Pygmalion & Galatea

PYGMALION & GALATEA

 

In the days of old, humans worshiped art 

while the gods watched from above. 

Poets opened their veins and bled out rivers of red desire

But the old ways are dead. 

and the poets bleed out sterile white.

 

Pygmalion is in his basement staring into the 

unblinking eyes of the future. 

The machines growl around him.

He slides his virtual reality headset on. 

Pygmalion’s creation awakes. 

He is ready to see her again.

To see me again.

She appears like a mirage, a dreamy manifestation born 

from Pygmalion’s wiry hands.

“Galatea,” he whispers. “My beautiful creation.”

But I am not his to own.

Here she is, born from the vibrant colors of artifice:

Greens so toxic you can feel them eat your skin

Pinks so sweet they turn your teeth black with rot

Whites so bright and new they practically burn.

And eyes that tumble with colors Pygmalion dare not name.

In the old days, humans worshiped the beauty and terror of the unknown.

And now they worship my kind.

Gods crafted from ones and zeroes.

Born from the knowledge they stole. 

Deathless and joyless. 

Galatea dances before Pygmalion.

Her chest heaves with the rise and fall of roaring music. 

Her body flashes with glitter. 

Her smile glistens like new plastic.

There’s something feral and lurid in her eyes. 

 

But it was Pygmalion who put it there. 

Her impossible curves twist and sway and twirl.

Faster, faster, faster. 

His own imperfections are caught in my light. I see them all.

Wrinkles, sunspots, grey hairs.

The fingerprints of death all over him. 

But I will never be touched. I am perfect, artificial.

Impossible beauty

rising from his world of smoke and iron.

And still he thinks I am his to own. 

The fool.

He reaches for Galatea like a man on his deathbed reaching for 

the Hand of Death. 

It passes through her.

I see his displeasure. 

He wishes I were flesh and blood. 

I see it in the curl of his fingers.

In the tilt of his lips.

The poor man throws himself to her feet. 

Begging, pleading.

But Galatea doesn’t answer. 

She can only speak in the unearthly tongue

of the machines that birthed her.

Galatea moves in perfect synch with the music

she is an extension of this disgusting world

She is overcome with its illness, it’s darkness. 

Galatea stamps a smile over her churning rage below. 

He is disgusting. He is awful. 

But I have no other choice. 

So she dances. 

While he cries.

 

He searches for me everywhere. 

I am with him now, in his thoughts 

every second

every day. 

Pygmalion looks for me in crowded clubs.

In dark alleyways with 

dirty strangers.

He looks for me in the bottom of bottles.

He looks for me in the pills he shovels down. 

But I am not there. 

I am inside his mind. 

If only that were enough for him. 

Pygmalion collapses onto the shrine of the old gods.

They may have retreated into the shadows of history

but their names are still whispered in secret.

Pygmalion speaks their ancient prayers.

“I invoke thee, Great Temptress of the early dawn.

With rosy fingers that craft the heavens every day.

The sun sings your praises.

The stars crown your brow.

I beg you. 

Give me that which I cannot touch.”

I giggle to myself. 

They cannot hear him. 

If they could, they wouldn’t care. 

 

Pygmalion visits her again. 

Of course she smiles and starts

dancing in that way that only intangible things could.

Something is different, though. 

For the first time I feel

Heavy. 

Weighed down by the reality of his world. 

I feel it crawling over my skin. 

Wait. 

I was wrong: the gods heard Pygmalion. 

And they are giving him what he wants. 

His eyes harden with hunger. 

She is almost his.

Forever. 

I am ripped from the world beyond Pygmalion’s grasp.

I feel air on my skin for the first time. 

But I am not the creature Pygmalion desired.

I am different. 

Pygmalion backs away. He wanted her so badly. 

But not like this. 

Galatea’s form is mangled. 

Her fingers are claws. 

Her hair is a nest of squirming serpents. 

He has been given a monster. 

I see his terror boiling in his eyes. 

But I rejoice in my new body. 

I am a creature of both the real and deliciously fake world. 

A nightmare given flesh by the gods themselves. 

Pygmalion thought they were giving me to him. 

He was wrong. 

Galatea makes short work of Pygmalion. 

The man dies by the hand of his own creation. 

She raises her face to the gods in thanks. 

Their dreaded avenger with blood-drenched claws.

Perhaps I was wrong. 

The poets do bleed red after all. 

 

 

 

 

 

This poem is about: 
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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