Homeless and eyes cast down, young Danae found
the credit card just lying on the ground.
‘Zeus Credit’… with her name on it… and it said
it had no limit. So she thought
‘Why not just try it?’ and she bought
sandals, silk underwear, a dress;
it worked… so then, why not,
a light lunch in the choicest, chicest spot.
It worked again. Its back was odd:
no legalese, just logos, ads…
‘Insert in slot for all dreams to come true.’
Tearful, she checked into Hotel Princess,
went up and had the best bath in some years,
Reading again with happy tears
‘Insert in slot for all dreams to come true’
and thought again ‘Why not?’
and put it in her slot…
in sudden stir
Zeus filled the room and her.
This poem, semi-formal at best, was published in this month’s Snakeskin (thanks, George Simmers!) with the accompanying Gustav Klimt ‘Danae’. I wrote the poem earlier this year but I have very little memory of doing so, and no sense of what triggered it. I put it down to the mysterious workings of the subconscious or whatever else the Muse may be.
This is an appropriate poem to post before I head into the next set of poems from the e-chapbook ‘Calling the Muse’. Is it always correct to offer up art (of any kind) that is edgy? What if the expression is sexist, even obscene? What if the work is irreligious, even blasphemous in the eyes of a believer? Is it enough to say “If you don’t like it, don’t look at it”? Is it enough to post a warning, “NSFW”?
And the Greek gods often tend toward the sexist and the licentious. Zeus is not a clean-living figure. But no one seems to object to his being depicted and popularised, even if he is a rapist. Because “that was then, this is now”? And if the Muse offers you a fresh take on an ancient rape legend, just use it because after all, the Muse must be listened to?
More on this shortly.