Capturing Myth

Ogygia

The truth is,
Calypso is tired of
daydreaming about the man
who kept her wet
for seven years,
his wife’s unspoken name
an afterthought
branded on the beach.

It blurs into one long moonlit night,
silver sand sticking to his back,
opening the well
to an ocean of desire
meant to be swallowed
in a moment.

It’s one thing
to surrender,
even willingly.
But
the men who suck her dry
go on to feast with gods
while she lives in shadow
and only remembers.

The acrid want
to be tasted
evolves to a need,
dancing like a fever.

Someone must watch her:
as the sea foams her dress
and clings to her breasts;
as her nipples darken to
a sweet night air;
as she sings in the pools
and dumps water over
her dark hair.

She wakes up once a month
with wetness on her thighs,
feeling like a peach
so ripe
it would burst
if only you might look at it.

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Capturing Myth

Eurydice

I chased you
through valleys
and fir-crested gorges,
as if you brought something sweet
into the air.

Remember
that hot,
Mycenaean sun?

I would dance nevertheless,
lily and clover slapping my ankles,
as you sang
and sweat
on the lyre.

Through high summer
we reaped our own harvest,
words falling off your strings
like honey,
fat and dripping.

If I was hungry,
you fed me
a single piece of want,
and watched the saliva
pool under my tongue.

I don’t blame
the snake in the grass
at all.

I think of that harp,
your fingers closing my eyes
and tipping my hair back
in a shudder:
the ankle,
the breast,
the tail.

Mouths must connect somewhere,
I suppose,
when hunger is stronger
than poison.

[…]

Tamer,
the waterfall gushes and falls silent
as a three-headed dog sleeps at your feet,
and gods who have seen trees cut
for your first ancestor’s cradle
weep.

You lure in the deer,
you charm the tortoise,
you even seduce
the ibis and the nymphs.

I am quiet
in the dark,
my fingers balanced on wet limestone,
watching you
entice anything with a heart
as tears fall
from your eyes.

When you leave
with the shadow of your guilt
trailing behind you
like an ending,
I do not follow.

I listen for a different music.

I do not think you have heard it:
the song the rock sings
as she tempers herself,
the melody of an ocean
on the other side of the earth,
drowning the singing
of the lyre.

I listen,
and I do not dance.

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Capturing Myth, Introspect

Artemis At Target Practice

A sickle-faced moon
for the sallow night.

Slow in the dark,
quiet as a page,
the nest in my damp bones
remembers
until my arms shake
like the leaves
threatening fall.

Orion,
broad-shouldered, starry-eyed,
tries to hide,
creeping beneath starving branches,
plump with harvest.

His hands touch the wood
as he passes thoughtless,
scraping at the scars.

I think of an earlier night,
and a moon so fat I licked it
off the sky,
bow footstep-heavy,
eye arrow-sharp.

My arm shakes,
the arrow sings.
I open my mouth
for the moon.

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Capturing Myth, Retrospect

Further Summer (Sunflowers)

It is a cold end to August,
but the warmth comes out
again in September.
I walk through a field of sunflowers,
little faces dried from tears:
seeds hardening from the left,
petals blooming from the right.

I sit with the sunflowers. I look for the sun.

There isn’t much to do
but wait,
clinging to a rock for nine days straight,
staring at the Sun who chases the river.
He chases the forest, chases the stars,
one side of the heavens to the other.

My hot cheeks beg to be drowned
in a mountain lake
when he burns for days, and chases us.

But when the clouds roll,
when he hides a hemisphere away,
the burns on our lips sting
with salt.

Though the morning dew goes frosty,
and winter starts singing from the hills,
we fight for fire,
growing taller, getting dryer.

The heliotropes lie fragrant
beneath my feet,
and my sunburn grows new skin and freckles
while the sunflowers drop their seeds,
little prayers in hard shells.

It is ending, this warm dream,
dying in my hands.

Snow will come soon
to muffle the harvest
and blanket the trees
while He is far away,
loving a further summer,
and unable to burn.

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Capturing Myth, Introspect

Tantalus

Frightened by learning to live
in vacuums,
hunger is a result
(I am told)
of punishment and penance,
paid humble.
This is why I am kept
spinning on the wheel and crucified
by stars, fed
on the nauseous smoke
and the starving laughter.
I love the green season,
when the fruit hangs low and heavy
on the branches
that I cannot reach.
My fingers shake with little tremors,
fault lines in the joints.

Full and aching to burst
like pears ripening in golden skins,
getting fat,
growing luscious,
dripping with gentle amber.
Down crawls my throat,
pricking with want, as if there are seeds
sowed before the frost
that are waiting to be hatched.
Quickly
I swallow them down.
I know all they grow are nightmares
of fevers unrelenting
and deep, deep hunger,
nights unslept.

Blooming dreams surround me and
I cannot touch,
I watch the pears grow from green to gold.
I watch them ripen
and cannot touch;
while the freckles
on their distended skin
threaten to burst, I cannot touch.
I ache for it,
the slow burn,
I do.
The hunger mounts,
something quiet and inexorable,
and I lie in the waters
I cannot drink,
pears begging for my palm,
my tongue, my teeth,
the hunger I cannot hold.

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Capturing Myth, Introspect

Europa

Listen.

Listen, listen,
listen.

I have nothing to say
to turned ears,
empty-filled with not-me.

I am all steam,
hot spring and mud in a limestone cave.

But
beneath the vapour there is clay,
and behind the clay
is cold that rushes through.

A terrified prayer
is whispered to a hole in the wall:

CATCH ME
I AM TIRED OF IMMORTALITY

 It’s the prayer of Dawn and her grasshopper,
the prayer of the Sky pressing to his consort Earth,
the prayer of boar tusks through your lover’s back.

I am hungry
for gold coins
or for swimming with swans,
the scent of flower garlands
tied to a white bull’s neck
still clinging to my hands.

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Capturing Myth

Katabasis

Q: Has the darkness
ever touched you?

A: Mine caresses. And I
melt, through the soil,
a breath under the oak tree,
just a mouth on the wrists
like a dagger
as the flowers fall.

Q: Has the sadness
ever kissed you?

A: Mine devours. And I
give mind and soul and
anchor, blood throbbing:
war drums and rituals,
epic poems
and sacrifices.

Q: Has the hatred
ever loved you?

A: Mine is worshipped. And the
incense is like sweetness;
I tell myself it’s of blueberry
but it is sweeter, and sourer,
like fallen leaves
or pomegranates.

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Capturing Myth

1.11.2016

There is a day
summer calls like
a nightingale:
the aching colour
of nostalgia in the sky,
a cluster of blueberries
hanging lonely on the bush,
sweet fat for the tongue.

This is the day I remember,
searching for valley flowers:
daffodil,
hyacinth,
baby’s breath,
hunting down the loveliness
or crushing it
beneath my feet,
so the scent of beauty
was thrown into the breeze.

And I remember perfume
of a thousand petals
waft towards me,
the threat of dying
edging the air with rot,
mother’s milk bitter.
I smelled death
when the heaviness cut through
my limbs,
butter-soft.

And summer lost her hold on me,
growing paler and brittler
than straw,
and my hair went copper-red
to iron-grey
to silver-white
when she swallowed me whole.

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Capturing Myth, Introspect

Hymn to Hecate

It is in the silence –
or the omen of a waning moon,
two-thirds light.
The last fraction of darkness
sends a whisper
to the flame,
letter-quiet; the path is hidden
in the night. Blindness goes easy.

(and) the terror of
seduction rises
like a frightened snake,
though the mysteries
of innocence call
to slaves,
not servants.

(and) patience loses
meaning when
the hot skin collides,
though the secrets
of the hidden scales exposed
in the poised tail,
the half-sheathed fangs.

(… and) the calmness
meets calamity, the end
carried in the beginning,
though the oracle is armed,
swallowing the moonlight,
eking and ebbing
like blood, like water.

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Capturing Myth

Naxos

First of all,
you sleep for days
and then you must not sleep
at all.

Hollow
be hollow,
bury the bullhide in the dark,
in the unused soil,
build a kingdom over it.

Claim your inheritance
in the rule of rock salt
and damp earth,
your crown
in the blood
and the water.

Now
tear it all down
brick by brick. Paint your arms
with the ashes,
you are a ferocious girl;
be wild, seize
the immortality
between your teeth.

You will wait
for no one.

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