Beasts Must Stick Together

—For Bec

“If wanderers were not themselves the cause, then like the scent and color
of the lotus in the sky, there would be no perception of the universe.”—Nagarjuna

 

The young beast said to the old: How can I live in this world?

This lacerated, ruptured world.

 

Said the old beast to the young: Follow your breath. Speak to the spirits in puddles.

These things shall pass.

 

Said the young beast to the old: All I see is foul and unspeakably ugly.

A world that is torn and I, torn, within it.

 

Said the old beast to the young: Go into the forest, make pies, and knit.

Listen to the voices of the storm upon the cliffs.

 

Said the young beast to the old: O crone, hag! I seek the deep well in the dark woods.

I cannot find it.

 

Said the old beast to the young: You will only find it in the murky depths of sleep.

What will you search for that you cannot find within yourself?

 

Said the young beast to the old: But I rage with anger! I crave blood and vengeance!

The gods must witness the terror I will unleash upon this bad world.

 

Said the old beast to the young: Unless you make a hollow of yourself

there will be no room for the gods to dwell inside of you.

 

Said the young beast to the old: My heart is black and I cannot let go of my bitterness.

I spit upon peace and the gentleness of slumber.

 

Said the old beast to the young: When you are alone upon the ice, surrounded by devils

there will only be the voice of your true soul to guide you.

 

Said the young beast to the old: Storm crone, I am drifting away, floating,

haunted by the ever-watching eyes of the deep.

 

Said the old beast to the young: Look at the cuts upon my breast. I severed my flesh

with jagged cuts of the skinning knife.

 

Said the young beast to the old: I will prepare you a feast and glistening red meat

will wet your mouth.

 

Said the old beast to the young: See this spear upon which I have impaled myself.

See the braids of hair with which I have strangled myself.

 

Said the young beast to the old: I saw you in the dusky house that was choked with

smoke. I saw you walk with the moon.

 

Said the old beast to the young: I slew my brother for his blackened hands that night.

I slew them all for their silence.

 

Said the young beast to the old: What did you see walking among the stars?

What did you hear in the whispers of the snow?

 

Said the old beast to the young: The blue demon is rising from his icy depths.

He digs his sharp fingers into the guts of the world.

 

Said the young beast to the old: Will we drown in tears? An ocean of rust.

Obliterated into fragments by the iron waves.

 

Said the old beast to the young: Dive deep into the abyss of the ocean and do not fear.

After all, beasts must stick together.

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