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


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


©2019-2021 Michael Raven

The beast extended a suckered and barbed proboscis towards the fallen leaves and other detritus scattered on the forest floor, snuffled and snorted. Little light made it this close to the ground in the woods, which had grown to towering heights, each tree trying to reach ever higher than it’s neighbor to touch the dim glow of a dying sun, which cast a ruddy red spots on light on the ground when it managed to filter downwards through the broad violet leaves.

The burbling sound halted without warning and the beast lifted the appendage skyward, a gentle sniffing of the air currents. With a daemon-touched howl, it ran riot in search of its quarry, its great hulk brushing heedlessly against the trunks of the trees, which groaned in protest over the abuse.

Agatha was now glad she’d laid the false trail; her pistol would do nothing more than irritate the beast if she’d used it and it’d be better if she saved the charge for her own brain pan if, and when, it started dining on her.

Published on social media on this date in 2019. Lightly edited and reposted on 28 June 2021. 182 words.

Songs from tomorrow.

©2021 Michael Raven

They stood in silence. Waiting. Listening.

The sun flickered through the water depths, leaving their bodies awash in twilight song. Beyond blue skies, the stars called to them, singing. They learned the star songs, painted in cascade colors — the blues and the reds, the greens and purples, the myriad hues. And songs sung black, too.

The Keepers, they knew themselves to be. For the songs were fading from this place, giving way to the dark places, places that consumed even black. The Keepers, concerned, prayed for portals to they could go home, go home and sing the songs anew. But they also knew… for they had been told by descendants calling back beyond the bonds of time — they knew it might not come to pass in this place. Although — in some it had. How else would those who came after sing the songs back to them?

They stood in silence. Waiting. Listening.

152 words


It woke something when the words were said, this was certain. It woke something that had slumbered for a very long time. That something raised its shaggy, hairy head, full of nocturn and shadow singing in the mists, opened first one eye, then the next, and yawned loudly.

The children watched it move and shake itself awake, jaundiced eyes blinking at the starlight as if blinded by razor sharp sparkles and knives. It yawned again, sonorous and deep, and all but Gertie stepped back with no small amount of fear.

Gertie, for her part, spread her arms wide and hugged the hairy thing in that dank hollow place. “Floof!” she exclaimed and, when the thing patted her gently on the head, the other children gathered closer, reaching for their own chance at affection.

Art by Tomislav Jagnjic; as found on ArtStation. “let me guess, u got lost again? bro these are not the maps, they’re potion recipes”.

133 words


©2021 Michael Raven

The stars fell like snow all around her as she walked out into moor, wolves crying for the moon filling the empty spaces as the ruddy flames licked the sky. She held out hands and let the dying stardust fill them, pouring like sand through her fingers.

“What have they done?” she wondered aloud, but she knew the answer as soon as the query was spoken. They’d felled The Tree, of course. The end of the cycle, then; the end of all cycles in this maha-kalpa, anyway. Eventually there would be another Dreaming, but she would know nothing of it.

[a story in 100 words]

Visitation in the wood.

©2021 Michael Raven

Woad paint my face, streaks of blue, becoming ocean waves

Kohl paint my eyes, to the shadows for what they are.

Tapping the thin bones rhythm to the heartbeat earth, the mother of the clan; tapping out the rhythm of skies under the waves, we look westward with fire in our eyes. Darted with mud arrows, she stood beside me, a feast of snared rabbit finger entwined. “Eat,” she said and her cheek tasted of mud as I kissed it. The tapping of bones would linger well into the night, as the wood took up the song in the wind and coming storm — branched their own bones finger snapping in the growing breeze. Rattle, they cry, rattle the night growing strong.

I dressed while fire-build she, so sharp my knife; so strip the flesh from fur to be scraped clean. Spit and sear, fat spatter flames, the sky streak-filled with light.

“They are coming?” The words hinted at question, but it was nothing, only ritual. When I didn’t respond she grunted, knowing the answer. “They come,” she added with greasy fingers, by way of affirmation.

The wait was nothing, we still licked fat-burned callouses as they came.

“We are here,” they said.

“You are here,” I said in reply.

They sat amongst the fresh bones and feasted on the pile she and I had made. Then, they sat back, patting their bone-filled stone-speared stomachs, belched and then stood. And then they sang.

The song —

The song —

This is an experimental piece from my efforts over and the private site. It’s a continuation of my pieces that explore unconventional sentence structure (see We, Wendigo), which is related to, but separate from, my exploration with various portmanteau-likes (more word-mashups than true portmanteau) and standard portmanteaus. My reasons are largely centered around trying to create something different than the standard writing out there, mostly because I’d like to see more experimentation with language myself — these kinds of experiments, along with archaic language resurrection, use of symbolic imagery, and reimagining the structure of language away from the subject/object paradigm we are beholden to. I don’t know how successful I have been, or will be… but it is fun, so I continue to play and hope that I hit on something really cool in the future.


©2021 Michael Raven

"Buttons for eyes, buttons for eyes," she sang joyfully as she set to sewing large, black buttons into place. She loved this little chore, although she often wished the children wouldn't make such a fuss and scream so loudly as she sewed the disks onto their little cherub faces.

File under horror.