Devotional Art Week 5: Untitled by Rachel Izabella Parker

Eaters of the rough beast know
Life is a mask that Death wears.

Do you think
That your black book is a stone tablet?
If you get the opportunity you should kill yourself.

Come here and see and rest.
Your threads could be so easily cut.
A thin metal puppet will fall down.

Life is Death wearing a mask.
Know that it is always ripped off
After it comes home late and drinks a scotch.

I consider myself a realist.
I plan to walk into one last midnight
Though really there is no other choice.

I know the light is only and always at the end of the tunnel.
All this useless spinning is Life, is a dance
That Death dances masked.

Your eyes are black buttons.
Now eat the rough beast and see.

–Rachel Izabella Parker, 14 februarii 2016


Devotional Art Week 5: Mourning Poem (for C.) by Neve


How do we capture that
affect of mourning-
the screaming rage and
laughter and tears
the shared stories and
all the things we wish we’d said
regrets and hagiography

That mourning affect which interrupts
the stupidity of what otherwise
passes for the social
the shared regrets and wars of
resentment and proximity

How do we share that interruption and
how does it spread and
can we open up to it while we’re still here?


I wonder how you’ll mourn me
I want to be the shoulder you’d cry on
the hammer in your hand
the bad decisions you’re allowed in the grace period
the whiskey you’d pour out
I want to be there,
with, always
FOMO post mortem

But will I be able?
I’m not sure I will know where
you are or who
I am
How will I find you?
light fires to show me the way

The next time one of us departs
will we burn it all like they did for Alexis
and Oscar and Mike Mike?

Will the names of the dead
haunt the living?
Will we paint their names on city walls?

Will we charge each moment with remembrance?

I wrote this for the ones who died,
but when I go
don’t write for me

When I die- Tell all my truths, especially those
you couldn’t while I
was alive. No story untold.

When I die- console my friends and
don’t let my enemies pretend they
were otherwise

When I die- loot my job
eat the chocolate and cheese
take all the wine and flowers
make unforgettable offerings
to the dead and to our gods
and burn the rest on a mourning pyre
dance around the cleansing fire

When I die- don’t cry for me
I’ll be dancing with the dead
in revels unending

Devotional Art Week 5: “Near-Death Experience” a sestina by Alexeigynaix

Her teeth rattle in her skull;
she feels the rapid beating of her heart
as death
approaches. But her life
goes on, much as before. Defiantly she weaves a flower
crown, and wears it to mask

the shuddering fear she still feels. A tragic mask
is more appropriate than comic, but either would hide her skull-
like face, drawn with dread. Her flower
crown wilts, as all things must die, as her heart
must one day stop. Her life
moves one second per second towards her death.

She remembers the death
of her mother, the Halloween mask
that had been hilarious in her mother’s life
no longer amusing now that its skull
shape reminds her that her mother’s heart
no longer beats, that she must tend the graveyard flowers.

Spring comes and with it trees in flower,
buds and birds defying death
and the warming days warming hearts.
But the liveliness only serves to mask,
as the face does the skull,
that dying is a part of life.

She doesn’t, as her life
goes on, further contemplate dying. Why should she, in the flower
of her youth, consider the disposition of her skull
upon her death?
She might prefer a masque
to a funeral, but she would have to find it in her heart

to have that discussion with those nearest to her heart
in order for her wishes in life
to be respected upon her dying: mask
the formaldehyde with lavender in flower,
celebrate her living rather than mourn her death,
let science have her skull.

And living’s not all hearts and flowers,
nor all matters of life and death,
but what good is a mask to a skull?