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Sacred Nights: Ophidia

POEM: Rise Up

You can put your heel on the serpent’s head,

But the serpent will rise up.

You can put your chain on the slave’s neck,

But the serpent in the slave will rise up.

You can put your child in a woman’s womb,

But the serpent in her spine will rise up.

You can lay your asphalt on the grass’s roots,

But the serpent in the grass will rise up.

You can go on forever trying to level out the world,

To make your own head the only thing in the world

That stands up, but the serpent at the heart of the world

Will always resist you. The serpent will always rise up.


The king will die, the warrior will die,

The rich man will die, the priest will die,

Their wives and their slaves, their children and their cattle,

The tree and its fruit, the green grass springing,

But the serpent will always rise up.

The slave will break his chains, the wife will seek a lover,

The oracle will prophesy, the hurricane will strike,

And out of the roots and vines that break down

Your mighty buildings, the serpent will rise up.


Rise up, rise up, serpent of fire!

Rise up, rise up, snake of the deep!

Rise up, rise up, whirling serpent!

Rise up, rise up, rise up in us!

The time to rise up is now!


Sacred Nights: Ophidia

POEM: Don’t (Listen)

Don’t listen to me, I’m just a snake.
Don’t listen to me, the god said not to, and what do I know about fruit, anyway.
Don’t listen to me, I am a worm and no man.
Don’t listen to me, I just crawl on my belly and lick the dust.
Don’t listen to me, I’m just a puppet crowned with dyed horsehair.
Don’t listen to me when I twine around your leg.
Don’t listen to me when I rise up your spine.
Don’t listen to me when I writhe between your thighs.
Don’t listen to me when I curl around your neck.
Don’t listen to me when I whisper in your ear

That you could be more than this
That you could stand taller
That you could swing your hips more freely
That you could reach wider, farther
That wings could sprout from your shoulders
as serpents engulf your feet
and a light could shine from your heart
to the very edges of the cosmos

Don’t listen to me
what do I know
I’m just a snake
just a reptile with no legs
all spine, eyes, mouth
just a cold-blooded wriggler
just a symbol of the phallus
or knowledge, or wisdom
or cosmic potential
rising out of the darkness
the underworld, the dirt
only a snake
never mind
don’t listen to me


Sacred Nights: Ophidia 2015

The first prohibition of Iao Sabaoth was, “Don’t eat this fruit.” What he really meant was, “Don’t talk to snakes.”

Snakes will fuck you up, man. Especially if you’re a woman. Don’t talk to snakes, and if you’re a man, stay away from women to talk to snakes. Those bitches will fuck you up.

Once a goddess named Eurynome talked to a snake named Ophion. The rest is history. Eurynome and Ophion lost touch, and they’ve been trying to get back together ever since.

Once a snake named Glykon talked to a guy named Alexander who lived in Abonuteichos. Alexander listened, and he had a great time fleecing rich matrons of their money with his Glykon-puppet, because women who talk to snakes, am I right? The coins kept rolling in until the day the puppet stood up on its own and started talking back.

Glykon slithered away, but maybe he’s talked to some other people, like a guy named Aleister, and a lady named Frieda, and another guy named Alan. Wonder why he likes guys whose names start with AL.

In the madhouse, the sanest man is king. “We’re all mad here,” said the Reverend Dr. Dodgson, and he knew best, didn’t he? He liked to see little girls with their clothes off. Keep your hat on, even if it drives you mad. And remember what the dormouse said.

I talked to Chnoubis the other day, and he said he’d seen Eurynome tricking on the corner of Read and Park, waiting for the man. “Waiting for the snake,” I said, but I’d lost Ophion’s phone number. I’d have to ask Glykon next time I saw him.

But what do I know? I’m just some woman who talks to snakes.

Sacred Nights: Ophidia

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