There are still stacks of opened boxes, the windows still uncovered,
but I feel somewhat safe, being back from the road, and behind a
row of thick trees.
Just a couch and my laptop, and the plastic, toy horses my kid sister
played with when she was little, before the demons started an endless
war in her head.
I sit Indian style in front of them on the floor, hardwood against my bare
ankles, playing with them, trying to make stories and find the right childlike
spell that will make her whole again.
My kid sister, not a kid, now a woman, sleeps upstairs, still plagued by bad
dreams even then. The demons don’t let her be. I can’t call down the angels,
and I doubt God saying doesn’t forsake us.
I put on puppet shows for her, about King Arthur and Guinevere fighting Satan,
and make up ballads of Archangel Michael fighting Satan, casting him out forever,
giving her hope her ware can be won.
At night she’ll sometimes sit outside on the back patio, even as winter comes,
in her nightshirt and jammie bottoms, listening to melancholy hymns on her
headphones. Even with God, this world is bittersweet.
I remember, when she was little, I was her favorite brother, and she followed me
like an angelic familiar, like the hope of a new morning even after a long dark night,
and I remember playing with the horses she so loved.
And she could make me see, in my older and lazy third eye, that we were riders on
the steppes and on the plains and the ancient mountains, priests and warriors in the
world so resigned to evil.
And I try to call that magic now, re-open my third eye so I can make my way to the battle,
so doesn’t have to fight alone, so she can be happy and wild yet again, be Michael chasing
Satan out forever, so she can be Gabriel, telling the world what it needs to hear.
This set, where the young lover lived,
a cozy apartment above Chinese take-out
and boutiques and a distant, false,
Greenwich Village street.
I sit here, on the bed, the set dresser’s
idea of what a young woman’s bric-a-brac
would be, as the century burns out, exhausted.
I smoke French cigarettes. I dream of her.
The young lover, the actress refined, sharp,
in fine clothes and soft, consuming white furs,
the warmth swallows you into sleep, dreams
of what you hide behind your bed.
The fur hat, Russian Grand Duchess of a
strongman’s age, 22 is made for serpent kisses,
and she is soft and timeless as alabaster statue
in ruins on the street in Alexandria.
I am not a Christian; I’d have to be human first,
and I put the sigil under the bed for when the
young lover and the handsome lead have their
love scene, to mainline the glamour, artifice joy.
I dream of her, make her face into an angel’s laughter,
or a distant, beatific restlessness as I sleep in this bed,
home being where The Devil is waiting for me, and I know,
if he offered the chance to be her, I’d take it. I’d take it.
Where does one get French cigarettes at 2 a.m., in London,
when the angel’s are all stuck hustling tricks by Picadilly Circus,
and I have to slice off the instrument of hate, to be whole,
to not spread tears. Her tears would heal me. Fucking shakes!
The Devil is waiting for me, and I know if her offered the
chance to be her, I’d take it. I’d take it.
She was barefoot and in a velvet dress,
and we left our footprints in the wet sand
as we walked down the beach.
She had kissed me once, years ago, here,
but that moment of affection was long gone,
and now she had the ways of death to teach.
The sea was dark and tempestuous, like her,
like the dreams of her I had every night, going under,
to the waters that birthed her from a spell.
The silver blade was in her hand, she cut my belly,
and ran her finger through the blood, took a taste,
and said: “As a boy, as a prince, as a slave, you did well.”
Call up sirens and spirits and things wild of another world,
and you cannot make yourself their master or lord.
They will wrap you in the silver bonds of cruelty, devotion.
And there is death in loss, and knowing nothing belongs to you.
She makes a cross on my forehead with my blood, the last binding.
She turns from me, back into the ocean, spent the last of the potion.
She pulls off the dress, free and not made by the god that made me,
and is free in nakedness and without shame, and down into the
slate and colorless waves she dives, leaving the best kind of death,
the little death of greed and emotion, of a paradise that tasted of
the iron tang of blood, and the aching loss in a poets selfish heart,
that makes cathedrals and sacred groves of a wild girl’s breath.
High above the ground, walking the tightrope.
She is serene and as unknown as an angel.
Her small feet walk without err or misstep, perfect.
Between heaven and earth she walks, flesh divine.
The air is without comfort, the fall without mercy.
She walks undaunted, uncaring, without fault.
Her costume glitters, her face set, her beauty cold.
An angel of the air, she walks between worlds.
I, all too human, fall for her, for her distant magic.
she smiles at us in the crowd, and bows sweepingly.
I clap and cheer, thinking a love her, not her fleeting grace
as angel of the air, a walker between worlds, flesh divine.