toad-rock

Walpurgisnacht

Let the hares bound up the mountain. 
Let the birds fly in the pines. 
Let the toads leap on the rocks. 
Let the snakes slide through the crags. 

Let them come on wing and leg.
Let them come on broom and branch.
Let them sing their songs and spells. 
Let them meet at the bald summit. 

Who will be seen at the Brocken’s peak? 
Which devils and beasts and witches meet?

7

Toadstones are mythical stones or gems thought to originate from the heads of toads. In reality, a toadstone is simply bufonite that formed from the button-like teeth of Lepidotes, an extinct species of fish from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

In ancient times, people assumed that because toads had poison glands in their skin, they must also carry their own antidotes and took this in the form of a magic stone. For that reason, toadstone were supposed to be an antidote to a number of different poisons, and whenever someone was bitten or stung by a poisonous something-or-other, a toadstone would be rubbed on the wound. European jewellers also set the stones into magical rings and amulets until the 18th century, calling them “stones that are perfect in form.”

when did the lights in the gardens fade to black pounding silhouettes // when did my backyard turn from a castle of dreams into shadowlands? // i remember when smiles didn’t usher headaches, when we laughed & the clouds rippled in the colorful lake of sky // i miss your eyes like fog lights piercing the night, we used to be whole, we used to say we have a swimming pool full of time and now it has been drained. i want to go back & start again // i want a new pair of wings; unstained.

the boys here leave smoking trails // shoelaces untied and cigarette dragons burning // BMWs and Cadillacs snaking through cul-de-sacs // the girls twirl their skirts and bite their purple lips // we play at heaven together and pretend to know what love is // we pretend as if we don’t march like soldiers on standby, as if the tea we drink doesn’t always smell a little bit like blood // as if our parents for once, built a parachute for their grievances.

we’re merely hungry children // all this talk about utopian angels and backpacking across Europe // all this talk and we’re still grazing the farmlands we encircled when we were twelve and full of burning ambition // we skip across each other like toads on river rocks // some say love is only a carnival when you’re young // some say we’re too old for this // either way you make me ache in all the right ways // i look to you and my chest fills with lava.

these streets, where we spun wildly underneath a star-blanket, moon-fed & unbroken // these streets where you whispered to me in tongues // where we forged our first lullaby to Mars // we are fire ants: proud, biting, swarming // the night howls madly // we kiss lilac walls, paint our toe nails some eccentric color and fall asleep to the orchestra of the maiden wind.

—  SUBURBIA // j.r