I had a reading tonight. I felt nervous all day and it showed up in front of the mic. I hate when that happens. I'm kind of extraverted, so it doesn't happen that often for me, which makes it especially unbearable when it does. Everything feels disembodied and Over There. The thing is, you just can't hit the ball out of the park every time you get up to bat. And I assure you, kind people, tonight was one of those humbling nights. Nonetheless, I read new work, was faithfully supported by remarkable folks, and had the hottest date in the room. And not to be shallow, but sometimes the right butch on an elbow really soothes an easily damaged Leo ego. It's just the way the sun sign crumbles at my house. I was born this way, under the watch of the Lion.
Anyhow, nice readers, here's a piece of the work. Behold: Pandora...
Demeter and Persephone didn’t visit in my sleep the way the rest of the Gods did. I hung out with them all the time. They’d seen me at sixteen and they’d seen me at eighty eight. They’d seen my first cigarette and my first broken hip. It seemed that in spite of my repeat visits to each of the ages, my brain mimicked a human experience of each number, regardless of the accumulation of years collecting experience behind it. So the first time I hit forty, I was really only here for eight years, but the second time I was a hundred and four. I arrived naked in the shadow of the mountain at thirty two, then time marched with me up to eighty eight, and unlike my human companions, my body recounted its edges as the sun continued to rise and set. My friends continued dying as my spine re-stacked itself regal and strong. Time marched me back to sixteen, and then I woke up one day and I just knew, I could feel it rushing through me. I was on my way back to eighty eight.
I don’t think the Gods even knew how it would work. Zeus used to visit a lot in the beginning, but like his plan indicated, women were only useful for two things, sex and deceit. So as my usefulness proved nonexistent to him, thanks to Hera, his visits simply ended and my fate lost its director. I became a mystery to all of us, shuttling back and forth from maiden to spinster.
I used to wait for Hera to visit, lay in the darkest nights on the roof of Athena’s temple to be closer to the sky, and beg her to come, to explain what happened. When she did come a couple times, she was so sad, all she did was weep. I’d heard about her flamboyant bitchiness in the magazines, the fantastic performances of vindictiveness and jealousy the Greeks had come to admire at the edge of their fear. But the last time Hera came to me, so many years ago, her hair was lanky, and filthy robes clung to her wet body as she sat in her river, broadcasting herself from the Middle Place, in exile from her luxurious home. I could see Sissyphus in the background, rolling the stone up the hill while Hera rolled joints. She’d smoke each one so fast, staring at me the whole time like a painting. And the higher she got, the more she cried. She was barely a goddess at all, let alone the queen of the mountain. She would only say I’m sorry, Pandora. I’m so so sorry.
After a long visit of saying nothing, I got up and sat in the river with her. She smelled good. Everything about her was like legend says, except her fingernails. She bit them down to a bloodline. I took her hands into mine and rubbed the saltwater from her river into the nailbeds while a friendly partridge did our hair, licking the salty tears up off her perfect goddess skin.