The Serpent Bride

Ripe is the stain your lips left

like the low-hanging fruit of sin

burning like Tam Lin’s transformation

I shed my caul in your embrace.

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A Plague of Roses

Poppy wounds and damask cheeks

curdled scars, pink like woe

scarlet prayers on slavers’ lips

clashing chains, a lash of whip

cat-o-nine tails muffle cries.

 

Calls spill to Heaven, but God is deaf

Behemoth drags his rusting flanks

to plantations lit with alizarin sin

throes of lust stain masters rose.

 

Silky wine taints seraph tongues

of Southern belles while husbands quench

their ruby mouths with blackest vice

the Negress weeps, and God is dead.

 

Blood-boiling moon, Toomer’s tithe

a Devil’s feast on ruby meat

splayed beneath the white man’s sword

depravity keeps all Africa chained.

 

Those who should fly as the redbird soars

are enshackled by a burgundy plague

bones roll in graves as Heaven seeks

a way to free the souls enslaved.

 

The Negress strikes her master’s brow

and red Death is in her arms tonight

she steals away, to the Underground

following a star that cradled her, long ago.

Birth

The words came to her like molten fire.  She dredged the razor through her skin, leaving jagged lightning-bolt lines, then painted the alley in her blood.  They were the words of sages, a summoning deep as the grave, fed by the rage coursing through her veins like wine.  Buzzed off the bloodletting, she let them pour from her lips like water, washing the grime from the alley walls as her gore ran down the graffitied brick.  One kiss, she said, and the bell would toll.  One drop of his ichor on her tongue and she would speak prophecies like Cassandra, ones the masses had never believed, for those words were bullets to their heads, a spattering of gray as pieces of bone flew like shrapnel from the impact.

The words came to her like the Red Sea, raging as it was parted by a serpent staff.  Solomon’s demons danced around her head and she sank to her knees, breathless, as her wrists gushed and sputtered like a dying engine.  He flowed through her- her addiction, her end, feeding her capillaries and aorta with the divine.  Her ventricles heaved to contain him and from a knife wound he bound from her flesh, full-formed like Athena from Zeus’ skull.  She called his name in agony.  Blackness swept across her eyes.  If this was death, then it was a sweet pain, a rending of flesh from flesh that leaves the space between lusting for union.

The words came to her, but she couldn’t write worth a damn.  She knew it with a horror that verged on Lovecraftian terror.  Their origin is him, the monster, now fully-formed.  As she sinks into oblivion, he cradles her against him, mourning.  Their lips meet and she is poisoned, so beautifully, it draws tears from cherubim’s eyes.  In pale cold repose she is red on white, death in mourning lace, still of breath and frozen-hearted.

He wanders off into the night.