12 Gods

"Greek origin of the 12 zodiac signs" graphic courtesy Horoscopius
"Greek origin of the 12 zodiac signs" graphic courtesy Horoscopius

1. Dionysus
We have met before. You may not remember me, but I remember you very well. Though it has been a long time since I last checked up on you, I been able to keep myself quite busy with my own drunkenness. The seasons pass, and I am distracted by the vastness of my own existence. I have become madness. The wandering god. Ringing any bells? If you dig deep, you may remember me from that nightmare you had a few years back. You may have lusted after me in a nightclub on the corner of West and Tucker. You may remember me as the shadow lurking in the background of your most guilt-ridden memories. Or... you may not remember me. But I have always been here. Wandering.

2. Hermes
They’d kill me if they could see the light in my mind. The god of thieves and liars. I go on flowing without obstruction, manipulating the time and things around me until I am content. When I was 4 and discovered a field of dandelions behind my garage, I ripped through them until there was nothing left. An unrelenting chaos I’ve never wanted to let go of. I have become mischief. This is the nature of the world I was forced into. I raise my lyre into the night sky and beg the heavens to come down soon.

3. Poseidon
I won’t lie to you. The weight of anger became too heavy. Another night, and I might have destroyed entire dimensions with the ideas in my mind. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am better alone. It has now been 36 days since I jumped into the water and left my heart behind. Day 15, I thought about breathing in the entire fucking ocean. I have become destruction. Once I felt guilt for a few seconds, but I reminded myself that I can always create entire realms of comfort in this darkness I’ve been granted.
Day 37: I’m pretty sure I heard the ocean weep.

4. Ares
Sometimes I can’t materialize feelings, but I’m not to be blamed. We never learned that in school. It’s all becoming too much. I am punished by the insincerity of this life. I can only stand behind the real things: the sound, the taste, the feeling. The world coldly reminds me that I am here for eternity. I have become hatred. All modern wars are fought with death. One day they won’t be. Let me tell you a story about a man who wakes up in the middle of the night. Every night. He is very tired throughout the day.

5. Hephaistos
I allow myself the small pleasures. John Coltrane records while I’m in the shower. I have become bitterness. Tonight, I feel pain and I feel sadness and yet, I still stand here waiting for someone to find me. I make peace with my selfishness and animosity and absolve myself of any questions I’ve asked. The sun sets and I realize that I no longer know what I’m looking for.

6. Aphrodite
Sowing the seeds of infidelity. I have become passion. My existence is haunted by the animosity of old lovers, but I barely ever think about their naked bodies anymore. The girl from last night left her cigarettes on my coffee table and several of her blond hairs pasted on to the face of my bedsheet. The governor asked us to stay at home last month right after the pandemic hit and so I caught up on a lot of sleep. I thought of calling her and staying up on the phone all night, but my conscience wouldn’t let me.

7. Artemis
Towers of human consciousness that reach for the brightness past the sky. I have become loneliness. I once had a vision of a place where men were wolves and rain was made of dust. I know what you must think of me by now. I hear “heartless” and I hear “harmless”, but there is nothing here besides a stream that refuses to stop moving because it cannot stop moving. One man alone without a body outside of his own body. I dig my fingers into the fabric of my own existence, but the yarn is too tightly knit.

8. Zeus
After all the years passed, I told myself that I’d spend my time saving the world from myself, but at some point, I became the world and inherited much of its impatience. I am the end of pain, pacing through the streets like clockwork, trying to find the same thing in another set of eyes. I am a new perspective, yelling obscenities at you for your old ways while also thanking you for finding me. I am self-awareness, scratching my name into bathroom mirrors, reminding you of who you used to be. I am the remnants of love, always thinking the same thing, while always doing another. But I am also fear of death, grasping your heart with both hands and pulling it down just a little bit lower. I have become power.

9. Apollo
I am the son who is drowned by daughters. Disappointed in love. Endless days stretch into an infinite night. I fear that my existence is dwindling. One cigarette after another. The years pass, and some of them get married, but most of them simply learn. I once had a lover that turned into a tree. I wear her branches on my head. How’s that for a laugh? I have become persistence. There are entire worlds of novel beauty occurring in bedrooms that I’ll never be invited into. All these women, and they’re still not enough.

10. Demeter
The first kind of awakening that happens after an open fire in grief. I see moonlight illuminating the trenches of solitude, but my darkness hides in a cavern that cannot be reached by the prying light. I have become vigor. Bathing in daylight. I got lost in Raleigh while looking for something I’d lost. Sometimes I’m consumed by the immensity of this world. My mind can’t help but listen. I smile at images of mountainsides and beachfronts. All at once, I can hear everything I’ve ever heard.

11. Hera
Grating voices from memories that would have been better off forgotten. I have become compassion. Two nights pass, and a glass of whiskey carries my heart farther than anyone’s love ever could. I’ve been content for a long time. Fear, sadness, and loathing. At some point, I ruined all that I had brought here. These melodies have faded into some kind of tranquility. I won’t allow anyone to strip me of my lonesomeness. I’m fighting this love with knuckles bruised purple.

12. Athena
The necessary cruelty of the modern world. My birth struck fear into the hearts of the other gods. I feel a thousand seas crashing behind my eyes. I’m falling through skies that don’t remember my name. The birds don’t mind. For weeks, the smell of life (a shift in perspective) placed me in another time. I have become reason. I woke up this morning feeling forgiven.

I am not 13 to the 12. I am one. Alone. Unmoved by their sacrifices. I heard the music. Fantasy of a place over the rail of a balcony. Counting the blocks. Few people can walk alone, dream alone like me. My mistakes greet me like hungry wolves with the scent of blood in their ugly snouts. I don’t mind them. I have become peace. If this light could melt into the shallow sky, I’m sure it would give rays to the earth worth living under. My life has been long. I have become many things.