Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hera poems

I read a lot of Greek myths as a kid, as well as Norse myths and Bible stories, and lately life has been letting me know that these things are making a comeback in terms of my ever-changing symbol structure. There were earlier signs, but things really kicked off when I saw this production of Metamorphoses. My interest was revived (not least because of the scene that ends with a man holding a fork and steak knife poised above his own leg), and a couple of days later I wrote a poem that name-dropped Baucis and Philemon. And then Lucy responded in poem, letting me know I was looking at the wrong pair, and brought in Zeus and Hera. And I was completely struck by it. That relationship, and Hera in general, never stuck in my mind because I didn't like her at all as a kid. She was always the villain, and never in an interesting (at the time) way. But the more I think about it, the more I'm totally enthralled by who she is and who she is constructed to be. The short version is she's Zeus's wife and always framed as a total ballbuster. She's not in a ton of stories, but when she is, it's generally in the context of ruining his fun. I need to do a lot more reading of Hera stories-- like I said, I never paid a ton of attention as a kid. I feel like there's a lot more here than these two poems.


I didn’t know I’d grow up
to be my mother, so as a child
I just loved to tell Hera what
a bitch she was, how petty,
always taking what’s his. Not
caring any more for what blood
he bleeds than the blood she

Hera II

I like how slick that little belt sits
on the twist of you, how taut each cotton seam around
waist, thorax, oh, exoskeleton upon exoskeleton: first,
the print of the dress, then the cloth itself, fiber wrapped
around tender fiber, then skin (just more drapery), then
the crackling shell, the beetle armor, nesting in scales just
below, oh, not so you’d see it, but I put one hand around you,
cup the muscle of your back maybe, and I feel the bone
of you. How many underskirts do you wear? Do they match
your skirt purse hairdo shoes? Do you callus on your heels
or your toes? Are your areolas dark or pale? I see that
sheet metal you wear and I want to get in, find the crack
and lever it to canyon. I’ll take any shape I need
to slip into you. I’ll take each zippery skirt off you.
I’ll take you out for a movie, if you’ll let me.

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