by Christos Polydorou
Aphrodite was the goddess of:
Procreation. Cronus sharpened his sickle between his teeth before he sliced off Uranus’ testicles, and threw them into the foaming Paphos seas. Seas foam when they contain higher concentrations of dissolved organic matter, like carbon, of bones. Her birth is famously captured by Botticelli and William-Adolphe Bourguereau, but these two paintings are of her as Venus, her Roman equivalent, and besides she’s standing on a disturbingly big shell. Standing in front of these pictures now, she shrugs, and says, They look nothing like me. Frankly, I’m offended.
Pleasure. Aphrodite was beautiful, and she rarely wore clothes. Though she was of water, she had rich locks of lava for hair. The other Olympians came after her, for any piece of her they could get, for as little as a finger, but her big horses fought for her, and the strong swans carried her on their backs. Silly men, she thinks, as a delicate pair of sparrow’s claws webs around her finger, silly, really, because sparrows were a delicacy for the Gods, who couldn’t help themselves as they unhinged their jaws and dropped the boiled, parsley speckled, lemon smeared sparrows down their gullets, full-mouthed as they said things like Birds don’t live long anyway. Butterflies live for a day, thinks Aphrodite, but I would never eat those either.
Beauty. Homer wrote about her. So did Hesiod. And Sappho. Those were the most Platonic of poets, in that they existed, and will permanently exist; the X marks the spot on the map human collective consciousness that is reborn more or less loudly in all of us, that we cannot touch but we could view, as it is unfoaming before our very own eyes. Words are trees, and so they have roots, which explain the foliage, in the same way the trunk of the word explains its branches. “Aphros” means foam and “dite” meaning diver, the deep sea silver diver, who dove into her words and came out shining, his mouth stuffed with pearls. What is there to see?
Love. To say she was sexual is an understatement. She preferred her men to be made of fire, until she learned her lesson. She married the god of fire (who was ugly) and the god of war (who wasn’t actually beautiful) because she was young, and a captive of her own body. Rising from her own ashes, she attempted to find harmony for her agitated heart within her own likeness (the god of desire) her own metaphor (the god of transition and boundaries) even a mortal (a shepherd prince) but it was the sea her body burned for. Suddenly she realised that in order to practise what she preached she would have to experience stepping into the sea metaphorically, letting the waves wash over her, drowning, she realised (re soul searching) could all be experienced as vividly on stage, on the page, to the sound of music, which immediately eliminates the unpleasant inconvenience of having to die, and you’ve made your mark. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the expression ‘Killing two birds with one stone.’ ‘ Two Chinese characters with one brushstroke’ is as violent, and there’s no bloodshed.
The sea. Our souls are sea shells (no like necessary) in that they are empty then they are full then again they are empty but wait a minute they’re full and hold on a second they’re empty wait a blue moon they’re full tides and the waves are rising as they are ebbing and they are breaking as they are over-spilling the glass as it is smashing as it a baton as it is take it and run.
The island. The eyes see what they see. The heart knows what it knows. You are here. This is your home, too. This is our earth, from the streets we spit on to the fields we make love on. The potatoes of this soil are red. The mouflons that run free in the mountains have curled horns, and the dogs won’t stop barking tonight. Those who turn their back to beauty do so because beauty would never turn her back to them. If she did we would go falling off her back, screaming into the sea. But even if this were to hypothetically happen her orange hair would blaze at the clouds as she turned around again, reaching her giant hands into the giant sea to save us all, because beauty loves us, or else we’d be dead. For the record, I don’t spit on streets. Neither do I.
Coinages. Aphrodite was one of the twelve Gods of Olympus, which is why her Greek name gave us “aphrodisiac” (sea food, passion fruit) while her Roman name gave us “venereal.” Who loves their women more?
Manifestations. Context is everything, so perhaps we ought to change that to womanifestations. Have you ever had the pleasure of meeting not one, but a real one? No, really sat down next to one, without trying to get her into bed or to ruin her, or to rob her blind, but to ask her questions, your most pertinent, incisive, and illuminating questions, such as they are because they fall from the tree of her, from the shaking tree of her answers. All animals are holy, she says, which is why I only eat fish. But aren’t fish animals? Is cocoa addictive?
Are bees elephants? Excuse me? The answer to the question…. Excuse me, Aphrodite, sorry to get confrontational, but this is my blog. And yet your hands are my hands. Fine. It’s been a long day. Yes. The answer to the question ‘Are bees elephants?’ is yes or no. Bees are elephants if you consider matriarchy, to which both species adhere, but bees aren’t elephants, if you consider their size, and the fact that they aren’t people, but that doesn’t mean you could be eating bees or elephants. In both cases I wouldn’t even recommend it, and frankly I am making a mistake even suggesting it, because though magical animals if under attack their magic turns into venom and you’ll be lucky to get out of that raineth wrath alive. My point is you can metaphorically enjoy the meat of bees and elephants, smother your whole body in honey if you have to, and sit down next to me and watch this video I dug up, of an elephant nearly dying of a broken heart, but her brothers and sister elephants came for her because she asked for help (telepathy), and the imprint on your heart (video) and mind (honey) of this miraculous side of an animal you’ve only been enjoying cooked, will be more lasting than any meal. Let me eat fish.
Legacy. All natives of Cyprus are her sea foam midday children, and unlike her father, she releases us onto this island softly, like the heads of dandelions, and we scatter across these rocks, carving our names into the pebbles, making our marks as deeply as we can, because the winds frighten us, which are (to make matters worse) so often stinging with sea salt. Living on an ever-burning, supersonically bright island can take its toll on a person. The Bay of Naples famously cheered Friedrich Nietzsche up, but even to the dwellers of paradise the everyday of paradise can get tedious. It is an old joke in Cyprus that those who live in Nicosia are the rudest of all its natives, and this is true for two reasons, one, it isn’t a seaside town (or village, depending on your perspective) and two, Nicosia has borders. Oh, I’m sorry. How Nicosiates of me. All this time I’ve been blogging I forgot to introduce you to our neighbours in the north… our most egge ingredient, poached, and fluffed. Egges are beautiful, have you ever tried one? If you haven’t I recommend stop what are doing and go have one, right now.
Lie. I really wish she would stop doing that.