Seven Deadly Sins VII: Ira

This final poem in the Seven Deadly Sins series was originally published as a Twitter thread. The previous poem, “Seven Deadly Sins VI: Acedia”, can be found here.


All spent in soul and body
bereft my last sane thought
I struggled with my demons
and hoped it weren’t for naught

I’d left my life behind me
I’d offered up my will
I’d lowered me to doing things
that I regretted still

To kill in name of virtue
to let my skin be touched
To lie, betray and sacrifice
the things I valued much

And heavens know I felt it
the weariness inside
That poisoned with indifference
to if I lived or died

And as I reached the summit of
a tall and rocky hill
I saw the burgh below me and
grew more despondent still

The city was afire
the flames defiled the clouds
And dancing ‘midst the fires I saw
fiends in endless crowds

I almost did give in then,
succumbing to the sight
I knew I was too puny
to ever win this fight

But something kept me going
and please God me remit
For it was pride and anger and
not virtue, not one bit

And then the heavens opened
and spilled its frenzied tears
As I descended slowly to make
battle with my fears

My left hand held the crystal,
my right hand held the blade
Endowed me by the heavens,
my holy quest to aid

The gates swung up before me
the dancing crowd fell back
to make a pathway forward
then re-closed in my track

Then coming forth to greet me
a lesser hellish lord:
The demon they call Amon
already drawing sword

I knew the magic crystal
had room for just one more
And hadn’t foreseen Amon to
stand guard at Satan’s door

I realized that moment
that I would have to dare
A duel with this monster to
the gem for Satan spare

And as the rainfall poured down
Inferno all around
Our blades did crash together with
an all but deafening sound

The battle raged for ages
at least that’s how it felt
Then suddenly a sharp pain as
he cut me and I knelt

The thought that all should end there
was too much to abide
“God help me”, I said quietly
as he swung swift and wide

And then I drew the crystal
and quickly met his blow
The air exploded, all sound died
and all things turned aglow

I came back to my senses
and terror gripped my soul
For though alive I had just lost
all hope to reach my goal

Though Amon was defeated
and could be seen no more
I was now further from my mark
than I had been before

I rose up, gripped by terror
of what I had just done
The crystal was now useless;
the fight could not be won

And then the fires parted
made way as if in awe
For him who now approached me;
I winced at what I saw

For I stood before Satan
the ruler of all vice
The lord upon the wrathful
now stripped of all disguise

His monstrous frame enormous
His head with antlers crowned
My head said “bow” and ‘fore I knew
I knelt down on the ground

“We finally meet”, his voice boomed
I couldn’t even look
I tried to rise or speak or act
but still I only shook

“You’ve beaten all my sergeants,
and prov’n your mettle well.
And finally you’re here to let me
drag you down to Hell.”

I saw it flash before me
not just my life ‘til then
But also scenes he showed me
of torture without end

The devil then approached me
his giant blade was drawn
And I knew I would never live
to see another dawn

But as I saw the shadow of
his blade above my head
A choir rose around me with
the voices of the dead

And at the corners of my eyes
I saw them all take form
The ghosts of those I’d tried to save
their song now like a storm

I felt a surge of strength then
come rushing like a tide
I grabbed the sword of Michael and
met Satan in his stride

The blade crash was like thunder
we circled and attacked
We fought with equal fervor
like angels had my back

The rain turned into embers
the fires turned to ice
This was an ageless battle
of virtue and of vice

But I was growing weaker
still bleeding from before
And realized that I could
not muster that much more

Each blow I parried made me
more weak and tired still
I made mistakes and panicked
and backed against my will

My foe laughed as he fought me
“I knew that you were weak.
Your fate is settled, if you have
a last prayer you should speak”.

But then a voice did echo:
“Don’t fear, for you are blessed”
And I knew it was Michael,
who sent me on this quest.

“This mortal shell you carry
you’re ready now to break
For you were once an angel too,
remember now and wake”.

And memories came flooding
of lives I’d lived before
Of other incarnations
and promises of yore.

And something in me woke then
and other things did break
And Satan must have seen this for
his blade began to shake

“Who are you”, he demanded
“At least no man at all”
I felt my eyes were glowing
“I’m your demise and fall”

And with those words I struck him
with newfound skill and art
And though he tried to parry
I thrust and pierced his heart

The devil stared in shock and
I calmly met his gaze
Now finally remembering
I, too, once fell from grace

I never was a mortal,
a sentence it had been
To prove myself in human guise
in penance for my sin

And as the demon bled out
still pierced upon my blade
I saw all this and also knew
atonement had been made

A hand upon my shoulder
for I was not alone
“You’ve paid your debt, Grigori,
I’ve come to take you home.”

An angel stood before me
abask in heaven’s light
It was my brother Michael
come to put all things right

“You’ve lived just as a mortal
and paid a heavy price
But in so doing you have also
purged yourself from vice”

He took my hand and led me,
as one we walked away
And as dawn broke it was upon
a very different day

Where people ruled themselves just
as things had been before and
The seven deadly sins were but
ideas and nothing more


This final poem in my Seven Deadly Sins series, and all the previous parts, were written in response to a hashtag game series by Marc Tizura/@areyouingrenin. This day’s particular prompt was Wrath – Ira. The Twitter hashtag is and you can find more poetry and flash fiction there

Thank you for reading!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the series, because I sure as hell (literally) have enjoyed writing it.

I’d love to hear your opinions and feedback in the comment below!

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My Crazy Friday

So I went to Stockholm this Thursday to participate in some workshops and lectures for my journalism course. And when they were over, I simply decided not to go home.

I took the sub downtown and wandered around for a while in the rain and the increasing darkness of early evening. The otherwise so crowded streets were emptying and the stores and cafés were closing for the night. I found one that was still open, ordered a chai latte and settled down by a small table with a candle to write.

From the ceiling mounted speakers flowed the kind of music perfect for Moments. You know, those short islands of clarity in your daily life, that you know that you will remember for years to come. Maybe with envy because you are not there anymore.

The latte was also perfect, and the words flowed. Then, seemingly suddenly, the café closed and I was out on the streets again, wandering aimlessly. It was getting too late to catch a train back home anyway, so I looked up a cheap hostel that I checked into.

The Red Boat, just as the name implies, was a hostel contained onboard a red boat laying at anchor by the river winding through the city. The room was small but perfect, and I dumped my things there before returning to the darkening city streets. In want of my camera, my cellphone had to make due.

Stockholm’s windows glowed like celestial bodies in the night and the passing cars were that imagined sky’s comets and asteroids. A friend called me, one who knew I was in town and who wanted to meet. We ate and drank and then we went clubbing. My first time in Stockholm. I got to see light and smoke and people getting thrown out in the night without their jackets for no apparent reason. It was glorious.

Then remained to return, alone, to my small room and fall asleep while the city night and the flashing lights of police sirens fell through my curtains and painted the ceiling in blue stripes.

Now I’m sitting in that very same café again, a chai latte in front of me and a realization in my mind that for Moments to happen one sometimes has to step out of the secure, comfortable box that makes us take the train home directly after journalism classes. My own train home leaves in about an hour, so I guess it’s time to drink up the latte and savor the Moment before stepping back into the box.


Oh, and by the way: my word count is now 23341. And I don’t know what my computer was thinking with the tags on this post. I’ll fix it when I get back home lol. Over and out!

Without Their Horses

Another story written in response to a writing prompt. I tried to work some symbolism in there, I hope you find it. Feel free to leave comments!


The white, streamlined vehicle came first. I reacted as the bright headlights sliced through the darkness outside and came to a stop in the parking lot. It was midnight, and this was not a well-traveled tract. Also, the car and it’s driver didn’t fit into the regular clientele at all. I muted the stereo and yawned, trying to kick myself into service mode.

I eyed the man suspiciously as he entered the Diner. Expensive suit, expensive haircut, expensive smile. ”What can I get you, sir?” A fed or a gangster, I didn’t know which of the two I preferred. The bow-tie, however, belied both theories. Who was this man?

He smiled at me and looked to his expensive watch. ”Nothing right now, thank you. I’m meeting some people here. I’ll just sit down and wait.” He paused. ”A cup of coffee would be perfect, though.”

I started pouring him one from the batch I had made earlier. ”I haven’t seen you around these parts before. Are you traveling?”

”You could say that. But I’ve been here before, many times. It has been a while now, but me and my associates come together at a regular basis, and every time that happens we meet here.”

I was confused. I had been working in that diner for ten years, ever since it opened, and I had never seen this man before. I could have missed him, of course, but I was pretty sure I would have heard about him from my coworkers. But it didn’t really matter. I settled for a polite smile and a knowing nod. ”How do you want your coffee? Milk? Sugar?”

He laughed softly. An expensive laugh. ”No, thank you, I take my coffee black. Black as tar.” I didn’t get the joke, but it was something in his eyes that told me he expected me to laugh. So I did, although stiffly. It seemed like the wisest thing to do, like this was a man used to having things his way.

I handed him his coffee. ”Nice car”, I said just to break the uncomfortable silence. ”Ferrari?”

He accepted the cup and afforded me a condescending smile. ”Maybach Exelero”, he replied and settled down by the window.

A few minutes later the night was again flooded by bright lights as another car, this one larger, pulled up beside the first one. Even after the headlights were turned off, the deep red of the hood still reflected the Diner’s lights and gave the vehicle an almost fiery impression. I watched as a man climbed out of the huge SUV. Even from where I stood I registered his muscular build, and his attire gave him away for a military man – perhaps of some rank.

He entered the door and nodded in the direction of the other man before walking up to me. His features were rugged and sharp, and there was no warmth in his eyes, nor in his voice, when he addressed me. ”I’ll have the steak of the house”, he said. ”And make it bloody.”

”Certainly, sir”, I said as I wrote down his order. Not that I needed to do so, I just wanted an excuse not to meet his fierce eyes. ”Anything else?”

”No”, he replied. ”And skip the vegetables and all the other wastes of time. I just want the meat.”

Then I jumped as he slammed his palm against the counter. ”And you look at me when I’m talking to you.” From pure chock I met his eyes and I could have sworn there were fires burning there. ”You shouldn’t be working in a shithole like this, under these fuck shit conditions. You have to stand up for yourself. You hear me?”

I nodded slowly, and tried to keep my voice from shaking. ”I hear you, sir. Your order’ll be right up.” He eyed me for another eternity before releasing me from his attention and marching over to the table. I could see him adjusting the sheath of a huge army knife on his belt before sitting down.

I tried to regain my composure as I went to work preparing the coarse steak plate. In the background I could hear the two men conversing across the table, but I was not able to make out what was being said. They seemed to know one another well, however, and when a third car pulled up outside they both looked up in silent anticipation. This car was black, and I was surprised to see that it was of a model I knew. Audi A6 was fancy according to my standards, but it posed an almost mundane contrast to the two extravagant monsters that stood parked beside it.

As the driver entered the Diner I registered that his looks matched the price level of his vessel. Smart and professional, but not overblown. He eyed the menu on the wall with a displeased frown before stepping up to the counter.

”I see you are giving away free wheat bread together with the salad buffet”, he said. ”That cannot be tolerated.”

I was completely taken aback by the strange statement. ”What do you mean? Everybody does that. Or do you mean you’d rather have gluten free bread? That’s no problem, we have that too. We just don’t keep it up front because –”

”No, that’s not what I meant. You just can’t go giving out free bread. I’ll look into this, if it’s true that ‘everybody’ does it. Then I’ll get back to you. But for now, I’ll just have a glass of wine and a single slice of bread. With lots of olive oil on it.”

I just stared for a moment. What was this man, some kind of food inspector? Was I in trouble? Instead of asking more questions, however, I just poured him a glass of red wine and took note of his strange order. ”Here you go, sir”, I said and handed him the wine. ”The bread and… olive oil will be right up. That’ll be five dollars for the wine, and the bread is on the hou…” I caught myself when seeing his stern look. ”Eh, that’ll be seven dollars all in all, sir”.

He nodded, and when he handed me the money I noticed that his golden cuff-links were shaped like small balancing scales. He then brought his wine to the table and instantly started talking to the other two.

The conversation at the table died completely, however, when the fourth car showed up. It was nothing like the others and resembled a hearse more than a private car. Its headlights were a strange tint of pale green, and the carriage body was grey. An eerie silence settled inside the Diner as the driver got out, followed by a large, black dog. The man’s walk was supported by a cane with a curved metal handle, and the lamp light fell strangely on it when he entered the door.

”You cannot bring animals in here”, I hurried to say as the man and the beast walked towards me.

The slender, darkly dressed man just looked at me, held my eyes in a calm, cold grip. I felt all the color drain from my face and my throat tighten. ”Hades follows me everywhere”, he ascertained flatly before joining the others at the table. The dog granted me with another ravenous, piercing look before proudly sitting down on the floor beside his master. From then on the voices at the table took an a more serious and respectful character, and even without knowing the subject I could tell that they were getting down to business.

I really didn’t want to walk over there with the plates, but I knew that I had to. The steak in one hand and the bread in the other, I took a deep breath and forced a smile on my face. They were paying customers and, also, for all i knew they might kill me if I attended them poorly. As I came closer, more of their conversations could be heard.

”…and placed a considerable part of my assets into companies such as Marlboro and Prince”, the man with the expensive haircut said as he sipped his coffee. ”It is already paying off – in every way, I might add.” The others nodded and offered words of approval.

The man with the cuff-links cleared his throat. ”You always were the flamboyant one, my friend. I, to the contrary, have focused on exploiting the possibilities of economization. In the last week, I have moved several departments of lucrative, western companies to Third World countries where production in cheaper and working conditions poorer. The result is unemployment here, and inhuman exploitation there. Both of which serve my purposes perfectly. I have also been looking into the potential of out-sourcing, but I’ll come to that later.”

They all looked up at me as I arrived at their table, and all those eyes at once were almost more than i could bear. ”Your steak, sir”, I murmured as I put the plate down in front of the man with the knife. ”And your bread.” I put the other plate down as graciously as I could, but couldn’t stop my hand from shaking.

The pale man with the dog grabbed hold of my wrist as I turned to leave. His grip was cold as the grave and I froze, felt my fingers go numb. ”You are afraid, dear”, he creaked hollowly. ”Don’t be. You have many years yet to live, and it would be a true shame to waste them in fear of us.”

Caught in his grip I could do nothing but stare. At him, at the monstrous dog, at the faces of the other men around the table. And that’s when I knew. Suddenly I understood everything.

Panicking, I tore myself free from that icy grip and backed away in chock. Then I ran. The last thing I heard before I slammed the backroom door shut behind me and locked it was the roaring laughter of the four strangers at the table.

I remained in that little room for hours, until dawn approached and I could hear engines starting outside. Then I opened the door a crack, just enough to be able to see the four men and the dog getting into their cars and disappearing into the twilight, as if they had never even been there. But I knew that they would always be out there, watching, waiting, wallowing.

They had replaced their steeds with the carriers of the modern generation, but I still knew them for what they were. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Conquest, War, Famine and Death, with Hades in his wake. And even though I had believed the words of Death when he said that I had many years yet to live, I realized that from that day onward I would live my life always fearing them and their inevitable victory.