13 Medusa variations

What follows is an excerpt from my new collaboration with artist Diana Probst, 13.

Entitled 13 Medusa variations, the piece is an augmented, revised version of Medusa Variations, first posted on this blog in December. The most significant addition to the original prose poem is Diana’s arresting illustration.


13 Medusa variations


1. Dreams
At twilight Medusa becomes a tree. Brittle branches grasp at the wind hissing through her leaves. She twists under mineral dreams.

2. Little Black Dress
Medusa queues to pay for a little black dress. She’ll knock ’em dead tonight. But, fearing mirrors, she’ll never know how she looks in it.

3. Humdrum I
In Medusa’s kitchen, the kettle hisses and spits. She sits at the table, buttering toast. Her eyes are empty; her mind’s elsewhere.

4. Book
Medusa is turned into a book, bound in snakeskin. Left on the shelf for years, her pages yellow with age and envy. Her secret words will never be read.

5. Mermaid
Medusa swims through the starless abyss, harpoon in hand, hunting. Her eyes are pearls, her hair a crown of gaping eels.

6. Alice
He glimpses the reflection of a coil of Alice’s hair as she darts between still white soldiers. In the frame of a mirror, she’s vulnerable.

7. Humdrum II
Medusa’s mother-in-law clucks over the baby, pecks his cheek. Afterwards, in the stony silence of the kitchen, Medusa plans a roast chicken.

8. TV
They sit in their millions, fixed by her stare.

9. Creation Myth
Medusa is the first monster. She hisses sweet nothings that become the sea. At night, she’s mesmerised by the silver shield of the moon.

10. Cupid
Medusa meets the man of her dreams in a hall of statues. She shoots love’s arrow through his heart, then caresses him until he’s rock hard.

11. Humdrum III
She inspects her grey skin in the hand mirror.

12. Art
Medusa takes up sculpture. Her subject is terror. Her material: life.

13. Reflection
Lost in the Garden of Eden, Medusa chances upon what she takes to be a reflection of herself: a woman, ripe with sin, stroking a serpent.


You can get a copy of 13 here. All texts on this site are he copyright of James Knight. The image on this post is the copyright of Diana Probst. All rights reserved.

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