Defenses

I wonder if I manifested you out of the chill mist that creeps in during winter. Leftover remnants of a feeling of longing, so familiar, yet so long away. I feel as if I’ll wake to a clear cool morning, this version of a dream god embracing me turning out to be nothing more than my own fancy. But the sensation of this electric schism doesn’t seem to obstruct my view. How can I love an apparition? A shade I feel is just a memory or future chasm of thought.

Is this what it says? Is this the way it was written? Meant to be this abstract and magnetic polarity that has grabbed onto the atoms in my being? Or is it merely a wisp of cotton cloud gliding over the sun’s face?

Do you have a face? Eyes that demand gazing, lips that demand poetry? Are there spiders of longing building webs in your hair? Do your dreams weave with me into a realm of ice and heat and floating orbs? Are the words really present? Is it someone I know breathing twilight against my skin?

I kept the secret of how I built my defenses, how I kept everyone out. And how someone gets in.

My walls were built of blood and bone and ink. Carbon elements as hard as diamond along the perimeter, as soft as graphite in the in-between spaces. Dry, parched paper desperate for a drink of liquid language, and bits of my own neural activity made the mortar. All it would take to break through is observation on the part of the Conqueror. One has but to look at the joints and fissures and cracks to know how to get through. I have but to exist, and the one who knows would know.

Of course, the life I grew inside my body, my womb, she morphed and evolved knowing this already. She helped me build this fortress. She reached up with budding fingers and hands and clasped my soul hiding in the dark, hiding in the swirling nebula of embryonic fluid. She gave me new life, and helped me build the fortifications to keep trespassers out.

And then the dreams became lucid. I saw the unseen, communed with the Mother God of placentas, birthing lava out of the mouths of infant mountains. The dreams became my sustenance, my life force. I became this disc of rotating plasma, entering the world at will.

Still my walls held. Still my armor deflected surges of control, fear, and hated storms. But my light was dim. Weakened by self neglect and self defeat.

And then your words appeared before me, in front of my eyes, demanding I take them all in, take them in and let them build to a crescendo of heat and lightning. I want to come because I can. I want to rend the air with my wilfull voice, I want to know what this feels like from inside my physical spaces, I want to let you in. I want to move against you, a dance that knows what Love is, a dance that does not hold expectation or judgment or betrayal.

I want to trust, and feel newborn stars committing themselves to friction release inside the both of us.

Take me, because I give myself freely. I am here, opened to your poetry, opened to the point of shattering. I will be destroyed. But I want to feel it.

I want you to tear down this wall.

+LJ

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An Unexpected Guest

There might come a late winter night, when the air is cold and biting, that you find yourself answering your door to the sound of a strange god’s pounding heart.

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You cautiously crack the rough-hewn wood just a sliver,

just to see,

And there he is, lumbering there, on your stoop, all wild-eyed and feral grin. You notice the cosmos stirring within his fur, and you’re a little fearful of letting him in.

Before you have a chance to speak to him, though, He barges his way through the door, brushes your worries off his stone arch shoulders, like brushing the sand from your feet after a stroll along the beach.

He clambers toward your favorite chair, and invites himself into it, his hulking form making your only comfortable space screech in protest. But there is purpose in his posture, in his swaying scarred head, and you suppose what the hell, he’s welcome to sit–

for just a spell.

And then you think, it must be a spell, to be so disrupted this late in the night, by a wild god stitched up in moonlight.

He grins his savage song again, and you see him beckon you to feel comfortable in your own home beside the fire, so you accept his crooked finger like a fish to a lure, and sit at his feet as his eyes ponder over your biology.

You feel pulled to ask about the snakes in his belly, the raven claws in his arms, the budding stars exploding to life within his rib cage. But you don’t want to ruin the silence with the danger of pragmatic spoken language.

So you sit with him and listen, to the rhythms in his breathing. And you find a melody in it. It sounds like the haunted chords of your embryonic certitude. You find comfort in that, so you again try for a prayer, a whispered word,

a verse of starlight–

Anything! that you might hear this sparking creature speak.

You will find you want his voice so badly, that you address the solemnity in his dark charm and tell him of your day. You try to avoid your need to bleed and scream and dance in revelry of all that stands before the time when it was sorrow that you wore.

Because at some point, you became scared of your own speech so you began to hide it under the crunch of oak leaves. But this feral god, this dream before you, he sees, and he reaches out and takes your callused hands and examines. He reads the well worn lines and fretful designs, and again his eyes play flame over that wicked grin… Knowing you deeper than you know yourself.

He lets you go and for a moment you don’t know how you could possibly ever go on. The pain in his eyes and those spaces within you make you want to weep. But then he reaches over and pulls from the fire a single seed, a tiny thing–aglow amid the shadows that are beginning to take shape as soulful forms climbing up the living room walls.

He watches your face, probably trying to gauge how resolute your insides are, before he places it in the palm of your outstretched hand. Tears find their way to the corners of your eyes, and they stream down your face at the eternity of his small gesture, and you realize you don’t know how long you’ve been sitting there with him. So you look down to find the time but somehow you are rooted to the floor, moss and clover spreading up your lower limbs, tickling your skin.

And then the seed you hold begins to warm, so you eat it. You swallow it down with the glass of bourbon this wild being has passed to your hand. His laugh is a belly rumble like thunder in the distance, and your head swims under his influence as you praise that single sound.

He asks: why did you leave me behind?

And you don’t know how to answer because you know in your heart the illusions you were once fed had won. It seems so very long ago.

I had to conform, I had to survive.

That wild eyed shine returns to his face, a face you found revolting at his arrival, a face you’re probably growing accustomed to now. And you open your throat to speak, but moths flutter out in place of the voice that used to be yours.

You see that the strange god sitting in your chair weeps with you, and nods his great dark head. He touches your very blood with the clamoring of his own shaded thoughts.

And the shadows that were nothing much just moments before, are now dancing in harmony with the breath solidifying in the air. His breath that winds its way inside your mind and the tunnels within your heart. His eyes shine in tune to the strings of your own wanton music and you will most likely fall drunk on the gravity of that forgotten language.

Then roots form in your belly, pulling your bone and tendon along a web of fates. The blood in your veins turns to silt and soil and your mouth invites the stages of life to sing from your lungs.  You look to find the time again but your house is no longer there.

Your wild god has brought a skin drum and is beginning to pound your birth.

Spirits of bird and bone swirl about your head, unaware that you probably don’t want them anywhere near. But your god keeps drumming, keeps the pulse waves of your dreams. He calls all the beasts and birds and worms

And you hear the earth’s shouts of defiance echo in the air. You watch in secret pleasure as your spirit joins the flight. Again you seek after the voice of the shadowed being that found his way to your door. He’s there, no longer a separate taste of freedom in your gut, but a wakened thing, a dancing step.

And you find yourself alive with the agony of it all.

And then in a moment’s flash, you’re blinking, tears fogging your liberated eyes. You wake upon a misty dawn, an empty glass at your fingertips, your changed spirit sprawled atop the hearth rug. You’ll most likely laugh in wonder of finding yourself in such disarray, as the sun heralds the dawning day.

There may come a late winter night, when the air is cold and biting, you will find yourself answering your door to a strange God’s pounding heart. So you cautiously crack the rough-hewn wood just a sliver,

just to see,

If he’d like to come in for a drink.

Into the Wilds

I began to dream under the same raw moon as the tides that bare down on fragile flesh, the flesh of my forefathers. There’s blood in the apex of these stones, calling us to stitch the wounds of our own callousness and fleeting desires.

I wandered into the wilds, under sand pine prophets and oaken kings; I lamented on the nature of our odorous civilisations, our war machines and dogmas of oppression.

The egret and ibis heard my prayer and came to see the stranger in their midst. A creature of sorrow and sickness and greed.

But I wandered aloud, my footsteps bringing me to piles of rubble that once stood the test of time… and time is now mine under the stars of my newfound fortitude, this reckless keen edge of awareness budding to life inside my sleeping bones.

I was wary, once, of travellers of that forgotten golden realm; longing to hide in the shadows, a conscious observer of the night flights of those fighters, the fighters wringing the life out of the pockets of creation.

And I stood there watching while the memories came to dance about my head, spiders spinning webs in my hair to trickle thoughts of liberation into my brain.

I thought once of you, the way your eyes would move to judge the very fabric that weaves our flaws together. I set that memory free, and again turned to the wilds that so lovingly called me home.

I followed a deer growing thick with fetus in her belly, asked after the hymns that so wind their way around and through beast and tree, and she told me to listen.

So I listened to the gathering dusk, the crickets’ music transforming my soul, and then I was no longer afraid of growing old. So I climbed into the crook of a giant’s sheltering limbs, and I ate nothing but what I could catch in trembling hands.

I sacrificed my self into the hunt for this wealth, this need to resurrect what once was a feral heart. I stopped playing prey and found sanctuary in the blood of the earth, the blood of reptile skin and spear pointed teeth. And I became a solitary predator.

I dug into the midnight soil seeking a space to sink my roots, to wait and trap any form, any trace of food for my thoughts.

I wanted to grow wisdom. I wanted to relearn that Mother tongue of soil, muscle and memory. The language of the land’s savage composition.

I wandered the forest, aching to be found among the palmettos, a dying breed of mystic, planting seeds and craving all things that a human craves when burning that all to cinders and ash.

I buried myself in the darkness among cypress knees and Spanish moss. Letting nightcrawlers sing me to sleep. I wondered then what it would mean if I chose to stay, if I chose to let myself forget to be human for awhile.

So I tore from myself small strips of regret and tied the cloth of those sins to a dogwood tree. I cried at the wrath of the earth calling for my explanations of falling off the edge of this world, so long ago, now, it seems.

I entered the badlands of buzzing insects, leeches and steam. I let myself go back that way again and found the answer to that riddle:

 

I was never really me.

Love was an Old Brick Road

Once we carried wishes in our mouths, our bleeding hearts choked up on poetry and whiskey, the nostalgia of childhood dreams.

When romance was the ocean calling us down to the shore, we ran in rhythm to the pulse of the waves, and stripped down beyond our naked vulnerability, plunged ourselves deep into the indigo of what we thought we’d have.

When love was an old brick road, we danced in rhythm to the beat of the setting sun, kissed his feet goodnight and worshipped the moon as she rose.

Love was an old brick road, but somewhere along that path our travel plans unraveled, and I ended up walking alone.

.

.

.

+LJ

the Sea Goddess

She felt the rise in her belly, the swell of excitement that could only be found within crashing waves.

She let herself be pulled, a calling with more depth and more intensity than mere curiosity.

He took her hand in his and led her to where the sea meets the earth, asking her to dive down deep under those dark waves. He looked back to her face, fearing to see trepidation in her eyes.

But he gazed into the grey of her eyes, grey that matched the rising surf, and he saw wonder.

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She let him lead her down to the shore, down to let the rolling foam greet their toes.

She smiled to him, a shy crook of the mouth that set his heart to racing.

He knew then, in that moment, that he would make her his queen. He would let her choose, though, and let her roam freely between sea and stone.

He moved her onward into the rising tide, never letting go of her slender hand. And every time he turned to look after her, she pushed him ever onward with the shine in her eyes and the curve of her lips.

Together they entered the sea, down down down into the murky depths of his watery domain. Down to the realm of selkies and sirens, down to the gates of his hall in the heart of the ocean.

She breathed the deep blue of salt water into her lungs, and was transformed.

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Seals and rays greeted her in welcome, dolphins swam playfully around in large pods, their smiling faces belying their pleasure at her coming.

She rejoiced in her newfound freedom, her newly acquired underwater flight.

She had come home.

 

 

 

~Líadan Rán