse

 A shopping mall

Machu Picchu –

Isn’t that just the best place

For a rotating restaurant?

But then the calamity will come

Archaeologists will walk through Aldi

Thinking it a temple of the unknown ancients

Where offerings were stacked out

In neat little aisles

And the priests had nametags

And conveyor-belt altars

On which discount hieroglyphs were inscribed:

World’s End

World’s Never End

World Without End

Poem: Swallowing Darkness

darkness

Every evening it comes again

And insists on tearing me to pieces

Who can hide from invisible jaws

The come dripping from the Moon’s milk?

When in pain

The only sincere thing

Is to be in pain

And look the raven right in the eye

Before he eats your own