Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Succubus Athena

When I was young, and the world too loud
Too bright
My defenses thin as tissue paper
Ridden with nightmares
Blessed with visions
Hammered with practicalities
Shoved in a box,
Unfurling only in secret
After dark
Under covers like dense fog, and I the ground,

She came.

Her owl twisted its head, as if hanged and broken-necked in a gale.
She turned hers, the picture of grace and calm.
I closed my eyes, hard.
She touched me with her black glove smooth upon my face,
And my bones gathered and rose as one,
A white flock within my flesh
A firework
A soul released and rising.

"Little girl," she said in her perfect blackwinged voice,
"What has been happening here?"
Spirits seemed to peer from behind her shoulders, listening.
A blackberry bush scraped the window outside.
The door turned its own lock and breathed.

I had believed, always, that I was dust on a smooth tabletop,
A smear,
A trial sent by someone I couldn't remember,
To perform some evil that I didn't understand.
I tried to stay out of the way.
I swallowed my words.
I was the only red spark in a house of heavy dark emplacements,
A male preserve.
I set myself on fire constantly,
In shame
In silence
Sitting politely,
Going up.

I opened my eyes.
"Who are you?" I asked the woman, my visitor.
Her owl swiveled back, to stare.
The lady's eyes widened, just for a moment,
Then narrowed.
Trees sighed, swaying above the house like mourners, unseen.
Anger floated off her, like bright dead leaves, then scattered.

She looked away.

"This must be paid for," she whispered, to the dark room.
Turning back, she was calm as a frozen sky.
She leant forward, soft as a rumor.
"I am the Succubus Athena."
"And who am I?" I asked, not even realizing it or meaning to,
And half afraid I was about to die.
For the first time, she smiled--
Smooth as skinning a kill, she peeled off her gloves and took my face in her hands;
She kissed my hairline, soft as the falling of full dark,
In the spot where the silver still stays.
"Little girl," she murmured, in a tone I had never heard before,
"You have always been
And will always be


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Scarlet said...

Succubus Athena...I'm sure you've met her in your dreams, chica. I can see this scene unfold in a movie. Maybe one day your succubus poems will be turned into a screenplay. Start hunting directors down, mi'ja!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Such a glorious write, kiddo. Wow. I love how this stiry unfurls, with some of the most amazing lines ever written, in my humble opinion: like the bones gathering, "a flock", "the only red spark in a house of heavy dark emplacements", the trees like mourners.... and the tenderness in the last stanza, that the little girl had been missing all her life......this is so beautiful, so poignant and heartrending. I can see that little girl so clearly.Thinking she was "dust" or "a smear", when she was so wonderful. Beautiful writing, Shay. So sad. Thank goddess she grew up and got out of there!

hedgewitch said...

The very well played narrative is wrapped in so much perfect atmosphere and harrowing description, that it seems like it ought to be invisible, yet it carries the poem, especially the dialog, instead of the lyric which is devastating and gorgeous enough to have overwhelmed a lighter structure. Fine writing, Shay--I won't start quoting, because there'd be no end--but I'll just say "This must be paid for" gave me bumps on the arm.

K9friend said...

So many of the lines in this poem were outstanding, but "The door turned its own lock and breathed" really caught me!


Sioux said...

I'm with Hedgewitch. "This must be paid for" was quite chilling and ominous.

Have you considered "unpacking" your work occasionally? Perhaps I'm the only one who would enjoy it, but I doubt it. For example, I'd love to know what was the inspiration for this poem. I am sure others would love to hear about the evolution of a piece...what lines were persnickety, what word choices were easy, why whimsical this day (or dark another?). It wouldn't have to be with every post--that would be too much to ask of the spirits--but perhaps an occasional "Inside the Head of Shay" post?

Forget the suggestion, unless it intrigues you. However, you have a lot to teach other writers...

James Rainsford said...

Powerful and immensely evocative. I love the imagery in this.Could be an experience had by Layla Moon. Here's the link if you'd like to meet her. Kindest regards and thanks for sharing this wonderful poem. James.

Brian Miller said...

lovely...i think many can relate to the dust on the table stanza, so i am glad she found athena and spoke some identity into her...and feeling like mine or someones mine, that is a good thing...

Anonymous said...

'stunning' is far too inadequate a description. 'exquisite' does not give justice to your words. 'brilliant' doesn't come close. 'awe-inspiring' is true, though it falls far short.

"This must be paid for" gave me shivers, too. if i were to cite the other lines which stand out, i might as well quote the entire poem.

please, please, please.... give us more sometime... i want to know who pays and how!

i bow to the glory which is Shay!

Mama Zen said...

"the world too loud
Too bright
My defenses thin as tissue paper"


HermanTurnip said...

Well done!

I myself wouldn't mind meeting a succubus, but I fear the relationship would only be one way...

Cloudia said...

love the opening and little Shay's myth beginning.

You are touched. . . .by something. . . .that's sure.

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Lynn said...

"Blackwinged voice" - I can just hear it.

nene said...

'Very cool, are you a doctor?'(from a silly commercial on tv about deodorant). I can only imagine your imaginings at a very young age and that have stuck with you. You have great imagination that is well served by your word choice and writing skill. Gracias!

Eric 'Bubba' Alder said...

This brings Anne Rice to mind for me, Shay. Your first descriptive lines painted a crystal-clear image of that suffering child. Brilliant!

Daryl said...

Everyone said it way better than I ever could ..

Randy Behavior said...

Wickedly wonderful!

Kay L. Davies said...

An amazing write. Chilling but heartwarming.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Lolamouse said...

I found myself nodding my head, going "Yes, yes, yes" while reading the first stanza. Then, like the others, chills with "This must be paid for." What a terrific and liberating story.

Heaven said...

Beautiful story..specially the last verses gave me chills:

"Little girl," she murmured, in a tone I had never heard before,
"You have always been
And will always be

Kerry O'Connor said...

When I opened your page and saw the title and pic, I had an instant Oooooo! reaction. You spoil us with all these excellent dark writes.

Ainsley said...

When dani pointed me at your poem I came, not really knowing what I would find. I certainly did not expect to read something of such brilliance - and darkness - as your Succubus Athena.
If this is part of a larger epic poem I certainly want to read more.
Thank you Shay, for sharing this with us.

hedgewitch said...

This one I remembered as soon as I read the title--it's a hard one to forget, even for someone with only three memory cells left. As always, when poetry is as rich as this, something new comes out in each reading, and this time I caught the sadness of the smear of dust, and the image of the red spark and the fire going up, maybe because you'd used it (differently) in Fire which I just finished reading. Anyway, it describes the turmoil within, the *dangerous* turmoil, extremely well here, and...and the Succubus has never looked so good as when her name is Athena.