The Oasiad


Anyone out there read the Iliad (or seen Troy)? If you have, perhaps you’ll recognize this. It’s a sort of translation of book 18 (with a book 16 flashback) in the style of genius Christopher Logue. It’s still a work in progress (see note below), so let me know if there’s anything that needs changing.

And to those of you who recognize this: Sorry. This MAY look like a duplicate but if you persevere past the first page you’ll see it’s really not 🙂 I’m an insane editor and I fixed it. Big time. Enjoy!

Feet hammering hard on sand.
Thick heels sinking in, slowing his gait.
The head, planted on the stocky neck, droops
As hands push back the animal-hide flap.

“Son of Peleus,” To Achilles.
The warlike hero turns, and
As eye meets eye the voice dies.

But it is used.

“He is dead.”Ears stop hearing.
“A hero’s death, though, to the end. Hector…”
White noise. Words, like silent raindrops, fall
Unheard.

Slow exit. A statue of a king dethroned, he quakes,
Ropes round motionless ankles, marble muscles crack,
Then shatter, raising dirt.

Soundless around him, a million voiceless screams.
They stab his writhing body like spears. You know nothing,
Nothing of pain. Not like him. Tufts of hair in his massive hands,
Redcurrant hair mixed with saltwater and the smell of grief.
Lying in the dust,
The tears carving into his face,
Eyes seeing nothing around him, only the face of Patroclus,
Clawed at, chewed up,
Dead.

Listening below the bolts of grey sea,
Beautiful Thetis. Weeping for her weeping son.

Lavender fills the nose of her wailing child.
“Why, dear Achilles,” she whispers, by his side.
“Why do you cry?” Nymph fingers glide over strands of brown.

“Patroclus—” he collapses against her knee. Hot, angry rain falls on her skin. Tears until nightfall. “They killed him. Patroclus. He was—he,”
Was.
Through hacking, wrenching sobs:
“He took my armour,
Put it on, fooling the Trojans.
And I let him go! He let it reach him,
Eat at his brain, that sweet decay of killing.

I let him go.” His own fists hammering at his body. Reaching for the dagger.
“Stop—“
“No,
Not unless Hector
That rodent son
Of dribbling Priam,
Dies, too.
I’ll cut him
Gouge his eyes out,
Drag him around
Until Trojan sand becomes Trojan skin
And even crows won’t bow their heads to tear at him.”

“But, child, if you are the one to kill him, they will kill you.”

Then let me die!
Heracles, Perseus,
Theseus,

Patroclus.
Let me die.

“No man escapes the fixèd gaze of sullen Death.”

Thetis looked at her son, his face, his strong shoulders.
Too weak.
“Wait my dear, stay by the beach.
I’ll go to Hephaestus, that lord of fire,
And tell him to forge my son
The finest armour in the Ilium.” Cool lips to warm forehead, and silverfoot Thetis slid away.

You enter, late.
Slide through the door, hope nobody hears as you
Shuffle sideways, scuttle into place like the crab you are,
Skulking in the shadow of the octopi.

It’s already started. The footlights in their eyes,
They can’t even see you.

Grand jeté. Arms, legs, fingers tense, poised,
Ready with the spear. Slide the sharpened point between ribs, tearing,
Elegantly, fingertips pull, pull, push-pull, freeing the blade from bloody sinews, still tightly wound.
Victim falls like garbage from a metal monster.
Patroclus, bare toes pivoting on the floor, pirouettes with the knife, arm outstretched,
SCHGLUG. Into the stomach.
Faster, faster,
Head flicking dizzyingly, spotting his next partner.
Muscles contracting,
Lift! And throw.
Gracefully, a dancer falls.
Crumples, a swan with a broken neck.
APPLAUSE! LAUGHTER!
An eye rolls forward, but Patroclus’ foot
Doesn’t even touch it, he won’t be tripped.
Wild smile, savage cry,
The rhythmic stabbing into the crowd
Soldiers drop around him,
Peeling away like petals of a cactus flower,
Bloom for a day, then you’re gone, Patroclus.
At least you’ve made your mark.
A forest of arms, heads, hands, feet, legs,
Rooted in the fallen bodies, lifeless skin still sweating under the hot Trojan sun.

Little boy, little boy, Stab the bloodthirsty bastard,
Princip, out to make his name,
End the war.
Drive it, the spear into his spleen
Bursting bile-sack,
Almost, almost glory.
Run away before he sees who did it.

He stumbles, “It’s over!” “He’s done!”
But it gives a growl, springing back into the fight,
A one-quill porcupine.

Twitch. He’s down. Now’s your chance.
Go.

Hector advances, foxtrot to the right, slide under,
Arm flailing, he falters. Unsure.

Looking over, to Sarpedon,
Fallen hero.
Can you call him that?
Just a mass of dead skin
Blood-crusted, dirt-covered,
Faceless
Skin. Stabbed and torn at, devoured as an army of ants crawls desperately over a single crumb.
Anger floods like acid, eating through his bones.

Go, Hector. Stab. Slice. Hack. Blood on your hands
Slippery, red blood trickling like sweat
From your forehead.
Patroclus’ blood.

Regaining his balance, he leaps,
Sweeping his arm in one perfect arc, spear meets spear,
Straining with the pitiless bronze to tear at each other,
Mangy dogs in the street,
One on top of the other.
Slowly, he eases in the blade.
“Shhh. Shhh.”

Hector, holding him down with the tips of his fingers,
Stares into wide, scared-rabbit eyes. Fear.
RAGE.

“Does it hurt?” He mocks. Lip curls.
Patroclus gurgles.
“Don’t.”
“How are you feeling? Dead? You’re dead, Patroclus. It always catches up to you, you see.
Hector killed you. Tell everyone that. I bring death.
I am death.”
“No,” he said, “That’s,”
Last word, spat out with all his strength and clotted crimson lumps:
“Achilles.”

Blind, Deaf, Hector can only roar,
Ripping the armour off his prey,
Hurling it at the driver,
Leaving the naked corpse.

FTHIT. FTHIT.

While Thetis comforts infant Achilles,
FTHIT.
Bronze tips.
Dodged by instinct,
Reaching cold hands.

Drag him away! “Drag him away!”
Barely a hesitation. He slaughters Reason,
Hitler in his bunker,
Insane
He can only see Spears,
Spears stained for days
With Greek blood, filthy blood,
Leaving a mass of faceless skin.

“I’ve got him!” the voice of Polydamas accompanies
Arms, shoulders,
Buckle under weight,
Expand and drag the dead boy.

Head, gone with one blow.
Stuck on a pole,
Right through the esophagus.
Try and talk now, Patroclus.

Before he can move,
Half-giant Ajax sweeps
Two feet in one great hand.

Low bellow. Almost a word: “Ours.”

“Up, Achilles.” A mist voice whispers, cool spit on rough skin.
Frozen.
“Coward,” it declares.
Hammer to the ice.
Running,
Legs like steel springs. Propel him down the track.

Achilles
Feet planted,
A spire on the dune.
Soft stomach, open stomach.
An invitation.
Watch them fight, murderers,
Without you to save them.
They cannot win, for
You cannot help them.

Voice like Tamahay.

Just scream.

Metal clattering stops.

Thump, Thump, Thump.
Fast breath, in-out
Hop,
Crouch,
Tuck,
Run into the early sunset.

No one saw them drag it away.

“I think,” Polydamas said, “we should retreat.
Achilles’ presence is a sign.
We’ll return to the city,
Behind the wall,
And hide.”

Snarl from Hector.
Strong, rough heels.
Sunk into the sand.

“Are you Greek?
We stay.”
“I have always held your counsel in
Highest
Esteem, Hector, but this once—“
“We stay.
We will not be slaves.
We will not be girls.
We will fight. We will win.”

Priam’s nodding. When he looks at you, those eyes,
Piercing blue bullets shot from a derringer .41,
Commanding and wise and scary as hell
Agreement floods your mind.

Hector and Polydamas.
Face to face.
Nose to nose.

Open your eyes. Slide away
From that body-littered beach
Up
Up
Breathe cool winter-mint air as it stings your nose
And see them, controllers of fate.
Golden chairs in a circle. Fire pit, center.

Watch them ignore you.

Clusters of glass houses. Palaces.
Keep walking—

Dirty clay hut,
Grey from ash.

One is hiding.
Alone.
Hammer, metal, fire.
All he needs, he says.
No one comes near,
Not even his wife, no.
She’s too busy freshening lipstick,
Toying with wire-hair boys.

But Thetis, silver gown,
She enters,
Sings,

“Hephaestus,”—The massive man looks up from below greasy bangs—
“Can you do me a favor?” Coy smile. Wink.
He trembles, her slender hand running up and down his scarred skin. No reply.

“You see,” Soft. Mouth near burnt ear.
“Achilles needs armour. My son, at Troy.”
Grunt.
“My

Husband

Is dead, you know
Mortals—they do that. They get old.
Weak.” Not like you, Hephaestus.
Slim fingers on bulging arms.
Lungs try to open.
Can’t.

“Ok.” Lips almost touch
Almost touch
So close he feels her dewy breath on his hot cheek—

pull away.

“Thanks, Phi-Phi.” Gone.

“Phi-Phi.” Smiles.
He pushes up his flannel sleeves,
Rubs his prickled chin,
Lifts his hammer,

Sparks.

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Forget Me


Memory has a way of hanging in the air
It leaves little trails of scent wafting
spiraling toward you
Wrapping you up, like an indian samosa,
in trails of yellow spice.

It dances on your tongue,
Sweet and bitter and blue
like a melody of taste, each note made of hard candy
and each measure draped with smoke.

It brushes against you,
rough and damp and cool against your skin
then retreats to its corner.
Where it is forgotten.

It’s been a long time


Now I’m coming back home
I’ve been away now
Oh how
I’ve been alone

The Beatles

It has been a long time, way too long actually. My life has been so horribly hectic, though. I had a death in the family, and dealing with the aftermath of that has been very time consuming and difficult. However, I thought I’d share something with all of you!

The City

Walking through the street. You see everyone for who they are–what they are. There’s no hiding. Breathe in. The smell of sour milk, fryer oil, and body  odor wafts into your nose. Just keep walking.

“Spare change?” You hear. The first time you heard it, maybe you saw. Maybe your head turned and you saw the small, crumpled figure. But now you know. You learn not to flinch. Just keep walking.

The row of buildings along the street block the sun, even though it’s a warm day. They make you shiver, casting the street in darkness. Just keep walking.

The crowd pushes towards you. You’re swallowed by them, a hundred moving bodies engulfing you, small and insignificant. Hear them babble, talk to themselves, metal in their ears. You are alone. Stop.

Boy + Girl


Spinning.
Hold my hands and swing me around.
Everything blurred
but you. Your
Smile
Sparkles in the sun. Your familiar laugh
echoes through my skull. Don’t let go
or I’ll fall.

Take a picture.
A perfect summer day to last forever
with me in your arms.

Small Beauties


Small Beauties                           

I dream of a day when time will slow for me,
that I may stop to notice a flower in the grass.

Leaves of vibrant green,
a green so fresh and saturated
that it radiates pure energy.

Petals of deep yellow,
the sun, a sinking orb of light
as day wears on.  

Nestled so among the tall blades,
ever tossed by those rustling giants,
that one may easily pass it by.

Yet if time could pause
its rushing agenda,

That flower in the grass,
small in size but great in beauty,
could bring such joy.

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