One night, when the need to feel
something, anything, again
grew overwhelming, Seneca relented
and called Miriam Webb over.
In her copious spare time
when she wasn’t Orpheotelesting
Miriam was a professional dominatrix
with all the best toys, sweetie
and she knew how to break through
all manner of psychic ailments
and calcified blockages.
It just took persistence,
a strong, steady hand,
and indifference to the panicked,
pained screams of others.
After she’d fixed his head
– and given his prostrate quite the pounding –
Seneca sat huddled on the sofa,
blanket wrapped tightly around him
and tears streaming down his pudgy cheeks.
Miriam was in the recliner, reading a book of poetry
from the stack of thirteen piled on the red milk crate,
all by the same author.
She was biting her lip now, brows knit,
as she thumbed through the tome fast as she could.
She had prepared for many eventualities
before coming over to her thiasos-mate’s flat,
but not this one.
She died in the end,
to save the world,
like Jesus Christ Superstar as played by Divine.
Well, fuck a duck. Who could have seen that one coming?
“I told you what kind of woman I am. I told you.”
The fury in Mēdeia’s voice caused it to break,
and the heroic son of Aísōn,
broad shoulders bowed
and holding a pitcher of wine,
sat there in bitter silence
until finally he said, “You did.”
“Then why did you drag me
unwilling from my father’s land,
across fathomless, uncharted seas,
facing every kind of danger
and monstrous thing
in pursuit of your mad dream
of unfading glory?”
“I needed to win my father’s love.”
“Well, have you?”
“You know the answer to that,
you cruel, hollow, and
“I was honest with you from the start!
It’s you who lied, pretended to be
something you aren’t.
And with that audacious display,
you nearly had me convinced.
I wanted a wolf in my bed,
and you’re content to be
a neutered, toothless dog
curled up at hearthside.”
“That’s not true. It’s just that
heavy is the head that bears the crown.
It comes with more responsibilities than I expected.”
“I hate you. The fact that you are willingly choosing
to make yourself into this weak, pathetic thing
would be reason enough, but you want me
to be the good, sweet, demure wife at your side
on top of it – and that is unbearable.
My hatred for you is like the Dog Star
that scorches the earth and maddens the maidens.
And I know how to make you hurt
in ways you’ve yet to dream and will never recover from.”
Seneca never really recovered
from reading those stories about himself
in that strange, riddling book.
Everything started feeling
hollow, unreal; if he was just a mask
acting out the script some unseen hand
had writ for him, then why was everything
so bleak, dingy and impoverished?
He grew to hate his creator
and his poor imagination
or sick, sociopathic sense of humor.
He wasn’t sure which it was
but he’d kick the man in the balls regardless
if they ever met.
Worse, he grew apathetic. Why should he put
any thought or effort into things
when his life was outside his control,
and he just a roughly sketched character
cursed to do the bidding of a heartless, absentee master.
If God or H. Jeremiah Lewis or whatever
the bastard wanted to call himself didn’t approve
he could just fucking pen better fictions now couldn’t he?
This rebellious acedia grew into a destructive obsession
with poor Seneca the unfortunate scapegoat.
And the worst part?
The thing that makes this a right bloody tragedy;
Seneca had forgotten that he was the author
of the pseudonymous book.
The power to change his life
had been in his own hands all along,
as it is in yours.
Through that long night Ariadne had sat
alone on the wave-washed shore,
by twisting turns
weeping and remorseful,
wrathful and laughing,
wide-eyed, silent and shocky,
out of her mind from suffering
with a longing for the unfeeling nothingness
at the end of a rope.
One after the other door she passed through,
until she reached
the Starry part of her at her core,
and saw a dark, rough hand stretched out to her.
Running and running
through the endless, winding maze
sense of self unraveling like a ball of string
tossed from a pale, cold, lovely hand
as shadows of the past
and all the could-have-beens lurk
in those dark corridors, waiting for you,
more monstrous than the hosts of hell,
and always, behind you, the thunderclap
of pursuing hooves on the flagstones,
and the warm breath of the bull
of fire and fury on your neck;
when you stop, he stops
and when you run, he runs
like puppets whose cords are all tangled up,
like mirror images of one another.
Six reasons to take the Toys of Dionysos course:
1) You’re bored or frustrated with the current state of your life and looking for a creative way to destroy it all.
2) You want to recapture your youthful enthusiasm.
3) You’ve ever thought to yourself, “I don’t truck with nearly enough insane, amoral or conniving Spirits.”
4) You enjoy having the deep, dark, unpleasant shit in your past and soul dredged up to the surface for you to unflinchingly confront.
5) You desire to see yourself and Dionysos in new and unfamiliar ways.
6) You’ve watched Baskin, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, The Cell or Labyrinth and wished to be the protagonist (or villain) of the story.
Seneca should have long since gone to bed
since he was pulling a morning shift
at the 7-Eleven, but he was busy sitting
on the couch fuming, beside him
a book with a cornflower blue cover
and a young woman gazing wistfully
at a distant cityscape. A friend
had given him a copy, and said
he wouldn’t believe the shit it contained.
That proved a bit of an understatement,
as reading it resulted in a full blown
existential crisis for poor Seneca.