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Word Art: How to Kill Demons

When I’d finished up Exile and The Intruders had finished their set, I packed up and said goodnight to the lads and showed them my work in a kind of “look what I did while you were playing!” way.  I didn’t expect any of them would even attempt to read it.  One of the guitarists did, however.  Or, rather, he asked me to read part of it to him.  I think I read him the last couple of lines, blushed a bit at being exposed like that, and gave him one of my hand-written bizniz cards so he could see the rest of the work I’d done at that point, if he was interested.

I thought nothing of it until the next time I saw The Intruders play and that same guitarist chided me for not having updated my blog lately.  I was boggled that he’d even bothered to read it.  He asked me if I’d done any new work of late and I told him I was working on a new piece and hoped to have it up soon.

“What’s it called?” he asked.

“How to Kill Demons,” I replied.

How to Kill Demons

How to Kill Demons

Light a bonfire inside your heart.

Set the scene where you will.

I recommend the edge of the ocean.

It should be night.

Place your animus, in whatever form he takes,

next to you, as a guide.

Allow the flames to rise.

Stand close enough to the light

to cast a shadow behind.

The demon resides somewhere in the chest.

Sometimes the heart,

sometimes the solar plexus,

or somewhere in between.

A knot of burning, screaming ache.

You will know it when you feel it.

Sink your fingers into your chest

and wrap your hands around this pain.

There will be no blood or tearing.

Your animus will aid you, as necessary.

Grasp it firmly.

Pull it out, steadily and certainly.

Do not allow yourself to falter.

The demon will emerge in your hands.

It will come in any number of forms.

It may have claws,

it may have wings.

It will inevitably have fangs

still bloodied from

gnawing on your insides.

It may scream, in hopes of frightening.

It may insult, or try to bully.

It may even try to plead with you.

Do not, under any circumstances, listen to it.

Retain your grasp as you hold it over the first.

It may struggle, try to claw or bite you.

It will not succeed unless you allow it to.

Drop it into the fire.

Let the flames catch it.

It will scream more loudly.

It will curse you with greater viciousness,

or it will plead more desperately.

Again, do not listen.

It will burn.

The bonfire flames will transform it

into heat and light.

Warm yourself.

Allow your animus to embrace you.

Leave the fire to continue to burn.

It does not need to ever be extinguished.

This, like Blue Blazing, was an attempt to render poetry into Word Art.  Instead of setting precise boundaries and making it fit, I decided to figure out the size of the paper after I had written it.

To this end, I took one of the 8 1/2″ by 11″ sheets of paper and set an upper margin of a couple of inches and side margins that left a three-inch space to work within.  I wrote, alternating sides with each line, until I’d come to the end of the poem and then decided what standard photo frame size I could fit the result in.  I settled on a 4″ by 6″ frame and cut off the excess paper.

The poem itself is, in its strange way, a true story.  It was a visualization I came up with while away in a little place by the ocean, doing the usual vacation things and coping with the death throes of an intimate relationship.  The images came to me in that certain daydream state as I lay on the bed and I guided them, the way one does in meditation and lucid dreams.  I was able to release a great deal of pain and self-loathing with this and I still make use of the technique from time to time.  If you think it might work for you, by all means, give it a try.

Prints of this work are available here.

The original has been destroyed.

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