Saturday, July 14, 2012

The House on Venus Street


Listen.
In your shadow-clasped niches
and the clamshells of your hovels –
gleaming teeth
jutting from the forest’s mossy gums –
listen.
Of all I hereafter posit,
this one thing I beg you to heed:
in all you do, for all your days,
avoid the house on Venus Street.

Even as I write
my nape recalls the frightful nightmare,
in statical hairs preparing for what shapes
the darkness swathes.
I'll spare you not the horror
that I found and left down there,
but tell you this
that frantic script might emphasize my plea:
in all you do, for all your days,
shun the house on Venus Street.

Doubtless you’ve caught the waftings
of seemingly seraphim-tossed incense.
Doubtless enchanting olfactory hooks
have guided gazes to that filigreed
vesica pisces,
dreaming to knock and enter there…
but beware!
From someone who woefully ventured
where moon and star avert their stare,
if not me, trust the terror trembling in my speech:
in all you do, for all your days,
fear the house on Venus Street.

Your eye will pine like Midas
for the gold of its dancing lamplight, throbbing
through scarlet curtains
to cast weeping willows in ruby.
The oval door will ope and croak
a presage in hinges whose sibilance
more befits the passage to the flame-licked city of Dis.
And then perfume and music,
luster and thralling, incessant laughter…
but I beg you,
never let your feet bring you to that door.
Never seek to satiate this newly kindled need,
but in all you do, for all your days,
spurn the house on Venus Street.

As I, so you
will think yourself some angel-girded John
for the circles of fawning, petalled flesh
assailing you with their beauty,
and truly, what beauty shall I henceforth glimpse
as that?
With Cleopatra’s aspect and Aphrodite’s sway?
But even the most well-graven tomb
still hides decaying teeth…
in all you do, for all your days,
scorn the house on Venus Street.

I know I’ve yet to specify a reason for this dread.
It isn’t in their frothily proffered nectar –
a flood to your ark.
Neither is it in the ambrosial display, straining
hoofed table legs with profligate weight.
But the eyes…
the predatory eyes in the blurring faces you’ll meet…
in all you do, for all your days,
skirt the house on Venus Street.

In your maelstrom of claret and rouge,
a palette of harlotry blurring,
maybe a part of your besot mind will parse
the discord of orgiastic throes. Maybe
you’ll hear or feel through the din
a rumble,
a deep thrumming…
God! Flee if you do!
Don’t go where those serpentine, swaying hips lead,
but in all you do, for all your days,
dread the house on Venus Street.

Don’t seek the seeming Heaven
in the embers of its stare.
Don’t walk the ensconced corridor…
a lone door in its throat.
Shambling misstep after misstep –
by all that is holy! The door at the end of the hall!
I heard it, a fire…the roar of its guttural appetite…
The candles, a pantheon of petrified tongues,
watching me…why weren’t they moving?
With my hand on the door
I felt it…
            I felt it…
                        I felt it…
                                    open out and away from me –
and dear God…
I saw it.

Even the ink I now plead with reeks of putrefaction
and sulfur.

By God and His remnant host,
I beg you!
Stay you from that perfumed mask,
flashing its hellish eyes
in the dark
of ill-named thickets.
Venus Street…the unholy precipice
hidden within its seductions…
carnal hoax in a charnel house…
Venus Street! The cruel joke!
The Morning Star winking in that hollow –
named not for the enamouring slant of its craft…
but for him!
The mountain sprouting from glowing fathoms,
ceaselessly glutting on the plucked and pallid grubs
of a world wandering back to his Edenic deceit…

In all that you do,
for all of your days,
never near the house on Venus Street.

“…for her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead,”
(Proverbs 2:18)

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