Death As A Woman: An Ode

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I.

Death approaches like a beautiful woman,

Long silken sweeps of her dress sashaying,

Something lovely, but far from human,

A picture of beauty, never decaying,

Yet decaying anyway – festering – burning –

Inflamed by the desire to be something else,

Yet the majesty of being here is returning,

And the melody of the moment fails to melt

The longing for stability in a body still shaking,

Inability to surrender to a pain hardly won,

A boy in the dying – an artist in the making,

The web of experience is unforgivingly spun;

And Death, as a Woman, pulls me to her breast,

Unshackles her waistband, and begins to undress

II.

And there, in her nudity, Death’s lovely form,

Is not cold and spiteful, but voluptuous and warm,

Inviting, and seductive – a thing fully fleshed,

A toxin-crazy fire,

Of invidious desire,

Forfeits me of the skin in which I’m carelessly enmeshed

III.

She has been known by many names:

Lamia – Circe – Christabel –

Persephone of the Underworld – Queen of Hell

Of everlasting allure and malicious fame –

 A murderess for sure – whatever the name!

IV.

O, but we lust for her – cannot be without her!

We only value our veins when from them she’s drank

More than we can give; cannot revoke the offer,

And our once youthful vitality becomes sinister and rank,

Until we see ourselves in the mirror – hollowed-out half-demons,

Sisters of the Grave, and Brothers of the Shore,

Delirious and twitching with delirium tremens,

Eat us with your kisses – give us some more!

You syphilitic hussy – all white and lovely –

Curving with a smoothness that kills all it feels,

The more beautiful you become, the more we grow ugly,

And our lease on living is salaciously repealed,

Tooth-marked and skinless, love teachingly betrays,

Marries us to Murder – measures us for the Grave

V.

Ah, but lovely woman, I cannot leave you there!

Haughtily vaunting over our sepulchre,

You are innocence and sin, orgiastically combined;

You do not just kill us, but make us refined,

Sisters of the Grave, yes, but Brothers of Rebirth,

From eggs hatching,

Caught, but never catching,

You execute us, perfectly, without needing to rehearse

VI.

Thus, with hands clawing up out of the ground,

Caked with sod,

And Caducean rod,

I emerge victorious – from death unbound

From mortality lost – by eternity found

 

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Poem: The Ballad of the River Usk

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I.

Wild demons are abroad tonight,

Feasting upon the absence of light,

Lurching, and twisting, and pulling wry faces,

Seizing the energy your fear displaces

II.

On a night such as this, I sail down the river

To seek forgiveness from an unholy forgiver;

The River Usk, a Styx and a Lethe became,

To the underworld I descended, with only the flame

III.

Of the amber-spun moon flaming over my head,

A sky-burning candle, guiding my quest,

The water is like oil – a riverine road –

An aqueous voyage to the land of the dead

IV.

Sailing onwards, even the darkness grows darker,

A thick fog of nothingness stifles my eyes,

Yet still through that darkness, I see the outline of ruins,

Palaces that crumbled before they e’er could rise

V.

Yet rise yet he does from that oily darkness,

Algae drips from him, reeking of death,

His visage is the very imagery of starkness,

Rotten teeth in his mouth – no eyes in his head

VI.

An eye is handed to him by a faithful assistant,

An orb of pure vision that sees more than I,

He howls and he brays as it burns into his socket,

He moans, he trembles, he screams, and he sighs

VII.

And issues a hiss of ungodly utterance:

“What does this mortal want with me?”

But before I can tremblingly answer, he says:

“You need not tell me – The Eyeball – it sees!”

VIII.

And what did it see, this eyeball omniscient?

What embryo of agony did it spy in my soul?

What did it see, so morbidly efficient –

Making it pulse, twitch, writhe and roll?

IX.

Could it see all my sins – my scarified errors –

Or was it an omen of disfigured prophecy?

Could it witness the fruition of all my terrors?

O, whatever, O ever, could that terrible eye see?

X.

But The Demon King just laughed at the scream of my tension,

Each of his laughs like a murder of crows,

An otherworldly laugh of unknown intension,

A tumour that hurts the more that it grows

XI.

I shivered in the face of these loveless decibels,

I thirsted for mercy – anticipating none –

I heard the ringing of bells from unholy churches,

I felt as though my good deeds had all been undone

XII.

Undone, undone, and spun into evil,

The purity of my love distorted to hate,

Yet still I loved on – loved on in that darkness,

Beating my heart ‘gainst a barbed-wire gate

XIII.

“What will you do if these gates burst asunder?

What will you do?” the Demon mocked with glee,

“What will you do with that heart-forging thunder?”

And once more The Demon King laughed at me

XIV.

And I had no idea what I would do,

No idea what I would do if my love were set free,

If all of my dreams were liberated from hell,

And returned, like swallows, back to me

XV.

I cried, and I wept, and sobbed in a frenzy,

Clawing at my skin, as if to escape,

Anything to be liberated from this eternal tension,

Eternally falling in a mouth grossly agape

XVI.

But then the Demon’s grin turned into a grimace,

His bones from his body began to break out,

A rupture of entrails – thus I morbidly singeth –

Oh, his agonizing bones – they came out – they came out!

XVII.

He screamed in agony – blood from him erupting

Blood coursing from his eyes in rivers of pain,

And from that squalid darkness corrupting,

Emerged a bright light – a lucent white flame

XVIII.

That filled the caverns of Hades with almighty wonder,

Devils and demons all dream-makers became,

The oily River Usk turned a magical color,

And the joy in my heart sang freely again

XIX.

But whether Love could triumph in hell’s temporary oblivion,

That my tale cannot foresee;

Heaven is a mysterious and scary abysm;

And my Dreams are their own private agonies

XX.

So, I’ll stay here, and linger a while in the forest,

Stay here and sing with the birds in the trees,

Stay here, straining to hear the winds whisper

If ever my love is meant to be.

 

Poem: Lost Lady of the Library

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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.

*

 

Poem: The Epic of The Accidental Prophet

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There is no relief from love – no

Sacred anaesthetic, that can in anyway

Mute its torrential rages – no, nor nothing

Assuage, that to which, with torrid heart, my

Soul doth cleave. Afflicted with this chronic

Diathesis, I long to kiss your face,

Like a hunter longs to kill;

I try and sit and meditate –but

Your absence eviscerates me – it

Torments me – and in a rash, unskilled,

Surgery, it tips all the organs from

Out of my love-sick body, and piles

Them up before you, like a skyscraper of

Agony – perhaps we could play Jenga

With those exiled parts of my body,

And the first one to make my

Organs collapse, will be the one

To win my heart – but I fear

Being subjected to such chance superstition;

There is only one person to whom I wish

To give my heart – Everybody else

Must wait in line, until my

Madness has come to an end.

For I am mad – did I not tell you

I was love-sick? This is no psychosis,

No base schizophrenia, no bipolar, no

Sociopathy, no hypothalamic disorder – this

Is The King of Maladies – The Emperor

Of Madness – The Empress of Insanity –

For love is much akin to the uncapped

Lusts of empire: it puts no limit to

Things – but, in an ever-expanding, yet

Equally restrictive monomania, it contaminates

All things with the persuasion of its

Madness, until we no longer know the meaning

Of Reason.

II.

But, there is a faculty, that makes it

A stranger sickness still – the victim

Does not wish to be cured of his

Ills, but only to get sicker and

Sicker.

I was healthy once –

Now, to sickness I am committed.

When I am with you, and you

Seduce me with your silence, all is peace,

But the violence beats out most terribly, the

Moment your being is cast away from

Me. Oh, unkind goodbyes! Aching, evil,

Inevitability of Parting!

Loneliness has befriended me much, in mine

Short life – I have had much occasion

To occupy the desolate comfort, of its

Wasted confines. Now I know the definition

Of loneliness – it is defined by your absence –

From this I have deduced the meaning of

Peace – it is defined by the power of your

Presence

III.

My body is simply not strong enough to

Withstand a love as big as this. My old

Body must be destroyed, to make room

For something tougher. My spirits come

To me in the early morning, and treat me with

Lascivious cruelty – they convulse my body,

Rending it into agonizing positions – contorting

Me into postures of excruciating pain, all in aid

Of this one stated mission:

“To let love in –

To let love in –

Oh, Reuben, with your tiny bones! –

Serenader of space, an aspirant towards

Ungainly tombs – you must be rent;

Prescribed with torment – to let this love

In. For a love like this is not conducive to

Stable security, and hale good health: we

Must kill you, and lay you low;

We must make of you a towering

Inferno; a bonfire in which an effigy of

Your past self can be burnt – a

Sacrificial officiant to the future – for

This is a second coming, just as there is a

Third coming, a fourth coming, and a

Fifty-thousandth coming – so must

You be prepared! We will grind your

Bones to mercury – powder your heart

To cinnabar; we will pulverize your agonies

Into a crystalline consistency, we can sniff like

Cocaine, through our celestial nostrils: for, as you

Long – so we long for you!

We visit you nightly – we are addicted

To your agonies – to your ecstasies – to

The imperishable truth we find impounded

In every last one of your love-stricken

Selves.

Hurry up, sisters! God speed you!

We must kill him! Pull off his arms,

And throw them over there! Take off his

Legs, and throw them over there! Now! –

With this de-timbered torso, we can begin

The installation process. Hand me my scissors!

Hand me my knives! We must sever the umbilical

Cord that keeps him mired in

Any blasphemous notion of predictability, and

Suspend him in the joyous depth, of death, forever

And ever! Oh, you’ll like it there, Rube – where

Every moment, is an eternity of madness – in which

Strength is defined by the extent to which you

Surrender – in which your power is determined by

How much you let yourself be dismembered – Remember! –

YOU PRAYED FOR THIS:

Your prayed to be intoxicated, to be abominated,

By love – and now we bring your gifts, most

Terribly, like a man who gets a guillotine,

When all he wanted was a butter knife. So,

You want a wife, do you? Then let it be this! –

Let this be the marriage of Life and Death – a

Matrimonial alliance between Order and Chaos – between

All contrary opposites, that must be brought

To breed – yes, indeed!

This is just what you need!

And, never has a prayer been answered

So agonizingly, as this for which you so

Wretchedly prayed – Ah! Do not dismay! –

For once we have crushed you, and processed

You through the manufactory of endless non-

Confinement – (though the price might be

Exorbitant) – you will come out the

Other side, equipped with powers, greater

Than can be fathomed – this isn’t The Chemical

Wedding of Guildenstern and Rosencrantz – but

The abominable wedding of Heaven with Earth – of

Cruelty with mirth – of master with serf – of

Death with birth. Chaos is nothing to be

Afraid of – it is just a cocktail in

The making.

But, if you do fear something,

Fear love – fear love, whose

Mighty arms can bring all things

To utter destruction, with the most tender

And affectionate, of caresses – it lays

Cities to waste with its panted breath – tears

The world in twain through the rumblings of its

Quaking-heart – when it has sex, whole universes

Collide – it crushes planets, into powder, it

Sniffs up its nose – just as we, your Dakinis,

Have chosen to do with yours.

Oh, ungovernable lust of being to

Non-being! Oh, holy anguishments, with

Which the sky is rent! – liberate this boy

From the corpse of his body, and let him

Be, irrevocably commanded:

TO LET LOVE IN!

TO LET LOVE IN!

TO LET LOVE IN!”

IV.

With the roar of these words, I

Was struck with thunder – my head

Was immediately lopped off, and my

Organs committed to the torturous workings

Of a sausage maker.

A parade of beautiful demons – each one

Most luscious, in their toothsome grotesqueness –

Carried me, swingingly, up The Holy Mountain.

It was the darkest night of the year, where wizards

Consign one another to darkling realms, and you can

Hear The Black Eagle, ascend from the depths, to

Thrust his talons,

Into The Holy Mountain.

Up on top, in his nest, composed of

Gnarled thorns, Ekajati sits – she

Is the most ancestral shamaness:

Her skin is a venous blue, plastered together

From the cyanosis, and suffocation, of a

Thousand breathless worlds. Both her eyes

Have been stolen from her skull – she

Sacrificed them to The Black Eagle –

All she has left, is a throbbing orb,

Betwixt her brows, that has no iris,

No pupil – a pulsating, glaucous, sightless

Thing, that can see farther than all

The eyes in the world.

She wears no clothing – only the savage

Vestments of stolen bones, which clash

Together most atonally, as she dances

To the beat of your heart.

She has only one breast, affixed to

The middle of her chest.

And now, taking your tubercular

Skeleton, lovingly in her arms, she raises its

Tips, those skinless lips, to athirst from her

Shrivelled old tit – the nipples from which,

The diabolical milk of enlightenment, is to be

Wrung, and wrung, and

Wrung.

V.

I woke myself up, and found myself

On the darksome banks of a river.

I took up my staff, and clashed it

Against some boulders –

Instantaneously, wine flowed

Out of it in jucious cataracts –

This wine spread out, through the

Veins of the universe, and thus nourished

The hearts of all living things. All beings

Were re-married to their most sacred selves –

People no longer lived their lives in parts;

But in wondrous, wondrous fusion.

Love abounded. Disease was terminated.

Wars ended. And Peace emerged Victorious,

Quickly bathing itself, in these torrents of

Wine, which divested it of the agony of the

Convulsive fits, it needed to propel itself

Here.

I was raised aloft, on the jubilant arms

Of my people.

The cheering was so loud, throughout

All the realms, the music of the spheres

Was deafened, and not even a dog-food jingle,

Among the din could be heard. On this wave of

Jubilation, I was carried through the streets, through

Dales, mountains, rivers, and ghastly palisades,

Until my beard became of the costliest white, and

My hair turned a luminous gold. But I was not

Old – but a shiver of time – an Ancient of

Days, who, in seeking out a cure for his

Malaise, had accidentally cured the universe

Itself.

VI.

But, once the drinking started,

And the festival was properly

Initiated, I found myself still

Feeling alone. I looked to my

Subjects, from my mountain top, in

Which the sky was my palace, and I asked

Myself: “How is it that they have been freed?

That all of them have found their places, their

Eternal flames, their partners, their heroes, and

Their fragrant belle dames – and yet I, their

Infernal liberator, am still held in the thrall of

Sadness; still robed in grief; still adorned with

Tongueless silence; and still sung to by a peaceless

Peace? Is this simply how the universe must

Subsist? That, in order for all beings to be

Jubilant, one man must perpetuatingly

Grieve?”

Issuing his plaint to the auroral

Sanctuaries of heaven, He betook

Himself from his Sky Palace, upon

His palatial mountain, and endured

Years of fatal wanderings; trembling

Over craggy landscapes, on which no

Feet had ever stood – and still

He heard the Dakinis warble –

“TO – LET – LOVE – IN!”

VII.

One day, while the prophet

Was still wandering in his quenchless

Solitude, he had betaken himself from

His heights, to the lowest of uninhabitable

Regions. “Perhaps nothingness is to be

My only bride?” he thought. “I spend my

Days, thronged with catalogues of ancient

Goddesses, like Ekajati, and noble

Kurukulla, while, daily, the earth rises

From its slumber to greet me. But

Where is the flesh of my flesh? The

Spirit of my spirit? The bones of my

Bones? Perhaps I shall find it here,

Where nothing is ever found – where

There is nothing but toil and groans; where,

Like Ezekiel, I shall spend small eternities,

Lying on my left side, until my arms have

Rotted down to their roots, and nothing

Ever feels right.”

IX.

To my left were some geysers,

And muddy pools, which, to the recollection

Of even the hardiest historian, had always

Lain in waste.

As I slept, and the stars furnished the

Heavens with the possibilities of sad stories

Of stranger solitudes, even further removed than

This one – stories untold – stories of entire

Races of peoples housed in just one unhappy

Soul, and where parched deserts span entire

Planets, billowing through the heavens, in

Search of moisture, to redeem their insatiable

Thirst – it was then, that I, the forgotten Prophet

Of Oddiyana, heard those geysers come back

To life.

It began subtly – the muddy pools heated up

In extremity, until they boiled, and the earth

Suddenly uprose with prismatic flames, that

Jettisoned colours across the horizon. I got

Up, and invigorated with energy of euphoric

Scope, I danced at this display, unravelling

My robes in an expression of delight, until

I was as naked as the unclothed morning. It

Was at that crossroads – these rainbows flames

Projecting new stars for themselves – that I met

The tumultuous resurgence of Hope;

For there is always more hope to be had,

When there is more eternity to be groped.

X.

But, I still had greater sights to behold – for,

Out of this bleeding mass of symphonic earth, a

Face began to form. Not the face of giantess, or titan,

Seeking emancipation from its stony agonies – but

The face of a female passenger through time, who

Bore the markings of beauty eternal.

Though I expected the face to be wrought

With pain, so fearsomely did the earth shake,

No trace of discomfort was to be seen: only

The first gleanings of a twilight peace, that

Could somehow bear the fiery blasts of hell, as

The sunstroke of paradise.

With great screams of earth, this new

Aeon of being began to arise; and,

Recoiling from the screaming, the earth

Blasted, severed, and broke out in

Colossal eruptions, like a lady in labour,

Who finds herself giving birth to a child,

Too big for her to bear. I cast myself

Against the crumbling ground, and

Withstood this fiery fury of earth, ‘til

These eruptions had come to an

End.

XI.

Abruptly, the labours of Gaia

Came to a close. I took my

Fear-bound, sand-encrusted eyes from

The Earth, in which they had been enclosed;

Looking before me, I found my heart clenched

At a beauteous sight: there, before me, what once

Had been fury in embryonic flame, had now

Congealed itself into a stately goddess – eyes,

Which has been pupil-less as Ekajati’s, were now

Traced with an ethereal blue, of pallid hue – a head,

Which had once been as bald as the ground from which

It was crafted, was now ignited with a pall of

Hair, hanging glassine against her

Alabaster neck. Clad in Grecian dress,

And holding a bony wand of embrous pearl, in

Her hand, I recognized the markings of mine

Own.

I clung to her, and cried out to

The Heavens, so that every last bejewelled

Galaxy might know:

“Flesh of my flesh!

Spirit of my spirit!

Bones of my bones!”

Taking her trembling hand, and,

Journeying to the virgin stars,

The flames had created,

I took her back to my sky palace,

Where love was finally

Let in.

 

Poem: Medievalism, Oh!

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Oh, glorious, glorious gloom!

You give me so much more room

To manoeuvre

My strange, windy ways

I’d much rather an underworld

To a glittery sky palace;

Give me those burning pathways of fire

Those strange canopies of skin

From unknown bestials derived

It is a horrid factory of immaculate earth

Churning out planets in manufactured succession

The torment of tears

In every galactic eye

I ascend the bruised mountain

Searching through its scarred face

To find the erotic teachings of the past

This is my bestiary – my own private menagerie

Housing monsters and gryphons

Both shewn and showed

Down the musky, dusky husk go I

Into the perfume of Empyrean

To steal the stars from their own night owls

And teeth plucked straight from the mouth

Of the pearly, opalescent ocean

Thereat, I will plunge into

The Cascade of my potion

Dribbling into the furnace

And the fetid potluck

I swear has alchemical powers:

First the Dragon – then the Fly;

Second the Tiger – next Magpie;

Crossing across the roof of the world

To join with the moss

And the lossiest Loess

Ah, Frantic Medievalism!

Medievalism ornate and deformed!

Take me back to your DARK AGES

When books were pillows

And the sacred castles of Oddiyana

Were still ariot

With treacherous claws

But to the archfiend and the nemesis

Subdued in wrath by designer sedatives

Are now only wending their way

Through the Tartarus of Modernity:

Old People’s Homes

Arguing about who

Last saw the TV remote

And whose dementia

Is progressing the fastest

And the worst

“I’ve forgotten twelve thousand more gigabytes

Of chaotic data than you!”

Exclaims lusty Belial,

Twisting his sandwich

Into a tridental narrative

“What?” says Satan, subdued

His is brain is now only

A tuna fish sandwich

And he thinks he still sees his children

Though they died long before he ever did

It’s a sad state of affairs

When demons need enemas

And harpy-faced nurses

To put spittle on their

Unraging bones

Still Medievalism howls

In every village

Of the British and the Welsh

Wherever crows still rule

With their iron caws

And their iron claws

But I have lost my marbles completely now

So I tuck myself back in

Inside my own inviolate scrotum

And within Involution’s allure

Mark off the beginning of the day

 

Poem: Confessions of a Cross-Dressing Frankenstein

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Today I missed you so much

I put on your underwear

I felt it was as close as I could get

To being near you again

It was as thrilling and exciting

As it was fundamentally depressing

Like climbing into your lover’s coffin

And waiting to for death to strike

Still, whilst I’m here,

I might as well enjoy it

And caress your sensuous skeleton

As I admire the murky moistened mud

That towers either side of us

I used to be a cross-dresser

Wearing women’s clothing all the time

Then I took

A several year jaunt

In manhood

Refashioning myself as a dandy

An ignoramus pretty boy

Straight from a Wodehouse novel

With cravat, perfect for choking

Either myself or others

Then spirituality struck

Gender became more ambiguous

Two forces

Raging into impact

That were always destined

To fuck

Now I spend my days

Visualizing myself as a goddess

The world shaking

Along the gelatinous curves

Of my erogenous hips

It was only a matter of time

Before I returned to your underwear

And found femininity

Lurking in my subconscious

Waiting to assault me

What I have learned from all this?

The mastery of synthesis

That which we lose

Can never be lost

That which we bury

Can always be unburied

Rising from the dead

To mate with the living

Like an orgiastic zombie

With a taste for seasoned genitals

Instead of brains

Take the broken parts of you

And fix them altogether

In the salvage yard of your mind

You can become a beautiful Frankenstein

For all the world to love

I will grieve at the burning windmill

Wishing you were still here

As I eat cold soup

From a blind man’s hands

My knickers getting

Wetter

And

Wetter