Friday, January 31, 2020

No Gods, no Heroes,
only women and Hector

The misdirected vengeance of Hera.
Grey-eyed Athena’s wrath and jealousy,
and Dionysus, bringer of merciless punishment –
(feral mother ripping the limbs from her son, unknowingly,
but when awakened, an internal bonfire grief
beyond extinguishing.)

Hector was the only noble hero –
shouldering his course and obeying his love.

Crafty Odysseus tossed baby-Astyanax from the towers of Troy.
Crazed Achilles knew only the fury of his passion as he
flooded Scamander with the cut-up corpses of his mad rage.
Ajax the Great impaled himself in service to his affronted ego,
and Ajax the Lesser – a coward rapist of the prophet pure Cassandra.

Give me one-eyed blindness, stay on the path, past
Hecuba and her wild rivers of unfathomable suffering – childless
when once a mother of many, Queen of an honoured realm.

Give me Electra over Hera with her young-woman’s devotion
and subterranean heart, tied to a father that would have killed
her as he did sister-Iphigenia
on the pyre-offering of war, victory and fame.

Give me a settled glory – my God of Mercy instead of candles, Jesus
instead of Apollo’s thick sensuous thighs or golden curls,
demanding matricide of Orestes.

Give me Helen in her betrayal of red-haired Menelaus, Helen,
daughter of the Swan, lover of pretty-boy Paris, Helen,
mascot and scapegoat of war, but never the cause.

Give me Clytemnestra over Agamemnon, daughter
too of the Swan, bearer of a mother’s authentic wound -
Iphigenia lost on the bloody rock
by obeyer-of-Zeus, mighty-father
Agamemnon’s royal hand.

Zeus, kind only to sycophants,
Zeus, serial adulterer, user of woman,
sire of many children, lusting as the sunlight lusts
for Earth, to seep warmth into her crust
and heat up the whole of her surface,
demanding offspring life.

Give me Penelope over
teller-of-tall-tales, Cyclops-outwitter,
slaughter-of-suitors Odysseus.
Penelope, with her patient intelligence weaving,
unweaving, keeper of fidelity
for twenty years, holding her own
up against the plight of a woman’s, even a Queen’s,
accepted inequality.

Give me poor Io, chased in her heifer-frame
from flat plains to cliff ridges
to Prometheus’s cursed crucifixion to
finally a resting point in Ethiopia –
Poor Io, ancestor of the brute-blooded Hercules,
who claimed madness-by-Hera turned him
into a murderer of his wife and sons,
who was no Hector, only

Give me Andromache’s zodiac-fingerprint,
for she held Hector inside the cavity of her loins,
and he loved her, and they both knew

© Allison Grayhurst 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

a little too much with evil
these cold nights
are when the pain
likes to come out
and play
keep me up at night
until the sun starts
to peek out a little
the pills don't work
the alcohol never
lasts long enough
and my imagination
dabbles a little too
much with evil
i suppose i'm just
crazy enough that
a balance is even
the first line of cocaine
there's no point
in swearing that
the first line of
cocaine is going
to be your last
trust me
it won't be
the hard reality
i think of my old
high school crushes
and where they are
how i never hear
from them anymore
how i don't hear
from hardly anyone
from my past anymore
it's the hard reality
of being forgotten
you have no choice
but to lie to yourself
if you want to stay
not a concept i am comfortable with
i imagine if i didn't
hate christmas songs
i would have a different
take on this time of year
but happiness is not a
concept i am comfortable
sadly, never have been
i look at these scars and
wrinkles and know time
isn't on my fucking side
any longer
a dose of reality
may be a
warm gun
but i have
to think that
a negative
test is right
up there as
comes with experience
it's an old song
i dedicated to
my first girlfriend
the first phone
number i ever
i probably love
that woman more
today than i ever
did when i was
a teenager
a good bit of
knowledge comes
with experience
if you're lucky
of course
J.J. Campbell

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...