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