"Do we still flinch from turning our valor into deeds?
Or fear to make our home on Western soil?"
-The vision of Anchises, The Aeneid, VI, Virgil
The white storm conjured a winter night
Forgetful of stars
The fire on the water a new sunrise
Forgetful of homelands.
Can it ever be said Idomeneus returned to his home,
Unfaithful Meda stolen by lies and liars,
"Do not shame her, Meriones, she believed me slain,"
City and son dead of plague?
No royal father to carry down to the sea
No wife to lose along the way or spirit to conjure fate,
The starry black block universe opens a different path for Idomeneus.
You sacrificed a son at Knossos, Idomeneus!
When man is the obedient son of his god,
The son will always be sacrificed.
"The gods do not take the first thing,"
Shipwrecked by storms and words, to begin again
Idomeneus poured libation to sea and sky,
"The gods take everything!"
Turn now from the Cretan shore, Idomeneus!
Find the city where there are two gates.
Find women who speak from within
Men seeking glory in bushido
Carried on the dying breath of chivalry
Reckoned not by the birthing cry of ideology
But the living prayer of duty and honor
One world giving way to another
As Troy fell to Mycenae
As yesterday fell to today
As this to other worlds Idomeneus may journey!
"Lead them home, Meriones.
I am the King who never returned,
My fate forever unknown."
An infinitely fractal city rises from the eternal delta
The confluence of many streams
Simois and Scamander
Information and entropy
Where there are two gates
One of Horn
One of Ivory
One for waking
One for dreaming
Entangled within so many worlds
Entangled upon such frothy quanta
As make their moment real
Each gate faces the other
Each gate leads to the other
Each gate is the other
Recurring in so many lives
Recurring in so many scenes
Spoken here and now
Shall be the City of Idomeneus.
How many gate keepers for infinitely many worlds?
Does not every journey begin with death
To end in birth—grand Idomeneus?
This must be so.
Beyond the city for your first night there is an inn
Where you may dine with Triptolemus and Demeter
Refresh yourself at the table of Persephone
Where the wife will play her husband’s game,
"Judge, Traveler, to earn your feast and pay your way,
Come closer, to say which garden is more fragrant."
Purified abandoned Medea, witch with many children
Nereid Thetis accursed to bear a single glorious son
Medea earthy strong mons and dark rich center
An aroma steeped of woman, fetching
Lips to draw a powerful man in and hold him
Cold as the "hoarfrost gathered in the full moon’s light."
Thetis young silken dawn soft around and
Upon a twilit pool of sweet and pungent nectar
To touch and taste and go within
Warm as the blood that still flows below Ida.
A goddess wants to know, so Idomeneus answers,
"The soil of one, and the flower of the other."
Thus did Idomeneus pass through the Gate of Ivory.
Beyond the endless western sea
Your next day’s journey chases the Sun
As the world forever chases the stars
Until evening settles on a well watered coast
Where men recall the past only to praise it
Until armies face their foe across a river’s fords
To right wrongs with greater wrongs
Sons to war upon fathers and brothers war upon brothers
Death not yet sated by the blood of sons and fathers and brothers
Comes to a ford of a river
Until well mounted Idomeneus is near the ford of the swollen river
Spring on the morning air
The wood still sleeping but men stir to kill
From the river a javelin snaps and a chariot axle cracks
Smoke from sound and shouting
The very air clapping and whistling sharp
Now the wood awake with many well mounted men with guns
By some means unfolded in uncountable waves of improbability
To seek a local optimum on the human fitness landscape
Likewise accoutered in the garb of Fitz Lee’s cavalry at three-to-one odds
Along the Rappahannock this St. Patrick’s Day
Idomeneus knows the cry of battle when he hears it
Yelling determined horsemen of the Army of the Potomac.
Waylaid by that human fuck
You’re back in the shit again, Idomeneus
Among horsemen armed with steel
To the sound of battle,
The start of havoc and hell
Unlike any other noise
To the sound of guns!
Who shall ride most gallantly there
But the "Gallant Pelham"?
Why is he here for Christ’s sake?
His horse passes you!
Who is in command?
At the river Yankee troops cross
Giving a good rate of fire for fording and taking
Forming and attacking, claiming but not owning
As it is among men fired by the first kill!
Follow the boy!
He harkens glorious war to come near, and it does
The same shot almost kills you
Pelham falls from his horse
The mortal wound carries away his soul
As before the Wall of Troy
Idomeneus recovers the body
This is glory!
Death in battle,
This young artilleryman who had no business here
But to meet Idomeneus in the Heraclitean flow
But to get killed!
For what idea did this boy die
What Mother has lost her son
Tossed himself into the abyss of folly
That has not been thought before
Who has not grieved before
Where so many have leapt before
This kulchur commends his sacrifice,
"His immortal soul for the cause"
As all do—all but Idomeneus
Who tended many pyres near the beached ships.
His "immortal soul?"
Uncatchable shadow –
What fire casts it?
Who possesses it?
The divine spark within you
No glowing chunk of the microwave background
No clue to man or world or time
Is there an atom of life spawned by Nature
That lives forever?
What say you, Idomeneus?
"I see no Horizon," cries Idomeneus, "sea and sky are one."
Idomeneus gently lowers the folded body of Pelham
Into the arms of his comrades
Brains splashing as the head settles in empty repose
Flesh and blood and earth mix
Like the histories told countless times
By fools who did not die in battle!
There is the tale told by Pelham
Forever the darkness hides his words
His body and voice lie still
There is the tale told by Idomeneus
This tale, these words
What passes between you and I now
And the tale God tells
The firmament beyond change
A third eye to see and say what is
You cannot follow Idomeneus
Through the Gate of Horn.
One gate to go
One gate to come back
Never two gates to remain
Here they dream
Here they awaken
In the City of Idomeneus!
Late April 2012
Nexial Quest (c) Pete Ahrens 1999 - 2012