Chalk Circle

inspired by “The Importance of Gourd Crafting” by Rumi and Sobonfu Somé’s “The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient African Teachings in the Way of Relationships”

Take ash in your hand
and draw a chalk circle around us—
sanctify this space
and define our position
within the laws of nature—
for there are contracts
we will break
and new ones
we will create
within this small circumference.

There is no disgrace
in surrendering
to passion
as long as you remember
to plan it:
with a steady conscience,
cast your libations
to quench the thirsty dead
and honor the thousand invisibles:

you must always remember
the thousand demons that sneak
into the unseen midst
between eyes and electric brain,
knotted knuckle-fists
and through the gaps
 your thousand wandering kisses
erupting in violets
over skin’s borderless terrain,
blooming from a thousand open pores—
the ripple-wraiths
from a thousand mouths
innuendos of birth and death,
the scarlet moons of nails
engraving secret hieroglyphs
which tell a thousand tales—
and the audience of a thousand faces
watching from behind the veil,
the hushed rustle of wrapping paper
in the darkened room.

A thousand fingers,
a thousand dancing tongues
a thousand throats
chant precambrian songs—
a thousand teeth,
a thousand ghosts
stalk entombed in shadows—
the dogs of doom
devour raw meat
and howl lullabies
to the clamoring unborn
waiting restlessly at the gate
in thousandfold hordes
where pollen-water trickles,
tracing sacred scars
of love and war
in underground shale,
rivers of blood
in benign water-guise
and the pale ghost of milk
summoned from invisible daughters
awaiting the code:
flip the switch,
turn the handle
shoulder the cross
and begin the process—
another life,
another death;
sticky-sweet fingers
trick the unwary
into messy descent
further into flesh and stone,
saliva and bone—

a thousand nests,
a thousand birds:
the flocks of wings scatter,
disturbed by the call of
a thousand invisible cocks disrupting
the henhouse,
broken egg-mess and shells cut our feet
as we ride through watermarks
of a thousand scattered incarnations,
disheveled barefoot and clutching
jewels and earthworms
in the crawlspace between our sternums—
humming incantations
of a thousand buzzing insects,
a thousand exploding
fill the sky with peacock light
as our clothes lay lifeless like pinecones
on the forest floor
like the thousand bodies we’ll expend
as we choose the holy death
of falling
over the empty space
of flight—
I choose this.
I choose this.
I sing in forked tongues,
sucked into gravity’s orbit—
deliberately weightless;

I am wary enough
to bring a lantern
and a magic egg of onyx
to protect myself
from the thousand enchantments
drilling inside our wanting eyes—
the lifted limb,
the starlit womb
this treacle madness
moving in fickle permanance,
yuga upon kalpa, a thousand dramas
leaving forever notes scribbled
in the margins of the universe—
enmeshing us within
a thousand pulsing vulvas,
a thousand revolving breaths,
a thousand eyes to see inside
this locked box of flesh,
a thousand cobras
sprouting from each limb
and encircling us like hydras—
dark diamond heads
a thousand unseen orifices,
breaking the seals
with greedy finesse—
a thousand spiders
consuming us with the orchid-sweet venom
of need—
a thousand spent black holes
of vacuum universes,
extinguished cigarettes,
hopes unmet,
a thousand waves
of destruction and death—
this ultimate sacrifice
this sacrament extracts—
be ready for it.
Meet it with teeth
and a horn-clash.


The body is ruthless:
inside of us
lies a humming nucleus
containing unseen colors—
kaleidoscope landscapes
of murder and betrayal,
cause of all causes,
the howl of winter hunger
and the scent of danger—
this solemn luxury of excess
consumes us
 like a virus,
knowing no ending,
sucking us in.
Is this what you call sin,
the thin flickering horizon
between pleasure and terror?
I embrace it.
From here everything begins.


Are we the ornaments
of experience?
I refuse to believe
in the cool logic of denial,
of black and white rooms
where the good and bad congregate,
obedient to their chosen masters.
I refuse to die
a blank slate—
empty as the bald pate
of a monk who’s given his body
to charity,
offering the wrapped gift of his chastity
as a stopgap between heaven and earth.
I surrendered my wings
at the tollbooth
and pay my monthly dues in blood;
why should I forsake its purpose?
I am the religion of being
and creating, devouring,
unfolding into bliss—
I smash my fist
into a thousand holy books
that call me witch
for choosing the hymn
of hunger.
I demand this:
before telling me my limits,
dare to look into the eyes
of my child
and tell me I am not mother
of her universe.


Take ash in your hand
and draw a chalk circle around us.
We are criminals
in the court of cosmic justice.
Don’t offer me solace,
only kisses.
Make us this church
so we may worship
in peace.
Protect us from the envy
of piousness.

Take my hand
and look straight in my eyes.
Don’t be afraid 
if you see through me
to the other side. I am meant for this.
I invite all the darkness
our opening brings.
Whatever we do here is safe
and secret.
Fuck me in the senseless harmony of stars;
hold on tight like a jockey to the comet-head of my longing
and streak it across the cosmos.

I am the power of a thousand things.

© Psyche Marks 2007

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top