A Season in Hell with Bat, pg 2 [continued]

Night of Hell (Compulsive Divination)

Others fear Elizabeth now.

Candle-lit, all the decks poised and ready. Maybe we better ask something else.

"A vague & somewhat disturbing transition." Oh, how charming.

"Yearn to be appreciated." Excusez-moi?

The Sybil, frozen in bronze ennui, offered up that sometimes, it's better not to get involved with your soulmate. A journey completed is often just the end of the road.

baboon in paper hatYarrow sticks, runes, cards, images - Omewenne divined that I will be taken to a sexual place by a baboon in a paper hat. Screaming hungers must be fed a lot - greedy, greedy, greedy. Movement, desperate or not, gets one somewhere.

Loneliness that lasts a day or less is biting and compelling and gets one in the worst trouble. Better to let the loneliness go on. Pace oneself. Discover the patterns of grout in the wall. If you get really good at it, you can do divination from the tiles. Consult the augur. Read the entrails. Cast aside suspicions and dance the watusi at the top of the sacrificial pyramid. "Here I am, O Gods, why are you so bored with the spectacle these days?"

The entrails said such funny things during the night of hell. I pull them apart with my teeth, a maenad glow to my eyes. Dionysus, you cur, your promises mean nothing. I am the priestess of my own gloom, tearing my robes and hair, shaking my fist at the patterns swirling through my intuition.

Knowing doesn't do a damn bit of good. Except for crossword puzzles.


Sucking the 8 Ball

Art cannot imitate life. Life is way too weird.

The hermit times, the lean times, and the times of expansion when anything can happen and you curl your toes over to hang on for dear life as you stand, trembling, on the head of a pin. I sing of thee, I embrace thee, Existence. Yeah, whatever. Gleeful, I dance in the mud, squish my toes into it, and kiss life as hard and thoroughly as I can. My lips are plum, ripe and vampiric, waiting for the next phase. My eyes glow with an addict's hunger, but I'm totally sober. Hunger, you must realize, is a totally sobering thing.


The Year of the Ellipses …

Give me all the rain in my hand. Cloud-squeezing, my fingerless waif gloves are moist, and I spatter rain on the streets as I hide the rest in my pockets.

Under street lights, a kiss and a vision of quiet. When I look at you, a handful of rain falls from my pocket. A handful of rain envelopes us as you drown …

Just a little death.

Dance the little death of the troubadours, spinning, screaming near streetlights instead of trees, near buildings that could be caves - walk through them towards the light. I can't find where I'm supposed to make the sacrifice. I can't find the wizened Crone. I can't find a mirror.

Streaks of rain cross my face. A thirstful glance, up at you from beneath wet eyelids. Give me all the rain I can carry. Give me all the rain.


Movement Without Destination

Ring around the rosy, a pocketful of posies: I pick posies for you. I wish I could offer you the plague, but my touch feels so benign it might be meaningless. My mark is as ashes, is as dust, but I try to feel sacred when I fling it around nevertheless.

Will you take my hand and kiss it? Leave a lipstick stain on my palm so I can say it's stigmata? We can exchange marks. My thumb imprints on your forehead. Requiescat in pace.

Yes, just go away.

Let me call the person who will torment me.

Without touch, without kindness, without supplemental vitamins. Has it comes to this - again? Sitting, sitting. I was just running in place, but the earth moved beneath my feet and cruelly brought me back here again. I can try on hats. The black one with the veil fits well, but it scratches.

Scratches, like your mark.

Here, take these posies. I looked at you because you wanted to look at yourself. And I burned the retina of my third eye.


The Winter of Drunkenness

In winter, always, there is the cold sun aloof in the sky where I can see it hovering over someone's shoulder. In winter, we talk about other things and I rub my hands together before I drink. In winter, things fall apart.

Guilt, sadness, fear, and lust. My grocery list.

How many phoenixes can rise from the ashes? How many pint glasses can be resurrected? How many times can I get up again? How many times can the waning moon betray me and send me into the winter of discontent, into the winter of drunkenness? Into the swirlings of my disgruntled psyche, where I can virtually relive the eternal hurt.

Again and again and again and again. My face, unveiled, turns to the light and calculates that the sun is as far away as it can be. The long arms of Aten do not reach me. Cannot reach me.


Nothing in Excess

Words are it. Pulling words to my breast, I play acerbic chess games. The tears of the past sucked up by my tongue. Remember how the sun touched my arm when I was young and considered using the scissors to remove it? Yes. The scissors. Old and dull now, like the memory. The plum tree outside my bedroom window held fruit ripe and heavy, but if you plucked it, it was bitter. If my life were a novel - a bad novel - that would have been foreshadowing, but it was just a backyard in the suburbs.

Oh, tongues. Multi-faceted things. They speak, they kiss, they probe.

They lie.

But we persevere. We slouch towards the Sphinx.

It's a man thang. Hunting elephants at dawn with Hemingway. Elephants never forget and, predictably, get a little mad at being hunted. If I could write a love letter, what would I say? And who would I write it to? How would I present it? What would it accomplish? Sex is easy to do, but it's my soul I'm talking about. Unleashed, the banshee screams and run around looking for more. But then, it's the human part that wants to sit down at a table and share a meal. Linger over coffee or wine and find a rare meshing of minds. Without contact, it will whimper and die the coward's death.

But then we are fragile. Everyone is a potential death, but we are designed to die. The ultimate surrealist joke isn't.

Boredom is no longer my love.

This poem originally appeared in SINS of COFFEE, Issue #8, 1992.

Phrases in italics at the beginning and end of this poem were borrowed shamelessly from Rimbaud's "A Season in Hell."   Art featuring "Baboon in Paper Hat" was created by my Sepulchritudinous cohort Kallisti.