i. Aphrodite has given up on love. She listens to boys yelling obscene things at innocent girls. She can be found serving drinks at the local bar to broken women and spitting poisonous words at the filthy gentlemen next to them.
ii. Apollo dreads the moment the sun rises. Because when the sun goes up, his local late night show ends and his hour of fame comes to a close. He can be found spending his days, sitting on a park bench asking for loose change and wishing his poetry was good enough.
iii. Ares doesn’t understand war anymore. All he sees is needless bloodshed and brutal homicide based upon abhorrent racial cleansing and childish disagreements. He can be found weeping over the destruction of schools and the murder of innocent children.
iv. Artemis doesn’t hunt game anymore. She carries a switchblade and mace, prepared to fight off any boy harassing a girl with intoxicated footsteps. She can be found holding back girl’s hair as they vomit up their insecurities while sobs wrack their body into the next morning.
v. Athena has stopped believing in reason. When there’s international conflict concerning who marries who and a nationwide crisis about the newest fashion, reason just doesn’t seem applicable anymore. She can be found protesting with college students about real problems.
vi. Dionysus can’t help the madness. When the frequency of mental illness - in children nonetheless, has become so high? What’s the point? He can be found at the same pub and same seat as always; drinking the same dry whisky wishing everything would be the same as it used to be.
vii. Hades can’t stand jewels anymore. Emeralds reflect the envy and greed of humanity while rubies reflect their sexual and blood lust. He can be found rolling his eyes at people begging for their lives in the allies while human demons hunt them down for materialistic ends.
viii. Hephaestus has developed a hatred of fire. It does nothing but steal. It steal oxygen from the air and steal people from their families. Fire does not give it takes. He can be found saving everything he can from fire’s wrath, but will later choke on the smoke of his cigarette.
ix. Hermes can’t stand traveling. His legs are weak and his eyes are strained. He’s carried too many messages to people about the death of loved ones and the love letters are scarce. He can be found stealing, not money, but of their hope and strength because he’s hasn’t any left.
The gods are among us and they can’t survive. Why should I?
I want to see Zeus in a tailored suit and shaggy beard, a
walking disparity of the loud, brash, post-graduate frat boy variety who can’t
pass a woman on the street without catcalls, who has more one-night stands than
he could possibly keep in his head, for whom adultery comes as naturally as the
weather he predicts on the Channel 4 News—with startlingly accuracy, and an
endless wealth of charisma.
I want to see Hera walking tall, six-inch heels and not a
wrinkle in her skirt, knowing her boyfriend is cheating, and knowing with equal
certainty that she is better, stronger, fiercer than he will ever be, a wedding
planner with an eye of steel, spotting vulnerability, slicing it open, teaching
every woman who crosses her path to value themselves over any mistake made in
the name of men and love.
I want to see Poseidon in Olympic prime, a gym rat who
skives off class to shatter backstroke records, who spends his summers
lifeguarding at the city pool, who keeps an ever-expanding aquarium in his
bedroom and coaxes all the pretty girls up to visit his fish, his charm as
impressive as the earth-rending temper he generally uses to fuel his competitive
I want to see Hades, big, hulking, quieter than his brothers
would ever think to be, who dresses in neat dark clothes, and polishes his
boots, and spends more time reading than fighting, who debates eventuality and
ethics, who stoically reminds everyone how enormous, how terrifying, how
inescapable a thing like silentinevitability can be.
I want to see Hermes in a beanie, with watercolor splashes
of tattoo crawling up his arms and holes in his Chucks, a bike messenger with
no helmet, no regard for the rules of the road, all cataclysmic laughter, lock-pick
tricks passed along to every kid who thinks to ask, thumbing through his iPhone
without a care in the world.
I want to see Athena with reading glasses pushed high on her
head, six books in her bag and a switchblade in her back pocket, her clothing
as neatly ordered as her mind is feverish, brilliance and temper clashing and
blending, doing her best to look dignified—even when her brain chemistry
rockets ahead of her well-intentioned plans.
I want to see Apollo splattered with acrylics, board shorts
and Monster headphones and a beautiful classic car, busking on street corners,
not because he has no choice, but because the sunlight catching on a
sticker-patterned acoustic is summer incarnate, because music is blood, because
the act of creation is the ultimate in sublime.
I want to see Artemis in ripped jeans and haphazard topknot,
star of the soccer team, the track team, the archery team, who rides a
motorcycle, and keeps a tribe of girls around her at all times, and does not
care for men, for expectation, for anything but volunteer hours down at the
local animal shelter and falling asleep under the stars.
I want to see Aphrodite in sundress and scarf, homemade
jewelry and lavish amounts of bright red lipstick, who is excellent at public
speaking, at theater auditions, at soothing bruised egos and sparking epic
fights, who kisses as easily as she breathes and scrawls poetry onto bathroom
I want to see Ares all but living in the boxing ring, cutoff
shirts and sweats, red-faced under a crew cut as he punches, punches, punches
until the noise in his head dims, a warrior with no war, all crude jokes and
blind fury, totally incapable of understanding what it is to sit, think, plan
before running screaming into the fray.
I want to see Demeter with the best garden you’ve seen in
your life, with a lawn care business she runs out of her garage, a teenage
prodigy grown into a joint-custody single mother, who teaches her carefree
daughter all she knows while scaring off the hopeful neighborhood boys with the
pet python draped across her shoulders.
I want to see Dionysus with a joint in one hand and a bottle
of wine in the other, baggy hoodies and three-week-old jeans, who brews his own
beer in his basement and greets all visitors with a fresh pack of Oreos and
half-stoned theories of the universe, of birth and death and partying mid-week,
because why not, man?
I want to see Hephaestus with a workshop taking up the
majority of his house, whose kitchen is overrun with blowtorches, whose bathrooms
are home to all manner of hodge-podge invention, who walks with a cane and
forgets his laundry for weeks at a time, and strings together the most
beautiful steampunk costumes at any convention at the drop of a hat.
I want to see wood nymphs fighting against climate change,
waving their signs and pushing for scientific progress. I want to see epic
heroes sitting down to Magic: The Gathering tournaments, poker brawls, Call of
Duty all-nighters with beer and snapbacks. I want to see Medusa working a women’s
shelter, want to see Achilles training for deployment, want to see Prometheus
serving endless community service stints for what he calls providing necessary welfare with stolen goods.
Give me modern mythology. I could play for hours in that
Helen is not of Troy
and not of Sparta.
She does not live in the towers of burning Ilium,
or the ruined palaces of once-great Greece–
No, she is found between the folds of history
over and over and over again.
Blamed and de-famed and cruelly scorned,
She is every woman who bears the burden
of the faults of men and gods.
She is all of us–
History repeating itself,
maybe to punish
maybe to teach
maybe to remind
But it does not matter–
Whatever might be the ill-taught lesson,
the shouts of the imprisoned and deprived
are forever lost in the clanging of weapons,
and forgotten women.
Sing, o goddess, the rage of Helen
–which launched not a thousand ships
but was stifled and silenced
by a war fought wrongly in her honour.
sing, o goddess, the rage of helen | by prithvi. p