jueves, 18 de octubre de 2012

The monsters

From TheDeath of the Bird King
by James Knight

The first monster was an anthropomorphic bird
      (or ornithoid man)
                called the Bird King.

He belched a cloud of gas,
which became the sky.

The second monster was Medusa,
              the gorgon.
She hissed sweet nothings
that became the sea,
then turned the flesh
        of time
             to stone:
                   the earth.

The third monster was
He gathered the fire
from his belly and heart,
rolled it into a ball and hurled it into the sky.
The sun was born.

The fourth monster was Grendel.
He squatted over the newborn world
and shat out a black lake,
fizzing with the first microbes.
         Life had begun.

The fifth monster named itself Man.

The sixth monster was Language.
Man wrestled with it,
struggling for mastery.

Every time he crushed a word,
two neologisms grew in its place.

The seventh monster was
the Sphinx.
                   Her claws
gouged the earth, tore out
its stone heart: the moon.

She cast it into space,
   among dead stars.

The eighth monster was Tezcatlipoca.
He appeared to people
in dreams and
in mirrors,
blank eyes

The ninth monster was Marilyn
                 He put the animals into a trance,
                 rewired their DNA,
                 then set them loose,
competing, mutating, restless.

The tenth monster was Insomnia, a grey, blear-eyed beast.
Hasty needles in a haze of veins,
caffeine fix making its madness,

The eleventh monster was $ycorax.
Landing on a sunblasted island,
she spawned,
peddled words and spices
to hapless natives.

The twelfth monster
was the
through the tangled nocturnal city,
writing his anguish
      in neon
               dark entrances.

The thirteenth monster was the Beast.
Its heart,
a combustion engine,
as it manufactured machines
to shred space:
boats, cars, planes.

The fourteenth monster
the Mermaid.
            Octopus ink hair billowing,
                           coral arms,
       pearl eyes.

Ophelia of the oceans,
  she sang her drowning song.

The fifteenth monster was Leviathan.
It surged up from the black seabed and floated,
coil upon coil, exposed, pink,
its hot
      mouth opening.

The sixteenth monster was the Harpy,
gyrating on a redlit platform.

Punters' fingers reached for meat.
Her feather boa snaked to the floor.

The seventeenth monster was Mammon.
                          The world was his
                           poker table.
                          He gathered the chips,
                           piled them high
                          into skyscrapers.

Tiny people looked up.

The eighteenth monster was the Doll.
      Knees clacking,
dead head lolling,
          blank androgyny.
It blundered through houses, smashing their inhabitants.

The nineteenth monster was the
Clockwork Toy.
     Whirring and wheeling,
it hunted children
            under a bronze moon.

   in its gaudy box:
                              deadeye Jack.

The twentieth monster was Memory.

                  she flitted
through the mind's maze,
                        never letting herself get

The final monster

Look into the mirror.

He's hiding behind that door,
waiting for you to sleep.
 Words and image by James Knight. You can buy his wonderful books and e-books here.

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