My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Bird Gerhl

The old stories talk about gods and goddesses appearing to mortals in animal form, to observe their characters, or test them, or make sport of them.
One day I looked outside my window and saw a robin. Beautiful and delicate and red as a cinnamon candle. I expected her to fly away immediately, but she remained, looking at me, fearless… and I looked at her, and was silent.
The robin kept returning, day after day, and we began to speak to each other. Never with words, only by holding one another’s gaze, for minutes on end. We understood each other perfectly. The little bird would simply look at me and I at her, and she would bathe, and sing, and then fly away. And I let it be what it was, in its simple beauty.
Not long after, the bird stopped coming to my window. Yet that same day I found myself face to face with a beautiful woman with dirty red hair and eyes that contained oceans and violet mittens on her hands. I only had to look at her once to know it was the robin I had befriended. Was she Venus? Minerva? Athena, the gray-eyed goddess of battle? Or some amalgam of the three? I didn’t know. I only knew, in that moment, that I’d love her for the rest of my life, no matter what happened.
We walk together among the trees and along the river, and talk of all things. Of the sickness in the world and the rules of the universe. We lay together and she curls her fingers in mine and I feel like a little boy again. She is a burning thing that threatens to suck me into oblivion when I look into her eyes. She is a siren, singing sweetly as she leads me to the edge of a towering cliff. She is a frightened girl, ever with one foot out the door, one hollow promise floating from her trembling lips.
I stay with her and am terrified. To be so completely taken and certain of my own destruction, certain that she will poison me in my sleep and feel no remorse… yet I feel safer in her arms than a newborn being held by its mother. There is such darkness in her soul, such a desire to torture and twist my fragile body and mind around… it fills me with fear and nausea and yet I cannot but be drawn to her… as if we were opposites, loathing one another and yet needing the other so badly…
I feel as though we are standing on opposite sides of a great plain of battle, I on the side of the angels, she with the demons; the air rank, smelling of sweat and semen, laughter and pain swirling together. We look at each other over this great distance and our eyes ask: can we not come together through all this? Could not our love destroy all these boundaries? Overcome these damning and sacred distinctions? If light and dark were to merge, would it be the end of everything? When the angel and the demon made love in the Preacher Series, they defied all the laws of heaven and earth, and made something wholly new… and they were destroyed for their boldness…
But we live to break down boundaries. We live to defy, and to seek out that love so intense and pure that it threatens to burn our skin away, to leave us bleeding in alleyways, to laugh as we beg for death, for it knows it is sacred beyond all things. We reach for it, and never find it. It is ours, and as soon as we have tasted the blood in our mouths it is gone, leaving us desperate and insane.
I am her slave, and she is mine. I am Severin to her Wanda. She holds me cruelly and loves me like I’ve never known. The world spins; time ceases to exist. And I ask: where is the real madness here? That I once found things like time and boundaries important, or that I am now free from them? Clocks dissolve, and I see clearly.
She is blinding, and beautiful, and I know she will soon be gone. Off to seduce another with her song. I can only let her go.
I love her. I am ten times stronger than I knew I was.
And she is flying, flying, flying away.


  1. Appreciate the muse when she appears to you; it is good. To raise her to the heavens and damn her in the same breath is dangerous. We are all such fragile, fucked-up, beautiful beings, with the potential to shift the particles comprising the universe like so many grains of sand. We are deeply, almost unbearably, human. And all women are both the angel and the whore, the demon and the child in the park. To not forget this is also good. Enjoy the ride, Dave.

  2. That tears it. You are the white half of my black soul. I read your post prior to this one first and a funny thing happened after I read this one. You sent me meandering down the quiet halls of memory. Lost in my own mental nostalgia...

    Now coming back to the present, I will echo a snetiment Shannon made. Hold on with both hands and enjoy the ride.

  3. Wow. Beautiful, evocative, and very real. It is said that God has this huge bank of souls, which get to pick the life they will have (free will is for eternity, not just our lifetimes) based upon the kinds of experiences they will have. Why would one choose a lifetime of starvation in Africa, or political oppression in some far corner of China? The Experience. I note it is not usually the happy times in our lives we remember with the most alacrity, but the painful or bittersweet ones. I do not know if this is because man is negative by nature, or if perhaps it is that it is such an intense feeling our souls are savoring every second of the experience while they weep. You may wind up hurting, you may wind up joyful, but either way, treasure the ride because it is proof you are truly ALIVE, and that in itself is enough.
    ps miss you.

  4. I remembered, reading this, that often, conversing with you, I would jam my hands deep into the pockets of my red wool jacket and feel breadcrumbs beneath my fingernails.

    There are too many voices echoing in this office, even with the door closed, to write you a proper response. Suffice to say that I am glad that you found me, and smiling to remember a serenaded 'halleluiah'

    words, ink & scotch,
    Amy Krog