Ulysses Talks with Freud about the Underworld

Since we’re on The Odyssey, here’s a poem from Barbara Hamby’s collection, All Night Lingo Tango:

Underarm is more like it. In The Odyssey, Book V,
when Athena wheedles Zeus into sending Hermes to coax
yummy Calypso into letting me go, I thought, Ulysses, you putz,
all is well. You’ll be turning Penelope’s doorknob
come not too many moons. I can’t remember now how I ended
entering the portals of the Underworld. Ask Homer. If
getting into trouble were box office, I’d be boffo. Hah,
I might as well have my own show. I’d say to Leno, “Jay,
kiss your time slot good-bye.” Hell–Achilles was a ghoul,
Mother a breath of sulfur. What does it all mean,
O mein Herr Doktor? Was it all a dream? When I sleep,
quick images flicker across my closed eyes; I hear
saws, smell newly cut wood, and don’t give me that Oedipal shit.

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