(Dionysian Short) #2

(Dionysian Short) #2

A Poem by Ookpik

Going to leave a track list at the bottom - though I expect it'll be subject to change.


The confines of the brick courtyard seemed to tighten as her heels stepped into the daylight. The crooked buildings had a constrictive aesthetic, as if their inward lean were instead the coils of some patient, amazonian python - tightening as months stretched into years and quietly awaiting her entry as the mouse flitting into the bowels of the serpent burrow. The thought should have been alarming, most are forced to swallow a nauseating sense of claustrophobia in confines like this, but instead, and especially for her, there was a certain comfort attached to this particular square. 

Try as it might, no serpent and no structure could confine her. 

She was the structure, and she could just as easily slip this noose as she could her bra come nightfall.

She let her heels sound their laughter as she walked, echoing a confident grace and marking an ironic levity as she crossed the moat to the opposite exit. The daylight struggled to enter this place but the trees beside themselves had somehow managed to flourish. They stood in tall, hanging rows, parallel to the courtyard's path and a dim, pearly daylight left its imprint on each arcing crown. There was a majesty to them that would have otherwise seemed out of place against the scattered backdrop of brick and mortar - as if their standing there testified to the millennia felt beneath extended limbs, the span of years having christened each into a new tier of sainthood. They were old men these trees, every trunk a scepter and their foliage the beards of royalty.

As she walked her heels clipped their insult and a secret wind caused their leaves to quiver.

They were old men.

But she was older still.

Before long she neared the courtyard's opposite end and the branches behind her released a soft sigh of relief - a psithurism for her passing before resuming their resolute gate-keeping. Before her was a trio of steps preceding more enclosed brick and a plain glass door with a horizontal barred handle. Her feet caught the steps and the clipboard tucked under her arm shifted in protective unison.




Behind her the courtyard faded and her palm eased the door's bar with a gentle sweep. The rush of city sounds carried loose, auburn curls behind her ears and the misty sunlight exposed the characters deep within her satin headband. As she stepped onto the sidewalk the tightness of her pantsuit stretched the seams atop lean, knotted legs - a warrior's legs, a warrior's legs beneath an administrator's garb. 

"Ah," she breathed, "not as welcoming as you should be."

The streets were busy, pedestrians traipsing absentmindedly and horns honking beneath the frustrated palms of impatient drivers. She paused for a moment, letting a hurried mother tow her neatly dressed schoolboys by each wrist. One of them had a lollipop snug within his mouth and the city air was playing havoc on dark, recently combed hair. As they passed the boy's eyes met hers, his neck craning behind his mother's drag and a crisp wink causing his mouth to fall open, the lollipop falling with it.

She smiled as she swooped across the sidewalk. 

Down the street was a tall beige building, befit with a heavy clock, american flags and faux marble pillars. She scanned the building's entryway - carved, stone statues bordered a line of deep, engraved letters:

'Chicago Board of Trade.'

As she drew her glance upwards, towards the top, she focused on a pristine female caricature, robed and faceless holding a sack in one hand and a bushel of wheat in the other.

"Ah Dem,"

"Of all the places they could christen you with, they had to do it here."

"Not a field in sight, no orchards for you to hover over and all while blaspheming the sentiment with your Roman name."

She spat before stepping onto the street, forcing oncoming traffic into a swerving brake before aggravated horns echoed muffled curses, launched from the lips of cynical mouths and hidden behind tinted windshields. She ignored them, tipping her clipboard against the profanity and tightening the grip on her pen.      

She didn't detest this place, in fact she harbored a certain sense of ambivalence for the great ant mounds of the world - the hives populated with drones and soldiers, with insects and androgynous queens, the faceless matriarchs with their elbow-high gloves and pearled necklaces or their white-haired counterparts exercising a pseudo conception of what it was like to hold real power. She respected the complexity of cities, the inner weaving and infrastructural grandeur of what seemed a living, breathing, concrete organism. 

It was the arrogance of man that made her spit.

As her heel left a satisfied click upon the opposite curb, she allowed herself a moment to reflect before returning to a rhythmic march. There was a newspaper stand set up beside a coinciding trash can, as if to imply some kind of equilibrium between its contents and the printed word organized into vertical rows along the stand's face. She glanced at the print in passing, partially out of innate curiosity and partially to confirm the aching suspicion that the circulation of news equated to the perpetuation of garbage.


Placed below the print was an old black and white image of the burnt out, skeletal remains of some 19th century buildings - piles of rubble littered among scorched bureaus and blackened windows before the ruination of a city-wide wildfire. It hadn't been but a half century since the war that left most of the known world in a similar state, and she found herself again, having to fight the urge to spit.

The arrogance of man is to celebrate the anniversary of their own vulnerability. 

It was the double edge to Prometheus' stolen fire. It gave them forges and bellows, industrial mechanisms capable of pumping out domestic necessity and the very same monstrosities poised to rip manufactum from their own origination - the Tigers and Panzers, the Shermans and Cromwells, the cannons and the warheads. It was fire that facilitated the growth of great cities and it was the self-same fire that tore them down - the Frankenstein's monster behind every Chicago's veneer of magnificence and the Hyde behind the Jekyll of civility. 

She added some impatience to her gait, clicking through a throng of sharp suits, leather briefcases and oiled hair. They were waiting outside a group of parked Cadillacs and seemed to be anticipating some important deal, a merger or corporate settlement within the upper echelons of a nearby beige anthill. She found herself having to shoulder past a pair of especially immobile and relatively young executives, as if the job titles stenciled on their business cards somehow justified the world's current to break around their feet.
"Not very lady-like", one of them sneered, and he practically swallowed his own tongue after she shot him a glance that drilled eternity into the back of his skull.

She could have that affect when she wanted to and the moment, albeit brief, gave her a quick satisfaction. Any chance she had to humble and remind those unconvinced of their own desperate mortality, was a chance that pleased her to her innermost core. There was a regality beneath that headband and an authority within her pen, those that hadn't yet realized it should be quick to the lesson and slower still to the repetition. 

She could hear him coughing as she continued along the street, placing a hand on a nearby shoulder and struggling for shock as to why he was suddenly so breathless.

The sound brought a fitting lift to the edges of her dimples. 

It didn't matter who they thought they were, men were still constrained to the ancient laws of nature that bound them. There was an expiry date attached to those lungs and a threshold of use to the adjacent beating heart. No amount of hair oil or hubris could change that fact, and the immediacy of dependence that people had on their bodies should govern their countenance as much as they in turn tried to govern that of the world surrounding them. 

Some things should remain unalterably sacred.

And she always held the belief that death acted as a reminder of that sacrality.

She glanced ahead as she hurried and took in the dull entrance of the trade building - soft sand and concrete, as if the construction workers had assembled it via production line with handfuls of beach soil and saliva. In fact, apart from the glass and statuettes, it would have been in almost all respects the final and cumulative product of a termite colony, beginning from a humble tunnel and elongating to heights that would invade upon the clouds. 

From first glance at least, this would seem the case. 

She knew better however, though the other buildings may have been simple colonies, bustling with constant proliferation of six legged exit and entry, this one, unlike the others, contained spiders webs. Deep beneath ground level it held a steel vat of mankind's petrol, a vault, a vault with currency in every fathomable denomination and locked behind a circular door with the cleverest of bolt mechanisms. Above the vaults would be a pit, the pit many would call it, and within this pit was the silk knotwork of stock, bond and trade. It was the pit that contained the spiders and it was from the pit that nets were cast across the entirety of this territory - hand signs passing winged riches between plump araneae, wired headsets and their hundreds of calculators compounded by another hundreds of telephones. 

This building was no regular anthill, unlike all the others that lined this city it was from this building that the rest would draw their roots.

Though its unique 'water-well' quality wasn't what made it special, and it wasn't why she was just now drawing a steady approach. Besides the pit, besides the vault and the money and the spiders, hidden within a quiet nook of its labyrinthine design, was a stair. A stair different from all others and one that could only be found in the magic corners of the world. It was because of this stair that she paced across the street and it was because of this stair that she found the belligerent honking of aggravated drivers so easy to ignore. 

She only ever found herself anywhere for a specific purpose. 

It was her nature, without purpose she simply wouldn't be.

As she approached the revolving doors with a renewed and unwavering trajectory, it was this purpose that she considered and the steady click of her heels reflected the sentiment. As the doors spun she found herself facing a soft stomached man with coffee in one hand and a clipboard, not unlike hers, in the other. 

He glanced at her, at the pristine edge to her clothing's fabric and the board beneath her elbow tucked with a noticeably different and accusational angle. As if for a sudden unaccountable shame, he tucked his chin, like a boxer would before the final blow, brought his eyes to her feet strapped within immaculate heels and stepped aside, spilling coffee from paper lips as he did so. 

He wouldn't know why he moved in such a belittled manner, after all he was just then responsible for a trade that would pocket him a five figure commission, but he did, and he felt all the smaller for it.

Upon entry the revolving doors mirrored her rhythm and her gait held its continuity as she entered the lobby. It was an impressive lobby, far more refined than the bland stone seen from outside. The entire ceiling, the banisters, the doors and the trim were set in a decorative gold and thick towers of black marble stood beneath the ceiling and the floor. These were made from real marble, with the telltale carbonate veins of white chalk. She could practically smell the difference, the familiar tang of limestone contrasted by the flavorless counterparts that had been poured and assembled outside. It was as if the decorum implied that only those who passed the threshold were graced with the opportunity to enjoy it, while all those condemned to occupy the streets outside were confronted by near colorless concrete and the stoic glare of the Mesopotamian and Iroquois statues guarding the exterior clock. 

Though she had to admit, it was well crafted, the temptation to huck onto the polished floors crept back into her foremost thoughts. The memory of her half sister's likeness atop a desolate peak was too fresh to suddenly be affronted with the covetive practice of polished floors. Despite herself she continued, the time to brood over the aristocratic, American caste had passed from the moment she crossed the sill. To spit now would draw unnecessary attention and her presence alone would be enough to tighten the atmosphere within these walls.

Proceeding across the hall she drew her clipboard and glanced at its face, less so to clarify information and more to look busy as she stepped towards the elevators. She knew this building, she knew it as if she had designed it herself. The elevators on the left were meaningless and would climb to the mundane edifice of office floors and board rooms, whereas on the right, somewhere in the heights of its adjacent tower, was her goal. 

It was never in the same place twice, it had a tendency to migrate against those looking for it and she would have to appear inconspicuous as she sought it out. 

Stairs like this you couldn't simply climb, first, they had to be found. 

Upon approach the elevator doors opened, as if they had anticipated her arrival and were gladdened by the opportunity to facilitate her ascent. She entered quickly, so as not to allow entrance to those who might otherwise interfere with her search. 

Almost absentmindedly she let her hand, still gripping her pen, extend and push a button at random - it was important for her not to know which one she pressed, this particular game of hide and seek had to be played serendipitously and something as small as a mistaken glance or a sudden intrusion could abruptly alter the rules. 

Immediately the doors closed and she found herself within the confines of a black box decorated by the same elaborate gold. She felt the elevator's lift apply its pressure to the balls of her feet and the artificial inertia set in as it climbed. She allowed herself to settle in place as Louis Armstrong's distinctive trumpet trickled from behind hidden speakers.

"When you're smiling..."

"When you smiling..."

 "The whoooole world..."

She began flipping her pen between fingers as a demonstration of her impatience.

"Smiles with you."

The piano was walking it's preamble and her pen quickened it's pace as it twirled between her fingers:

Index, third,

Ring, little.

Her eyebrows tied a knot above the bridge of her nose and roped a deepening concentration within the pits of her eyes.

As it spun her thumb either guided the next rotation or dexterously got out of the way. It was a little dance she often performed and it was almost always accompanied by soothing recollections. As it spun the motion blur manipulated the pen's shape and the laurel decorations fluttered as it appeared to elongate against her palm. It already seemed a long pen but the motion of her wrist accommodating the circular motion was stretching it further.  

"Now when you cryin'..."

Third, ring, little.

"You bring on the rain..."

The pen grew longer.

"So stop you're sighin' baby..."

Index, third, ring.

"And be happy agaaain."

As the trumpet spat its solo she was no longer standing in an elevator fiddling with a pen. 

Her shoes had climbed her shins and settled against her calves as polished greaves; sand ground beneath her feet and the pantsuit flowed a peplos against a foreign, Mediterranean wind; her headband now helmeted her brow beneath a long, milk-white plume; her clipboard became a cast bronze aegis and protected her ribs beneath a heavy-set Gorgon's head and the pen, the pen was now her spear as it flickered its snake dance against either shoulder.

Suddenly the music stopped, and the elevator dinged before a widening mouth.

Without hesitation she stepped into the hallway and her heels announced the entry. The pen had found its usual, casual place beneath her thumb and the clipboard had returned to the crook of her elbow.   

The hallway before her wasn't anything special, in fact it clearly lacked the meticulous demonstration of wealth that was so prevalent in the lower lobby. The floor was pieced together by mundane pine and the windowless walls set with a painted, bone drywall. The hallway lead directly from the elevator and held no corners or turns, no deviation between her and a solid, black door a few meters from her feet. 

The length was soundless, no Louis Armstrong, no distant city noise or honking horns, no bustle of pedestrians or shuffle of ants or spiders.

As her hand twisted the aluminum knob the pen squirreled between her knuckles and it's butt end clicked against the annoyingly plain alloy. She softly let herself in and the black door closed gently behind her - there was a plastic sign affixed to the adjacent drywall and thin white letters stenciled its face:

'Olympai Inc.'

From the other side the sound of her heels persisted and her gait echoed from behind the darkened door - from within a hollow, hidden stairwell and its heightless, peerless elevation. 










© 2019 Ookpik

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Added on March 31, 2019
Last Updated on June 17, 2019



Vancouver Island, British Columbia , Canada

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