Samuel J. Fox, “Notes on Demonology”


Having lived

with Schizophrenics

I have learned that they are not all that strange.

For example, I talk to myself

I do it all the time

I just don’t answer back

At least, not audibly.

I remember talking to a red headed boy

(he was between the age half adult- half child and was ancient guru on the art of deception)

and asking him, “Does it hurt when they talk?”

He smiled, interested at something invisible crawling on the tile floor

of the prison/hospital/ward/nightmare

before saying, “Always – it is just a nuisance of acceptance”

I have discovered

among other things

that we who are normal and those who are not

are separated by a small veil

and like a prophet’s death, it took something monumental

to tear it from top to bottom

like tissue

or like a conversation amongst ourselves

that is spoken in the confines of dark rooms,

in beds while our spouses are sleeping,

and the thought of speaking aloud and the answer

that we receive as we speak is shockingly familiar

but not our own voice

as it leaps off our tongue, out of the pit of our mouth

into the bowels of the night.


I had always believed that

demons: the evil creatures dwelling in hell

were distant, were across the cosmos, in some other dimension

where the fires were hotter than Helios

and their claws sharper than the minutely cut diamond

and their wings were black and velvet like pterodactyl skin

and their voices, their voices were like that of roars or screeching

that echoed against all logical sounds of human halls of reason

but this is a misconception.

The demons are out

they are here

in our heads

You want to know why the whispers in the night

that make you long to be more than what you are

lead you to think that perhaps you’d be better off


You want to know where the dual sided slanted

double jointed, two faced, out of place, spliced and

twisted voice inside of you came from?

Join the coral of us who want to know.

As I lived among the slightly misunderstood

the brave souls who lived among the demons

of past, of present, of future chemical imbalances

of past, present, and future misdemeanors and felonies

of the living mind that dies every time a whisper

echoes from the corner of the room

I learned a thing or two about






That sin separates us from the good, the righteous

the pure, the Holy, the upward climb to a higher vibration

of love

and poverty is the root of all evil – money, the lack of,

and those in power – the hands that exchange – didn’t

give one coin, one bill, one flying fuck

about love

and evil is anything that implores the demise of good

of righteously pure, Holy – and would rather trip us up

drag us below, hitting our heads on every step down and

because of love

somehow we survive.


We are somewhat demonic.

The claws are our fingers, our nails, our knuckles

scratching, and scraping and punching

The roars and the screams

are our agony at knowing

we are so distant

we are fallen

we are evil


the wings that pierce our scapula

the wings black as pitch, as night sky, as the damp mind

are our arms flapping


as we continually fall, the voices of our fellows

ringing in our ear

and fleeing out the other

Will the hell ever cease to exist?

Will we ever get it right?

We are the problem – humanity is not a solution to anything.


I remember faintly, sitting

in a mucus, and blood speckled chair

with holes in the armrests for handcuffs

watching a boy with scars, slashes, lacerations

on his arms, wrists, chest, and shoulders

begin to seize. He cried out for his mother

he cried out for his father

he cried out for me

and he cried out for


“to make them shut up. Shut them the fuck up.”

But no one came

but me

What was I to do – unarmed and ill-equipped

to handle the demons he wrestled

as he lashed out at anyone near him, spitting,

bloodshot, and rapidly crumbling – pieces of his sanity

melting straight through the floor

and I tackled him

and I wrestled with him and pleaded for him

not to stop

but to keep

fighting them

to keep yelling

to keep the battle going

I held him, a six foot four young man

in my arms, I, a five foot seven younger man,

not able to comprehend that such pain

such hell

can be wrapped up in the scars on the wrists

of a suffering boy

how heavy he felt

how massless I felt

as he thanked me, as he held me

just as much as I held him

in the dim light of the caged walls

in the empty corridor of the hospital.


Whether it was the young girl that sold herself

every night on the street

and suffered from the voices that came when she would dream

or the red headed boy

who embraced the evil, who embraced the hurt

embraced the knowledge and the sin of power

or the scarred boy, who had only answered himself

and did as he told himself

and slashed his veins open every chance a sharp object

could be obtained and controlled –

or me

I who saw all this evil and did not control the binds

the whips, the snares that I deployed against

my own left shouldered voice

and lashed out at my peers with blood-ready fists

because the chemicals told me to

because the voices told me to

because my demons told me to

because I told me to

No angel

No prince of light or darkness

could ever account for this

my study, my expression, my art

has set me free

and no one, not even hell

wrapped in a hand-basket

called a skull

can turn my head back

can turn my eye slant

can turn my mind around

to face the past

and the many monsters I

with the help of sacred art

studied, and slayed.

Samuel J. Fox is a native of Statesville, North Carolina. Currently, he attends Western Carolina University and is striving for a B.A. degree in English with the ambition of studying Comparative Literature for his Masters. He is twenty-one years old and currently lives in Cullowhee, NC.


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