The ape is quicker than man and sure-footed.
Pattern-feet in basins of land and washed in soot,
And his feet do hold on the sand and don’t fold,
At the ankle brushed with rivers of fur, for the cold.
The belly of the orient’s sovereign is quite filled
With the skin of ripe fruits and little creatures he’s killed.
And the turn of his brain is a mysterious thing,
As he wades in snow oceans on the footprinted plain.
Waiting patient for the passing of slink-shape things,
The ape is witness to daydreams of glorious wings.
And his envy has grown to the roots of his home
For the birds in command of a different throne.
He stands on his hands with a struck-stone blade,
Swayed swift to the violence he was keeping at bay.
And he hefts the great point to the sky with his might
And engages the vibrant sky thing in a fight, and-
The bird’s cleaved down the chest by the heave,
And it crashes out past where the ape can see
In the bleach-place, white like bones is the scorched face,
Miles-long craters where the water once laid.
The old ape pauses there, sways on his hands
On the precipice of stepping on the sand of the dead lands.
The cracked earth glows white in the sunlight,
And sweat beads down into pools in the ape’s eyes.
The ape takes another step in the rock shapes,
his foot-flesh spreads on the face of the landscape.
He has travelled some infinite lands
Grunting echoing calls of his kingly commands.
But something else is creeping in the view of his mind’s eye,
Panic spreading fast as he wanders in the hot-dry.
Some siren-call sings in his head,
And draws him to the shallow-cut path of the riverbed.
Over miles every muscle will quiver,
But still he will cling to the path of the river and
Two days, in the night and the sun,
The ape won’t walk but for some strange compulsion.
The river sides grow to a cavernous height,
Weak plant-things withered by the blight of the sunlight.
Some strange cold visions and illusory things
He sees the desert path washed by a false rain.
The ape, struck dumb, keeps his parched mouth hung
To capture the drops of the mind on his cracked tongue.
But after waterless miles of sick shivering,
And seeing false hope mirage pool shapes glimmering,
He sinks to the ground with a short croak.
And closes his eyes with the loss of his last hope.
But that compulsion, that pull he can’t see,
Once again brings him up, fatigued, to his knees.
A great vegetable lays before the ape lord,
With his last strength, he desperately rips at the gourd.
Green juice cascades on his face,
And catches in the thick black fur that it traces.
He drinks heavily, and eats of the gourd meat
And soon he is flooded with the strength to stand on his feet.
Looking ‘round, in the cavern he’s found
There’s a glittering color patch there on the ground.
Still weak, with a hunk of gourd meat,
He stumbles up and prods the cold thing with his feet.
There it lies, in the heat as it dries,
The bird in the cracked pool of blood it has died in.
And the life of it’s eyes is a vapor-shape
Going on the clouds in a final escape.
Something there that wasn’t is moved greatly,
Some change in the ape’s brain chemistry.
Death’s arm grabs the only live being he can find
To grant understanding to the depths of his mind.
The ape pushes up with his back to the wall,
As a glittering movement of smoke goes crawling.
And a cracked-dry corn husk skin thing,
Appears, prostrate, with the sound of a bell’s ring.
The great being, draped in a blood-red cape,
Is as tall as a twenty-high tower of apes.
The husk-corpse looks up with its hollow eyes,
In the center of its forehead a great, dark ruby shines.
The wind draws to its cavernous throat,
To speak from its void the old words it invokes.
“Ye childe of the wilderness, bound
In the Id’s dark clutches and the path you have found.
I am the figure of humanity’s death,
And the boil of sheol doth turn in my breast.
There are no souls left here to feed me,
No ghosts in the plains walk, far as I see.
Lo, my body, and shriveled up skin,
My teeth and my lips hunger endlessly for them.
I, a shadow creeping, am trapped in the rock bowl,
Shaking for the long-lost flesh of a human soul.
The tenderness of it doth cause my wretched mouth to drip
And blubber for the spiritous texture as it slips in.
I have grown tired of the pain that I feel,
And the hate that congeals in my want for a lost meal.”
Death pushes himself from the dirt
And the voids of his eyes glow with power, inert.
His form quivers as he raises on his thin bones,
The red cloak falling o’er his body as he moans.
The ape breathes heavy and deep, but is silent,
Kept in his place by the power of the giant.
His fuzzy head tips back into the wall,
As the flooding of consciousness begins from the husk maw.
“I am spent as the vessel of death,
And I will give you a power with my final breath.
You will roam through the lands of the others
To devour the nectar-tasting souls of your brothers.
I will give you the power of thought,
To be cunning, to know of the death you have wrought.”
And the ape is flooded with the thinking of a man
And beyond, he is brought to his knees on the cold sand.
The giant raises his hands to the light
And the shining of the ruby shifts strait to the ape’s eyes.
The new death’s black forehead is split,
And from out of it’s depths, another stone pierces it.
Another ruby, as deep as a blood pool,
Draws the stale air from the corners of the room.
Death falls to the ground in a pile,
And the haggard old leather lips hint at a smile.
“I am released from the power I have wielded.
You, now, determine to curse or to heal.”
And he fades with a flash, to the winds of the earth.
And the ape is left panting, the ruby’s wound hurting.
The old wanderer, silverback king
Goes walking from deadlands, dark ears ringing.
Something in the air is sweet, calling him towards
Another body dying in the distance of the world,
A soul to take away, to claim, devour to the astral plain.
The great expanse lies open, and the ape is gone again.