Circe told Odysseus he had to go to the gates of the Underworld, and beyond them, to consult with Tiresius’ shadow. Only then, could Odysseus return home to his wife and kingdom. She seduced Odysseus, and nearly claimed him forever. She turned his crew into pigs, too.
He wasn’t famous by the time he got to me. He was a washed up boozehound, fat and surrounded by an entourage of lazy enablers. He showed up at the first read-through looking like he had just rolled out of bed, and it was 2:00 in the afternoon, and we were supposed to start at 9:00 in the morning, and I knew it was going to be a long, difficult shooting, but I knew I could make magic out of this man.
I remember when I was just a girl, innocent to this world, and my father would take me to the movies. I saw these amazing things happening – like miracles – on screens larger than I could even imagine. I remember years spent in the elements, holding lighting and booms, watching great men crumble for the camera lens. The beautiful, plastic world was my home and my air and my bread. I took the director’s chair when no one thought I could do it, and I made magic. I’ve made so much magic. I was famous for it. I bought my own goddamned island in the Mediterranean Sea, and nobody helped me pay for it. When my friends came by we drank, and worked on experimental films. It was supposed to be my high art phase, after all that fucking money. It was supposed to storm the art houses of the world. And, it did. I won awards. My films were meaningful, beautiful, and more real than reality itself.
He came to me, on my island, with all his fat yes-men.
“What were all the world’s alarms
To mighty Paris when he found
Sleep upon a golden bed
That first dawn in Helen’s arms?”
– William Butler Yeats
We fell into the sea.
Did they tell you that? No? Well, after the headlines wind down, people move on. So much time spent at war, we forgot how to live together, and we fell into the sea. When it comes right down to it, we forgot how to wake up next to each other, go to work, pay bills. So, we lost the house. We lost everything. We live underwater, now. This town’s so gone the only school in town that isn’t in debilitating debt is fish. We moved into this track house two blocks from the diner where I work. The place is infested with octopus, but there isn’t an exterminator in town. Even if there was, who could get rid of them? Worse than spiders. Bigger. Hungrier. Smarter.
That’s our life, now. Has been this way for a while. It’s not so bad, underwater. I actually like it, a little. I work at a diner where we mostly serve oysters. He stays home and watches TV, and drinks. When I get back, he’s usually too drowned to do anything to me, even if he wanted to.
“O hapless mother, surely thou hast a heart of stone or steel to slay the offspring of thy womb by such a murderous doom.” – Euripides, Medea
They say that when Theseus was a young child, his mother had told him that he would only know his father when he could lift the heaviest rock of the villa, and see what the boy’s mysterious father had hidden beneath the stone. They say, the boy, when he came of age, found a sword beneath the rock.
But there was no sword there. In fact, there was nothing there at all that was tangible.
Something far more dangerous was under that rock, and it had no form and no shape: a broken promise, honed to a hateful edge after so many years of aging, and carried in the palm like the tattoo of a knife.
You know her story, don’t you? The great king Agamemnon offended Artemis, by murdering her sacred deer. He spoke arrogantly of this goddess.
Later on, a prophet had to be called to the council of kings. No storms had come to wash the battleships to war. Zeus’ commanded siege of Troy depended upon the famous storms of Aulis that never seemed to come. The gods had to be consulted.
The blind prophet, Calcas, announced that the great king had to sacrifice his daughter. This was subsequently, immediately, done by that terrible tyrant.
But, there are as many versions of a myth as there are grandmothers in Greece.
Penelope wove her husband back to life in nineteen years. Arachne wove greater than this, until the gods in their jealousy left her with nothing but the application of her art.
If it bends, it can be woven. Hair braids, rivers braid, and fingers fold together in prayer. Cars crash into each other; the metals bend around the engines. With a strong enough machine, cars could be woven into each other – crumple zone to crumple zone, gas lines snaking like Hermes’ staff between two twisted engine blocks. I’m too disciplined to stop what I’m doing to doodle the weaving of cars on the naked particleboard walls of this café. In a few weeks, I don’t know if I will still have that discipline. I may lose my mind if I keep this up.
I sit in a corner of an abandoned café, and weave endlessly, endlessly, with all the threads and yarns and found things from the empty café. The weave of my own life bent me here. My back is hunched over. My fingers are long and nimble. I never abandon my weave
Of Note: The trade paperback edition of the collection is currently available. The eBook successfully funded the trade paperback.
“What shall I do without Eurydice?
Where shall I go without my love?
O heavens! Answer!”
– Orfeo ed Euridice, Glück
On the farthest shore of the stillest lake, the boatman was only a child. I thought he would be older – skeletal, perhaps -in some kind of robe. He was just a little boy in dirty, mismatched basketball shoes, and a worn-out soccer uniform. He was covered in jewelry. His fingers were coiled in rings that sparkled even in the muted moonlight of this place. His neck was covered in necklaces. His wrists and ankles were lined with bracelets. His face was hollowed out, like the kids I had seen with me in the cancer wards.
His paddle boat was not what I expected, either. It was a plastic two-seater. Both people had to pump their legs on bicycle pedals to drive the little boat forward.
Of course, paddle boats are always rentals.
-Hey there, lady. You going across?
[Read the rest? http://womenandmonsters.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/eurydice/ ]
Everyone remembers how he was blind, but nobody remembers the why of it. He blinded himself, when he was made a woman for seven years by pitiless gods.
When he was young and he wasn’t yet a prophet, the gods turned Tiresius into a woman. She found, after being a man among men, that she could not live among her people as a woman. She learned the truth about the men and women of her time and place in a flash of violence: men were drunk and laughing together all the time; women endured. Tiresius could not walk the streets alone without the risk of rape. She could not stand in a doorway and say hello to the men that used to be her friends. They looked at her differently now. They had a smile that should not have been there. They had a lingering touch that promised of unwanted advances, and soon.
Want to read the rest? head over to http://womenandmonsters.wordpress.com to read the rest. Or, one could go to the nearest eBook retailer for a copy of the whole collection, now before it goes live.