A Diabolical Grace
Dark, deep, warm-black arms of an endless night wrap me ...
Head thrown back in abdication, arms spread wide in surrender,
Falling backward, back, back, onto a hard dogwood blackness.
Nails of my own stark weakness fasten my hands to a weighty
Tree of terrifying introspection ... poison saturates my blood,
Courses with its curses through the very vessel my soul inhabits,
Dictates to me by the minutes the movements of my muscles,
States of my vapid organs, thus, responses and emotions, true,
Like the visceral, mighty hand of some morbidly jealous god,
Squeezing the true and the good from every last cell of my being,
The strength and health built by a lifetime of good habit and task,
Torn asunder by a guileful beast, a duplicitous, faceless monster
That I invited in from wintertide like some pitiful, starving fawn.
Oh, it IS pitiful in its treachery, and it starves, oh yes, it starves,
With a hunger for souls and lives and accomplishments and truth,
And it eats them ALL with a lust unending, and a ravenous fury,
Laughing at you with a Cheshire grin, your own warm, crimson blood
On its shining, chiseled teeth. And while you tremble in horror at
Its stark visage, while you stare transfixed into lifeless black eyes,
The face changes, the abomination transforms into a beauty so pure
And compelling, that your only thought and desire and compulsion
Is to drink it in with a kiss as deep as the Universe itself .. to pour
Yourself into it with every passion and emotion you can scrape from
The ice-flaked walls of your conscience, to merge with it, join it in
All abandon and care and affliction, and give yourself whole to the dim,
Shadowy vehemence complete, while the deafening roar of your own
Screams and scratchings, plays a somber requiem, final, a sickly
Sweet song ...
* Written and submitted on January 8, 2018, for the "Speak Your Truth" Poetry Contest, Madison Demetros, Sponsor. *
Gregory R Barden