Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Mermaid Spring

Hedy in a Mustang, in shining LA,
the road wide open, she’s so free!
The ocean deep and clean and warm.
She’s driving there for The Mermaid Spring.
Naked in the waves, sun warm on her shoulders.
Summer going on and on forever, untouched.
The mermaids with auqua marine tails sparkling
and silky black hair a weightless veil about their faces
will welcome her in, and breathe dreams in their kisses,
and she’ll the sea that washes away all sin and sorrow.
A pearl that is her dreams of blue depths and moonlight,
redeemed when her tail wraps her tight and those ljps
whisper songs she knew as a child, still whole and clean.
The road to quiet memories is followed with her song.
Hedy floats in moonlight, the sky so clear and close to her.
A seed in her heart starts to grow, and will grow so beautiful.
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Love is Bought Silence

I don’t know who I was fooling.
Your touch is comfort, but I’m still recoiling.
That sweet southern accent, reminded me of
what I never knew, what I always wanted somehow.
But you and your faith and devotion to God is not for me.
I see the light of untold stars and a sun burning the night,
spinning around not from a plan but because that’s how it goes.
A kiss is the seal you put on my mouth so that it wouldn’t speak.
So I turn you away. In the dark I can say the blasphemous truth.
Let my dreams set fire to the night and set fire to the soul!
Let my dreams bleed and fuck and swing from the obscene moon itself!
Love is silence bought with care, the blade that bleeds with mother’s milk.
So I won’t kiss you goodbye, but turn in silence back to the wilderness.
Let me be alone if to stay I must flatter your fears, be talked down to
if I don’t buy the magic cure all and the sky bound paradise you sell
like laundry detergent or pain killers. Better to be alone than a mouthpiece.
Love is the shame that keeps you silent. I want none of it now.

Wilds of Heaven

Gay St. empty at 5:30 in the morning this Saturday.
You riding on the handle bars of my bike, laughing,
long, black curls flying into the wind, into my face.
Everything was perfect.
A small, South Knoxville home, sun still soft, distant,
we, laughing, kissing, in love, fall into bed, still vibrating
from the night that was so sweet and perfect.
Nothing like it will ever come again.
As the birds call out their song in the trees outside,
we fall into a shared dream of some perfect solace.
The perfume of your hair invokes the wilds of heaven.
I wish we could dream forever.

South Knoxville Ophelia

The cold dirty waters below,
the backwaters so very slow,
the trash and beercans and moss,
in this bed, tonight, I lay my loss.
The waters are cold, will take me in.
These bitter tears, where have you been?
Up on the brigde, knowing this dirty river,
and to some quiet place it will deliver.
4 Am; they’ve gone to bed or yet to awaken.
The cold soothes tears, waters wash what’s taken.
Drop down into the dark dirty waters, waitng for me.
Let my soul wash away from here, to some golden sea.

1969

June, it passes without a breath.
In this room, the day met it’s death.
I see sweet seduction in bare skin,
sucking on an ice cube from a glass of gin.
The sunlight gold becomes the moon’s white.
That smile, that warmth, this appetite.
If angels know passion, let this spell be.
If only demons work flesh, cast me into the sea.
I want to go to you, and know you, open those doors.
I want to go to you, but not spill blood from my wars.
In the moon’s white we illuminate the divine eyes.
A dream of solace in touch and in passionate sighs.
Lay close to me, your flaxen hair soft as heaven’s silk.
Let it bring us close to life, let us not choke on the devil’s milk.
Let the name I chose for you become a sacred rhyme.
Let us be humble and whole, this time.

Innocence and Memory

Girl with a lamb, it’s wool white,
her sweater grey, her eyes green.
She whispers to it, strokes it’s softly,
holds it close to her, and it is content.
Girl, still loving witout a thought,
not knowing what lambs are raised for,
holds it close, like it were a child,
a child she was charged to protect.
Girl and lamb, in the first of winter,
in the coming darkness and cold,
can innocence and memory, keep us warm,
keep us clean, keep us good, in the night?
The girl nuzzles the lambs head, squeezes it
and the lamb is happy. In this moment, they are happy.

Baby Sis

Baby Sis
I laid out Rhonda’s corpse on the couch in the den. I stuffed it in dad’s old drab green army sleeping bang, and then bound her in with duct tape. All the beauty and innocence is gone from her face, as well as her gentle grace; now she is just a dead piece of meat.
I sit on the hearth, smoking a cigarette from a pack I’d stashed in the back of a drawer in one of the many times Rhonda tried to make me quit. It’s doing fuck all to calm my nerves. Even hard whiskey wouldn’t be up to that task. But it’s something to occupy me while I wait Rhonda to rise again.
 Another one of Rhonda’s shithead boyfriends had broken heart, this one by fucking around on her. It was Friday afternoon and we were both off from work for the weekend, so I suggested me and her head up to the old cabin in the mountains.
“It’ll be great.” I told her. “Just some quality time between big bro and baby sis.”
That hadn’t warranted even the ghost of smile. Fuck! Whoever this asshole was he’d really done a number on her.
“Come on, Rhonda! We can play Trivial Pursuit, while eating those huge licoricie ropes from that little store in town. And you know what? You are FINALLY old enough to partake in some of my special Mixed Iced Teas.”
I gave a conspirital wink at that, like we were partners in crime, hoodlums getting one over on the man. All she gave me was a twitch of a smile. God! Why she always end up having it so bad for these goddamn meatheads?
“Jesus woman! You’re killing me! You know how long you’ve been begining me to let you try one of my special iced teas? And now, finally, FINALLY, you can have one, as many as you want in fact, and it’s not even worth a smile? It’s official, whoever these jerk is I’m going to have to beat his ass, because if you don’t care about that, he’s absolutely fucked you up.”
“Don’t do that.” She said. “And another thing, don’t fucking curse so much.”
“A joke! And a smile! My favorite litte spit fire is still in there somewhere! Hallejuah!”
Rhonda rolled her eyes and looked back at the window, but there was a smile, however fragile, on her lips. Yes, a weekend away from the world and endless rounds of Trivial Pursuit and Risk, and a few fortified iced teas, and she’d be right as rain.
 We got to the cabin after a couple of hours drive, (it was nearly to the North Carolina border). I grabbed the bags out of the trunk while Rhonda stretched the stiffness from her limbs. There was no one around for miles. The world was far, far away.
The cabin was a small affair, with a big main den and fireplace, and a small kitchen and a three bed rooms off from there. In the closet of what had been mom and dad’s bedroom we kept the ancient assortment of board games. Rhonda was getting Trivial Pursuit, her favorite and the one she almost always beat me at, while I dropped the bags by the moldy hide-away couch.
“How about some of those world famous iced teas Rick?” She said, as she started pulling board and pieces from the box. Already, being here and among all the passed times was helping to aleviate her heart ache.
“Coming right up!”
I went into the kitchen, grabbing a couple of bottles from dad’s old liquor cabinet, and started to mix our drinks. I was begining to feel postive about the whole trip. Rhonda was begining to come out of her funk, we were going to be spending some time together, something we hardly ever got to do since we’d grown-up and started living our own lives. All in all, I should have known everything was getting ready to turn to shit.
 Out of the corner of my eye, out in the smoky dusk, I thought I saw something. It was just a flash, some flash from the corner of my eye. None the less, it sent it shivers through my skin; what had it been? Surely it couldn’t have been…..
I put the thought out of my mind. I picked up the glasses and walked back into the den. Rhonda already had the game all set up. However, their was in evil grin on her face that told me whatever it was she was thinking I wasn’t going to like.
“Rick?”
“Yes Rhonda?”
“You know what we have to do…..”
“No Rhonda, I’m not going to…”
“….it’s not a trip to the cabin until we dance to ‘The Witch Jam'”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, do we have to?”
“Yes, we have to! It’s tradition!”
 Every Halloween when Rhonda was in elementary school, her music teacher would play “The Witch Jam”, a kid friendly pop confection about the joys of the Halloween season. It had a little dance that went with it. Since our parent’s had found the forty-five record of the song at some rummage sale in town, Rhonda had kept it here and INSISTED that me and her play it and do the dance everytime we came here. The fact that I would tolerate such an indignity, even as a grown man, I feel proves me than anything that I loved my sister and wanted her to be happy.
 With her ritual out of the way, we started playing Trivial Pursuit. As always, she was kicking my ass. She was also enjoying the passage into adulthood that was the fortified iced tea.
“These things are great!”
“Don’t let them fool you; they’ve got a kick to them. And the last thing I need is you puking up all the colors of the rainbow, and then moaning under the covers all day tomorrow because you’re head feels like it’s going to split and a Greek goddess is going to come flying out.”
“I’m not as lightweight as you think!”
“Well, we’ll see.” I said. She stuck her tongue out at me. Real mature Rhonda!

“What the fuck was that!” Rhonda said, almost spilling her drink on the game board. From somewhere out in the night the most hideous, tormented howl had emerged. The night was still and silent. We both sat frozen, our hearts beating tendrils of ice through our blood.
“I don’t know Rhonda.” Was all I could manage.

 Then it came again, closer, and even more full of hunger and anguish. It was like the howl of a damned soul burning in the lake of fire. Of someone in pain who has no hope of relief. Heavy footsteps then landing on the porch. The door rattled as whatever it was pushed and punched against it, desperate to get in. And that infernal sound………
 Rhonda slid across the floor towards me, her drink spilled and forgotten. I wrapped an arm around her as we both looked rapted and horrified at the door. How was I going to save her from this one?
 Then the window shattered, and a pungent, rotten arm was flailing around. Rhonda screamed and we both started to panic, running towards the back door in the kitchen. We were stopped dead by the sound of another one of those things banging on the door.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! FUCK!”
I grabbed the nearest weapon, a large scrap piece of wood that was probably meant to be used as a piece of firewood, and raised it back over my head like a baseball player at bat. The whole cabin was filled with that hideous noise, as those things cried in the night. What the fuck was going on!
 There was the sound of more breaking glass, as the thing from the front of the house managed to worm it’s way in through the broken window. It’s fetid skin was the color of maggots and pock marked with black, bleeding sores. It’s eyes were the color of soured milk. It stank with the foul rot of the grave.
It lumbered towards us, it’s scream never ceasing. I swung at it, grazing it’s face, knocking of it’s bulbous nose. Unfortunately, I over extended my swing and landed face first in the stereo. That was all the opening the thing needed.
I head Rhodna’s scream even before I’d returned to my feet. I saw the grotesque fiend take a big chunk of meat out of Rhonda’s neck. She screamed in horror and pain as the thing knocked her down, a necromantic lover with his unwilling bride.
I raised the timber up again, and swung with all my might. The timber crunched the thing’s skull, but I kept on hitting it over and over until it was still. I pulled it off the top of Rhonda, shivering as I touched it’s disgusting skin. Rhonda was going into shock, her blood was everywhere. The oily and fetid contents of the thing’s skull were spilled all over her shirt.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! FUCK!
 Emboldened by God knows what! I burst out the back door the face the otehr fiend. I took a swing and this time didn’t miss. I knocked it down and beat it’s skull to a fine mush before stopping.
What in the name of hell where the’s things?
 I ran back into Rhonda; her skin was already pale and cold. She’d stopped bleeding. Her eyes were fixed and full of unamable horror. I picked her body up into my arms, my tears mixing with the blood and bile as I wailed and cried to a God that could not here and who would not delivery me.
 Somehow, sometime later, my wits returned to me. Those things must have been zombies. But weren’t zombies only in the movies? Well, tell Rhonda that! What did zombies do in the movies? They ate living flesh! What happened to someone bitten by a zombie? They came back! Would Rhonda come back?
I decided not to risk it. I remembered that dad had his old army sleeping bag stashed in his bedroom closet. I grabbed it, and not really thinking about what it was I was doing, still numbed with horror, I stuffed her body into it.
Then, somehow, I realized I need to make sure she wouldn’t get out of it. Improvising, I grabbed the roll of duct tape from the junk drawer in the kitchen and bound her tight in the sleeping bag.
 Now I sit and wait. Shit like this isn’t supposed to fucking happen. This is some goddamn Lucio Fulci shit! How the fuck can this be real? Movies are all I have to go on. She might rise again, though my sister is long gone and only some foul, hungry demon lives in her skin.
 From shock, horror, and exhaustion, I drifted to a shallow, frantic sleep. I dreamed of hell and all that waited there. Then Rhonda screamed.
She starting flailing around in the sleeping bag, the same hungry, inconsolabe crying scream emiting from her mouth that had come from the fiends that had attacked us. Numb, on automatic, I grabbed the timber and beat he skull in.
 Morning is finally coming. The sun is burning away the darkness. It’s a beautiful morning. I couldn’t care less. I stand up, walk out of the cabin, not even bothering to close the door behind me. I walk down the old trail towards the river. When I get to the river I keep on walking, walk into the frigid water and the strong current fed by the recent rains. I don’t fight or try to keep my head above the water. I let the river swallow me and carry me far from here.

Demons

There were only a couple of sickly golden lights in the distance, several miles from the house I was staying. Up here in the foothills of The Applachians, neigbhors were sparse. The coal black sky was filled with stars though, and a ghastly pale moon.
I wished for a cigarette, years after quitting, years after feeling any desire for them. My hands were jittery, my mind fillled with an agiated bedlam. A cigarette with it’s harsh pleasure and rote action would distract from that.
It was late summer, the begining of September. Summer was still hot and humid and the wetness of the air made you sweat even still, even in the night. But there was already a harshness in the warmth that signaling the coming autumn and winter. Things would die off, and the dead season would come. But no respite or sleep would come with it.
I came in from the night, closed the door behind me, sat in the too bright room with it’s garish, ’70s era wallpaper and paneling, the rundown, cigarette burned furniture, the inane blanting of the radio.
On said radio a preacher was talking about the end times and Jesus coming back and the glorious elect been given their heavenly reward. I had it on, because even though I had no faith in a greater, supernatural power, and no love for anger, it soothed me to hear another human’s voice.
I sat in a hard easy chair, watching the ceiling fan spin and spin, the light chasing thin shadows on the peeling white ceiling.
I fell asleep, knowing it was coming.

I saw her again. In a sundress, standing in a meadow, the soft, warm sunlight flitting through her long, black hair as the wind blew around her. She was looking away from me, down at the ground, but I could see the sad look in her blue eyes I knew so well. The madness that would eventually take her, the madness that I would make my own.
Her arms were crossed over her chest, like she was hugging herself. My heart ached to reach her, to hold her again, to feel her warmth, her softness, to smell the strawberry scented shampoo in her hair and the lilac smell of her skin. I ached to kiss those lips and tell her it was all going to be alright and perfect again.
I never make it to her. It can’t be better again. She is already gone.

It is then I awaken, feeling a gauging shock in my brain. I cry out and my muscles jerk at once and I’m out of the chair and flung by my own body onto the floor. I cry out in aguish, as the thing in my brain is rooting around trying to find where I’ve hidden her soul inside my mind, so they can take her from me forever.
I close my eyes tight, my fists clenched against the sides of my head, as I regroup to fight off the demons that have come for her, the things that drove her to take her own life and leave us all behind. The demons that destroyed her will not turn loose, even after death.
I make it onto my knees, screaming my throat raw as I focus my energy to fight back against the demons, to keep them away from her, to not let them take her to damnation. The demons fight back and dig into my mind and thoughts like an Eagle digging into the flesh of it’s living prey. I am in tears and even my muscles and very skin is on fire as I fight them off, a duel of wills in the dead of night.
Finally, they are pushed back for a moment, their high shreaking squeels fading out as I lay exhausted on the floor, sobbing and bodily wiped out, my mind a hive of static and noise and fire. I weep for a long time.

At some point, I fall asleep, and I fade in and out of conciousness and dreams, between the waking and the dreaming, between the living and the dead.
She is there, still sad eyed and distant, still in her sundress. She is laying upon her side, looking at me, her head on her folded hands. She is crying. She is sorry and hurting. I try to tell her, not that it’s okay, but that I lover, and will always love her, and that I will find away for all these things to turn loose of her, and that she’ll walk in golden fields one day.

Again, we are in the meadow. The wind is a warm wind of early June, and everything is green and alive and all the birds and creatures are singing. We are drinking wine, sitting on a blanket. I ache to her hear voice again, that girlish, lilting laugh she had.
In this dream, or vision, or wish, I put my hands upon hers, and lean forward and kiss her cheek, which is soft and tastes of salt.

There is water flowing. A clear creek clear and silver and cold. If she could only drink that water now.

It’s the edge of dawn. My breath is ragged and I’m out of breath and my muscles ache and my head pounds like the fist of God upon the world. My eyes and tired and red and sore. My heart is squeezed inside a vice.
I feel her light though, in that secret place for her I keep safe, keep so her light will not go out.  It soft and warm and only a pinprick in the darkness. It’s all I need to keep fighting. I hear a song in the wind of her voice.
I crawl to the flat, hard and uncomofortable couch to sleep. I pull the smoke stained throw pillow over my face. Sleep, for what rest I can find will be sorely needed. They keep coming and coming for her. I cannot find the clear and silver water for her. I cannot yet send her to golden fields, where those demons can never touch her again.

In the depths of my mind, where I keep her safe, her star’s binary light flashes out:
“I love you. I’m sorry.”

“Some are born into sweet delight. Some are born into endless night.”—William Blake

Bowed In Song

The young mermaid sits on the plaster rock,

singing some half-remebered song to herself.

There is a big, blue sky abover her bowed head,

full of yellow sun and white clouds and distant birds.

It is a painting on the aquarium ceiling, nothing more.

The young mermaid raises her head, still softly singing.

She dreams a real sky and sun and calling birds up high.

She dreams the warm sun on her aquamarine skin.

She dreams the steam rising of her long, flaxen hair.

It is dreams in her lonely head, nothing more.

She bows her head, to Neptune her father,

whose watery touch and salty kisses she’s never known,

and sings her Diana her mother, whose light has never

touched her skin, whose blessings she has never felt.

It is a songs solace in a living death, nothing more.

If I Were An Angel

If I were an angel,

in the stars and in the light,

I could fight these demons,

I could make it right.

If I were an angel

with unstained satin wings

I would never fail,

I would not know what death brings.

If I were an angel,

I could keep all innocence unbroken,

I could curse evil men

as their vicious plans are spoken.

If I were an angel,

I could be holy and pure.

I would not be like this,

I know that for sure.