Archive for October, 2009


Better the Devil

by mdjb

She liked to talk; that much was evident. She had been described variously as loquacious, garrulous, sometimes downright chatty, and she liked to write. Her excessive verbiage was filled with tautologies, periphrasis and prolixity. Editors asked her to stop beating around the bush. She said they were all philistines. It was poetry she was after.regan

He had his outlet; she had hers. Hers, she thought, did not endanger their relationship. In some ways, she was just as guilty. She’d let herself go, while propounding on the right way to be. He’d let himself be dissuaded from his dreams, seeking recompense elsewhere. Things remained static until discontent bubbled to the surface.

During drinks with his director, he put her down. She exercised, dieted and toned; had dental work done. By summer’s end she was buff, moving through life at sixty miles per hour. She’d made herself over. She ran a foot race; he slowed to a crawl. He’d created a monster that grew out of hand.

It was his boss’s sympathy toward her circumstances that made her feel inadequate. It made her feel confined, running in place. She was averse to any kind of sympathy. Mostly she despised him for winking as if he understood. He was patronizing her. He stroked her pudgy fingers when they both reached for the salt.

He found poems, but couldn’t deduce what she was trying to say. In college, he played football, and when she wrote of her hero, he recognized her emotions. He thought that was the voice he married. These words he now held were the voice of another. They were not beautiful. He saw her in them.

She said if he saw her in that light, she would be that person. He said he loved her for what she was. She said he didn’t have a clue. He said give me one then; just help me out here. She said she wasn’t her brother’s keeper, and then she left. He remained clueless.

Tags: ,

How Satan Moves in the World

by mdjb

Now, she dances Salome. Choreographed by a shaman, inspired by Aubrey Beardsley. She dances half naked, her nipples aflame, aureoles the size of shillings. Diaphonous veils barely cover her vulva. Indeed in odd moments all is bared. Though it is the tale of Salome and in the latter part the head of The Baptist will be presented, mouth hideously agape, on a silver platter, Salome’s dance is that of Eve expelled from the Garden. It is the dance of the mother of time. She is all women.

This is Zorina’s specialty. A dream of a dance within a dream, mesmeric. She is intoxicating.

Edward leaves the theater unsure of whether he has witnessed a performance or merely dreamt of a goddess calling to him. Convinced only of a need to return on subsequent nights to relish his discomfort.

Then a dream wherein the serpent slithers through a quicksand environment in his backyard and the bedclothes are like sand and the snakes are everywhere. Impossible to escape. Tongues flick his skin and Zorina has come to him. Naked, stripped of the last of her inadequate veils, she lies beside him and he mounts her. He is unable to substantiate his position. She is inside him, though he knows this is improbable. She has entered him as smoke infiltrates a temple.

He was certain she was a goddess to be worshipped though she is baser than that. The succubus. Sister of Lilith. Salome/Eve merely a disguise she dons to deceive, to gain entry. And as in quicksand, he cannot purchase a foothold, but he gladly succumbs to her power.

In the morning his bags are packed and there is a note from her:

I am the Serpent. I have ALWAYS been, since the Beginning. I was Zorina. Now I am Edward. Go and repeat the process.

His conviction to return to the theater, to sit entranced, has beeen sublimated by a desire to witness destructrion. He wishes to disseminate fear. He will promulgate carnage.

This is how Satan moves in the world. Evil needs hands. Minions with dexterity. Change and adaptation prevent him from growing stale.


Cosmic Rays

by mdjb

A Jesuit by calling yet vastly non-Jesuitical by nature, Theodor Wulf woke from a wet dream feeling the shame of the ages. Already in opposition to the will of the Holy See due to his modernist practices, he now viewed himself as subject to the basest of submissions. The worst of it was he recalled immediately the scene in the Tower which had caused his lapse.tower

Balloonists were to confirm his findings, and in his dream, a balloon suggested the fleshy face of a man with a ring through his nose, smiling down on the Tower radiating cosmic rays for which there was as yet no name, but which emanated an invigorating sense of energy all the same.

Back in ’88, Eiffel was building his tower when Wulf had taken his vows and he had believed there was no greater dedication in the world. Jesuits were forbidden in Germany at that time. Wulf, committed to his vocation, emigrated to the Netherlands. That was how he had come to teach at Valkenburg. Now, twenty-two years later, here he was in France, not high on the list of places devoted to Rome, as Wulf wanted to consider himself. After four days of testing, his electrometer obstinately reading higher and higher radiation levels as he ascended the Tower, he began to believe that God had left remnants of the spark of Creation, here in this world to be discovered as a reward by those searchers worthy of knowing. Spark of Creation, or remnants of the Great Flood? One didn’t have to transcend to feel the hand of The Father at work.

Now as he awakened in shame, he thought he might be assuming too much. One should never assume. Disaster creeps at the heels of assumption.

Thankfully, the flood waters of January had subsided and the Seine returned to its normal level, but there were streets where the houses remained unlivable. More than likely those less dedicated men in the Vatican saw this as just deserts to the French who were considered less than faithful. Wulf preferred not to judge the Parisians too harshly, but now believed there might be something in the water that abrogated chastity,

In the corner of his room, by the window overlooking the Champ de Mars, the potted philodendron had grown exponentially, its aerial roots attaching themselves to the gray walls, no doubt attracted by the rising damp. The love tree would produce its poison in spite of neglect; find its own source of nourishment. Through the window, he could see the hazy March sky held no promise of rain, but now he knew it was filled with something else.

In the back of Wulf’s mind he heard the voice of his former teacher, Walther Nernst, dear Walther, who had found a better way to bring light to the night, but whose lamp was only this year overshadowed by that of the Englishman, Coolidge. “You must not speak of God as the source of this power,” Walther was saying, “It sounds heretical. It sounds like the poor workman who has left his tools lying around the shop.”

In silence, he argued, “But surely, to claim God’s hand is in this matter can only appease the dictates of Rome.”

“No, no,” the shade of Nernst responded, “In these times our scientific methods will be vilified. There can be no reconciliation.”

And as if he had spoken actual words, Wulf knew this would be the only outcome. He was faithful to his beliefs and he was a man of science. He did not see the two as mutually exclusive.

There was, however, his nocturnal emission. Was he doubting? Was it a sign?

Wulf’s plan was to return to Germany and publish his findings. He was sure the energy was extraterrestrial, and if not from God’s own hand, then from whence?

His soiled bedclothes reminded him of the temporal. The overgrown houseplant, displaying tenacity, spoke of survival without belief. Folded over a chair, his trousers and leather belt spoke of exquisite mortification hidden beneath a cassock. There was justification in abundance; if not a dichotomy, at least there was room for speculation.

In September, he would publish, but few would accept his findings, as Pius X would force his constituents to swear his newly issued Oath Against Modernism. Though Wulf’s electrometer would be patented and widely used for a time, it, like Nernst’s lamp, would be bettered. In ten years, his old mentor would win a Nobel Prize, and Wulf’s name would be largely forgotten.

But in this moment, lying half-awake and feeling shame in a Parisian flat, Father Theodor Wulf believed he had shaken hands with the Almighty, and been consigned to a fate less than divine.

Tags: ,


by mdjb

Oh I can’t believe it, she said, I can’t believe you’re telling me this. I wasn’t telling her anything and she wasn’t telling me. She was speaking to my clone. As soon as I knew she was stoned on something, I made an excuse to leave the room and I sent my clone in. He told me later this is what she said, I can’t believe you’re telling me this. I would have said no to her request but didn’t have the gumption. So I sent him in to do the dirty work.clone

Sally has a way of twisting everything round. She makes with the eyes and it’s hard to say no. It’s hard for me to say no to most people, but especially to Sally. I know, it’s the drugs talking. Ordinarily, she wouldn’t ask anyone for the time of day, but when she gets hopped up, she seems to think it’s everybody’s duty to be there for her. I know. I’ve been there.

That’s why I have the clone now – for those times when I feel uncomfortable in a situation. I just go hide in the bathroom and read a magazine. He says no or yes, depending, and relates the details to me later. He’s actually a more solid version of the person I’d like to be. When he speaks to me, (this may sound odd) I get turned on by seeing some part of myself expressing authority. It comes from the cells. Not the drugs – you can be sure.

Only this time, this time, Sally asked for money, a lot of money, to make a big deal and damn it all to hell, the clone cleaned out my bank account. He took it upon himself to make the decision. Well, he was persuaded. It’s in her eyes. Jesus, I would have done the same thing, but I was depending on him to be strong.

I’m not certain, but when he was explaining to me what happened, I think he was high. If Sally turned him on, if he’s getting the head that was meant for me, so help me, I’ll…