Friday, October 29, 2010

Not Such a Pretty Face Anymore, Is It?

Once upon a time, not too long ago, either, a nice girl got in trouble. She fooled around with something dangerous, and she got caught. A terrible fate then befell her: bad dreadlocks.

The ancient poet Ovid says she, that is, Medusa, was a pretty serving girl of the big-cheese goddess Athena. Lots of dudes wanted a piece of her action, but she just said no, like she should... until the big-cheese god Poseiden came along, in which case, Medusa was won over, or overcome, we don't know which exactly. Athena got wind of it and turned Medusa into a monster with snakes in place of her beautiful hair and with a face so horrible, people turned into stone at the sight of it.

But my story is different. In keeping with my recent theme of death by addiction, this is what happened to Medusa: She was a nice girl who got hooked on opium. Everything was fine until her supply ran out. In 55 succinct words, here is her lament:

Oh, nectar of poppy, whose long fingers
squeeze so sweetly, you drift to death, now
Oh, wretched need. Oh, snakes in your head.
No matter how you claw at them, they writhe there,
belonging to you, who let the darkness in.
You plead for release but the price is your head,
and it is squirming.
*************************************************
Not very pretty, is it? In honor of Halloween, please check out other souls who played with 55 words here. Thank you, Mr. Knowitall.

Painting, "Medusa" by Arnold Böcklin, circa 1878

28 comments:

Karen said...

Maybe not "pretty", but vivid and real. Using the nectar of the poppy sets the tone for this ancient tale of woe. The snakes she let in are such an apt metaphor. I can see this one in print somewhere.

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

So cleverly done.

http://hootin--anni.blogspot.com/2010/10/artsy-fartsy.html

Just scroll down below the 'artsy' part. hehehehehe

RNSANE said...

I guess I do have something, for which to be grateful. In spite of all my miseries, addiction, other than to food, in some part, has not been one of my plagues.

Very well done 55, my friend.

Brian Miller said...

whew...imagine in the heat of addiction the head is definitely squirming...nice twist on old ovids tale....

forever lost said...

"anger management" love that tag on this story! and told with excellence!


It is nice to get back here! words can do so much to a heart dontchyathink?!

mine is up!

Lyn said...

The imagery is vivid -- I am squirming in my seat. Seems like a perfect fit for the insidious disease that is addiction. I enjoy your poetry immensely.

Have a great weekend.

the walking man said...

Looks like a 21st century hippie with dreadlocks.

young-eclectic-encounters said...

Delightfully creepy interpretation of the Medusa story. It's incredible that you can get so much imagery in only 55 words. Thank you for sharing your talent.
Johnina :^A

Kim A. said...

You know, that whole Greek Mythology stuff might have just been a huge orgy with a bunch of shroom-heads who felt the need to record their "trips". Makes ya think.. (My favorite Medusa was in the original Clash of the Titans) Happy Friday, dear.

♥namaste♥

Eric Alder said...

Neat 55! I liked the inclusion of the painting. Happy Friday!

Myrna R. said...

Poor medusa. Nice 55 word poem!

Georgina Dollface said...

When I was 9 I dressed up as Medusa for Halloween. We braided rubber snakes into my hair and painted my face green. No one knew who I was supposed to be. And now that I think about it, the rubber snakes did kind of look like dreadlocks. - G

Julie said...

Hi, Chris. It's great to see you. Your 55 is very strong and oh, so true. I've lost too many friends to addiction. Really, one is too many.

Your entire piece is awesome. The images are vivid, and the Medusa allusion is spot on. The last two lines pack a powerful punch. But the line that keeps speaking to me is "belonging to you, who let the darkness in." Your words say it all. It is a choice and a monster to overcome.

Magpie said...

Deliciously dark...so very true.

She said...

Sounds like hell to me...very good description of it in this 55! gave me goosebumps.

I have read your recent posts about addiction and the losses you have witnessed. I can relate. My heart and prayers go out to those still suffereing...

Claudia said...

this was really clever - hooked on opium - the prize is your head...nice and true!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Terrific imagery powerful story.

Dulce said...

My dear E.O,

So long since I last came here...

You've picked up the perfect part of mythology to write this poem, so bad how one can get to kill themselves, realizing and yet being unable to do anything about it, or the effort it takes too hard to accomplish.

Yes, sad and appropriate for Halloween too! ;)
Hugs!

D.

PattiKen said...

This a powerful 55. Nice. And a very "ripped from the headlines" piece.

I once wrote about this lady in a less serious way here

Mona said...

This is really hard hitting 55ve!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

writhe and squirm... good words!

Dianne said...

You keep me thinking....
my 55 is dedicated to you, HERE
Love and life,
Di

joanny said...

so a nice gal like me can visit your blog.....continued conversation from g-man's ...

A twisted twist on an age old human condition, as old as Medusa herself. With all the seven deadly sins thrown in squirming around in your head. A heavy price , indeed.

A strong, and well crafted ff55er.

cheers,
joanny

Marion said...

"No matter how you claw at them, they writhe there"...they do, indeed.

This should be on the wall in an AA room...

hope said...

Well if that hairdo won't make you stay out of trouble, nothing will. :)

Nice one!

Titus said...

Pretty masterful, and not-so-pretty.

The final,

but the price is your head,
and it is squirming.

stunning.

Syd said...

I see some of those Medusa people hanging on the street corners as I pass through downtown. The shadow people is what I think of.

Marla said...

The poem freaked me out but I loved the lead in. You are deep, my friend!

Albert Einstein Quotes