By Keira Clements
THE DEVIL’S HOUR STRIKES.
I INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST TO BRING YOU A MESSAGE.
Virtuous city: I bid farewell.
I have witnessed every catastrophe,
and in these final words, I confess
that I, like all people, carry to earth
a secret which I shall now reveal.
My burial place, to be sure,
will be greeted only by the
circling of vulturous creatures.
But it is no fault in your heart.
I shall call you the “white pawn”,
for your sins evade conscience.
You know not better than this.
NIGHT IS LONG AND I AM ENDLESS.
WHICH WILL BE VANQUISHED FIRST?
Heavenly city: I am no man
but an assorted devil,
with full and flowing wings
that weigh upon my back,
and a twin-pronged tail
that lashes smartly like a whip.
My fangs you would abhor,
though they are not vampiric.
My eyes you would dread,
though they only glisten
that I may wake at the setting sun.
I WILL LIVE AS LONG AS I LEECH.
I WILL LIVE UNTIL THE SUN RISES AGAIN.
Righteous city: I lament my being.
What hollow bones are mine,
that echo back at the slightest tap.
What dark feathers are these,
that sprout like blades from my arms.
What grotesque thing am I,
that emerges only when light
has been extinguished.
What fiction, what fantasy gives
that these wings are things for angels?
What lie proclaims that I must be
more than the gray and unsure
penumbra to their form?
I wish only to live unchained
THE SIGHT OF A DECEASED CROW ATTRACTS OTHERS.
IN SOME CASES, HUNDREDS, GAZING IN SILENCE.
Insensible city: I beseech you.
This living monster, mind split,
drowns in the dialogue of
your commercialized streets.
He cannot walk among you.
His body disintegrates at the
touch of the light you depend on.
He can only slip through shadows.
When he bleeds, he bleeds blue.
If he wished to have crimson pains,
as the lot of you do, to whom
could he speak, that he might
have himself transmuted?
BE NOT FOOLED, WE ARE ALL FRANKENSTEIN CREATIONS.
NONE OF US HOLD ORIGINAL TRUTHS.
Counterfeit city: I propose to you.
Who owns the darkness when all
eyes are shut? Who owns the moon
that shines so distantly above us?
Who owns the ground beneath our feet?
We are divided ambivalently
between certainty and chaos.
The winged devil before you—
See him writhe in the sirenic lull
of your sax and neon lights.
These ideas, you have invented,
you say, but they are truly absurd.
The winged devil you neglect—
See him perish on hollow bones
no more resilient than ice.
You cannot help but be relieved
that the monster is horribly weak.
You think you’ll remember his face,
but the image rapidly fades.
THE FUTURE WE CANNOT DETERMINE;
BUT THE PAST IS A DANGEROUS LIE.
Deplorable city: I dare to inquire.
Hearing now my account,
What sort of pity do you feign?
What resentment do you withhold,
that prior was unrestrained?
Now gamble on it, would you?
Sell your fortune to the randomness
of a predetermined life. And when
you wake up tremulous at night,
having dreamt only of colored chips,
observe a devil through the red curtains.
He prays, and then he leaps off the balcony.
Wind catches his feathers and he glides,
an onyx shape, over the pavement.
This act is your absolution.
DO NOT ASSERT CREDENCE IN “SOCIETY”.
THE LORD OF CROWS HAS FOUND HIS KINGDOM.
Woeful city: I, too, go to sleep.
Upside down, I hang, a reverse tarot
with dark wings folded over my breast.
I dream I will alight bitter and unfettered.
In those dreams, I am self-assured,
peering down at human masses
from a tower above the clouds.
I bear neither wings nor a tail,
only mortal parts and mortal strings.
Curiosity compels me to the edge.
No longer does Endless wait below.
It is the sight of death that lures us all.
If I could ever truly fall like you,
I would fear every step I take.
Why, then, are you so cruel
as to step on one another?
I WAS BORN WITH HOLLOW BONES.
MY SKELETON IS MY BEING.
Sinful city: I bid farewell.
In my final words, I confess
I know not what it means
to live as a “human being”.
THAT WILL BE ALL.
THE BROADCAST RESUMES.