16.12.06

ovid v. divo

















A god can fuck his own daughter, can't he? Jove committed incest countless times -- his family-tree is a mass of bizarrely intertwined connections. Is it even worth remarking on in a god who's still in mortal form?

… It was late and I’d had too much to drink. That’s the thing you have to remember. I wasn’t in my right mind, really – or maybe I was, maybe that was the problem. It was only when I was drunk that I could see things really straight – see Julia straight, in any case.

It wasn’t that we were sleeping together, though there had been that one evening when a bit of a group grope had gone on. She had her friends and I had mine. The thing was, her circle included all the cutest girls and handsomest men, and certainly the most entertaining parties. I needed those people, and – to be quite honest – they needed me as too. Who else was going to hymn their misdeeds, compile treatises for them on how to get laid?

So when the notion came to me to pop around and see Julia, I didn’t think twice about the prudence of it. What was there to worry about? I knew all the back passages, the entrances only the family used. I’d been through there plenty of times with and without her.

It’s true the old man didn’t like me. His notion of literature was more farms in the hills and flashing swords at dawn – no silken dalliances between the sheets. It wasn’t that he didn’t go in for that sort of thing, just that he didn’t like to hear it hymned in hexameters.

And so I went barrelling on in, already rehearsing the line I was going to start off with … “Darling, you simply have no
idea what I just heard.” It was true that she might well be entertaining at that hour, but that had never bothered her before.

There was a kind of heaving and straining going on under the bedclothes, the covers shifting around as if a mountain were about to give birth. The words caught in my throat. There was a moment there when I might still have backed out and got away undiscovered. But I must have cleared my throat or made some kind of scuffling noise, because a head reared up from the bed, and after that it was
far too late.

Our eyes met. I saw he recognised me. I knew my life was over at that moment. It didn’t matter how many promises I made, how discreet I promised to be. He wasn’t the kind of man to laugh it off and be understanding – understanding about being caught in his own granddaughter’s bed.

I knew his reputation as a lecher, of course. Who didn’t? But what a prude! All those lectures he gave on the sanctity of family life, the need to have your children on the right side of the blanket. Hypocrites don’t like to stand condemned out of their own mouths!

The summons came the very next morning. He must have got straight up and dictated the charges then and there. It was one of his secretaries who read it to me – I’d never even heard of Tomis. Even the Black Sea, Pontus, was just a name to me.

I suppose the only thing that saved me from a knife thrust in the guts was the fear that there might be some sort of scandal, questions asked. What did he have to fear, though?

Who would believe what I'd witnessed? Who would ever have been mad enough to repeat it? King Death has ass's ears?

The funny thing was that I understood better than anyone the lure of the forbidden. Hadn’t I just been writing about it? The imp of the perverse, Orpheus turning at the very last minute to see his Eurydice coming from the shades … I suppose it was a kind of poetic justice, if you want to be lighthearted about it. I can’t say that I do, really.

As the slave said when he stubbed his toe, “I’m too old to cry, but it hurts too much to laugh …”


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