Sunday, February 02, 2003

because i'm excited about it, and while wonderful godlike danny helps fix my page, here's the poem i wrote for poetry this week:
t.s. eliot: a love song

T.S. Eliot (what did his friends call him?)
wrote his wryest, chiseled his most compelling
character, span best, scanned best, while at Harvard,
age 19. (I was 19 recently enough to remember:
it�s a self-serious age.) Without tax forms to file
or a wife to commit [to], under the umbrella
of intellectualism, happily schismed from the more
complex racial and cultural prisms that make up life beyond
that gilded cage, T.S. Eliot (how did his fellow snobs know him?)
penned Prufrock, a love song, and
my favorite poem.

what was he like, aged 19? had he yet embraced
the Catholic faith to such a frowny-faced degree
that he�d chase his chaste and pious wife out of the country,
across the sea, to an asylum (she�d decay in pine for him, in
the coffin set cruelly above the ground) �
and seek comfort in the arms of Ezra Pound?
T.S. Eliot (what did the other anti-semites call him?)
glares up at me, Elizabethan, unamused,
from the Norton book whose pages, much perused,
offer up the sage and solemn Prufrock
I can�t resist:
like a patient etherized upon a table, I am kissed
by a doctor whose other ministrations I abhor. sometimes, T.S. Eliot,
(what were you called by the other lonely,
crazy rich?) I want more (and I don�t know which
is worse: seeming to endorse you by confessing I adore
some of your adolescent brilliance � or,
leaving all the fanfare and the accolades for critics who,
like mermaids, sing them, each to each, relishing
the high notes I can�t reach) I wonder
if you�d like me either. most likely not.
(I�m the age you were, but far less surly;
I giggle more, I�m vaguely girly;
and though I�ll admit that you were wiser,
I�m not a Nazi sympathizer.)
still, I�m sure we could agree
we�ve hit the nadir with Fox TV;
indeed, we could sneer at this whole ersatz culture
in a succession of tea-timed chats; and if we felt hot,
we could venture out � me in sunglasses, you in spats �
buy ourselves tickets and laugh through Cats.

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