I have built my ramparts in the face of advancing armies.
I have erected my sea defences as the bombardment of the waves begins.
I have underpinned my walls against creeping decay.
I have insulated my inner sanctum even as the first snows of winter begin to form ice crystals over the portals of my soul.
Somewhere in the sun-drenched valleys of perfect peace
when the fields were white unto harvest
and the grain groaned pregnant with expectation,
someone planted a seed.
Some time when the sun was at its zenith
and expectant energy rained down upon
the serenity of anticipation,
the Prince of Perdition left his calling card.
Just to remind me who’s boss.
When I burned in my passion to see the light of coming day, I thought my flame an eternal furnace. It was but a flickering candle, set to be extinguished by the mighty rushing wind.
For though some temporary manic phase gripped me
and led me to the high country of the spirit
to see again what might have been and what might yet be;
and though some half remembered vision
of enthusiastic youth and the axiomatic veracity of my case
dwelt briefly within me;
and though I dared to call this vision of futile fantasy “hope”;
always did I carry in my heart the abject certainty
that falsehoods vanquish truth.
Even as my gentle angels lifted their voice in celebration of tender charity;
even as my spirit writhed, Houdini-like, to rid itself of the chains of darkness;
even as my heart sang to banish the disharmonies of the shadows;
even then did I know
The Dark One mocked
and patiently planned
the rape of my soul.
I celebrated the dawn of self knowledge.
I lifted my glass to the rising sun of realisation as it crossed the horizon to banish the darkness.
I thought I witnessed the coming of endless day.
But days end.
Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.
As the celebrations proceeded,
I did not notice the disembodied hand
as it crafted its carcinogenic inscription into my sea wall.
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN
God has numbered my kingdom and finished it.
I am weighed in the balances and found wanting.
My kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.
His mirth was endless when he saw
the meagre ramparts I erected in vainglorious hope
of weathering the storm.
And when I slotted the last brick of joy in place
and sealed it with the mortar of purposeful existence,
even then did he cry:
“”Vanity of vanities, ” saith the preacher, “all is vanity.””
Then with my battalions of grace about me,
as I took to sea,
as I stowed the sails of my spirit
as lashed myself to the wheel,
even then did the Dark One mass his invisible, unrelenting forces about me.
He sent his muse to sit upon my shoulder and whisper an intimate soliloquy of
shared humiliation. Then once again did I know I was redeemed. Bought and paid for.
I betrayed the Prince of Perdition. I dared to hope.
Iscariot is my name.
Undulating pain and vicissitude is my payment, now, for the betrayal I have in carefree joy enacted.
The night is not about me and the storm does not beat upon me. Rather, they infuse my soul and pour the ice-cold, ink-black sky intravenously into my spirit.
There is no star light –
I am vassal to the King of Kings.
He comes to claim his kingdom once again.
He enters the feast unbidden and strides in confidence among the celebrants.
The wedding breakfast is a funeral wake.
We are here to mourn the passing of hope.
I cannot stand against the coming of the Holy Ghost of Agony. He sweeps me to the supine as lustful darkness extinguishes the light that once illuminated my soul. He takes me once again.
God is become evil.
Righteousness is damnation.
The madness is upon me.
Blow frozen winds!
Exhale the sulphur clouds of hell.
I suck upon thy kiss.
There is no hope.
Hope is the insouciant fairytale we use to soothe insomniac children.
We fool them into believing there are no monsters under the bed.
Ha! What irony. The monsters never were under the bed.
They prowl unhindered through the dark forests of our dreams.
Our screams are muffled by the blankets as they drink our blood and feast upon our flesh.
Logic and rationality have fled. The unquestionable veracity of a purposeful, God-crafted universe, gives way to a higher truth.
I was fooled for a season.
I once believed the light I saw to shine from the sun of achievable possibility.
In truth it emanated from the glowing embers of overreaching aspirations that smoulder upon the landscape of uninterrupted desolation.
For I have pressed the self-destruct once again.
The nuclear winter is upon me.
There is nowhere to hide when deconstruction is within.
the twisted remnants of a once proud civilisation
smoulder in glorious burnt offering,
a sweet smelling savour in the nostrils of the Prince of Perdition.
Black is the colour of my true love’s heart.
Black is the colour of the soul that in me dwells.
And cold as the grave.
Burn frozen fires!
Let the incendiaries of cold hearted indifference
reduce me to absolute zero and beyond.
There is no limit to his retribution.
There is no limit to my culpability.
There is no limit to the dues I must pay.
My dreams and hopes have affronted the King of Kings.
Beelzebub is his name.
Recompense will he have.
He comes to claim his own.
Burn frozen bonfires of hell!
Freeze the canons of hope into final restitution.
I was never recovered,
only in remission.
Remission is transient.
The cancer at the centre of the universe gorges its way hungrily towards the perimeter.
There is no welcome sleep in this death.
There is only the torment of hell
that comes with the ending of hope.
Beelzebub never freed me –
he only ever toyed with my dreams;
allowed me to rise a little further this time
that he might more pleasurably infuse
my screams of agony
as once more I fall from the cliff’s edge.
There is no exorcism
that will rid me of the demon.
makes him flee my soul.
He is freeholder of my being.
And when my sub-lease expires,
gleefully does he repossess what is rightfully his.
He is never silenced,
His writings are never erased,
only shrouded for a season.
There is no mantra that will terminate his words.
The potions of the apothecary will only dull my ears.
Do you understand now why I cannot be yours?
Do you understand now why I cannot be my own?
Do you have eyes to see the writing on the wall?
Do you have ears to hear the cacophony in my brain?
For when the demon screams and makes incisions in my soul
I pour vitriol into the open wounds
and scream with him in perfect harmony.
And when he whispers his unending taunts in praise of my overt inadequacy,
I beat my head upon the wall –
not to silence him
nor to cover the inscription with my arterial blood
but for his pleasure,
merely for his pleasure.
Beelzebub reigns supreme.
Iscariot is his most loyal servant.
© Michael Forester November 2000