Thursday, December 10, 2009

Walking on the Ground of the Earth (A Fragment from the Book of Prometheus)

Memphis will continue, but when I was writing it by hand, Ideas Girl asked me if I'd write a Zeus story. Here one is.

Walking on the ground of the Earth

Patroclus and Briseis, Eight Years Later

My dear, sweet love. What are we doing here? Why do we wander amidst these rocks, this stony landscape. Why were we in the heat of the sands? What wind blasted us here?

You don’t remember walking then?

Walking, yes, after falling.

Nothing moves for us, my dear. We are walking over the stones and the snow and the sand, our feet crunch the timeless earth.

It changes beneath us.

It is timeless. Let us go, therefore you and I, down to the river banks, to the Tigris, to the Tiber, down the banks of the Hudson, where a silver eagle splashes in the icy, dirty water, though we were not there. Let us go. And here, on the snowy rocks, let us walk against time. The earth is bloodied, but what of it? We walk against time, we walk in such a way that blood is not spilled. It blooms like a flower shooting from the snowy stones, it grows and makes the neck of the child whole.

You steal everything. You stole that, my dear, from Homer.

No, my dear, I stole it from Achilles. I stole it from his wrath.

Why was he angry, my dear?

Because Patroclus, his beloved, had been killed. And so he killed Hector.

But it’s so absurd. You are Patroclus. I am Briseis. And we are together now.

But where were we? I feel that we were in two places at once. A steel city, a cage high above the earth, we paced its ladders. We were impatient to be with one another. But you were with Agamemnon, I was with Achilles. They hated one another and there was nothing we could do.

It’s not as though we were Romeo and Juliet, you know.

That’s true. We are together. We were also together, in red canyons where the water lapped against the steep sides of the red walls. Slender green shoots clung from the sides of the rocks where the water slapped the walls. Tender young vines crept up the slick wet walls, heading up towards heaven. Up there, there was another city, of marble and sand. A great, dusky horizon. Kallipolis, the slender jewel of a kingdom that never was.

But we were there.

And it was burning.


What lay between them?

Silly love, you know what lay between them. Prometheus told you.

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