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Fickle Muses an online journal of myth and legend

Titaness by Leslie Fox
by Leslie Fox

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Two poems by Doug Ramspeck


Charon and Chiron were frat boys
together in college.  Few people could tell
them apart.  True, Chiron was half man,
half horse, while Charon was a god of hell
and worked weekends collecting coins
on the River Acheron.  Still, in their junior year
at the University at Oklahoma they roomed together,
and though Chiron was president
of the TKE’s, pre-med, and engaged
to the nymph Chariclo, he counted Charon
as his closest friend.  It mattered little
that Charon was stick-skinny as a corpse,
a miser with an obolus, and a foul-tempered
Mortuary Science major: they got drunk
together every Friday and Saturday night
as frat brothers, tormented new recruits
with the TKE mascot Cerberus,
and screamed together until they were hoarse
at every Sooners game.  Once they both vomited
within five minutes of each other
at an 8:00 a.m. sociology class,
and another time they hired strippers
and sent them to the chaplain’s house.
It was true that Chariclo found Charon insufferable,
but the one time she tried to say so
Chiron pointed the one frat boy’s truth:
if one of the two had to go, it was
her skinny ass out the door.



After my long sleep I awoke to find
that things had changed.  Blue refinery flames
flickered above the strip malls.
Oracles spoke through strange boxes
at the drive-up window at the Taco Bell.
I meant to sacrifice a goat as thanks
for my long journey through the eons,
but the goat began munching on the oddly
orange cheetos I’d purchased at the Wal-Mart
Superstore, and in the end I tied the animal to a rope
in the back yard, let him munch on the grass,
and lay down on a hammock to gather myself.
The tattoos hidden on my skin spoke
of great auguries and necromancies
and oneiromancies, but all I had to do
was flip on the satellite television and entire worlds
of occultations flickered forth.  Once I thought
I saw Aphrodite standing with a hand on her hip
in the window of a Victoria’s Secret,
but the next moment I was munching on a caramel
pecanbon at the Cinnabon kiosk, watching the mall
elevators rise with glass windows as though toward
a wonder that not even Gaea could envision.

Read more about Doug Ramspeck at http://www.lima.ohio-state.edu/academics/english/DougSutton-Ramspeck.html

Read Hog Creek Review, a student online literary journal published at Ohio State University-Lima (edited by Doug Ramspeck et al) at http://lima.osu.edu/HogCreekReview/