Quick post from the Aegean Sea. Unreliable Wifi, so we’ll just have to make do this week.
I’d remembered the poem about the Sirens, but I’d totally forgotten this little masterpiece. I stumbled across it while looking for the other. What the hell, I thought. Just in case they read Wandering Among the Sirens and though it was good, I’ll share this little turdlet with them as well.
Don’t say you weren’t warned.
* * * * *
i was busy vacuuming
using my hydromatic automatic suck-o-matic central vac
and when i moved the laundry room door to clean behind
(responsible guy that i am)
there was a
and reacting without a second thought
about the interdependent web of life and all that
i sucked that sucker up.
and the fury of that wind unleashed
around corners and down dark passages
swirling ’round the rim
and directly into Charbodys’ maw.
washed up battered half dead
in a pile of dust
carefully crawled out (now that Charbodys had stopped)
through the exhaust pipe
and back into his cozy home in my wall.
oh what tales he’ll tell his grandchildren,
that endless voyage
that ended up about 10 feet away.
and if the old blind roach takes up the tale
ages from now
when men walk the earth no longer
(prey to the bomb or pollution or evolutionary success)
and the magnificent tales of Homer are long forgotten
young roach schoolchildren will still speak reverently
of Odysseus Roach.
Elaine and I were married in a very simple ceremony in the late afternoon of a clear, crisp October evening with a full moon just coming up in the eastern sky. Considering that the official part of the ceremony lasted about three seconds—Arthur pronounced the words, “I grant you this woman as your wife” and we were married—it took a hell of a long time to get ready.
On Thursday I promised you a poem about the Sirens. I share it, both in the spirit of going to the seas where Odysseus sailed, and so you can see why I write fiction instead of poetry.
WANDERING AMONG THE SIRENS
Despite my cavalier attitude—I was entitled to be somewhat cavalier, since I rode a horse in my primary occupation—I was worried about how Arthur might react. He’s far more open-minded than any other king I’ve ever met, but he’s still a king. When you’re king, there’s no pressure for your ideas and beliefs to be logical. They don’t have to make sense: you get to have them anyway. And the gap between our social standing and my own—Elaine a princess, I a mere knight—would be an affront to the accepted group mores.
On the other hand, Arthur liked to poke a stick in the eye of accepted standards.
In a few days under the determined tutelage of Queen Morgan le Fay, I learned more about sex than I had in the first forty-five years of my life. In one stolen afternoon with Princess Elaine, I easily doubled that knowledge. And if I didn’t even get to use any of the tricks Morgan had taught me—well, there would be other days.
The single biggest trove was a thorough understanding of what I’d first glimpsed at Morgan’s: nothing increases sexual enjoyment as much as being in love. Youth and vigor, a comely partner, great tits, raging horniness, all the tricks of the trade, even a lover who’s bathed recently—all pale in comparison. Apparently there is an emotional aspect that I’d only now begun to suspect. I guess that’s why the bards call it ‘making love’ when they’re telling the great love stories like Tristan and Iseult.
No, silly. He’s not dying. I mean, we’re approaching the end of the story.
As it works out, I will be posting the last chapter on Wednesday, the same day we leave for our cruise of the Greek Islands. I’d say the Sirens were looking out for me. Either that or they don’t want to be disappointed.
After my emotionally-exhausting cogitation and my physically-exhausting foray out of bed, I was ready for a nap. Elaine was there holding my hand when I awoke, although I didn’t know if she stayed the whole time to gaze upon the manliness of my face or had been off doing something useful and returned with fortuitous timing.
And then the Princess was off to teach noun declensions to her two young charges who were destined to save the world, leaving me lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. The pounding in my head and the savage stabbing by which my ribs reminded me that I wasn’t supposed to move around were nothing compared to how badly my feelings were hurt.
But gradually I calmed down enough to think rationally about what Elaine had said.
I will sleep with you, any time you ask. Oh Kay, how bad could that be? I mean, isn’t that what traditional marriage means for most men anyway? Continue reading
I stumbled around on the fringes of consciousness. Discovered the Holy Grail, just as Morgan had described it, sitting dusty and draped with cobwebs on a shelf in Merlin’s cottage. Was savagely pounded by a giant with a wooden maul until I hurt all over. Rode through an apple grove with George Foster on steel horses that trotted stiffly and blew smoke out their noses. Heard voices that might have been discussing me or possibly the weather. Hurt some more. Walked arm in arm with Morgan down a forest lane until she stopped to undress and became a Valkyrie.
Obviously there wasn’t a god whose responsibility it was to control the weather; otherwise, it would have been gloomy and overcast. Maybe the brash sunlight signaled that it was only gloomy from my perspective; the gods, having cast their lots with Maleagans, were heading out for a picnic. Or perhaps the pantheon alternated jobs like the knights did at Morgan’s Happy Camp for Wayward Boys, and this morning it was Fortuna’s turn at weather control and, well, she’d slept in (as Fortuna often does). But for whatever reason, the morning sun shone bright and cheerful, with promises that it was going to be a hot July day. My gravediggers were going to get sweaty before it was all over.