For Iris and Sara... 

“You’re Mark the warrior … Mars, god of war. You’re Matthew the orator … he who speaks his mind’s just roar,” as once told to me by Madame Iris … my dark seductress of the night and favorite femme fatale of French Quarter lore. Such is my painful duality. I’m both, I must admit to thee … Warrior and Orator, in constant conflict with myself. Torn between good and evil, ripped apart by right and wrong, haunted by acts of vengeance and deeds of mercy. Such a moral dilemma it can be … being the avenger and the angel.

“Madame Iris, my mortal sin of flesh, my feminine soothsayer, my seductress of the dark, my cherished beloved, what do you see as my next crimson plight?” I asked, hopeful for a minute grain of insight. “My dear Matthew … dear Mark, your next quest, whether you’re the dark angel or light of hope, you will be just in cause and on the side of right,” said my Creole Iris of the Night.

But alas! ‘Tis one and the same to me … Matthew and Mark. The line has blurred for me … between righteousness and immorality. I’m the day and the night. The light of the Sun’s shining rays of hope and the Moon’s streaming beams of despair. I’m the howlin’ night cry and the morning tears that fall. Hope’s good and brilliant bold that turns wicked as Death’s dismal cold … I’m a mere mortal man, after all.

I miss my beloved concubine … my Madame Iris of Creole descent … my ageless lover and confidant. ‘Tis her insight of my immortal soul that I miss most as time passes. Beautiful and exotic was she. I being twenty-two, young and fresh, and she, an immortal thirty-three. A New Orleans Madame of the Dark who made me see the light of destiny.

I still hear her voice, see her vision in the night, guiding my ravaged and torn duality. I persevere … I still conquer quests of war’s agonizing, never-ending battles. I’ll always be Matthew of good philosophy and Mark the warrior—fighter for equality … deliverer of vengeance. ‘Tis one and the same to me … Matthew and Mark, I’ll always be.