Wednesday, April 23, 2003

revision. please tell me what you think (better? do you miss something?)
the love song of t. stearns eliot

T.S. Eliot (what did his friends call him?)
loose within the gilded cage
of Harvard, age 19, produced
his best. Without tax forms to file or a split-
level home, Eliot (how did his fellow
snobs know him?) penned Prufrock, a love song, and
my favorite poem.

Decades later, he embraced
the Catholic faith to such a frowny-faced degree
that he chased his chaste and nervous wife
out of the country, across the sea, to an asylum
(she�d decay in pine for him, her coffin
set above the ground)
and buried himself in Ezra Pound.

I prefer Prufrock -- old, bemused,
peering at the life he missed. Only, characters
don�t exist, except that the artist
and the art are fused
Genius leans in and
I can�t resist:
a patient on a table, I am kissed
by someone I abhor -- the tryst so good that, Doctor,
I want more

and which is worse:
seeming to endorse you by confessing I adore
some of your adolescent brilliance � or
leaving 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.
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; we could share
a table, raise a glass to a culture gone ersatz; pun
through a series of tea-timed chats; and if we felt
particularly free of the claims of identity
you and I could hit the town:
� me in sunglasses, you in spats �
buy ourselves tickets and laugh through Cats
at least til conscience wakes us, and we drown

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