FROM THE TEMPLE PRIAPUS | Andrew Saavedra
⇒First of all, I would like to thank Twitter for introducing me to a slew of incredible new online literary journals, the most recent of which is the beautifully designed Lockjaw Magazine. Lockjaw contains a combination of great poems and very short prose pieces, from which I’ve selected a brief prose poem (or microfiction, or short-short story, or whatever you choose to call it) for today’s discussion.
The piece by Andrew Saavedra is titled “From the Temple Priapus.”
Okay, so my initial reaction, upon reading the title of this piece (but not the piece itself) was: Priapus? Sounds like a Greek god suffering a case of priapism. Turns out I wasn’t far off, Wikipedia informs me:
In Greek mythology, Priapus (/praɪˈeɪpəs/;Greek: Πρίαπος, Priapos), was a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his oversized, permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism.
So Priapus was basically the god of penises. Which makes sense, because every Ancient Greek rendition of Mr. Priapus features the minor god sporting a far-from-minor erection (see image above – censored for your protection, of course).
Having done my mythological research, one initial question buzzed around in my brain: What does “From the Temple Priapus” have to do with the aforementioned penis god? There was only one way to find out: I had to read the piece for myself.
So I did. Four times, in fact. Below are my responses based on each subsequent reading:
First Read: Hmm… This piece is really cool. Love the phrase, “a swarm of bees, thrumming like a tuning fork.” Wonder what the death of Brother Eamon of Racine, Wisconsin has to do with the family man who discovers him. What goes unsaid in this piece?
Second Read: Love the image of the rodeo, of the kicked-up dust and the tensed thighs of the man riding the bull. Very homoerotic language and context, but may not be meant in any sexual kind of way–although this piece does make reference to Priapus, so…
Third Read: Why did Brother Eamon kill himself? Did he have an erection after he died? Can corpses get erections? (Yes, says Wikipedia.) Whoa!
Fourth Read: Ending of the piece is truly beautiful. Wish I’d written this piece.
I actually read it a fifth time, but I think it’s time to stop analyzing/spoiling this very short story and let you read it for yourself. Enjoy!