The Game is on!

Miriam Webb was tired,
and old, and had no more fight left in her
after a life spent fighting
everyone and everything.
Her body hurt,
and her soul hurt more,
and the nothingness had hold of her
and would not relent.
She felt the serpent’s kiss
of needle piercing vein,
and then she felt no more.
Her vision constricted
to a pinpoint of light
like an egg alone in eternal night,
and she felt like she was floating
in an ocean of milk
and then it was over her head
and the darkness sucked her down into it
and there was a moment
where she thought about fighting
her way back up
to light and trees and wine,
but then that, too, became just a memory
and she let go,
and the world went out with her.

Warriors, come out and play!

Nonnos sat bolt upright in bed,
and made the sign of the Cross over his chest.
He scanned his small cell, still dark
with hours to go until sunrise,
the familiar surroundings helping reorient him
and make the transition from dream to reality.
There his shrine, there his shelf of scrolls,
there his desk where he was hard at work
on his Paraphrase of Saint John’s Gospel
there a pile of dishes, and there his few articles of clothing.
He was a pious, simple man
and should not have been dreaming the kinds of things he dreamed.
Every night pagan demons reveled and rioted in his skull
and the ghost of Homer whispered to him
of a coming war that would make Troy look like a barfight.
He prayed to Christ to keep this poison fruit from him
but the True Vine just sent him flying babies with ivy crowns
that tortured the poor Panopolitan with their high pitched singing
until he relented and began reading source material
for his grand Dionysian epic.
It would span 48 books and tell all
from the abduction of Europa
to the birth of Iakchos from Aura,
with many seemingly random diversions
that actually revealed the secret Story behind the story.
Indeed, he added much pretty but false embellishment
to distract the uninitiate, while he spoke openly
to those with an ear for hearing mysteries.
These parts he did not write alone,
but in a fugue or frenzy,
whipped by an invisible goad
and feeling the face of Orpheus enfold his own.
These prophetic words were addressed
not to Nonnos’ own contemporaries,
but men and women of a future generation.
And then, when he was done chronicling the Indian War
the voices began to speak of its sequel,
something like a combined Gigantomachia
and Titanomachia, but much worse.
Though other of his works survived the ages
and came down to us intact, this one did not.
That was not accidental.

Join us and cry

“You ready for this?”

Herakles emptied his cup,
wiped the wine from his beard,
and said, “I was born ready.”

“There’s no one I’d rather have at my side
for the end of all things, brother, than you.”
Dionysos said, fastening his foxskin cape in place,
and his ivy-crown. They clasped fists
and turned to greet their people.

Hermes, Harlequin, Phalanx and Mark Antony,
all four wearing wolf-heads, clashed their shields
and the vast, uncountable host that Dionysos
had collected from different times and lands,
began to shout their war-cry as they waited for
burning Olympos to fall.

You are free and mighty

“You are not small and weak!” Shouted Miriam Webb
at the demonstration. “Stop identifying with a victim mentality.
You’re here. That’s something worth celebrating! It means,
against all odds and obstacles, you made it.
This world is hard, cold and grinding.
Everything designed to beat you down into
submissive passivity,
make you conform and be like everyone else.
Dress like them, think like them, act like them.
They want to make you forget who you are
and what you’re made of.
That you are unique.
You are starstuff.
You are Earth and Sky,
with blood of the Titans in your veins.
You are not their fucking puppet.
Be mighty and live deliciously!”
As she stepped down from the podium
the Antifa rabble
– all in black hoodies and shiny boots –
booed her and called her names
and began chanting sinisterly at her
as if some nameless thing
was pulling their invisible strings.

That none can stay you or say you nay

The cage is gold,
with baroque filigree
and rhomboid diamonds
interspersed with wheels.
The white dove swings
and tries to forget
that once she had tasted freedom
and felt the breeze and sun on her wings.
Is it any wonder she no longer sings?
As Dionysos stands there watching,
held tilted at a queer angle,
he wonders why she doesn’t just try the door
since it’s wide open.
Instead she’d rather swing
in her misery,
and tweet about it.
Then he had an idea
and filled her little trough with wine
and waited to see what would happen.
“Drink,” he whispers, “and be free.”

True to your Daimon

I faced myself
in the monster’s own lair
after a long and winding journey
and many arduous ordeals to get there.
He was tall and beautiful,
strong and confident,
everything I hoped to be,
and he smiled
as he offered my heart to me,
his heart,
dark and stuffed with ivy.
I ate the heart,
and watched my weaker self fall
and turn to dirt.
Then I left the Initiation Hall,
stepped through the Mirror
and returned to the World
as one of the Wolves
that tend the Bull of Fire.