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#Elegy in the Form of Porcelain
lifeinpoetry · a year ago
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winter is a prism in reverse / colors
resembling into white
snow that illuminates
the morning / kisses the dark
needles of pine / the season
before his death / it crusted the patio
like porcelain from the plates I split
against it
months later in my rage / all the delicate
flowers arranged in the jagged blue
and alabaster triangles / a kaleidoscope
— Brooke Matson, from “Elegy in the Form of Porcelain,” In Accelerated Silence
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reydamancy · 2 years ago
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a woman’s best friend is her blood
there is a saying that goes like this: a woman’s first blood comes not from between her legs, but from biting her tongue. a pseudo-period, if you will— a caesura that comes much too soon in the language of a woman’s voice. a woman’s tongue bleeds all the words she cannot say, an enjambement in court-room silences and darkened-street tensions and why can’t you just shut up and smile, bitch. and you bear it like the women before you bore disdain and condescension as a too-worn steel coat, your shoulders a wall with an uneven foundation under the weight of their patronisation. because a woman’s first blood comes when a man tells her to sit down, girl, and keep quiet, let the big boys talk business. a woman’s blood speaks a language all women instinctively know— something unholy, something ineffable, something writhing under the cold glare of the moon that cannot be let loose. a woman’s blood is the end of the world, an apocalypse of rot-black ribaldry and cankerous crudity that we bite into our tongues before it can be heard. we, women, can’t be heard. we have to stay unblemished, pretty in porcelain, lily-white, a disillusioned dream, dream girl, delicate and fragile as a withered flower, until our words curl up in our throats like half-formed caterpillar-butterfly abominations not yet released from the chrysalis of our thoughts. because a woman’s voice is the clean remix of an elegy men don’t want to know the truth of— something superficial, something that won’t scandalise, something suitably decorous. and god forbid a woman’s voice be used for anything but what a man says it can. god forbid anyone be made uncomfortable by a woman’s truth. and what makes men more uncomfortable than a woman’s blood? than the blood that stains our bones with voiceless truths, our tongues with less-than-polite anything, our bodies with all the temerity we have been forced to restrain, coiled inside of us like a corded leash of shame or anger or wariness. it’s been there for so long it’s hard to tell the difference anymore.
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mvaljean525 · 2 years ago
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     L’ange Anatomique, by Jacques-Fabien Gautier Dagoty, 1746
Unfastened avidly from each ivory button               of her spine, the voluntary muscles open virtuosities of red: Cinnabar
                                   the mutagen, and carmine from cochineal               born between fog and frost, so many little deaths Buddhists refuse to wear
                                   robes soaked in its thousands. Sunsets               of other centuries fade in galleries to ash. Red is fugitive: As the voice, the blow
                                   of gravity along a nerve opening to an ache               the body can’t unhouse: As the carnation suffusing cheek and haunch like saucers
                                   from the king’s porcelain rinsed in candlelight.               Gratuitous as the curl, the urn-shaped torso, the pensive, brimming gaze of pretty
                                   post-coital thought she half-turns over one               excavated shoulder. As if to see herself in a mirror’s savage theater as elegy
                                   to the attempt to fill an exhausted form,               to learn again the old ordeals of wound and hand and eye. To find the source of burning.
----
Anatomical Angel
Averill Curdy  (B.1961)
----
Graphic - Alyssa Monks  (B.1977)
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fuck-i-feel-like-drowning · 2 years ago
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Blood, and Women
there is a saying that goes like this:
a woman’s first blood comes not from
between her legs, but from biting her tongue.
a pseudo-period, if you will—
a caesura that comes much too soon in
the language of a woman’s voice. a woman’s tongue
bleeds all the words she cannot say,
an enjambment in court-room silences and
darkened-street tensions and
“why can’t you just shut up and smile, bitch”.
and you bear it like the women before you bore disdain and condescension - 
as a too-worn steel coat, 
your shoulders - a wall with anuneven foundation 
under the weight of their patronisation. 
because a woman’s first blood comes
when a man tells her to “sit down, girl, and keep quiet,
let the big boys talk business”.
a woman’s blood speaks a language all women instinctively know—
something unholy, something ineffable,
something writhing under the cold glare of the moon
that cannot be let loose. a woman’s blood is
the end of the world, an apocalypse of
rot-black ribaldry and cankerous crudity
that we bite into our tongues before
it can be heard. we, women, can’t be heard.
we have to stay unblemished,
pretty in porcelain, lily-white,
a disillusioned dream, dream girl,
delicate and fragile as a withered flower, until
our words curl up in our throats like
half-formed caterpillar-butterfly abominations
not yet released from the chrysalis of our thoughts.
because a woman’s voice is the clean remix of an elegy
men don’t want to know the truth of—
something superficial, something that won’t
scandalize, something suitably decorous.
and god forbid a woman’s voice be used
for anything but what a man says it can. 
god forbid anyone be made uncomfortable by a woman’s truth.
and what makes men more uncomfortable than
a woman’s blood? the blood that stains our bones
with voiceless truths, our tongues with
less-than-polite anything, our bodies with all the
temerity we have been forced to restrain,
coiled inside of us like a corded leash
of shame.
of anger.
of wariness. it’s been there for so long
it’s hard to tell the difference anymore.
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webcricket · 4 years ago
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An Angel’s Elegy
Characters: CastielXReader ft. Sam and Dean Winchester
Word Count: 3216 (Act II)
A/N: Act II of a five-act series charting Castiel’s grief after losing the reader in childbirth. Despite her death, the reader remains an integral part of the story.
Summary: An anguishing journey about the intertwining of love and loss - adrift in a sea of grief and self-blame after losing his love, Castiel abandons hope. Leaving his newborn Nephilim daughter to the care of the Winchesters, he seeks absolution for your death at any cost. Will he ever find his way home?
Beta’d by: The Queen of Angst @willowing-love who has my everlasting gratitude for helping hone these words [and, I’m sure, a bottle or two of my tears stored on a shelf somewhere for her own personal amusement].
Miss an Act? Here’s the Masterlist:
webcricket.tumblr.com/post/181477590760/an-angels-elegy-masterlist
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Act II
“Hey kiddo.” Dean pinches and massages the exposed skin of your sweat-slick neck where you sit, groaning and hunched, over a mug of tea at the bunker’s kitchen table. The piquant scent of ginger steeping in the liquid smacks his senses from where he stands and he surmises exactly where and how you spent your morning. “You still worshipping the porcelain goddess? Cause if you are, we gotta find you a new religion real fast.”
“It’s nothing,” you mumble into your sleeve. Breath reflectively reeking to fill your nostrils, stomach acid tickling your throat, you do your best to ride out a renewed wave of nausea.
“Nothing?” he asks.
“Mm-hmm,” you affirm.
Swinging a bowed leg over the seat, he settles onto the stool beside you. Perching an elbow on the tabletop, he props his chin up to objectively survey your miserable form. After the briefest of internal deliberations regarding the appropriateness of broaching the delicate topic, he dispels any qualms on the subject of the conceivably ‘no vacancy’ status of your womb and speaks, “Not to be blunt, but it’s been almost two weeks. Have you considered the notion that this may have nothing to do with the blue plate surf ‘n turf special you ate at Vinnie’s Diner? I mean, even bad shrimp isn’t this bad.”
You have considered the notion. At length. And you’ve settled firmly on denial as a plan of action – not that this strategy is necessarily working, but Castiel isn’t due back until tonight and you can’t begin to think about the scope of this properly without him. “No,” you lie. At least you’re sticking to your plan.
“Y/N-”
“It’s not possible.” You’re a hunter. He’s an angel. Both of you societal outliers in tenuous orbit around every impending apocalypse and new and improved big bad. It wouldn’t be right; no matter how wonderful the thought, or how many times you’ve dreamt of creating a family, it wouldn’t be right bringing a life into this messed up world where the path, moment to moment, is so uncertain – where everything could all come crashing down around you in the span of a single heartbeat.
“Oh honey, if the sounds Sammy and I are subjected to from behind closed doors when Castiel is around are any indication, I’d say it’s not only entirely possible but also very probable.” He smirks, trying to lighten the mood. “I told the guy his angel blade doesn’t count as protection. The way you two go at it like rabbits. I’m surprised this didn’t come up sooner.” His diversional tactic doesn’t work except to demolish your hormonally fragile defenses.
You feel a prick of tears stinging your eyes. “Dean, I-,” your voice cracks, “I’m scared.”
He wraps an arm around your shoulders and draws you flush to his chest. Rubbing tactile reassurances into your back as you sob against him, he murmurs into your hair, “I know. I know, sweetheart. I got you though, you hear? And that stubborn pain in the ass angel? He loves you more than anything. We’re in this together. No matter what, okay?”
“Yeah?” you sniffle into his flannel shirt and peer up into his sincere greens.
“Yeah.”
“Thank you, Dean.” You peck a kiss to his cheek and exhale a relieved sigh.
Nose flaring when your morning sick breath fans his face, he grimaces. “Ugh, you smell worse than Sam does after a run!” He continues to grip you tight in spite of any repulsion for your stinky state, contemplatively musing, “Like a ginger tea porta potty.” Reaching up to collect the wetness on your cheeks with a thumb, he grins wide when you smile. “There’s my girl.”
Clutching his hand and pressing your face into his palm, you manage a hoarse giggle.
“Duma, you must allow me passage.”
The shrill laughter of Castiel’s kin rings out into the air, piercing the nighttime quietude of the playground. “Castiel,” his fellow angel sneers, “it appears you’ve developed quite the sense of humor squandering your divine purpose amongst humanity all these years.”
“I see no humor in my request.” His mouth tenses in an anxious line, tongue worrying the pale pink shell of his lower lip. He bows his head in a demonstration of contrition. Heaven’s doorstep is the last place he wants to be, and at the same time, the very place his fractured heart compels him to be.
“Really?” His sister’s unrestrained delight gleams in the grin of her vessel – lips peeled taut over her teeth in righteous ridicule. “Because it sounded to me like you just demanded safe passage into Heaven.”
“I did.” He lifts his chin and squares his shoulders, muscles stiffening in response to her disdain. Flexing his fingers into fists, he feels the bolstering weight of the angel blade tucked up his coat sleeve; a reflexive defiance narrows his gaze.
One angel will not block his path. He might bend her will; if not with persuasion, then by force. But she is not alone; two more angels maintain a wary distance when they step out from the shadows behind him.
Appearance dour, Duma’s eyes spark dangerous and dark in the dim glow of lamplight illuminating the park. “The same Heaven you decimated not so long ago?” she bristles, emboldened by the presence of her brethren. “The one you selfishly betray to serve those mortal stains, the Winchesters?”
“Yes, sister,” he growls, knowing he will gain nothing by denying the truth of the past, “the same Heaven.” The same Heaven your soul inhabits. The same Heaven he must visit at any cost. He stands before his kin in ruin, fatalistic in his desire to look upon your soul once more. Already defeated, he has nothing more to lose.
“Oh, but brother,” she tisks, intake of breath a prolonged hiss. Revolving her back to him, flouting her superior authority given the circumstance, she muses, “It isn’t the same Heaven you remember at all.”
“Duma, please.” He pitches forward, halted by a firm grip seizing his shoulder and the heel of a boot simultaneously striking his calf and bending him to one knee. White hot celestial metal threatens to split the prickly flesh of his neck if he struggles.
She glares sideways, arms crossed, coolly regarding him, judging, “You’re no angel, Castiel. Not anymore. Some of us question whether you ever were at all. There’s nothing for you in Heaven.”
But there is someone. Your name resounds in the thunderous broken beat of his heart; he feels it pulse the length of his limbs, choking his gullet as it climbs to throb at his temples and wetly pool in his eyes. He clamps his jaw to preclude himself from crying it out; the iron tang of blood coats his bitten tongue.
An astute angel, she reads his reticent reaction as a confession to the contrary and reconsiders her assertion, “Or perhaps there is?”
Gulping guilt, unshaven skin scraping on the celestially forged lethal edge of the weapon held to his throat, his eyes cast downward, instinctive in their avoidance of the painful truth.
She skulks toward him. Threading her fingers into his hair, grabbing a fistful of loose curls by the roots, she yanks his head backward, forcing him to meet her penetrating gaze. “Maybe you seek the soul of that woman? The hunter. The one you are so fond of.”  
His vessel strains against the torrent of grief erupting from within at her mention of you; a reflection of firelight simmers in his irises as the vision of your lifeless body consumed by flame blazes in his mind. The raw emotion of anguish rises unbidden and uncontainable to shudder his vessel.
Holding him fast, shrewdly perceptive of his surfacing pain and vulnerability, she stokes the smoldering remnants of the seraph’s heart. “I heard the rumors. I didn’t believe them. Not until now.” Inclining so near that the heat of her breath laps at his skin as she speaks, the question glides innocent yet incisive off her tongue. “Tell me, Castiel. What happened to her?”
A flicker of anguish contorts his fascia. I happened! his mind screams out. His jaw quivers mutely. A muffled mournful mewling abrades his ears. The pungent odor of smoke and ash swirls to suffocate all else. Devastated by the rush of remembrance, the answer weakens his stoic resolve. He staggers under the weight, braced upright by the angel at his back.
Duma scrapes her nails into his scalp to compel an answer.
“I-I failed her,” he admits, telling her what she wants to hear and what he knows by the agony afflicting his heart to be true. Sadness dampens the dusky circles marring his melancholy countenance.
She snarls, “In the end you fail us all. It’s what you do.” Shoving him roughly, deeming him nonthreatening in his present state, she snaps her head, gesturing for her comrades to release him and make for the gate.
Backing off, giving him a wide berth as he fights to stand and stay balanced, the two angels circle around to the Enochian spell-etched sandbox and vanish in a spectacle of swirling purple light.
Trembling, Cas reaches out to catch Duma’s wrist as she turns to join them. “Allow me to speak to her one last time; then do what you will to me as penance for my transgressions. Imprison me, destroy me, I will atone for the wrongs I have reigned upon her and Heaven.”
A sadistic smirk twists her mouth. “Beg,” she simpers.
Expression grey and hollow, any vestiges of pride that remain disintegrating in the submission of the act, he collapses to his knees. Hands sinking into the gritty earth for support, as though he needs the handhold to keep from falling further than he already has from grace, he rocks backward. Sat suppliant on his heels, he turns up his sullied palms in surrender and peers up at her, tone somnolent. “Have mercy, sister,” he beseeches. “I’m begging you.”
Harshness softening, she extends a light touch to smooth his disheveled locks. “Look at you, Castiel. How far you’ve fallen. How fouled by humanity. How exhausted you must be by this relentless battle to yield yourself over to Heaven’s mercy.”
Eyes shimmering and wet, he feebly nods. “Please, please take me with you. Take me…home.” To her, he swallows the rest of the words that rise up, take me home, to her.
Lowering her slender frame to peer into his pallid features, a tender empathetic smile affects Duma’s face as she strokes his cheek with her fingertips. “You’ve suffered much, haven’t you, dear brother? An angel is not made to know this pain of love and loss.”
“I feel-” he professes, hesitating. “I-I feel. Father forgive me.”
“Yes, perhaps,” she relents, cupping his cheek, thumb smearing the brine of tears salting his skin. “Perhaps compassion is the correct course. Perhaps it is what Father would do.”
A shaky sigh of relief shivers his frame. Eyelids fluttering shut, your smiling mien manifests before him and can almost hear the laughter lighting up your eyes. It’s the summer day in the small park near the bunker you first said those three little words to him. The day he learned what the longing in his own heart meant. The day that forever altered the course of your lives. You materialize so near in his mind he might reach out to straighten the crooked halo of daisies ringing your wind-blown hair. Imagining you thus, he relaxes into Duma’s calming caress.
But her gentleness is false and fleeting, meant only to further wound him. “Perhaps not,” she spits, shattering his dream. Clawing at his jaw, streaks of crimson well in the wake of her nails. “This-”
Gaping in horror, the bleakness of the vacant park filling his vision, he recoils and topples backward onto the ground.
“This is your punishment!” She kicks the dirt and motions broadly around them. “To exist in exile here. Haunted by your failures. The love you feel for this woman, the pain too – it is forbidden. You break our most sacred oath, and for this indiscretion alone you deserve death. Be grateful I stay my hand, brother.” Sauntering backward into the whirling gate, she sentences him as it engulfs her, “There is your mercy, Castiel.”
Rolling to one side, he shields himself from the whoosh of leaf litter and sand smattering his fallen form as the gate seals behind her and any traces of the sigil granting access to Heaven are eradicated in her wake. Silence veils the park. Flattening his back to the ground, blues hazily filter beyond the vast black atmosphere of night. Trained toward the heaven denied him, he blinks numbly, the sting of sand and tears naught compared to the great void aching in his heart.
“I’m pregnant.”
An emotion verging on panic churns in the angel’s aspect. Color draining from his cheeks, his gaze falls from your nervous but elated smile to where your palm rests over your belly. It’s then he allows the foreboding niggling at his angelic senses this past month that something about you seemed different the acknowledgement it’s been wanting all along. “No,” he states, as if denying the life he kindled inside of you – the life consuming you – would somehow change the truth of it. No, he thinks, even as the rapid beating of your daughter’s heart assails his ears. No.
“It’s true.” Your smile falters at his disquiet reaction. You exhibit a handful of positive pregnancy tests as proof. “Dean picked them up for me today. He had a hunch. You know Dean and his hunches, right? I wanted to wait until you came home, but-,” you ramble, filling the uncomfortable vacuum between you with whatever words sprout upon your tongue, “-I suppose patience isn’t one of my virtues, is it? I’ve had morning sickness since just after you left to meet up with Jack.” In nervy compulsion, your fingertips dance across his chest and fret at the buttons of his shirt. “Cas?”
Inside, he’s crumbling. The creation of a Nephilim requires inconceivable power. Power on par with the likes of the devil and the archangels or God himself; a power Castiel did not believe he possessed as a simple seraph. He did not understand the enormous power contained in the sentiment of love – nor did he comprehend the pure and untapped potential of this love when wielded by an angel flawed by too much heart. He was careless at the cost of your life. He outstretches an unsteady hand to touch your stomach.
You catch him halfway, squeezing your fingers over his own and lifting the hem of your shirt to flatten his broad palm into the softness of your flesh.
Eyelids drooping, all he can see is the replayed memory of his tentative hand resting on Kelly’s bulging belly. Though not his progeny, Jack spoke to him then. Gave him reassurances. Settled his trepidation. Forged an unbreakable bond. Yet this child within you, his child, is silent.
For all their connection and her power, she is unable to traverse the expanding emptiness shrouding her father’s heart at the thought of losing you. She cannot reassure him this is a beginning, not an end. She cannot show him the radiant gladness and love shining upon her from within your soul. She wills you to speak for her, to give him the comfort she cannot.
Your lips part, voice quavering, “Cas, everything…everything’s going to be okay.”
Lashes heavy, his focus resolves on your anxiously searching eyes. In them he sees bravery; Kelly’s bravery, too, shone much like yours. And now she’s gone, because for all his power, love, and goodness, Jack could not save his mother from her death upon bringing him into this world and neither could the angel. It will be no different for you.
“Angel, say something. Please.”
“It’s a girl,” he says, deflecting his unquelled surge of terror with a statement meant to distract you.
“A girl!” you squeal. Joy crinkling at your nose and eyes, you leap to throw your arms around him. “Oh, my angel-”
He burrows his chin into the delicate skin of your neck. Yes, your angel. Always. As you are his; but no matter how close he holds you now, he feels you slipping away.
Gazing out the dingy windshield toward the playground and Heaven’s bolted entrance, Castiel ignores the insistent rhythmic buzz of the cell phone vibrating on the passenger seat cushion of his truck. The sky above brightens in the violet-orange hue characteristic of the dawn. He scarcely perceives this day’s light; his mind is anchored in another sunrise – your final one.
He can feel the interlocking of your fingers through his own, filling the gaps, giving him something to hold on to. He remembers the weight of your sleep-mussed head lolling to his shoulder, the warmth of your burgeoning belly and body nestled to his torso as you huddle on the roof of the bunker on a whim awaiting daybreak. He doesn’t know yet it will be your last day together.
“You ever wonder what a sunrise is, angel?”
He shakes his head as he did then, a compact smile shaping his mouth. It’s not because he hasn’t thought about it or that he dismisses the notion as trivial; rather, he delights in hearing your meditations on such topics.
“I think it’s a promise fulfilled. A beginning born from darkness. The light is hope.”
Of the opinion the bulk of his Father’s creations are rarely so complex, the angel wordlessly reasons maybe the cycle represents nothing, it being merely the revolution of a planet around a star. A star that one day will blister and die and consume the life it once nurtured. A means only to an inevitable end. Considering the optimistic smile aglow on your face, he humors you, says nothing, and simply nods.
“No matter what happens, the sun always rises. Promise me you’ll remember that, angel.”
You don’t say the words when I’m gone; he hears them nonetheless.
“Castiel, please promise me…”
A jolt judders his vessel at the vividness of the recollection. His fingers contract around the thin air. He glances to the space beside him. Growling and grabbing at the nettling cell, three letters pop up on the screen – Sam. He isn’t sure why he keeps the device turned on anymore. Or for that matter, charged. Or why he even bothers to keep it at all aside from habit. He sends the call to voicemail where Sam will be unable to leave a message in a mailbox already teeming with Dean’s collected alternating raving rants and plaintive pleas for Cas to do the right thing.
The angel briefly ponders stuffing the phone out of sight in the glovebox. Leaning across the seat to unlatch the cover, he decides instead to toss it out the open window. He no longer knows what the right thing to do is and doesn’t need to be reminded of this fact – he lost sight of this and everything else when he lost you. The only thing, right or wrong, he can concentrate on is the objective of seeing you again. If Heaven won’t help him he’ll need a back door and, cranking the key in the ignition, he knows precisely where to go knocking.
Continue reading Act III:
webcricket.tumblr.com/post/173598542435/an-angels-elegy
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