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The Muse of Mimesis, Almería, 1998, Pallake

The Muse of Mimesis


You sit hunched at your desk –

in the half-light. 

Struggling with words, 

which will not conform. 


So, you practice your invocation - 

potent as a curse. 

Commanding an abstraction,

to guide you through the epic of ego.


But I am not my nine sisters:

devotees of Apollo. 

No catalyst for your creation. 

This is poiesis. This is an exchange. 


Loss – sing, poet of loss –

the loss of experience. 

Of frayed and severed chords, 

that decay by the banks of Lethe. 


Take them up –

in your hands. 

Twine the threads with new voices;

and the echoes of the lost ones. 


Tear down those static images –

which gaze blindly;

the old stories which deafen reality. 

This is an age for a new heroism. 


It is time for the outside to broach the center. 

For the subaltern to speak and be heard. 


Almería, 1998


The sand scalds the soles of her feet. 

As her fist unclenches, the towel falls

upon the glistening shore. She dives

into the water, slicing through it. 


This is Almería. It is medusa season. 

A yellow flag taps against its metal pole.

Pinging a clean warning to the swimmers, 

of the encroaching jellyfish. 


My mother swims heedlessly:

cutting through their phalanxes. 

They sting her. Leaving purple hickeys

along her tanned arms which blister and burn. 


She purchased an ointment in la farmacia. 

Nightly, she rubs it into her skin. 

Soothing the welts that spring up like daffodils. 

The traces of the medusa’s violent caresses. 


Each morning, she lets her towel drop.

Fixing her gaze upon the flag. With its icon,

of a tusked woman and her lolling tongue. 

She rushes to embrace the medusas. 


Lying upon her back, she drifts towards

the buoys, the waves delicately lapping

at her midriff. She feels the venom arcing

across her skin as her tongue wets her lips. 


This vision matters to me. 

This woman, I am cast in her shadow. 


My mother has never been to Almería. 




Following her death:

Kassandra’s essence was gathered, bottled, and distilled. 


In a Greco-bar:

I drank this draft. Tipped it back and swallowed whole. 


And, saw a weaker version of myself. 

No Pallas to hold; but rocked as rough. 


I dismissed it as superstition. 

But came to know my lesser Ajax;

All the same. 


Christopher Joyce is an MPhil candidate at Trinity College Dublin in Modern and Contemporary Literature. He is the editor of Púca Magazine and can be found @hypochriss. 

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