Drops of Crimson
Week Negative Six of My Life
Watching as a drop of crimson flows down the sharp edge of the straight blade, I become entranced by the deep, rich meaty taste of metal in the air...this single drop of blood poised on a flat gilt brink...my life begging to be released from the earthly bounds of my body.
Turning away from the seductive sharp pain of the razor's velvet smooth kiss, I grip the edge of the tub...the clean white enameled steel of the lion-footed bath digging into my bony fingers. The sobs breaking the crisp air are mine although they seem to be empty echoes of my soul's pain...the guttural sounds coming from beneath me somehow and not from within. I can feel the sounds - the brief rush of air that somehow make up language - they catch in my throat, their harsh bile taste burning my tongue and filling my nostrils with a sharpness I cannot shake.
The pain of this existence is too much to bear....too much to swallow for it rises from in me and struggles to get out in half-formed sobs and tears. There is nothing in this darkness of being that I can hold to me for comfort...the warm embrace of a lover....the soft purr of a child's sleep...the comforting sounds of someone opening the front door, their eyes roaming through the house in the hopes that I am home....none of these things exist....there is only the void of reality.
The jelly jar of cheap wine sits on the pocked counter of the bathroom vanity, its shadow cast by a small naked bulb swinging above my head in a forlorn imitation of a bright, happy sun that I have never imagined much less seen. The muddy yellowish liquid squats in the small jeweled glass and as I reach for it, the blood dripping from my cut arm spills down my flesh and tinges the wine pink, drops of red dancing on piss yellow.
The counter rushes to cuff me in the head....adversarial in its apathy and the blow sends a different pain through me. This pounding, heavy glancing stroke is not the seductive sweetness of the blade but a mind-numbing lightning strike that leaves behind a myriad of stars and a redness that fills my eyes. I remember nothing past that point.....nothing but the cool feel of the broken tile against my face, the cracks gouging my lip. I taste metal and wonder if I have somehow swallowed the peeling fixtures on the sink but I find that my spit is tinged with the same crimson floating in the yellow wine. The stars leave my sight and once more, the darkness embraces me.
Week Negative Five of My Life
There is a faerie sitting on the fire escape.
That's the only explanation that I can come up with - for her face is sweeter than the metallic hug of a blade against my arm and the syrupy kiss of alcohol from a bottle. She sings - her voice cat-rough in its song but the earthiness of it shakes me awake from my mind's slumber - she mimics a tune I hear as I sway to the radio that is on while I paint.
Week Negative Four of My Life
She is rich in flesh - my faerie - her body isn't the thin rail of a woman bent on her own destruction but rather the nurturing grace of a being sprung from the flesh of a world that people no longer live in. I close my eyes, trying to envision the feel of her skin against mine...something sweeter than death and more lively that a shooting star but there are no comparisons in my life so the images fall from my consciousness without fully being born.
I weep at the inability to touch something from the purity of the air, wind and earth.
I do not believe she sees me...a shadow against the large paned window of my loft. I strain to hear her singing...to somehow embroil myself for a brief moment in the world she spins with her thoughts and joy but this is a fleeting thing - the cruel taste of honeyed pleasure ebbs away before I can swallow.
The tears on my face burn hotter than the blood that runs down my arm when I cut my flesh open so the earth can have a piece of me back every night. I can feel the salt in the water stinging my eyes and it hurts anew...this cursed life that is no gift. How often have I begged to be released from its chains only to find myself waking every day?
One day...I will fulfill my dreams.
Week Negative Three of My Life
I awoke in the daytime...a strange and unusual thing for me to do. I lay against the hard futon and pondered the reason for my abrupt consciousness....when the harsh pounding of flesh striking the hard wood door to my loft rattled me. There has never been another being in the confines of my earthly prison....and I hesitate to open the door to let this misguided soul past Charon and into the fiery hell of my life....yet a part of me cries for the sound of another voice...actually, the part that screams endlessly in the garden of my soul is hoarse from loneliness and pain.
Getting up is a chore....I believe that I fell against the wall before I passed from the greyness of life to the soft black of sleep. My head still pounds as I swing the door on its hinges...squinting against the powerful glare of the light streaming through clean patches on the windows. I had forgotten the sheer rudeness of the day as if it alone would be enough to wake a soul from the catacombs of death.
The form standing before me is a familiar one....precious silken tendrils of bronze woven with the fey spun gold surround a candied heart-shaped face. The open smile on the face of this angel would bring a god to its knees as it begged for forgiveness in its sins against man. Her eyes...there does not exist a colour that man in its extreme arrogance to create could dream of. The subtle light of her grey eyes fold in the storms that rock the heavens at dawn and the deep blues of waters untouched by the filth of humanity. I feel salt filling my eyes and I swallow, still tasting the sour whiskey on my breath and smelling the rancid air around me.
Cradled against her ripe chest is a small, asphalt coloured creature. Its head is demonic in appearance and the weak scrapes of sound from its open pink mouth resemble my own tortured cries in the darkness of my loft. The irony of an angel plucking a gargoyle from the fully lit skies makes me laugh - a harsh sound not unlike the creature's pathetic mews as it struggles against an embrace that I would live for.
At first, I hear nothing as she moves her lips for I am entranced by the softness of the crimson that she painted them - slashes of poppy against the ivory porcelain of a vase. I shake myself aware and concentrate on the musical lilt that flows easily from her rich mouth. I catch briefly the words she says...confused at first until I realize that she is looking for the gargoyle's owner. Looking down at the disgruntled creature, I realize that it is a cat...and not much of one at that.
She is cocking her head at me - asking if I am all right - as if the underworld sent me faeries on my doorstep every day. I nod my head, sending the fluid in my brain to the front and crashing back into the bowl of my skull. It begins to ache anew and I find myself on the floor, staring at delicate pink-stippled toes wrapped in fine leather sandals. She tucks the cat under her arm and closes the door behind her. It is heavy and she struggles, straining at first from its weight but eventually, it swings shut. Thus imprisoned, she releases the gargoyle and bends down, cradling my head in her arms.
The bile rushes up to my tongue and I can taste the foul greenness of it in my mouth. I turn away, not wanting her to be soiled by me but she holds me fast - as if I could somehow turn away Nature in its course. Getting me to my feet is easier than shutting the door and I soon find myself upright. The fluids in me are clawing my innards and burning. I cannot walk for I no longer have feeling in my body due to this touch...this angelic creature laying her hands on me.
She leads me to my place of sacrifice...the realm of my spilt blood and tears. She holds my hair as I purge the foul stench and fluids from my body and I cry knowing that I have done nothing to deserve this attention...this feeling of comfort.
I once thought that the world was a place of pain and loneliness when a person stood alone in the darkness....I was mortally wrong. There is no pain greater than the touch of another person as they wrap their arms around you, knowing that the caress is one brief instant that will never occur again. There is no greater cruelty....no sharper knife...no more tragic of an irony than the sweet taste of love not meant to reside with you until death. The gods must laugh at the mortal puppets that inherited the earth...for in our stupidity and selfishness, we no longer see the essence of our existence...each other.
The world goes black and I cry out harder than I have ever done so before. For it is usually the numbness of the dusky grip of sleep that I pray for every night and for this brief instant, I wish nothing more than to stay the heavy hand of slumber for the slight, sticky touch of a faerie.
Week Negative Two of My Life
The gargoyle remains in my loft...a scrabbling, soft, furry bundle of chaos that Moorcock could have written of. It claws open my life...this needy, mewling scrap. Its stench is something I need to endure and even try to prevent. It dissected my brushes and has torn open several tubes of paint, mashing colours together in a surrealistic blend of its personality. Finally tiring of its antics, I placed the acrylics in a container and keep them above its reach only to find that it will gladly substitute any other piece of my loft for its entertainment.
Every night it is visited by my ethereal faerie and she is a soft glowing shimmer on the fire escape as she knocks on the pane to be let in. I would like nothing more than to shut the window behind her....trapping this fey, earthy spirit in with me.
Yet, the fear of her imprisonment stays an extremely real horror for me. I sleep at night with the gargoyle tucked upon my person, hoping to catch a whiff of her on its fur. In my slumber, the pleasant images of her sitting on the edge of my life, singing in that cat-mew of her voice quickly changes to flashes of gossamer grey wings beating against the glass bowl of my loft, their delicate spines bloodied from their effort and her body lying pale against the dark red of her life flowing from her. I have a new horror now....no longer is it the life I lead but the dreams that I can never attain. This brings new pain...fresh tears and more blood.
I cry at night and I weep in the day. The gargoyle dances around me...a black silk arrayed maypole in its small, dust-laden life. It bats at my tears as we lie in bed and frolics with the Mother Goddess that climbs into my loft through grimy windows. I have never envied another in my life for I found that envy is nothing more than false hope that ends up dashed against the hardened cliffs of reality yet against this small, furry blot I find myself wishing to be it as it bounds with joy at her entrance.
She brings with her pieces of her world - a bright psychedelic realm that I am merely a reluctant visitor. Her laughter is a common sound, mixed in with the harsh croaks of the gargoyle as it squirms in her arms. I stand motionless lest I cause her discomfort in my presence but there has been of late a welcoming embrace....a bittersweet kiss on the cheek...a brush of a plump, soft hand through my long dark hair. I close my eyes against these gifts lest I become too fond of them for they shall soon pass and I will once more stand in the grimy twilight of my loft - alone.
Week Negative One of My Life - Part One
The pungent odor of food permeates the smell of the paints that are drying on my arm. I look up from the images of my childhood that have spilled onto the canvas before me to see a faerie standing next to me, holding small yellow boxes of oriental fare. The gargoyle is making its usual genuflection of obeisance to the goddess that ends her day with the visit to those of darkness.
She has never ventured this far into my life and she appears curious of the paintings lining the walls, stacked like the playing cards that rain down on Alice's head. The gargoyle has somehow secured a large shrimp from my faerie and it wrestles it to the ground, a small pink smattering of lacerated flesh against a deepening black coat. Her contralto voice is a query...asking me for permission to look through my nightmares. How can I refuse this vision anything? It would be like telling the clouds of summer not to dance in the blue skies overhead.
I nod numbly...not knowing...not understanding how she would see the world that created me. There lies on the stretched canvas the memories of blood, sex and terror that shaped me...grief mingles with oils and acrylics making the half-forged horrors real in their depiction.
She pulls the first one from the stack and turns it around for I face all of my memories to the wall for I cannot bear their eyes upon me. I watch her as intently as I watch the blood from my body stain the tiles in my bathroom. Her face...the treasured piece of living porcelain that haunts my dreams with its sweetness is covered with a wreath of poignant sadness. Not understanding why reality should break her happiness, I come closer as she unfolds each twilight phantasm from their place against the bricks.
There are tears on her face and they break me...more than any blow that fell upon my slight body as a child...more than any word spoken in hatred against me...more than any grasping, foul act that was visited upon me in an age of supposed innocence.
I turn away and weep at the loss of her joy. The world shrinks once more the pinpoint of blackness that is my soul and I wrap myself around my knees, rocking back and forth on my heels at the damage that I have wrought.
In this darkness comes a light...a single flame of her touch. I feel arms around me...strong cords of silk and velvet wrap around my chest. She weeps into my hair and the sound destroys me. She murmurs something into my ear...dulcet honey words of peace and trust.
Trust.....a broken stained glass window lying in the remains of the gutted cathedral that I call a spirit...a soul. The colours of trust have been muted...the pure clear gelatin of it long faded in the glaring sunlight of truth. As for peace....it is a dove that has never lighted upon the tiled roof of my loft. It is a myth created by those who are afraid of the realness of the world...peace is a legend that has gone the way of Camelot and the Sidhe.
Peace is a lie.
Week Negative One of My Life - Part Two
She has come in from the darkness this night...once more through the window for we share the fire escape. I have yet to leave the brick womb that surrounds me and enter her loft. I do not think I want to. I enjoy the ether being that visits me. She has come back and that is all that matters.
I thought that once I opened the window to my thoughts, she would take flight and no longer rap at the glass like a butterfly begging to get in. Her voice is cheerful...even bright in its timbre. She bites her lip when she sees me and the embrace she wraps around me is hot and long. I smell the spicy scent of her hair and feel the brush of her lashes against my neck. There is no more potent wine than her.
We talk this night...of dreams and hopes. Her aspirations are clear and easily attained for her...a life of pleasure, people and song. I tell her that I have no dreams other than to one day break my chains of existence that are forged around me. This saddens her again and I unthinkingly reach out, touching the ivory of her cheek. The smile she gives me would light the universe's darkness for all eternity.
Is this what fuels the galaxy in its churning? The single smile of a pure soul in the bleakness of life? There is no other answer...no other reason for the world to keep spinning on itself in the void that is its space. She blinds me and I cannot see the darkness for a brief moment...how I long for that moment to exist forever...is that death...the eternal sweetness of a woman's joy? I do not have the strength to find out for if I am wrong, there would be no turning back.
Day One of My Life
The sound of rain against the fire escape is a steady drone of liquid ice on steel...it reminds me of standing in my tub, letting the shower beat down on my body and chasing the dirt and paint from my chest to the drain. I have not yet seen the angel that God curses me with and I do not expect to for the storm that rages outside is equal to the one that rages within. The gargoyle is standing at the window, scraping away the little marks that its nose left on the glass. It mews as if I could somehow cast a net into the space of time and pull the perfection of her into our lives.
I begin to pity this creature for it lacks the grasp of understanding. It knows not that one day the window will cease to be thrown open - a daffodil of glass spreading its petals for the glorious sunshine of her presence - and I will echo its cries of frustration in my sobs at her absence.
The delicate rap on the melted sand panes is a surprise for I cannot see through the glass due to the water streaming down from above. A pixie's face appears through the torrential sheet and it is my angel...my faerie...my lloovv - I cannot speak this word for the sheer power of it makes me shiver. I turn from her visage - the spark of a star amidst the ebony of the storm. She frightens me to a level of fear that I have never experienced before. This force...this key to my soul...the blade of terror twists in my gut but then the feeling moves upwards - straight to the heart that has begun to beat in a furious tattoo of emotion against my chest.
The window opens and she is beckoning to me...her smile bright in the gloom of my despair. The fear of her leaving is nothing compared to the dread of her rejection for now I know the true treachery of the universe. I hesitate and she speaks, coaxing me against my fear and terror. She reaches out and strokes my chest...a light butterfly kiss of a touch.
The faerie pulls on my shirt...dragging me without resistance to the open portal in my prison. A swift tug and I stumble, her arms catching hold of me....leading me through the water drowning the sky. It is in that moment, I realize the birth of a soul.
I am pushed from the dark womb of my prison...my loft. The brick lined vulva of my fetal soul is no longer enough for the burgeoning humanity that has welled inside of me...I have grown past the capacity of the dark mother that my life impregnated. Through the waters that flow from the heavens, I am cleansed and once more in the stormy effervescence that is the world.
Her laughter comes clean and quick...the mercury of her being as seductively gilt as the blade I slice my flesh with every evening. She raises my arms and the water catches on the small white scars from long ago pain and pools in the healed shavings of days past. The force of her pull opens the wound of yesterday and I see the small beads of crimson mix with the pure, clear water as the rainstorm washes the blood from me.
I feel reborn and I weep again....this time in fear of losing a life that has been shown to me...in happiness at the joy of breathing...in sorrow of those who have lost this gift and do not have a well-fleshed faerie dancing on their fire escape in the evening with her rough songs and beautiful smiles.
She dances around me, the music is the soft caress of the water against the panes and metal. It is a waltz that the world as a composer created just for us...the fiery bright faerie and her dark demon. I draw closer...ever the moth and touch her face. Words tremble on my lips...they speak of stained glass windows resurrected from the ashes of a burnt soul...of small furry gargoyles invading the silent horror of life...of an untuned humming that pierces the pain...of the softness of her hair against my face as we talk in the shadows of my mind...of unvoiced love.
Month Six of My Life
Tonight, she has brought the stars in with her. With her gentle touch... the soft moist feel of her tongue...the silken smooth wisp of her hair. I have found the portal of heaven and I wish nothing more than to reside forever in the paradise that she has created for us.
There are no words...no thoughts...no gestures more perfect than that of her kiss and her smile. Except perhaps the pledge that was whispered into my life tonight...her love.
Year Two of My Life - Late
My faerie is flowering with life...her body quickened with the weight of our love. It moves against me as we sleep...this precious spark of light that is she and I together. The gargoyle is not pleased by the lack of space and has been quite vocal in its attempts to supplant me next to her. She laughs at its antics...a whisper of chiming silver bells deepened with the gold of joy. She brings smiles to my face and laughter to my soul. There can be no greater pleasure.
Year Three of My Life - Early
The unborn angel is moving now, arms and legs churning with life beneath the stretched canvas of her skin. I cannot contain the impatience within me...the need to see this small life born is a chasm that stretches before me.
My faerie has never been so beautiful. Her voice is still cat-rough as she sings while I paint but the images that flux from my subconscious are no longer dark with hatred. The earth comes in small pieces of brown and gold, tinged faintly with the glossy green of life and drenched in the white of light.
And the greys...oh the silvered greys are her eyes in everything that I paint of that hue. The quicksilver of mischief...the deepened gilt of a woman lying in repose after sharing love with someone who is warmed from within themselves by her fire...the stormy blue passion of the anger at the world's blindness to its gifts. These are all colours that rush freely from me...as my blood once flowed. But no longer.
Year Three of My Life - Middle
A star joined us a few months ago...a precious, beautiful star. He is a slice of his mother and is as serious in his intent as his father. She left the naming to me...a strange curious ritual that I took as a sign of either extreme trust or fancy. I chose Storm for that is what birthed me and what brought him into our lives. He will be a tempest that holds a great center of peace within himself. I strive to make his world one of sugar and dreams but in her wisdom, my faerie cautions me that I must ensure that none of the terrors that created me are inflicted upon him.
I cannot swallow the rage I feel should someone cause pain to my small piece of the universe. I would die trying to keep him alive and happy.
Year Three of My Life - Late
A thunderstorm rages around us and we are once more waltzing to the music of the world on the little balcony of steel that overlooks the gathering of humanity beyond our door. We dance with a piece of life between us...his laughter as sweet as his mother's and his eyes as grey as the rolling clouds that are furiously pummeling us with their waters. This is life...this precious gift...this most treasured coin of flesh. I cannot imagine going back into the darkness for I see now that the murkiness was merely my own eyes closing against something that never truly existed. There are sunbeams streaming through my stained glass and I stand in the middle of the cathedral in its full glory, letting the colours wash over me.
Year Four of My Life
My faerie cleaned under the sink in the bathroom...as Storm has now begun to rage his tempest with newfound mobility. I cannot help but marvel at the care that she takes with him...this concern of providing him with a safe haven to live in. She found tucked in the dark recess of the vanity a single steel blade, the edge mottled with watermarks and crimped where it lay against the unforgiving metal of the plumbing.
She casts a glance towards me...the experienced angler of my soul. Holding the gilded flat piece of death in her hand, it catches the light coming from the now covered bulb in the cut glass fixtures above.
It is crimson again. Not with the beads of my blood but the disuse of rust and corrosion. Smiling at me with the candied wine of her grin, she questions me with a single lift of her eyebrow as to ask if I have a need for the blade. Joining her in laughter, I lean forward, tasting her smile with my lips.
*Hurl the blade from me as you have cast the darkness from my life.*
The words fall easy from me...drops of golden thoughts mingled with crimson dreams.
She flicks the razor towards the round metal container and it strikes the rim of the steel bowl. The sound lingers for a brief moment, a tiny ping of thunder in the gale of our rapture.