a murmured invocation
famine cannot touch me. the nettles grow no matter what happens. i eat midges before they eat me. and when i was chased to this cave by shepherds, they led me to this feast of wonder. and now the shepherds run from my green skin. danger will lead you to salvation until it kills you. life is covered in death. life’s outward garb is death. i used to throw rocks at men to maintain solitude. now my wrinkled skin and gale-parched face keep them away. i was never beautiful. my jaw always as twisted as this grotto. death defies us. living things defy the tug of annihilation. i see it. skulls fall from the heavens, but the flocks are not hurt. each tooth on each skull a sheep sunk down in the jaw. and the jaws extend out and take the farmers and laborers up to a floating hell. the teeth of the nettle guard food. its bitterness a comfort, boiled in my low fire.
a demon approaches
one day, the devil god appeared before me. their four hoofed feet hovered above the hoarfrost. their tail the the tail of an ass, their hide the hide of a bison. they exhaled sweltering hot air with every pant through their wolf-teeth, badger-nose face. the air was fully happening, full of thick breath. behind them i saw heath devouring heath. i swallowed the devil god whole. i took that beast inside me, held it between my legs as it tried to grind me into the dirt. the devil god brought forth its emissaries. i take the first, the god of the eye lust, i take that one in my mouth and hold it there. the other is the foul demon swelling, and i hold it in both hands. the devil god bellows in the daylight, its sounds casting a shadow to the east. the elongated darkness withers the grasses and shrubs. my mouth cannot but help exhale the foul sticky breath. eye lust god enters my eyes and my vision starts to be eclipsed. i count the hairs on the devil god’s chest, keeping track with my toes. under the hair i see a mass of emerald and sapphire beetles crawling over each other, biting each other. an emerald one bites another emerald one, breaking its shell. it issues the most languid ichor, all glimmering black. the 88th hair is golden. i bite hard into the eye lust god, and it squeezes between my teeth. its unctuousness is saccharine tanged. eye god lust’s darkness begins its procession across my sight. i keep gazing at the devil god’s golden strand. sulfurous saliva flows down my neck to my bosom, pooling at my feet, lewdness gathering in the dust. hammer and tongue, my cunt becomes a carnelian chalice overflowing.
for 3 days i held the devil god inside me while my vision was gradually eclipsed by lust. aching with perfidy, my thighs began to shake. my vision began to lose all color, the world graying out. my hands began to ache. i begged under the sign of the hammer for strength, but none came. demon swelling overflows in my hands. my grip relaxes. my jaw slackens. my vision is eclipsed further and further by lust eye god. i don’t let go of the sight of the hair. swelling covers my hands, wrapping around each finger, curling around my knuckles. wrists, then elbows, then shoulders are covered in thick swelling. my eyes quiver and water, but the golden hair on the devil god’s chest never leaves my sight. and, just as as the shadow almost reaches total, the golden hair seems to extend toward my eye. it curls and flows towards me, tracing a path around the edge of the shadow just before the eclipse is full. it has entered my inner vision. all is dark, except for the single radiant hair. finally blinking, grabbing the thread with my eye, i pull into the darkness.
Saint Conception, hear me if you will. take me and curdle me into the present. everything already is to you. help me curdle back into flesh. coagulate me, all-conceiving one. thus i prayed for an eternity until i awoke from my trial. the heaths were a gehenna of cold, and i was caked in blood, a clot laying on stone. after moving slightly, the lichens tickled my skin back to feeling. the pale sun shone bright but provided little warmth. i rose, put on my robes, and went to pick some milk thistle to commemorate my curdling. as i was scanning the horizon for a thicket or boulder that was hiding vegetation, my eye became sorely irritated. i blinked, made tears, and pulled out a long, coarse, golden hair. after Darling Conception was honored, the devil god would get their due. i looped the hair into one of my long-empty earring holes and tied it tight.
stooping down to gather the last of the saint’s thistle, i see a plant of only petals, no thorns, all pink, all over. the whole body is a bud. smelling it, it’s unmistakably thistle. i pull it out by the root, taking care to not disturb the stalk-shaped flower. i hang the flower thistle root-first in my dwelling place and prepare the rest. click, click, click, goes my tongue in the purple night. i hear something in the scrub call back to my dry bones, clack, clack, clack. my bones are listening, my feet are walking. i am led to a column of stone, new to me, old to itself. too wide to be embraced. too massive to notice. it was to be my menhir. wide, all-encompassing mother. the restful, all-dreaming one, the stone of somnolence.
this was my Hagia Ágnoia, a palace to the Holy Unknowing, its depth and external dimensions inverted into a internal monolith.
i burn the saint’s thistle there and fall into reverie at the menhir’s monolithic compassion. i begin my lonely orgy to the stone, but i am soon joined by the devil god, who i brought along. the beast and i frolic. i pretend to gather herbs, gathering them in my invisible apron. the god played a shopkeeper and i was their customer. we dance and fight and tryst and fall into redemptive hands repeatedly, replaying the whole folly of existence. the dawn creeping, the stone calls me back from my devotions, back to crystalline sleep. my eyes shut, and strawberry seeds appear against the light.
this is the exquisition. every gland in my neck, arms, breasts, and stomach is pained. my organs are rocks. my skin is covering hard fruit. in days, my belly became full with spawn. putrid devil ichor seeped from my loins, and the hair cinched itself tight in my earlobe. several days after, a pregnant she-goat appeared on the heath, my woolly doppelgänger. she looked sore and suffering. in several weeks, she gave birth to a single kid and died thereof. taking rare pity, i held the writhing little beastie, and my own belly burst. washing myself how i could in melted snow, trying not to strangle the kid goat in my misery. after a span filled with inchoate cursing and fists on rock, i pushed out a wretched knot of curdled blood. i kicked it into the fire and fell into inky deep undreaming sleep. i awoke to my breasts painfully hard and swollen with milk, the goat curled next to me. i nurse the kid for 8 weeks. in the daylight, looking at its parts, i noticed its sex change depending on the angle. after it was weened, it left me, roaming and growing a herd.
exorcising the demon from itself
i see a form loping against the still-bright horizon. the air is full. a storm coming. i feel it signify, tingle my nostrils, writing itself out in the firmament. i turn to go back to my grotto. one flash, one snap. i hear the devil god in my ear. “that was its apotheosis,” they whisper. i walk out into the scattered drops, making my way towards the felled beast. it was struck by the bright bolt. rent asunder, part cooked, part charred, i decide to accept the beast’s mercy. i carve out the banquet with my small flint. with two hands and reverent thirst, i hold the lump to the sky for star blessing. deadening my senses, a spider’s web prayer spins from my tongue. eyes weaving, chest heaving, my teeth cry out in carnal pleasure, ripping flesh. gorged and bloody, i open my mouth in sour blessing, then fall to the ground.
prayer for deep blood
i am tremor and terror. the blistering cold made me blather and rattle. i am become a side of a mountain, and rheum begins to flow out of me like groundwater. a myriad of stones rest under my side. the clattering of rock is long echoed in chambers deep below. i drop my awareness down into the pit. a vein of limestone dreaming snakes down into the earth’s night, no moss, benthic deep where large entities shamble without collision. many-dreamed goddess, holding preciousness in her mouth. all tenderness & eyes. tenderness becomes wet. eyes become seeds. sprouting concatenation, shapes entwining and twisting together. small fabrics weaving themselves with vigor, but never feverishness. twisting becomes petals. peeling back the petals reveals more petals, more eyes, more orthogonal visions. each bending sprout springs upward seeking the light, growing tall and rigid, gaining strength, twisting with the sun, defying wind, mending wounds, deepening, wintering, summering, gnarling into an elder clump. the colliding kaleidoscopic crannied visions ebbed and darkness consumed me.
i made a prayer for blood. i hadn’t bled in many, many years, nor had i any wish to. yet the deep darkness there threatened to take me beyond embodiment, and it was not time. Mother Venus, drip the light on my tongue. trailing mirrored illumination, three drops of sanguine sun. i saw the world covered in a deluge of crimson. above, above, a ruddy disk covering the sun. everything was always happening. breathe a circle and you can make a sign. wait a holy eternity.
you might have read the words ”sweet waters of sacred lands” or “the fragrant springs of the mother.” i have visited many sacred lands and tasted many holy waters. none of them have been sweet. i have worshiped at many fonts of the mother and inhaled the vapors there. none of them have been fragrant. the smell of brimstone, that is sacred. the ground was with me, back above the deep. the menhir is next to me, holding up the sky. i follow it to the firmament pierced with light glowing tyrian. holy brimstone lingers. following the smell, i came upon the earth bubbling sacred water from below. i pulled up my robes with one hand and squatted above the hot pool of water. with my other hand cupped, i washed myself with sulfur. i blessed my body with a series of sybaritic gestures, prayerful, ornate and impossible. i had long conserved outward display of piety, visualizing each motion for hours. this night i secreted each motion. i kiss the Living Water, but do not drink.
soror seraphima arrives
“there stands a menhir” were your only directions to me, you said. “i have come in search of holy wells and tumuli.”
i replied, “here you’ll only find crumbling stones and this dusty old crone.”
the first woman who came to my door requesting to be my acolyte died in the cold. i realize i must have smelled like vinegar and dusty blood. if the monastics were smart, that’s how they’d tell you fools to find me. vinegar and blood. you gave me an angular, wide-mouthed bell. my prayer bell had long rusted through. it was buried with the goddess. this bell offering softened my soul.
i told you what i tell every aspirant, “go and fetch the sacrament. walk west until your legs hurt. you’ll see a herd of wild goats led by wiry old one. follow them apace. look on their old dung and you’ll find it. pick 4 caps. then gather sweet grass from the edges of marshland for a flog. it grows next to the sinkhole filled with rain.”