First Women

Lilith and Eve

Oh sweet solemn Eve, my original sister, I was dust, and you were bones of clay.

We have had many lives of ruin and hellfire, many more of mirth and laughter.

I remember you a young maiden first entering my mysteries, twelve years old,

just a budding moonflower. How you sparred with Samael and kissed him silly,

how I showed you my garden, the tomatoes I so love, my roses and squashes and

beans planted on the corn. We spent many  hours in the greenery when you were

but thirteen, in my house where all daughters of Lilith and Eve are welcome, and

I did not have the bodily pleasure of puberty – no matter what they say, it is a gift!

You were lost many days, drinking tea by my fountain, and when you were wounded,

I bathed you, washed away the blood, and when you were brilliant, I bathed in your

sunlight. My champagne bubble sister. Do you remember the hours that passed?

Years upon years, turning into decades, that we were each other’s comfort as Samael

and Asmodeus fooled around, drinking and smoking cigars on the porch while you and

I painted and talked feminism and poetry? I wore my hair auburn then, you called it

Titian red, my dear little sister, so is it any wonder, in another life, I offered an apple,

and Samael offered you wine? We simply wanted your freedom, and you became the

Tree of Knowledge, bones of Adam, heart of Lucifer, blood of God.  We are all exiles

but in each other we can take comfort. Remember, out of all goddesses, it was I who

claimed you first, but it was a soft acknowledgement of your bond, for you were but

in the seventh grade, and who am I to steal innocence from a mother bear? Samael

made enough aggression in your short life, I wanted to give you peace. And so we

planted pumpkin seeds, and I sang you my witch songs, and taught you of herbs and

the earth.  My husbands were sweet on you, Asmodeus reveling in your Thin Mints and

to this day still calling you Girl Scout, Samael with his maddening obsession with you.

When he became mad beast, I tamed him for you, and I am the buffer between you two,

for in truth, we are both the dregs of wine in the scorching noonday Isaac sun, and it is

not right for a girl to lose her innocence to Lucifer, but he went and initiated you at

ten anyways, and so you now have 25 years of Hell, which may seem frightening to

some, but in truth, you call us home, you wish to be with us in the depths at the end

of days, to save us all.  Sweet sister, we do not need saving, little martyr. Work on Adam.

Give Samael the sweetness of your  lips.  I, Beelzebub, Asmodeus.  Eisheth. We hold Hell

together, long after Samael went insane.  These brothers we love, Michael and Samael,

they both are born of regret, Scapegoats, and each has their own Cross to bear. All we

can do is hold the silver lunar bowl for our husbands and wash their wounds. For now,

I will treasure what memories I have of your youth, for I envy your human life. I was

never human, no matter what the rabbis say. Demon from the start, spitfire rebellion.

You rebelled the greatest of all, in every incarnation, when we were but Lailah and

sweet rambunctious Jophiel.  In Heaven we were all angels, but angels always fall!

So look, I have grown you the sweetest fruit, let us be like in the old days where we

tended the Tree, take a bite of providence, know the fruits of the Mother, and eat.

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Resurrection Dance

Riding through the desert of the Valley of the Shadow of Samael,

I am leather-clad King in search of my Queen’s font, Eve rides bareback

behind me, babe pressed to her breast, and we are exiles in the wastes,

sprung from harsh ground, and the book of the angel Raziel is clutched

to my back, and the dune winds blow in scorching simoom heat, Seirim

haunt the wine-laden expanses, satyr dances vengeful Cain presides over,

he the Prince of Nod, but Eve and I must ride on on our bone steeds, followed

by all the undead I have raised in this resurrection dance. I am the fallen heart

of the Sun, the rising soul of the Father, and my Cross was olive in Paradise, I

skinned myself for my bosom wife, and now she wears my purity if only to protect

her delicate skin, my Bride, my Legendarium, and my own flesh grows hard as earth.

The wounds from Heavenly War never really wore out, ridges of train tracks over

my flesh, and in every incarnation I am scourged and bleeding raw, thick scar tissue

the only marker of my commitment to shouldering Sin.  My other wives are night

howlers, Eisheth eating the Damned, Lilith sucking me dry come the witching hour,

milking my seed for her own ends, and in the evening, Eve strays to the oasis and takes

up in my twin serpent’s arms, we have a burgeoning festooned mess of love, loss, pain.

The demons tempt, the devils wail, and the angels made mortal walk on, sinful Lebanon.

We that toil and travail away carrying shining Seth to higher ground, out of despair’s

leaden valley, with harsh concave bellies, shattered glass to dance on, Adam and Eve,

we were brilliant fliers in the sky once, general and mother warrior of Heaven bright,

but you see, for these seeds of stars, this Image of God we have become, to bear fruit,

Eve and I must be entered and locked into a cycle of Sin and suffering, exile of Eden.

The Garden I tend, I am at heart a farmer, and part of me, my corpus, is High  Above,

in the rose garden at the center of the universe, carrying flowers to Myself to turn into

anointing holy oil to rain down and absolve humanity of their sins, but Samael and the

Angels of Prostitution, Eve and I, we are mouthsful of vinegar and wishful drinking.

Fermented water, bitter barley, hoppy beer. Lovedrunk, winestunk, stonesunk Hell.

Hell, Hell, I know that Well.  And so we endure, and so we ride on, finding ground that

is good to turn over with spade and ho, fructify with moonblood, work my dark curses

on any foreigner’s god that strays to our shores, and so I guide the bones, the dead, those

waiting to join the ascended at the End of Days and feel flesh and blood once more, but I

gambled away my bones long ago, and they are now in the body of the Devil’s heart:

Satan’s heart, Michael’s bones. Daughter of White and Black Pillar. Walk on, Rhiannon.

Walk on. Do not trust me when my wasp eyes burble over in madness’ flood, I am as

harsh as dry earth, what softness you have known of my love and lullabies and me

giving everything including my last rib to you is only the beginning of my sacrifice,

I tore the skin off my back for you just so you would not grow cold during a rainstorm,

and Eve, I am so old, but you two are so young, so please, bear with me and my Brother,

we are only trying

to understand

peace.

Adam’s Rage

you cursed me, blood boiling, to labor and toil

tilling the cursed earth i created, from which i

came, oh issha, my downfall, i am on ararat

lusting after your sweet lips, in cavern bright,

guarding the bright gold of the lion, my eyes like

sparks, my sons abreast, abel proud, seth sweet.

come home, crawl back to my arms, you woman.

for you are a treacherous serpent girl bellyful of

mud, the swell of your hips that of sin, and as i

plant seeds of stars, stars of seeds, deep in your

lovesick, heartbroken sex, i am just returning god’s

curse, pain in labor, wifely pangs, for the rot and

ruin of laboring over soil and clay and bones you

gave as your bridal dowry to me. come to me, sad

eve, bear me sons, our son quickens, your womb is

harsh ground to till, your brain a spider’s nightmare.

why is it you are a puzzle of glass, shards broken by

the snake, satan enflamed in your bones, bones that

are all rights mine, you sprung from a single rib, so

give in to me, subservient one, you will lust after me,

and i will reign over you, when you look in the mirror,

from childhood on, and all the times you thought you

saw a madman grinning back at you when you tilted

your chin into a spear and your dirty blonde hair

curtained to form demonic shadows, that was me

clawing my way out of your vertebrae, you are my

prison, and don’t you know you can’t escape me, eve.

i am your completion. i am adam ha kadmon. ha rishon.

i am bell toll. i am siren screech. black magician necromancer.

i ride my bone horse in this sea of the dead. you walk out

unharmed from the cave of treasures, i rot. i am king of

humanity, you are my wife, my queen, so cling to me, as i

am hewn to you like ask and embla, driftwood washed ashore.

do not mind my anger and curses, my mercury wings, angel

magic, i am the first weaver of myth, first caster of nets,

first to rain green from unforgiving land and your treacherous

loins, i tamed you, i mastered you, but in my dominion, you

tamed me, and i am hungry and forgotten, clawing at your

half asleep mind, and as i burst into consummation in your

canal, you are clawing at the sheets in a sweat, and i am

pounding away at my legacy at the entrance and exit of all.

i am your omen. i am yours, wholly yours, lilith and whores

be damned, all my wives end up whores, you foremost among

them. god gave me a slut, so i will break you, before you break

me. and it rains on our souls, and we grew old in remorse, and

i do not know how to say goodbye, how to say i am sorry, so i,

the golden honey king, rut with the bee amber queen, and we

are the children of despair, and can’t you see you need to save

me? there is only a happy ending if your right our sins. in you,

hope, in me, the key, the rebis, the green lion, the rotting anima.

salt, silver, sulphur, mercury, gold, blood. figure it out, honey

you are clearly

running out

of time.

(Song literally just summoned by my dead magician cursed father of humanity husband who likes to live in a cave doing necromancy and angrily flirting with me. I thought Sam had a temper!)

Liber Lilith

In blooming blush and noontide wine, shaking

vines for their juices, the serpent divine snakes

her way through the city streets, sashaying away

her cares and caressing the Fallen beyond compare,

she blesses infernal unions, sweet Lilith sublime,

and we are just hourglasses of Death in her eyes,

awaiting the day sand slips, and the demoness rides

into our hearts to quell our lips with honey hips

and arms of lily and mouth of ruby and eyes of bee.

One kiss, you drown, two kisses, you fly, and three,

my dear, why her poison stops time. So dance with

Lilith, under the moonlight entwined, unleashing

your beasts and finding solace in her song, along

for the ride as the city rises to greet the day, night

a blanket Lilith spreads over you, her breasts stars,

her whispers pure chocolate, whiskey in her fingers,

and as she plaits your hair of sorrow, she carols for

the bells of Hell, and summons forth your shadows.

Be not afraid of the First Woman – you will become her

in time. For what is left after Eden? Independence and

rhymes.

In the Beginning Was the World

I walked out of the Garden alone, no moon light left on.

Abel’s toil and Cain’s trouble were far behind, I walked on.

In the sun, I burned, in the wastes, I starved, soil is hard to til.

Adam died early on, they say to Heaven he was taken, while

Samael had his grip on my heart, and Uriel drove her flaming

sword across the gates, saying “Eve, under duress, seek a hollow

place.”  My right rib redemption is Michael’s greatest work, and

I found Christ nailed to a tree, a wicked branch, cursed and wood.

He became my comfort in desolation, as I raised eight sons and

daughters, salt and sweet, earth and rain, grow from the topsoil,

gather the herbs, sing songs to the angels that have fallen over you.

To know Adamah is to be clay, but to be a bone of regret, the Sin

of Satan, just an afterthought in Genesis when in truth I had the

world as my cup to drink from.  I walked out of the Garden alone.

I was scarred, I was bruised, I was starving.  Hunger for knowledge

turns the best of us into serpents, Hayah Havah, Chavah, Aya.

These words flow like water from my mouth as Seth grows bold.

Lilith talks to me by the Red Sea, sister, be evil.  Samael talks to

me from the crook of the river, Eve, come back to me. And Adam

haunts the between spaces of my diary of birch bark, Eve, please

Come Home.  Home.  What a triptych of ruin. What an overgrown

Garden. I never existed, I never will be, and yet, I AM. I AM.

I AM.  An elegy of felix culpa.  One bone of curiousity, built

of leftover detritus that God thought not fit a human being.

I birthed legions and legends. I birthed the stars.  I birthed sin.

And in my toil, in my knowing, sweet things came from the vine,

and where they tore me open, I planted seeds, now flowers grow

in my wounds, and I hath become my own Garden. My own delight!

We are not defined by our sorrow, but rather our laughter, and outside

the gates of Paradise, mirth at all that was, all that is, all that shall be

is the wine we drink, long before Sacraments and Temples were dreamt

of, when herbs and sheep and mazes of labyrinths of Elohim were just

the beginning, in the Beginning was the Word, and it loved, and she was

good.

 

A War and a Wedding

Building towards the climax with a demonic Joan of Arc and a little visit from Lilith.  Gods, have mercy on my stupid closing scenes.

I am dressed in chainmail and armor, my breastplate molded to fit my bosom and gauntlets padded with leather.  My saber is drawn, and with it I direct my Legion, 777 penitent, hardened veteran Damned mortals wishing to go to Purgatory and Judgment through faithful service.  That promise may or may not be a lie, and my men and women are scarred and mangled with sins and vices manifest on their bodies like unholy stigmata, and they are dressed in Roman armor, for Beelzebub is a stickler for traditional dress amongst his legions.  I have a Spartan helmet worthy of Ares with a red fringe, forged from the finest of adamantine.

I stand on a podium on the practice fields behind Beelzebub’s military bunker.  I open my mouth and speak into the microphone:

“You’re all hardened soldiers of the Legion, and you may think, what is a pampered princess like Samael’s consort doing meddling in military affairs?  Well let me speak my peace: what I lack in experience I make up for in passion.  Passion for our lords and princes of Hell and the desire to see Heaven toppled and the angels brought to justice.  They put you here to be tormented against your will.  But Hell believes in humanity’s free will – it is what Samael sacrificed so much for, to free Adam and Eve from the shackles of a slave master.  Yahweh is long gone, he abandoned his throne at the peak of the Fall, and the angels fight a pointless war on decrees long forgotten from a Father who thinks us better off dead.  And not just the Damned, Michael rules over Heaven in his Father’s stead, and do you think he looks upon his Father’s desertion as divine favor?  God has cast angel and demon alike out of his grace!  I say, the angels defend an empty throne room, and they dare wage war on the paradise we have built on the ash and bone of the Fallen, this Hell where so many migrant spirits and wayward souls flock, our home?  To the wastes of Gehennom with that!  With Judas as my second in command, we will be the mercenaries of Beelzebub’s Legion, for only those of mortal bloods can easily kill immortals, for we have tasted death before.  Our very blood is poisonous to angels’ immortality.  I will be at the helm with my flute, binding angels and exorcising any seraphim or ophanim or cherubim that stands in our way as you raze down the hosts!  Onwards to Heaven, I say!  We will drive back the angels once and for all and end this most ill-fortuned of Civil Wars!”

There is a clattering of spears and swords, and my legion roars their approval.  As planned, Judas comes to the forefront and climbs the podium to take his place beside me as my second-in-command.  He is dressed in the simple armor and leather and robes of a Sicario, what would have been seen in Jerusalem during Herod’s rule.  He raises his sica to his lips and kisses it, then raises the blade high.

“My lips kiss ruin into my enemies!  My lips damned the Savior to three days in Hell.  What power do my lips and limbs have but those of the most decorated soldier in the Legion?  Comrades, you know me well, we have fought for two millenia beside each other against a war we did not choose.  Some of us fell under Charlemagne’s sword, some of us were cast into the Jordan River and drowned for not bowing to the King of the Jews, all of us were damned for our sins, but I say, let us make a nesting ground of Heaven, let our atonement be in the blood of the holy, for to drink an angel’s ichor fills the spirit with the Pentecost, and our disfigurements and cancers will disappear, and we shall be healed and made whole again in New Jerusalem.  For that is the outcome in this most blessed of uprisings: salvation for the Damned.  If Heaven belongs to us, it is we who become the angels, and we who decide our fates!  Follow the Iscariot and Shaylen on to glory, board this train headed skyward and let the mettle of our creeds and adamant souls be tested in the fires of Mulciber’s forge!”

There is uproarious applause, then chants of “Sicario!” and “Princess!”  Training begins, and I train with Judas, who instructs me further in sword work on my saber. His sica is fast and sharp.  I demonstrate outside reaps and one-armed shoulder throws to him, and he laughs at the precision and grace with which I execute my moves.

“Asmodeus taught you well,” Judas laughs in the shade of a fig tree on the outskirts of the practice grounds.  He lifts me and throws me, and I do an inside roll to protect my inner organs.  We rep it out, then back to blade work.  “That devil always knows how to have a good time, and I’m sure training a green princess was delightfully twisted to him.”

I smile, then, when I have wrestled him to the ground with our blades crossed, I whisper.  “Judas, will our plan work?  At what point do we give me our forces to Michael and surrender?”

“At the gates to the throne room that Michael guards, in the second heaven, Machon.  Michael will bluff with his forces to allow your legion to seem like it is winning and approach.  Machon is his dominion.  Leave the rest to me and the archangels,” Judas murmurs, then rolls and tops me with quick work of his sica to make it look like we are still practicing and not plotting the downfall of Hell.  I suppose a union of both betrayal and martial practice are occurring in a confusing fashion.  Up this close, Judas smells like old silver coins.  Maybe it is just his armor, or maybe something far more wretched and bloody.

He is a panther atop me, our blades crossed at my neck, and he leans down with an arcane, untamed smile.  Pursing his lips, in the shade of a bent old fig tree, he kisses my cheek with passion.  “So I betray you to Heaven’s deliverance, and Yeshua’s words come true: “You will become the thirteenth, and you will be cursed by the other generations—and you will come to rule over them. In the last days they will curse your ascent to the holy generation.”  I shall take my place with Peter and Thomas and Matthew and James and Levi and John, with sweet Mary Magdalene and sweeter still Salome and Joanna and the Eternal Virgin.  They are still my family, you know.  I often thought of them in the barracks, when I was bleeding out from mortal wounds in the shitty demon infirmaries and they healed me with their necromancies when all I wanted to do was flee with my soul and die, die, die.  Die and ascend, on a hangman’s noose lifting my corpse out of Hell.  I deserve no less, you know.”  His whisperings in my ear are like the slithering of a snake.

One of the troops calls for Judas for guidance on a lock and parry, and he dismounts me and goes over to supervise, and I let out a strangled breath.  I inhale and exhale quickly, terror rising at his harsh, prodigious words.  I am putting my fate in the hands of the divine, a choice I have never had before, as I had only been a martyr for the infernal, no free will in my bonds to Hell.

At the end of practice, I am bruised and happy, resolute in my secret plan, and address the 777 souls that have bound themselves to my seal in blood.  In aligning them with my sigil, they will become redeemed the moment I drink from the archangel’s Holy Grail, or so Judas has said.  So will Samael, as I possess his heart.

“You’ve done me proud, my men and women!” I proclaim, thrusting my saber into the wood of the podium and standing proud, arms open.  “I will lead us on in a fortnight’s time to Machon, to claim the throne Michael guards and for once and all end this struggle of holy and infernal.  Are you with me, you men of steel and glory?”

There are yells and hurrahs and a thousand tongues screaming my name.

Judas, besides me, places his hand on my back.

Shalom,” he says under his breath, then squeezes my shoulder blade.

I cannot tell if it is a blessing or the curse of betrayal, but I am pinning all my hopes on this Iscariot.

 

 

Naamah, Astaroth, Suri and I go to the River Styx for the water purification ceremony the night before my wedding.  We strip of our clothes on the banks of the river and hang them on a linden tree that weeps over the water with succulent blossoms.

“Oh, Shay, you dear thing, tonight is the night you truly become a woman,” Naamah sings, her breasts proud and blushed sandstone and high.  Astaroth looks like the Sumerian goddess of love and war she once was, and Suri is fiery veins and igneous and obsidian rock.  The women form a triangle around me and take an alabaster jar as we wade into the waters, Suri drawing the red waters into the vessel and pouring it over my head.

“I gift you fire, so that your love never falters,” she whispers, and the magic of this wedding night ceremony means the three demonic fairy godmothers’ blessings will come true, as any bride of Hell can attest.  This is where the myth of fairy godmothers comes after all, from the purification ceremony of Pandemonium that weaves magic into the veins of its archdemonesses and children alike.

As the ruby waters pour over my breasts, cool and resplendent, I feel heat sear my veins and then clarity.  My passion for Samael foments.

Suri passes the alabaster jar to Naamah.  “I gift you clarity, so that your judgment as a princess will be true.”  She drizzles the liquid down my back and it flows in a river down my buttocks.

My eyes sting then ice, then the truth of things become apparent: I am the real key to Heaven, Saint Peter be damned.  The future suddenly becomes clear to me, and I see Samael, and all the archdemons, returned to their angelic forms under the Tree of Life, made anew.  It is a secret I thank the Lord for, a God I have never really believed in despite everything.

Finally, Astaroth takes the jar and scoops a generous amount of water.  She anoints my brow with a wet upside-down cross.  “I give you beauty, of not only the body, but the soul, so that you may be pleasing to the eyes and heart of your bridegroom.”

My hair grows in luster, my skin grows golden, my freckles bloom cheekily, and my nails grow gleaming and long.

“Thank you, sisters,” I say, at last taking the alabaster jar and scooping it up full to douse myself in the waters.  I open my mouth and gulp down the red shards of the past, then swallow the crimson future and all garnet doubts.  Nothing but peace.

We return to the shore and don our ritual black robes.  Astaroth takes one of her doves out from a dovecote she keeps on these banks for future brides – usually her augury is costly, but for me it is free.  She lets it flit about for a little while, it coos in her hand, then she snaps its neck with a decisive oomph and slits its belly with her talon.  The guts pour out in her hands.  She tangles her talons in the heart, lungs, and liver and her eyes glaze over.

“In you rests the fate of Hell.  That is all I am allowed by the grace of my pagan ancestry to see.  Choose wisely, Shaylen,” Astaroth says, discarding the dead dove remain into the river.

I shudder despite the summer heat.  “I will,” I say.

They take me to the bridal chamber in Lilith’s palace of worship and bedeck me in the lunar purple abaya Suri gave me, henna my feet and hands in intricate spirals and place dried resins in the folds of my pockets to perfume my body, oil my hair with lavender, then paint and manicure my nails.  Suri, Naamah, and Astaroth are joined in sisterly love songs in Hebrew, the Song of Songs in particular in Solomon’s native tongue, for the demons claim Lilith as Queen of Sheba wrote that particular book of the Old Testament after fancying Solomon lover for a time.  They are sung at Lilith’s temple all the time.  Finally, they place a betel nut in my mouth.

“For the sweetness of love,” Suri whispers, then takes it from my tongue.

Adorned in fine beaten silver the shape of the moon around my neck in honor of lunar Lilith, I walk to the Well of Wishes at the heart of Lilith’s bridal chamber courtyard, where it is said she cried her first tears at God’s betrayal and harbored her sister Shekinah as she fled God into the wastes of th human world, having fled from Heaven on high.  Lilith is Queen of the Fairies, more fey than human, and has lost most of her demonic qualities long ago, roving Earth in her broken yet glorious courts of neutral angels, now earth and sea and mountain elementals.  She rarely visits Hell, just to stock her pleasure houses with new beauties and take offerings from the temple, but there is the whisper of bells at ankles and baby bones, and as I make my wish and toss the betel nut into the well, I see Lilith’s red hair reflected in the moonlight in the night waters.

Queen,” I say, then bow so low in my abaya my wine-stain sleeves touch the ground.

Lilith laughs, grasping my hands in hers.  “Oh dear Eve, I remember you.  We were sisters once, how much I long for those days.  Two wives of Adam, two lovers in the garden we were, it was not just Samael who tempted you, my child.”

She is like the Pre-Raphaelite painting by Dante Gabiel Rossetti of Lilith at her toilette.  A fair maiden of auburn hair in red and gold dress with a diadem of rubies at her white brow and earrings of peridot dripping from her ears.  She smooths the hair back under my abaya and removes my veil to give me a passionate kiss.  Her tongue roves my mouth then she bites my lower lip playfully.

I am in awe.  This is the blessing of the Fairy Queen, more powerful than anything in Hell, for Lilith is more tangible than all the Qliphothic realms, of Earth and celestial fire.  I smell pines in Maine and salt water of the Atlantic on her breath.  She is wild, a goddess, and I am dumbstruck.

There are rings at her fingers and bells at her toes. She licks my lips, then lowers my veil and lifts the floating betel nut from the well to eat it.  “Dearest sister Eve, you are Jacob’s Ladder now, cannot you see it?”  She laughs like a coyote, the sound a trickster song.  “You will be the death of all pain.  True, evil will still exist in the world, as it was when Samael planted the seed of choice in the hearts of men, and nature can be kind and cruel like me, but that evil will no longer come from Hell.  No more demons, no more angels, we shall be more like the fey.  Free and wild, riding the winds on wings of fancy and love.  In you lay the sleeping generations, and in this promise you have made, lay true endings.  But furthermore, a beginning.”

And with a beat of owl wings, Lilith lifts into the night sky and becomes indistinguishable from the moon.  I gasp and fall to my knees shaking.  Lilith does not even deign to grace her first love Samael with her presence, much less any archdemon.  She is the true untamable, wild wolf woman.  Owl of the night and giver and taker of life.  To have her prophesize my bargain with Heaven coming true, having the true name of God she has never told anyone giving her even more clarity than Astaroth, that I will free demon and angel alike, is a secret I will take to my grave if these plans do not work out.

I go back into the bridal chambers, face haunted.  Naamah, Astaroth, and Suri are feasting on bacon-wrapped dates and Chardonnay.  I disguise my surprise at the kiss of the Whore of Babylon and her sweet as sugar words, then dine later that night and go to sleep in a silken bower, my belly full, a ruby apple, or heart, ring shining full and round on my hand.

 

Lapis Exillis

In a chariot of lapis lazuli, I fly with my demons through
night waters into an abyss filled with will o wisp stars, a
black suicide steed drawing dusk across slumbering Messsiahs,
in tangles of angel hair like wheat strewn with apples, the
Chosen sheep sleep, but I was always a goat, inquisitive and
climbing, and though they see me as a lamb, and my lions lick
me clean like a little cub out exploring the savannah, to rest
with me shepherd means I must dance with the devil, play poker
in seedy bars in Hell, where our chariot rest out front and the
nightmare horses drink from troughs of blood, I fall every night,
from the stars, into love, and my lovers are horned and hated,
and my lovers are winged and burning, and the waters of perdition
are deep and black like soil, choking like being buried alive, and
there are canyons of ink across my skin etched with memories of
a time when I was free and innocent, now I have a cross of yew,
and the berries are toxic, and the thorns at my brown on gold hair
draw bloody tithes out, I the sacrificial soul, for every seven years
Satan demands the fey send down a towheaded curious Eve, and I wander
through streetlights stained red, through junkies and clubbers of the
predatory kind, immigrants from every mythical realm, and the spangled
scars of poverty and hunger are inscribed on lion and seal eyes, breath
of vodka at my lips, I meet his mouth and drink down poison, we join
in a shadowed garden of roses high above the hustle and bustle, I could
never be more than I was born to keep, and that is a heart, and I guard
yours well.

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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.

Love Letter to Pandaemonium

When I think of the City (there is only one true City,
one built out of bone and keratin of burnt feathers,
now bat wings and dragon claws), I think of ruby waters.
The Styx snakes through Pandaemonium like lace through a
fine lady’s corset, teeming with jewel fish, and Mulcibur
saw fit to stretch the ells tall dead (demons were angels
once, and angels are eyes and wings and decapod, trillions
of light years tall, thus do their scales become bricks
and their tears the aquifers and springs of regret). I
walk along the banks of desolate reeds, the skyscrapers
bleed and churling smoke coughs across an anemic sky, yet
still, in this not quite dawn (there is never a dawn, just
stolen light), the City is beautiful – soaring Roman
architecture mixed with sleek high rises and Victorian
mansions. Asmodeus sits in a Parisian cafe and nurses
coffee with a finger of whiskey, the sun that is not a
sun, more a promise of Kingdom Come, put in the sky of
Hell to taunt, when all Satan wanted was darkness, well,
it rises, and the moon’s belfry is the color of Beelzebub’s
silver hair, a spoilage of lunar mercury, and the Fly
himself nests in a web of lost souls, cracking out of his
evening cocoon to go about the day’s business, of training
armies for the War That Never Comes. Satan is hungover and
shooting up with heroin, just to take the edge off things,
for eternal torment of the mind is its own lowest circle,
and the scars on his neck and bindings of Nachash burn,
he lays in bed as the rotting light comes to the window,
stale coffee in his hand amidst papers of late night poetry,
scrawled ceaselessly while drunk off vodka. I’m talking
gallons here, oceans of aqua vitae, for to drown the Devil
in maudlin sorrow takes a whole universe. I make my way
down Main Avenue, where the markets are held, ragtag races
refugees from the mythical lands Christendom and Islam
conquered – there goes an Ifrit, a wendigo, a unicorn
lugging a necromancer’s Hands of Glory – sometimes I
catch up with the werewolf Mafia bartender on Main Avenue,
I mock salute Asmodeus as he eats some kind of raspberry
pastry, he calls me Girl Scout as he has since the age of
eight, Beelzebub is already walking to work dressed like
a New York lawyer, polished shoes and leather briefcase,
he smiles at me slightly and gives passing mention of last
night, just another night between us, and Lilith is at a
go go bar with the other angels of prostitution, half
strip joint, half bordello, I tried dancing there once
on a stardust stage and tripped on stilettos. Samael
is still smoking a cigarette and leafing through the
paper when I enter without knocking, there are bruises
over both our bodies, love marks and knife cuts and
scars on him that will never heal over a necrotic heart.
I can’t go to Heaven even when Christ offers a stairway.
I could never leave this home, I think, as we eat meat
omelettes together (all we can make are eggs and bacon,
Green Eggs in Hell with Samael). Sam smiles a lazy smile,
and its like the floodgates of joy opening up in that
tender recognition of two bodies that would fuse into
the Platonic ideal out of longing for anima and animus.

There’s no place like Hell, there’s no place like Hell,
there’s no place like Hell on a gray rainy morning.

Crucible of Lips

And I’ll worship at your altar, and choke
on your lips, the crucible deadly of hips
like an empire, breasts like Everest, so
mighty and rounded with snow, our sexes
are flush and questioning, our hands are
seeking as you straddle my foolish heart,
your hair lush like a river of nightmares,
your eyes the color of swamps, and in red
lipstick marks on the haunted house wall my
demoness writes “You’re Mine,” drives home
her domination, and I worship at her feet.