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The Author Is Dead

Juliano Zaffino - The Author Is Dead - Blog

When Odysseus Comes Home

Juliano Zaffino

‘A dying Odysseus laughed / Knowing the front door / And my face behind it, / Pressed against it, / A fucking dog, no radio.’

‘A dying Odysseus laughed / Knowing the front door / And my face behind it, / Pressed against it, / A fucking dog, no radio.’

I feel like Penelope
When Odysseus comes home
As a corpse
Half-digested;
I knew him once
Before he was siren slaughtered,
Making a meal of himself
For every creature
Crossed his path,
I loved him then and still.

I feel like ancient history
Looking around me
Waiting for inevitabilities
That will only ever
Infuriate me,
A thousand dead husbands
All incapable of change,
Incapable of everything.

I feel insignificant.
The narrative isn’t happening
To me.

I feel the withered hands
Of all the suitors said no to,
Gone to seed or dust
The way Odysseus decayed;
How his ship fell apart.
Imagine him cast upon the waves,
Abreast any element,
Briefly a god,
The image of love.
The image of my love.

I feel the joke
To which I am the punchline
Falling flat in the future;
A dying Odysseus laughed
Knowing the front door
And my face behind it,
Pressed against it,
A fucking dog, no radio.

I feel lost on a long beach
In the Book of Odysseus
Told and retold
An endless “yes”,
Begging you
To say my name once,
Set me free from your story,
One epilogue of many.

I feel abandoned
By the bloat that comes home
Like I am the orphan,
A lacking Telemachus –
My most precious father
Where are you?
I long to have you raise me
Just feign an interest,
Love me like you own me.

I feel a lifetime of loneliness,
Thousands of years of the same thing –
Nothing expecting something –
I’ve been waiting
Forever,
He’s been dead the whole time,
Odysseus, Ulysses,
Cunning King of Ithaca,
Odysseus.