5.30.2008

Dionysus- Post 2

Part 2:
Phralale!


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
Zeus.

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.
Afterwards,
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
suffering
. 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?


Probably.

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

_____________________________


Leopards
glide faced killers
solitary
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,
stricken
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,
And?

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.
Permission?
Protection?



___________________________




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
explained,
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.

Fasil
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
which
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.
Lookittheireyes.

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
thinking
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.

3 comments:

betty.noir said...

Love the new look of the page; is this for goods, or to go w the honey theme of the new entry? Your words make my heart go "awwww!"

James Caroline said...

Uggggh- it still just feels so rough. Though it is more connected. I still have to work Hera in. I think 1st the badass inked drunk chicks need to come into play. They boys need some company.
Thanks for encouraging me with all of this. I don't know why I'm so taken with it.
j

Anonymous said...

Forgive me as its your work; but the story thus far needs no "drunk chicks" the love, knowing and tension between the "boys" would be lost and devalued, in such dimensions to distinguish sexes is a nonsense, added only for story telling, it is the relationship that is the lesson, I think its absolutely brilliant btw; listen to your first thought... "Some words must settle or they will never be found again,"