fire pit prayer
surround me, smoke,
that the curl and hiss
make flesh and the
embers entrails burning
against the night,
for the moon is cold
and the world pale;
blaze me that
more than this glass
will heat my trunk
for man cannot live
on scotch alone
They say there is nothing in the abyss, but I am here.
Sometimes the people above throw me things. Old shoelaces and broken toasters and words--words, if I am lucky.
There is not a lot of luck inside of abysses.
Today I collected the word lonely. It came from a little girl who sat at the edge and kicked her feet and cried. Her tears burned me, but I saved them in a bent aluminum can. I named each as it fell, but in their lonely, they all mixed together and refuse to part.
Lonely. I cannot form it the same way she did, but I pronounce it as best I can with my heavy tongue and wide teeth. Lonely. Ls get lost when you speak them down here. I think they miss the sunshine and go running away to find it. Somewhere down here there is a graveyard of them, but their bodies wither so drastically I have not been able to find it. Whenever something crinkles beneath my feet, I think of the fallen Ls.
It means something, and it means nothing. It means me. I am lonely, so terribly lonely down here. It means nothing, because language was invented to communicate, and there is no one down here to communicate to. Still, I say it.
“I am lonely.” I say to my pile of broken toasters, to my aluminum can of tears, to the chain of shoelaces I have knotted together. It is almost long enough to reach the top of the abyss. I have tied a toaster to the very end, and every day I practice swinging it in circles and throwing it upwards. I miss the sunshine, too. I miss it so dearly.
“I am lonely.” I whisper. I wonder if the little girl will bring me another shoelace tomorrow. Or perhaps the next day. I will tell her, then, that she does not need to cry. That I am lonely too.
For now, I wander through the darkness and I decorate it with my new word, over and over and over.
I stared in his eyes, listening to his endless ramble about why he had to kidnap me in order to keep me from interfering with his genius plan of worl domination.
"Alex, I'm afraid I don not understand. How does me being free interfere with your schemes?"
He stared at me, his face a blank slate for several ticks. "Because I love you. And if you're free... Someone can use you against me. You alone, could say please, and I would drop to my knees in obedience, ready to do what you wish. Love is a dangerous game and I have to prevent you from weakening me... I love you and I want to give you the world... But I can't have you free while I do it." He finally answered.
He frowned, "What did you just call me?"
"You. Are. A. Liar." I ennuciate, and with every word I can see it damage him. "I'm unlovable."
I watch him break to pieces. His eyes, once an abyss devoid of emotion, now filled with misery and rage. I can see something in him snap the way a twig does when one steps on it. Shatter as glass does whence striking the floor. Splinter as wood does when it cracks. The abyss he wore as armor is no match for the abyss that has made me.
I whisper quietly, "I am unlovable."
"Wynter Nightshade." He called me by his last name, as if we were married. "You are not unlovable." He crouches down, balancing himself on his heels. "I loved you the moment I was crafted in the womb, several months before you were thought of. I loved you when I saw you climb that tree in the park by yourself, just to be able to read a book away from everyone. I loved you when you told that boy to screw himself after you had watched him make fun of a mentally disabled kid. I loved you when I saw those scars all over your arms, portraying your broken soul. And as I speak to you in this very moment, I love you. You cannot change that."
My eyes stung. He can't love me. He doesn't know me.
"One day, you will be my queen and you will experience all the affection I could ever hold, all for your own."
He scoffed. "What the heck! Why are you such a skeptic! Let me love you!"
Storming out the room, I hear him tell James something. Then James walks in and sits in front of me.
I winced. "Princess?"
"You're the beloved of one of France's princes. Yes Princess. Why don't you believe he loves you?"
I couldn't explain it. There was once a time I thought I was lovable but now... I was a hollow shell... Unworthy of love. Unworthy of happiness. The abyss people wore as disguises to appear mysterious, that wasn't my disguise. I was an abyss wearing a smile for a disguise, wondering why anyone would want to be abyssmal at all. It was a burden.
I was a burden.
"I'm unlovable." I whispered and closed my eyes.
I felt a soft press of lips to my forehead before James whispered "You're lovable, I promise. Sleep, my dear sister and know, one day, you won't feel so empty. I swear on my life."
Born into darkness.
When you grow up
in the pits of hell
you learn how
to dance amongst
at the edge
of the abyss
is nothing but
and when the ghosts
you know them all
by their first names.
The White Flags
I was an abyss,
I was a human deficit,
with a pothole mind.
Before I met you
I was psycho-delic,
pulp fiction dripping from
fingertips, crying tears of
cyanide, way of life a
circle feeding into itself
and fortifying the wrong.
Before I met you,
I was a civil war in stilettos
regardless of the winning side
I was always the loser.
Loser hung at the edge of
a blue frown.
“Loser” stained teeth like
vomited blood, as I cast
every insult I could think
at the mirror.
Loser stumbled from the threshold
of self-blacked eyes and climbed down
But then you arrived,
a cavalry to catch me
and save me from
falling into myself
You severed my civil war
and the white flags were raised
and the white flags were waved
and the white flags stood
planted in the dirt of the bottom I’d found.
I now had a place to land, a place
to start, and with your help
I began to climb higher.
It comes at night, slipping into your roon on the rays of the moon that shine upon your face. Deeply asleep, you sense a weight upon your chest and open your eyes to find yourself staring into a void: a blackness so profound you are certain death has come, for never has your world been so stark...empty. You open your mouth to scream but only emit silence, as It sucks the sound into itself, and with it, your breath. Until you, too, become one with the abyss.
Tears clog her throat, her screams echo into the chasm, bounce back, weaker and weaker, the muffled voices of her terror abandoning her too.
“Please… please! Don’t drop me!”
Her tormentor laughs above.
She thrashes, searching for anything to hold onto. Meets no resistance. Nothing but empty air.
The depths swirl below, grabbing at her small body, reaching up to claim her. Stronger than she is, so strong, no mercy if she falls. Roaring in her ears.
The hand on her ankle the only thing keeping her from the horror that waits beneath.
Tap to Scream
How clever a campaign.
"You've been through a lot this year and it looks like you need the perfect place to let your frustrations out," Promote Iceland says. "Somewhere big, vast and untouched. It looks like you need Iceland."
There are two ways to participate.
Option one, come to Iceland in person and literally scream into the beautiful abyss.
For the low cost of $2000 of a 30 plus hour masked flight from Phoenix to Reykjavik, I could stand at the edge of the world and scream out an entire years' worth of frustration. I imagine I might pass out with how long that scream would end up being. It would be so incredibly satisfying and cathartic. The depths of my soul would be cleansed but my risk of getting infected would be increased.
Option two, record your scream with your device and it will be played over loudspeakers stationed at picturesque locations like glaciers, waterfalls, and into caves.
My scream would be broadcasted for me to view from the sanitized safety of this prison of the house that is one contributing factor of said stress. I could feel the vibrations of my gesticulation as it spanned the horizons of a place that I can only dream of visiting in person one day.
You're right Iceland. I need you.
I need a release every stressor, large and small, that 2020 has weighed me down with. I reckon I might be able to single handedly fill the abyss.
My parents let me watch The Abyss when I was too young to fully appreciate it, like most movies. They did not allow me to see Aliens by the same creator (James Cameron) - but that’s alright. This movie, in my opinion, was even better.
If you’ve not seen this 1989 classic give it a whirl. It’s got Cold War tension, crushing underwater pressure, paranoia, love, and everything you need in a feel-good 80′s film. The basic premise is a nuclear sub has mysteriously sunk in the Caribbean and our heroic team must retrieve it before the Soviets do.
I remember watching the film felt particularly painful for me because I have an issue with being underwater. To this day I can’t open my eyes underwater unless goggled; I hate the sense of water being over my head. I have no problem enjoying a shower or a soak in a tub, but deep water? No thank you.
At one point a character is sent to such depths of the ocean that he is forced to use an experimental liquid breathing apparatus to brave it - and at this point I think my parents had to either cover my head with a blanket or huddle me between them because I squirmed. The idea of breathing in liquid - no more air, whatsoever, just viscosity filling your lungs - absolutely terrified me.
For the record liquid breathing is actually real; a patent for a liquid breathing diving setup was filed in 2010, decades after this movie and other experimental attempts to use it for diving. It’s proven more successful in treating premature newborns, because inside the womb while we develop we’re better suited to breathing liquid over air. Ultimately it’s not water that drowns us, but our inability to absorb oxygen from it.
- Still hate the stuff, though.
The truly great thing about this film is what’s at the bottom. As they delve deep into the abyss, diving through mankind’s own paranoia/fear, the entire journey spends probably 80 to 90% of its time as a true horror movie. But at the end, they discover something amazing that flips everything.
And for fear of spoiling it for the uninitiated I’ll end here.
I open up my eyes
I see it all around me
It seems to hypnotize
Reminding me of lovefelt
They pry the tiny little flies
smell decaying soul ties
left with nothing
Soon to realize
no worth inside
I forgot why
Trickle down to nothing
I see it in their eyes
would you hear why
come like hentai
take one and standby
the city of God
pry by to the mind’s eye
I carelessly collide
finally its noiseless