Fall 2009, Volume 7

Poetry by Robert Wynne

Odysseus Leaving Las Vegas

A gale of shiny business cards
screams the word “Outcall”
in his rearview mirror

as he abandons The Strip
for I-15.  The interstate carries him
toward the setting sun

and another meeting
in California tomorrow.
He speeds to escape

the story of the red Cadillac
headed east, convertible top
around its ankles and a smile

plastered on the driver’s lips
as he fights for air
through a thin cigarette holder

and waves away
a cluster of invisible bats.
That man is but a drug-addled

Rosencrantz, washing the feet
of every Trojan Horse
that advertises an ending

without admitting
how hollow blood is
or why the heart

has more than one door.

Odysseus Crosses the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Wind sings through steel cables
            as history slowly sways
                        under his rented Hyundai

and he bargains with gravity
            for another few minutes.
                        The first bridge fell into the Sound

like a ribbon-cutting
            at a wrecking-ball factory.
                        The second one's still standing

but he's crossing the third
            because it's here, because
                        he's got another training session

across the water, and because
            there's always a chance this time
                        Atlas will know his limitations

and try holding up a clock instead—
            like the statue Odysseus saw
                        in Honolulu last week

where so many ships
            and other feats of engineering
                        have folded water around themselves

like blankets, and still sleep
            through each new ending.

Odysseus reads the Obituaries

On the way to the office
he picks up the local paper
left outside his hotel room
so he can flip through it
during lunch. He is amazed by
the death notice for Russell Hart,
who lived 102 years, 74 of them
married to the same woman,
and who was probably unknown
to most of the people in Georgia,
where he improved health
and safety standards for decades.
He was probably just that old guy
going on about standing water
and swamps, who folks
moved away from at parties.
Odysseus imagines 3 generations
with Penelope, coming home to her
every day after work,
swimming with her each night
under constellations which spin
across the sky until they’re dizzy
and can no longer tell
Cassiopeia from Orion
or planets from stars—both are bright
but one is nothing but gas,
unable to even allow
a footprint to scar its surface,
unclear where it begins
and the rest of everything ends.


BIO: Robert Wynne earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. He is the author of 6 chapbooks and 2 full-length collections of poetry. His first full-length collection, Remembering How to Sleep, won the Poetry Society of Texas’ 2006 Eakin Book Award and was published in June 2007. His second full-length poetry collection, Museum of Parallel Art, was published by Tebot Bach Press in March of 2008. He have won numerous prizes, and his poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies throughout North America. He lives in Burleson, TX with his wife and daughter.