His name, as presented, was Arkamedes.
He spoke of the easiest things of life:
Of food and drink, steadfast friends, pleasured flesh –
“Naturally, lads with thy short life’s length
Cannot yet know of to confirm such things,
Having not the notches nor palette for them.” –
And lulled us to easy admiration.
“We know food and drink!” (This, my dispute.)
A guffaw from he who answered, “I doubt it.
Acquaintance, friends, to the inward kingdom
Ought never mistake for thoroughly explored.
If days for thee rehearse thy hand to mouth,
‘Tis but the rote of empty animals,
Seeking by mean consumption to be filled.
No boys: of food and drink thou knowest naught.”
“We know steadfast friends!” (Again, my protest.)
A smirk now, from he who answered, “Perhaps.
For I’m not so naked of the Fates’ twine
To miss evidence of a good beginning.
Yet thou hast not yet traveled together
Too deep into the topographic reach
Of any of the lesser eleven,
Thus cannot for certain claim thyselves known.
“We know the flesh pleasured!” (This, I confess,
Burst not from me, but proud Antinous.)
A resonant pause, whereat heaven stilled.
Deep into his eyes gazed Arkamedes,
To challenge defiant Antinous:
Antinous swallowed, unsure.
Arkamedes at long last smiled on him,
And Olympus to its affairs returned.
“I commend thee thine ambition, stripling,
Tho’ cannot yet accept its assertion.
At best, thou knowest lullabies; stories;
Missives of an ancient mythology:
Lovelorn dryads for lean boys pining;
Maids by ravenous gods raped in the moss;
Trojan princes by eagles abducted.”
Corrected my friend in mild mockery:
“There is but one tale of prince and eagle.”
At this, Arkamedes bellowed laughter.
“Patience, Antinous,” came his counter:
“Anon shall the constellations know more.
But tell me, tell me, tell me Antinous,
Thy soul’s intelligence of flesh pleasured!”
Antinous for my encouragement looked;
I nodded assent, and he asserted:
“We have kissed each other, my friend and I.”
“Have you? “
Again Antinous swallowed,
Yet would not by Arkamedes be cowed.
Thereat the wineseller said, “Demonstrate.”
Thus Antinous before him kissed me.