Where’s the sound of singing in all of this? and where did we come from to stand here in the cold with these small lights in our hands? It is nothing
but snow that comes to us, the light that fills us is snowlight, and cold, as any heart intent only on its own survival. We are nothing
but a song written with water and the sun comes out to take it away. We hold together as if we were one, but we are one with whatever is nothing.
Take these spongy twigs of cedar off the boughs, and make on the snow a circle of green that we can walk around silent as a toadstool, our rightful poison,
until we have walked another circle around it out of mud, and a crust of ice around each tonsure, itself just another burst circle, our turgid blood the poison
that moves our frail legs in circles through the black night with a white snow falling upon the pink skin of our shoulders, as a cold ash, a permanent poison.
Why are we resting now in this cavity of snow? who is more hollow than us? the reed men, on our reedy legs, with our reedy voices whispering out our hallowed death?
When will these bodies of ours break and fall and give us the frigid and shivering sleep we most want? How will our eyes continue to see our blessèd death
repeated in the cramped and furtive corridors of our dreams? And why will our voices keep chattering through the empty pipe of night every secret of our anxious death?
Take these warm hearts collected from the shrew and the mole, collected from the mouse and the squirrel, collected from every warm, furred, and damned
beast of the woods. Take these tiny warm hearts in each pair of your cupped hands to that small depression of snow scooped out of the woods for the damned.
Take these tiny and warm and still-beating hearts and fill that bowl filled already with snow and darkness with these, and listen to the single heartbeat of the damned.
Which are the ones of us who sing like wood scraping against wood in a stiff wind? Which are the ones of us who believe in the singing, believe in the lie
of it? To what woodland creature do you bow and pray and ask for direction? To what marten or weasel do you ask for forgiveness? and where will you lie
and to what star will you turn when you think of that slight and sacred animal you think can save you after you drink the full gallon you’ve been taught and believed of the lie?
Take your pink and swollen feet in your hands, and maybe you can feel the little bit of heat seeping out of you chapped palms. Feel the exquisite pain
of the cold and the swelling, and the blood slowing in the pad of the foot been walking so long in the deep snow and the mud that foot has made. Revel in your pain,
in that slip of evidence that you have some living in you and some ability to feel anything. Remember well that all that shows you you’re alive is that red and pulsing pain.
Where are we walking if we’re walking in a circle of nothing but our walking? What is the journey of our going to sleep only to wake up again in the same trap
of the same life, each day identical to the next, identical to the last, and each seeming to last too deep into our soles to let us pull out of that trap
our bloody feet, ankles chewed open by the steel teeth? Why would we even want to walk free, out of these puddles of blood, free from the closed mouth of the trap?
Take the widest piece of light you can find, and fold it into the shape of a tree. Climb that tree all the way to the top and survey the destruction
of a night of fires burning the forest back down into darkness so that the inescapable smell that lingers is that salty scent of burnt wood and your destruction.
Find inside that smoldering scent a dark damp piece of charcoal and chew it so that your teeth are black and you can hide within your own destruction.
When could we expect the night to end, or the cold? At what point could we admit there was no more waiting we could do? When could we take the time to die?
Would it even be possible for us to admit that everything we’d already done had accomplished nothing? that all our effort was as random as the toss of a die
across the table? Will there come a time when we will sit in the dark, unable to see, and wonder if our skin had turned black because the night was a permanent dye?
Take a cone from the floor of the woods carpeted with needles. Collect every cone you can find and lay them all into a pile. Cover all the cones with blood,
the blood of the veins of your arms or your hands, of the thick veins of your legs, the stoutest vein of your neck. Shower the cones with a rich red blood
that is colorless black in the night. And set the pile of blood and cones aflame and watch the fire pop the seeds from the cones and roast the red out of your blood.
Why do we wander around this fire we have built from the forest and our blood? Why to we stare into the burning until our eyes go blind
from the heat and the light? Why do we believe that the red flames that sweep within the embers are the swishing of our own burnt blood? that we are blind
without that blood wandering through our veins? that we are burning our blood into the wood of the forest so that we can be like the trees, and blind?
Take your tongue, fat and ripe with words, and tear it, with the forefinger and thumb of your left hand out of your howling maw. Empty
your mouth of all the wretched words that taught you nothing and taught others less. Throw that red tongue, dripping your last words, and empty
its blood onto the last red flickerings of the fire. Breathe in the deep rich scent of your roasting tongue and desire its taste you cannot taste, and feel your stomach hungry and empty.
Why do we draw our raspy tongues across the raw red skin of our hands? Will we place these tongues gently upon the bark of the trees or slice
each against a sharpened blade so as to taste our own tongues? How can we believe there is a way out of this night even with a knife to slice
through the darkness? Why have we found only now upon our bodies these myriad
sigils, marks that tell us why we are here, each made upon our skin with a slice.
Take a handful of fire and hold it until you scream. Take a handful of snow and hold it until you feel the cold of the snow rather than the heat of the burning.
Bury yourself deep enough into the snow that you can feel the frozen earth beneath but keep your head up out of the white so you can gaze at the stars burning
too far away to hurt you. Fall asleep, fall into your only possible pleasure, and dream a story where, as you sleep, your body is slowly burning.
Which foot of which leg has burnt off in the darkness to leave a stump? Which step did you take that broke your leg? What small animal did you kill
with your teeth clamping down on its skull so you could feel its skull crush and its soft pink brain squirt out, sweet and satisfying, onto your tongue? Would you kill
your only love for the sweet taste of those brains, for the tiny fragmented thoughts of a small quivering animal intent on nothing but living? What wouldn’t you kill?
Take no refuge in the night, which accepts no prisoners and fights against the insult of morning. Remember that the universe is always night
unless you or the face of the earth is facing the sun. Keep a blanket if you want, but the snow will seep, cold and wet, into it and you will never sleep through the night.
Dream of warmth, if you wish, but that falsehood will not save you. We are made to live through darkness and pain and die alone at night.