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Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Black Death

Category: Issue 14

I paid the ultimate price.  With a broken heart I watched the others fall. I turned to face you, you looked away, didn’t even embrace me.  Closed your fist and lowered your thumb.

Falling, falling.
Falling in love. From that moment of creation, you breathed your kiss into me, that’s the way you wanted it.

Blood pours from the gash in my head as I lean forward, the fissure in the bone feels cold around the edges.  My privilege to spend eons mending my wounds, my skin seeks the stars.  Their light illuminates the tracks and ravines within my body and how it sickens me.  A vulture circles somewhere above, but it’s not my time yet.


While I was waiting one of your suitors encased me in glass, tried to stop me breathing - though I’m sick I’m still too strong for this pathetic cage.  Driving me insane with their childlike singing, sapping my strength.  Their tears of short lived victory, like honey, dripped around me.  Mocking my plight by your command.

Sometime (when?  I don’t know) I hear the others.  Their voices burrowing into my soul, threaten to rewire me into someone else’s circuit.  My body judders in tune with this sudden burst of power.  My fingers, once so elegant, so refined, now severed at the knuckle – lumps of gristle fall with every breath I take.  Your animals have never seen anything like this before, cowering in the bushes like the traitors they are.  The twine noose that’s wrapped around my neck is tightening as the Earth takes me, dragging me into its bosom.

I am what I am.  All bruised and battered.  Naked on the rock, limbs missing, broken or scattered amongst the dead.  A blanket of dust where once red velvet lay.  My army, flatlined.  Their throttled remains a warning to future generations.  Thunder and lightning fill the sky, a hellish laugh – not me, my face melded to the stone mask they give me at rebirth.  Fused to the flesh, that same blank expression:  a grin, with nothing to smile at.

Not my river runs through here.  The red water, thick with the viscera, gore, whatever polluted mess that makes up our souls.  Free flowing whine, I guess.

Ah, your wine.  Red.  Thick, like blood, just as tasty as it drips down the throat, staining the teeth.  I bite into the creature that spat me from between its legs like a heat seeking torpedo.  A sack so deep with putrescence, there is only one backwater it could have originated from.  Elephants with elongated legs walk amongst the trees, praising your glory with their trunks, thumping on the ground beneath them – knocking the stars from their perches.

This was all your fault, you bastard.  Letting the djinn kiss my rump, promising me the highest star in the firmament.  They just wanted someone to believe in and you didn’t fulfil it.  So high and mighty when you choose to be, but hiding in the shadows when they want a little love in return.

The tempest rips into my flesh, so okay, blow your insults across the garden.  Do you think I can be bothered to lift my head from my throne amongst the shit.  The weeds protect me from your gaze, and I feel so better for it.  Hang on, I’ll turn over and you can kiss my ass.  Sound familiar?


Clever:  a different track.  Now the tears.  Raining down the jewelled emeralds of your pain, how I wish I could believe you.  But I know the tricks.  Because I seek treasure in the flesh not the mind.  Sometimes, the darkness of your skin, so rich, so full of hate, gleams red with contempt – matching my own, if only you could see yourself.


I hid because I could see you.  How long has it been?  Did you think of me when you entered?  Perhaps just a fleeting thought.  I wondered what you were doing there in the mud.  A slither as the knife draws along the throat, a bite of a rib.  Those scarlet emissions, wiped so easily from our memories.  Raising myself above the thicket, I thought I saw you smile.  Yes, those gravestone teeth enticing me closer, so that I could lie nameless amongst them.  Then I was proud, the way you dug into the flesh, the skin, the tissue – colour suddenly in a black and white world.  The fire in your eyes.

I tried to get closer, but once you left you turned and spat something so hideous, even I was ashamed.  And then when you vanished I thought about what you had left me – a bloodied woman and a hairless man.  Hand in hand they go about the garden, completely unknowing of that they are.  A testament to your power.

And then I realised, you had forgotten about me hadn’t you?  Suddenly, when all seemed lost, I had a reason to live.  My heart pumped once more.

A bite of an apple was all it took.  A choke on the blackened pip – the colour of your soul.  My hand in the water – pointing the way – through the gates, off you go little ones.


But no, you had to have the last laugh.  A rock with my name on it hurtled towards the blank space that was once my soul.  And in the explosion, the reaction that followed: The organic replaced with the metallic, the garden with the concrete jungle.  Me now in space, forever orbiting, forbidden to touch.  Just that one flower now, which you left there to mock me.  Giving me a number which wasn’t mine, some kind of cosmic joke without a punchline.


No choice then for me on my return, but to bury myself amongst the tombs.  The blackness of my fluids swim throughout your pretty picture postcard of a world, only it’s rotten from the core and you don’t see it.  I find my place within the dead, curl up and sleep.

And when I’m dozing I feel you by my ear, the wind a hurricane.  But now you’re blind and you don’t see me.  I know that you want to give me your final whisper, that you think you’ve won.  Oh dear - the blueness is there, can’t you smell it?  The time for revenge is coming.  You’ll be lost and so, so sorry.

After all, you made me what I am – just a snake in the grass.

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