A Definitive Self Portrait or Gymnopaedia

dark blue washes over me, blindingly blue paint covers my soul

and wets my irises and penetrates my pores so azure so cyan

my heart is a lump of obsidian rock pumping tar and ashes in indigo veins

chaotic brain so so charcoal with broken pastel scribbles

and Indian ink calligraphy death notes tarnish the white papers and

darkness shrouds my face like a woolly scarf on an asthmatic thermophobe

suppressing and suffocation… I’m suffocating under the weight

It drags me down and I discover the grey that is invincible and

I flail out of control external force metamorphoses to internal anguish

and the floor feels homely or fit for a misanthropic tearful sleep

or do we simply assume to understand each other inconsiderately

when we hide so much from even ourselves for fear of being discovered

and disturbed in our instability and oh that edge looks attractive

but so does the noose so significantly symbolic but I walk a line

and tumble out of acrobatics, circus tent closing in with psychedelic stripes

on my harlequin painted face barely blinking it’ll simply never end and

it snakes around a Modigliani throat like a koala to a tree it holds tight

an Aivazovsky moon beams down on turbulent waters gleaming

and rippling with a flirt so alluring so alluring I gasp in awe

My lies are smashing through to appeal to your traumatic design

My truth your utter destruction and faith’s demise and it lasts

tethered truly and surely like a giant beast you believe tame

but not enough so because it’s impossible to kill all free thought

control is what you want and I laugh in your face like I’m okay

but I just want to dive and float away to some distant land

where ethereal dreams take us to the moon and beyond

freedom no longer an impossible whisper in the dead of night

dare not let the oppressor hear us or see us crack and splinter

spoiled and unsuited for this lifestyle so hollow, plastic and fragile

eternal torture you promised me if I tried but my mortal life alone

fulfills those standards and I’ll tear your heirloom ideals apart

with a rage greater than Jupiter’s unearthly storms and scream

you won’t you won’t you won’t you won’t you won’t

I will leave… through the front door or the bordered back window

I will have my freedom and taste the succulent air of day

not in spite or scorn, that’s so you, I don’t think that way.

I’m not vengeful I think only of the ether

Someday, somehow, today, never but why wait when

there’s such an easy solution that doesn’t involve

moving majestic mountains and burning down inhabited jungles

why wait when it is simply a matter of indifference

the only way out is directly through, no useless foolery

I welcome the sea, the raging ocean, the blistering desert,

the eternal moon over a defiant forest on a glacial mountain peak

Gazing down, staring with concern and never judging

Because what is there to judge but inevitable so-called sin?

(Image not mine)

Erebus’ Glory (A Short Gothic Horror)

It was a bleak night of November, wolves howled in the gale and drafts slipped in through cracks in the cold stone walls of my small cottage, nipping at my bare heels. The isolation I had experienced for precisely a year and a day kept lunging itself back at me. The loneliness was like a playful child tugging at my hair, softly at first, and soon painfully dragging me under. I could almost feel my lungs fill with water as I struggled, breathless and weary.

Adrianne was gone. Dead. Life seemed futile and every step forwards seemed to drag me back. With no family and no stable income, I couldn’t envision a future. But I could picture her, right now, laughing from her easel trying to make me sit for her to paint. I blinked and the image shifted to the day she was carted away with nobody to attend her burial but myself.

I was drinking too much liquor tonight. Everything was magnifying and becoming grossly vivid. My heart thudded incessantly. The tick-tock of the clock taunted and mocked. I wailed into the night out of sheer desperation. From my window I could see the bridge under the full moon. I longed for death and it seemed inevitable. The perfect escape. Succumbing to the alluring signs, I ran out in my white nightgown towards the bridge.

The quiet stillness of night embraced me. The frore wind sent chills across my bare shoulders. I paused for a moment and took a breath. Gazing at the murky water, I was filled with trepidation. But her face danced in my mind’s eye. Choking back my angst, I plunged; submerging feet first into the icy abyss.

Finally, water consumed me, my dreads and my anguish. Everything faded away as I entered the ether.

*****

Something warm kissed my cheeks, awakening me. I discovered myself in a misty cave. A dark hooded figure, ethereal and winged, was gazing down at me. It was the angel of death, Azrael. He was dragging along the tarnished souls, depressive and grey things. He exuded an aura of warmth and familiarity, but mostly I felt his pity and sympathy. He was like a carer of the dead. My calmness surprised me but soon that also faded away.

An impulsion drew me to join the string of the departed. The moment I linked arms with the last spirit in line, the cavernous surroundings melted away; I was on a caliginous stage accompanied by spectres, masked like villains, all waiting to be swallowed whole by a god, or snatched off the wire by a ravenous demon. I could feel it in my bones, we were all waiting for the final judgement. And suddenly a single word was uttered around the theatre. Erebus… It echoed and reverberated louder each time. Erebus!

The wire trembled and the eyes watching in the dark seemed to cackle and heckle mutely. The stage disappeared from beneath my feet, I fell. Flames replaced the stage walls. Shadows danced; taunting and defiant of the dark. Unholy light licked through the gloom that refused to part, providing a long-lost battle. Miles of mannequins, petrified souls with horror etched on their ashy faces, stared at me with glassy eyes as fire consumed them. I screamed. I could hear bird song suddenly and noticed wretched sparrows mocking from their dark metal cages while silent ravens perched above them, observing patiently. Azrael was standing in a corner, untouched, stroking one as he waited. He sighed wearily, his empty eye sockets watching.

A banshee of bells sounded in the distance. I knew then that I had silenced whatever deranged optimist lived on in my being and reached my amaranthine destination. I squeezed my eyes shut, whispered a delayed and useless prayer. Solid air seemed to caress my cheek. My blood curdled and my breath balled up in my dry throat. I trembled, refusing to look.

Darkness itself had come to claim me. Erebus… I felt my soul within me wither and melt. Like molten lava pouring, oozing out of my being and burning my flesh. I screamed like a heretic. It was unendurable. My eyes opened of their own accord and I slumped to my knees.

For miles around there was nothing but hard, magenta wasteland, flat and unending. A red, hot atmosphere beamed down scornfully. Surely it is a sin of the gods to allow one to suffer so excruciatingly both in life and in death? I howled into the scarlet chaos, begging for reprieve.

Nobody could hear me. There was no life or death here. No time existed but the ticking of an imaginary clock, taunting and ominous, inescapable.

Hours slipped into days, days became weeks and then all sense of time became bereft of me as I wandered with bloody feet through the unchanging landscape. The hunger gnawed at my being, the thirst was unbearable. The loneliness bereaved me of my humanity. Soon, I felt my sanity slip away too.

I was lesser than animal. I was a thing that could only exist in hell. Just as it became too harrowing, something appeared on the horizon. The sight was painfully beautiful.She had almost reached me, whimsical waves lapping at her feet. I stumbled towards her as she drifted nearer.

Impossible! She had remained unchanged, ebony-skinned and crimson-lipped. Ghost tears ran down my cheeks. She reached me and stared almost hungrily. Joy shone from her eyes. I felt unworthy. Did I dare touch her? Was she a demon or an angel?

“I hated being away. I have watched your suffering and felt your pain. Finally we can be together. He summons us to his garden of paradise…” Adrianne whispered, smiling mysteriously. She reached for my hand and the world around annihilated.

I was purified. Cleansed. Grass stretched out under my bandaged feet. Adrianne took my hand and violins sounded.

We waltzed under the moonlight in oblivion and peace while Erebus played the harp.

You Liltwings, You Hopscotch-Skippers

Snuffle-box oddity and out you leap

Scramble to your teeny feet

Scratch, hop, scram, scatter

Everything falls to your feet

 

The Master’s papers are torn apart

The Lady’s milk is tipp’d over

Yet you seek only reprieve

You flap and peck, glad it’s over

 

Reduced to canary clown status

Disregarded kaleidoscope plumage

And dignified exotic curved beak

That rakes and prunes the plumage

 

Flit, fly and fall from focal flaws

Your chains were never visibly damning

And now you rake your claws into wood

Disowning the cage and the damning

 

Your lilt-winged, china-thin body

Starved but not enough to dampen

L’esprit and cloud pull of withdrawal

And the call of the forest dampen’d

 

Soon, you’ll fly and soar once more.

Hop-scotch, one, two, three.

Come back and join me.

Our Voices Echo (Bop Poem)

A tenebrous chorus of hushed voices in a

disquieted, uneasy murmur and cry

in outrage over the dystopian reality

not oxymoronic but harshly surreal, tangible.

Tides of tears flood out the cruel sneers

And crude jibes of political injustice and unrest.

 

A revolution is needed before all is lost to the damning of humanity.

 

Hear you not the dulling whimpers of the

helplessly lost whose sighs turn to the demons

that haunt their ghastly nights under chilled stars,

igniting a fire to roar, hoping this one will work

to reunite a dying species struggling against

evolutionary mishaps and derailings weakening, then

befouling a once-sacred land to the selection

of rabid mongrels growling for hell at limbo’s doors.

 

A revolution is needed before all is lost to the damning of humanity.

 

Invisible poverty camouflaged in the urban jungles

Once a warrior, now knocked down and it endures

a harsh climate against the disease that rides

its way to the summit, economizing our lifelines

like common resources, disarming our worth.

And we yell so the wind will carry our echoing voices.

 

A revolution is needed before all is lost to the damning of humanity.

The Ragged-Edged Beautiful Blink

You, darling, were on the brink of falling

You didn’t cry but sang out to the moon

Something in you was tragically calling

Like a wolf howling or a hound

Eyes peered through the ebony dark, darling

They weren’t yours nor mine

But a deity’s foul cackling and cheering

To drown you in the turquoise lagoon

So green, ethereal and enticing…

 

 

(A/N: Today’s featured poet is Thomas Lux who sadly passed earlier this year and the title is the closing line of his poem: Cucumber Fields Crossed by High Tension Wires.

The prompt was to write a nine-lined poem, Spenserian form (because who doesn’t appreciate the lasting influence of The Faerie Queene). I chose the Magic 9 form: a. b. a. c. a. d. a. b. a. with a personalised syllable count per rhyming line.

I’d also like to mention that this 9th day is Charles Baudelaire’s birthday so this piece is a tribute in memory of one of the greatest French poets, perhaps the most macabre of them too.)