It's commonly associated with guilt.
But it was not wrong with her.
With her, it was something beautiful.
Lust seems to be dismissed if it's between a man and a woman.
But, man, and man?
Women and women?
That's when lust becomes something horrible.
However, that's not true.
When I held her in my arms and felt her breath on my neck, there was no way it was terrible.
The way she kissed my lips, put her hands on my thighs, whispered secrets into my ear,
Lust engulfed us.
It hit us in waves, created ripples, and came down in waterfalls.
We were trapped in a bubble.
A lovely, warm, and safe bubble, made by our own creation.
The overwhelming want and need for each other.
The only thing we could feel was lust.
Lust for each other.
It is impossible to be against such a feeling once you have felt it.
Lucky enough to desire or to be desired.
She taught me the difference between sin and virtue.
Lust is not something to steer clear of, but it is something that stops you in your tracks.
It makes you live in the present, and feel each feeling.
People may find sin in what we did, who we are, and what we do, but that lust brought the greatest feelings to ever be experienced.
I’m Too Lazy to Eat
What does that make me? A sloth or a glutton?
I'd rather do what I'm doing right now, which is sitting at my computer writing a silly story, than go out to the kitchen and cook a meal. Sorry, folks, but I've been cooking the same crap for over 50 years and I'm pretty tired of it. Why can't they find a new animal to kill?
Sorry, vegans. Or a new vegetable to yank cruelly out of the soil?
Chili, spaghetti, meatloaf, liver and onions, steak and potatoes, stews, soups, macaroni and cheese, chicken wings, bar b que pork ribs, shrimp, tuna fish salad, egg salad (whoops, not anymore). I'd eat if someone else would prepare these dishes for me and spoon-feed me at my computer. If not, I'll just go without.
It's not like I couldn't lose 30 or so pounds right about now. Maybe I'll design a new diet program for lazy folks who won't exercise. The, "It's too hard to walk out to the kitchen diet". I could make a fortune.
Rebirth behind a screen
Adaption, evolution - it comes for all things. They've changed like everything has, shedding skins as the world spins through time.
Lust pulls a long drag from a cigarette, grinning. Its newest script hangs from the limp, shaking hands of the actors trying not to be sick, not bothering to protest regardless. They look at Lust with eyes that are dead when not illuminated by red camera light, as they slip into their false persona for the scene, back out of it just as quickly to turn to what relief they can find. Don't worry, Lust croons, pressing money, drugs, noose-tight contracts into desperate delirious hands. Cameras, recorded videos, faked expressions and exclamations, hidden pain - the numbers of viewers only climb with each dawning day. The triple-X ratings and urls burn behind Its soulless eyes.
Greed hides behind walls, behind deals, behind suits and smiles and lies. Power comes to those at the top, and Greed finds the cutthroat climb exhilarating. Money pours though tightened fingers into crypts, into vaults, into the newest corruptible climber. One more, add it to the pile. Journalists circle like mosquitoes, causes represented by forgettable faces praise what little runoff flows their way. Greed sees itself in faces of anyone else who climbed this far, the faces at the table. Who cares if the world is dying? they laugh together. Investments grow, bribes are given with sly handshakes and unspoken threats as Greed looks towards new interests - anything to add to the hoard.
Gluttony is twinned, split apart and still ravenous. The older twin laughs as it watches endless videos, new recipes, new eating challenges, new lives wasted by hunger that never lessens - It works closely with its siblings, feeding the fear of not enough, never enough. It turns the gaze of the world away from consciousness - why not have another bite? it croons, revealing in supersize, in the appetite of the ignorant, of the rich. The younger twin whispers behind a new face, a six-pack of abs, a new morning routine video. It promotes moderation - count your calories, watch your weight, follow this new diet. Organic, Vegan, Raw, a million trends to try, a million voices clamouring for recognition. Here's a tip to loose ten pounds, here's a weird trick, here's a recipe. You want to look your best, don't you? it laughs. Effortless results, It promises, heaping lies and misinformation like another serving on the older twin's plate.
Sloth lives happily in a world of automation - no need to get up when it's delivered to your door, it thinks. It has climbed upwards like Greed, but instead of climbing ever-further, settles into contentment like a hibernating bear. It is content to watch, to forget the world in order to sit in front of a screen - shorter, faster, no need for pointless exposition when the action starts faster than ever. Shrinking attention spans and voices that it chooses to trust soothes it to sleep. No need to read when the information is delivered in a five-second snippet. No need to dig further when its faithful siblings speak and drown out all other voices.
Wrath cackles as it starts another pointless war. Anonymity is a shield, is a weapon sharper than any other sword. It uses carefully cropped facts, anecdotes, taking what suits it to form a bludgeon. Gaslighting, laughing, excuses, abuse, form into words, into accusations. Blood pounds in its veins as it read over the debates - the old arguments for fox-hunts and bullfights roaring alongside new defences over locked-ring boxing, the newest action movie promoting the bloody fight of a new white hero, the right to bear arms. It pulls up another enemy to throw into the ring. The argument is perfect, is beautifully sincere in asking for engagement. It doesn't matter. It's a fight, like any other. It stands on both sides of the argument, screaming slogans that go unheard by both sides, misrepresented facts and tear-jerking stories, quotes, verses. Anything to fuel the fire.
Pride's streams are the most-viewed as it denies allegations, as it covers over accusations. It's perfect, and its viewers agree. It reads the comments, calls the names of those who do it a favour, pretends to care, pretends to be thankful. It knows it's so much more important than anyone else - if it wasn't, why would it be this successful? It offers advice like alms to the hungry masses - it just takes hard work and dedication, it promises. It ignores circumstance, the privilege of birth, of colour, of country - The angry comment sections wondering if Pride is simply ignorant to the struggles of others, or if it doesn't care, demanding acknowledgement are blocked or shoved away by a crowd of follower's praise. Pride moves on to plan their next perfect post - it doesn't care, and why would it? Life is perfect.
Envy has grown into a thousand platforms, seethes and cries unseen for what it cannot have. It scrolls endlessly, liking and replying false congratulations as it hates with a hundred-million unblinking eyes. Each smiling face, each newly-launched success sinks into resentment that festers around it. The perfect lives of its rivals mocks it through the newest successful post. How dare they, it thinks, it echoes. It has pages of wish-lists, piles of credit cards, anything to fill the void, but it will never be enough.
The Seven Deadly Sins - A Very Brief History
There used to be eight. That is the way of things. I often equate theology as a strange game of telephone. It’s like Mary Magdalene. For centuries she was a follower of Jesus, probably wealthy, hung out with his mother and then the story changed. Gregory I (more on him later) gets her confused with the famed washer of Jesus’ feet and the next thing you know Mary Magdalene is a prostitute. To be fair it could have been a confusion with Mary of Bethany, and then a double confusion with Mary Magdalene. There are a lot of Marys in the Bible.
Good thing Dan Brown came along and reminded us that these were not the same woman. He also upgrades her from being a follower of Jesus to his wife. Next came a best-selling book and a Tom Hanks movie with way too much narration. And there is more. She is not just the wife but the Holy Grail. (Sorry should have had a spoiler alert) and a lot of folks are looking for her body. Somehow Dan and his readership skipped over the fact that her skull is in the basilica of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, in the south of France. It is said that one of her feet is in Italy and her left hand is in Greece.
So, with Mary Magdalene on my mind, I decided to dig back to the source of the seven deadly sins and found before there were seven, there were eight. And they weren’t called sins. They were called the eight evil thoughts or sometimes translated as evil temptations. My first reaction was thoughts are harder to avoid than sin. Sin seems more action-oriented than thought. Which is truly gluttony; thinking about eating an entire key lime pie or actually eating an entire key lime pie? I think a lot about eating a whole key lime pie without actually doing it; damned for eternity or redeemed through restraint?
So, what were the original eight? They were gluttony, lust, greed, sadness, acedia [new word, translates to despondency or listlessness], anger, vainglory, pride.
Before you start worrying if listening to Sarah McLachlan is a sin, sadness means something different in this list. Think about your great aunt still talking about her “bastard” ex-husband. She is still talking, and he has been dead for 20 years. Another side of this thought is Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. A perpetual feeling that “I coulda been a contender”.
You also may be puzzled by the word vainglory. Webster’s definition implies it is close to pride. There is a slight difference; pride is feeling pretty smug about yourself, and vainglory is telling others why you have a right to feel pretty smug about yourself.
This list was originally compiled by a monk named Evagrius Pontius in his book, Antirrhetikos (available on kindle- I am not kidding) which means “Talking Back”. He was a monk in the fourth century. After a colorful life he ended up a monk living an ascetic life in the Egyptian desert. He was so extreme that he never ate meat, fruits, vegetables, or cooked food. I believe that leaves sand. Not surprisingly, he died of a digestive malady.
We don’t directly get these eight evil thoughts from Evagrius. A student of Evagrius, John Cassian included the list in his book, The Institutes (available in paperback). He doesn’t mention Evagrius as the source, but this was before the footnote was invented. He kept essentially the same list.
This brings us to Gregory. Gregory I, or Gregory the Great as he is called by many of his friends, was Pope from 590 to 604. He was a prolific writer and, apparently, a sometimes editor. After reviewing the list of 8 evil thoughts in John Cassian’s book he made a few revisions. He kept gluttony, lust, greed, and anger (wrath is a better word). He combined vainglory and pride into just pride (making that simpler for all of us). He clarified acedia and made it just simply sloth. He dumped sadness for envy. (I want to be fair to Evagrius. Evagrius may have underrated envy. If you live in the desert, never bathing and eating sand envy is a rarer reaction than bitterness.) Gregory got the list down to a manageable seven. His final change substituting sins for thoughts. Six centuries later you have Thomas Aquinas labeling them “capital” sins and a century after that capital is translated into deadly.
A few final bits of trivia. All 4 of these men were eventually canonized as saints. Poor John Cassian’s feast day falls on 29 February. Strangely, Gregory the Great is not the patron saint for copy editors but he is for choirboys. That is a subject for another post.
Hellbound (A Repost)
*This is a repost of an old poem but it fits the Challenge I think
Devil take me now
Throw me to the pit
Let me lust for battle
For I was born for it
Give me not redemption
But let me wear my sin
As I feast upon my fellows
With a chortle and a grin
I will wear them proudly
The errors of my ways
An angel may ask mercy
But a demon never prays
I swear I'll never falter
Never hesitate or slack
Lead me not to salvation
Let me fall into the black
Let the gates sit open
For heaven it can wait
I'll not envy paradise
Over my own chosen fate
Sentence me to hellfire
I need no judge or jury
Forge me as your sword
Let me embody fury
Neither grace nor glory
Can satiate my greed
Take me now, my Devil
For Hell has all I need
There's a pull and push between us;
A perfect synchronization of immeasurable love and animalistic lust.
It's like that feeling one gets when at the edge of a mountain about to fall;
The breath shallow and quickened
Heart pounding, nothing else in recognition.
Sweat forming like magical crystals
Cooling and electrical;
Everything around blurred only linear vision;
In that moment there has to be a decision.
Do I fall in or pull back out of fear of attrition? My fears float away like strings of musical notes and I fall right into you.
Birds of Prey
Studying my reflection in the mirror, I think about how I’m going to die.
Then I cringe at the sight of my hair, once so sleek and shiny, now dull and wild.
But the longer I gaze at myself, the sooner I begin to see something else emerge.
A glimpse into the past, bathed in a golden hue. It’s Larry’s football helmet gleaming in the sun. Yes, there he is, tearing it up on the football field, stretching his lithe body inches off the ground, levitating to catch the ball. Touchdown. The crowd cheers, he’s a hero, accepting pats on the back from his teammates and coaches. Such fanfare; the noise is deafening. Until the scene changes, and it’s just us in his room, eating the grilled-cheese sandwiches I made.
“I’m proud of you little bro,” I say, thinking about the possibility of him playing for the Hawks someday. He’s only ten but already has the potential to be a greatest of all time, a GOAT, because I am making sure he lives and breathes football every single day. I’m only thirteen but if someone were to shadow us, they would think I’m his mom and he’s my precious child. And this mom wants him to rub my dad’s face in it when he goes pro and signs a million-dollar contract with the Seattle Seahawks, becoming the best wide receiver in Hawks’ history. I can’t wait.
“I wish dad was proud of me like you are, Margot,” Larry says, “But he doesn’t even treat us like we’re his kids anymore. It’s like we’re bugs he wants to squish to death with his bare hand.”
My brother sighs and tears glitter in his woeful brown eyes when he adds, “I miss mom, I wish she didn’t die. It’s not fair for you to be doing all the motherin’. But I’m glad you’re here. If I make it to the NFL, I’ll give you so much moolah, you can buy your own house.”
A car horn transports me back to the present. It’s time to go.
Once I’m at the glass partition, in a room with putty-colored walls and a cup of coffee in front of me, I take a minute to breathe. But soon, my brother’s brought in, his feet in shackles, the green prison garb turning his skin sallow.
Time slows down like a video in slow motion.
Larry’s long hair moves with each step he takes. When he sits down, his eyes bore into mine. I smell the coffee wafting, creating a bitter taste in my mouth, and the Chapstick I smeared on in the taxi, coating my throat, preventing words from shimmying their way out.
And then Larry’s vacant eyes spring to life, shining more amber than chocolate. His features crumple, and he cries. A tremor converges upon the hand that he grasps the phone receiver with, and I become his doppelgänger, bawling openly like an infant wailing for attention.
“I forgive you, Margot,” he sobs. Even though, after being so caring towards me for so long, making me think you were always going to be there, you suddenly ditched me. Even though it hurt like hell when you became bored of me, like a cat that loses interest in a dead mouse it's already played with, and killed. Even though I was nobody to you, and it happened so fast I didn't even see it coming. And even though you left me to party with that crowd of losers and couldn’t care less what he did to me. You’ve no idea of the torture. He once drugged me, dragged me naked across a bed of nails, then burned my thighs with cigarettes. On another of his sadistic days, he stuck my hand down the garbage disposal.”
I watch with stinging, salty eyes as his whole body seems to shudder, and lowering his voice to a whisper, he says “The mangled skin, tendons, tissue, bones, all bloody and unrecognizable, was enough to make me wanna slit my own throat. My football career was over before it began. And the pain, oh the pain. I remember howling with it, like a coyote in the stark, lonely desert, defending its kill, and I prayed that it would end soon.”
He wipes his eyes, bites his lip, and adds “There was one who didn’t look like you though.”
Suddenly, my head feels like it’s on fire, a thousand red ants biting their way through my skull.
“What did you say?”
Larry leans in, brings his face closer to the glass casement, and his lips curl into an ugly smirk as he hisses into the phone, “Not all of them look like you, you know?” He pauses, peers down to study his fingerless, mutilated, bone-shattered, right hand, and says, “There is one who doesn’t quite… match.” His evil grin spreading wider now, he breathes “and here’s a little nugget of info for you to chew on sis: they haven’t found her yet. She might not have been stabbed to death. She could still be alive.”
My body feels heavy, I’m stuck in a vat of honey and moving through it is impossible. I can almost taste the sickly sweet flavor turning my stomach.
“Lare,” I say like I’m talking to him when he was still a child. Still adorable and lovable. It stabs my soul (no fucking pun intended) that he’ll never again be either of those.
“Are you saying there’s another victim nobody knows about?”
My mind flashes to the stories in all the papers. Like a hair shirt, they are my penance, and for that reason, I’ve memorized every single word.
'The body of twenty-eight-year-old Ingrid Walsh was found in several re-cycling bins yesterday afternoon in Seattle. Ingrid had been stabbed repeatedly in the chest, had her throat slit, and was partially dismembered to fit into the containers.
The suspect, identified by police as 25-year-old Lawrence Duckworth, has confessed to this crime as well as to those of three other young women who were murdered the same way, discovered in dumpsters throughout Seattle within the last three months.
Duckworth was dubbed, “The Seahawks Serial Slasher” as each victim’s throat was cut, and they were all found wearing a Seahawks T-shirt. The victims were also similar in appearance, all had dark hair, brown eyes, and, sources say, looked like his sister.
According to Duckworth’s social media and witnesses who saw him, he was on a Tinder date with Ingrid at Xtadium Lounge, just hours before he murdered her in the back of his van. Duckworth told police the van was soundproofed to the point where nobody could hear her screams.
Sources claim that after the murder, Duckworth sat at home, wearing bloody overalls, holding the murder weapon, and waiting for police to arrest him.'
“Larry? I say with as much pity and compassion as I can thrust into my voice, “You know there’s a part of me that will always be grateful to you for turning yourself in. Before anyone else got hurt. I’m proud of you for surrendering.”
He explodes with a roar, throwing his chair at the glass in front of my face with such force the plastic seat bounces back and goes flying into the wall behind him.
I scream and my screams mingle with his screams while his fists pound the partition and his face twists gruesomely.
The guards are quick though. They drag him away back to his cell before I can even begin to make sense of what happened.
Days later, I’m toying between the idea of jumping in front of the train or swallowing bottles of Ambien.
But I can’t do either until I find out if there’s another victim. And if by some miracle, she's still breathing.
The next time I go see Larry, I make an effort with my appearance. I style my dark hair until it shines like spun silk, put on mascara, my best jeans and cream satin shirt.
But this time I’m careful not to say anything that will remind him of our childhood.
“You look nice today, Margot, I’d forgotten how beautiful you are. Although you’re my sister, I can still acknowledge you’re a stunner.”
“Thanks Larry, that actually means… a lot–”
“–you know why I’m here, though, don’t you”, I ask quietly.
He scoffs, “Of course I fucking know why you’re here. Do you think I’m stupid? You wanna know where the girl is.”
“Obviously… duh,” I say with a twitch of a smile.
He smiles too.
Giving me a wink he says "I like to think of you as Lizzie Borden of the modern world, sis. So... if you show me yours, I'll show you mine."
I hear it then. Stuck deep inside me, wriggling its way out. The chant escaping from our lips when my friends and I were little girls, was pretty gruesome. But we didn't know so we didn't care. We had fun singing it while skipping rope on the sidewalk.
Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.
"You're not the angel or victim Margot, that everyone thinks you are, isn't that so?" Larry's voice, purring with satisfaction, interrupts my reminiscing.
I have to clear my throat before I can make any sound come from it, and then I bat my eyes and say "so you do suspect that I killed that son of a bitch father of ours, I wondered about that for years". I twirl a piece of my hair between my fingers and look him in the eyes.
"Did you?" he asks, point blank.
"Of course, little brother. And I made sure it hurt. A lot."
"Good", he says. And winks at me again.
"Now, if you share all the gory details, including where you buried him," he whispers, "I'll tell you all about that blue-eyed, blonde-haired girl."
My stomach does a little flip.
Maybe I won’t jump in front of that train after all.
The Beauty In The Evil
They whip around us like the wind, beckoning, begging, loving, embracing, threatening.
Beautiful, gentle in moderation, but deadly.
They are graceful forms, beckoning with hollow promises.
The moment innocent eyes have turned from them, they will draw their daggers.
A sweet, plump, motherly-looking woman holds out a basket of fruit. Each is ripe and bright, jewels piled in the wicker basket.
A man in a well-trimmed suit whispers words of flattery, building up esteem, summoning beauty out of his mirror.
His brother is with him. He kneels next to a fire, stoking the warm embers. He radiates warmth, confidence, and strength. A warrior, he holds out his gleaming sword, free for the taking.
There, laying on a bed of pillows, is their sister. She yawns delicately and flutters her lashes. "Sleep," she murmurs. "Drink of that most delicious of wines... sleep." And she drifts off into her dreams, room next to her for any to join.
The husband of the woman with the basket wraps his arms around her. She offers him a berry, and he takes from her the entire basket. He takes the sword, the pillow, the flattery, and he holds it to himself. Speckled on his fingers are rings of solid gold, and he holds out everything he owns, and everything that he does not.
A small boy watches him. He wishes for what that man holds out. He longs for something of his own, and tears pool in his eyes for all that he does not have.
One last figure emerges, forming out of the shadows. Her body is wrapped in red and her eyes glitter with desire. Setting herself between the brothers, she kisses them both, then turns her face up. She holds her hands out, offering herself.
Gentle in moderation... yet evil in excess.
The fruits of Gluttony are poisoned, the flattery of Pride will fail, the sword of Wrath will bleed you, Sloth's dreams turn to nightmares, trinkets and baubles that belonged to Greed will bury you, Envy's tears will drown you, and Lust will kill you with her seductively beautiful teeth.
Cunning... Deadly... They consume, consume, consume, until there is nothing left of this world but their own beautiful forms.
The 7 deadly Devils
Lust is a seductive deceitful fellow. It'll confuse you and make you think you may actually love somebody.
Greed gets a person thirsty for all things, everything. A must have even though you don't need it or have more than enough and that should satisfy you but it doesn't. It'll have you hoarding and storing up the mountain of goods, ignoring the neighbour, any person, who doesn't have any, knows not what they'll eat tonight much less tomorrow.
Gluttony fills herself with those goods, she'll cook and eat or maybe she'll order out. Eating excessively till the body size increases, soon it's blown up and out of control.
Wrath, extreme rage, unforgiving, a scorching heat rises inside you, action immediately follows. It'll have you making 'lifetime of regret' decisions in a split second.
Pride is arrogance in a nutshell. The ego would be highly inflated so you'd have no room to listen to anyone else besides yourself. It'll have you say, do and think things that you shouldn't, making you seem foolish.
Envy, surpassing jealously and taking a deadly turn. The green- eyed monster feels bitterness and deeply desires the possessions of another. She's a selfish lady.
Sloth gets you apathetically inactive. It'll make you avoid virtuous behaviour like the plague, making you stay away.
We're all human so we'll not be immune to these seven deadly sins. Strictly speaking it's a battle each day against sin and these represent everything God hates but thankfully, we can fight against them in Jesus' name.