IscariotA kiss was all it took.How little it is, the movement of lips:a loving, a betrayal. Thirty pieces of silverfor a chip off the old block, a sliceof the old man. The tree stood,writhing before you, hung witha staring noose. You stepped up,marked for sacrifice. A lamb is notthe only sin stained white.
BoudiccaThe blue woad shrieks to the sky:this is a battle of gods. In the tawny grass,there is blood, and fire beneath the chariot wheels.The earth is scorched with victory, fissuredby violence. We do not ask when we know you will not give.This is our birthright, the strength to bleed outand remain standing. This is our curse and our cure,our refusal to surrender. We are pale and fiery,and we do not offer forgiveness.This is our army: the moulded roughness of the landand the crow's cry. Mistletoe, and nightshade,the deadly river's rush. Our learning is writtenacross our palms, and we do not fear death.The bards will sing of us. We are queens;we are never forgotten. Even in defeat, the bodies shiverbeneath our bleeding feet. We do not ask why. The dead do not search for meaning; there's meaning enough in the frozen weeping of the sky.
The MorriganYou are the centre of everything,the lodestone into which the sky falls.You are the wounded cry of the avalanche,and the fading silver of a sickle moon.You live in the call of the crow.Enough time has passedfor me to be sure that your nameis not your name; that you are threefold,like a magic paper box, folding outwardsand outwards again, more parts than I can count.There are secret compartments to youI will never discover.My blood has always been your home.You pulse there, taking the hand of my heartand turning me, yet again, turning and turning,turning dark, turning inwards, exploding,and leading me from house to hearse.You are the centre of everything.
InterludeThe road is dusty and dark, the trees looming like concerned parents over the black metal of her car. Old blues music plays softly through the windows, but the forest doesn't make a sound. She pulls over, leaves the music playing as she steps onto the dark soil. This is not a planned detour, but she moves further in, hand brushing the trunk of a tall fir. It's rough and sticky with sap. She inhales the smell of pine needles, curls her fingers around a branch. Her feet kick up the leaf mulch, and the smell of the dry earth winds around her. Besides the gentle wind, nothing makes a sound. She finds a fallen trunk and sits there for a while, looking up at the teasing glints of the stars. There is nothing here but quiet, yet she is not empty.
Glory BeMy demons got hungry today. They clenched my ribs, knocked on my bones, left me kneeling in the cold air. It is January and the grey pulses, weaves into my skin. They say I am the happiest I have been in a long time.The wet leaves are stuck to my hands where I kneel in the dirt, choking on loneliness. Alone, alone. The world echoes in my head to the beat of that one word. We all have our chains. It is January and the drugs don't work.You don't know me anymore. I am going away, I am going away, I promise. I am going, because time is tipping backwards here, until the sun sets when I wake up and I've forgotten how to swim. No-one knows but the earth. It is January and I am running away again.
devil's in the detailThis will be messybecause I don't care enoughto make it clear.Christ, the things I've seenare enough to make me weep,fall on my knees, beg for absolutionbut no one hears.I get no rest when my dreamsare realler than day.The Devil stalks the nightand we are all in lovewith him. Knowledge-bringer,light-bearer, riddler.Everyone has their priceand we all think we can win.I am buried bone-deep in despairand I would pray 'tilmy lips bled if I thoughtI was good enough to deserveforgiveness. What would Godask me to do, but wash his feetand tremble?
[answers for the blind]when he breathes, it is with an easy banding of ribs. he coughs, and blue fabric is pulled from between his lips as though he is a magician, embroidered gold. he is only sick in the abstract, a brief cruel curling of the adjective around bright wrists. if i were to touch his lips, they would become twin snakes, curving and dry. we come round in circles and bite our tails, chase fairy tales through the gaps between our praying hands. he is a gateway to the newest lands.
The Old Poet's WifeThe old poet's wifeclears his stained papersfrom his desk in the housethey shared. She stoppedbelieving in poemsa long time ago.She presses them into piles,the only love letter she has.(He never wrote;except in verse.) Outsideher window, the sun flares upand the frost all across the paneis lit afire.