He wondered with horror how so many memories, so many forms to be branded on his skin and engrave there.
Then the wet rattle of a twisted throat, and he beats his last breath to his knees, gazed on from above as the wheezing thing sagged, and began on his shoes.
One God looked in that one eye of him, took in the whole writhing weight of him, and, from the spine of that beast, blew the darkness that will not let me alone!
It is yet again where we find the Poet’s Muse. Her eyes are green, and they pierce backward and forward even into his head and his heart, his brain and his soul.
I have been chained to this post for six months and now I am to be hanged, it’s a winter morning, half-light.
The axe’s face is pale; its teeth are ready to cut; the poet stands slack-jawed; and waits with a satisfied grimace.
She smiles with blind malignity; I am hanging here, she begins, and her voice gears in his head, makes him mad with every anger and whimpers sound with a silver-sparkle, It is another wish shattered, this one made to whittle the Golden Ace’s life down to a ring so narrow and brutish and pale and inhuman.
The writer cannot see her but his ears are mad With unspoken sounds.
She has left dark-green circles.
He had tried to fill them with wonder and beauty; she: they’re her, only more so, every blot and abrasion cunningly and by dark cunning by her own hand, ever more revolting; why the hell did you bring that creature with you?
There is nothing for you to do, (the axe growls). You cannot even reach me.
I told you that I wanted the axe.
Then are you sure you’re not just nervous?
I am telling you nothing.
The truth is harsh.
This is not true.
Well then stop worrying.
I am telling you nothing!
The Poet looks up in alarm.
The axe comes down, it makes a hideous, brassy sound.
And it is still: I am telling you nothing!
Her face is as white as that of the blade.
He is sweating.
I do not want the axe, he says finally.
I am coming down!
The axe’s blade is laughing.
The Poet spins in place, does a somersault, lands on his feet.
He moves fast.
At the touch of his right foot he has snatched up and spun into the air, caught, dangled over a canyon by the thin tip of his finger.
There is a rattle in his head.
Okay, okay, he whispers, I am coming down.
He lands and slumps, panting.
His face is flushing red, his hair disheveled.
He grins through the tears running down his face.
Just me, he tells the axe.
You are alone in this awful place with all the stupid, insane weirdoes.
Where is the fun in that?
This place is for people like you, not me.
He is in a mood.
The axe slashes through the air, a silver blur.
The Poet leaps into its path, somehow knowing, somehow having seen what it will do before it happens.
He leaps back and the axe cleaves the air, then comes down to strike his left foot, where it clatters on the ground with a dull clatter.
He starts to bend over to pick it up, but the axe’s weight is too much for him.
He stumbles to one knee and falls to his left side.
The axe rests, not quite pointed at him, but ready, at his right leg and stares at it, mouth slightly ajar.
The blade is warm against his right leg, the handle warm against his cheek.
He gets himself up, he bends over, picks up the axe.
He kicks his right leg up, the axe goes flying past his body as if to his left, and he stretches his left leg out to catch it.
He pulls himself to his feet and does not bother with the blade and bends down to retrieve it, and reaches, but there is nothing there.
The edge is dull. Within his mind and he frowns, picks it up, holds it up in front of him, glances behind him.
The axe is nowhere to be found. But it is mentally within his hand.
He looks at the blue-gray sky, frowns, turns to walk along the canyon wall, head down, watching for the axe.
The axe sits on his shoulder, blades jutting up into his neck or so it feels.
Yes! he thinks.
It is not true.
He is all alone in the world.
And an old man.
What do you expect him to do?
He thinks about the little old lady he saw in town today, and starts to weep.
:: 04.23.2021 ::