Reverence and horror —

The past is strange, you know…

One thing that isn’t common knowledge about me is that I was (am?) an ordained minister. Reverend Michael/Mick/Raven (yes, I occasionally went by my pen name), occasionally just: The Rev. I was ordained through a convoluted system where the druids I had hung out with the previous year (I had moved away from their direct influence) agreed to support my ordination through their parent group which, at the time, happened to be Universal Life. As I understand it, they later got their paperwork in order and were ordaining folks directly rather than through a church that had the basic tenant that everyone had a right to be ordained and God was however the ordained person perceived Him to be, even if He was a She (or a sexless flying spaghetti monster, for that matter). You, too, can get your official papers through the UL webpage for the simple task of providing some information to them about where you live and an email contact. While a number of folks do it on a lark, not many people actually utilize their ordination other than as a party discussion topic.

I actually subsequently registered with my State’s authorities and was therefore able to legally officiate at weddings, funerals and baptisms. And I did a few weddings, mostly because people saw me as a cheap alternative to a church (I refused all donations), or because they wanted something more than the Justice, but not too religious. I gave up after a series of divorces eventually became the norm for those I had joined.

I also gave up the practice entirely when I discovered that no one could really give a shit about what I was all into. Forget “church”, I was unable to find a single someone to sit at a coffee house with me to discuss my off-beat branch of Celtic/Native American-influenced/Taoist/eclectic shamanism. Shamanism is all the rage these days, but I don’t rightly recognize the form it has become. At the time, however, it was considered “weird” unless you were into Carlos Castaneda and peyote, which I was not.

I ended up during that time becoming the “official reverend” for an Irish folk band from Austin, Texas. At the time, I had not been to Austin, but the band made infrequent appearances in Saint Paul at a Irish dive with live music called The Half-time Rec. A friend and I got to hanging around when they showed up and, because they were relatively unknown in Minnesota, their audience was small — so we stood out like a sore thumb. They befriended us as a result, and we frequently went to their shows and after-parties. It happened to be convenient that I had my phone number on some business cards, so I handed one to the lead singer when she asked how they could get in touch before they came the next time to set up a non-pub get-together. Her and her husband laughed and laughed when they saw my title, mostly because they had never met someone who seemed to match their idea of a reverend so poorly before: I swore, smoked, drank and told raunchy jokes. They decided instantly I was “The Rev” and called it out when I would come their shows. “Hey, the real show can begin! Our spiritual advisor, the Rev is here! Woot!” Occasionally, they’d ask for a prayer or a “good word”, in which case I’d steal from someone else and provide wisdom along the lines of: “On that slippery banister of life, may all the splinters point in the right direction.” Yeah, not original at all.

I haven’t kept up with my ordination, so I’ve probably been dropped from the rolls. But it was an interesting period that I wish I had pursued with a little more focus.

Carrion child, pray for me
Play your wild card
See the house come down around your head
Home to me, so much dreaming
Some say I'm growing cold and
Taking over
Nothing, cuts, two ways
Taking over

- Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy), Possession

i feel a monster
deep inside
clawing outward
ready to burst
with the exploding
of my heart

your name moves my lips
in those sacred hours
while time i pray for you
to appear and to
take me in your arms

Died, praising God for his gift and grace:
For she bowed down to him weeping, and said
“Live”; and her tears were shed on his face
Or ever the life in his face was shed.
The sharp tears fell through her hair, and stung
Once, and her close lips touched him and clung
Once, and grew one with his lips for a space;
And so drew back, and the man was dead.

Jaufre Rudel, troubadour of the early–mid 12th century

time will
show who
the real monsters
were --

bodies like cordwood at summer's end
stacked in the name
of pride

Convinced his dick was the source of all the evil in his life, David decided to exorcise his demons once and for all over the bathroom sink at three a.m. with a butcher knife…

Photo by Rachel Claire on

Filth —

©2021 Michael Raven

Warning: The following material may contain language of an adult nature that some readers may find offensive or disturbing. Discretion is advised.

eyes closed
in the hot shower
water washing down
and over me
my soaped hand
is your mouth and
my mouth shapes
your name
Photo by on

in a field where
the cattle graze and
pissing on a fence post
discovering, too late
its electric nature

languishing naked on the couch
a manwhore in waiting
cabernet dregs in the glass held limply
threatening to bloody the under rug red

shadow and silhouette in the doorway
an opium smile runways struts over
sliding moans -- slow, slick, and tight
with a wink and a devilish grin

a wine glass tumbles to the floor


I was both mortified and intrigued at the same time. Here I was on a date to see a play by a French author whom I had never heard of, some guy named Genet, at the incomparable Guthrie Theater — a theater known for the goddamn safety of it’s productions, the oatmeal served to secure donations from the wealthy to keep the company well afloat where other theaters subsisted on tickets sales hand to mouth — and I was watching a play where theatergoers were filtering out in disgust. After intermission, a full third of the audience had faded out the exit doors, disgusted by a production that, had they bothered to even read the fliers, would have known would challenge their values. Genet was a homosexual, an avowed lover of masturbation, a purveyor of the seedy side of existence. The fliers made some mention of “rough language” and rougher subject matters, but they came in their tuxedos and evening dresses all the same.


And I loved it, although it destroyed any hope I had of turning the not-date with a friend into a actual-date with someone I desired and called friend.

She was wide-eyed in horror as a sergeant in the Algerian army went into vivid detail about receiving a bullet to the head while he was in the ecstasy of taking a prolonged and near-orgasmic shit, describing the nirvana of emptiness as the turd pushed it’s way out of his anus just before the bullet shattered his brains. Was he upset with death? No, he was annoyed he wouldn’t be able to finish his ecstatic shit in a trench.

The man, this Jean Genet, was immediately forgiven for destroying any hope I might of had at romance with an old friend. I took her home and she hurried out of the car, giving me a strange look as, with half a heart, she thanked me for the show and hurried inside her house, not even looking over her shoulder to wave goodbye.

And I barely noticed until she refused to return my calls. I had fallen in love with a dead queer from France…

that pout
is dangerous --
your lip
begs to be

You say when I go back you will suck me off and you want me to lick your cunt, you little depraved blackguard. I hope you will surprise me some time when I am asleep dressed, steal over to me with a whore’s glow in your slumberous eyes, gently undo button after button in the fly of my trousers and gently take out your lover’s fat mickey, lap it up in your moist mouth and suck away at it till it gets fatter and stiffer and comes off in your mouth. Sometimes too I shall surprise you asleep, lift up your skirts and open your drawers gently, then lie down gently by you and begin to lick lazily round your bush. You will begin to stir uneasily then I will lick the lips of my darling’s cunt. You will begin to groan and grunt and sigh and fart with lust in your sleep. Then I will lick up faster and faster like a ravenous dog until your cunt is a mass of slime and your body wriggling wildly.

James Joyce, Selected Letters of James Joyce

Flowers —

©2021 Michael Raven

pink sugar
& lace
in the seductive
mists of
the dreaming
Photo by u0418u043bu044cu044f u041fu0430u0445u043eu043cu043eu0432 on

On him, under him, with his mouth pressed to hers, he sang to her uncouth songs that moved through her body.

Jean Genet, Our Lady of Flowers

with flowers
in my hair and
blowing kisses
i walked through
opposing sides
arguing about
the righteousness
or horror of
desert wars
believing love
might conquer

in the night garden
            a huntsman and
        his beloved blodeuwedd
                  kissed under
the light of the

running velvet-soft petals
over chapped lips
whiskey on my breath

they filed by
tossing flowers
in his grave
moving on from
still warm

Drowning // Rozz Williams

I'm in an empty room
I'm burning books from you
I'm lost in bed with you
Breaking these mirrors to end all I've seen

Like you - I am broken and fragile
Like you - I am tasting my heart for the first time
Like you - I am feeding on slumber
Like you - I've left my eyes far behind me
Down for the count I'm still drowning
I'm still drowning

No music provided for a number of reasons: the band’s name may be offensive to some readers is the primary one. The secondary is that I think Rozz’s poetry/lyrics stand on their own quite nicely. He was a deeply flawed and broken man, but if you look past some of those distasteful personal flaws, his lyrics are some of the most poetic from the 80s and highly reminiscent of Rimbaud for me. And, as might be evident, I sure as hell wouldn’t mind the same comparison made of my writing, although I personally feel it falls far short of such comparisons.

Photo by Ianmer Basio on

Theatre of the absurd —

©2021 Michael Raven

Photo by Masha Raymers on

that lingering dream --
as absurd as it may be --
i think it was you
looking over
your shoulder
with a wink
and a smile
dawn atop
queen anne hill
fog clinging
to your legs
as if children spelled
to their mother
white ribbons
smoky lace
before the ravens
the sky with
their raucous
tok tok toks:
this this this 
they cried

life may be:
i'm glad
you've gone mad
with me

I am alone in the midst of these happy, reasonable voices. All these creatures spend their time explaining, realizing happily that they agree with each other. In Heaven’s name, why is it so important to think the same things all together.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

down the path he walked
watching the butter-flies 
dandy-lions playing games with
each other along the way
when he ran into the girl
with the ragged curl
and told her, he'd lost his way
which way do I go? he asked
where do you want to go? she replied
some place other than here
she paused
then keep walking, for some place other
is just around the bend...

“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

lingchi (a thousand cuts) —

©2021 Michael Raven

he was all smiles
and brazen confidence
there on the
execution scaffolding
until they opened 
that wooden box
with the instruments of
his death:

razor sharp words and
honed glass memories
numbering in thousands

he begged for mercy
at the sight
and still
they bled him dry

my past is a
vampire bat hanging
from my neck:
each day
of my life

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang, but a whimper.

TS Eliot, The Hollow Men

i am surrender:
i lay down arms
suing for peace
this fortress
ready for
under a

silence is the cruelest dagger
twisting like ice in your heart
as it turns back and forth
always leaving behind
the black taint of questions
unanswered salting the wound
and a trail of scarlet
left in the driven snow
leading to no place
and no where

Photo by furkanfdemir on
i have
seen too much
loved too much
known too much
ached too much
desired too much
read too much
fucking SEEN too much

i see i see i see seer sear

pluck these eyes              
blind me
stuff my ears                    
with busted glass
sew my mouth shut
tar me and set me          

dead souls —

©2021 Michael Raven

in this lonely place of
pictures' accusatory eyes
we walk, dead souls
shuffling down dusty halls
caught with cobwebbed sighs
every creak drawing faces
staring for source
in the molasses slowly
seeing unchangings
the march focus returns
as we go on and on and on

Someone take these dreams away
That point me to another day
A duel of personalities
That stretch all true realities

They keep calling me…

Ian Curtis (Joy Division), Dead Souls

the graveyard shift
& the jaundiced yellow lights
painting the wet pavement sick
it was him
& the downtown street only
as he walked the

“In his mind, nothing could be more delightful than to live in solitude, and enjoy the spectacle of nature, and sometimes read some book or other.”

Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls

It was closing time at the bar and the lights had come up. Jan wasn’t about to move his ass just on account of it being closing time as the CC — he still had half a brewskie to finish, and Lori was disinclined to give him a nudge out the door like the manager would have insisted, had he been around. But Larry had gone and done broke his leg and, instead of being at the bar to poke, prod and basically push Jan out the door and it was Lori’s call. And, because part of her still had a residual crush on Jan, although both of them were well past the age where such things as crushes were considered proper, she let him sit there and sip at the beer that she’d served him later than she should have.

Doug, for his part, was spreading the spilled beer and cigarette butts on the floor into a more uniform disgusting for the next day’s worth of drunken reverie. Again, Larry’s absence was acutely felt as cleanliness standards would attest when the doors were locked. Doug added ashes to the swill of his own, smoking as he swished the floors in some pattern only discernible to him.

Lori walked over to the flickering OPEN light and pulled the chain to shut it off. The jukebox played stopped playing something by Black Flag or the Dead Kennedys — Lori could never tell the two apart. She would have felt bad for whomever paid for the songs they wouldn’t hear, but she’d gotten over that after the first year of working the CC. People always seemed to plug the jukebox full of coins at the end of the evening, as they grew maudlin and sentimental about whatever sad things they found in the bottom of their glasses — the lost loves, the missed trains, whatever the fuck they thought they’d missed out. Lori was no different.

She went to unplug the juke for the night, but hesitated as the next song started.

Well a person can work up a mean mean thirst...

Lori felt a hand on her shoulder as she stood in front of the jukebox. When she turned, she saw it belonged to Jan.

“Lor,” he said softly. “Could I bother you for this dance?”

She couldn’t think of a good reason not to, so she gave Jan a clumsy curtsy, wrapped her arms around his neck and they began to sway.

Everybody wants to be someone's here
Someone's gonna show up, never fear
'Cause here comes a regular
Call out your name
Here comes a regular...

Doug watched, a crooked grin in place of where folks wear a smile, leaning on the mop handle and oblivious to the burned-out remnant of his cigarette as the music played.


As my sticky post suggests, I am considering shutting down and turning off the lights on the site. It seems like a good idea, although I can’t rightly articulate my reasons aside from saying that my mental status seems to be wonky (to put it mildly). That, however, does not mean that I have ceased to write. I have give myself a deadline of deciding by Monday as to my final intent: Do I overhaul how I approach this site so that I find it less angsty for me to continue to write here? Or, do I shut ‘er down and find a new way to do my writing?

In the meantime, I am limiting myself to a post a day, with one or more pieces consolidated in the single post. This is today’s meager offering with all apologies:

©2021 Michael Raven

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on
dark the night soul
who light the turns on?
who holds the skeleton song
dancing in light moon?                      
memento morte un deux trois                   
   kiss this graven flesh and make me

the sun
yogurt --

  Doubt thou the stars are fire,
  Doubt that the sun doth move,
  Doubt truth to be a liar,
  But never doubt I love

Letter from Hamlet to Ophelia, Shakespeare (Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2)

Lay down your arms and surrender to mine
Let me release you from your tangled skein
Burn down your temples and your holy shrines
Sift through the ashes for the truth that shines
No more weeping or wringing of hands
Come with me to the promised land
Close your eyes and we'll go down slow
We're gonna drown in the afterglow

… tear down the walls, raze them to the ground”

the strobe through the trees
driving to the
      rilke zen for
god's sake
              and fish fish fish
     fat fish in caves
suck on that steel
                     kick that eye
           kick that kick
    kick that kick that

last stand on a rocky beach
with the gunsun in my eye

You come across an ancient and dying tree with a hollow place between it’s branches. Inside is a man curled in upon himself and he seems to have grown into the grain of the tree over time. Do you:

  • Set the tree on fire (turn to page 68)
  • Read the verse you found on the garden path to this place (turn to page 31)
  • Kiss his forehead and see if he comes alive (turn to page 103)
  • Walk back to the secret garden and try to find the way back out (turn to page 69)


Photo by SHVETS production on

As my sticky post suggests, I am considering shutting down and turning off the lights on the site. It seems like a good idea, although I can’t rightly articulate my reasons aside from saying that my mental status seems to be wonky (to put it mildly). That, however, does not mean that I have ceased to write. I have give myself a deadline of deciding by Monday as to my final intent: Do I overhaul how I approach this site so that I find it less angsty for me to continue to write here? Or, do I shut ‘er down and find a new way to do my writing?

In the meantime, I am limiting myself to a post a day, with one or more pieces consolidated in the single post. This is today’s meager offering with all apologies:

©2021 Michael Raven

what illusions?
that dagger doubt
fear-honed, carves
the clockwork heart
ticktock stutter
springs taut

gentle, watchmaker...
this chipped crystal face
is brittle with age
gently, now, gently

i think i saw you
at the end of the
library stacks
with your
wink and your
before we fell
over the edge of
the world

or dare?

i dream so hard
it breaks things
at the end of my

And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.

Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones (G.R.R. Martin)

“His head gone done broke,” Amos said as the townsfolk gathered ’round in the center of the town to stare at Hal. Hal, for his part, seemed to confirm the diagnosis: he sat there grinning foolishly at nothing much at all. His rear end was firmly planted in the flowerbed Missus Johnson had planted to “give the town a touch of color”. The fact that he hadn’t moved and the color was decidedly obscured by his presence would like as not give her a stroke.

Folks started to guess the cause of Hal’s broken head when they noticed the faint imprint of a lipstick kiss on his forehead and the sight of Sally Jean’s skirts darting around the corner of the general store…

he lost his
mind somewhere
in the musk
of her hair
september stars
upon the hill


©2021 Michael Raven

As my sticky post suggests, I am considering shutting down and turning off the lights on the site. It seems like a good idea, although I can’t rightly articulate my reasons aside from saying that my mental status seems to be wonky (to put it mildly). That, however, does not mean that I have ceased to write. I have give myself a deadline of deciding by Monday as to my final intent: Do I overhaul how I approach this site so that I find it less angsty for me to continue to write here? Or, do I shut ‘er down and find a new way to do my writing?

In the meantime, I am limiting myself to a post a day, with one or more pieces consolidated in the single post. This is today’s meager offering with all apologies:

a door is not a door
                    - the long hall -
& when it lives in the autumn house
where nobody sleeps

oversized tshirt
smoking at concrete steps
she gave
slipped secrets
decoded cyphers
to the front lines

what if the mask fell away
>shattered<          on the floor            
there was only     

i wonder what
they think

    the shaking head
              gives those thoughts away
dazzle dazzle shine
                          in those eyes

we're setting sail
for this sea of fools
hand in hand 
eye to eye and
mouth to mouth
-- erato mine

Last night she came to me
My dead love came in
So softly she came
that her feet made no din

And she laid her hand on me
And this she did say:
It will not be long now
Till our wedding day

She Moved Through the Fair (trad.), All About Eve
Photo by Ekrulila on