I’m learning that Prometheus suffered
not because he granted a secret gift,
but because he watched man
and his suffering and couldn’t sit
and keep snapping his fingers
to create a flame on the tip of his thumb
after he ran out of cigarettes.
The first time I ate a strawberry
my hands grew thrice as big.
The last time I held a lover
was between the bird-quiet hours
of a July morning and the sun-god
tripping over the celestial ocean
as the winter scratched her head.
I have never felt comfortable
in a bed unless there is someone
there to hold or to bend me over.
The first time I kissed another boy,
I flutter-shut my eyes
and imagined warmth and stubble.
When I woke up, I lay
on a dune of sand. I am learning
the world is everything you
can hold, and that the universe
is everything not yet touched by hands.
“I was born under a full moon / on a Wednesday empty / of everything but light,” Samuel J Fox writes in the first of several poems in this book titled, simply, “Mythology.” All the poems in Mythos are, in some way, to do with both light and darkness. They are about how darkness is just as holy as light, and how light can hurt, too. They are about bodies and desire, how sex can be holy, how a kiss can lacerate like a cat-o-nine-tails. They are the tender and fierce prayers of a holy body prostrating itself naked before god or love, which, these poems show us, are one and the same. In this book, Samuel J Fox deftly blends imagery from mythology, Biblical stories, the lives of saints, and modern day relationships, to create something as beautiful and terrifying as a saint radiating light. As I read this book, I kept thinking of a line by the poet Richard Siken, from his poem “Scheherazade”: “Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us. / These, our bodies, possessed by light.” With Mythos, Samuel J Fox tells us we will, indeed, never get used to it—but we can love it anyway, the mythology, the mystery.
– Jessie Lynn McMains, poet and editor of Bone & Ink Press
Religion, sexuality and sorrow collide, pacifying the angels in Samuel J. Fox’s Mythos. This remarkable collection of poetry is a romantic testament of man’s suffering and the perpetual hellfire of longing burning within the human heart. Fox captures the light of The Holy Trinity with every syllable, captivating his readers throughout his passage of sacrifice to paradise and love.
– Effy Winter, author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019)
Denying the guilt attached to love, abandoned or growing, Mythos is a stunningly layered collection of queer existence. Samuel J. Fox presents their own mythology as an intersection of parables and urges—unraveling personal revelations with vibrant diction and thoughtful prods for those who find themselves in the meandering expanse.
– Rachel Nix, poetry editor for cahoodaloodaling