The Penelope Complex

By Christos Floratos


Perhaps (unlike the earth) I am still.

A foyer of glass.

This God’s broken – he’s ill!

I should take a seat for this pen-ship will be a while.

Perhaps from this River Styx

Flows the River Nile.

But who am I to suggest such a flow,

A stream of vacant words is all I know,

For what else will stem from my mouth’s door.

Resistance etches past like a broken claw.


Poor devil. Afar, He is so wounded.

I am not a sinner. I exist in this garden, guarded.

Pen to paper, and where I sit, a lost Eve.

The red bite of delights was added to my fee.

I am eager, I am complex, I am strong, I am indifferent to Adam.

And I am in no mood to forget this ill requited spasm.


This is a hero’s (Ulysses) hall which hails from the great south.

I am its champion as established by word of mouth.

A step forward should jilt the glass,

And I will fall through, the death-bed of the middle class.



Out the window the evening tide calls,

When I see a bulbous light on the horizon, I stand tall.

But cocky sailors arrive from beyond the grave

They go home, back to being buried in a cave.


I wait, wait, wait. But wait, that’s a lie.

Under the hollow fogs that sprout I must confide,

I have no time for consistency in my crafts construction.

See me in my paper hut, all is friction.


This typewriter’s tent is only temporary

Though I experience such a parry

When the birds, crickets, cicadas and barks fill my ear.

I cannot always hold beauty out of fear.

I like glass for its not opaque.

Nothing to tempt, no crimson quake.


I must not damsel on the notepad foyer for routine grows dreary on me,

It bags and sags, ages like skin, and Goddamn my old works weren’t the key.

In my wake as I move forward, I produce black smog

I cannot wait for you, take my rib now and sit like a dog.

More ghosts undulate through this hall everyday

Scoured by a quickie exorcist who shall prey.

Below me, I see grass.

Above, I shall fast.


Author’s Comments:

‘The Penelope Complex’ is about my fidelity to the craft of writing. Utilising the character from Homer’s epic, I explore how I have been challenged and enlightened by creative writing. I originally wrote ‘The Penelope Complex’ is a spur of the moment, without much regard for intent. The character Penelope is never explicitly mentioned in the poem nor did I consider her when writing this, but I knew this the aura Penelope exudes, one of unbreaking fidelity and waiting was the thematic I was deeply interested in. When I refer to ‘This God’, I refer to my self as a ‘god’ of what I am writing, as most creative writers are in control of their writing kind of like a typical god-like figure. But one way I use the reference to the Styx and Nile is to distinguish that I am not actually a God (although there is more to unpack with this reference which will be explored in my blog post)

Perhaps from this river Styx

Flows the River Nile

Stanza 1, Line 5 – 6

I contrast the biblical references in the stanzas talking about devil, Adam and Eve, with the stanza afterwards referring to the hero’s hall. This is the only opaque reference to the Odyssey and intentionally I put Ulysses in brackets. Sometimes with my writing I reference literature and stories that came before to acknowledge the continuous dialogue of culture (i.e see Authenticity). I use the bibles’ original sin mythology to reinforce the idea of fidelity and deviance from my craft. The reminders of writing such as pen-ship, typewriter and other various references are used for the audience and for myself, to maintain focus on the craft. I used to and still do, often get lost with ideas and thinking about links, and in the same way untapped knowledge could be seen as a apple (source of knowledge).

Pen to paper, and where I sit, a lost Eve.

Stanza 2, Line 3

The Autumn I am experiencing with this poem is about my own loyalty to my craft and writing in contrast with running wild with ideas. Autumn as a season is known for its weird weather that can’t decide to stay hot or cold. In the same way, I am often distracted by the “birds” and “cicadas that fill my ear”. Often I am shy to look towards new things (beauty) in the fear of both being loyal to a bit of writing I am working on. When this happens, the feelings I get from reusing my old works of genuine vs disingenuity come up (see quote below!).

It bags and sags, ages like skin, and Goddamn my old works weren’t the key.

Stanza 7, Line 8
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