Climbing

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Image credit: Linda Blazic-Mirosevic/Shutterstock.com

I’m climbing beloved, answering your call.

In the atmosphere so thick, so star strewn, so vast, I climb.

Up the spiral staircase I ascend, answering your call.

Am I going up or down, I wonder, for which is which in space, in eternity? Clocks running backwards, songs sung in reverse, angels flickering around me wingless, sightless, silent.

Until I land, beloved, in this strange space.

On the floor a swirl of black and green I think is random, until I see. A map, beloved, of every planet, every constellation, ever dimension in all time and space. Beyond all time and space.

I am in a library, beloved, with the maps of the universe at my feet. And to my right shadowy bookshelves, lined with shadowy books. And in the strange spotlight beam are illuminated shadowy figures reading the books.

I am excited beloved and I call out your name. The shadows turn.

I suddenly realise I should not be here. It should not be possible that I came, on the wings of your call.

I should not be here at all.

And to speak your name here might be a form of blasphemy my beloved.

I feel their silent disapproval. I know it is not time for me to be here, not yet, not yet. I am a wilful child, up beyond my bedtime.

And in knowledge, suddenly, beloved, I fall. I fall down, down, past the staircase, past it all, into the shallow world below.

It was not time to know.

Not yet.

(c. ) Helen M Valentina

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God’s Face

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On his sixteenth birthday they took him to the special church.

There, they said, he would undergo the trials and the tortures that would cleanse him, redeem him and make him worthy. Worthy to look upon it, to see it, at last. God’s face.

His elder bother had done this, three years ago. After that he was filled with zeal and became a missionary, taking the word out to the world. He wore the scars on his face with a fierce pride, making his younger brother envious.

But now it was his turn. His turn to suffer. His turn to rise.

He could endure anything, just for that promised moment. Anything.

And he did. Whips, chains, fire, knives and more. As second son he had a harder road. For it was believed that each child in succession was further from purity and had further to go.

Every boy, every boy, further than the one before. And girls never allowed. cherished, protected but never allowed to enter this special church.

He was glad he was second and last and that he did not have sisters, nor any younger brother who would need to ensure more. For he wanted to endure the most.

And he did.

Afterwards, bruised, broken and bereft of any real feeling, they carried him to the room. They lay him down and told him to look up, and that, in time, the face of God would be shown to him.

He waited hours, days. Nothing but the dark. A fever grew in his body, matching the one in his soul. He thought he might die, and if he did so before he saw God’s face, he would be lost. So he held on, and on, and on.

Till this day, when out of the dark the face came. Old, wild, strange. A pale, curious sight that was nothing like he had imagined. Just gazing at him, the ruination of his body, the near death tremors from his weakened limbs.

And god saw this, and saw that it was good.

If he had any moisture left in his body he would have cried tears of gratitude, but he was dry, so dry that when he spoke – when he croaked –¬†that he had seen the face of god, they barely heard him.

Still they did, they came and they tended to his wounds, and in time he would be well.

For he had seen the face of God at last.

And it was good.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Butterfly

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Your chrysalis becomes you
Little would be butterfly
Entrapment as transition
To live you first must die
And you will know the truth
By and by

You struggle in the confines
Such impatience butterfly!
You argue with your betters
You’re always asking why
But you will know the truth
By and by

You feel a violation
Wicked little butterfly
You can’t be born too early
You’ll never get to fly
If you don’t know the truth
By and by

This trap is of your making
Conceited butterfly
You yearned for all the glory
Fame and money yet could buy
But you will see the truth
By and by

We bring you not for birthing
We bring you here to die
And you will know the truth
By and by

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Possessed

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Image credit: Dmytro Bulanskyi/Shutterstock.com

She did not know she was possessed for the longest time.

No-one did.

She didn’t act like someone possessed. Not like in the movies anyway. She didn’t talk in other languages or curse people. She didn’t writhe on a dirty bed made dirtier by her own bodily fluids and desecration.

She did none of these things.

She seemed kind. She seemed sane. She was part of the normal, secular world, and would have laughed if you talked of religious things. She was a scientist, she would have said, studying the truly strange: quantum physics. That is far stranger than folklore, she would have said.

Perhaps she was right.

But it could be, I suppose, that the science she pursued was a portal of sorts. A way of the arcane to come though, on the wings of lofty science. Who knows? She would tell you odd stories about experiments, and at times sounded almost mystical when she did. But if you had suggested anything like that she would have castigated you for superstition and old-time thinking.

That is until the night she was almost mugged.

And I say almost advisedly.

She told me about that later, much later, for it took a long time for her to come to terms with what happened. With how she changed when under attack. With what she became. And with what became of the mugger, and the less said about that the better.

She became more than herself, less than herself, a wild and totally external force, moving within her, reaching out through her, taking down its prey. Protecting her perhaps, this vessel, this scientist, the new unknowing priest of the most ancient of religions.

“I didn’t know I was possessed,’ she told me eventually. She surveyed the charts and equations in her study, hung up around the room. “I was looking out there so long I didn’t know what I was looking at, or what might be looking right back at me, all that time.”

I tried to comfort her at first. I tried to reach out to embrace her, hug away her dismay and pain, but she recoiled.

“I cannot trust touch now, not at all,” she said. “Not after that. I do not know what it might awaken.”

I stepped back. I will admit it frightened me, that she frightened me now. For I thought I saw it, flickering in her eyes, and for a moment an entirely other face, superimposed on hers – wild, ancient, animalistic.

I do not now. Perhaps I imagined that. But I could never have imagined this woman of science claiming to be possessed without a real reason to do so.

I did pity her, it’s true, even if it seemed she held the most terrible guardian within. But I couldn’t stay, not with her, not anymore. Because I kept wondering why it protected her, what it wanted her to become.

What she would, inevitably, have to become, with that inside.

I do not want to know.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Mannequin

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Image credit: P.3.P.O/Shutterstock.com

At the shop we wait to be fitted.

Since the singularity we all look the same at first. All bland, featureless, still, like those old mannequins you see in storybooks of the past.

This has its advantages. Also like those figures we are perfectly proportioned, every one of us, and the lack of necessity of food in this new world means none of us ever gain weight or lose that perfect form.

Of course one might say that perfection ceases to be a meaningful concept when everyone has attained it, but they are the negative ones. They look back to the past with a kind of aberrant nostalgia. When they go to their fitting they try to approximate that past. Some put on bulkier clothes to look less perfect. Some ask for deformities to be built in to their ‘wardrobe’. There is a group that does statistics on this, to determine how best to re-imagine the past, where issues like competition, discrimination, pain and conflict abounded.

I do not understand why they want that. A little loss of individuality is such a small price to pay for the freedom of similarity we now enjoy.

And when we go for our fitting we can ask for a bit of colour, a bit of artistry, to make us stand out, just a little, little bit.

But not too much, unless you are one of them, those that won’t assimilate. Those silly people with their silly history.

After the fitting we can be a little bit us as individuals and a lot of us as a whole. That’s much, much better, and thinking differently is a stupid disease of the mind.

All the sensible people know that.

(c ) Helen M Valentina

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The End

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The end, they say, came with fire and fury.

Above us the sky became a golden war field, beautiful and dread. Power beyond understanding, likened only to the gods, but formed from science and with the wicked determination of mankind. A beautiful, dreadful finality, like fireworks in hell.

For those that watched, it burned their retinas like an eclipse might do. The last sight ever seen, and so wondrous, that perhaps that was enough to assuage the loss.

For here, in the ‘other place’ we are what we were in those last moments, frozen like a butterfly held under glass, pinned down to an eternity perhaps of nothing more than beingness in the void.

There is no passageway to a heaven though the terrible evil of the end. There is no descent to hell when the sins of all rival all here. We are all complicity, all failed, all lost. Waiting in a limbo of what we were the moment of the end.

Blind, those that watched reach to each other, but each is always a bare moment away.  Even those that held to others the last moment are now separate, alone.

I did not watch the fireworks, so I can see them, but that is little consolation, a bittersweet ability that provides no comfort and no utility here. It might be better to be blind.

They speak of the end, of the fire and fury. Some still express surprise that it even happened. We waited on the brink for so long and nothing ever, ever happened, so how could anything ever, ever happen?

But all it was, this end, was just a different choice. Nothing more and nothing less.

And now we wait in eternity to ponder that simple fact. And we wait together but we wait alone.

(c) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Baphomet

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Image credit: Yupa Watchanakit/Shutterstock.com

His father told him of the Templar god.

“Many men died for this idol,” he said. “Dignified, heroic, in torture and pain.”

“And why would men die for an idol?” he asked, his eyes wide as he gazed at the animal skull, tracing its form in the photo in the book in his lap.

“Men always die for some idol or other,” his father said. “It is in the way of the soul and of belief. And the idols that some men die for are demonised by others, who then die for their idols in their turn. Everyone seeks.”

“Seeks what father?”

“Truth, power, meaning. And for some reason they feel this comes best through the blood of others, and when that fails, through their own blood. Their sacrifice to an idea, and concept, or something more. Who can say?”

“How did they die father?”

“Some in torture chambers, some on the stake, burning. Terrible, terrible.”

“Do we believe in anything worth that father?” the young boy asked. He couldn’t think of anything. He loved his toys, his mobile phone, his television. Would he die for any of those? None looked as old, as mysterious, as this photo.

“We believe what we are told to believe,” his father said. “Through our new ministries. The media, politics, all of that. Soulless some may say, and yet they still stir the soul. And if you watch closely in your tv shows, your movies, you will see the Templar god, over and over. He endures, a symbol beyond time. Perhaps the Templars did not die in vain in the end. Perhaps they knew something we do not.”

“So should we believe in the Templar god father?”

His father took the book from him and shut it. He pondered the question for a long time.

“Perhaps,” he said finally. “Perhaps we already do.”

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Blood Bride

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Pale Beauty
The Blood Bride
Solemn vows
All the fear
Held deep inside

Waiting patient
Wedding bells
Softly ring
Taking her
Down to hell

Sacrifice
Every year
One will fall
At your feet
Trembling here

Pale beauty
The Blood Bride
Yours to take
Yours to break
Deep, deep inside

(c. ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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The Bridge

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No-one crossed the bridge. No-one.

This was well-known. You did not leave our town. Its small, perfect streets and gardens prescribed your life. And you were happy with that, content. Any wish to see more, to understand more, was schooled out of you early. For there was nothing behind the town but an impassable wall, and the only way out was the bridge.

And no-one crossed the bridge.

I was told that once, long ago, someone did try. They got about half way across and then they met her. The guardian of the bridge. She arose with glory, with smoke and fire and rage. They did not have the token or the magic word or whatever it would take to cross the bridge.

And so they did not cross, and nor did they return. And while no-one dared to follow close enough to see what had happened, the absence of them forevermore spoke eloquently and simply of the gravity of the admonition: do not cross the bridge.

I was a curious child. My mother said it would be the end of me. She would chuckle and ruffle my hair when I asked why, why why?

One day I asked how anyone knew there was a woman on the bridge if no-one saw the person trying to leave. She had not answer for me and simply said some things should not be asked, and others should not be done, and there’s an end to it.

But for me it wasn’t an end, it was a beginning. I burned to see if it was true or just some cautionary tale told to us to keep us chained to this little town. And most of all I burned to see her.

So one day, I got up very, very early and snuck out of our house and headed, resolute, to the bridge. I did not care about whether I could cross, I only wanted to see her.

But to do that I would have to try. So step, by step, I began the journey across the bridge.

I got about half way across when I saw the smoke. I was three-quarters across when a dark figure emerged from the haze. A woman. A beautiful woman, with ageless eyes and a smile both wide and frightening.

“Hello little one,” she said.

“Hello” I replied.

“Do you seek to cross?” she asked.

“I do, but only to see you.”

“And now that you have seen me will you still cross, or will you return?”

“I don’t mind,” I replied, then turned to return. “I guess I will go home.”

The woman laughed.

“Well chosen” she said, and I heard the air shuffle around me, like dry leaves in the autumn air.

When I turned back to look again the smoke cleared for just a second and a strange light glowed, showing me something at the end of the path. A skeleton of a man, limbs and ribcage cleaning in an unnatural sun. Then the image was gone.

So it was true, what they said. Even if they hadn’t really understood what they were saying. The bridge was death, and you couldn’t pass till you were ready for that. But he chose to cross, I thought, whereas I chose to stay.

“Good choice,” I congratulated myself quietly, for I was far too young to die yet. Then I headed for home.

(c. ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Bite

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They bite
It is said it feels like heaven
Pure delight
When they bite

They feed
And they never have enough
Pure greed
When they feed

You’ll yearn
To feel their touch again
And learn
How to burn

They bite
Fell so far from heaven
Out of sight
So they bite

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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