Dionysus- Post 2

Part 2:

Dionysus was in his field petting wild bees
encouraging their work as
he had discovered honey a year ago.
Honey was his 1st gift to man
or that is how it is told.
He thought of it more as sharing
but did not yet understand lines drawn
between bodies or the ink dribbled on maps.
He barely understood the space between he
and another.
Borders made him want to color everything black.
Man, over time, would make boundaries vividly clear,
and he would oblige them by drawing his own.
Presently, his flock of bees became butterflies.

This was the wind on the day you were born.

A strong,
and with a 2nd look,
a very strong man stood at the vineyard’s edge,
his body inked with more trials, trophies, and
memories than one lifetime could know.
Dionysus was little kid angry.
He did not like to talk about his births.

Chin out and hands wrung into claws,
Born which time?
as bratty as he could muster.
Poison ivy grew up the man’s ankles
to his knees then turned brown and fell away.
The man approached him.
Dionysus was afraid
turned his face but his eyes ignited
fist cocked.
The tattooed man stopped then
smiled and it was perfect
like playgrounds should have been.
It was him

Dionysus could not help it.
Although it felt disrespectful
he ran and threw himself
around his father's leg
noticing the soft ripple in the thigh
where he, as a tiny baby, had come from.
He held on like this scar
kept him pressed firmly
too earth.
Zeus hoisted the child
up and into his arms.
Back to where you came from, eh? Let’s see you,
little loud-voice.

Zeus smelled like Uzo, the white whiskey.
Dionysus covered his face
and grimaced from
the harsh scent, the mess
of his father’s kiss.
Zeus laughed big and Dionysus,
like seeing beauty in the mirror for the 1st time,
laughed big too.
It’s not really the same for us Olympians anymore.
We’re collected like trading cards really. So your old Dad
had a drink on his way to see you.

Dionysus stared like he was nose to a wall
as his father held him and thought of what to say.
Zues took the child, hand in hand,
to his 1st bar.

Seated on a brown stool
Dionysus (not very gently) asked,
What happened to my mom?

Zeus explained blatantly, without mercy.
He spoke of love,
a promise,
Hera’s jewel slicing tricks.
He told the child of his mother’s family
how they did not believe she carried a god’s child
and so she asked for proof.
He spoke of death,
birth, and then
more of each.
being the most self-consumed swagger
that ever pissed on this earth,
confused by such a sad story,
and too drunk for empathy
he gave the story of each of his tattoos
and also a beer
to Dionysus
who was rapidly turning red,
kicking the bar with his little sneakers.
Dionysus wanted to break something important,
something important like a mother.
Zeus, not knowing what to do,
lit a cigarette and laid the burning thing
in a green glass ashtray.
But you’re ok, he said, you're fine,
thereby stepping onto the land mine
of his child's rage.
The small one had
really truly
had enough.

Dionysus punched his father as hard as 70 pounds
of ok could, Shut up! You cheated on your wife
and that’s why I shake when someone touches me?
Hera killed my Mom! I hate her!
I hate her!
Zeus brought the ashtray down
thunder thunder
on his son’s hand.
Green glass and blood all over the bar
like Christmas.
Bones became wet dust.
Dionysus' vision went kaleidoscope
and his lungs were an oven turned way up.
His head ticked round and round
like watch workings.
Zeus spoke slowly,
Never say that. She’ll kill you again.
She has done…we…I have done terrible things
and so will you.

He would not cry. He would not even frown.
He would only say, Why?

Zeus stared at his boy
his head hurting
for the beauty of a son’s fiercely exposed underbelly.
He answered as gently as he cared to,
I don’t know.
Because you have a sloppy heart.
Dionysus, when they tell you to keep your voice low
and to guard your eyes
it is only for now.

His father seemed a picture going
crooked on a stucco wall.
Have you heard of Odium's Seed
or Deva's House?

Dionysus thought on this and edited out sentences
that might get something else that he liked
broken. He liked his hands and feet and most of his form so,
after much kid-brain thinking, he said
No. Did I do it?

Zeus smiled.
Dionysus exhaled
and his father continued,
No, you were before it. Deva or Adonai as some call Him
made all of this. Especially Man.
There are so many ways to tell the story
it is a circle it has so many sides.
His house, a huge forest... or an island...
is where man lived.
Free, loved, and they where not governed by fear.
Your goat friend Silenus
calls it The Days of Guiltless Skin.

Dionysus stared at his crumpled hand.
He’d heard stories.
There was a monster
a huge mirror skinned trick.
Still staring at the rag of his palm he spoke,
Like Bengeskoe, he gave them Odium's seed.
They ate it and the world cracked
, he said,
they became different
or they divided?

A large cloud passed overhead
shading them in the open window of midday.
Zeus peered down at the corkscrew eyes
the copper kettle not yet filled below him.
He felt good.
His voice the honey his boy had learned to farm
through patience during self-imposed isolation,
So you have heard,
said Zues,
Benegeskoe the light, the smacked-down pretty boy vulture.
He ruined everything. Understand this.
Keep it underneath your fingernails
--that you are before all of that.
Man will love you because you understand
. You will become a laughing wound.
You will excuse them from their heavy shoulders
you will chase waking nightmares
into the caves of their memories
and that is a very close thing
to absolute joy.

Dionysus skull unzipped ideally.
Something charged daring voltage in
a line from his head
to his heart
something close to understanding
something like a 3rd
very usable limb.
I hate Bengeskoe, he said.

How patient the old must be to not laugh at the young.
How angry the young deserve to be when the old
insist that the world and love are smaller than they believe.
Zeus asked, Who taught you that word? Hate?

Dionysus felt comfortable now.
He sat all broken-in shoes
and thumb-holed hoodie sleeve,
Kids at school.

Zeus drifted back to when learning was thrilling
not sad, Humans can be so damned lovely.
The words could have been spit from
the enclosed side of barbed wire.
Dionysus knew this thing happening
and spoke,
Sarcasm. I learned that at school too.

They talked
through both feeling safer
one warming to younger
the other cooling to older
until the sky ran a finger along the firmament.

The word
a raptor on his tongue,
Dad, said Dionysus,
hoping it would fly back to its perch after he said it,
am I fixable?

Zeus placed his hand on Dionysus shoulder and felt him quiver beneath,
They’ll call you sin and outsider. They'll
call you worse. Your deeds will be judged but you are
the best of beauty. Imperfect. Wild as your gardens and as giving.
You’ve come at a strange time.
Deva has dated you, though not obselete
you're a baby antique at this point.
What you bring is celebration beyond and through a slow death,
little you, the fount of adrenaline
You’re the birth of twins as an elder dies
the drunken body sliding warm with another to live harder for an hour
the brightest most human of wings
the blood of everyone and the scars that seal it in their bodies.
In Islam they'll drink you to enter Turkish baths.
In metal cities they'll drink you to ask for a phone number.
In voodoo, they couldn't dance that chicken's throat open with out you.
Every singers' fraying pipes howls your name.
You're inspiration and revelry, little one. Some will hate you for it
but kid, you're the reddest heart. The perfect pulse.

This was big and required little boy silence.
Maybe it would require a few more birthdays but it felt good to hear
so he pushed into it like a big wave.
It was true, sometimes kids and even grown-ups
said horrible things to him
or looked at him like he’d grown another head.
But he had a question. Could he ask it without
getting knocked into next week?


How do I make them like me?

Zeus looked at his very human son
and became lost in the black board list of what this child
had seen and what he should know by now.
Dionysus eased his head atop his father’s lap
and this time it was Zeus who startled before speaking,
Invite them. If that doesn’t work you terrify them.
Break them. Shatter ideologies.

The smaller god become distracted,
not even ten yet, something occurred to him,
What can they do to me that they've not already done?
Zeus shook his head.
Stillness all around his quaking.

Dionysus stared
and tried to make this coloring book easy.
The balls of his feet wanted to say,
I don’t even like them, but that felt fist worthy
so he kept quiet and looked at his father for something,
anything more.
Zeus hung his face and buried it in
Dionysus’ hair while swooping him up
and into a cradle of god arms. It was one gesture
like his Dad had run out of everything.
Dionysus, without knowing why,
began to cry.
No one had ever answered his questions before
and, for fear of being punished, the lecherous Satyrs
touched him as little as possible.
Zeus kissed his son
on the top of his bronze head for the 1st
and last time,
sat him down, holding him steady
waiting a long, long time for the tears to shut off,
See ya, kid.

Zeus stared at the ground.
Dionysus, his father spoke so quietly, if you ever see Hera, you run.
Dionysus spat and actually laughed, Until I'm how old?
Almost a whisper, Until always.
Never fight her. Run.
Then Zeus folded his painted arms and was gone.

Dionysus felt the cracks
in the world
the shattered, ripped, flapping in his own body
the space between what was once whole
now broken and irreparable.
He ran home
to Silenus, to his bed and the Satyrs
followed by his watchful spotted cats.
He curled into tiny and rocked from anger to numbness
until he fell asleep between the two.
As he was drifting off, he thought,
Fuck Hera.
He pulled the blankets tighter just in case


glide faced killers
pound for pound
the strongest cats stalking our world.
Think of silence
behind a mask
with a cannon in its paw
iron hinged and petty.
A god was so in love.
During his year away
their hunts had been like campfire songs
but bloodier.
To speak too them
he thought in pictures
and they
painted back.
Their gathering around him
caused tension
solitary beings not allowed
to wallflower at a party
but if love inhaled beneath
their blossoming rosetted coats
they exhaled it toward him.
A purring cluster of leopards.
His 1st taste of worship.
In his tribe:

Atta. Cruel, brave,
flippant carrier of death.
She made his body feel like fruit
easily skinned spine.
Backbone all that saved him from anything
but her kindness.

Dionysus wondered at Joshkun,
a massive devoted beast
of loud warmth and sly compliment
they danced
snaking and daring.
He was a trick flicking its tail.
Green eyes and devotion.

Lalit, whose eyes where like hot tea.
A steady wind of perfect teeth
through the siren of madness.
Kindness pulling lean through
dense matters and dark forests.
Think of soft rain thrown against
loose earth
and then what is beneath that earth.
That would be this cat.

And more.
So many more rallied at the shy efforts
of a god
calling himself too ascension.


His shaking
the porous body he lived in
made swimming easy.
The dolphins.
Familial streamlined aesthetics
pushing water like it were a toy.
Grace is such a big word
but the sun begged for their blue skins.
Exploding gray muscle in the harbor
twisting and turning songs.
Arrows aimed at his rightness.
They swam a symphony
and Dionysus, timpani
vulgar mistake
began their chorus.
Wendy, Karin, Lucas
the 1st to tell him their names.
Bright eyed spear headed angels
blessed to fly the sea.
And more.
So many more
in the thickening pool of Dionysus' arms.

He felt less and less
a jigsaw puzzle
piece by piece
slipped through the slot
of a penny bank
and shaken.
Dionysus had friends
and his hands
his whole all of him
began to tighten
to grow.


Like two trees felled to make the same home
they met
saw one another quicker
than 2 children at a grown up party.
Dionysus and Fasil
neither were really human.
Fasil was mortal
but had been hitching rides off the island
since he could tie a knot.
He'd never been to school
but had crossed borders and danced with Roma,
learned blacksmithing,
laid garlands at The Temple of Artemis
and he knew what stood,
creaking with pounce and guts
before him.
How to make a cat comfortable?
Fasil held out his hand and offered his name
wrapped it in his softest tongue.
I'm Fasil. You're Dionysus.

Dionysus swelled
part venom part pillow
but focused his eyes like gun sites,

One becomes blush. The other a grin.
Fasil continued with an invitation,
Would you like to go to the ocean with me?
though the tiny hairs on his neck whisped
running away
is a better choice.
Dionysus looked for a trick but no, Fasil felt like water.
He knew this word, Yes.
The Ocean seemed to steam that day.
It must have been resting on a fire pit.


Here is what a god saw:
A turned over bowl of loose ringlets over the head. Fasil’s hair
was a drowning pool mess of curled precious metal
and rich soil
and it begged for fingers.
His eyes were the color of deep water, the kind
you swim down for, the first 50 feet of the ocean
below the surface. It was the blue
before monsters.
His skin was a scoreboard for the sun
mismatched and carelessly colored from swimming
and bike rides and boy stuff.
This skin laid against and over a body
that should be used for movement.
Fasil was where Dionysus stumbled.
Dionysus was a blank note passed in study hall.
He had no idea what to do
except, being the god of madness, wine, ecstasy, savagery
and some other stuff too,
he was pretty sure he’d figure it out.


Hearts are a series of locks
oiled with fear but still waiting.

Fasil left a week later
a paper airplane taken
by a careless breeze.
The lack of goodbye
wasn't rejection
it's just that it really was a very strong breeze.
Fasil and all his blue
and tan and curl
packed a small rucksack
for crossing the sea to lay
a toy boat beneath the statue of Zeus.
He didn't know why.


Dionysus had become hollow.
Nothing tasted right
his tongue metallic and his eyes watered
as his stomach filled with shaking.
He found himself at the beach often.
He tended his vineyards less and less,
cut school
but walked for miles on the islands edge.
He knew why
and yes
maybe he enjoyed it
that his stomach had become a windy sail.

After 2 weeks of slumming
Dionysus was blown back on course
when Fasil,
all blue and easy curls and skin everywhere,
finally reappeared.
He was laying in the sand watching
baby sea turtles hatch and crawl
to dark movement,
to the ocean and its secrets.
It was late.
No sun. Just moon.

Completely steel lipped, eyes fanged,
Where’ve you been?

Fasil felt the barb, the turn of the blade and shuddered
Hold on ok? The gulls are eating the turtles. I'm trying to help them.
He'd hurt his friend and could not face him.

Dionysus looked around.
Scraps of shrieking white birds launched at the babies
securing them in tearing beaks
before returning to the sky.
Fasil seemed to wilt with each kill.
This hurt more than no goodbye.
Seeing Fasil pale at what Dionysus accepted,
death, the ever always circle, food.
It was unbearable like blood leaving
like mornig might never come.
So he showed himself
unfolded and peeled back the red of his rind
just another death, really.

It wasn’t a wish so much as a well, maybe
Vines came up from the sand
tenting the path of the babies as
they made their way back
to their mothers’ sea.

Fasil seemed pleased.

Less so when
from the dense forest
30 leopards ran onto the beach
and watched over the baby turtles
until they were safe.
When their task was complete
they each rubbed against Dionysus
staring coldly at Fasil before returning
to their shadows and trees.

The boys looked at one another.
Dionysus looked down
and was ready to deny
to lie and retreat
but Fasil bubbled a grin
and the sun came up
and a heart ripened.

Collecting himself
in a wrong but colorful way,
our young god said
It’s sad that they’re born
such an awful journey away from home.

Fasil, remembering the hatred in a voice
just moments earlier
and noting what he'd heard about the rusty beauty before him,
the fear the sailors felt when Dionysus walked the docks
I travel a lot. That’s where I was.

Gods aren't good at asking.
Take me.

Fasil wasn't good at fear.
Can’t. Might get eaten by a bunch of big cats for kidnapping a god.

Dionysus had been too loud but this felt kind.
Shut up.

Neither laughed quietly.

Two nervous shadows
walked into the sun
playing it real cool.
How much courage must be mustered
to ask a god for his phone number?


And wine
much wine
running nervousness away from the desire
of two young boys.
Leopards watching them
bemused and bored
curl with open eyes.
This was taking too long for the cats.

Dionysus was drunk
and brave.
Dolphins are easier. They want to talk to us. They're social, their love is obvious
and really- they're brilliant.
Karin has wanted to meet you for weeks.
Cats are more difficult.
You've traveled. Think about trying to talk to the old in foreign countries.

well aware of how the leopards
saw him as not much more than off-limits meat
was struggling.
Fearless as a canyon eroding
he moved forward.
So I just think to them,
red faced dartboard for the sun,
I wish them a story?
His hands fumbled a wine bottle
kissed by gravity
rolled down the bank of their camp
and lay greeting reflections of the moon.

Dionysus was 2 bottles in.
Their minds are like the ground
vast because their senses are so keen.
Just step forward with a sentence. Drop it into their eyes.

The cats stared at them
close to patiently
waiting for the humans' language lesson to end.
Atta hissed
and feigned ignorant.

Lalit and Joshkun noticed it 1st
a blurry picture interrupting their thoughts.
Fasil was speaking to them
and unfurling from him
where continents.
Consummated revolution
and a kindness so heavy it tasted like kill.
Lalit rose and walked to Fasil
sitting pretty face to pretty face
and they spoke
as Dionysus watched
he'd done something right.
Joshkun sat at his side
his paws knitting the beach
as if it where the moment.

Here is what a god noticed:
The girlish hand gesture of
open fingers pressed to a cheek when he was drunk
and nervous.
The ocean foam smile and snorting laugh
when he was too comfortable.
The courage to leave
and stories that proved it was worth it.
Most were reluctant to tell Dionysus anything
but Fasil was a library with strong walls
and he wanted inside,
to touch every book.
He still had no idea what to do.
He was god of a whole lot of things that made people,
when asked what those things meant,
turn strange colors and excuse themselves.
But he felt blanketed.
This was good.

Trust never came up.
Dionysus had never seen it and knew nothing of it.
This was a god’s want.
It could bury a continent
and no matter how many died
regret would never make it to the after party.

For Fasil,
Dionysus was a massive heartbeat,
something to march to.
He was like watching water freeze.
It would happen
no matter anything
and it was beauty
requiring patience.
Fasil knew this would change
but for now, for this warm pocketed now
he'd found
an ever warm friend
who, really,
was the shiniest thing he'd ever seen.


Fasil, while cuffing a teenage god on the arm, What’d you learn today in school?
Dionysus kicked a stone and spoke shyly, like they always said he should be, We learned the meaning of paragon.
Fasil felt the walls go up, thick ropes and splinters covered his friend,
fear he could sometimes reach through.
He tried and asked, So what's a paragon?
Dionysus flooded, You are.
Fasil snorted through his circle nose and that ocean foam laugh came out his silk mouth, Really? What am I a perfect example of?
Dionysus felt smaller than he’d ever been and said, Of what I want.

Neither spoke for many hills. Some words must settle or they will never be found again, having darted out of you for someone brave enough to hear or say them. Sometimes things must be moved around to make room for words that need time to feel at home. That’s what Fasil was doing. Moving stuff around.
When all stilled everyday was a secret told from one to the other and back. It was like this for a long time.

Dionysus- POST 1

"I don't have to sell my soul. He's already in me. I don't need to sell my soul. He's already in me. I wanna be adored." -The Stone Roses


This is how you should worship:
Build no temples.
Turn up the volume
and scream.


Part 1.

He did not remember any of his births
but knew each one was like the opposite of being held.
The 1st time Dionysus saw green
and drew in air from the world
the wind was butterfly migration.
The day smelled of a clean city's
concrete sidewalks and Popsicles
during summer's slowest time.

The story, creases in his shadow,
pin left after the grenade has detonated
began with lightening entering a woman.
Zeus, the sexiest and most deranged of all vectors
found the daughter of Cadmus and Harmony.
Her name was Semele and she
rested on his barbed eyelash.
He found her hanging from clouds
erasing borders.
Her velocity left a photo album
in the air swishing behind her blue dress.
Zeus harbored Semele
a mortal with beauty
like rain gathered in steel.
Her voice cooled lava
to monuments inside of him.
He promised her anything
any one wish that she could speak.
For in her trail of pictures
he lost the path he could return home by
all those colors rising behind her like new suns kissing dawn
and she became pregnant
a new baby kicking in the dew of their morning.
Zeus named the book of her love.

Hera, his wife,
decreed it unforgivable.
Hera the wise
her granite eyes and sky at dusk skin
took full advantage
of her husbands arrogance
of his foolish male kindling.
Hera (whose constant
diamond splitting will not be detailed here)
tricked Semele into asking Zeus to appear
without human disguise.
She would strike
with all the grace lacking in thunder bolts.
Hera the bullet
owl-winged scorn
volcano in her garden of peacocks,
the fanning, vain symbols of her wisdom.
She came to Semele and her family
a nursemaid in rags
and began with questions:

Why would a god take interest in you?
Ask him to show himself, to prove he is Zeus.

Semele understood jealousy
but what if this Zeus was just a man
some clever sack who'd tricked her.
She loved him regardless but a lie
doesn't sit well in blood
as it passes though the heart.
Semele's sisters teased her
mocked her youth and beauty
called her mind a plot for wish
a stupid patch of dirt erupting lies.
A tricked woman called braggart
by her family, mislead by a jealous
omnipotent wife, caved.
She must know.
Semele asked
I want to see you as you are. All of you.
And Zeus
his promise now thorned silver
came to Semele unmasked.
He knew it would kill her.

Imagine running towards the sun
and making it
begging shelter at its doorstep
the door opening
something more than huge fire.

She became a bedridden constellation.
It took the skin from her apple.
Dionysus, no bigger than a coffee cup,
was too weak to be born yet
and so he would grow
in the marble of a foolish gods' leg.
His mother
stopped in this world.

A valley heaved
and Dionysus was born.


He was a rivulet gone cascade
cared for by a band of nymphs,
golden women
who seemed to be made of sexy paper and light.
They fed him milk, and sage tea.
He was like a black haired cloud,
eggshell white and perfect,
silent and loud,


His 1st 3rd birthday was celebrated
beneath summers 1st moon.
Zeus sent fireworks.
Hera, still hacking away
at the precious,
sent a pedophile.
Still as coal, the baby watched guests
ease their way through
and passed his place in the grass.
It’s sick what quiet eyes notice,
what object wins the bid of
must be touched.

Lured by candy and toys into a windowless van,
our tiny cloud crawled away from his birthday song,
away from a fire painted sky and lemon cake
he was swallowed.
At a viewless clearing
a baby was cleaved,
torn asunder like a blank morning paper
and fed to savage things that children
should not have to forget.

When making pottery
the spectacle of using a fire kiln is this:
clay is formed and placed
in an oven that has been heated.
Salt is dropped in like gunfire.
The aftermath is questionable beauty.
Dionysus would always feel pellets of ocean
raging in the fruit of his body,
salt in his fields.

Longing always looks like the exhale of cigarette smoke
and it has a rhythm.
They spared his heart,
it’s red mess left in dirt and missing the body it pumped for
like a lover fucking the folds of an empty bed.

Zeus saw this and felt not himself
and so the heart of Dionysus
became a single pomegranate,
tough casing with all red hidden,
and from this armored passion
a seed was taken
and ruptured over the forgettable place
where a toddler god had died.
Out from the seed and into the earth
came blood that sparked and thundered
in a small way.
From this slight electric massacre
grew an Amaryllis
and from it bloomed the 3rd birth
of Dionysus.
He tumbled from his petaled manger
crying and was given
to the Satyrs.
A bomb asking for its fuse
to be lit.


Full of summer and having a dangerous sense of humor,
the Satyrs lived on an island south of the lowest point
of the empire.
From their heads sprouted curling horns
and they bucked, danced, and hopped about
on their goat like legs.
They liked drink,
They loved chasing nymphs
women whose beauty was like moth wings subjected to great light.

Their home was a mountainous island
with one small city in its largest bay.
A bit of pranking and play never made
for dull days and restless nights.
They carried flutes that could seduce the teeth from a lion,
or make a baby god sleep when he was fussy or sick.
At once, they worshiped Dionysus,
called him little fire
or little god
or little loud voice.
One Satyr, whose name was Selinus, had less time for pranking,
and spent everyday with Dionysus.
He would do so until his beard went white
and his heart was too tired for wine.
He became a close advisor as Dionysis grew.
If Dionysus believed in or had ever seen trust
he would have given it Selines’ face.
Selinus was always saying,
You just keep blooming, little god.
Even silly goats when grown
say such things.
Their friendship was one side of the moon
and the other.
It could always be seen.


The 3rd birth or
perhaps the 2nd death
had changed the child.
Baby Dionysus’ black hair and eyes
were now bronze in color.
He was burnt gold.
Rust velvet locks fell over his child face
and he stared at each Satyr that held him
as if he could will them to never put him down.
Somewhere down
passed memory
where his Mother might be
he was scared of another death.
He was fed scotch bonnet porridge,
milk, and
beginning on his 2nd 3rd birthday,
tea from the swell of poppies.
This is when his eyes began to move.
2 copper beams that swirled
like a nest of desert vipers.
The child-god would play with his toy chest
of poppy fields, beehives, ocean waters and their dwellers.
The Satyrs would watch
hoping for the best
but mostly it was messy.
When he grew teeth
they fed him chewed peacock meat
from the mouths of panthers.
Hera boiled over
but rains just make little gods grow.


The 1st word Dionysus spoke was Yes.
Satyr’s would fawn over him
as, though a tempestuous little pain, he was favored.
Little Dionysus, are you hungry?

Dionysus... would you like a bath?
*indiscernible coo’ing* Yes

Dionysus is an evil little brat of a biter isn’t he?
*distant thunder is heard*
Yes. Yes. Yes.

His second word was Why.
Yes. Why. Yes. Why. Why. Yes.

and so on.


Water can be pure violence
and it is not reluctant.

With Why came more questions
and when some of those questions went
unanswered or belly flopped on sad ears
anger climbed from a little boy’s stomach
into plain view.
It was a closet monster that devoured certain days
and on those days
Dionysus would swim until
he was sure a day
had been there.
Then he would go to the place
where he thought maybe
his mother might be
and he would be still like they were always telling him to do.
His eyes would slow
but his hands were leaves
and islands are windy.
His heart came out of his eyes
and it was salty
like his friend
the sea.


Mid-autumn Dionysus would take ill.
His lungs would fill with sickness and heavy water,
chest bubbling like a high powered radiator.
Selinus would place hot towels around his throat
force him to drink pepper tea
and red chili soup.
His fever would smack the sun
and horrors were held on the lips of his dreams.

Each foot braced by a swimming dolphin,
Dionysus would be carried away
a ring of snakes fighting one another circled
his head, darting in and out of his hair
and everywhere the cries of panthers.
He would feel Zeus turn from him
or that any cinder of Dionysus in anyone’s heart
would cool and blow away.
The ocean would run out too,
drop off into nothing
an ending
and take the child-god with it.

He was 5 when he had this dream.
Zeus saw his shallow breathing
his sleeping fits
and did nothing.


Rearing a baby-god
kept the Satyrs engaged.
They cradled and looked after a petite hurricane.
Cat cubs may never learn
caution with life.

No one was killed
but a few of the Satyrs lost
most of their tail hair to a tug.
One was found covered in vines
with little Dionysus gurgling a song
and swinging from the goat-man’s left ear.

Crying had become laughing.
Small got bigger.
Crawling turned to walking
and he grew
until giggle and spittle and shitting
became talking and questions
and brooding
and he grew
to his 1st and only 6th birthday.


Ownership is a funny, non-existent thing.
No god can claim anything as his own
other than the adoration that is given and taken
and even that is a constant circle of motion.


Most of the valley had been plum trees.
Half of it remained so
but with each year that Dionysus grew
so did his grape vines.
Vitis vinifera, Vitis rupestris,
Bordeaux, Rioja, Sangiovese, Teroldego,
Tuscany, Grappa, Brandy…
it all began here.
By the age of 5
he was showing the Satyrs how to tend the grapes
and make wine from them.
(add some bits about the process of wine making here)

By 7 he could open the earth with his finger
and a sweet blush
or a tangy white would come answering
to the surface.
His home was arcing green dangling purple.
It was an azure sea
and willows that tickled his head when he ran,
panthers and dolphins that played with him
as their own.
There were some islanders that feared and hated Dionysus.
The wounded who walk
are a grave reminder of mortality
especially when they’re smiling
and he, even when he was a crawling baby
happily spouting gibberish
was a postcard signed
by the gold and soot
of the human condition.


Light wines only require a few months to make.
Heavier, robust reds can take years.

The Satyr’s cut his bronze hair
dressed him in new black boots,
jeans with room for kid movements,
a dark green t shirt,
and a blue pin striped vest.
They cautioned him to still his eyes
to keep his laughter soft
and off he went
hands full of fruit for his teacher,
perhaps a friend or 2 would like some as well.

The school was room after room piled on top of
and next to one another. It looked like a huge toy.
The building of rooms was “L” shaped
with a rusty playground in it’s clutches.
His classmates, well,
when your irises swirl like a carousel
not many are going to want too share a lunch table.
On his second day he met some kids
he might have got on well with
when he was trying to make a better swing
out of tough grape vines.
The other kids really liked it.
His kindergarten teacher tore it down.

Dionysus was given crayons.
Wax of weak, drab colors
that did not mimic
the brilliance of life.
Heartless stick figures
and soulless family portraits
would not do
so he filled page after page
with solid black.
Better nothing
than pale imitations.

They gave him oil paints
rich hues and every color
but he loved the thick, wet
texture so much
that he simply played in
not with it.
He would cover his body
with wildflower patterns
then run into the sea
to watch color bleed,
thinning somehow
heavy too
from him.
Zeus saw this
and felt a soft light shine in his gut
this child needs an exclamation point, he thought…
maybe some riddelin,
perhaps a friend that is more of a question mark.


Mostly, Dionysus sat with willow branches caressing his head.
He'd given up on school as most teachers looked at him like an asp
which had yet to learn its vocation.
Many couldn't see passed his silence enough to take him seriously
but never mind them. That's what Silenus said, never mind them,
so he kept his mouth shut and considered things.
Dionysus had questions.

In dripping salvos he'd asked many Satyrs, Nymphs, and people.
No one answered.
Eyes rolled and lips pursed.
Some laughed and presented some busying task to occupy him.
He liked Legos. Checkers were too easy.
Still, others backed away
shaking their head left to right until he wanted
to be taller so that he could smack them off his island.

He considered these questions good ones:
How did his mother die?
Why did this Hera kill him?
If he was a god
could she do so again?
Could he kill her and, if so,
should he?
(this particular line of innocent interrogation caused two of the Satyrs
to pass out and one Wood Nymph to vomit.)
Kids say the darndest things, said Silenus, grinning.

Courage fit his tongue like fresh spit.
Was he immortal?
Could he make a thunderbolt?
What if he could and did by accident
and destroyed the island
and everyone on it
and he would feel so bad about it
but he would probably survive, right?
(also not well received)

And Hera…
her eyes were the forest, were shadows and strangers.
He saw her in every unfamiliar hand.
He would awake crazed and edged when startled.
He trembled if reached for too quickly.
But his childhood was sunlit and free.
To children
earthquakes are a confusing interruption,
a vivid distraction from play and exploration.
From the panic of adults
the young learn fear.
Kids recover because they have
being a kid
to return to.
Grown ups do not.
Adults ignore all questions left unanswered.
They count on the grave for freedom.
Dionysus wanted it now.

Can I see my Father?
And then, so brutal for a child, When?
Silenus walked slowly to the tiny war
and Dionysus knew something
he wanted to not ever hear was about to be spoken.
The huge goat sat gently in front of the child
and, as if through a beard twice as thick as he actually had,
said, You may never see your parents again. You were never
supposed to be a kid. Not like this.

He knew Silenus meant broken,
that he was wrong in some way.
He stood quietly and stared into
the cuddling eyes
of his best friend
and then he walked towards his vines
away from everyone
taking only his Leopards with him.
His dolphins moved into the harbor
closer to his vineyards
closer to him.
The Leopards kept him warm in the island cold,
hunted with him
and attempted to purr
what is not warmth but could only be called such
back into his growing frame.
The dolphins sang and played with him
darting through waves like glistening rocket-bursts.
They kept his eyes steady
kept his smile not tucked too deep.
For a year
he was silent and alone
thinking on how not to be damaged.
This is when he learned to talk with the Leopards
to sing back to the dolphins
by thinking to them.
He thought them so perfect
as right as the duration of a good day.
Their cunning, guiltless grace.
Their absolute admission of joy
and hunger.
They were his only friends
until spring brought color.