Angels

After reading of Damien Echols–wrongly imprisoned, saved by magick

 

In a dim and narrow space,

it can be difficult to distinguish

the dark angels from the light ones,

their terrors being equal and taking

precedence over their politics–

the massive triangularity

of their blank and staring faces,

the wind rush of their horrifying wings.

“Be not afraid,” they say,

but in a voice of fearsome thunder

that shakes belief down to its core.

“There is a magick that we know,

that can with practice ┬ásave you.”

Then, as suddenly as come,

their hulking shapes and

thunderous noise are gone,

you left hanging precariously

by white-knuckled fingers

from the window ledge.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

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And Then?

Beside the squat, square tower

of the red-brick church, up which

the ivy cannot commit to climb,

an oak has begun its autumnal rite,

one quadrant turned to gold–

not yet glory, but the promise of it.

 

Truth that, yet a falsehood as well,

for the trooping of the colours precedes

the dead march toward the brown rot

that winter will freeze and try

to mask with dirty snow.

 

Eternal expectation that the compost

will feed new growth in spring,

but still also the persistent doubts–

Who are the elect, who the elector,

what if the plan should fail?

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

 

 

The Bluejay of Fear

The jay was beautiful once, in his feathered garb of regal blue,

but now he’s only dead, gone the way of all flesh and fowl,

and though I’m not the assassin–the cat has brought him in,

as nature-programmed hunters do–yet still I feel the guilt

for this handsome creature unjustly slain. So runs the elegy

I’m composing in my head as I pick up a couple of feathers

dropped, and the cat, having grown bored with the game,

leaves the scene.

But then I realize the bird remains alive,

perched on the kitchen curtain-rod, first thinking he’s badly hurt,

de-winged, unable to flay and stuck in purgatory,

but when I approach, he takes flight, heading every which way

but out; with doors and windows open wide, the bird flies

into the wall, and I marvel at the lack of brains that

often accompanies unearned beauty.

I cannot catch him,

or shoot him, or guide him; the attempt goes on for hours,

until, like Poe’s raven or the mariner’s albatross, his presence

dooms me to the memory of regret. Having provoked me

into agitation, he settles and grows quiet, spends the night

on his perch, head tucked under wing, in the way of birds,

as I toss in troubled dream state, and not until the next

midmorning, when the cat’s interest returns, does my

blue-winged demon depart with a raucous squawk

by the obvious escape right previously unseen.

He’ll have

a story to tell his avian cronies of his traumatic, near-death

experience, and I’ll be haunted by his image, with half-open

beak and the same stupid, black-eyed terror that I

sometimes feel myself.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper