Saturday, August 6, 2016


My soul is wrought iron. Dark. Twisted. Heavy beyond its years, bloated with history. It rails at my conscience, the woollen sock that constricts it, keeps it prickling and sweating. It remits only in asylum from the breathing world.
My body scurries from dark corner to dank gutter, from sin to sin, driven by the sightless and unconscionable skeletons I swore I’d locked in my closet. Their acrid, desiccated bones pummel me, tackle me, smother me against the floor.
Over their greying shoulders I see my demons writhing, rolling obscenely over each other in an orgy of antagonism, aching to impale me on their sharp and toxic horns. I writhe, I burrow beneath the bed. Her bed.
Just breathing her air drives my heart harder, yet softens it thoughtlessly. The demons spit their scornful petulance at me, the skeletons gnash their blunt and rounded teeth. 
She mumbles, moans, rolls in her sleep, scatters the bones and beasts. I creep from the dark and dusty floor, slither up the bedpost. Gently I rest my lowly forehead against her immaculate toes, anoint myself in her aura. My courage grows with the transient peace she has given me, and I lay my sullied lips against her instep, I dare to touch her soles with my sweaty, suppurate palms.
I chance to raise my eyes from the sombre fathoms they swim in. I glimpse eternity in the sweet, sky-blue eyes above me, now open, always serene. Wistful lips are split, benevolent hands descend, raise me, rescue me, retrieve my murky heart.
I present a tribute, make reparations to the fervent, silken flesh. My lips speak silently of my sins, past and present, they promise redemption, then proffer the silver of my tongue.
I kneel in obeisance at the altar, lavish her with love, lave her slavishly. I lower my own self in her stead, feeling her goodness, her purity. It coats me, arms me against the sulphurous seraphim. She sings her songs of praise for me only, calls out to divinity as I worship hers.
My face tingles with angelic armour. Brazenly I lift my petty head, my mouth brimming, my chin running, my body bulging, with sin. Rampant, aromatic sin. Small, strong, butterfly hands bestow their grace to me, bid me to rise. My own crooked, wretched paws jealously wring the life from each other, dart toward her, held back by each other and by the sucking gravity of the black hole inside me.
Her delicate fingers brush my wiry hands and instantly they calm, they open, they flow. They follow nature’s course, rising with the heat below them. Swooping like my enervated demons, they find the perfection of her.
Lips part further, invitations are made, sacrifices offered. My mouth clamps shut. I don’t wish to spit my grubby sin into her, my temple. Dismissing my fears she calls me to her, the artistry of her fingers working a peculiar magic on my head, easing the benighted mass within.
She opens me, summons the evil from within; the dirt, the sweat, the guttural groaning. Her idle interest grows, turning to fascination. Easily, calmly, she swallows my shame, sacrifices herself against the hard edge of my hurt, lifts the weight of my horror. I hold back, desperate to save her the pain of a cold descent, gasping to raise her to the sun.
I chant and pray to my idol, and she stands me atop the pedestal I built for her. I push her higher, raise her to my stooping shoulders. Butterflies turn to falcons, she tightens her grip, she hauls me up beside her again. I pull back, she holds hard.
I hear bones rattling behind me, I smell the brimstone breath of the squabbling toads. They hurl abuse, snake out at me, but her goodness is impregnable. She blocks out my senses, her lips drain mine, her hands cover my ears, her eyes drive all else from my sight.
Her death, when it comes, is sweet relief. She calls, I answer, I dive, she swims, she smiles…I fall, slowly, slowly away from her. I slip from her grasp, she wakes and reaches for me again, but I have fallen too far, sunk too low. A bony claw grapples with my ankle, sharp black talons sink into my spine.
I succumb, briefly, knowing her goodness will fuel me through peril, feeling her seed growing inside me, her wisdom and purity swelling my aura. 
She makes me change. 

Hell’s just a roll of pennies.

©Willsin Rowe, 2011


  1. Wow. As Daddy would say, that's some heavy shit, Willsin.

    Amazing imagery in this piece, though it's so mysterious as to be almost incomprehensible. Probably I shouldn't ask you to explain, but rather, treat it as a poem, where the meanings flash and flicker differently in each reading.

  2. As Lisabet said, magnificent imagery. I don't mind not quite understanding it--ambiguity is fine. I did do a sort of double take at "her seed growing inside me," but really, why should we be tied to the concept of "seed" growing only inside women, and coming only from men? And I shouldn't even assume that the narrator is male, or female, or that any pigeon-holing gender tag applies.

  3. Even though this is ambiguous, it does seem to fit the theme of "charity," since "she" seems willing to forgive the speaker for everything he might have done, and to give him what he needs. I hope he is saved from his demons at the end.

  4. "Easily, calmly, she swallows my shame, sacrifices herself against the hard edge of my hurt"

    As others have said, lovely stuff. And here's where I feel the theme of charity the most.

    Randomly, I seem to have a theme lately of reading lots of stories about demons. Unintentional, but weird to see them playing off against each other.


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