The Devil Smelled Like Licorice, Cigarettes And Sex

The master, the joker, the perpetrator and the fool. The sly profit, accomplished antagonist and the riddler of glum and gloom. You are the moon. A mean metaphysical man-force, you ignite the dark and in the shadows you play surreptitiously with the scantily-clad stars. Devil, you avaricious warrior, airless lover, Devil, you weep alone.

With the tall grace of a prince and in the guise of a man, you advanced, and with a gentle confidence, took my hand. Coquettish and flushed I played my part, and in your knightly swagger, you led me to your marble ball and began your waltz. An elegant waltz, off-beat but in time, you charmed and swooned and whilst I felt the unearthly Fahrenheit heat permeate from your depths, I was not repelled but rather ignited. A hot rush of ecstasy, an aphrodisiac giving birth to a hundred wild poppies. Red, molasses, salt and poppies.

And you were such fun – a clandestine player, all in black. You smelt like licorice, cigarettes and sex; I inhaled you, craved you and soon I was high. Like a velvet sheet you enveloped and I swam. Laughing, dancing, tickling, teasing. As if I were reborn, a tall red poppy, and you were my promise, my prince. I became drunk on the chance of you, my warrior, my king. High on the possibility of winning with you and on the danger drowning without you.

Like a marionette suspended mid air by it’s strings, that night my destiny froze in time, in the mercy of your slender grasp. In the mercy of anything but myself. The Devil in drag.

But this was a dance that only you knew – your 6/8 waltz off-beat but in time. And when I missed a step, which inevitably I did, the heavens would part and piss down hail that was the size of bricks and with edges that were as sharp as glass. Your laugh would bite like the cruel wind in a blizzard. Your words slapped like an angry bitch on heat. And although I loathed you, I was obsessed with you, wanting nothing more than to be part of your dance, your angry game, your joy-less fun. It was a battleground for gods and mortals and soon my wounds bled black lava like yours.

Now, sicker than you, I lay half dead on the side-walk. A grey, shrivelled poppy, I beg for water or a crust of bread. My knight, my clandestine lover, where are you now?

The Devil turns away.

What is behind those eyes? Devil? Ink-stained black, I could never see into them. Never even a hint of human weakness and yet your actions betray you. Devil? Perhaps your covert eyes serve as your mirror, like the river did for Narcissus, so that while you exclude the world, you bask in both self love and self hate. A childish conundrum, finally causing you to drown in a tunnel of your own tears.

Or perhaps you were already dead, and the bleak irony is that I made love to death. The Devil.

And although I am shaking and cold and thirsty, I remember – I am alive. TC mark

image – Staci Lichterman

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