The Menagerie, Part 1: Vermes

by Descendence

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"Animals of slow motion, soft substance, able to increase their bulk and restore parts which have been destroyed, extremely tenacious of life, and the inhabitants of moist places. Many of them are without a distinct head, and most of them without feet. They are principally distinguished by their tentacles. By the Ancients they were not improperly called imperfect animals."

- Carl Linnaeus, Systema Naturæ


released July 24, 2015

All poems written by Jay Bates
All music written, performed, mixed, and mastered by Christoper Noyes
Audio recordings produced by Christoper Noyes, Trey Penton, & Jay Bates

Vocals on Algae, Coral, Leech, Snail, & Octopus by Jay Bates
Vocals on Coral, Snail, & Octopus by Katherine Dunn
Vocals on Snail & Octopus by Christoper Noyes
Vocals on Leech by Kaylie Murphy
Vocals on Vermes by Steve Young
Background vocals on Octopus by Evan Hildreth, Alex Gispert, Phillip Oliver, Michael Oliver, & Tim Wagner

All poems and recordings 2014 Jay Bates
Produced in partnership with The Two Keys Press

No animals were harmed in the writing of these poems.



all rights reserved


Descendence St. Petersburg, Florida

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Track Name: Algae
You are, but before you, I was
I was; still, I am and will be
We'll be with each other for good,
For goodness has partnered with me
With meaning, foreseeing, I breathed
A breath (atmospheric, that sigh)
That sign paved the way before you,
For you require air to survive
"Survival" sums only one part:
When particles act like a wave,
A way forward flickers in eyes...
And I separate "light" and "shade"
In shades painting women, I'm seen,
Amazing beholders of art
I've heartened lost sailors at sea
As scenes of blue flames guide their ark
There are curses old I've annulled
(In all despair, life yet abides):
A bride from her slave-master freed -
Her freedom to love was my prize
Apprising you was not to vaunt;
I've wanted, just this, from the start:
A star to illumine the way
Away from gloom to where you are
You are, but before you, I was
I was and will be; still, I am
I am your defender for good
For goodness is your promised land
Track Name: Coral
Sun, moon, and earth aligned
I'll wet your lips with wine
Coral, you're a light of love

Salt-white dressed water bride
Hands beckon, like the tides
Coral, your allure is love

Cathedrals are your bones
Their halls could be my home
Coral, you're allowed to love

Cut quick, you kiss with teeth
Your reef brings no relief
Coral, you're aloof in love

Your terrors leave you cursed
Reverse your barriers
Coral, you're alone, but loved

You've bleached those sweet, brown eyes
These words are do-or-die
Coral, you're always my love
Coral, you're always beloved

Dear Coral,
Yours always,
Track Name: Leech
Poisoning the girls and boys
Telling fairy tales of Hell
Tucking in the ugly ducks
Blowing kisses under clothes

Blood is in the heartbeat
And blood is on the lips
And blood oaths pacify the sacrificed in cribs and crypts

Covering up daddy's love
Moving to remove the proof
Wetting beds but blaming pets
Playing hide-and-seek each day

Blood is in the alley
And blood is on the walls
And blood red lights paint downtown men unfriendly to their dolls

Witnessing the greatest hits
Using force to crush abuse
Saving faceless waves of waifs
Getting praised; forgetting kids

Blood is in the body
And blood is on the hands
And blood bath facials crave complexions fairest in the land

Stumbling on Gretel's crumbs
Waiting games decide her fate
Blaming God avoids self-shame
Preaching tactics of a leech
Track Name: Snail
most pathetic snail
chased forever by his tail
worming teardrop trails
Track Name: Octopus
Detachment leaves ourselves unarmed.
We'll reach for comrades to embrace,
But fall, betrayed by the false arms
Detachment leaves. Ourselves, unarmed
Of hatred's hatchets, swallow harm's
Acidic testing till the day
Detachment leaves ourselves. Unharmed,
We'll reach for comrades to embrace.