Poem: I am Bacchus or Dionysus

I am a mess

I am a God who is dying

A hundred generations ago as Bacchus or Dionysus

In Ancient Greece and Rome I had cults

I went by different names in Haiti and Africa

Baron Saturday

I was worshipped

With the Berzerkers’ blood-rage

With Romeo and Juliet’s lusty obsessions

That dissolves good sense

That break taboos

That inspire the laws of bureaucratic civilisation

I am the God of parties that go to far

Of extreme intoxication

Of the freedom of insanity

Of the riot

And of thoughtless selfishness

For a while, I drove Christians

To change Apollo’s name

Torture and hang him on a cross

Women tore each other apart once or twice a year

To escape the drudgery of their enslavery

I am trance

I am the darkness of a nightmare

When the peace of sleep gives no rest

I am the ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and the theatre of righteousness

That justifies terrorism

You may imprison the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine,

To avoid my rites of spring

Of fertility, of orchards and fruit, of vegetation,

To try to be a good girl and good boy

To be a rational scientist

A philosopher

A monk

To create a fairy garden of beauty and control

Of flowers and fruit that bloom at the right moment

But I am the magnificent storm, Shiva Rudra

That washes away your plans

I am the unfair freedom everyone secretly wants

The freedom the Marquis de Sade and Crowley preached

The freedom from shame and guilt

The freedom to follow your will

Your power

That you drink, dance and snort for

Driven from within

That lets you forget consideration

Forget the feelings of others,

Forget empathy

Forget laws police imposed and lore told as lessons exposed

It is true that when I lived at full flight

When I was named

My ceremonies were the night to Apollo’s day

He was the sharp lines of rationality in daylight

Predictable

Knowable

Prose

While I am dreams and visions

The imagination of the night

Associations and correspondences

Knowledge from your gut

Poetry

Together we made you whole

Terror of the unknown

Of the spaces between thoughts

The body’s needy vulnerability

Nature’s gargantuan gorgeousness

The way feelings can be earthquakes

Can be sunny days in winter

Or a song that opens you naked to a moment

Has you reaching for the safety of solid sunlight

Of Apollo’s comfortable prophesies

The command and control of your hand brushing your teeth

The delusions of a web of meaning that will cocoon you

From lightning

From sad stories that make no sense

From trees that drop branches on you without warning because a wildfire hasn’t trimmed them.

If you embrace me

You will learn the art of letting go of control that leads to wisdom

Then the wildfire becomes a release that prunes the forest

My ceremonies become Mardi Gras and New Year

That mark the cycles of life, the seasons

That let lusts grow into the depth of beauty that is the love of Aphrodite

My Future Integrating Words, Vision and Performance

Here’s an experiment with combining poetry, performance and art.

It’s for a poem “who will I be” about the anxiety I face meeting other men. It was inspired by women talking about their feelings when meeting strangers, specifically men. The thing that is scary and that seems overlooked is that actually the vast majority of men in the west (at least) are very polite to women they don’t know and that women should be more worried about men they know, than strangers. While for men violence is more likely to come from strangers. In both cases alcohol is most likely to be involved, though ‘Ice’ seems to be becoming a more common contributor, but still no where near as dangerous as alcohol or as expensive to our economy. Interestingly most of the other illegal drugs only contribute to violence as a result of their illegality, because it pushes people to associate with criminals.

The majority of violence in the world is between men. It doesn’t get reported because it is so natural as to be invisible. It only gets noticed when the violence is “dishonourable” that is an ambush punch, or the victim is considered weaker. This is the same source of the shaming that goes on with domestic violence and rape. The other types of violence, or maybe part of violence that gets notices is when there is no consent. “Combatants”, that is soldiers, are consenting participants in violence while “civilian” men, and automatically children and women haven’t consented to participate in the “war”, the most extreme violence. This is a common theme of my poetry, and other writing. There will be more on this site.