Madness

Blood filled her mouth, before spattering tea leaves and carmine weaves into the porcelain that steadfastly steadied her wavering savouring

Madness then took her hand, leading her through an oneiric wasteland; it beckoned spectres, who danced before them in sinister circles of möbius machinations

The coward cowered beneath ego and judgement, clawing the grip of Madness, tearing skin and tearing eyes, seeking elusive elucidation

She awakened, and welcomed, the taste of iron and fear; cool linoleum caressed her cheek, while her eyes reflected at the bank of incarnadine

No footfalls found her gaze, save the tracks she now embraced; then vaguely she wondered who it was that carried Madness, while Madness carried she

art: wordless in painful misery by Peterio

Hell

Risen out of favor, the
demon lost its wings; a
momentary lapse of evil,
granted to a more pathetic

soul; its transient spark of
compassion, an elemental
blink of its eye, heaved it
into the mortal realm, a

punishment for corruption;
it awakened within the
wretched soul’s mind, as a
dark passenger, perhaps,

for he who felled its villainy;
a retributive satellite wherein
malefic skill could be honed,
and a return to the deep

could be forged; it was soon
accosted by madness and pain,
the likes of which it had
never inflicted nor imagined;

it fought for control, to no
avail; rent into submission,
insanity flayed by something
beyond; crushing blackness in

a frozen cell, it soon realized
the sin of its failure hadn’t a
second chance, but an eternity
in Hell’s unspeakable Hell

art: autoportrait by Peterio

Notorious

Hers was a notorious disease, crippling. The lamb’s slaughter for most, the lion’s share for those whose madness was brought to bear; until they too were brought to slaughter. An existential blemish, she found nary equipoise nor heartsease in her quotidian quiescence.

An only child sans a brother’s stillbirth, whom she always supposed was the more sagacious; privvy to ominous knowledge that escaped her – about the world or big sister, she was keen to know. His brief presence, inhered in her an avant-garde avarice to quell this question.

Left pacing outside the cages, the lioness concluded that the best source for the answer she sought, must be those who have yet embraced that fate. Fortunately, she found accomplices in her patients, who supported the quest, albeit unknowingly.

She trusted her intuition after their office visits, a sense for which little ones were conflicted. They number six now, those she’s asked, after the mothers were lured to her clean room. It was the only way to question their unborns.

Often the last word she’d hear was “why,” which was a gratifying confirmation of her purpose. They, too, wanted to know in their final breath. Why their baby? Well, why hers… Or was it brother? It was confusing, her mutinous muddlement.

The gorging predator rarely thinks clearly beyond the carcass, unsatisfying though it may be. She’d found no answers yet to assuage her torment. So she’ll rouge her skin instinctually, on the hunt for her share of the truth, until to her slaughter she’s drawn.

art: The Night-Hag Visiting Lapland Witches by Henry Fuseli

Autumnal eternity

Taught she was beautiful before humility could root
Indoctrinated by her birth on a pedestal too high
She was an innocent sapling set on a dying course

Abscission befell her heart to protect the whole
As people shed from her life, more then pruned away
Sacrificing her sanity in autothysic carnage

All that endures is marcescent hope without the will
A tenuous attachment in her everlasting autumn
Rattling the bars of its cage with each suspiration

In acts of dehiscence, she releases scarlet leaves
Then waters them in their descent from her boughs
Ever casting umbrageous gazes upon those beneath her

Alone in accelerated deciduosity, an autumnal eternity
Too small to touch the sky, too tall to touch the ground
She curses time in her turbulent fall before wintertide

art: Portrait Practice by Mandy Jurgens

Zombie

a destructive maelstrom of sudden revelation,
cast her into disarray
centrifugal reactions over violent questions
of her love, recherché

irrational repudiation of secret somethings,
a cognitive decomposition
taciturn demeanour of nods and nothings,
left cause as pretermission

confiding in no one, granting no absolution,
thus rendered dead inside
chaotic incredulity, marked mental devolution,
unliving thus zombified

beside herself, having endless disputes,
nourished relentless exasperation
a zealous need to set free hateful refutes,
resulted in her laceration

coursing within, poison pervading the veins,
an overwhelming pestilence
unwilling to die, desired retribution reigns,
thereby forcing her reticence

fissures agape, exposed the untended torment
of her feral corruption
savage dissection of answers left dormant,
then led to familial abruption

cordoned away behind razor wire, her dearest
imposed the coventry
alone she hungers, rapacious psychosis begets
this desperate gluttony

for others living, fury and cruelty conflating,
forever contemptuous
her lashing unbridled, for wardens not abating,
she’s ever tempestuous

naught will remedy the blinding insanity,
of this ravaging affliction
contained and restrained, abandoned by family,
she can spit only malediction

art: by Margarita Georgiadis

 

Dead things

In this corner do dead things dwell;
a stygian hollow hidden from his
heart lest weeping abet ablution; a
decaying hoard for self-inflicted

reminiscences; algor mortis befell
roseate osculations, lying cracked &
cold, sans sweet nothings & passionate
everythings, mere spavined archways

of ancient ruins; sobriquets foreign to
him, forgotten toxins that no longer
drip from his tongue, but tattoos on
the tip taunting unspeakable madness;

broken wings of quondam dreams in a
tenebrose reliquary of honor, untoward
recollections searing his penitential,
wandering eyes in a brazen attempt of

internecion; stagnant he sits amidst the
bloat, rummaging through a corner of
his moldering mind, blindly grasping
memoriter where dead things do dwell

art: by Eric Lacombe

Ophilia

Cecilia paused. She could never remember their names. Perhaps she is never told; perhaps she is made to forget. Briefly wondering how many have come and gone, she then decides that names are ultimately inconsequential, before lamenting sotto voce, “What’s in a name…”

They are only labels. She’d been given many labels by the therapists, in their vain attempts to understand her. Sufferer of pictophilia or metrophilia or autagonistophilia or whatever ~ilia sprang into their desperate minds. It never occurred to Cecilia, though, that her concupiscence was “suffering.”

Just a harmless fetish or two, not madness. There is surely a difference. Not all ~ilias are dangerous, after all. So what, if she was drawn to artists. So what, if she was excited by the intensity of their piercing gaze, as they painted her portrait. They’d proclaim it was amore a prima vista, amidst their subtle seductions.

She felt like they bore into her soul; the only ones who could see her, see her secrets, see her desires. She supposed, none truly ever could. Although, the best of them could capture something in the portraits; in her eyes. Something thrilling, yet unfamiliar, someone deep inside whom she longed to know.

Cecilia stroked a finger across the clotting rue. She’d let them paint her, then she’d let them paint her. She was in control, the seducer; she was the power, and she was powerless.

While massaging the ruby rue between her thumb and forefinger, she turned away pococurante, wondering why Ophilia loved it so. It was one of her fetishes, she assumed. The aroma, or the texture…

Ophilia only visited after Cecilia fell asleep on nights like the last. From what she gathered, for she could never remember waking during the night, Ophilia had her own pruriences. Not the least of which, the therapists would no doubt label erotophonophilia.

It confused and frightened Cecilia, at first. She soon rationalized, however, that it was none of her business how Ophilia spent her evenings. “Come Dio comanda,” she’d think. Ophilia made her whole, so she learned to turn a blind eye to these “cries for help,” as the doctors would say.

Ophilia would also let the artist paint her, surely waking him from contented slumber in a boon to his ego, but afterwards, she’d paint with him. She, too, is an artist, it seems. Cecilia’s portraits always bore a more scarlet hue, the mornings after. Sometimes still wet, and flecked with the telltale rue.

After cleaning herself, Cecilia began to dress. She could never stay long in the mornings; it became habit to muse to herself, “Tanto va la gatta al lardo che ci lascia lo zampino.” She knew Ophilia made it more challenging, but they worked so well together; feeding each other, supporting each other…

The last thing Cecilia would do before leaving, almost reverently, was remove her portrait from the easel. Kleptophilia? Is it really stealing, since Ophilia contributed to the final masterpiece? For they each were masterpieces, regardless of talent. She always kept the paintings to add to their oeuvre. A magnificent gallery of themselves.

Deep in thought after leaving the flat, while neatly rolling the canvas, Cecilia bumped into him outside the door. Upon dropping his paintbox and portfolio, he began profusely apologizing. They always apologized first. She had come to expect it, and found it endearingly opportunistic.

After gathering himself, he saw her for the first time. “E tu come ti chiami, bella?” he put suavely, suddenly envincing machismo. Cecilia smiled, taking him in, as she absentmindedly, elegantly tapped at the ends of the phallic, portrait scroll to straighten the curl.

She then coquettishly replied, “Sei un’artista?”

art: Portrait study #2 by Jeremy Mann