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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Capturing Myth, Introspect

In Saecula Saeculorum

I am a girl with a mutable heart, a soul of mud, and seed, and sprout.

I feed the sparrows with the bones of my past – my present shows itself to me, shyly facing belly-up, in my dreams – my future hides in the darkness, when the shadows whisper sad words.

I carry a fairytale in my arms like an infant, and it is hungry, and begs to be fed often.

I am a mother and a king. I walk with my vanity and live in fear of its power.

Underneath my skin, and my blood, and my muscle, I feel my aspects shudder and snap, one setting off the other, stars too close in orbit taking aeons to explode. It is a slow and painful process, cross-sections of supernovae available to the laziest observer. I am left open and shivering, calcium and carbon.

And the stars have names, marble names and sand names and names that have never left the darkness; the shadows whisper the sad things, though, and they call to me: daughter of the Moon, Saturn’s baby, sister of Persephone, Hekate’s student, Dionysus’ lover.

I treat the wound in my womb and it opens instead. I listen to it croon of a terrible beauty.

I cling, quite desperately, to a sliver of mountain song that has me yearn for an ancient palace in the rock, gilded with obsidian and netted in filigree. I look for love and it looks for me, because it knows I am an easy spirit in a difficult world.

I have skin sweeter than milk and a mind like the branches of a tree from a dream sequence. I kiss a sky that cannot feel me. I think my haphazard mosaic of half-remembered skills and dusty talents lie somewhere between the mass of roots and burrows.

I am haunted by the ghosts I have not met, my father’s heir, third daughter: witch and priestess and scholar.

I leave gifts for the fairies, and they send me some back: clean rain, rumbles of thunder, the mildest suggestion of smoke on the altar.

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Capturing Myth, Introspect

Winged Victories

Like the other half-formed sirens,
born hungry:
my chicken feet and
flashing eyes;
cheeks hot
with the humiliation of tentative beauty,
my brilliance tuned to the night,
snakeskin and rosewater
hidden in my hair,
and diaries
written for the hourglass,
candles spilling slow
like a secret.

[surely he’s a little frightened
of my wet and my warmth,
but the haunt of drowned flesh
is too much for me to bear
so I bid him still as
I envelop him in lilacs and love:
if this is pleasure, my body is greedy –
if this is sin, I moan to forgiveness,
the flowers
spill from my neck.]

And while the pain sears into our tender
palms,
we wait for the love like a disease
or a fire, and the song of
the lost daughter is whispered
into your ear, o
lover. We may burn
with fragility: so you cast your horrified gaze
to the claws and the talons,
and not for a moment
think of the hunger
in the kiss.

Blood of the afterbirth under our nails
(born hungry)
we rise from your sheets, fall from you,
eating ourselves sick. We have been singing
the song of Rome burning,
the animal fat
clinging to our bowed mouths,
crooning over the sand and the silver,
pushing and pulling,
new, and sharp,
with many teeth.

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Capturing Myth, Retrospect, Weaponized

Rubies and Garnets

It stings less,
this betrayal. I have been waiting for your whiplash
with my back bared,
spine curved into an elegant
parenthesis.

For you,
I let my own blood bleed,
I had it run in rivulets and gobbets
down the ivory of my untarnished arms.
For you,
I left behind my Black Sea,
and found an abundance of saltwater
in its stead.
For you,
I have cloaked my arms
in those rivulets and gobbets,
in these rubies and garnets
mined deep under the soil of my brother’s skin.

O my poor eyes – obsidian blinded with your flashing pyrite,
and so I have been a fool to think of you as gold.

I have turned away from the Sun,
burnt out by a wax candle: this Corinthian bitch,
this Western whore,
hair like flax, face like milk. Who is she?
Who is she
to threaten my ashen heart? This alchemist slut,
who is she
to turn my gold into lead?

O my poor love – my inflamed lie, I gave into an instance of weakness,
and its sweet price, my king,
will leave your coffers empty.

You will be left lapping at the edge of sweetness
(you made a far worse tradesman than you did a husband),
the honeyed nectar between my legs
for some common cunt.

And even now – here –
at the precipice of your despair,
you have given me a weapon,
slipped the hilt of that cold dagger
into my outstretched hand.

I have sunfire in my eyes,
and magma pounds through my veins;
my ashen heart is pressed to emerald,
warmed by lava, by the blood of the stars.

Remember the rubies,
my false darling,
remember how you took me in your arms
when I was cloaked in the blood of my brother,
my blood.

Remember the garnets,
my unfaithful lover,
as you kiss your garnished whore
on her cold and poisoned lips;
remember the jewels
as you take your sons in your arms
cloaked in their blood –
your blood.

You will die, and you will die weak,
knowing that you once had a Queen of fire,
a Queen with a hot jeweled heart.
You will die knowing
that if She ever bled for you,
it was in a molten current,
every drop more precious
than rubies
or garnets.

You will die with My name
in your trembling mouth.

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Capturing Myth, Introspect, Weaponized

Nothing To Be Gained Here

in a dream
the Venus of Milo’s arms reach up
and out to me,
through the dampened dirt,
buried in an unmarked grave. Likely that her legs tremble,
lips quivering like an arrow point-deep, feeling
splinters of cold; lips cut on others,
Pygmalion
and all the rest.

[they kiss their Nausicaäs and go back to Penelopes.]

a shiver
on a faceless woman,
her back scarred and secret and her yearning
heavy and suffocating
under a lifetime of placidity.
golden Aphrodite, shameless Aphrodite,
laughter-loving Aphrodite
drowns in saltwater.

so she snarls
(and may she frighten)
so she breaks
(and may she cut)
so she leaves,
and may she go,
and find a cave to sleep in
where the echoes of her breathing
cover her in whispers,
blanket her in sighs.

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