Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Incubus And The Exorcist

The Incubus and the Exorcist
(Incubus VI)

It's been plain for some time now
that the incubus has lost interest
in mixing any pleasure 
with the pain.
He knows how he owns me.

So finally last night I sent for
the exorcist. With bell book and candle
the proud beadle came,
ringing and reading
and flaming at once.

He laid me flat on the hard concrete floor
(no soft beds for god's paladin)
brandished his lash and lustily
began to chant. The scent of
frankincense grew ponderous
and expensive;

mentally I reviewed my purse
wondering how much 
Holy I could afford.
Meanwhile, the face of the exorcist 
reddened with strain
(I thought) 
and he called on his Lord to

purge me, he called on prim-lipped angels 
to witness, he called on the voyeur Devil
to leave.  I lay panting and naked, 
only remembering the dance.
At last, solemnly shaking his head,
he said that
all that remained 
was the laying on of his hands

and that went fairly well
as his cassock slipped off
and the red shiny scales gleamed,
the cloven hoof came down, and
the hard,forked flexing tail
sparked hellfire,
burning away the past.

June 2012

Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp'st her.
~Shakespeare, King Lear

Posted for   real toads
Kerry's Wednesday Challenge: Very Old School

Process notes: This poem is the sixth in my Incubus series. You can read the rest of them if you wish, here.

Image: Detail from Death and the Miser, by Heironymous Bosch, 1490
Public domain, via


  1. i reviewed my purse for how much holy i could afford...haha...that is an awesome line...of course figuratively but on other levels too...smiles...oh dang the priest being him in the end...oh my

  2. This is so much fun. (I mean it's kind of awful too.) But so much sardonic humor in the mix - I agree with Brian - the how much holy you could afford is priceless as the commercials say, but the laying on of hands is pretty great too - tremendous energy here, and yes, uplifting (for the observer) and perhaps the beadle. I love the prim=lipped angels too. A lot of great here. k.

    1. Thanks, k. I've had a lot of fun with this whole series, though the others are a bit less pastiche. Not exactly a sonnet, though. :C

  3. You know I only do sonnets to save myself decision-making. Yes, I hope for some kind of music (to make up for the gaps in meaning and specificity and nuance!) But there are so many choices with free verse, and it can go on and on and on, especially for someone like me who is very involved with narrative. I am so admiring of your ability to hew a line--of course, you use form too, but are not dependent on it. k.

  4. This was so enjoyable to read. Love the humor, and the how much holy she could afford......and yikes, that cloven-hoof and forked tail at the end.

  5. Wow, so descriptive and fun to read! I had to read it again...
    Love how much holy can I buy...oh, yeah, seen a few of those ;D
    I love the enchantment of your words and then the beast's appearance, "burning away the past"
    This would make a great story!!! Your potion, I mean poem was thrilling and so full of mystery and mayhem! Love it!

  6. Love this..."mentally I reviewed my purse wondering how much
    Holy I could afford" Sad when one must check their purse when buying holy..:) Ummm....I have been faced with "holy" at times and not sure I wished to purchase it. lol Great creative piece!!

  7. Phew! This is really going old school on the whole original sin of women - always a man for the job of exorcising that incubus. Sherry remarked recently that it must be tough on a certain type of man to despise the thing he most desires: gives rise to all sorts of scaly-skinned demons.

    This poem is unflinchingly bold, and delves deep within the psyche of both man and woman. I have nothing but praise for your intrepid spirit.

  8. Wonderful poem Hedge ~ The twist on the exorcist in the ending was unexpected but then again, maybe not. I like the smell and hellfire chanting of the words ~

  9. Hey...isn't that beadle really a well-known "family values" tea party televangelist?

  10. The laying on of hands, ahh, that's rich. You've got the rites down, even if you can't control that damn incubus. This is one of my faves of your series.

  11. "mentally I reviewed my purse
    wondering how much
    Holy I could afford." {smiles}

    and the last-resort laying on of hands... does have a way of exposing the truth behind the lie

    you sure do know how to poem a good tale!

  12. Great lines...I reviewed my purse for how much holy i could afford.
    Excellent write, Joy.

  13. "mentally I reviewed my purse
    wondering how much
    Holy I could afford"

    We're all loving that!

  14. Holy is getting so damn expensive!

  15. This was awesome, hedgewitch. Like Mama Zen, I loved the review of the purse. These Shakespearean poems have been absolutely delightful to read.

  16. Hedge...that picture is pretty creepy, but the poem was creepily magnificent!!!!! I am so glad to have found the toads site, it has directed me to some really great talent....and you my little hellion...never disappoint.

  17. wondering how much
    Holy I could afford.

    That is just amazing! This is magnificently creepy and something I should not read just before going to bed !:)


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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