Ti Leaf

  • Faiza, The Lady of Serpents

    Upon the next stage, a primitive cage has been erected. It is made of heavy, dark sticks bound with strips of deep brown leather. The stage is as dark as pitch, and from the shadows, you hear soft hissing, spitting, and an ominous chorus of weird rattling sounds. You approach with some trepidation, and peer between the bars. Your attention is seized by writhing forms on the straw bottom of the cage. As your eyes adjust to the gloom, you realize that the floor is seething with serpents, dark and colorful, languid and large, swift and small. You hear a sultry chuckle, and you see bright, unblinking emerald eyes staring at you from the corner of the cage. A woman crawls through the snakes, her scaled body as sinuous and lissome as the creatures that share her home. She reaches towards you languorously with her sharp-clawed hands and sighs.

    A sensual blend of twisting, exotic, serpentine oils: black amber, oakmoss, green sandalwood, bergamot, jasmine sambac, gardenia, orange pulp, black cardamom, vanilla, blackberry, black musk, blackened vanilla husk, white honey, ti leaf, and ginger.

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  • Inside the Golden Amber of Her Eyeballs

    A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
    your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
    within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
    will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

    just as a raving madman, when nothing else
    can ease him, charges into his dark night
    howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
    the rage being taken in and pacified.

    She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
    into her, so that, like an audience,
    she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
    and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

    as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
    and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
    inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
    suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

    – Rainer Maria Rilke

    Sleek black fur and gleaming amber shining in the shadows, a rumble of myrrh, and claws as sharp as ti leaf.

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  • Midnight Bonfire

    Lighting the path between worlds, the beacon at the threshold: night-blooming jasmine, smoldering maple leaves, a cluster of patchouli and blackened ti leaf, black sage, and pinewood smoke.

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  • The Creation of Lilith

    I took this photo of Lilith a few days ago. I told her that it looks like her and Pickle are reenacting Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, and I show her a pic. She asks what’s going on in it, so I explain the image, and she says… “Well, that’s friggin sexist. It’s stupid to say that boys were created first and to make a whole painting about it. Plus there’s no girls in the photo, and not everyone has boy or girl parts. It’s sexist, and I hate it.”

    That was a much, much stronger reaction than I expected, but good on you, kid. Burn the patriarchy down.

    And Elohim created Adam in His Image, in the Image of God He created him; male and female He created them. The first woman, created with Adam, in all her darkness and all her light: sweet black pomegranate, French lavender, oakmoss, ti leaf, bakhoor oudh incense, and black fig.

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  • The Magdalena

    Frankincense, myrrh, leather, ti leaf, saint wood, benzoin, and labdanum absolute.

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