Ana Edith Lopez, "El hueco luminoso del corazón" 13 de marzo 2008
Poem 6 of Tongue Threaded Shuttle
spins the magic thread that guides and saves,
the fateful thread that leads the killer to his prey
then guides him out to freedom,
lets him escape
after he carries out his deed.
spun by the dead man’s sister,
who provides the clue to find the marked man
asleep in his labyrinth,
the sword to slay him,
and the thread to guide the killer to the exit.
She gives him a ball of fleece thread
to unwind from the entrance
through the convoluted passageways,
to the center of the maze,
where he finds her brother,
an easy target for his murderous intent,
and after slaying him,
rewinds the red thread back to the exit
and to the sister’s waiting arms.
In exchange for clue and thread,
he had promised
to wed the princess wench,
but instead, he abandons her
while she sleeps on the Isle of Naxos,
and goes back to his land a hero,
for having rescued
the young Athenian men and maidens
who had in the labyrinth
awaited to be devoured
by Ariadne’s half-man half-bull
They were the yearly war tribute
her father, King of Crete,
had exacted from the Athenians.
Theseus had volunteered to slay the monster
and rescue his countrymen,
becomes an Ionian founding hero.
But what happens to faithless Ariadne
when the object of her lust
while she sleeps alone in Naxos?
Some say that Dionysus rescues and marries her.
Others whisper that, following the examples
of Arachne, Erigone,
and other weaving goddesses,
she hangs her wretched spite
from the branches of a tree.
And why would Minos, King of Crete,
want to keep his stepson
locked in the prison built by Daedalus?
Could it be he wishes to conceal
the fruit of his wife’s betrayal,
the undeniable proof that she cuckolded him,
not with a mortal or a god,
but with a bull,
a snow-white bull of extraordinary beauty
Poseidon sent forth from the sea?
Minos asks Poseidon to send him the sea bull
that will certify him worthy of the Cretan throne,
but, attempting to deceive the god,
sacrifices in his honor an ordinary bull,
instead of the snow-white gift from the sea
he wants to keep for his herd.
Poseidon takes revenge
and causes Pasiphae, Minos’s wife,
to develop an uncontrollable lust
for the handsome bull of the splendid horns.
She begs Daedalus to help her satisfy her passion,
and he builds for her a hollow wooden cow
disguised with the pelt of a live one
to deceive the bull
into engaging in amorous intercourse
with the lascivious queen who hides inside.
When her son Asterion is born
with the body of a man,
the head of a bull,
the destiny of a star,
they call him Minotaurus
and ask the royal architect
to build a winding, convoluted, prison
to hide the hybrid fruit of her betrayal.
The half-man, half-animal monster
imprisoned in the center of the labyrinth
is testament to the queen’s lust
for life’s darker powers
and to her betrayal of the king,
but the stud bull that,
deceived by the sight
of a healthy heifer grazing in a pasture,
fathered the Bull-man
would not have tempted Pasiphae
had Minos sacrificed it to Poseidon,
and, by honoring his promise to the god,
internalized the virile prowess of the bull.
But, protecting the honor of the ruler
is only the expedient raison d’état,
for, the unconfessed motive
for ensconcing Asterion,
is his very nature
and our fear of the other,
the foreigner, the immigrant,
the barbarian who speaks words
we do not comprehend,
the mestizo, the mulatto, the half-breed,
all those of mixed bloods
or uncommon yearnings in our midst,
the poet, the mystic, the visionary, the madman,
we dare not look in the eye,
for we push back into the deepest recesses
the ctonic force,
the unresolved conflict,
the formless restlessness,
the desire we dare not utter,
the fear of coming face to face
with what we sense and long for,
but cannot name,
the nostalgia for all the darkness we bury
in the bottom of our minds’ oceans,
and all the light that would crown us gods
if we dared look in the distant galaxies of our hearts.
With the Minotaurus locked in the sacred mandala,
the Bull-man’s pulsing heart rises,
as Helios in the firmament,
to the realm of spirit,
and, except for Ariadne’s fratricide,
Minos might have learned to walk
the winding pathways of his labyrinth
to reach its mysterious center,
to become the Sol King,
with no need of schemes,
or double-edged red threads.