The Minotaur Is Chastised by Ariadne

the Minotaur is hiding in the labyrinth

the center

the Minotaur is only an animal

the Minotaur must be killed by Theseus

(who love him?)

the Minotaur knows

(whispering in his ear)

the Minotaur is lavished with roses

the Minotaur must be killed by Theseus

the Minotaur isn't afraid

(who is beautiful)

the Minotaur doesn't understand

the Minotaur is chastised by Ariadne
the Minotaur knows he must lose his head in 

the Minotaur doesn't know

the Minotaur is afraid

because of the men and women of Crete

the Minotaur dreams while standing up

the Minotaur is the defender of Ariadne

the Minotaur wants everything

and perfumes and feasts every year

because he wants too much

the Minotaur hears the footsteps of Theseus

the Minotaur has desires (just like the sun)

why Phaedra is excited

the Minotaur is hiding in the labyrinth

Conor Barnes

2 Questions for Conor

What was your process for creating this work?

I sit and I write and it comes out.

For "The Minotaur..." I had been reading a lot of Borges earlier this year, and this is very much inspired by him, particularly House of Asterion. The erotic elements are partially inspired by Autobiography of Red (Anne Carson), and partially by Hades (Nintendo Switch).

With 'The Host" I was researching myths and went down a rabbit hole from Scarborough Fair and ended up writing a version of Culhwch and Olwen. I also listened to David Jone's reading of 'The Hunt" to put me in the right mood (and to steal some language). I was fascinated by Culhwch's killing of Olwen's father and concluded that there might have been some encouragement from Olwen.

I also snagged a line from Rumi (by way of Prurient) of which I'm quite fond.

What is the significance of the form(s) you chose?

With "Ten Minutes..." I used the second-person because I find it forces one to be a more empathetic reader. It can get grating and become unsustainable in longer pieces, but in a short burst like this it adds to the punch. 

I tried a few different forms for "The Minotaur..." and found that this one helped it feel cyclic.

For 'The Host" I found the free verse gave the first section a lot of motion which helped with the sensation of a host racing through. Switching to more regular verse in the second section helps convey that it's a different viewpoint.

Conor Barnes is a Canadian writer living in Halifax. His fiction has been published in White Wall Review, Potato Soup Journal, and Literally Stories. His poetry has been published in Modern Haiku, Frogpond, and Puddles of Sky Press.

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