Saturday, May 4, 2013


image borrowed from bing


“Undeservedly, we will atone for the sins of our fathers.”

On a Grecian urn
in a dark museum, I remember
a painting of the wedding of 
Pirithous & Hippodamia of Lapith,
where the drunken Centaur guests decided
they would steal all of the women,
and the royal guards had to slay them,
winning the Battle of Centauromachy.

Later, I imagined, they all dined
on roasted Centaur steaks,
long strips of fried Stallion phallus
and hundreds of broiled eyeballs.

Before Christianity, before we found
our messianic prophet to worship,
men mated with the Gods
and whelped demi-god offspring.
Pirithous was rumored to be fathered by Zeus.

But after the nuptials, he soon became bored
with being a king & husband, and just decided
one day to seek out the warrior Theseus
and befriend him; which he did by stealing
some of the other’s cattle. When they met
in confrontation, they were so enamored 
of each other’s youth & prowess, they
immediately did a scene right out of
Brokeback Mountain, and began a Bromance
that would end badly. 

They immediately began searching for adventurous
mischief to engage in, deciding to steal the daughters
of Zeus. Theseus kidnapped Helen of Sparta,
who at 13 years of age was still too young to marry--
but Pirithous was much more ambitious, choosing
to steal Persephone, the wife of Hades.

Impressed by the boldness of the plan, they returned
Helen back to her mother, and soon were journeying
off to the Underworld. But the trip proved to be arduous,
even for these strong determined youth, 
so when they came to a great rock on a high hill,
they decided to stop there and rest.

Suddenly they were surrounded by Furies,
and as they attempted to rise and fight, 
they found themselves magically imprisoned
on the rock.

As in many of these legends, we must believe
that somehow Hercules had heard of their fate,
and he showed up, offering to assist them.
He did manage to free Theseus from the granite,
leaving most of his shapely buttocks still attached
to the stone. 

But when he tried to free Pirithous,
the earth began to shake and Hades appeared,
telling them that Pirithous’ crime was too grave,
wanting to steal the wife of a God, and that
he would only be released from the stone
upon his death. 

All of this was printed on a large placard
beneath the urn, and oddly, I had taken
the time to read it in its entirety. Just
silliness, goofy antics, just fodder
for future comic books and Hollywood epics,
I thought.

But sobering, troubling ideas bubbled
up from cortical magma--were these
myths & legends any more absurd
than pitting Christ against Mohammed,
Buddha against Joseph Smith,
the Torah against the Koran,
the Bible against the New York Times
editorial page?

Being incarnate creatures in lesson,
we have always sought the solace
of spiritual guidance. For those who seek,
we found that the Gnostic scrolls & the hushed
whispers of ascended masters among us,
of Atlantis, of Lemuria, seem to suggest
all of our religions descended from Mythos;
just another entertaining fascinating
set of stories, once recited orally around
great bonfires while feasting on mammoth ribs;

always provocative, manipulative, leading
many of us to strife, cruelty, & martyrdom,
a never ending path away from peace & brotherhood.
Will enough of us awaken from this nightmare
in order to cope with the second coming, or
extraterrestrial craft landing on the White House lawn?

Glenn Buttkus

May 2013

Would you like to hear the author read this Mythical poem to you?


Fred Rutherford said...

exceptional storytelling Glenn. Love the tone you took, infusing your own voice and humor into the weave of the tale itself. Outstanding piece. thanks

Brian Miller said...

ha...a UFO on the white house lawn...that would make life the myths you weave in...particularly the greek gods...and i wonder if when the gods were near in the stories if people still tried to be them you know...or maybe were more content the gods were near...fried centaur penis...hmmm....ha....

Björn said...

This was fascinating read.. and though absurd not so much less than a newspaper you open up. Very well analysed, And having to leave your shapely buttocks sounds harsh...

Claudia said...

roasted centaur steaks and fried stallion phallus...ugh...oh my...not would i put on my all the details and the close with the landing on the white house lawn...ha

Eusebia Philotes said...

There's always been competition for versions of the "truth." Some suffice for awhile until another supplants it. There might not be certainty, but we definitely need ways to interpret the complexity of human life. Great detailed write with a smart angle. said...

wow- an epic tale and what a story! loved the final lines - K

Laurie Kolp said...

We both used "grave"... I agree, mankind is notorious for arguement. To me, there's only one greater power. Religions and such are manmade. I laughed at the reference to Brokeback Mountain.

Grace Guevara said...

I have never read about the bromance but interesting what the gods want and will take for theirs ~ I imagine there is always a nugget of truth in these stories, embellished and embroidered through the years ~ But is peace so boring that war will always have to be sought, perhaps only by men,hey ~ Smiles ~

vivinfrance said...

This compendium of the ancient gods and heroes took me straight back to my childhood obsession with Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia - my sister and I always fought over the volume with the tales of those days.

You have woven a wonderful poem from so many figures. said...

This really took me on a mythical journey, with thoughtful contemplation to consider at the end.

annell said...

A delightful read!

George Polley said...

This is wonderful Glenn. I love the way you frame it all in mythology.


Semaphore said...

This held my attention from beginning to end, with its confident and slightly imperious and modernist style. I, for one, would like to see you take on the entire Trojan War in this style!

Dragon Katet said...

Quite the well-wrought pondering. You kept my attention from the start and I like that you interjected your own thoughts at various points throughout the piece. I especially like the way you ended it! There is certainly a parallelism between God(s) and Aliens, eh? ;) Very nice write!