I dig allusions. I always have, and I probably always will. I like the idea of metaphorically pointing to something outside of a piece in scope and time and having the reader get a better, fuller understanding of what you’re going for without having to actually spell it out for them, which admittedly can be a painstaking process.
Don’t call it laziness; call it artistic license.
When I was younger, however, I saw allusions a little differently. Allusions were poetic street cred: the more you laid down, the more you were showing that you were down, dig? It works much the same way as namedropping within the music scene: the more obscure bands you know about, the cooler you are. See how that works?
I wouldn’t say that I overused allusions per say, although I may have abused them a little bit. To be honest (a tall order indeed), maybe I didn’t need to take out my psychological insecurities concerning women on a citizen like Aphrodite, or rest my alcoholic aspirations on a bystander like Dionysus. But it sounded pretty, and, at least in my own eyes, it lent a little more academic credibility to the plain fact that I was just a fucked up kid scribbling fucked up diatribes about fucked up neuroses.
Back then, I tended to allude to things pre-1960 or so. In fact, I purposely avoided contemporary or pop culture references in my work for a very, very long time. It was my belief that it would cheapen the effect, would lower my art to a level of consumption that was somehow beneath me because the modern age was (wait for it…) beneath me. Now I realize that allusions are as much for the reader’s benefit as for my own—and perhaps more. In short, some of those pop culture references would have probably had a much more profound effect than the highbrow Greek stuff I habitually tossed around back in those days.
But, of course, those still have their place, don’t they? Like if you wanted to, say, write a drawn out series of letters to a certain Greek God? Yeah, I think that’s still acceptable.
Some things, lack of change, never, etc.
P.S. This is the first instance of me invoking Dionysus in my writing, something that would later on develop into a recurring theme…
P.P.S. Composed circa 2004-2005 would be my best estimate.
A Lesson in Greek Mythology
Dance with me, Dionysus:
Will you buy me some beer?
My patron saint of drinking
has left me high and dry.
I’m Phaëthon and I stole your chariot
and drove the fucking thing into the ground.
I don’t differentiate day or night;
it’s all the same to me.
Aphrodite, you dumb bitch:
you think I chase any skirt?
Maybe I do, but I won’t look,
for pride, just to spite you.