I was recently
lamenting turns of the heart venting to a few people about some things and one of my friends sent me a piece she wrote. I am allowed to publish it here and she has asked that I attribute it to her as it is her original work.
Switches (© Marilyn Peck 2005)
Men have only two switches: on and off. They see things straight
down the line. They pine for motherly things, for noises of nourishment.
Noises announcing the tidying of households, the snap of cloths being
shaken out of windows, the banging of brooms in rooms, the setting of tables.
The fabled Odysseus, disguised as a Phoenician merchant, was full of tricks
on his long journey to Ithaca. He had only two switches. One set to achieve
what he wanted and one to switch it all off. In the end he was the one who
realised all the tall stories were about women, right from the beginning.
He knew, that which is to be accomplished, needs to have mystery at its
beginning to be remembered. Robert Calasso asked, Where did it all begin?
speaking of Greek gods. It didn’t begin with Helen, but she was there
at the Trojan Horse with honeyed words. She knew how to change horses
when the ride was rough. Her switches were famous for their complexities.
It possibly began with Eurynome during the time of chaos
with that snake winding itself about her. Some say it began
when mankind invented Eve, heaping her with wrong-doing;
taking away her magic, her mystery. That was about when
the last goddess died. Men thought they had managed to
switch her off, the last goddess, forgetting she was a woman.
Women have lots of switches, not just two. When women are
switched on, they take more than one switch to turn them off.
As well, Eve had more than an apple to sell: more than her soul
as well as Adam’s old rib. Eve knew she’d been set up to take the rap.
With Eurynome’s snake at hand, she took her stand and left.
She knew she had more switches than any man could ever find.
If Eve sold what men wanted, she knew not to give them
all they could use at once. She always had more than any man
could imagine. She knew how to husband her supply.
And Penelope, patiently knitting and waiting in wifely style
for Odysseus to return to Ithaca, kept unravelling her garment each night
so she need never come to the end of it. Like Eve dealing with the everyday,
being creative grounded her, saving her sanity. But for Helen, creativity was
a disease, a lack of ease with commonsense. She asked for trouble and it
hounded her, especially when confronted by other women, switched-on,
showing all their gauges glowing in the dark. They hated her, the bitches.
There was never enough of Helen to satisfy the men.
She turned them all on, toggling their switches.