Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pitchblende Fundraiser Sestina #3: Heaven's Gate Sestina

Heaven's Gate Sestina

Realize you've never truly been at home. Sick.
Ill-fitted. Dirty. Poor. Look at your awkward vessel
stumbling through its obligations. Earthly streets take tolls.
Concrete slides ricepaper-grey even the cleanest Nike soles,
once pure, black and white like binary, like salvation ––
Yes, Walk-In. Yes, Other. You may escape being alien

here, with us, at home. When home is an alien
concept, who wouldn't look at being homesick
as a bit feigned? What kind of retail salvation
are you searching for, you meat machine, you vessel?
Surely you don't believe we have immortal souls.
Do you expect the Styx? Charon collecting tolls?

Childish myth kills creation, suffocates voices, tolls
the ultimate source. You are transhuman. You are alien
to the world of men and women and scuffed soles.
You know you've always had that strange homesick
feeling. You've squeezed your eyes and prayed for a vessel
to carry you far, far away. You never thought to call it salvation.

You call it return. You call it Next Level. Salvation
looks like this: $5.75 in interplanetary tolls,
a row of beloveds all dressed in black, a vessel
dressed as a comet screaming through pitch-dark alien
space to carry you and your true family home, sick,
hobbling, weepy, ignorant, ugly, isolated souls

we are. We are together. We share sweats and soles.
The planet is recycling itself. We've created salvation
with radio waves, an Away Team, one homesick
cry for us all. Do not ask for whom Hale-Bopp tolls,
it tolls for We. Come with us, pretty little alien.
Shed the systematic decay of our carbon vessel.

Drink this. It will lift us. This plastic bag is a vessel.
We choke alone so we may breathe together. Souls
do not asphyxiate, and no one can make an alien
feel alien in the sameness of space. What other salvation
could ever have been? The last bell of earth tolls
to no one. We will forget how to be homesick.

These soles are pure white, untouched, alien to the earth.
They point straight up, toward the heavenly vessel that tolls
a silent call, a blinking exit sign for those homesick for salvation.  


Jade's notes:

This sestina was written for the marvelous Edrie, of Army of Broken Toys fame. She asked for a non-metered sestina about "being homesick for a place you've never been." I decided to write about the Heaven's Gate suicides from the 90s, because cults are interesting, and the apocalypse is interesting, and nontraditional conceptions of the afterlife bring to light what we're all really searching for with our afterlives and our religions and our various weird belief systems. Also I know Edrie loves it when I write about the apocalypse. ;)

More Pitchblende fundraiser sestinas on the way! Follow Pitchblende on Facebook and Twitter!

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