Paul Ingrassia, US
Ghostly wisps dance from the glowing embers, spiraling upward, dissipating into heaven - their twins slide from my lips and quickly follow. I often smoke a bowl and share a drink with Old Man Gloom (though I've never been to Santa Fe), and we talk and write of a young man's doom. When he starts to speak, post-metal soundscapes replay backwards in my mind, and my spirit remembers stomping in the pit. He tells me they fill him full of their sorrows, their sins, their shit, and after all of that, they light him up and make him fucking burn the night sky. I place my hand on his shoulder and swear I will never burn him, but I will always burn with him. We mosh backwards together, slam dancing in the shadows with the tunes cranked to zero, burning together, pissing on each other's fiery fears. Finally, I feel his hot breath and know it is time, and he bursts into flame - but only after promising to return. We burn together for the last time, once again.
I often burn with Old Man Gloom, though I've never been to Santa Fe.
Psalms of Purgatory
One day, long ago, I lost the piece of me that was God.
It wasn't there when my flesh was violated and my innocence was shattered, or when I was shunned and felt alone.
Dancing through herbal dreams, I filled the empty hole where It had once been with liquid spirits and powdered coca, dust of angels and microdots. Crackling crystals liquified and vaporized, and a zombie stumbled and stormed through suburban boredom.
I thought I found It once, but when betrayed by love or life, I saw I really walked alone: no footprints beside mine, no strong arms to carry me; no raft to float upon, left to wade in the seas of despair and self-doubt; no rope to climb, left deep within the chasms of misery and self-loathing; no miracles, no answered prayers, no good luck when steeped in poverty and failure.
Then I looked for It, in ancient texts and modern writings, in religions of old, and in new-found faiths. There's always time to change the path your on, but I found all paths led to the same Nothing. It has many names, but It shouldn't have any. The path I tread doesn't matter, only that I am on it.
Was It there for my concrete face-dive, or afterwards, when I was a zany demon wandering broken, bleeding, and blinded through urban apathy? Was I guided and protected but It, or by spirIt?
One day, I remembered: It was me, and without me, It was not.
One day, long ago, God left (and died).
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