And that seems like a fine place to pause Monstrous Things; what do y’all think so far? We’re about a third of the way through; at this rate I may actually be done by Saint Waldebert’s – or Roodmas at the very latest. Man, I don’t even know how many hours I kept that nympholeptic poetic phrenzy going. Were any of you in the audience keeping track? Oh, and if you want some musical accompaniment try Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields’ Dead Man’s Bones, cause that’s what I’ve been listening to on repeat since all of this started. (Anyone catch the affectionate nod and wink earlier? It’s in the putti origin piece, if you didn’t.) I’d ask how your holiday observances are going but I’m going to be spotty in responding to comments and e-mail til I tie a red ribbon on this book. Still, you can tell me and I’ll read them when I eventually come back to my senses. Oh, and if you want to tip your hardworking rhapsode my Paypal is firstname.lastname@example.org. All the fairy gold they gave me turned to leaves in the morning light. And fuck what they say, the food’s alright if you develop your palette and toxicity resistance appropriately.
Just as François sputtered
and felt the fetid water rise above
his Gallic head
and accepted that this was it,
and the gloom and despair
had got the better of him
and would suck him down
deep into its nothingness,
a firm, calloused hand clasped his
and dragged him to shore.
François blinked and wiped away the tears
caused by finally seeing true
and face to face the one behind
the mask of wonderworking
Saint Denys the Vigneron.
It was Dionysos.
It’s always Dionysos,
except when it isn’t.
Beverly was back at her desk again,
suffocating beneath a mountain
of meaningless paperwork
that only seemed to grow
higher and higher
the harder she worked,
in her drab little corner cubicle,
where no one noticed her,
or cared if they did,
and each night she came home
to her even drabber, lonelier apartment,
her microwave dinner and her cat
that wanted nothing to do with her,
and she watched reality television
and news and then Cinemax softcore
until she was tired enough to crawl into bed
and six hours later do it all over,
with very little variation,
again and again and again
until there was no inkling left
that once, she had been an interesting person
and led a life of beauty that mattered.
Candy, in white sweater,
checkered skirt, pigtails,
and black fishnet hose
up to her knees, ran
through the boarded up house screaming
for every inch of the place was
nothing but mirrors,
and it was impossible to escape
one’s past and who you had been
before you were you.
Marylou sat propped against
the carousel horse with wheels for feet
on the baby Giant’s knick-knack shelf,
her insides assiduously scooped out,
stuffed with straw, then stitched back together
with peppermint red string.
She was conscious the entire time
and felt everything, even when he replaced
her eyes with black, shiny buttons
and sewed shut her mouth
so her screams would stop ruining his fun.
Kerberos padded along behind Timothy,
and occasionally he’d reach down
and scritch one of its massive Molossian heads,
or throw a red and black ball
with white stitching for it to chase,
or collected its aconite slobber
in bat-leather pouches
to use in case he came across
any more serpentine Nymphs
like the ones who had guarded
the cave with the charonian stairs
that led down into the baptismal pool
full of milk, and honey and lotus petals.
The Black King’s guard-dog
was a good companion to have
on this journey through the underside;
Timothy sensed many more threats
than ever manifested for him.
Pip sat beneath the peach tree,
and held his little swollen belly,
eyes wide and pupils spinning like pinwheels
in opposing directions
as the Fairies and Goblins held a masked ball
in his noggin, and some kind of flying dragon-dog
thing zipped in and out of his line of sight.
“Jesus crackers,” the boy blurted out,
“I think I’m going to be ill.”
Hermes poked him with his snake-twined rod
and said, “I told you not to eat the food of this place,
especially not the fruit of that tree, and what
do you go and do? You brought this upon yourself.”