Odysseus Before A Window
A trumpet sounds, a heart squeezed between
two dawns, blown by the memories of footsteps
trod on other people’s lawns. Odysseus
visualizes the trumpeter’s thick lips pursed
with pain that needs to be shed, cheeks inflated,
walls trying to protect; a sound produced -
seduces the spaces between the disks of his spine
as he stands naked in the night’s ambiguous shrine –
that calls to mind the last cry of a bull elephant
before the graveyard is reached and ivory tusks
are laid down as tribute to the fallen yesteryears.
It is an implausibly hot night, the air
a lair within his head to catch thoughts
that should have been put to bed.
The heat makes everything unreal.
Trapped before the window - a mast
in the city’s ocean of night - unable to flee
or fight; the trumpet’s sound creates him,
berates him, calls him home
and away again as it pries into his mind.
He grows fearful he might forget the King had become –
decides the epitaph will choose the choices
that cannot be undone; the actions,
thoughtless and destructive, that litter the waves
like the sun-glinting bones of lost sailors.
The city’s colours melt, merge, bend
with sounds, with smells, with memory;
the stars swirling bright attack on the dark,
like that trumpet, gives him heart as he stands in the front
of an open window. The belated breeze hounds,
the brick spits heat, his mind treads old sentences,
merges verbs to nouns, imagines a thousand possible
excuses that are swallowed before the lie is set to flight.
She stirs behind him – he remembers
it was originally her smile, then the way her right
hand twirled her reddish hair; the blouse
spread and the nipple not yet erect, kissed
and as he flared
he surrendered to the call of the beast.
He had hoped this was not a reality
or that this he standing here
That the picture he had tried to paint
as his life
and the trumpet was soothing
The Siren calling him out again.
Will he ever rid himself of the torment
of that mast?
Ever be able not to succumb, as the echoes,
like waves, forever call him
and take him further away from the kingdom,
the children and Penelope’s open arms?