Maybe we were neutron stars in an ill-fated orbit, destined with our heavy gravity burdens to collide. We would breathe out gamma rays, and the weight of ever – ever? – would be exhalations that birthed black holes. This is not my first life with you – far from it – and it is hardly my last, for a general does not leaver her Archstratigos, and a spymaster of swiftest wing does not scatter agape faith to the wind. The Union looked to Lincoln on that Gettysburg day, Washington vaunted across Valley Forge with his trusty aide de camp, and Alexander the Great was conquered only by death, but death will not have you. My wise woman says you were the first white blood cell birthed after the universe was created, Word, Logos, Jah. Blue flame of healing, violet ray of Atlantic chill, tide and thunder, lightning and stardust.
Maybe it all began in a Garden. Maybe it all played out behind Pearly Gates. Maybe it was a Chalice, a Grail of Blood, Sang Real, or maybe it was just the Invention of the Kiss. Who would have thought Father would grace us with these fleshy petals on our face to suck each other’s juices with? Mouths like roses, mouths like sin, yet you know no sin. You know no perdition. To be Fallen, or to act against the Will, has never even occurred to you.
Or has it? Madness, you know. Soul-ripping loss, you’ve experienced. You tell me my false gods and idols are just chaff compared to the Father. It’s all a metaphor, you say, and Father is Truth. Father is Life. Father is not Father, you say, but Mother. Void Mother, Dark Mother, Space Mother, Womb and Tomb and Breath and Labor and Being.
The prophets always get it wrong, but sometimes, once in a blue moon, a poet gets God right. Shakespeare was close. Rumi was closest. I’m just a cheat, a charlatan, for my words come straight from the Source, but if prophecy and divine texts were written by me, it would be like the Gospel According to Eve. A dumb blonde ditz that sold the world for a shiny apple and smoking hot snake.
No, I do not grasp divinity, for I am a fool, and though I taste the pulse of the Universe, carry the Tzohar in dreams, the Lapis Exillis a parasite in my flesh, pierced through the Sacred Heart by your Smiling Fire, my writing is just small magic to draw you more into this unholy, broken world.
Sometimes artists can grasp divinity. You have a whole space squirreled away for Michelangelo in your portion of heaven, carved between seven sisters and brothers like apple pie at a church picnic. They are all kings and queens, but you are king of kings, a ram in the desert, a shepherd leading his flock to Mount Sinai, and what am I but the dove that flies from your holy palms and brings back an olive branch, after days adrift Flood waters on an ark you made by hand to carry all God’s creatures? Your truth is sweat and contemplation, prayer and meditation, but Michael, it is time to row the boat ashore, and I will trim the sail.
I shall start at the beginning, or was it the end? Just a chapter in this life, December, when I was 12, nearly thirteen, and Michaelmas was long past. It was not your holy day. It was no day in particular, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I was a rambunctious, curious blonde. It never ends well for beautiful towhead girls with lithe limbs, apple breasts they do not know what to do with, hips like a lioness, and skin like milk. Men start touching them at seven, men start saying cunt and vagina and come here pretty little child, dance for me, sing for me, kiss me. Twelve is such a precious age, but your shadow side brother had robbed me of my innocence at two. I was more feral cat than moth, or was I more moth than cougar? I was young, I was foolish, I was too trusting, so weak, the pushover, the doormat, sleeping with the lights on for a year because he haunted my room and touched me when no one was looking. I used to blame you for not stopping him, but no one can stop Death, not even the Prince of Life, and Christ in Hell was comely and ill-anointed.
You do not fare well in Hell, sweet Michael, and my mind is rough terrain. Madness you know, in PTSD you are wreathed, and suffering is most of our lots, but you abhor a vacuum, cannot stand wickedness, and through and through you are a testosterone-fueled warrior. My homages to you may be soft and sweet, or radiant and burning, but in truth you are fierce and all-consuming, a supernova or summer storm, smiting and condemning and damning and killing. The Killing Moon. The Smiling Sun. Both are yours to claim.
But I get sidetracked, and the crux of this narrative eludes me. I was twelve when I left my body completely, not just toes in swift waters, but fully drowning, for the first time and crossed over the hedge, sailing to Heaven, Araboth, the Endless Golden Plain where your Bell Trees and the Heavenly Palace reside. I had no body, no visibility, and as I was pulled down to the melee of angel and demon I panicked. Black shadow monsters eating the guts of angels, decapitating Greco-Roman warriors of white wings and sandals. It smelled like shit, like piss, like hot blood, old ichor, and early rot under the sun. The angels were in retreat, and I was a scared girl, a helpless girl, and I knew if a demon struck me, though they could not see me, I would die. I just knew that, just as the wind knows how to play with the river and the otter knows how to harvest pearls.
I came between two angels and a demon, and they were scared shitless of this eldritch horror, of this shadow monster. The demon took its talons and was about to pierce my heart. But only you and your brother are allowed to mangle the chambers my blood flows through, isn’t that right, dear Michael? My life is too precious a burden, to precarious a blessing, or is my endless wandering your curse? No matter, my painter, my creator, my lullaby singer. You were the only one that heard my invisible, soundless screaming. The weight of a red giant pulled me into your orbit, and you pulled me through the thick of the battle, through the rancid meat and loss of scores of men, to a clearing where you were sweating and shouting orders, flaming sword held high, face like the wreckage of war – handsome but deadly as God’s wrath, for mostly, you are wrath when it comes to your Fallen brethren (“They are not brethren, Allie. Not anymore.”) I was awestruck at this saffron haired angel that had saved my life, and then you looked through eternity and saw me, truly saw me, like the razor of your immense presence was raping me, but not in a violent way, not rape rape, more a possession, a claiming, a dire warning.
For you, Michael, were pissed as Hell, but also shocked. I remember your silver eyes. Confusion. Anger. What the hell is my child doing here, across vast cosmos, in Heaven at war, nearly killed? Earth is her playground. I sent her away to be born with a silver spoon to the cream of the WASPs in Washington, D. C. from Yale and Georgetown legacies. Earth is like sleep for dead angels, and Allie is a dead angel. But how would I know that?
I was just a fool.
You grabbed my soul and shoved me with lightning strike back into my body. It felt like burning electricity from my cranium to my root chakra, and I rocketed up in bed, eyes glued shut, and I heard you roar:
I wrote the name down, misspelling it of course because you always forget I don’t know Hebrew, and went to the kitchen crying to my mother that I had almost been murdered by a demon then saved by a grumpy angel. (You are very grumpy, very tired with the world, but also have boundless hope. Love is your defining core. Love, faith, and wrath.)
“Go back to bed, Allie, it was just a dream.”
A few days later I heard the Bell Trees of Islamic mythology that they say you planted in Paradise. You look the way the Sufi mystics describe you, saffron hair, emerald eyes, like an Irish monk or Highland Warrior. I always joke that you are Luke Skywalker, and today I learned they filmed Luke’s monastery on Skellig Michael, an Irish monk monastery they say saved modern civilization. There was this whole cult of monks in Ireland dedicated to you that were warriors and made there homes in the mountains where lightning struck.
Mount Gargano. Mont St Michel. I need to go somewhere where your apparition has touched the sand or waters or blessed, rich loam. I want to eat the body of your Sacrament, Michael, visit your healing springs and bathe my sorrows away. I told you last night that you can never change, but what kind of rude demand is that, to say you can never leave me. That is fallacy, separation was the first lie, and I have never been away from you. That is the entire definition of a guardian angel. God does not leave, God is everywhere, and you are the closest thing to God I have ever known. In the eyes, my eyes, and the eyes of millions, or are we billions, Michael can do no wrong. It is not in your nature, Michael, to think a bad thought. It is not in your nature to be anything but whole.
(“Do not tell me what I am, Allie, or what I can do. The mystery of it all is never being certain of what comes next in any man’s fate, immortal or not. We are beyond it all.”)
I have hundreds of memories of you, and there are thousands more locked in my Oversoul. You just let some of the most necessary through, though not necessarily the most important. Mystery is an ever evolving thing, and Transfiguration of the Soul is an ongoing process, carbon radiated to goals – I mean, gold.
You have given me Life a thousand times over, and whenever I say, I have given up, you give the gentle push of – do not looked at the closed door, but the bird of hope in the window. I was suicidal as sin the spring of my 23rd year, contemplating manifold ways to end my life – knives, nooses, metro carriages – and your brother was to blame, or was it my bipolar, or both?
I cried to you on April 21st, 2016, saying I couldn’t go on. You took me to what I would later learn was the privatest part of your home, the rose garden of prayers, and your own monk cell, and you told me love is the quietest thing.
You kissed me for the first time that night. That is the kiss to end all kisses, and where once I thought you were as asexual and flaming-sword-up-the-ass as Samael said, I began to wonder as things heated up like magma flows into the ocean and makes new home for life.
That kiss, those strong arms, gave me the most precious thing. Hope. Hope like the sun, love like the moon, somber watcher you are, but soft lover. Might and fury, wit and wonder.
You are my light, Michael. You are my joy. Many things else are passing fancies, but I will always be your girl in the end, at least, my better half will be your claim on me, while all my vices get tithed to Hell. You are my better half.
You are my song, I am your sword, or is it the other way around?
The thing they don’t tell you about saints
is that they are gardeners, tending budding
prayers, cutting shoots of dream-whispers
in the fields at the heart of Heaven.
Michael, whose sword is crack-glass sharp
turns his blade to trimming, dressed in jeans
and a button-down, not his usual armor, for
though a warrior, he is also salt of the earth.
The archangel likes ivy-choked roses the best-
those are secrets of the heart, so tender
they only blossom when lovers meet. He takes
a question in his hand and coaxes it to bloom:
“Does God want me to be alone? Will I
always feel this marrow-quiver pain?”
The archangel gives the rarest of smiles,
leans down to whisper into the petals,
his saffron-thread hair the same shade,
his lips part, he plucks it, then answers:
“No. Love is like my Father, it
trickles like rain into soil, it
feeds starving souls, love lays in
cradles and gutters, look at grass,
look at hummingbirds, look to heaven.”
“He is there, He will bandage
every ache you feel, staunch
the hardness of your heart.”
“Love comes like a beggar to a table
when you’re least expecting Him.”
“Love is the quietest of things.”