What can I say? Thing is, I'm working on Vol 4 of the Book Of All Hours now, the second and final volume of Part 2: Ink. Since the thematic structure of the whole thing is based on seasons and times of day, Vol 4 is basically Spring/Dawn. It's the time of morning hard-ons, of verdant greenery, when thoughts of young men turn to lust, the time of lush green vines and veins, of fairies dancing in the dew, fucking among the foxgloves, of... ahem.
Anyhoo, as something of a method writer I feel it's my artistic duty to "get into the mind-set" of what I'm writing about, is what I'm trying to say. Scotland in January isn't exactly the optimum location for doing this, I admit, but I'm doing my best. So apart from working on the novel, I've also spent the last week or so in a frenzy of generation, sprouts of novel ideas pushing up through the soil of my filthy mind. I just finished off a saucy/sick little story that investigates the sexual subtext of a certain classic children's novel. I may have to burn down Great Ormond Street Hospital before it can be published (Damn you, J.M. Barrie, with yer special Act Of Parliament!) but I had to write it.
Thing is, being in this febrile mindset, over the Christmas period I got to thinking about just how many heroes of myth were basically gay as a yellow duster, from Gilgamesh with his little furry fuckbuddy Enkidu onwards. I mean look at Achilles: boyfriend Patroclus gets killed, so Achilles slaughters Hector and drags his body round the gates of Troy ten times. Now that's what I call a hissy fit. You killed my boyfriend! You brute! You brute!
Anyway, the result was this:
Among narcissi, hyacinths and cypress trees
Pan teaches shepherd Daphnis how a pipe can please.
Here, let me show you... Lips purse, blow a tender breeze,
A touch of tasting breath, a gentle tease.
Eyes closed, Daphnis is blind as Thamyris who kissed
That flower of a boy doomed to Apollo's deadly disc.
His fingers, like Poseidon’s gaze on Pelops, trace the curve of white, so smooth -
A shoulder. On his foreskin he can feel the slip of tongue, the nip of tooth.
Now Dionysus minces by, parading girly-boys, hermaphrodites, Achilles in a dress,
An arm around Acoetes or Ampelus, round Laonis or Prosymnus, and a whisper, yes.
Apollo’s flirty eye follows Amyclas and Iapis, goes from Tymnius to Paros - my oh my -
There’s Potneius, Carneius, Phrobas - why, its Branchus, Troilus and Zacynthus - ai ai ai.
The demi-god Heracles shared some lovers with these wine
And sun gods, fucked Adonis and sweet Hymen,
But had Nestor and Abderus, Corythus and Haemon to himself,
Dryops, Eurystheus, Telamon... and God knows how many else.
Along with Chonus and Nireus, which proud Argonauts gave great Herakles peace?
With Elacatus and Polyphemus, was Jason naked on his golden fleece?
Did Euphemos, Admetus, Iphitos and Hylas snuggle to the lion’s skin?
Did Stychius get sticky, Philoctetes icky, or Iolaus, or sweet young Phrynx?
And high up in the sky, Zeus has his eagle-eye on Ganymede, planning abduction
Fuck, it seems like Hades is the only god not set on some young lad’s seduction.
Ah, but then... it was in his domain that Orpheus said, Never again!
Vowing from then to lose his head only for love of men.
So, more than lovers, less than brothers, maybe something deeper and more close
Glints in the armour of Achilles strapped to Patroklus, or in the clothes
Of Jonathon as David wears them, lifts a sleeve, a scent of sweat, up to his nose.
More than lovers; more than brothers? Or, like Castor and Pollux, both?
Perhaps its all just poets’ dreams from Horace and Catullus
Down to Whitman, Allan Ginsberg, William Burroughs.
Is it just the appetence of an Omar Khayyam, the leer of an Abu Nuwas,
Less Alexander and Hephaestion, more Rimbaud lusting after Verlaine’s ass?