5. To die for a religion is easier than to live it absolutely.

“Is this the blues I’m singing,”
the strange, purple lad giggled,
“Is this the blues I’m singing?”

And then the ropes that bound his ripe frame to the mast,
like Odysseus trying to listen
to the Siren song without washing ashore
on the island of skulls and flowers,
fell off.

And he raised his arms and danced a dizzying round dance
round the length and breadth of the ship,
and wherever his dainty feet touched ivy rose up,
and ivy clung to the rails,
and ivy strangled some
and others became bears
or lions with manes like the sun,
or dolphins,
as they lept over the side
into the wine-dark sea.

Then all began to flower and fill with the fragrance
of wine broached for the first time on Pithoigia.

And there is pandæmonium and silence
and the young Etruscan,
nearly drunken Dionysos’ double,
kneeling in terror
as he prays to an Unknown God.

“Remove the impure, that I may see your face as it truly is.
Fill it with ivy, that you may be with me always.
And when my heart is stuffed with experience,
may it be yours to devour,
my hungry destroyer.”

And he answers, “Your prayer pleases me Akoites;
from this moment forth you shall be free, and Starry.”