tongue gilding


Modern Worshippers: Kalliope

They twist words with ease and glitter-filled honey slips from their lips. The whisper words of advice to those who shake at the thought of public speaking. They themselves can stir a crowd gone cold with passion and fire just by opening their mouth. Some become motivational speakers, some layers to plead cases. Some politicians and some writers. They walk with a royal step and ink stains on their fingers like nail lacquer. But they also know when to hold a gilded tongue because silence too can be golden.

They are the Princesses and Princes of Spoken Word, under a crowing Queen.


sleepless in a nightgown stinted like moonlight
the lace forlorn against my cold body

i’m gilded tongue, rosewater rinds, the jeweled 
evening’s soft mumbled lullaby 

pained by every crook of your belligerent bones,
the thudded heart spits out a peace offering

a kiss of candlelight for your winter-fractures, 
embossed like silvered embers and the brocade,

like the tips of your hair or sifting through the 
smokescreen of a madly grinning country

i see how you flirt with the rain, the way the 
stars ride your eyes like blurring trains 

the night and all her sisters, attuned to the 
sand & silt of your familiar touch, the

sorrowed veins of sempiternal dreams
and the frosted novices of sparrows 

brimming tears or fugacious flowers 
curling into the lantern of restlessness.

why do we speak in gilded tongues, in fatalities? why is my rose garden incomplete without the bloodstains? i just want to be an infinity, pin the wings of angels between my teeth, braid the stars into a waterfall and live a little larger, a little lighter, a little sparklier.

if you kiss me around the spring equinox, in the brimstone church where the sun is merely a breath away from the moon, then we get a chance at immortality. or something like that. there are myths coated in stardust that mirror our reflecting bodies.

are we not kinetic? did you not take the fall for me and create rain? winter was crocheted from the velvet lace of your heart, the first time you sobbed with your whole being, a twister hit Arkansas, the one day you forgot to say your midnight prayer, the world quaked beneath your feet. i claimed Eden’s garden after i accepted the apple from the witch. if the world ends tonight, it’s going to be because of you & me.

—  Won’t You Swallow The World Whole For Me, Dear? // j.r