Prophetes of Summer

I can’t write for their carryings-on. Curtains drawn, air-conditioning running full-bore but still the continuous ("puknos," and perhaps that factor, alone) chitchat seems to sap my digits, slacken the strings hung from tongue to cognition. Homer rang of slain heroes like this. It’s all goo to me. Et me too. On their chiasmic stuff I’m born back to Indiana (sunk now, for sure!) and the discarded shell I came upon once in mid-August. Like an envelope. As if minutes ago. Maybe I’m in love. Maybe it’s ecdysis.

Now where was I? Oh, yes: prattling in Theocritus’s Idylls (VII 159). True perhaps, but no less dear to the Greeks for that. The bugly tendency to lounge on shady planes and trill away the summer days, by way of Aesop, comes through enviable indeed (Aesopica 299, 387). In exhortation mighty clear he did, even so, conclude that straying from the anxious path of the prepper ant is not to be advised. Poor mortal grunts like us.

For you and I there’s Hesiod of course, who muses “µαχλόταται δὲ γυναῖκες, ἀφαυρότατοι δέ τοι ἄνδρες…” (WD, 582-8). Not that he’s really my type. The voice. The chorus. Background noise I can’t leave to its own devices. Is it the she-works in me or the he-days? And says what organ, anyway?

Aristotle was a mite confused on the matter, himself, initially stating that the variety dubbed “achetai“ is endowed with the parts necessary for producing sound, while the ones called “tettigonia” are not so blessed (HA 532b 15ff.). Shortly after those lines, though, he doubles back to contend that it comes down to sex: males have a “division” at the hypozoma (where the thorax joins abdomen) that enables them to make, while females possess no such division and therefore remain mute (556b 12-14ff). A familiar tune, n'est-ce pas?

Wait, what was I saying? That’s as far as memory serves before I’m through the single-pane window again. Barefoot and polis-free, bound for periphery with hardly a scratch. Even this cut or that—anodyne. I didn’t feel a thing and in the khora I find slits in twigs. Hardening wings. Lying there, some youth with a speech I feel I used to match. At least in beauty.

Oh right, I was past Theocritus. I was into Phaedrus, hung up on 258. Not yet—

E.R. Emison