FIC: Dalliance

“Excuse me, I thought you were a girl.”

The pretty boy blinked at the eagle. “You are mistaken: I am definitely a boy.” He pointed to his genitals in proof.

The eagle shed its pinions and assumed a human form: Mature, manly, clear-eyed, with a flicker of lightnings playing about his beard.

“Excuse me, I thought you were an eagle.”

“In fact, I am a god. I am Zeus.” The god gestured and a rumble of thunder punctuated his announcement.

“Ah! Pardon me, great lord, I was deceived by your cunning disguise.” The pretty boy knelt.

Zeus chucked him under the chin. “So what’s your name, pretty boy who’s pretty enough to make Zeus think he’s a girl.”

The pretty boy stood up but kept his eyes lowered. “I am Ganymede, Thunderer, son of Tros, chieftain of Dardania.”

“Oh, yes, Tros, the one who founded Troy and then there’s going to be a war and then Schliemann… er, never mind, divine foreknowledge and all that. In any case, I was planning to dally with you for a while and beget heroes upon your loins, you know, the sort of thing I generally do with pretty, er, girls. And women. But since you’re a boy, perhaps you’d like me to drop you nearer home on my way off?”

Ganymede shyly raised his eyes to smile at the god. “Well, king of gods, it’s true I can’t bear heroes for you, but I *can* provide dalliance.”


Ganymede smiled more widely and stepped closer. “If I might be permitted, son of Kronos–” He knelt.

“Oh… oh! OH!”

Thunder rolled, lightning struck, and a brief but powerful rainshower soaked the region.

“Have you never dallied with a boy, Raingiver?”

“Not before this, no.”

“I could show you other possibilities, gracious lord, if we might adjourn to someplace drier and more comfortable.”

“How about this, pretty boy?”

Ganymede boldly threw his arms about the god’s waist. “I don’t like caves! Once when I was a child, I was trapped in a cave by an angry bear. I was terribly frightened.”

“Really? I’ve had some of my best dalliances in caves. But perhaps you would prefer this–”

At once they were in a secluded grove on the slopes of Mt. Ida, where great oak trees encircled a patch of sweet-smelling flowers. Ganymede sneezed violently.

“I beg your pardon, father of gods and men, but an abundance of flowers always makes me ill. And then I sn–” He sneezed once again.

“Very well, then.” In the space of a heartbeat, they were in a bedchamber in a small disused palace on Mt. Olympos.

“Now this is more like it,” Ganymede said, and tugged the god toward the bed.

Quite a lot of dalliance ensued, until Ganymede had to plead exhaustion on the grounds that he was only human. Zeus allowed him to sleep, watching over him lest anyone discover their tryst.

When Ganymede awoke, the god stroked his hair. “How would you like to stay here on Olympos, my boy? You could spell my daughter Hebe as cupbearer; she might even marry you, if you like. And we could dally further from time to time, you and I.”

“I’d like that, great lawgiver.” Ganymede glanced at Zeus from under his lashes. “You didn’t really mistake me for a girl, did you, all-seeing lord?”

Zeus laughed. “No, of course not. But you did teach me a few tricks, lad. And you *are* awfully pretty.”

(In honor of the syncretism of Antinous and Ganymede.)


Melinoe: The goddess who will overthrow patriarchy

I am Melinoe, daughter of Persephone,

daughter of the ravished goddess,

borne away without consent but

lawfully wedded, raped by her own father

in the guise of her husband.

I am Melinoe, render of the veil.

The man behind the curtain

has always and only been a man.

I will show you this. His power is a sham.

I am showing you this. I am Melinoe,

child of a rapist and his victim.

I am Melinoe, and the lord of the dead

was my true father, a kind and tender parent

unlike the triumphant lord of the sky.

I am Melinoe, and my sisters are these:

The victims of Harvey Weinstein,

the victims of Bill Cosby,

the daughters raped by their fathers,

their brothers, uncles, boyfriends,

the victims of Roman Polanski,

the victims of Woody Allen.

I am Melinoe, and I have brothers, too:

The boys who were told

that men can’t be raped, the men

who were told they were queer,

they must have wanted it.

I am Melinoe, and to all of you I say:

If Zeus the rapist denies you justice

in your mortal life, in death the rapists

will answer to Hades my father, to Hel

my foster-mother, to Loki my friend,

to Persephone my mother, to Antinous

my husband, and to me, motherfuckers,

you will answer at last to me.

FIC: The origin of make-up sex

“Jupiter and Juno on Mount Ida” by James Barry, 1776

It is not well known, but it is a fact that Zeus and Hera invented make-up sex.

The first time he wooed another after their marriage (and who was that first? that, nobody knows), Hera was furious. She painted the skies with her rage in boiling red sunsets, lurid green cloud cover, humidity so thick that mortals struggled to breathe. When at last Zeus came home, smelling of a stranger and smiling to himself, she screamed at him in shrieking winds, threw knick-knacks in a hailstorm, and pounded her fists on his stubborn chest. How could he outrage her dignity like this? How could he flout their marriage vows? Had he no respect for her guardianship of marriage? How could he prefer, even for an instant, some mayfly mortal to a goddess, the daughter of Kronos and Rhea?

Zeus defended himself with piles of thunderclouds, with shaking the lightning bolt, with bellowing thunder that rolled for miles over the lands about Olympus. He was the king and father among the gods! Of course he respected her, but his attentions were a blessing to be bestowed widely! Of course he would always come back, no one would ever supplant her on the throne. How dare she question him, the wielder of the thunderbolt, the son who overthrew his father when the others wouldn’t even try? Mortals cowered as the lord of the heavens and his lady fought.

Then the proximity of anger turned into the proximity of passion. Shouting into one another’s faces turned into frantic kissing, each swallowing the other’s angry words. Clenched fists turned into gripping and tearing at each other’s clothing. The pins that Zeus pulled from Hera’s curls fell deep into the earth to become raw ore for the swords of heroes. The winds moaned in harmony with Hera’s pleasure; the thunder boomed with Zeus’s grunts of effort.

And in their mutual climax, the clouds burst and rain fell, soaking the earth, blessing the soil, filling dry creek beds, replenishing deep wells. As the divine spouses slept in each other’s arms, the clouds dispersed, and Iris the messenger of Hera danced on the ramparts of Olympus, filled with the joy of her mistress. Mortals pointed to the hem of her many-colored gown as it rippled in the sky and thanked the gods for their blessings.

Zeus and Hera awoke together, Hera’s hand resting on his bearded cheek, his fingers twined in her unbound her. He kissed her brow. “I shall have many lovers, but only one wife. Use your anger to temper the heroes I will father, and remember that I love you, first and last.”

She laid a finger on his lips. “I will scatter your paramours like seeds before the winds, even if mortals think I am merely a jealous shrew. And all your children will come at last to know me as their mother. But let all our quarrels always end thus, in make-up sex.”

And so it was, and so it is.

Theogamia: Hera and the Cuckoo


Cuckoo in the storm, poor bedraggled thing,
come here, trust me, and I will warm you.
Lady, your hands are gentle, and your bosom is soft.
I will rest here while my feathers dry.

Cuckoo on my breast, are you hungry, are you thirsty?
Water from my cup, golden crumbs from my plate I offer.
Lady, your cup is deep, and your food is sweet.
I will eat and drink from your hand.

Cuckoo on my hand, what a silly song you sing!
Yet it amuses me to hear you say your name.
Lady, your laugh is lovely, and your breath is sweet.
No other mate I have, so I will sing my song for you.

Cuckoo in my home, how you brighten my shining palace!
Your blue-grey wings, your striped breast, your jaunty tail delight me.
Lady, your halls are fair, your home is spacious,
yet I will always come back to roost near you at night.

Cuckoo on my bed, rest here upon my pillow.
Rest only lightly, that I may not crush you in the night.
Lady, to be near you, I would dare death and more.
I will even dare your wrath when we awaken in the morning.

Stranger in my bed, where has my cuckoo gone?
Whose arm is this, whose leg, whose rampant prick I feel?
Lady, it is I, your cuckoo and your brother,
Zeus son of Kronos, lord of sky and storm.

Cuckoo in my nest, how strangely you have wooed me!
Yet I am still charmed by your antics, nonetheless.
Cow-eyed Hera, lady of sky and cloud,
Will you not marry me? Let us rule together.

Cuckoo of my heart, yes, I will marry you,
but you must be faithful, for I am always true.
Lady of my heart, if you marry me,
you will be the queen of heaven and earth, the noblest goddess.

Cuckoo of my heart, that will do for now.
Come, let us marry, let us tarry together in love.
Lady of my heart, the spring is here, the birds are mating.
Our love shall be the rain that quickens the soft earth.

Oh, oh, oh, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo!
Ah, ah, ah, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo!