Don't Suppress My May Day!

By Dian Sousa
(With Cosmopolitans poured by Martie Travis)
Reprinted with permission from Rob Brezsny's "Televisionary Oracle" Newsletter; May 1999

Beltane, honored on April 30th and/or May 1st, is the ancient Celtic celebration of the lust and renewal, the rebirth and bitchin' debauchery that ushers in the lush, skinny-dipping green of spring and the sun-hot cleavage of summer.

The way I see it, and I see it a lot since I'm always thinking about it, talking about it, handing out tracts and lobbying my blushing, well-coiffed congressman to institute Beltane as a national holiday, is that we should get to incorporate our own meaningful symbols and rituals into this ancient pagan fest just like we do on all the other less important and now really boring and dysfunctional normal holidays. Let me just explain a few details of Beltane and how you might create your own ceremony.

I'll do this now so that if an electronic apocalypse wipes out all of our weird Western holiday apparati and we can't find our computerized lists of where to send our Beaver Cleaver Christmas letters, our waxy, missionary-position Valentines, and our plastic egg sugar-injection appliances—and I inadvertently become the benevolent dominatrix of civilization, with my headquarters of course located in Santa Cruz—I won't have to go over this all again.

What you'll need is a May Queen and four handmaidens acting as her entourage. Kind of like Madonna on her Truth or Dare Tour, except they should be wearing something softer than a nuclear missile bra; I'm thinking flowing silk that pulsates from the cool colors down to the hot.

You'll also need some men (or some women, whichever you prefer. I'm including both.) The Green Man, the Blue Man, drummers, and some spiritual guides whom I've renamed as "the surfer," "the artist," "the airline pilot," and "the bare-chested, sweaty, tool-belted handyman," (a roofer, drywaller, mason, gardener. See D.H. Lawrence).

Most importantly, you'll need the Wild Red Men, spirits representing chaos within nature, destruction of the natural order through temptation and dissolution. Basically, these are the guys you'd invite if you wanted to have a really fun party. Allen Ginsburg wearing nothing but a couch on his head for a hat; the Red Hot Chili Peppers wearing one strategic athletic sock; Oscar Wilde and Neil Cassady wearing little bits of everyone; and if you're really lucky—Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and my good friends Vic and Tom.

Once you've assembled all the people that you like and dressed them in primary colors, it's time for your lascivious conga line to move to the queen's bower.

If I were queen, and I am, my bower would be designed by Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi, with inlaid mosaic mermaids, touchable smooth marble satyrs in the entryway, a groovy table that turns soft when you lay on it (cuz you will), garlands of Rubenesque tulips, voluptuous rose buds and luscious wide-open hibiscus trailing across a trellised ceiling that lets in the full moon and the increasingly humid air.

You'll need sustenance for the evening's activities. I'm envisioning a curvy, purple velvet-covered table spread out with hand-rolled herbal cigarettes, cloisonne finger bowls filled with melted chocolate and warm caramel, long-stemmed cherries and hourglass-shaped vials of dewy nipple-pink cosmopolitans.

You'll also need music. The traditional music for Beltane would be pipes, but I'm thinking the ultimate soul-sex trio of Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and Barry White.

Once you've got all of this undulating in place, all you have to do is jump over or into the metaphorical fire and cavort. Like crazy. With whomever you desire. And whomever desires you. Do it until May 2nd when you go back to work, more vibrant and springy than usual, kinder and more tolerant but with a nice edge of passion, and with a wicked wedge of blissful, uncivilized, human spirit burning through your pocket protector, blooming through your calculator, and rising through everything like a warm, subliminal incense; like an energetic morphine; like love; like God; like a sweet ash of grace that sticks to your forehead, melts on your tongue, and marks you with the undeniable sign of life.

Dian Sousa lives on Californiažs Central Coast. Her second book of poetry, "Lullabies for the Spooked and Cool," is forthcoming from Mille Grazie Press.

This article copyright © 1999 by Dian Sousa. All rights reserved.