The vicaress of Babel’s picking postcards like cutting flower heads from twisted iron stems, and she has them carted back to her palace by her faithful slave Raphael, who’s still serving community sentence for cutting up that prostitute in the 1980s. She thinks she’s a beat poet, half the time she spends her ink like flinging copper coins into a fountain. She glides up the flesh road in her purple dress, her heels digging the bare backs of chattel – she doesn’t mind blood on her boots, it only deepens the colour, but mud’s unthinkable. Vicaress tosses raven-hair skyward and it takes time to fall like a gift and all her servants fight over it and lick it and one wraps a strand around her tongue until it falls away and she’s condemned as a holy leper and sent to live in the exotic whorehouses, with all the other crippled saints, like the one-eyed woman born without breasts or the black teenager who bleeds at the wrist when fornicating.

Candle-wreathed study splitter quills that dance in disjointed harmony on cheap card – there’s no paper long enough to draw the Road, so she makes her marks in moments. A line or two, how she misses you, how she loves you, how the night sky bleeds like her desire continued on the card with the raven over the mantelpiece and she’s quivering at the thought of the dawn light like you’re cumming in a snow white continued on the postcard looking like a tory manifesto costume cutting the glass grass with its hem. Raphael’s sleeping at her feet and she’ll kick him in the throat every now and again and he’ll say thank you and she’ll threaten him with a postcard until he shrinks back into the shadows but he crawls back and sleeps again when she continues writing – it’s a room of hissing and silent outcry and the drip of her desire on the padded leather chair as she pants out her lust. God, Book,

The vicaress collects stained glass windows featuring King James events, and she’s even got one of that scene which shows David cutting his 195th foreskin from a dead Jew, with an impressed father figure looking down from the clouds and a naked girl lounging on a throne of dead penises and the reversible caption reads a crazy little thing called love and she can’t help but hum the tune when the moonlight leaves the scene on her bed. She’s got one of God mooning Moses too/she doesn’t like it, but it always makes Raphael laugh so it’s over by his bed, a hole she’s cut in the corner and he’ll climb into it until his waist disappears in wooden splinters and he’ll watch her when she sleeps.

She doesn’t stop to eat anything more than ink, and she’s finished the postcards within the time and she thinks about getting them published or putting them straight on Amazon, but she’s got a conscience and she sets up the Post Office and has a postcard delivered to every house and waits for the murderers to come out and collect them all and for blood to run in the streets so Raphael can lap it up and she can dye her cloaks red and wear a beret at a jaunty angle and pretend she’s always been a revolutionary. She sits up in her phallic tower glittering with scars and waits for the first screams, and when she hears them she cries, cos’ they’re screams of laughter and she howls curses at them when she fingers herself and damnation is her orgasm.

And loyal Raphael slopes in his sleeping wound and watches her cry but can’t talk cos’ they took his tongue a long time ago, and he can’t even mouth words anymore cos’ he’s got no teeth left except the teeth on the ends of his fingers/drum drum drum on the splintered wood and blink as spikes find their way beneath fingernails. Every time he looks at her he gets an erection, and he’s heard the name they called her before now, but the laughter’s something new and she isn’t so impossible anymore, she ain’t the vicaress, she’s just a splintered Babylon, and he realises that she’s human and he could rape her if he wanted – he’s an angel after all.

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