This shows why Cassandra is such a popular name for females!
She slouches in, ever the surly adolescent;
slides like a grouch into her chair.
Her father, Priam, last king of the impregnable city
(Lo how the mighty walls of Troy forever fall)
is griping again his common complaints of shifty royal advisers
and tax collectors delinquent for the season.
Queen Hecuba purses her lips and frowns; passes down green beans
instead of the mashed potatoes her daughter asks for.
Heaving a weighty sigh, Cassandra tries to catch the glance
of a close-seated sibling, second eldest among her 50 brothers.
Fails, as expected. (Paris’s eyes already so full of Helen
whose beauty he has yet to see. Hands already so full
with the taste of her, he snatches in practice at scullery maids,
at the cook’s assistant; bears them off unwilling
into closets and dark corners—previews
of the world-ending snatch-and-run yet to come.)
The prophet sees in the distance her own snatching,
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Cao Cao’s (Yellow-Hoofed) Flying Lightning
Cao Cao Riding Flying Lightning
(Chapter 20 of Romance of Three Kingdoms: Published in the Ming Dynasty)
This steed was one of the four great horses of the Three Kingdoms era. Warlord Cao Cao rode the horse for celebratory events and hunting trips because it was tall and majestic. The White horse had yellow hoofs, but, in some translations, this detail is omitted and the name is abbreviated to “Flying Lightning” (ThreeKingdoms Wiki).
There is no historical record of this horse’s participation in a major battle.
Furthermore, it is likely that the story of Cao Cao and this creature is fictional. It is only mentioned in one chapter of Romance of Three Kingdoms, and this novel is a dramatized version of history. Cao, being a powerful military leader, owned many steeds suitable for hunting and a white one among them probably inspired the story of Flying Lightning. Whether true or not, the mount enhanced the image of the Warlord, who founded the nation of Wei and became an Emperor posthumously for ages to come.
The Most Famous Image of Napoleon & Marengo by Jacques-Louis David (0:50)
This Steed was imported from Egypt and named after the Battle of Marengo. Small, but sturdy, he was wounded eight times during many battles, but survived. After Napoleon’s defeat, Marengo was sent to Britain for breeding (Crank, 2014).
While the painting of the pair is very famous, it is misleading since both of them, despite their prowess, were relatively small (Crank, 2014). The painter blatantly exaggerated their sizes to glorify the Emperor. The Emperor’s beloved mount was also one of his tools for propaganda. This becomes glaringly obvious when you consider that the battle of Marengo was one of the most important ones in his career.
The cunning Emperors knew the value of putting on spectacular shows with their best horses.
Gongjin’s Campaign Memorials – a Three Kingdoms Wiki. Flying- Lightning.
Retrieved from http://threekingdoms.wikia.com/wiki/Flying-Lightning
Crank, C. (2014, September 22). Marengo: Napoleon’s Favourite Horse, Retrieved from https://www.horse-canada.com/horses-and-history/marengo-napoleons-favourite-horse/
When my brain finished integrating last fall—last stage in healing the mental fractures that nearly killed me, after 25 years of misdiagnosed and untreated PTSD—I came back to myself less than two weeks after an illegitimate election placed an unstable and corrupt would-be dictator in line to be the next US president. In other words, I finally knew myself in the world just as the world I knew tilted on its axis and began slipping away.
The core challenge that posed has taunted me ever since: how do I normalize this overwhelming new sense of self I am experiencing, while at the same not normalizing this overwhelming new world, filled with political chaos targeting every social principle I believe in?
As a human being, feeling at home within my mind and body is everything. Is life itself.
As a citizen, feeling at home within this burgeoning autocracy would mean death.
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There were protesters outside the local Planned Parenthood clinic again this week. And, also again, a group of women in bright pink escort vests arrayed quietly along the front of the building, a buffer to the hate and madness.
These protests have ebbed and waned over the 15-some years I have lived in Philly, but they are clearly on the rise again. When I first moved here from Texas, I remember being shocked to see Planned Parenthood locations advertising on local TV, out in the open and unafraid. It expanded my vision of what became possible when we who believe in equal bodily rights and the full social participation of women were not forced to accept shaming and violence as “normal” responses to our stance. As mere “business as usual.”
On Wednesday, as I do every time, I crossed the street to thank the escorts for being there. We shook…
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* * *
“But, then again, what if they were role models?”
–Sarah Gailey, In Defense of Villainesses
* * *
Older than the ocean floor she slithers across,
the sea-witch rummages between her cartilaginous breasts
for the shell that stores the latest tongue
and voice in her collection.
Not the first fish I taught to waddle onto land,
she snorts to the anemones.
Not likely to be the last, neither—
and every damn one of ’em convinced
evolution’s just a party trick.
A way to meet cute boys.
She’d outdone herself on this one, too:
No talking. No singing. No dancing
without the girl feeling like there are razors
in her shoes.
Absolutely NO take-backs.
Settling her head into the wattles of her throat,
the sea-witch peers, sightless, into the cold ocean night.
Can’t nobody say as I didn’t warn her,
she harrumphs quietly, before pulling the…
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