Jill Alexander Essbaum
An Order of Service for the Construing of Gloom:
The Hieros Gamos of Rue to Numen
An Invocation of Dejection.
Let us pray:
So be it. Truly and
I lay my hand to the spot
I would have sworn
You lay your hands before.
Where your hands are no more.
From the Book of Depression:
I say unto you—
If you only knew.
(Here ends the initial rebuke.)
Psalm one of two.
Would you have her under you?
(A great many do.)
Lesson, the Next.
An unreckoned message:
You will never find your lover in the dark
If you navigate his sea by waning stars.
A man says amen.
Psalm once again:
In a dangerous wood,
I would have.
In your blood field
I will if I can.
As I chant from
The Gospel of the Damned:
And so it came to pass
That the momentum of her efforts,
The efficient decent she spun into,
Seemed to rule her. Seemed to ruin her.
It was the work of an insistent instant.
The bed and the being. The coitus—
Exploitative. The poison and the cloy.
The water that came from other water.
The sackcloth that shattered the ash.
And so the daughter of sham
Learned shame and not shalom.
Sing praises of disdain to The Name,
[Insert here a proper sermon.
Something concerning the soul of such a person,
Something to do with that silly bit of spirit
She’s wrapped up in, her devil whims,
Her pitiful little blisses, her tag-along phantoms,
The rib that when he asks, she'll give him back.]
We pray for the artifact to outlast us:
Whose eyes are cruel
Whose skin is sad and gashed
You by whose succinctness
I reckon both my weakness
And my seasons
You by whose profession
Must you accept
Oh odd, white bird
Whose dirty wings I preen
Whose wedding ring
I wear on a string
That I tie around my neck
Oh black, cracked, gibbeting diadem
Made shiny for the scrag-dance—
What gruesome Evangel
Distributes your tracts?
On the night in which you betrayed
You gave out bread
But you back-tracked.
And when you took up the cup, you said
It is enough.
But it wasn't.
Or isn't. Or it shall never be.
Accept you, then, this offering:
For these are my words
I speak them to you
These are my wounds
This is my room
And this is the truth
You presumed that I knew:
The poison will kill you
The killing will heal you
The healing will hell you.
For not every heart's at home in God
And hardly any man I loved returned the favor
And life glows with terror
While night sheens with loss
Lord, now you nail your servant to her cross.
Glory to the millstone and the albatross.
Glory to the saints within whose houses
My haphazard hopes met their every defeat.
Let us offer now aloud
Our Post-Communion Pleas(e):
I let go my dress in his temple, devoutly.
I brought to him butters in lordly dishes.
He spread my legs like rumor, word-of-mouthly.
Tears have a talent for falling.
That is their calling.
I have folded my edges.
I've serged and I have pinked.
I have finished my seams.
So it would seem.