Huginn and Muninn: a digital gothic (part 10- Muninn)

Huginn and Muninn: a digital gothic (part 10- Muninn)

Part 10: Muninn. [Playlist: Rob Dougan, Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix]

in place of a name         kinder parents call her grief
and teach the young to tolerate her perch

upon the garbage bins
best to pay her tithes at a safe distance and move on
lest the details of her face prove catching

but whispered stories say
she is                            a fallen king

when killed in battle               his body left to rot
a raven fed upon his tongue and eyes

or worse                       she is a knight who slew a child
drank her blood            ate her heart
crimes that would displace the soul

others say these acts are not the cause
but the only cure      hence the lost soul remains so

all agree            she comes
to each alone
by firelight and lamplight
by ante meridian stillness

a hiss come riding the night
clutching her gift of invert dreams
the thief of rest

to hear her wings is to know
all the comfort of solidity jossed up
and burned

text released     in breath
from safe caging in the closed page

she lifts from frozen script
to stretch and catch the winds
of violence, blood, desire for harm

the perfume of wordless things
limp in her beak and claws
tapping there at the window

the hoarse croak of human speech
a token plume of echo

one well-known magician demanded of her       meaning
never grasping that her name was more an answer
than a name                  just as

black may be a slammed door   a curtain drawn
a shadow licking strips of sun                from latticed sills

light can bring the terror
of annihilating white
blending every nuance of the known into a false positivity

we say day and night is all it is   insisting two lasting conditions:
though the bulk of life involves   the gradual unmaking
of the certainty of noon

and where exactly lies the cusp
between what is and what just was

is she the death from which she springs
or the breath that bears a common burden
in stories that must perish to repeat

O reader
we have just done the thing together
brought her life upon this page

watched as she followed our lure
stripped            plucked            raven of the slain
deliberately crushed
into the mass of what has been until

a smithereen in a like cloud
rose                  dread-charged
coaxed home by our light

bearing the contradiction we impose:
that a moment is not fixed

until we each consume and make of it
our cells                        as memory

her return along the path
the only way we know ourselves

yet the sacrifice is real
lost memory is lost self

and each time we call her back
she answers a little changed

her shadow precedes her now
a deeper shade of dawn gray
hopping from sidewalk to rooftop

brushing the folded wings
of the hawk      awakening
exhausted         sent so many tales ago to intercept

hits her squarely mid-air
comes away with only one of her shimmering feathers

and she is gone              evaporated with the day

 

 

back to table of contents

Huginn and Muninn: a digital gothic (part 9- remembering)

Huginn and Muninn: a digital gothic (part 9- remembering)

Part 9: remembering.  [Playlist: Tool, Lateralus]

 

as in all transitions from light to dark
at first there seems nothing but dark
this is the moment when most turn back

and so the dark remains
a threshold
beyond which
every fear fattens on shadows
                                                                                                                                                           

                                                            mind your step

he says, opening a hatch in the deck
taking my hand as we descend
down and left
down and down again and always left
until I am dizzy with twist
and my head folds into a dive
toward my left shoulder

nothing in any direction
but heavy air and each
solid step rising to meet
the foot reaching

faster               his voice distant            dim
down and left                rough fingers
drag an arm that must be mine

though it seems distinctly

down and
left

                                                            of me
this floating head
or headless knowing

sense not pulled down to an object but
everywhere at once             trying to condense

amid a rising scent of sun heating
blacktop after  heavy rain

down and
left

of strings of days plucked
before              and too soon left yet                 never reaching

chords             when stings of yellow    pink and pinker
deeping down               grow long and lax

and redshift left
of light through eyelids to
a dive                           down and left toward

a blinding line of bright
the strip of light beneath a door

whoa. steady. 

he steps into a sideways room
pressing my head gently to his chest

the walls continue to distort and twist
though easing with each of his heart’s pulses
the cyclic heeling
wallows slowly back to true

though my body
seems not yet to have returned to feeling

and the sunlight makes no sense
we should be deep below decks

look there
he says

his finger points into                                                      
the gently swaying surface
of a mirror

where a plucked and battered raven gazes
from the folds of a coat             and his hand reaches down
and left to extract me

 

read part 10

back to table of contents