Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Burned In The Bathtub

Burned In The Bathtub

After his midlife crisis
the incubus has settled down.
He takes a pill now.
He's sold the Lambo 
and grown a beard
grey as gourd rind
mute as dusk. It teases
when he comes up behind
but better of course,
than mere
insincerity of stubble
or truth of the lash;
or so I tell him.

His rage, his acquisitive
lust, his long
hierarchic frustration
with Beelzebub, his angst--
all abated. He's stopped 
going naked except when he's here
though now the light
must be out; the mood
must be clear; the Jacuzzi
has to work, while I burn sage
to make darkness soft lather
on skin cracked and dry
from hellfire and age.

of the sweet drip of lies,
of my fruitful screams,
instead of the  hoof lifted high
to leave a burnt print 
on my spine,
there's only androgynous giggle,
a few sips of  white wine,
a cooling brain,
a voiceless music
the color of ash
falling like misted rain.

~September 2014

posted for   real toads

Challenge: Out of Standard
Isadora Gruye (The Nice Cage) asks us to write a poem about a lie that could have been told better. I have wiggled around with the POV some, but there are plenty of poorly told lies to choose from here.

I've written too many poems to count about the incubus; you can find them  HERE

Top Image: Cialis Logo, courtesy google image search.No copyright infringement is intended.
Footer: The Flautist, by Remedios Varo
May be protected by copyright. Posted under fair use guidelines via


  1. the far side of lying, like fire tamped to embers, or just the memory of embers. how's that xian saying go - the best lie the devil ever told was that he doesn't exist?

    currently sporting graying stubble, so smarting at that insincerity line :/ (I look a bit homeless when going full beard, as "full" is itself a lie).

    you've managed that amused, knowing voice and sewn it up with those marvelous, lyrical final three lines, such that even in this 90 degree awful muggy heat (on the coast, mind you) I've got chills. ~

  2. Oh dear--one almost feels sorry for the poor dear! I found this mainly wickedly funny--the combination of the rather medieval with Jersey shore is both surprising and compelling. Very well done--really great understatement and lyricism both, and wit. k.

  3. The incubus retires...?

    The portrait you have created here is lush with visual details, just a few miles from the border of the macabre. (Though the retrospective of the final stanza is fairly terrifying.)

  4. a rather picturesque poetry here... i tried to imagine something cheery though and failed ... the last stanza make the poem dark and brooding and yet fetches a very vivid image... well done!

  5. The hoof print is absolutely inspired; I loved that! The whole idea of a minor demon having to be jollied along and cajoled is hilarious. She tries, but what does it get her? Seems the incubus has gone soft. ;-)

  6. I smiled through this but, at the same time, was noting your brilliant imagery and original verbiage - stellar writing, anyway you look at it!!

  7. Wow! Would it were true, but it feels like a fun choice for him for a century or two--keeping his options open. Each thing that is calmed down, masterfully evokes its opposite. And then there's that hoof print, like a visa stamp only better. The illustration is to die for.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Forgive the delete ~ iPad keyboard is not behaving this evening (or it might be the typist.). These were lines that hit hard ....

      'there's only androgynous giggle,
      a few sips of white wine,
      a cooling brain,
      a voiceless music
      the color of ash
      falling like misted rain' ~

      And then it ends. I found myself wishing for so much more in that relationship, felt myself responding on a gut level.

    2. Thanks for trying again, Helen. It's not you, it's blogger. So glad you liked it.

  9. I can agree with Helen, with the latter of her comment...and at the same time do all relationships have their it inevitable to change. Great writing, Hedge.

  10. Oh dear, oh boy, oh yes: We have a history with our demons, so why shouldn't they age in pace with us? That dark other we slowly come to know as our own darkness, merely reflected in the scorched eyes of some or other beloved-ish. Our own appetite for the darker chocolates of destruction. The ritual remains but only gestures now suffice; the suggestion of a lash is enough, then it's on to gabbing about aches & pains and office politics in Hell. It's still cursed (and brilliantly so), but the saber tooth is allowed a certain sag and evening satch-light, like the glow of the couple in the Cialis commercial who are quite content to bathe in separate tubs. Still holding hands. Still playing the old game. The lies don't have to be meant any more, just mouthed ... A devious and smart addition to the smouldering pile of Inknbuss poems. Marriage of heaven and hell, indeedy.

    1. I still have not figured out the whole bathtub thing with that if the first thing after sex that must be done is to get clean, separately. ;_) An interesting message. I had fun with this one B--sometimes I think that as some shrink said about all the protagonists and characters in our dreams really being us, it may be the same in our poems--who else do we really know enough to write about, after all? This is just exploring my inner male's side of the aging romance, maybe...Anyway, thanks for reading, and gratitude to the blogger gods for sparing your comment.

  11. The old boy is burning out, huh? Sometimes embers are more appealing than the fire.

  12. Awww, it's so difficult when incubi (incubusses?) have mid-life crises.

  13. So sad when an incubus needs Viagra! Loved this one!

  14. Ouch - those days we are crumbling - but vanity keep us trying.. Hmm this probably hit home (but I haven't grown a beard)

  15. So much to ponder here . . . oh how things change with age, whether we want them to or not.

  16. Can you hear my applause? I will clap a bit louder for you, my friend. This poem is absolutely delicious in it's deceit and smoke and mirrors. Gorgeous imagery as per usual, which progresses and evolves on the page. The beard grey as a gourd ring, the tickling and giggling. You truly are a master! Thanks for posting to the out of standard and viva la


'We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.#39; ~William Butler Yeats