||[Jun. 24th, 2005|04:29 am]
|||||Sufjan Stevens - Chicago||]|
Satyr horns are curving in the crowd, and they blur when I stare through the blue aura of Samael's fire. Some of the horns are crooked, tied tight from the tops of their temples to under the chins of these wine-drenched revellers, those that I once considered my innocent friends and neighbors. They do not seem like that to me anymore. But I am getting lost in the movement of the quill on parchment and forgetting to write down the story. After singing most of the bawdy songs he knew, Samael -- the village folksinger -- is blowing the secret ballad of a rogue fallen from grace on his Dionysian pan pipes. As he is playing the minor and suspended arpeggios, I dream I can see Syrinx transforming into river reeds, the beautiful Arcadian nymph that escaped the debauchery. But the river nymphs did not hear the prayers of these women or men, because there were no prayers. They longed to be debauched. I will tell you what happened.
On the day before the festival, the 30th day of April, the village felt heavy. After I finished gutting fish for the day, I ran to my friend Phillip's house. As usual, we wandered up to the hill east of the village, which seemed far too weary and downtrodden at the moment to remain there. Here we could speak without worrying of eavesdroppers who would tell our parents or one of the monks about our sinfulness. Here we could talk freely, and we did, looking down at the village where the women and girls were preparing the food to be eaten the next day. Both of us expressed our excitement and fear about our 15th year, when we would at long last be able to dance around the Maypole with the rest of the men and women-- especially the girls our age. For it was their budding into womanhood which was being celebrated, and so it should be! Both of us, of course, were rightly embarassed to talk about such matters. But I was less so than him, for I had read more than he and thus was far more experienced. We talked of the festival of course, but more than that the different girls in the village, pretending to avoid the subject of who we would dance with. Just talking about the girls with Phillip made my heart feel light. Finally, Phillip began to talk about Elizabeth and I began to talk about Sapphira, the girls we knew the other pined for, of the feelings they stirred in us and the ways we had played in town. We only talked a few moments, because we were both starting to blush, and it was getting dark. After talking so much about the girls and trusting Phillip with my deepest secrets, I felt the urge to kiss him on the cheek and did so. It felt so nice that I kissed him on the lip afterwards. Then for some reason, he got angry and told me he told me that he would not tell anyone about it, but only if I didn't do it again. So I went home with the feeling still in my heart, confused, but still nightdreaming until the festival would begin the next day.
As I laid in bed later, I thought of each of my favorite girls and boys twirling the ribbons on the pole, thinking of their mouths just slightly open. Oh, if only I were closer to them now, smelling that smell that only girls seemed to have, those veins that pulsed on the boys' arms! Just the thought of their penetrating eyes and mischievous grins made my heart ache. Then I thought of Sapphira closer to me than all the other girls. My breath quickened even more. This must be love, I thought. My older cousin Robert, who is far more well-learned than me, calls her a coquette. I thought that was a beautiful word, and I let it run over my tongue and lips when I thought of her in my weak hours that night. Just the sound of it -- yes I can talk about it now that I will be revealing all of these shameful things to you -- the sound of it made me rub my palm between my legs. I imagined her with her mother's necklace on, kissing her and whispering it in her ear on our wedding night. Those were my last thoughts before sleep. There was no prayer. Sapphira was my savior that night; she was all I needed.
That night, very late, I was awakened by the sound of the older boys and girls going to decorate the pole. I could imagine them laughing in the woods as they gathered the flowers and talked about the Morris Dancers the next day. And I thought again about Sapphira and me, and about Phillip and Elizabeth, running my fingers through my new hair. Then I fell back asleep and dreamt about falling asleep during prayer during Mass and my parents horrified after the Priest's benediction, yelling at me and pulling my ears.
When I woke up again, the sun was out. I quickly went through the day's regular activities until it was time to go to the center of town, thinking of my entrance, finally, as a maypole dancer The maypole stood tall and erect, pink&yellow&green&purple&black&cyan&red ribbons tied tight, so tight around it. The ceremony was to begin. The Jack In The Green, who made me think of Robin Hood, led the marvellous procession covered in flowers and ribbons. Following him were twelve Morris Dancers, Maid Marion and Friar Tuck (or so my mother said) and then another twelve Dancers. One of them was Robert, who had been part of the ceremony for three years now. Elizabeth was Lady May, and Sapphira Lady Flora. Something about the ritual seemed different this year, though. (And how it was!) The ceremony was being taken quite seriously, when in the past there was the implication that it was all in fun. Their serious and determined looks stick with me as though they were happening right this second and my eyes were beholding the spectacle-- but what a sinful thought.
Then there came a shout from around the pole. We heard "All praise be to the horned god Pan!" shouted by all of the dancers in unison. There was a moment, a single moment where logic still reigned and the greatest inhibition -- the inhibition against the unknown pagan pleasures -- was the most important thing. But almost everyone was staring at the rapturous dancers in their clothes, their young faces and alluring bodies hypnotizing those in the crowd. Then they began to sing a song that sounded centuries old as the bells on their ankles rang loudly, and everyone let out a long sigh. The heresies they were speaking, those of Hermes Trimestigus and the Qliphoth, were exotic and enticing. It was as if everyone in the village had become too tired to resist temptation, wanting to find and taste the fruit of knowledge and smell the flowers of evil.
Their cry, "All praise be to the horned god Pan!" sounded out again over the hills. As if repeating a line from the Missal, everyone around me -- including myself -- mouthed the treasonous words. The Morris Dancers began to remove the flowers from their clothing and throw them on us, stripping off ribbons to astonished yet loving looks from everyone I could see around me in between stares at Sapphira. Then Sapphira, sticking out her tongue just as she did in the untold part of my fantasy, began to remove her green clothing in perfect disobedience with the others and walked towards me slowly, staring at me. The dancers' actions were infectious; others began to engage in ribald acts beyond imagination, much sooner than Sapphira and I had. Tactile passion seemed to fill in the spaces between bodies, if there was any space at all. Sapphira walked towards me and poured red liquid from a goblet into my mouth then placed what appeared to be a red mushroom in my mouth, kissing me deeply. My knees weakened, and I told her I was going to fall back. Before I could, she grabbed me and reached her hand down the front of my pants. Total chaos was erupting, a beautiful chaos using the structure we once knew only to further cloud our concepts of order. Dirty wine was called better than consecrated Sabbath wine, and all of us responded as if being controlled by some higher force than God. My vision went black, and all I felt was incomparable pleasure and intoxication for the next uncountable hours.
What was once taboo had become commonplace by the end of that night. Husbands and wives have switched places like black royalty standing next to white at the beginning of a chess game. We became a parody of everything forbidden to us: residents of Lesbos, Greek sophists with their slaveboys, drunken fathers and daughters, drunken mothers and sons, drunken brothers and sisters, and things that I could never mention to you, you who are still indoctrinated with this world's rules. I trust you, but I do not trust you with that. All of us drunk on fermented grapes or mysterious dried mushrooms that we later found were acquired from the apothecary, who had now been granted total amnesty for suspected witchery. We wanted more, more visions, more ecstasies, and we were willing to do anything to get more. Wives' tongues were slithering like they did when they were schoolgirls, men howling out to their suppliant goddesses while their cocks were sucked, in too much ecstasy to be self-conscious. When it seemed that the lechery couldn't go on anymore, a movement of a hip or a facial expression would cause the lust to rise again throughout the crowd. Men bringing women back to bed with a few licks in the right places, a few promising touches on the skin. In our revelry, we were united with the passion of the world, past, future, and present. There was a universal feeling of brotherhood in indulging these urges, in a land of lawlessness which celebrated only pleasure, beauty, and excess.
Now we sit here after the rebellion and revelry, listening to the pan pipes. And those sounds are our reminders of the sins we have committed and the chance for redemption we have lost. All of us have blasphemed the Holy Spirit. And Sapphira is licking my ear, and I am stopping this writing to be reintoxicated. We have no more shame. We have only desire. Too much has ever happened for us to return to the way we once were, and we will kill anyone who wishes us to, including Yahweh. All praise be to the horned god Pan!
I promise that someday I will write a nice, non-sexual WriteFight piece that isn't filled with my own little fetishes and obsessions. Until then, this is all you get, because I honestly couldn't keep them from coming out. Sometimes it just spills out of my imagination, and the only way to get rid of it is putting it all down. Apologies also for the really bad titular anagram, which sucks. Also, if there are any Apollonians in the crowd, I apologize because the story was hella Dionysian.
PLEASE SUGGEST EDITS. I have run through the story once, but I figured I'm late enough as it is, and I've been up a little too late as it is. Thank you!