Hand on your
shoulder & abundant oil
for his lantern, climb in that basket
& leave your treasures
behind.  His boots
are made for plodding, stomping,
finding fault lines
in the face of the Father,
the Son & the poltergeist
who showed up one day
asking for plates to break.
Rahovart plays with dolls
& you are the doll,
curmudgeon bludgeoned
by his stick, off his fiery
lawn, his dread record
collection, his foul commemorative
manikins, his tour posters, his home
office full of flayed


Caller of the jade
rabbit, blood
queen, O Luna winking
for Lumiere rockets.
Crepe dangles an ectoplasmic
wattle from your
maiden's cone--Mycale
cast your spell on the
rustic moor, rod in hand.
Night marjorette, moonlight
on the pert folds of
your witch's shift.  My lady
of etched stars, nothing
but a singer of songs.
Just a girl
in a swamp.  Just
a mage maging
for her magic moon,
not a man but a big
bauble, a porthole
to the mother & then the crone,
pomegranate seeds dropped
from their aprons as the tides
tug her in for a kiss.


Trade you six
settings of silver for a
healthy baby boy:
throw in desert forks
& receive a lifetime supply of
Pampers. Trap him
in a basket, bind him in a triangle,
try  to carve
him into wedges before he gets away. Never
let him near the stable or
the cats fat with infant
breath.  Scox will brook
your commands so long
as your questions are phrased
in the form of an answer.
The voiceless child who wants
only to sing is given
poetry for twelve hundred
years.  Not so fast, but
promises are kept
until the end of time
or such time as
the heavenly hatchet
is buried.  Don't hold your breath
in your sinister hand
for eating the fruit
of the furnace. Until such
time as you will not rise,
like the flowers in the spring do,
as though they are expecting
a better world.


Of shrill birdspeak
make a lecture
on despair, despair,

Black wings,
black eyes,
red beak & wicked
blade.  Baked

in a pie like
desiccated grapes
on the breast
of Pallas.  Knows
what you did, ever-
more learned

than the dove,
dullard, drops
pebbles in the mouth
of willing
delegates & wills them

to break with convention,
woos them with
promise of spiced
wine & loose women,

wind in immigrants'
faces, a million whining
planchettes scraping their names
across the ledger
of eternity's corporate boardroom
& casino
penthouse suite.


Can't blame a guy for trying
to blowtorch the pearly gates,
melt down St. Peter's
fillings & sell them on the
deep web. If you're
going to douse yourself
in gasoline, might as well
bring the bellows so the whole
world burns with you. His
Zippo's engraved with his
bellows & hell was just
a great heap of sticks before
Xaphan arrived.  Cooks your
cocktail, fries your soul
like a druggie egg.  Pulls
the alarm at vespers.
Laughter crackles, breath
singes, brimstone cologne.
Long live the pan that hovers above
his smoldering pate, poached
& plated, your very world,
on flames, a freight train
running through the middle
of the reeking pit.


Say an owl with the body
of a man; angels' wings
stolen from the doves.
Who giveth the foot-
soldiers wings? Why fly
when you can ride the black
-hearted wolf. Soeuer
of this cord, discord,
discarded servants rife
for the reaping of the great
scimitar of the crescent
moon.  Death to you
ends in spring, anxious
buds tight little
fists.  Say no more, walk
away in silence.
Go away mad.
Go away & don't come back
until you've got five sticks
of dynamite, a cudgel
fashioned from an ex-
lover's brand-new bedpost,
a shotgun sawed off
& filled with birdshot.
Await the signal then
gouge the eye, sweep
the leg:  Andras
isn't the man to fight
for your honor
but he'll survive to flay
another knight &
fight another


Neither a fan of Aynnes Rice
or Rand, Flaga
came of age when
making ladies
clutch their pearls really 
meant something.

On good authority, we have it
that she’s she has been
maligned, mis-
made to
from certain
circles before the bell jar
was even invented.

How mortified she is
by these kids
with their Wicca
& their hairless
familiars.  These covens
don’t even pay

they just release
edition enamel
badges cadged from
late-80s sci-fi cartoons &
tattoo each other’s knuckles
with sewing needles & India ink.

Back in her day, runes
burnt into skin meant safety
from enemies' flame
& could maybe
pull down the
moon if evening’s frogsong
was just wrong enough.

Don’t even think of approaching
her cauldron or ratty
broom.  Flaga has been 
demanding the enormous
statue of Baphomet 
get off her lawn for decades

Perhaps you'd be interested
in one of the unholy 
water defilers Flaga
sells at deeply discounted


Wednesday's child is no fun
at parties, handles snakes
as though they were a knapsack
of fetid anthologies.  Get
on your rat & find your way
to the cabal, ugly angel,
Astaroth, seller of books;
maker of deals.  Just a sheep
in bat wings; was born that way.
Will put you on the all-infernal
panel. Oh Hell, you're nothing
like an antihero when you
claim that the Fall just happened
to you while you were busy
playing Parcheesi, minding
your own with three
of your beasties.  When
you meet him, bring
a clothespin for your nose
to block his fetid odors.
Compliment his superpowers,
ask after his sister, clutch
the silver ring hidden
in your waistcoat
until you're free to leave.


Late in the game, an inscribed stone unearthed, its hymn
written of the basilisk born outside the skin
of time.  The cock crows & so we steal
toward the figure kneeling in baptism or benediction, crown
askew, robe open,
runes carved into chest as a ward or charm.

Second time is the charm,
his crocodile tears a sort of hymn
to Abraxas who knows of lack & yet shall open
the heavens as easily as peeling skin
from a grape.  As the crow’s
flown round, reeling in place when steel

meets steel,
so shall even the archons come to harm.
Scepter or sword absolve no one, only the crown
pushed forth shrieking on the battlefield: caul washed from him
leaving a trove of emeralds once we skin
 his feathered little torso, flay & open

 the still-beating heart.  Scrawl the covenant, O pen
of the capillary; render nerves to steel,
stone my heart & sting my skin
with thine goggling eyes. Charm
the snake of the spine, tap him,
her, him, her, duck, duck, crown

of thorns; a stack of black crayons
on the table papered for grim repast. Open
the bloodwine casks, let him
begin the dread toast.  Still
& cold sit the many guests, charm
-éd by the glamor of Abraxas’ kin.

Fill the skins
of sable angel leather; wear their crowns
of gold for bangles; their charms
& portents, open
the steel
gates to their croaking hymns

& Fibonacci-frenzied skin, open
fire O horn-crowned steel-footed
Abraxas: hymn-harmed & many eyed.



Light the first candle
for the road-killed, red
eyes of taillights; swimming
fins of Yan-gant-y-tan
all in chrome at the back.
Black road like a garrotte,
the silk cravat on the cadaver.
Tie one on; he's got plenty
light for those with none.


Light another for the wronged;
just could not see a way
through to the other
side of the bad bog. Sat
down in the dark water.
Brought you along, to have
& to hold out for dawn
who never came.


Three's a charm, a token,
an Italian horn for hirsute
torso of suitor done gone
in the inky night of abandon.
Cut the rug until tendons
ruptured: farmer's daughters
his Achilles heel, feet of dead
bunnies under his thumb.


Four is for sorrow & no tomorrow
for any young buck
dumb enough to walk these paths
at dusk. Find a hollow,
climb a tree or tallest peak;
steal the stash of pyrite, feed your tongue
to house cats, beg one last favor
of another dead god.


Place the butcher knife in the turf,
blade facing up. Burn
the fifth votive, then pass the last
roach to our lonesome traveler:
he'll pry open a box
of shotgun shells, fling pellets
at the campfire. When the sun
rises, piss on the embers.
Scatter the ashes. Begin to dig.

Dance of the Sabbath

Damned right it's
another barn burner,
no missing this hot stone tossed &
caught by anyone foolish
enough to make a leap while looking back.

One dances to tambourine, violin,
flute or any instrument struck by a stick.

Tell my friends,
"he heard the infernal meeping &
escaped to his home

state of bilious delirium."
A cornerstone toad will point the way,
brimstone & fiddles & all the best
bands from the Grove of the Suicides.
After the reel, retire
to the flickery batcaves, hang the DJ, for
hell hath the fury & also the sound.


Fillet four frogs
for Furur; find fresh
freesia fronds for
fermenting.  Flatten
fraternities, feign flatulence.
Forsake frumpery, freeze
fruit, feeling fairly free
for fisitcuffs.  Fly fast
first fasting for four,
fortnights.  Fucking
Furfur forfeits foolishness
for frotage, frank
fellow, frisky fiend, forget
forsaken family, find
feminine forks for feasting,
famished foreman.  Finally,
forbidden festivities find
form. Focus, Furfur. Ferret
for foxfire, fulsome
feuds forborne for foreseen
futures. Foyers frame
forays forth from fools
for fortune, forbiddance,
forgetting. Foreskin's
furnace fungal from
fapping's furor fatal for
fourteen favored furcifers'
flesh for fantasy's
final farcical fossils.


Should be a joke
but isn't: Pinocchio nose
although he might
never need to lie. Poor guy
has a dry cleaner's
hanger for a hand,
a flour barrel barely covering
his paunch. A touch
of elegance in the cabbage
worn as a ruff beneath
his neckless head. Where his brain
should be, the business end
of a wooden spoon,
but he's still smart enough to know
all your friends are turnips
so hides in plain sight
with the kitchen appliances,
makes his home between
two hills, if you know what
I mean.  A forker,
a spooner,  a fooler
of militias, knights
& earnest rubes.  Loves
a good opera, a giant
mug of pilsner, misdirection,
miscreancy, magic
missles.  Call for him
when the road seems
to lead back to your hovel
no matter which way
you run.


Mark the heretic,
marry the women but
don't abandon the escape
goat.  Let's get one thing
straight, it says here
he's an angel of complete
removal.  Does not bear
but rather eats your sin
like venison left out
on the counter
overnight: a clean
slate, yet mouth's
dry as a desert.  He'll
gift you ranseurs,
spears, cherry-flavored
lip gloss.  Listen
when he says it's time
to strike, to parlay,
to run or pucker up.


When Orobas walks into
a bar, don’t make that crack
about a long face:
understand the labors of his days &
order him a double Scotch on the rocks.

When your phone rings & it’s his name
on the caller ID, answer
immediately, for you know that he’s reaching 
from the bowels of hell’s
most heinous customer service center, 
headset perched on his equine skull.

He only cold calls those who need it most,
so tell him of your
estrangements & betrayals, last words
never spoken to parents on
their death beds, & when
he offers to mow your lawn, know that he
chokes back slugs even then
at the indignity of his
various tasks. Let that somber steed
water at the hose like in a dirty magazine.

When you washed the pages 
they just got dimpled & sticky
& Orobas waits to drag
a heavy load, the river where he bucked 
& threw you.  Not so hard 
to find good help, but harder to ask 
for it with the minnows 
swimming in and out your maw.


Hits heavy, sells out
coliseums; just a guy
on a wall alive
with black pixels,
aloft on Jolly
Rogers.  In the neighborhood,
under the bridge,
in the basement
with vaseline & the cloak
of a lamb.  In the compound
of eyes, doors never closed.
There never was a lock
that could hold Belzebuth
at the wrong end
of a one-way street. Hold
counsel with the bag
of bones, larva in the flames
of blood red
candle.  Older than men,
repulsed by them, fed by their
left hands under blacklight in his
big corner office, each
buffalo wing another offering,
another stain on his zebra-
skin rug. Lately he's
doodling during staff meetings,
zoned out & scrolling his Instafeed
for health goths & hot young
witches with low self esteem. The Astral
made material, he'll project
next quarters' earnings,
liquidate his Swiss savings accounts,
delegate the melting down of this
shitpile's keys on his way
out of town.


& Stolas partook of his
medicinal herbs, & he consulted the stars,
feet became claws &

wide his eyes opened in awe: chakras
blossomed & a marsh
he saw,

a Coleman stove & a cabin
built from logs & its doorway adorned
in precious stones. & Stolas

felt himself scroll sideways, flightless &
unfeathered from ruining bridges
in West Virginia--he knows no stars

are evil, no omens ill but rather
the manchildren are ill.  Run
away from home,

spend a few nights in the museum
of the bog--thundering & slurping,
the peat will hold you safe

as houses, for a thousand years
until astronauts cut open your stomach
to dissect the rat you had for lunch.


Triskadekophilia adds an umlaut
to your Yahweh, got to kiss
an army of spiders until
you get a toad, a cat & man-
splainy old elf; eat the cookies
of the underworld & stay
for a time--Persephone only stayed
at school during the fucking
winter holidays. Baël makes a bed
for you to lie in.  Prince of lays
just could not conjugate correctly
to save not his but the lives
of a whole ark of kittens.  Next time
take a plane, old man with a fear
of the sky; the heretic flies
the unassuming skies, a whole
swarm of same blots out
fertile crops curated for next year's
food blogs. Sixty-six train
stations & for each a conductor
who believes he's invisible. Watch
him cower behind the counter
crying himself hoarse. The abyss
has no bottom, but he's got numerous
pamphlets charting alternate routes.


A case of the Mondays spins him
in circles, pissy little brat
& his petulant cheeks
ripe for biting: brought us into light
& gets fed venison bits in return.
Where there were spiral
notebooks, there too were pentagrams
poorly rendered but potent in their
fury. No such seals mark the
e-books available on Kindle,
an Apple app for voice recognition
as prime directive for the reaping
of the masses while crouch
the cabal in protective circles.
Son of the morning, but not a morning
person per se. Eats dinner well
past nine, does not obey local
noise ordinances.  Stars
& garters meaning something
altogether different in the legions
of Legion.  Moth-winged,
lead-footed, always ready
with rejoinder or riposte
for post-dumb paragons.
Your man in the east for Western
anomie, the heavenly phone-tree
so vast & irritating.  My man vibrates
the entire shebang.

Transport of Sorcerers

Hello this one's for the cadre
of the demon-born, the uberman
in the dark mirror, Pollux
to my Castor; just a kouros
on a Saturday night, no moon
in the sky but the knuckles white
& inked MOOT LIFE; this is
for Big Black playing in a dorm
room, I don’t go there now
but I hear they sung
the loyal dog is dead & to sleep,
perchance to be unironically
Byronic after the appalling peal
of the blue bells & when I die
I’ll go back to the attack on
the chime of the dread hour
when the dead do not rise
but prowl the long ago stage
with hip-slung basses long past
the removal of the audience.
Get them out of there
with your hydraulic lift,
this one’s for the trusty steed
now just a goat with
powers of flight limited
to whims of exhausted fathers
strapped with infants in Baby
Bjorns. This is for when
there's PCP in the skunk weed &
the wallpaper starts
to shimmer. Footsteps
outside the window, a glowering
hero defined solely by the enormity
of his forehead. Inside
there are wine, women, scripts
being read on spec & to go
home, to go is to keep
nothing but his own counsel,
his keep a cold & lonely place. 


Follow the lowing of the cattle,
the tweets & re-
tweets of red-breasted robins
to find him. His dominion

diminished & old
enough he must employ his sturdy 
longbow as his walking stick, 
his hounds still 

sniff out treasure 
buried by wizard & pirate 
alike. Follow him 
across the glen & he will 

show you wonders tucked w/in
the gnarling of his grey-
white beard: glass beads,
bright marsh lights

aglint with cold fire;
his flicker will tell you
the way through
the mazey wood to

the fair ring where
fireflies alight sans
merci, mercurial,
for the poor & you are

the poor; lantern of
no warmth, Barbatos'
baubles useless but
stultifying.  Lose

your self & dance
forever.  Heaven
for the better sorts--this
is your place, this is the place for you.


This dog's in the wrong
spot, draped in petticoat,
lured in cage; Pluto's booty
snatched by grey men
with whips & pocketwatches,
Cerbère hears the ticking
of their wan hearts wanting
more, but paying the wrong
piper--losers, keepers,
bookmakers & moneylenders
all resplendent on tanning
benches, scorched like
chilies for the three
hungry tongues tamping
bit; horrendously & endlessly
patient & anxious to stand
before a jury of his
(or their) peers, hands
clasped behind back in seeming
penitence. Still he'll slobber
later as he laps his honey,
a lapse in judgement
hung from his neck like an engraved
Marmaduke medallion: "IF LOST,
drag him back, but he's never of one
mind when three heads
collide, & who's ever really
alone when they can
fight themselves for marrow
in the bone?


Voluptuous lover or
six-limbed bongripper
lit to pop, he's drunk
on the buffalo's
blood once
again. Shiva's matted
hair hangs
like string & he dangles
from it above
the lowly women
who would cut capers
for his blessing,
simple servants of his every
whim who sing him cat's
cradles & borrowed
car keys. Play his theme song
only once before
your morning classes. Offer
him respite in the form
of a placid vase of foe's
blood, she's got four
arms to push you out
the open door
of the pagoda, into
the moist streets; the silver
bullet in the beggar's cup,
kiss it in deference
to Ganga-Gramma: dodged
second chance, one hand
to hold, three to write invoices,
one mouth to scold.


Cut not your hair
& grab your spear,
get out of the wagon &
onto your pony
& ride; Forcas knows
the virtues of herbs
& precious stones, the names
of the cyclopean builders
who plopped the fulsome hills
down on your sleeping
burg; he teaches logic, esthetics,
chiromancy, pyromancy
& rhetoric. He can make a man
invisible, ingenious & well
-spoken in cabal or committee,
drag the minutes with incendiary
rude wit, the real
deal, stopper of bucks,
starter of riots.  Just ask him
& he'll tell of rebellions
unquelled even as his stallion
bucked & whinnied. One hoof
in front of the other & his
legions at his heels: listen,
learn, his lessons
tarnished as a stranger's plate
gauntlet found by the
fork in the road. "Take
both paths," he says, "& if you meet
the demon, well, might as well
try to slay him."



Coax the genial spirit
into yr leather
rucksack: no
jacket required when
the one-armed man
has already
broken the ice. Sacrifice
is the way of the
mainland. Out here
the fish are biting & our trees
are glazed with ice, sun
but a beach-ball skewered
by the sisyphean peaks;
your man in the frozen
waste, Tongarsuk's got yr nose
& your sinister arm, but
he has a right to own
his own bear arm, frozen
hake yanked up from full
fathom five; your father lies--
Tongarsuk's your daddy
up in the green ice
with surly mariners
& leprechauns.  Follow
the shimmery spoor
to where the skies are cloudy
all the endless day.


Hide something
in each of seven drawers:
credit card, butterfly
knife, dirty magazine,
bronze flask, burner
phone, bar of soap, terrible
poem. Shake out rugs
in the kitchen, eat
the brown cloud of fine
dust like the tasty limbs
of children.  A god
hungry as all the rest,
the slaughter of the innocents:
everyone is innocent
until proven worthy
of illumination. Exclaim
& exclaim again w/in
his hollow innards,
a strophe for every baby
he's ever churned
into butter. Tie
a bell around his neck
lest he wander too far: drum
circles to hem him in,
chicken wings &
bongos when everything's
too cheesy for his gongs
to bang.


Call him Ben but don't call
him late to the
campfire: flame crated
& carried from one tent to
another, thumb bent
just enough to dig deeper
in search of yellowed
old geezers lost &
wandering amid the panty
raids of tweens & their
meathead counselors.
What he finds, he eats,
salty but not ashamed
to be hunched from
the weight of rhetoric;
a silver tongue in a
gnarly maw, gobbles
words, souls, execrated
offal for an epicure
of wounds; write a letter
to Ronwe in which
the speaker purports
to be the one true President
of a pustulant cabal
of motivational speakers;
unlock the secrets
of your hidden flame
only until he comes
for your flaccid soul--
picking winners
& losers alike; the bell
of hell is a curve, tolls
for me, for my kin, for all
the messes made
in the vernal bed.


Cast the first irregular stone
at the fat prince
in his high keep, keep
the huge box from whence
Deumus will arise
in the form of a great plastic
truck to trod on
your spine as any
lover would; lotus crown
redolent atop the poisoned
well, poised to snatch
the circus back from Madaama
of the blue blood; flip the bird
for a trident, your bladed
UFO, whisky in a jar, the-mace
heads of the liriope adjunct
the churchyard. Dig up the
roots & trip the cosmic flash
grenade, a blinding
white light across the
crucible before disintegration.
Hold a single
soul in a gnarled claw. Nothing
sacred, everything
severed, no stone
left unthrown.


By the great men & women
& the many others 
whose effusions may placate
colleagues squatting
in the next cubicle. No gods,
no masters, but sincere
belief in mercury retrograde
& wager a hanged 
man's hand: tallow for a candle,
a gambit to seal the contract, 
dread business letter format,
attachments: a photo  
of a drowned bird, a dead man's
W-4 soaked in WD40 to balm
the valve of heaven & this
hell of gruesome boilerplate 
& endless self-assessment, that burble 
is Picollus chortling in his temple
for he has a temple & you
have to find a way out
of this: third time's a harm;
quit meeting like this, someone 
is out for blood & the king
is dead & the queen is dead
& the angel who guards the door
is dead.


To reconcile friends
who have fallen out
of the suicide doors
of the lowriding rig of
your fucking whole
thing, play Viva Hate
fowards & fill a bottle
of blue soda with Black
Velvet; suspend
the wriggling effigy
of the punk rock high
school love triangle
above the gaping
beak of Amon, you
did the right thing
back then now
let go & let the needle
plough the groove, icebreaker
shall sail right through
cold mirror slicked
with spit--take an origami
dove & shove it
in the flame: a goof,
a gaffe lacking
logic as fishhook caught
between canine teeth.
Demon most solid,
give me serpentine
persistence, let me wriggle
or writhe while my
memory's still a parking lot
peopled with enemies & long
forgotten friends whose
exits left impressions,
tires put to
pavement put to my
backside & my denim
jacket clove & smoking.

from (C)OVID'S METAMORPHOSIS, Book the Fifth

Calliope sings: Persephone's fate It's too late to question the logic of curses, to second guess why some birds deserve h...