Who brings Sunflowers to a Moonlit Mass?

Mary,
My beating Heart
It was never me who was broken

Magdalena you saw I was wounded but
I saw the wounds as who I
Was told it was part of my brain

Mary I was never sick

Mag I am not sick

Maggie such normalcy,
not drama, I
told them I loved the drama
dress in black
Adorn with creatures of the night
Wearing sunflowers does not
Kill the freak in me, this part
loves pale flowers that
Only bloom
Under full moons

I am the favorite nectar of bats
Weaving serpents to slumber in my braids

Mary my brokenness is not empty
We tell ourselves what we need to hear
We tell others what we really need to hear

We dance with werewolves at the moonlight mass

2019 (Spring or Summer)

I Don’t Recommend Creating an Entire World

I can make a cage beautiful.

Childhood disorientation in Cajun Country, Louisiana late 90s isolated Family Trauma I struggled to understand what was happening around me so I created imaginary worlds: paracosms, something I could understand, somewhere beautiful and just for me to organize and create rules and guidelines which brought other children to me through creating myself as strange and shocking in the conservative Southeast.

Ability to turn inward from the external chaos, a choice to live in stories live in imagination so the dive into storytelling was natural. I created imaginary worlds with these complex narratives and characters and creatures and whole generations of royalty and history that went back hundreds of years. Saturday nights were for staying up late drawing maps of the kingdom and creating poetry of their hero’s tale. There were wars to mediate and rally my classmates to join. I created special devices that were handheld and carried creatures from class to class tucked under my arm and more and more to create and expanding this world of endless possibility. Other children were drawn in by the bizarre and the ones that were repelled, I never liked them anyway. There was a rush, a power in the polarization I manifested.

As an adult I thought, well, who do want to be? I want to be a witch. I want to be a poet. I want to be this weird, ethereal thing that lives in this strange, fantasy aquarium, a fairy terrarium. Almost a thing of myth, a semi secret character who is shut off from everything and you can look in this regular, inconspicuous home and see this strange little world that just takes your breath away that is decorated with moss and lavender, ivy and animal skulls adorned with black roses it’s like a secret discovery I’m always looking into a weird little world of sorts, usually hidden in plain sight if you just know where to look in the palm of my hand and not only am I gazing into and feeling pulled in deeper especially to care for this world and these creatures, their pure survival dependent on me.

But the truth is I have placed myself into that world so not only am I looking into it, holding it in my hands but I am physically trapped in that world too which was created to understand something, anything in the chaos to feel a shard of agency it is Mine created in beauty and wonder, created in a last ditch effort for salvation. This I can choose to share or define there is a clear idea of my role and my expectations, I am needed and important. And yet it is simple that as I stare as a zombie into this small treasure, eyes in a mirror stare blankly back into me. For I created myself in my perfect image, in my perfect imagination. For I am trapped here as well, trapped into my own perfect creation.

I can make a cage beautiful.

Fall 2019

I Need to Quit Regurgitating Goddesses

Last night something was emerging
From the belly from the depths
Fear was a stabbing pain
Between brows it was Time
Sweaty and retching
There was nothing I could do

Out emerged a sack a pod
Slick with green bile or algae
Hot from the deep shine like a
Clear water balloon

And then she took my breath away
& My eyes full of radiant gold
& She began to glow and shine

Fins wave rhythmically illuminating
Gold and Hot her atmosphere
Holds countless microscopic shrimp
Surround her in formation- orbit as stars
Satsuma scales cast shadows in the curves of
Her delicate marine body
She chooses to part the rich green leaves around her
Chooses to appear just as she is a scintillating hue
Her world lit in the confidence of simple existence

Her eyes never left mine through the
Dark internal waters and in her
Tiny perfect world from my
Belly dark you slithered up the
Tunnel of my throat I never could have stopped you
You are ever powerful, my little goddess

Her gaze both holds me in perfect comfort
& sees me in off putting clarity for
I am not used to being seen as I am
Oh what magic have I stumbled upon?
Oh what magic has been waiting to ascend from my darkness?

At last, in finality: the truth that
Despite all her majesty despite
Her endless manifestation of peace,

She needs help
I must fiercely protect her



Fall 2019

I Knew She Was My Savior When She Infected Me With Her Bite.

From time to time I feel myself in some sort of rag tag community. We are separated, quarantined from society sometimes a tribe or a large broken family or survivors of war. We are those left behind we are those sent to start anew, in torn clothing we are cast away always young people often ones I recognize and sometimes there is a leader but they’re never around. It’s always a dystopian environment like a facility for disturbed young adults with a heavy lock in an abandoned warehouse with twin bunk beds in narrow columns 100 feet up the metal walls and piles of pink trash bags in each corner. Other times we are in the woods, half-lost and half-found at the mercy of the elements. Always it is chaotic, it is dizzying. I get the idea that I need to fend for myself, there is no one preaching mercy or counting sins.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a thick woods, there were many young people there- we were a sort of tribe or camp and maybe it was springtime, the trees were sad but green and there was a bitterness to the air but a feeling like some horror was past like we had survived a harsh and deadly winter and at least we were still alive. I knew there were some guys out here I had dated long ago, before all this happened but I hadn’t seen them in a while and I figured they were off doing their own thing. It was pretty hard out there and you had to learn to take care of yourself first, it was a cruel lesson.

There was a girl and she was wild. I met her in a pink bikini on a lawn chair by a moldy pool with brassy hair and scrapes on her elbows. When she smiled everything felt warm and a sunflower blossomed in my chest. She needed some help and soon enough we spent every day together. No one was really in charge here, and we were often cold and a little muddy and didn’t have quite enough food. We weren’t starving by any means but I looked at her pale and cold and a little too skinny and I felt guilty she couldn’t have a better life. She deserved more and I wanted to give her that. She never once stopped smiling for me.

People seemed to rush on by, everyone on their own mission, no time to see us here on the side of the road. One day we were hanging out and I noticed I had bug bites and bruises on my hips. It was painful and tender and I was a little worried. She bent over me and with a playful smile she bit me hard on the left hip, leaving a large gash that looked like when I used to cut myself with razor blades back home, but much larger than anything I had ever managed. She felt bad, didn’t mean to do it that deep. Couldn’t even look me in the eyes. She felt real bad.

The wound was very triggering and tender, the pain reminded me of times that were far worse than now, before I had her. Others were almost afraid of it, afraid of me. Their eyes flit from the gash to my eyes and then quickly away. Although I excelled at wound care, a skill I as forced to learn, we didn’t have any medical supplies other than old rags. No clean bandages, no ointment or alcohol. Too soon, I realized, it would become infected. It was a chilling realization.

We had to leave.

This dawned on me like a ice bucket over my head. We were too cold and damp, we were not starving but we were far from comfortable. I knew my wound would not heal in these conditions. The wound was too deep, it was too jagged. We had to leave. Where were the guys?

I told her we had to go and she agreed without skipping a beat of her heart. She would follow me to the lifeless dust of mars, to the suffocating humidity of Venus. There was no need for her to know the truth, which was that if we stayed, I would surely die. This dripping wound, her wound upon me would become infected and I would die here in this empty place. I would die here and leave her alone.

We waited for the new moon and left at night so no one could see us go. She calculated the phases of the moon on her little chart yet I had no idea where we were headed or if there even was a better place but I would rather die in my escape than in that cold land. We had to leave. I took her hand by night and in the shadow of the moon we took cover. I guided her up boulders across valleys her torn jeans her nails were full of soil we waded through thick waters and brine and stench and creatures and rumble of thunder and she was fearless, she was fucking fearless she stared into the eyes of the wild and the wild bowed, humbled. I led her through the abyss, no idea where we were headed or which stars to follow and follow she did, every step of the way god why did she trust me so. Yes she always believed in me, she did. God why did she trust me so.

We traveled, half starved yet I remember little more of the journey other than the fear and I remember little of the new place we found other than that we were inside and we were safe and warm and clean and dry. I slid my arms around her waist and pulled her up into my lap and kissed her soft lips and I said, “come here my girl, I fuckin love you. How did I not see, you’ve been here all along. You’ve been by my side. I fucking love you, I’m so sorry”

And I held her and she held me too and soon I realized that I had not saved her at all, not me, not the absent guys, not the shadow of the moon. In full lucidity she saved me. She initiated me into the inability to remain. She marked me, bit me, healed me. She is the catalyst for the realization that enough is enough. That we were surviving, but that was all. We could not thrive there any longer. We had to make that terrifying journey in search of something greater. She showed me that I was greater.


What she saw in me
She fucking saw me
Not the guys, where the fuck were they?
Where were they when we were cold and hungry?
She has always been here.


She has seen right through me.


Only then did I realize.


I cannot survive in this role this story is no longer okay I am enough as I am I cannot maintain the facade I can no longer be polite I will die here if I don’t leave she has infected me with her bite oh I thought I was her savior yet somehow she saw right through me somehow she knew and it became real, I became real, and the truth behind the truth is that I needed her as much as she needed me and she has healed me as much as I have healed her.

October 2019

I Know You Fucking Saw Me

Today I take myself to the New Orleans Museum of Art
Alone past lotus pond a ghost’s reflection a Magical Girl
Sat on the concrete ledge you were once here
With me. I always loved you by my side.

Back inside, down a sleepy hallway
Corridor less wandered
Exists a Golden Cabin I saw you here
Mr. Alligator. Sun kissed pebbles flow
Up my belly warm my breasts
Pool in my collarbones
Whisper your voice lowers for me
You were here many years ago
And I fall in love at City Park again & again
As I always do

You are here somewhere in my body you
Haunt these halls enthralled in mystery
In lust with wonder do you feel me here too?

In ceremony, I approach the golden cabin,
Enter my feet inside the holy indentations
Your boots follow a gilded pathway inside

Breath escapes body we make contact here
Skin to frozen skin between thin metal sheets
Ghost to howling banshee
Stand where you stood, Mr. Alligator. Eyes
Ablaze in molten gold, in mundane splendor
There are metallic smartphones and straws and
old soda can tabs I begin to see simplicity
Now I know why you were here.
This whole fucking city
Our feet, soles to soles
Connect Siamese Twins
I can bet you’ve been about everywhere

I discover myself lonely
Expose a hollow I am
14 years old
Bathe in that old music you got me back into
If I cut myself
If I bled & left a mark a call or please please I am here do you see me?
On Repeat? The Noose?
You were fucking right okay?
The Nurse who Loves Me is my favorite song please tell me how you knew
You fucking Saw me
For a Split second for as long as
I needed, You
Fucking know
Stop
You’ve done nothing to hurt me lonely
I fucking hate you
I beg you in finality
Release whatever filth in me in full lucidity you can
Fucking take me

I pray to god one day I will
Have the words to say the Courage to
Face whatever needy, clinging sickness
I orbit you a comet I crash into you Burning fast and
Arrogant, selfishly tearing apart the atmosphere you spent
A decade weaving blankets you insulated
Your heart attempted to snuff out the fires I burst through,
I do not care at all. I am full of violence.

Unstoppable force: You are Welcome Here
Child on Bordered Lines
If she cut her thigh
& bled it all out felt that
Pain white hot counting seconds nursing
Bandages too clean for this filth
I desire most pain

Yet the truth behind the truth is
The shame at the swelling in my heart the
Fantasy that no one could see my dripping wound.

Not a breathing soul would see it there
Could feel that pain
No one could detect it in my eyes
No one would know at all

But the truth behind my heart is the
Secret behind my fantasy is the
Little girl behind my rage that one day
Hopes you will know &
You will feel bad
And you will know
One day
How you have hurt me so

I must disconnect.
“Don’t sleep on a bare mattress again Chere,
When are you gonna stop breaking your heart at City Park,
Like you always do?”

This is dysfunction
This is longing behind
Holding my own body hostage
Behind whatever worth I may or may not have
Behind Check Mate Screaming
Whywon’tyoulovemewhatthefuckdidIdowrong?
Please don’t leave me here
I need you, there I said it,

I fucking need you in finality behind
I know you fucking saw me
THIS IS REAL
I AM NOT A GHOST
if only for a split second
I know you fucking saw me

& the deepest truth of all is the pornography I loop in my brain of a fairy tale I read to babies where you look at me all dressed up and all beautiful all fucking funny and taking over the fucking world
And you just know
I don’t have to say a thing
Somehow you just know
You see my suffering
You see through me

I Hope You’re Staying Dry: Hurricane Party, Sex, Drugs, and Witchcraft

This past weekend’s
Hurricane Party
Skate gang is
Sola, Samuel, and Swamp Bunny

Wake on Alligator’s couch
Sweet voices from the shower
You have a soft side Sola,
My Best friend with her fiancé, Cheshire Cat.
I am glad he treats you well
You rise together early morning
Playful in the shower

When I’m with you we
Pass the best days of my life
We spin dizzy colors
Bleed together and
Sting my eyes
This is Not a Drill
I am in Love with Mr. Alligator
And he is your fiance’s best friend

It is July there is a Hurricane in the gulf
Soon we will feel the sky shaking
Hide in Uptown, New Orleans I know I am not
Safe here yes, I am better off by my parent’s up North
Yet here I am and can you guess why?
I long to sleep tonight in the quiet dip in the sofa
Where you rest your head when you come Home,
Alligator, I long to stay by our friends
Dysfunction and drugs and playing
The Game yes, I love you in plain sight

In the mid morning
Sola and I wander to Tree of Life to
Pray for Rain to Cleanse our Sins
We pose each other in hot pics
For Insta she plants palms in
Damp peat moss in decay she
Kicks her feet up in an arc
Handstand against a low branch
Yoga, muscles, and curves
Unapologetic #ThirstTraps

We suffocate as we heal as Tree of Life
Tosses Spanish Moss in my open diary
Throw me something Ma’am
I take the moss home with me, because
You gave yourself of your free will
Unto me, you placed yourself inside
My diary you demand to lounge
Deep in my unconscious and you
Surface in my dreams in
Sexual fantasies I enjoy
Thinking of Alligator when I am with
His Best Friends I am
Aroused by the idea
Of them feeling envious of our
Tense desire our burning eyes

Tree of Life commands us to
Weave Magic
Into the tapestry
Into the sky
Sola and I gather moss for spell work
For darker days

I ascend her
Straddle her solid beneath me
“Girl You’ve Got To Trust Her
Or this will never work okay?”
Palms on bark, focus on her branch
In my eyes of ancients past
I’ve gotta trust what is directly in front
There is no fear in this moment
“I can’t look down or surely I will fall.”
Succumb to flying to
Standing on tippy toes to
Steal a Kiss her sun kissed leaves
Leave her blushing you always
Leave me wanting more
But you’re not here, are you Mr. Alligator?
And so I climb her more.

Back home it is late, late
Samuel turns off the TV and
Hushes the boys to let me sleep
In the nook of your body’s heat
I still feel you here
You slept here weeks ago
When are you coming home?

The next night we discover an
Alien Planet
Rich folk’s grass
The good kind on the
Golf Course at Audobon Park
Carpet exposes we are miniatures
Ant specks crawling under a
Purple and orange sky observes
Ancient oaks pause
Here and there as a
Humble Hurricane passes by
He arrives in finality and marvels
Me and the Gang
Break Federal Curfew
Indulge in rebellion
Punk Rock jacket I created
To show you who’s boss
I am the #SwampThot
Sola takes a photo of me
Stretched seductively
Across the slick keep- out sign
We give Zero Fucks
Piss on the pampered lawn of
Old Money New Orleans
Generations of dirty Money
Lavishness fetishized from the
Blood and sweat of Slaves,
Walking home on St. Charles
A blacked out car skids by
Samuel says they “must be moving
A couple Kilos.” Since “now would
Be the perfect time.” Says a cop
Follows in disguise.

Back home: Samuel presents a
Fancy case his wide smile with a flourish says
“Swamp Bunny, You Need To Smell This Weed”
My face betrays my repulsion my
Lack of experience with his decadence
Unintentionally personal insult
He has lost the ability to relate that
I cannot be impressed I make a
Mental note to tell Alligator,
He will be in stitches over this one.

Morning and Sola, Samuel and I blade
Audoban park in full lucidity
Of daylight we are
The Coolest Kids you’ll ever see
Who wouldn’t kill to hang with us?
Rushing past Blaring
Nasty music Dressed to
Impress Styled to Terrify
Moves to Testify
Samuel says he feels like he’s flying
I say I feel alive

Afternoon and we encounter a Vigilante Weatherman
At The Fly on the Mississippi River, says
He prefers to be called an
Armature Storm Chaser
I could not resist asking about
His homemade wind sock
Broken Sexton from Party City after Halloween Sale
Red Hair and freckles, eyes squint
Points to the Eye of the Storm
In the distance
Draws us a diagram on a
Stained Chinese Takeout Menu
I dare not correct him, bite my tongue
Struggle to keep from laughing that
Everything he has said is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The sweetest moment the
Hard candy on my tongue
Was a 5 word text from my Alligator
“I hope you’re staying dry.”

Night falls: Cheshire cat shows me
Patient bubbles in molten
Butter teaching me to make
Edibles Sickly Golden
Marshmallow and 90s children’s cereal
Always Watching Everything and Everyone
He takes it all in, I wonder
Does he have a choice? I wonder
Can he rest at night?

Hurricane Barry 2019 I spent with
My Best Friend Sola, with Samuel and
Cheshire Cat, cuddled in my Crush’s bed

And here in my palm,
I take home a mason jar of
Hurricane Water I gathered in heavy mugs
On the brick by her potted garden
Sola adds Brandy to keep it fresh
Now colors honey sharp to save for
Witchcraft for dry days
One for me and one for you.
And a boy for me and a boy for you.
How could I want for more.

Sweet Fear Aquarius

A softer desire. Sweeter,
quieter affection. You move slow,
make sure I enjoy you.
Can we be little creatures together?
I’d like to burrow into you, into soft Earth,
Can we make love tonight?
Like the Wind,
You want to see so much, cannot
Sit still, I must respect
Your nature, my lover I can only
Pray that you choose to stay

You are the Wind
Also the steady Breath
Come home to the body
Bringer of seasons Messenger of
Tidings of Summer heatwaves you
Howl through my bones Love
You hurl sand grains in the
Eyes of distant armies you
Blow the Sea from shore to shore
Your waves
Overpower my body and
I let you caress me on the porch by the Sea.

You are always here
Come home to my body Deep
Belly, throat, mouth and lips
Fill me to my lungs and nose
Make me wonder if
I will survive the pleasure of your fingertips
Assault of my lips, tangle my hair
I want you. There is your
Voice from California I heard
You’re still singing. Alone or
In a crowd I don’t care just
Keep fucking singing
Fuck till we’re gasping
Fight till we’re screaming
Keep sending me paper letters
Crisp leaves falling slow carried
In your palms across Mountains across
Prairie. Home to New Orleans.

We’re not so far away,
Really
I can still hear you singing.

Feel your chest rise and fall, my sweetest Aquarius if you can’t tell me, please whisper in my ear. I will pause the turn of the Earth to create quiet enough to hear you. I will breathe over your chest, kiss your lean stomach, I will put goosebumps down your spine.

Caus your voice is the one I want to hear right now. Yours alone. Ours together I’d bet we will make music, we’ll make Magic.

& if it makes you happy maybe I will float with you, steadiness as we pause here and there to plant seeds and

Running again we are panting, we are
Always laughing we
Make love we are gasping and
Fingers dig into each other hold on
For dear life I fucking promise I won’t let you
Blow away
& you finally held on
You returned to your body
We sighed together
Ragged and Terrified
Stop Running
Catch your breath
Please come home

I’d part the Red Sea if I could find a way into your heart
Navigate the Mountains between us
Not the hurricane, not the tornado
Will be a reason anymore find the
True reason for running off
Stop pushing me away
Breathe in, let go
Come home.

July 2019

Sola and I Revel in Our Power Over Men and in the End We Choose Each Other.

Last weekend I found myself
In the lap of a beautiful woman
Warm and high we
Float serenely on a
Large pool toy of Nesse,
Amongst the Nerd Babes
Wild party @The Drifter Hotel,
A popular alternative nightlife venue it is
Almost Summer Solstice
In New Orleans, Louisiana

Neon lights slide across our
Dewy skin, rainbow beach balls
Deflating aliens float by,
Fellow revelers lounge
Sip cocktails and daqueries as
90s pop vibrates our bones. Feet
Lull in the warm and lightly salted water.

The beautiful woman beneath me keeps me warm.
I feel her skin, she is
Topless she is my Best Friend
We gaze directly up to the cloudy sky,
Midnight pollution the city makes it
Difficult to see many stars
Yet here I am, with you
Looking anyway

She took me out tonight she got me high bought me a soda helped me eat a falafel gyro she lent me a swimsuit and listened to me spill darkness from my chest and into the void of the sky that we stared deep into on this night, we glimpsed from the edge of the cliff we saw our reflection in distant nebulae in the eyes of god we were no longer mad at each other because we made it out alive. We know our love is greater than the pain this world can provide.

I love her

The crowd follows our every move. All eyes
Desire to see us kiss. All men
Imagine touching our bodies.

Sola, all curves, perfect
Hourglass figure, olive skin,
Giggling over a cute guy that told her
He thinks curvy girls are sexier. She is
Charming, dirty blonde hair, vivacious
Boundless Joy and a love that Gives as much
As fears and I,
Waist length dirty blonde hair to match
Pulled half up in space buns memory of
Magical Girl. Black roses, holographic
Pentagrams, and a Lavender rosary which
I nibble on to take selfies and
Wonder how offended or aroused he would be
To see his Crush half nude with
His Savior in her pouty lips.

We strut past the pool to
Get drinks and All Eyes are on us
We know how beautiful
We are Lillith
Tempting prophets to connect
Holy Pleasure to their Sin

Tonight, Sola takes care of me,
Accepts the Mother Role with
One hit of her bong
Found myself
Too high, needing her help,
Forced,
To accept her help

Perhaps, in truth
An excuse to accept help a
Tangible reason a valid reason to Need

Often I Need help
Physically Eating
When high, food cannot travel
From table to mouth my
Quiet hands forget that journey
Lose their way in between
Maybe I can ask to be fed I can
Ask for someone to notice
How I struggle how my tired
Hands get lost.
Pray for Rain.

Healing us both,
Role reversal for just one night
With a kindness that brought me close to
Tears, she taught me how to
Light the household bong with
A patience I struggle to trust
I knew I had permission to take my time to
Make mistakes. I knew she cared.

Sola: the nurturer, the patient teacher, the mother
Holding space for, forcing me to receive.

Please, never leave me
I will love this woman till the day I die


June 2019

The Serpent

Here I lie it is 2019 and I never imagine things would come full circle with myself alone in perfect symmetry in the middle of my bed, an enchanted room I have created and in which I make magic in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Half of me is lit by Magdalena’s dancing flame, a soft gold as I fall asleep, the other side lit by white roaring lighting, wild and loud. And all the while my lost love Maynard chanting and this magic builds in my delicious room. Mer de Noms on shuffle and no, I am not triggered at all. I shine. Basking and swelling, humming prayers as I slip into sleep.

Full circle

Sweet child, if you could only see me now. Maybe you do, maybe that’s why you hold on.

Invite to the Viking Camp

Chelsea says she’s invited to the Stone Wolf Camp, says they told her to stop by if she heard drumming in the night, and I can come if I walk with her by her tent first to drop off her swimsuit and pick up her smores supplies to share at the Heathen Fire.

            Terror is equal to a molten curiosity in me.  A cloudy night, darker than you’d ever walk back in the city, dark as entering a great sea. A post ritual exhaustion thick in the air, but radiating and smoldering coals burn on a few more hours into the night. Chelsea, the lamb in the darkness, her small lamp spilling across faded grass as she leads us on.

I’d loved her as soon as I saw her, felt her rush and she is so much like Sola I can’t hide the magnetic pull. We’d met just the night before at Gryhpon’s Nest Camp in Springfield, Louisiana, not far from my home in New Orleans. My fourth stay at this private campground, with my Pagan community for the sacred holiday Imbolc which doubles as my birthday and I now have 30 years.

            All the way to the back of the property she leads me, brave and focus ahead, says we need to look for the big tires: the true entrance to the camp.  Bare feet find twigs and we navigate through partially trodden bushes and briars that have been gently parted over and over again and lull loosely back into place. 

            Low murmer of voices in the near distance.  Chelsea turns off her small light and slows her steps.  A warm light illuminates her brassy blonde hair and our bare feet are grateful to find a straw softer than I knew existed, covering the large area in a thick blanket, freshly placed down as a soft and clean carpet. 

            Chelsea holds a last weakened vine open like a curtain for me, as the low murmers fall to a sudden halt and we are left with the songs of crickets and we know we are being watched, they know we are here. 

            My fear grows to an almost unbearable pressure but it is too late to turn back, we see their figures, pale faces offset with dark hair and dark clothing.  They circle tightly around a large cooking fire, wooden shields and bright flags hung from the makeshift walls.  A maze of temporary buildings fill a large dip in the field that is Gryphon’s nest, they stay close to the Cypress Swamp that circles us. In a collective trance they gaze deeply into the fire, ritual plants wearing off and a welcome back to ordinary reality.  Women in chairs with young men on the straw floor, leaning back into the women’s laps. 

   Animalistic terror but I cannot turn back and Chelsea is with me,
she would not hesitate to step through the fires of hell for a lunch with Hades. Tired Viking men maintain a loose grip on their handmade axes, carved with protection sigils.

            The Viking King stands to give us a booming welcome with an order to make ourselves at home.  Warm, and fetching us his personally aged burnt honey mead, served in a bison horn and passed around.  The men shuffle their seats to offer us the best spot by the fire, passing us apple wine and a pipe.  The young Vikings pick up their conversation, lightly teasing and joking with each other.  Chelsea insists I tell of the 2 dreams I had the night prior, as they are a popular tale circling Gryphon’s Nest this Imbolc holiday.  I flush at the attention but speak as they watch me.  Smiling, they poke fun at my eels and we laugh together.

            When Chelsea’s marshmallows emerge, a man is commanded to fetch us roasting sticks, which turn out to more resemble harpoons, and the soft candy looks comically small, stabbed and perched above the flame.  The king declares his boar brought out, and a large shank, hooves and hair and all is placed on the fire and he sits back, satisfied.  He speaks with me for a long while as his wife dozes next to him and sweet young men shyly meet my eyes from across the heart of the fire.