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FORTUNA’S FEET

Knotted hair and naked, Fortuna stands astride a sea monster blowing wind into her own sails. The sails flutter out like ribbons whipping her thighs and tickling her hips. Her toes grip the slick blue-black hide of a snarling dolphin with its yellow eyes popping out horribly. Firmly atop this animal, she goes where she pleases, when she pleases and why she pleases. She is not on an errand (not for Zeus, not for Hades), she knows everyone’s future (including theirs, including yours) and so the world is afraid of her, you are afraid of her. Men don’t understand what they can’t control, “The future ain’t ours to see, whatever will be will be”, is not controllable. Men can only handle small doses of their slippery fate at one time, they say things like, “Fate is written in the stars”, because stars are tiny and far away. They say this to put distance between themselves and the black vacuum of space where most of fate is written. Avoiding the void, they collect stars, diamonds, coins. Little things, which sparkle and attract much attention though are entirely insignificant compared to what is around these small specks of glitter. Fortuna gets bored with this and so she doesn’t stick around. She likes the “ain’t ours to see” part, which explains her preferred mode of transport atop her fanged sea creature of the deep and her preferred activity of whipping up violent storms. Out on the open, storming sea she flirts with Death who has no face, who doesn’t need a face. The two of them know a lot of things. If you paid attention to Fortuna’s cards you’d know Death is transition and change. But men want exactly and precisely what they don’t have, they want gem-encrusted stability locked in expensive cement. Sea monsters, naked breasts, and storms don’t make men feel permanent.

Everyone wants Fortuna’s independent way of life. They think she has secret riches, going about doing what she pleases, but they’re wrong. She only has enough gold coins, stars and diamonds to fit in her naked hand. While rolling around in the void, swimming in Death’s black face, these sparkling things inevitably attach themselves to her like burrs which she plucks off herself. She leaves these coins and shiny things behind as they are annoying to hold and would fall out of her invisible pockets if she were to put them there. Men all want to trap her, take these abundant riches they think she has and keep it for themselves. They want to stuff their pockets, make big bulges, take take take and then show show show. They did this to poor Nike in Athens up on the top of the hill. They wanted her victory, a thing which attached itself to Nike just like Fortuna’s jewel-like burrs. They captured Nike, solidified her into a statue and removed her wings so she would remain trapped there on the hill, always. Her victory is now the city’s prisoner and, showing off, they triumphantly renamed her Apteros Nike, “Victory without wings”. Their trap for Nike was a false boast, a laurel-wreathed lie, she came too near. So the people lay their traps for Fortuna, tempting fate, their fate, gambling their lives away, giving up their gold like she does, thinking she will be attracted to their shiny misery and glittering desperation. This is always curious behavior to Fortuna, these attempts at life-changing experiences even if done so out of fear and greed and not out of love of the black void. She comes to watch, half amused. What they want is to grab her violently by her long hair above her forehead, force her to her naked knees, make her fortune, her body, their property, just like Nike’s beautiful wings and her irresistible victory. Fortuna, knowing everything, already knows these things, (what fools), and only comes close enough to tease.

“Fleeting Fortuna, Fickle Fortuna, Cruel Fortuna”, she’s heard you call her as you insincerely beg at her feet for her favor. She’s not even listening, she heard it before you even said it. All the groveling and whimpering of men repulses her. It is rare to find a man with a real sense of adventure, one not afraid to claim the abyss, to dive toward the black bottom and come up to the surface with purposefully empty pockets. Ask yourself, why do you only see the sky for the stars? Why do you not wish for pure nothingness? Why do you cry over everythingness? But do not think you know Fortuna, false courage and entitlement is equally as gross to her as tears. If, as a mortal, you cannot step directly onto the sickly sea beast, if you must harness it like mighty Poseidon and ride in a decadent seashell with trumpets sounding, silks flying, and flowers masking the stink of these horrible sea creatures, you aren’t worth much to Fortuna. You are not a god, and so you must be willing to fall face forward into the storm, literally you must risk your face. You must trust her when she says, “Que sera, sera”. Those who want Fortuna’s favor, who want to catch a fleeting smile from her, must strip, beginning with their shoes, and place their warm feet on the cold weird dolphin. Feel its shivering fishiness, its bulging freak eyes wiggling up at you as you stand on its head, and in squeaks and squips say to the monster, “go, please!”. You must be polite to this beautiful beast, trust that it knows how to navigate the black abyss, and if it bites off one of your toes you must say with understanding, “Whatever will be, will be”. This is called letting go. The key word is “go”. Letting go gives you the wind for free, a smile from Fortuna, and a creepy wink from her unctuous steed.

Isis is the one who gave Fortuna instructions on this life of liberty. Feathered and brown-skinned, licked by the many tongues of the sun, wearing red and blue beads, she came all the way from Egypt because she likes her fellow wind goddess. They wear the same perfume, to a blind man who would be who? Isis invented sailing, among many other things, such as magic. Like the void, the dolphin, and Death, magic is a black and unstable thing, a thing of women. If you think sailing is a masculine career, you are flat wrong there. Isis taught Fortuna how to take off her own loose white dress to catch the sea’s wind. Close your eyes, imagine - breasts perked forward, a dainty toe poking into the blowhole of a freak fish, feminine lips pouted and blowing, the fine cloth that is still warm from the body of a woman puffing out like Zyphere’s cheeks. Eros finds this stimulating, perfect lips puckered and blowing, “You know how to whistle don’t ya, just put your lips together and blow”. Like Death, Eros is always around watching Fortuna sailing in the buff with her cornucopia of lovely assets. He feels electrified. He gives her a love nip around the waist when he sees her confidently naked, captain of her own ship, hair billowing out behind her. There’s only time for a nip, she’s fast, so fast that the wind sharpens her nipples. Fortuna’s breasts, barnacled in sparkling sea salt, shimmering like stars (the ones men gamble their lives over), are always just out of reach. Men’s coarse fingers spread out as far as possible, almost touching her salt-gem nipples. She laughs and leans away, into the rosy summer wind which she created, the roundness of the globe under her feet.

Ever restless and quite bored of mortals continuously grabbing at the glittery burrs stuck to her flesh and knotted in her long hair, she makes black storms, afternoons that swirl with a crack and a boom, a quick slap to the face. She can make the rain fall or the ground dry up. Knowing everything, she surprises herself by tying a blindfold around her twinkling eyes, tries to lose her internal sense of direction, whirling and twirling, “A twist of fate”. As she kicks off from the shore, the breeze from Fortuna’s winged ankles shake all the leaves of all the trees the world over. There are those that say this tree or that tree is murmuring, that it is Hera’s voice speaking through the oaks, that it is Zeus roaring behind the oleanders, Ares panting with Aphrodite in the rosemary bushes, Artemis shooting her arrows through the pines that cause these rustlings. Fortuna doesn’t wait around to explain that all these disturbances are of her making. Losing time on credit given to others is unladylike. “Luck be a lady tonight”, she rolls the dice, rubs the rabbit’s foot, spins the wheel, but doesn’t care about cashing out. Playing her own game her own way is reward enough. She knows nothing is ever revealed all at once, fate is dished out oracle-style in fragments, pieces, poems, bits of mosaic. Making sense of life comes later, after you no longer care (one could make a bad pun here of “making cents”) and so, why despair? Fortuna knows that slobbery squiping bug-eyed sea beasts and the salty night air on your lips and bare skin are where it’s all at. Traveling to wherever your own breath leads you, out on the open sea the black is blacker and the stupid stars shine twice.

Fortuna favors the bold who, like her,

Dip their toes into the inky,

Unknown sea and say:

I may go down on my own ship,

But the trick is,

I can breathe under water.



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