The Blood of Kvasir can often be found in places where pain dwells. Is it a joke or test of the All-Father? Is it because of Kvasir’s own pain and betrayal? Is it because the depths of agony are a place that most are loath to look? Perhaps it’s a reward or compensation. Whatever the case, I’ve often tasted drops of that mead in the darkest and harshest of places.
Here is a poem that I submitted to Image Out‘s ImageOutWrite publication. (Image Out is an TBLG arts festival in Rochester, NY). In recent days I’ve been trying to find more ways to turn my pain into gold and my tears into amber (thank you, Freyja).
Golden thick mead rolls over my tongue,
mingles with the green rivulets of estrogen dissolving underneath
like the margins of an illuminated text.
It’s better to absorb it through the mouth, they say
(It doesn’t matter either way, they say).
Grey shadows lurk beneath my skin.
The searing burn of coherent light
and the stings of a thousand electric bees
have failed to fully lighten.
It takes time, they say.
(It never really goes away, they say).
Knuckles dragging, suspended by shoulders
well-hung from broad backs.
Pale and cold, shrieking with fear-tinged laughter.
Referring to me as “it”.
That’s not a “miss”! They say.
(That’s a man, baby, they say).
Houses stamped out in a single mold, splashed with a single palette.
Green grass violated by spreading crocuses.
Broad sidewalks, not broad enough as they yank their children away.
“Get back here.” they say.
(That’s a stranger, they say).
Winter is my friend,
The chill forces me to cloak.
To hide my contradictions that mandate madness.
To block my eye-crossing form from sight.
It gets better, they say.
(But only if you’re pretty, they say).
They’ve known me for years.
Old epithets fly from their lips.
“Man, I mean, dude, I mean bro, I mean… I’m sorry”
“I’ve known you forever.”
It’s just a word, they say.
(Why is he… I mean she… I mean whatever so sensitive, they say.)
The plates slide beneath each other.
Whole landscapes buried and swallowed.
Little bubbles of magma flowing up from below.
Some cool before reaching the surface, and some explode.
You’ve changed so much, they say.
(I never would have known, they say.)
Like a passing flame lighting dry branches
like whispers of discontent among starving workers,
like a child, flipping tables as they pass.
I walk among them, and change follows me.
You’re so brave, they say.
(What a freak, they say.)