The Ocean of Tears, The Lake of Memories, and the Heart of Heaven

Tears are holy, and at the heart of Heaven, is the Ocean of Tears from Chassidic myth. Michael tends it, and I always grewing up calling it the Lake of Memories. Heaven is lovely, from Metatron’s library to Uriel’s beaches to Raphael’s nursery to the Tree of Life, but I have always found the Ocean of Tears to be the most holy of places, and it is the first place I met Michael at twelve. Neshama Carlebach set it to song, and I like to think the holy dead are on its shores. Scars like the Holocaust, which I as a German woman know all to well, and I like to think of the victims of it are in the forests and fields and beaches of Heaven, at rest with Adonai, at peace. The souls I have had the pleasure of meeting are, but there are tears in Heaven, and there is still sorrow even at the Heart of God’s Land.

“The time came when Reb Yitzhak died. His son Mendele kept expecting to hear from his father in some way, even if just in a dream. No message came so about a month after his father’s death Mendele went to visit the Kotzker Rebbe to ask why he had not heard anything. The Kotzker Rebbe said that he too had expected Reb Yitzhak to contact him from Heaven and when he heard nothing he decided to go to Heaven to find him. He looked in all the palaces in Heaven and found no Reb Yitzhak. Desparately he went to the angels and asked. From them, he learned that if he wanted to find his dearest friend, he would have to search for him in a dark forest at the farthest end of Heaven. He mustered all of his strength and entered the forest. Finally he came to the end of the forest and saw a huge ocean. Leaning on a walking stick, staring out over the vast sea, was Reb Yitzhak. The Kotzker Rebbe rushed to him, embraced him, and asked what was happening. Reb Yitzhak pointed at the ocean and said: “Don’t you recognize this ocean?” Kotz replied: “No, what is it?” Reb Yitzhak said: “This is the ocean of tears. In it are all the tears shed over the centuries by God’s Holy people, the community of Israel. I can not leave this dark place. I spoke to God about the countless people who’s suffering this embodies. When I left, I vowed to God that I would not leave this place until he has wiped away all the tears of our people!”

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Cursed From the Start

Videos of a mechanical heart, puppet master shy

as the pistons steam and my bleeding organs stray

on the silver screen, and the aortas scream as I run

to the Devil’s arms, he is cursed from the start, and

our stars never align, under a sickle moon the salt

of his skin in the movie theater swell in the booth

phantom toll dreams up nightmares to concoct

a steamy romance penned by Satan, don’t you know

we all dance pirouettes under lustful suns? My plie

is a pile of bodies, and the death count of my  wrists

bleeding out into a fomented mouth with dregs is

reaching the trillions, quintillions, you know solar

flares? Loving him is like that, trying to hold a star

as its tempestuous fires immolate you with hunger.

But I am my own hearth, my own wild dancing flame,

and when sparks fly and incense lingers, the Nachash

and Chava meet in pools of wanderlust and want, he is

stripped for my eyes alone, pale and eaten alive by sin.

I trace his treasure trail and kiss him like a swan out for

blood, necks breaking as we bend into this Mozart requiem,

don’t you know lovers die down here in the depths? Why does

falling from the pinnacle to the pit into temptation feel like

dried roses on callused hands? I’m eating his apples, he’s

drinking my wine, and in the midnight hour, we are the only

ones left alive, out of sheer determination for a piece of God.

Homeward Bound

Michael is weak as Samael wages war against Heaven, fiery hair quelled with tears and white toga draped over youthful Ignudi muscle.  Everyone always forgets that man alone cannot defeat a dragon, knights be damned.  No, at the center of my princess tower is the Beast, labyrinth of my Rapunzel hair binding the demon.  And in my fickle curiosity, I am heart of Hell, and he who has the Cup of Fire is King.  Michael pleads with me, asking for the crown, and as I watch nine serpent heads devour Paradise, Samael blood rampaging, trying to claim that same throne, I argue for a Queen, that the time of Satan and the Archstratigos are over.  Perhaps Uriel, sweet as music, but then I realize, as Eisheth prophesied, choose myself above all else, and I have the Logos on my tongue, that answer that helped me endure cast out by God, wandering Heaven, drifting in Hell, holding both realms together through the womb and tomb of my Grail alone, and I am the Fire I stole and fell for gifted to humanity that no angel or demon can touch.  I am God’s bleeding heart in a thicket of Sleeping Beauty thorns, and so I crown myself, declare myself Queen, and promise to forever serve Heaven and Hell foremost, a martyr of Providence, but Earth is my body, and Gan Eden my sex, and the heart of the jewel Tree of Life my soul, so I am God feeding Her body to Her children, broken into infinite pieces yet whole, and priestesses are only as good as their promised, so I reign in pained labor of birthing Creation, and the scream of my pangs of deliverance echo across Galilee, and over Nazareth, my star shines, and Bride in Exile no longer, I Shekinah, Daughter of Zion, carry my bloody mangled limbs up the mountain, break my curse, and lead the fallen home side by side with the repentant.

Home, home, home.

It Begins Somewhere in Gethsemane

Blood under my nails, a flaming sword and blue cloak victorious
I am leading this battalion against temptation, these angels are
ichor and scars, twisted wings from the impact of God’s gravity,
and Satan laughs at what he cannot have yet always desires, for
the Lord keeps close what we are lacking. As I carry Michael’s
banner, standard bearer, I am Joan on a pyre, alight with desire
to vanquish and conquer, so on red tailed wings I roar down onto
the third that has walked away, screaming and slashing, and my
brethren are close at hand. Gabriel sounds his horn and Raphael
tends the wounded. Uriel blazes onto the battlefield like Boadicea,
and there are no soft places to fall when they cut you down from
on high, a haloed corn stalk the rats and weevils have gotten into.
Why we fight, everyone forgets, but it began somewhere in Gethsemane.
It ends somewhere in a fiery lake, past the Pits of Abaddon and
Apollyon’s furor, the thunder of the archangels pales in comparison
to the tears they shed, and don’t you know the whole host of Heaven
is held hostage in this eternal war. There is not much fair in this
fight, my loves, and I will betray everyone in the end, all for the sun.

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Where It All Went Wrong

Michael often wonders where the house of cards fell under a butterfly wing flap, what joint of the celestial body was the weak link.  Was it Lucifer’s desire to suck the marrow out of the bones of the abyss?  Was it Asmodeus’ lust for the daughters of men?  Was it Beelzebub’s martial ambitions to rival Michael’s own?  Once, he would say, these brothers of his were as close as the pulse of his heart.  But Lucifer became Samael, and fire turned to ash, and he is left with a third of his sisters and brothers damned for all time on blood money, as the song goes, only they were the prototypes of Judas, selling the ineffable name of God out to the humans in the form of a shiny poison apple.

Evil roots.  Evil is a lindworm gnawing at the tap root of the Sephiroth.  And then there is death of Da’ath, and then there is the Qliphoth, and then there is the madness of the prophets bridging the Tree of Life and Tree of Death.  So evil roots into the hearts of man, Samael’s seed blossoming in witchfire, and the questions of what Hayah Havah means is echoed in the barracks of a million mortal armies.  Why do we bleed out for dictators and crackpots, dying on the streets of gang warfare and drug wars and turf wars and falling like flies to school shooters?  Lucifer turned the entirety of the universe into a battlefield, and not even the babes are safe from the evil that he planted, that dry grape vine of the vintage most vengeful.  Sometimes, the plants of filth and zuhama climb up the Sephiroth and root in Michael’s rose garden in Machon.  He takes his flaming sword and swiftly cuts down the defiant black blooms.  Rotting alive, thirsting after Heaven even after the rebellion.  Samael likes to remind Michael that he is watching.  All he really would have to do would be to call, send a messenger, but Samael likes to be flagrant in disregard for protocol, sauntering to the Gates of Heaven, which he cannot enter (or can he?) and throw paper planes with profanities over Saint Peter, enchanted to reach Michael as he is trying to relax.  Sam was always annoying like that.

Where did they go wrong?  Their bridge failed miserably.  She died in the first war, of cherubim swiftest wing, Herald of Hell, Watchman of God, Heaven’s original covert mission and spy with sympathies towards Hell.  Jophiel to Michael, or Zophael as she preferred to call herself, was always flighty, and without Samael to keep her in check, she grew wild, mad with grief, for to lose the one who gave her wings (Michael gave her her breath and heart, well, her first one at least.  Samael would claim even that in time) made Jophiel erratic.  She saved Michael’s life, yes, but at what cost?  Dissension between the twins.  A bridge burned.  She was created out of beauty, yes, but she brought pain to the garden, and she was the first of martyrs, Lucifer be damned.

Now the bridge is broken, and Taninver rides the Shekinah, and this world is not right.  This world is broken and cruel, and she is gone, out of reach, so in love with the idea of martyrdom she has made herself a sacrificial soul.  Michael has offered her Assumption twice now but she chose Samael, she always chooses him, over salvation, for she says, if her brothers and sisters who art in Hell, who Zo grew to close to when faking allegiance to the Prince of Darkness, only to blaze onto the battlefield in the glory of betrayal as Michael’s standard bearer, this guilt Zo feels at double-timing, at being an angel in hell, at leaving that third behind to rot, it makes her mad and bad and dangerous to know.  She thinks the mem can be cleansed, when really, nothing can separate wheat from chaff but the fiery lake, and that is where he belongs, at least, Michael thinks.  Otherwise he would not have asked her to abandon Earth on Easter and Good Friday for Heaven and endless Paradise.  Your penance is done, this self-imposed exile of the Watchtower Girl, he was trying to say, but it came out  in parables and scraps of starlight, and Michael grows weary of trying to save her, of trying to convince her Samael is not worth saving, so instead he just makes love to her and heals her wounds the best he can, the wounds his brother inflicts, that first spear through the heart and that last rape of the soul, all but for knowledge, all but for Samael to declare his own Hayah Havah, on Chavah no less, when he is but Yah the snake.  Snakes are slippery things, egotistical at that, but Zo is a dragon and general mother of Heaven’s battlefield, and she has not forgotten her loyalties.

Her very core belongs to Michael, and for Samael to give her his heart, means his damned brother is also under God’s love and sway.  The cardiophore chooses who is redeemed in the end, anyway, if Sa’el is left standing or if the pale rider turns into oblivion.

All hell would follow after him, were she to figure out this puzzle.

Michael does not have faith he deserves redemption.

Michael does not think she can.

Michael is weary, and Michael

no longer

believes.

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Carry Me

The image of you clad in radiant light, like some
heart of a star, bleeding white gold glory, oh sweet
Yeshua, pulsing like solar flares, you lay hands on
me and I dream of the Tzohar, the Lapis Exillis, your
Cup, the Holy Grail that poor Parzival quested after,
you know the angels robbed Parzival of his virtue and
the Fisher King wounded him at his groin, just like
Jacob wrestling Samael, or was it Michael? Perhaps Jacob
is immortal, sweet guardian of your blood, and from his
groin descended the sleeping generations of all nations!
Oh the glory of God, oh the glory of Heaven, oh the
righteousness yet meekness of the lamb, soft is your
wool, sweet Jesus, and smelling like dragon’s blood
does your mane, Lion of Judah! You are an omnivore,
as is your birthright, to drink down blood of the
covenant, cannibalizing yourself, and I have tasted
the Passion in my labor pangs of birthing new worlds
in the wastelands of the asylum, where many go into
the Tomb, only to rise in white gowns anew, and I am
healed by your blood, blood, red and white blood and
water, oh sweet Christ, how you rage at the unjust,
how you cradle me and rock me to sleep, singing the
lullaby B’shem Hashem, you make my throat burn with
a choked on Sacred Heart, the gristle sticks in my
esophagus, and I eat my gods, but you are the One God,
and there are layers like a carapace to divinity, and
you are nothing but Nature Incarnate, sweet yet fierce,
for Nature is Sophia, your Mother Goddess, Asherah,
the Lady Holy Ghost! Wisdom speaks and Eloa ascends,
Norea descends, Eve is Ninti, Lady of Ribs,and you are
Enki in the Garden of Eden, for what separates Enki
from Christ? Not much, I can tell you, Lord of Waters!
Soft and gentle, strong and firm, your skin and flesh
an apple for the plucking, your hair brown boughs to
nest in, your lungs fit for breathing fire at End Times.
Your Mysteries are Holy Passion Plays, mummer’s delight,
and I am Columbine masked as I climb the Sephiroth, the
paranormal romance writers and urban fantasiests write
about angels and demons but always forget the Lord, who
through all things are made, and to have a lurid Devil
one must also admit the existence of Unconditional Love,
for hate is but the absence of God, but the Devil does
not hate, simply mourns, and he spits at your feet as
you, with the best of Serpents, crush Samael’s head!
Break the skull of Satan open and shove in redemption,
for there are two Mourning Stars in this story, and a
glimpse of Heaven is worth seven Hells, but I am welcome
above and below, and I know my path lies with you in sweet
eventuality, when I am old and gray, and you take me to
ascend to Narnia in your Aslan arms, sweet Savior, ready me
for the long journey home…

Heaven a Hell of Its Own

It is Paradise for the Chosen Few, with verdant
terraces of wildwoods that stretch on forever,
board games to staunch the boredom of Heaven,
how many times can you play Risk and Parcheesi
until Lilith runs out of the stable lusting
after freedom, for the punishment of Belial,
Lucifuge Rofocale, Asmodeus, Beelzebub, and
Samael are to be guardians over the good, to
pretend to be better angels and chaperone the
contentment and lazy summer days of New
Jerusalem, bottle all your ids down, tamper
the urges of lust and cannibalism and fucking
good and hard in a shattered medical ward.
For in truth, the Saved and Chosen by Christ
have been put here to torment the archdemons:
provide on hands and feet kneeling every whim
for those Saint Peter admitted with gold-drip
arms to the Seventh Heaven, near the seat of
God, where Metatron scribes the Sefer Ha Chaim.
I am one of those that taste salvation, and in
this bucolic, idyllic countryside palace where
the archdemons would rather drink themselves to
death than spend another minute playing Parcheesi
with better than thou, long-suffering disciples,
turn the other cheek crew that is so much more
enlightened than the demons of vices, who despise
virtue, which is what the Blessed are, I run wild
through the woods that are ever-changing, with
diamond fruit and jewel leaves, fly stupendous
in the clouds with the archangels while my demons
are confined to babysitting the faithful, they
are slowly going mad playing Monopoly in the Good
Place, where everything to them is boring and
nothing bad ever happens, all is sunshine and
ice cream stops on a choo choo train and rainbows
after beautiful storms that grow the verdant flowers
of Heaven. For Heaven is torture for my demons,
they are growing mad, counting ceiling tiles,
peeling away at the 80’s carpet in the guest
room, passed out monotonously catatonic as the
peacefulness and perfection tease and tempt them
to defile this perfect place. Samael talks to
Asmodeus in hushed tones: if I have to play
another round of Life I will gut these holy
neerdowells, Belial moans and wishes for his
guitar, for rock music is too loud for the
blessed dead, Beelzebub spins a toy top over
and over again, steely look on his face, I
realize my demons have been put in what is
essentially time out in Heaven, and taking
pity on them, I utter the ineffable name of
God and break the curse laid upon them, give
them back their wings, the demons hightail it
out of mundane, beautiful Paradise and soon
we reach Hell, I along for the ride for shits
and giggles, happy to have freed the demons
of my inner menagerie to their sins and
supplications, Asmodeus, Beelzebub, Samael
and I enter a medical laboratory with shatter
glass and mercury and blood and dead rats,
it is a wrecked dungeon of mad experiments,
and they take me there on the stainless steel
counter top next to a chemistry set, every
orifice pounded raw as they draw lacerations
with fangs and claws, and I laugh in delight
at the wild unleashing of desire and bloodlust,
filling with the seed of the Satans, for in
Heaven, they were not allowed to lay hands
on women or men, and now all that pent up
rage is turgid inside me, the whips and knives
emerge, the wings lift me up off the medical
supplies and when they are spent, my consorts
cradle my bruised and battered and satiated
qadesh body in their boiling arms, and I make
my nest with the Damned archdemons, and I pity
any demon stuck in a Millenial hell of board
games, endless soft serve, perfect summer days,
vacation for the residents of Heaven, and
sheer torture of perfection for those of us
who require a bit of marrow in our coffee,
bite in our whiskey, and blood in our cups.

Twin Pillars of White and Black

The chapel is golden limestone, stained glass
in blues and reds like salvation and damnation.
The angel of the pillar descends to smite the
dragon, fiery sword thrust into scaled hide,
but the burning argument between Michael and
Satan is just the flap of a butterfly’s wing
compared to the majesty of this sacred space.
Heaven is endless rivers of jewels, lush woods,
diamond fruit and lovingly baked manna that
melts like a puffball on your tongue. The two
twins of light and darkness argue over my soul,
where I will end up when I die: Paradise or
Perdition, who gets what day to accompany me.
Michael says my soul is a songbird, an Icarus
that flies on red tailed hawk wings to the sun.
Samael says I am a yellow canary, an addict
that bleeds words of lies with inky veins.
I watch them wrestle like Jacob and the angel,
black strands of hair like a serpent on Ha Satan,
saffron threads of fire tangling from Jah Michael.
As they pierce and prod and bruise and batter,
then dust themselves off and debate with swords
of words, I wonder, why create this choice in
the first place, a MacGuffin Girl bridge between
Heaven and Hell – I connect the Prince of Peace
and Prince of Darkness through bindings like
stone meant to sink you, for the bonds of love
drown our better angels and twisted demons alike.
There is a sea between Pandemonium and Jerusalem.
I am a barter, a sacrificial kiss, two fathers
that created me from stardust and clouds of aether.
“She was created out of beauty,” they said at
our handfasting, and it echoed through the room
like a promise. And I, my angel on the right and
demon on the left, fell once into oblivion, rose
once to the heights of agape ecstasy, and both
the Deep of the Abyss and the Aether of Angels
are my raiment. The cathedral stands, it is
witness, the Heavenly Throneroom, to the Left
Hand of God and God’s Right Hand holding court.
What awaits me after death is a song, and hot
and cold spirits are appeased by chocolate and
rum alike, so breathe, darkling angel, and sleep.

Counting Fish

I walk with Christ through the sea foam, on the shore
of Galilee, where many fishers of men have descended,
each sparrow over the water a soul, each fish a spirit.
The dove flew for forty days and nights, but Christ
can cast his lure of the Holy Ghost into Pentecostal
Flames and smite and heal in the same breath, Yeshua
shows me how to play with the waves like lamb’s ears,
soft and silky and cold, the salt tang of the sea on
my thirsting tongue is like blood, my bread is scales
and ripe flesh, we are measuring out the meter of man.
One saved, one damned, with stigmata hands. Angels
flock by the reefs, and the cliff’s edge towers over
with the Book of Life, its pages written in stone,
rain-worn and reaching up to the heavens, as all
creeping things wish after a sun to dry out fins.
The tides are fickle, the undertow is deadly, and
only Christ’s chosen can walk on water, but dear
child, it starts with swimming upriver, to spawn
in your birthright of a shoal, and when you die,
you too shall become a flying fish, over waves,
and the Fisher of Men shall reel you to his breast.
Find comfort when you are going against currents,
for it is the struggle that makes men wise, and
makes us Fisher Kings, bleeding from loins forever.

Bride of Christ

And I am cloaked in clouds and the sun’s beaten gold,
radiant in redemption, but under my gown, scars feast
I am the battered soul on the path to Christ, woman
of seven devils who sold herself for cheap beer and
the spark of a stranger’s touch, whoring out all my
compassion until I was a waterless well, and Satan
made his nest in my soul, from sphincter to sphincter
a serpent twined through my guts – but the Savior does
not care about Brazen Serpents – He reached into my
lonely hell and burned away the black, now I am a star
shining above silver seas and walking stairways to
heaven, to those pearly gates where the Bridegroom
awaits, He who washes away sins in Seas of Galilee,
I Migdal Eder, Watchtower of Women, scout, watchman,
when we kiss at the altar after vows of eternity,
green returns to the barren land of my mind, He is
balm to cracked hands dry from working as a slave,
a salve to the sacrificial soul, all my travails
brought me to this one clarion moment – forgiveness
I am unworthy, yet He loves me, so in His arms, I am.