The Death of Odysseus

White lines undrawn of white sands calling,
The primeval sage warrior cut down by heraldic
Dream; the one who stood on heights cerulean,
And was lost amidst the sorrows of obsidian night.

Immutable as the heavens, transcendent as the
Stars, naked as the pall that engulfed mesmeric
Wanderings; he who dispatched Polyphemus, who
Listened to the deadly Sirens’ song – and lived

To reign, a blinding flame. Circe farrowing beyond
Mesmeric falling rains, Troy’s primordial conqueror –
One man’s mind that razed an impregnable fortress,
Black-clad widows wailing amidst the fires of perdition;

Was met at the gates of Cerberus by five unhallowed
Demons. Each held a truncheon: the first was called
Racism, the second Sexism, the third Nazism, the fourth
Toxic Masculinity, and the last White Supremacy; the

Indomitable king shorn of preternatural wanderings,
Buckling under the vengeful savage blows. Scylla, hissing,
Lusting for human blood; Charybdis, howling beyond
The Cimmerian falling rains; dreams of Ithaca waning,

A cruel portcullis shut on gelid shores – until the terrors
Of the break and the last wave’s fall. And then a renewed
Onrush of violence, the once adamantine bones breaking,
Unto the last gasp of the violated firmament, beyond the

Diadem of time and space, thrice bedeviled, unborn the
Black sun; a crucifix lost upon a deadly battleground, barren
Was the field of guile to plot quiet cunning. And there was
No Agamemnon to unleash the Kraken, to break free the

Sorrow, to rage beyond the chasm of disintegrating light;
No Achilles to explode into the Trojan lines, unleashing
Blows of chastisement on the enemies of the Achaeans.
Penelope weeping, alone, on a desolate grove; Laertes

Unable to shield the staggering prey – until his eyes
Glazed over, all morrows bound, and he that was once
Redoubtable, lay bruised and battered in the ebb and
Tide, the antediluvian body bathed in indifferent waters,

Amidst the blood and the brine, his life force ebbing, locked
In an evanescing prism of sanguine froth, the heart faintly
Beating: He who rode the chariot of suns. This too, a drowning
Of the world, once more to the breach where demigods reign,

To seize the scepter and command, the vanishing chalice;
The moon that was enveloped in the fading of the interrealm,
The evanescing citadel, the wraithlike hourglass, the dimming
Light on the melting tallow, lay his head in the sands forever.

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.