Saturday, 5 July 2014

Circe

We are in bed again and the light coming through the curtains is cunt pink, which means it is probably already afternoon. I am telling him about Odysseus. No, wait. I am telling him about Circe; Circe is the salient detail. Odysseus is just something that happened along the way.

I am telling him how Odysseus showed up on Circe’s island and she turned all his crewmates into pigs. How he stayed with her in her lady cave for years, while Penelope wove and unwove her blanket. How Circe hushed, “Shh, shh, stay here a while” while turning the looms of her magic; while flickering snake tongues on his cock.

Here, I get the details wrong, which is to be expected, because it is eight years since I studied classical literature, because I am telling this story for a certain effect, because I am re-enacting all the salient details.

The truth is even more interesting (the truth often is).

In reality, Odysseus shows up on Circe’s island, but Odysseus stays with the boats while his men make their way to the woods, where Circe dwells in a mansion surrounded by docile lions and wolves. Surrounded, that is, by men she has bewitched. She is a good hostess, Circe. She brews them a feast. But the wine is laced with potion, the cup is enchanted. The crew drink and forget their homes, and she turns them into pigs.

All but Eurylochus, suspicious Eurylochus, who forsakes the wine and piggery to sneak back to Odysseus and warn him of the danger. Odysseus strides to the rescue and this is where things could have gone so differently had he not been intercepted by that trickster, that meddler, Hermes. Hermes gives Odysseus moly, an antidote to Circe’s magic, and tells him that, when she feeds him her potion, when she draws her wand, he should threaten her with his sword.

So he does.

Circe is amazed that Odysseus is unharmed by her magic, and not a little dazzled by that sword against her throat. Circe licks her lips and swoons. Circe says, “Sheathe your sword and let us go to bed, that we may make friends and learn to trust each other.”

But Odysseus, always with the conditions, never one to leap into the moment, replies, “Circe, how can you expect me to be friendly with you when you have just been turning all my men into pigs? And now that you have got me here myself, you mean me mischief when you ask me to go to bed with you, and will unman me and make me fit for nothing. I shall certainly not consent to go to bed with you unless you will first take your solemn oath to plot no further harm against me.”

So she does.

Circe promises—no more plotting!—and they go to bed.

They stay there for a year. They feast and drink wine and makeout all day long.

But it is not her magic that keeps him there; it is not a spell. As Penelope weaves and unweaves her blanket, waiting, sending away suitors, Odysseus sticks around because Circe? Circe is so much fun.

Circe says, “Stay here, and eat and drink till you are once more as strong and hearty as you were when you left Ithaca; for at present you are weakened both in body and mind; you keep all the time thinking of the hardships you have suffered during your travels, so that you have no more cheerfulness left in you.”

No more cheerfulness left! Fortunately, Circe is an expert in cheer.

“Thus did she speak and we assented. We stayed with Circe for a whole twelvemonth feasting upon an untold quantity both of meat and wine.”

Of course you did, Odysseus.

I am so charmed by this story. Circe does not need magic or spells or trickery. Circe gets what she wants by kisses and wine.

2 comments:

  1. <3 pigs pigs <3 pigs pigs <3 pigs
    pigs <3 pigs pigs <3 pigs pigs <3
    <3 pigs pigs <3 pigs pigs <3 pigs
    pigs <3 pigs pigs <3 pigs pigs <3
    <3 pigs pigs <3 pigs pigs <3 pigs
    pigs <3 pigs pigs <3 pigs pigs <3

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  2. salient and salacious, those details! you tell a fabulous story, Jane! my favorite word choice comes in when Eurylochus "forsakes the wine and piggery".
    and Circe ROCKS!!

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