Antinous for Everybody

I worship a dead gay teenager and you can too

Archive for the tag “my poetry”

Saturnalia: To the Mothers


Mother is a place to rest, a warmth, a tuneless song.
Mother is a voice that cuts.
Mother is a lady in a blue veil, a blue robe.
Mother is a lady with a baby in her arms.
Mother is a grandmother fixing hot tea and cold cereal on a school morning
Mother is a grandmother putting my clothes near the radiator
Mother is a woman who sleeps late while I rise early
Mother is a woman who smokes and drinks coffee
Mother is a May Day procession dressed in white
Mother is an ivory statue of the Virgin and Child with a Gothic sway
Mother is a possibly heretical vierge ouvrante
Mother is the goddess Isis with baby Horus on her lap
Mother is an icon with stars on the Virgin’s brow and shoulders
Mother is a Middle Eastern woman wrapped in layers of veils and shawls
carrying her child away from danger, shielding it with her body
Mother is my mother’s mother’s mother, who died when I was one
Mother is my mother’s father’s mother, was her name Louisa?
Mother is my father’s mother Grace, his adoptive mother,
and his mother Clara, his birth mother, whose last name was Gunsales
Mother is the woman who bore my husband a child
who bore her second husband a child
Mother is my sister, who bore my niece
Mother is my niece, who has borne a son
Mother is a link in a chain, a cell in the umbilical cord
Mother is the land I walk on, the nourishing earth, the turning planet
Mother is the night sky, spangled with stars
the brightness of the stars
and the darkness between
the beginning
and the end


Requiem for the trans dead, movement seven

VII. An ancient dirge

On this night, on this night,
every night and all,
fire and fleet and candlelight,
and gods receive your souls.

If shoes and stockings
were taken away,
at the first gate
put them on

If skirt or trousers
were taken away
at the second gate
put them on

If shirt or blouse
were taken away,
at the third gate
put them on

If hat or wig
were taken away,
at the fourth gate
put them on

If jewels or gauds
were taken away,
at the fifth gate
put them on

If cash and cards
were taken away,
at the sixth gate
take them up

If hungry and thirsty
you may be,
at the seventh gate
there waits for thee

food and drink
fire and friends
light and a guide
on this night

on this night
every night and all
gates stand open
for the trans dead
gods receive your souls

A new series of poems

It occurred to me yesterday that we need more Muses.

The traditional names and domains of the Nine Muses are as follows:

  • Calliope, epic poetry
  • Clio, history
  • Euterpe, music, song, and lyric poetry
  • Erato, erotic and love poetry
  • Melpomene, tragedy
  • Thalia, comedy
  • Terpsichore, dance
  • Polyhymnia or Polymnia, sacred song and hymns
  • Urania, astronomy

What about a Muse for science fiction writers? A Muse of Westerns? A Muse of comics, or of superhero movies, or of hip-hop?

There is no reason there couldn’t be Muses whose names we don’t know, who were unknown to the ancients but have been waiting in the wings for their domains to manifest. So I decided to invoke some, starting with the Muse I personally need most.

To the Unknown Muses 1: The Muse of Fanfiction
Sing, O Muse, of the stories that were never told,
the endings that turned out differently, the onscreen bros
who became lovers, the alternate universes of story!
I invoke thee, Muse of Fanfic, O comely youth,
beloved of many gods who dallies with Mary Sue,
you who take away superhero powers
and bestow werewolf or vampire status.
Handsomest of deities, master of all tropes,
who graces Wikipedia with the entries writers need,
come speedily to the writers reviewing their canon,
guide the hands of artists making portraits without references,
send rhymes to the lips of filkers, keep keen
the eyes of vidders, support us unpaid women
who bravely carry on the ancient traditions.
O Muse of Fanfic, hail!

Sacred Nights: The Death of Osiris 2015

Hail, Osiris, whom Isis laments!
Hail, Osiris, whom Set wounded and scattered!
Hail, Osiris, twice dying, twice renewed!
Hail, Osiris, whom the Nile made mortal!
Hail, Osiris, whom the Nile made divine!
Hail, Osiris, opener of the way to the West!
Hail, Osiris, lord of the Am Duat!
Hail, Osiris, green blade that rises!
Hail, Osiris, fruitful father of Horus!
Hail, Osiris, giver of good things!
Hail, Osiris, justified by the judges!
Hail, Osiris, ruler of the dead!
Hail, Osiris, god ever-living!
Hail, Osiris, benevolent and wise!
Hail, Osiris, one with Antinous!
Dua Wesir! Khaire Osiris!
Dua Wesir-Antnus! Khaire Osirantinous!

Hymn XXVII: To Antinous Homo Deus

Blessed are you, Antinous Homo Deus,
deified by the waters of the Nile:
blessed are you, man become god,
one with Osiris, mortal raised to
immortality. Blessed is the mystery
by which human becomes divine,
blessed the holy gods who welcome us
into their company; with Herakles, Semele,
Ariadne you take your place among
the glorious ones. Bid us remember,
O Bithynian boy, the lesson behind
this mystery: That no human becomes
a god without first dying.

Hymn XXVI: To Antinous Heros

A hero among heroes we hail you, Antinous,
noble youth, exemplar of virtues.
Surpassing in beauty, noted for strength,
loyal to your loves, beloved above all,
your death Hadrian mourned,
your eternal life we celebrate.
Wise with the innocence of youth,
joyous and vital in life, in death
you are wiser still and
a vital, protecting presence.
Fairest of boys, a flower plucked
just at the moment before its full blossom,
look kindly on us who hail you
as one of our own, young, gifted,
queer, passed on too soon,
offspring and ancestor.

Hymn XIV: To Antinous Hermes, Lover

You are not known for your loves, Antinous Hermes,
but you have not lacked them. Among the goddesses
you dallied with Aphrodite, Brimo, and Daeira,
sought Persephone, and called Peitho your wife.
Amongst the nymphs Penelopeia bore you
the great god Pan, and Carmentis went to Latium
with Evander, her son, the seed of a future empire.
Many were the mortal women whom you found desirable,
and there were men, too, especially Krokos, flower-lad.
You are he who woos with wit, who persuades with suasion,
who seduces with banter, who charms with speech,
lover of the mind and the mind’s lover, who shows us
how to join sense, sensibility, and sensuality, and
for this we praise you, Antinous Hermes.

Hymn XIII: To Antinous Hermes, Navigator

No one knows the pathways better than you, O Antinous Hermes:
The broad roads and the hidden trails, the crossroads
and the market places, the inns where a traveler may rest,
the springs that are pure and the springs that are poison.
You guide the living and the dead, the mortal and immortal,
whispering the passwords that open all doors. See me safely
through this life, Antinous Hermes, and see me safely
into the next, the life without ending; guide me on all
the highways and by-ways, in all my perplexities,
and let me not venture forth alone, leave me not unprotected,
but always, always, gracious god, bring me home.

Hymn XII: To Antinous-Hermes, Liberator

What I cannot say, Antinous Hermes, open my mouth to speak.
What I cannot hear, Antinous Hermes, clear my ears to hear.
What I cannot see, Antinous Hermes, cleanse my eyes to see.
What I cannot think, Antinous Hermes, liberate my mind to know.
From the prison of too much information, not enough knowledge,
from much social media but little friendship,
from debate and denunciation without exchange or compassion,
Antinous Hermes, liberate me.
May I with clear mind and clear sense and pure will
choose deliberately, wisely what to think, what to write,
what to say, what to read, what to see, what to hear.

Hymn XI: To Antinous Dionysus the Lover

Who but you is the Lover of all things, Antinous Dionysus?
Who but you has loved so many so intimately?
In mortal life you were the lover of Hadrian,
beloved of an emperor, and lover to your friends.
You have loved women, you who took Ariadne to be your bride;
you have loved men, you who boldly kept your promise to Prosymnus.
You have loved mortals, you who loved an emperor, a princess, a shepherd boy;
you have loved immortals, you who coupled with Aphrodite and Persephone.
Do you love any less the grape vine and the ivy
which you took for your own, or the leopard and the panther?
Did you not love even Pentheus and hope he would yield to your charms?
Shamelessly and without fear you have given and received the gift of Eros;
hopefully and without shame I praise you and pray you will share that gift with me.

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