Five Years Ago Poem

I found a poem I wrote five years ago but never posted –

The world slips by
In semi-concious exhaustion
Think of the days of drunkenness
In Londons of middle centuries
When it was Thames water or beer
Wine whiskey whatever –
Dehydtration alone must have led to countless
Depravities
Let alone the warm drunken wash over
Scrupled London the Capital of the World.

Here’s the same poem, this time a la mode of 2008. Wouldn’t that be a neat exercise? To rewrite the same poem every five years, as a benchmark to measure the evolution of your style against?

Worlds were exhausted
half-humanly by boors;
Think of those stuporous days
in Londons of capital’s youth
when it was Thames water or beer
or wine or whisky or gin –
Dehydration can begin countless
depravities
let alone the drunken flow through
scrupled London,
financiers stumbling over
the roots of our World.

Eloy

Eloy, AZ

I’m at the Burger King, idling in the drive-thru, tapping away on my Mac Book. Could there be a scene more indicative of our times? Here I am with more computing power in my lap than they had in the world a hundred years ago. About to nonchalantly eat a meal that would would cost $70, $100 in today’s money, if it was possible at all – some of the ingredients may not have been procurable back then out here in Aridzona, in the Spring. Idling away in this masterpiece of automotive design, wasting the legacy of the dinosaurs, doing my part to use up another $110 barrell of oil.

Everything we touch is made somewhere else. You know what? It’s ok with me. All of it, in fact. Everyone’s so consumed with the overarching pictures. I’m referring specifically to an article I was reading in Harpers about the future of economies. You know what? On a wide enough zoom, everything is wonderful. Only when you zoom in do you find chaos. And in that chaos is the most terrible of terrors, but also is the most beautiful of beauties. Me, I’m only in it for the fiction. Show me the beauty, baby.

Spring Storm In San Diego

Thunder last night, a good spring storm to wake the dead or at least snoring me. Three times – 2AM, a 4AM and again at 6AM. The waking terror from the booming, mom’s biggish reminder that she has dominion, dude.

When I woke up at 2 I must have been dreaming poetry, because I was determined I wanted to write my own Notes Toward A Supreme Fiction in order to answer Stevens’ question : What should we believe in?, and knowing that I have a better, more modern answer.

At 4AM I woke with ‘all things ought to aspire to excellence’ in my head, the rejoinder to which was ‘it’s good to be wine, because for a wine to be excellent it has to be drunk, hah!’. Nothing like cracking yourself up in the middle of the night, is there?

The final act came at 6AM. The waking terror, the reminder of impermanence : I felt acutely the potentiality of never waking up. Felt the moment after everything vanishes. It was like a numbness, a TV gone off and all the characters are still there for a split-second, just long enough to realize that they’re gone. And then poof! Gonzo.

When I woke for good at eight, the sun was shining like a meyer lemon, and Jen said ‘Wow it’s like there’s no proof it was even storming!’.

Poetry

4 reasons for this poem –

1. I’ve been infatuated with The Waste Land since hearing it recited from memory by an Englishman at Shakespeare & Co on a summer evening in 1998.

However I disagree with most of the poem, including the opening where April is derided as the cruelest month for bringing to life these dreams which will eventually be shattered… I’ve done all that damn it! Lived out the melancholy of my life, as Henry puts it 10 years later in Tropic of Cancer. I’m through believing that life is futile because we owe a death at the end. We’re like flowers, more beautiful because we bloom and wilt, like the Greeks knew way back when. Yeah, our future is as daisy-pushers. In the meantime, let’s dance.

2. I woke up this morning thinking about how March and ‘to march’ were the same word, and why, and how generations of men have marched off to their slaughter in March, singing naive songs of bravery and companionship.

3. I’m an Aries and know something of the Zodiac’s connotations, as well as those surrounding my later-neighbor the bull.

4. I love March. The return of the light, the awakening of the lamb. And in San Diego, asparagoose and strawberries, if you can believe it.

March First

c’est March
same word as
‘walk steadily forward
in step with others
into bellies of Russias’ –

and I know why
April is the cruelest month,
drowning in keratin sheaths
the suckling peace
of March’s rams –

I just don’t believe
– the cruelty not the reality –
for me, giggling
on my way to the stage
or in line with Jean
trampling the steppes,
some General’s ideas of Spring.