Saturday, January 05, 2008

Insomnia Blogging - Cassandra

I envy Cassandra. Unconscious on the floor of the temple as serpents whispered in her ear. Such a hideous gift to see the future and be cast aside as insane. But what a gift.

Freud said that dreams are the royal path to the unconscious, wishes conveyed in image. I dream myself a serpent, coiled and hissing, seeking the flesh my fangs crave. The bitten leg was my own. A strange form of cannibalism.

Serpents. Eve was betrayed by her innocence, just as Cassandra trusted the voices she heard. In the end, it was Apollo who betrayed her.

What secret resides in the coiled flesh of snakes? Is it their ability to transcend surface and depth?

Perhaps suffering is inherent in vision?

* * * * *

Cassandra pledges virginity*


foreseen night

not belief, trees she said and running
water, suffering committed to form,
an isolated smile from behind the leaves

not belief, promise he said and mingled
blood, form committed to suffering,
another dawn, remembered death, more

prophetic body


Apollo pretends his kiss offers
the gift already given, confirmed
by his appearance, ivy and fountains
in the temple of her mistress

unfurled wings, turbulence
of desire, she cringes before
the glow, a shadow presence
beneath his lust, afraid

she swears her loyalty
to the darkness in her blood,
her vows, and he offers
one last kiss in acceptance

breathes death down her throat,
curses her vision, force of breath,
prophecy without belief, torment
and his fragrant laughter



she knows we disbelieve

is anything more jagged
than morning's fangs, all that
and sun, veins run empty

cactus grows through ice
at noon, who understands


a bridge can never return to soil
the distance between deserts and cities,
between those brief seconds when she
smiles and the rancid debris of shame

she understands the bridge her body
becomes, straddling a liminal river,
a woman of sand and cement, new
vision for eyes blinded by mirrors


she who drinks skullcap tea,
who clawed the winged god
with desire restrained,
who refused his kiss
and is never believed,
who remembers dreams and secrets
we are condemned to live

* * * * *

Cassandra in the desert

serpents flicking tongues in her ear,
black kisses
found on the temple floor
cursed by blood,
unable to refuse

she who walks between day and day
who wears a white gown
dragging in the dirt
who smiles in the mirror and prays
to herself
who sleeps in violet sheets
who worships a dark mistress
filled with forest
who was ravaged by the wings
of his voice

feels light so strange its odor
permeates dream, mystery
of breath, a voice lost
in the space between words

vision enters its driest year

a lizard suns itself
on a flat gray rock

she stumbles along
asking every stranger
for the time, tells each person
the mystery of death
seeks black kisses
in the new cathedral

a cactus growing through ice
signifies something
but no one admits memory,
mismeaning compounded by belief,
sunset delayed

she believes, suffers fore-knowledge,
straddles a liminal river flowing
through temporal soil cursed by blood
seized by dreams in the desert

a crow snatches the lizard
from its rock

she continues walking, sage in her hair
and cannot remember why
she took the very first step

* * * * *

Cassandra confesses all sins

these damp months
searching the cellar,
cleaning webs from my eyes,
confounded by meanings
i see our future
flows in human blood

these minutes drag rotted fruit
to our lips, at noon
no shadow is cast

i misplaced the future
in praise of virginity, my flaw
fells the kingdom,
i bathe my burning eyes in darkness,
proclaim sex the new prayer

flicking tongues of serpents
once filled me with visions

and i am grateful
for bitter taste of blood,
black kisses
my dark mistress
bestows while i pray

willingly led to my death
forsaking deserts and dreams
and Apollo's jealous breath
exhales the quiet syllable
speaking our death,
all this and more
i confess

* * * * *

Cassandra's last vision

we must be blinded to see,
beat across the eyes
with whips of wild roses,
taste salt of blood,
unleash ivy dormant
in the spinal tree,
create phrases capable
of infecting thought,
seek black kisses
in the new cathedral,
granite altars beneath towering oaks,
bodies bared in frenzy of prayer,
die laughing and never forget
darkness opens from silence,
marginalia of inhaled breath,
eat skullcap root and drink
the poison of moonlight,
no more kneel before virgins,
everything, taste it,
wear red dirt as lipstick
when you enter the temple,
seek black kisses,
give voice to stones,
we are everything undone
and dying,
bare your bodies
and proclaim sex
the new prayer,
return to the cave, retrieve
the forgotten body,
not by soul alone
we die,

* * * * *

death of Cassandra

cry Cassandra cry, this end foreseen,
first minute past noon,
tumbleweeds and cactus growing
through black city streets

old darkness this dust covered
cement soul, grown tired she waits
foreign hands to claim her

kneels to dig, fingers scratch a hole
in dirt, a cradle for the severed
finger, offering, a dark kiss

places bracelets on the table,
her voice gathers death,
serpents return to liminal shadows

knows her day descends,
imagines impossible kisses
in the temple of her dark
mistress, night disrobes

her graved remains give birth
to silence, temporal soil,
threshold restored

* * * * *

In my dreams, Cassandra speaks to me. Do I need to be blinded to see?

What dark god haunts these minutes? Prophecy is always denied. And so I say nothing, content with the torment of a vision that cannot be spoken.

[* Some of these poems have been previously published.]

1 comment:

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