The Garroter Priest

They come unto him, the Garroter Priest,

praying like sheep to the fangs of a beast,

seeking his rosary, his brimstone path—

the way of war, and its bleak aftermath.

Kneeling before him, they welcome his grasp

around their necks, like a tight choker’s clasp,

his fingers interlocked in grim prayer,

helping them see their God (as they lose air);

the God of the Red, of rage consuming

like a stab, a gunshot, a bomb blooming

to engulf their lives and welcome the flood

of fire, of ash, of smoke and tears and blood,

hearing evermore the discordant choir,

each angel strumming its sinewed lyre.

His clarion call is a dire wolf’s howl

and his flock gathers, a pack on the prowl:

“Come, O flock of mine!” he says, “A fine fleece

each of you offer, and in return, peace

shall be your reward—the peace of such spite

that knows no end except when the sharp bite

about your neck sinks deep, strangling from you

a life burdened with grudges old and new.”

And so the Garroter Priest blesses those

whose wolfish fury hides in sheepish clothes,

wrenching from their throats the hunger of hate

and bleeding them to a more tranquil state,

for a faith of hellfire and brimstone laws

proceeds by a cannibal’s fangs and claws

as the acolytes eat one another,

shepherd on flock, and brother on brother,

until one remains, the Garroter Priest,

who welcomes himself to one final feast.

On Black Wings

The shadow laughs atop the tower

beneath the moon, at the midnight hour,

watching the princess fall fast asleep

under heavy guard, in castle keep.

The raven rises and wheels about,

bringing dreams that make her scream and shout,

clutching sheets as a funeral shroud,

her voice echoing despair aloud.

The guards fetch the king to the tower

and the king comes, says, “My dear flower,

what is the matter that you should cry

when so esteemed, daughter, in my eye? ”

The princess trembles at a chill breeze

and faint laughter, feeling ill at ease.

“Father!  O Father!  I dreamt a life

bound to the birthing bed of a wife! ”

The king frowns, but begins to pet her,

saying, “I have received a letter

from the prince to whom you have been sworn

since the grim days before you were born.

It is time, now that you are of age,

that wedding vows soothed this blood-feud rage

that has withered heir, heart and harvest

so peace may blossom and prosper, lest

dark days visit again on black wings

and War whet his corvid cravenings. ”

But the princess knows her destined prince,

having met him afore, and her sense

comes in a dance they had as children

at Summer Solstice, his hand chill when

he took hers in it, as was his smile

as they circled, lutes playing while

his eyes stared coldly, and black as coal

and just as soon to flare fierce, his soul

made of hot and cold moods, fire and ice,

every moment a roll of dice

if ice should frost his disdainful speech

or wildfire should burn all within reach —

she had seen him as a dragon prince:

cold-blooded, flame-throated petulance.

“Father, please, I cannot marry him,

for his heart withers both root and stem,

allowing nought to grow but a blight. ”

The king says, “A goodly plow sets right

Eden itself after the Fall, love,

and so you must trust in God above,

or else War will sup eternal yet

as the blood feuds grow…to much regret.

Think of your people, foremost in mind,

and discard all else, as fruit from rind. ”

Then the princess weeps, her lips curling

with bitterness, while black wings go whirling

round and round the star-accursed tower

as a Black Angel round the bower

of the Tree of Knowledge, and the bough

from which the Fruit cursed every brow.

The raven laughs, and the princess cries,

the feathers flap and she seals her eyes

and says, “I know my death comes just so

with the peace our good people may know,

so promise you will do as I wish

and eat a raven upon your dish

a year hence, to this ill-omened night

and each year hence, father, come what might,

for ‘tis death I sup on this hour late

as I waken to a black-winged Fate. ”

She then springs from her bed, flinging forth

from her high window, while to the North

the raven returns to the cold hand

which had bid it fly from that cold land;

messenger and master together

awaiting the storm, the cold weather,

and the feast to come, mingling laughter

for both War and Death, ever after.

Maybe

Maybe mercy, after all,
is to be dead, like the moon,
unfeeling to one’s freefall
and the cold night—needful boon
to not feel the creeping rot
as it eats your pockmarked face
while the hollowed heart feels not
the cold void of lifeless space.
Yes, the dead may be at peace
like the moon chained to earth’s side—
the living long for release
while tears swell at high tide.

Downwind

Downwind
Thinking himself quite tall
and claiming the high ground,
he loomed over them all
from atop a dung mound.
“You’re beneath me,” he said,
“and you always will be.”
Bible in hand, he read
from Deuteronomy.
“So circumcise your heart,”
he said, “and be not...stiff...”
then choked on the next part,
getting too big a whiff
of the shit neath his shoes,
as did his would-be flock
who left, as so behooves
those sickened by shit talk.
“Wait!” he cried, but then coughed
at the odor blowing
with the wind, now aloft,
and the heat now glowing
amidst the Summer sky
beaming with its full fire,
bringing tears to each eye
and worse than any mire.
“By God!,” the man exclaimed,
“and by Moses and Christ,
and all who yet be named,
this is a true shite-geist!”
He wavered a moment,
feeling faint at the smell,
but rallied as he went
though the smell did but swell.
“Yet, I shall reprimand
this age of foulest souls
and purge this goodly land
until the church bell tolls
to declare all so pure
as a Godly town might...”
He gagged as the manure
stank in the hot sunlight.
Rallying once again
from atop his dais,
he preached against all sin,
saying, “Lord God, stay us
from temptation, from lust,
from envy and from wrath,
show us works we will trust
and show us the right path.”
Then pointing at a boy
passing by with a book,
he vowed then to destroy
all sinners with a look
should they read any tome
that was not the Bible,
but the boy went on home
and cared not of “high bull”.
A girl then passed in grace
with ribbons fine and fair
and the preacher’s green face
burned bright red with a glare.
“Vanity is thy name!
Forsake earthly treasures
or it will be thy shame
in Heaven, these pleasures!”
The girl pinched her nose
and gave him a wide berth,
fearing to ruin clothes
more than her soul on earth.
The preacher loathed the cloth
of her pink dress as well,
saying “Beware the moth
that nibbles souls in Hell!”
The girl did not glance back,
but hastened to the downs,
keen to practice her knack
for sewing pretty gowns.
And many a more soul
did the preacher condemn,
the world together, whole—
leaf and bloom, root and stem.
“Foul!  Foul!  So foul indeed!
This world stretched beneath me!
An iniquitous seed
felled from the Fruitful Tree!”
He stomped deep in the mound
as if ‘twas what he scorned,
kicking filth all around
like a bullshitter, horned.
“As a Joshua tree
will my belief so grow
from this filth beneath me
and the faith that I show!”
All day he preached thereon
till sun slept and moon fell,
and though he bathed till dawn
he could not shake the smell.
“The iniquities last,
ever without reprieve
as shadows from the past
cast by Adam and Eve.”
He thought it a trial
from which others might learn,
yet his wife thought it vile—
a circumstance to spurn.
“If you are so holy,”
she said, “be a saint
no more roly-poly.
Wash away your foul taint!”
“Tis the taint of the world!”
he said, “and follows thus!”
She screamed at him, then hurled
a pan, raising a fuss.
“Out!  Out!” she cried, “Out, swine!
I cannot endure you!
Were I not wedded thine
I would marry anew!”
The preacher fled thither,
backside aching from blows,
and felt his heart wither,
as did his crinkling nose.
“The stench persists,” he said,
walking the country lane,
knowing not where to head
while stench brimmed in his brain.
“Now I am an exile
from out my own good home,
prey to some devil’s wile
and forever to roam!”
Angrier than before,
the preacher returned now
to the high mound once more
with a complacent brow.
“Still do your sins smell!”
he proclaimed, hands aloft.
“And will thus unto Hell
when sulphur and fire waft!
Raise your heads up to me,
and know the higher ground,
for I stand above thee,
a sermon on the mound!”
For the rest of his days
the mad preacher lectured,
decrying the world’s ways
while retching on each word.

RazzPutin

When he speaks from the podium
his eyes glow brightly
with luminescent sodium,
gas-lighting daily and nightly
while working a puppeteer’s magic
and a mesmeric doublethink
upon the world stage that’s tragic,
getting as many applause from the rink
of useful idiots and lost souls
as from the Kremlin-backed trolls.
He can tell an unabashed lie
with reptilian smirks
so oleaginous and sly
that just the flow of its oil-works
floods the market with crude—
like OPEC, but with attitude.
He blows razzberries
that can make the NRA crowd
blow their gun butt-cherries,
(so loud and so proud),
but he likes to deafen cries
for “true Democracy!”
with poison, smears, and lies,
for he is Deimos-cracy.
He has died many times in the past
only to rise once more,
his constitution built to last
as people say, “Another four!”
Disseminator of discord,
profiteer of confusion,
he is Bolshevik and Lord—
both sides of the Revolution.
No Iron Curtain is needed
when he can create a wall
made of Noise heeded
on the internet by all;
a wall to enclose us
in a paranoid bubble,
echo-chamber thrombosis
in amongst our Nation’s rubble.
Razzle-dazzle,
razzmatazz,
RazzPutin loves to frazzle
with political jazz.

Y Galwad

Cascading voices, as if from waves
throughout the resounding seaside caves,
call to promise ancestral return
while the dreamful stars smoulder and burn.
The wind whistles through resonant cracks
in mountainsides, betwixt seastacks,
while trees of a wood sacred long ago
whisper secrets only druids know
and an antler crown lays amongst roots,
skull white, hollowed eyes abloom with shoots.
Calling…Calling….Call from the Hall King—
hark and listen well, like a thrall thing
to the music that wends round the stones
standing in rows above bygone bones
of old kings, old gods, and oldest earth,
that secret-keeper with deaf-mute turf
where seas, forgotten, have gone to grass
and titans once strode by leagues to pass
with thunderous song and looming shade,
now but echoes that will in time fade.