Jill Alexander Essbaum



An Order of Service for the Construing of Gloom:
                     The Hieros Gamos of Rue to Numen


An Invocation of Dejection.


Let us pray:


My pet.

My perturbation.


My perpetuation.


So be it. Truly and



I lay my hand to the spot

I would have sworn

You lay your hands before.


Where your hands are no more.


First Lesson.

From the Book of Depression:



I say unto you—

If you only knew.


(Here ends the initial rebuke.)


Psalm one of two.


Would you have her under you?

(A great many do.)


Oh, Fool.


Lesson, the Next.

An unreckoned message:


You will never find your lover in the dark

If you navigate his sea by waning stars.


A man says amen.


Psalm once again:




In a dangerous wood,

I would have.


In your blood field

I will if I can.


Please stand

As I chant from

The Gospel of the Damned:


And so it came to pass

That the momentum of her efforts,

The efficient decent she spun into,

Seemed to rule her. Seemed to ruin her.

It was the work of an insistent instant.

The bed and the being. The coitus—

Exploitative. The poison and the cloy.

The water that came from other water.

The sackcloth that shattered the ash.


And so the daughter of sham

Learned shame and not shalom.


Sing praises of disdain to The Name,



[Insert here a proper sermon.

Something concerning the soul of such a person,

Something to do with that silly bit of spirit

She’s wrapped up in, her devil whims,

Her pitiful little blisses, her tag-along phantoms,

The rib that when he asks, she'll give him back.]


We pray for the artifact to outlast us:


Oh Hierodule

Whose eyes are cruel

Whose skin is sad and gashed

You by whose succinctness

I reckon both my weakness

And my seasons

You by whose profession

Must you accept

This confession

Oh odd, white bird

Whose dirty wings I preen

Whose wedding ring

I wear on a string

That I tie around my neck

Oh black, cracked, gibbeting diadem

Made shiny for the scrag-dance—

What gruesome Evangel

Distributes your tracts?


On the night in which you betrayed

You gave out bread

But you back-tracked.


And when you took up the cup, you said

It is enough.


But it wasn't.

Or isn't. Or it shall never be.


Accept you, then, this offering:

My suffering.


For these are my words

I speak them to you

These are my wounds

This is my room


And this is the truth

You presumed that I knew:


The poison will kill you

The killing will heal you


The healing will hell you.


For not every heart's at home in God

And hardly any man I loved returned the favor

And life glows with terror

While night sheens with loss


Lord, now you nail your servant to her cross.


Glory to the millstone and the albatross.

Glory to the saints within whose houses

My haphazard hopes met their every defeat.


Let us offer now aloud

Our Post-Communion Pleas(e):










1. Him


I let go my dress in his temple, devoutly.

I brought to him butters in lordly dishes.

He spread my legs like rumor, word-of-mouthly.


2. Hymn


Tears have a talent for falling.

That is their calling.


3. Hem


I have folded my edges.

I've serged and I have pinked.

I have finished my seams.


So it would seem.