Saturday, June 19, 2021

Driving With The Incubus





Driving With The Incubus
(Incubus VIX) 
When I first saw you, neither man
nor woman, flesh nor fowl,
you'd brought round the car; a wisp
of sulfur fog hung from the grill.
It snaked up your shoe to your 
black and white smile
neither corrupt nor immaculate,
misting my face like tomorrow's shadow.
You held the sedan door wide;
I might have walked away but I was young,
and you were the best chauffeur
the devil could find, with
that changeling's face, the hellpit's flare,
black peacock eyes and velvet hands
for the gears. You put them
over my fog-wet lashes;
 through the holes
in your skin I saw pinpoint stars
as you smoothed the rucked sheets
of my cheek to finger 
the bed of skull so soon to be yours.
It was a black car without a brake
made to run the asphalt years

when the heart 
was a cindered highway,
each crossroads a Celtic knot
the devil my driver
til we stood at journey's end,
neither man nor woman
nor flesh most foul,
incorruptible corruption
tipping at the edge of the wailing abyss
where all I can see
are waning stars,
sulfur skin steaming fog, your

sharp teeth scarlet through
a feral smile.

June 2021

Posted for Fireblossom, at

Process Note: I've written many poems for the incubus over the years. He's always changing his face. You can find them by searching the blog or by clicking on the label "incubus" below.
Images: top via the Sunday Muse Fair Use
Bottom Untitled, © Zdislaw Beksinksi  Fair Use


  1. A very slow intake of breath .. I knew him, felt him, did not fear him, wanted him. You made me.

  2. The things that both tempt and scar us usually do come in many faces. This is haunting and lovely and as always your imagery draws us in like a moth to a flame!

  3. The fog snaking up his shoe to his black and white smile is perfect! "The asphalt years when the heart was a cinder highway" took my breath away. Your closing lines could not be better. It is always so good to read you, Joy.

  4. "black peacock eyes and velvet hands" oh yes, I'm loving that. Interesting that you end with the feral smile because the image is taken from the 1976 movie Burnt Offerings, in which Anthony James plays the chauffeur. It isn't shown in this image, but he had a smile that was pure nightmare fuel. This poem is both scary and weirdly enticing, drawing us moths to the pitiless flame. So glad to get the chance to read you today, dear BFF.

  5. "black peacock eyes and velvet hands"!!!! Line to die for, LOL! This is language that loves the Incubus, and the Incubus of poetry responds lovingly in turn. Grace notes played to a death wish sonata. So calm, just the truth of it, no unnecessary drama here.

  6. On hell yes — a dark date with a dirty devil! Excellent!

  7. This is such an interesting take Joy! The incubus with all of its impending features. Great descriptive picture to whet the imagination. You have a way with words, Ma'am! Great!


  8. This is how Dante's Inferno could be re-imagined, Joy. This glimpse, "through the holes in your skin", at what awaits. Fantastic read.

  9. This is an amazing read--chilling and thrilling at once. And that imagery--the stars through the holes in the skin, the sulfur ghosting into a snake, the asphalt years, brakeless--is stunning.

  10. Fabulous images you create of the encounter with the incubus - makes the skin tingle.

  11. 'tipping at the edge of the wailing abyss'

  12. Mesmerizing poem that conjures the incubus into being. He scares the bejeezus out of me.

  13. "You held the sedan door wide;
    I might have walked away but I was young,
    and you were the best chauffeur
    the devil could find"

    oh to be young and dumb again, well, dumb i can still do, but young is gone forever. loved the tone of this poem and the sounds, and as always your language is stirring. really enjoyed this joy.

  14. I know I have been away a long tome, but I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read your poetry again. Your eloquence and emotive voice always astounds me and i have yet to read finer poetry anywhere in the online world.

    1. Thank you Kerry. Your thoughtful comments are always appreciated. Good to see you.


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

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