The Snail (Woolf)

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Slowly to the lighthouse she went,
yet she never really arrived,
like a sea snail so wholly spent
in the sun, she never survived,
oozing over pebbles of thought
and undulating like the waves,
wandering slowly while she sought
other shells, like clefs on the staves
of a song without any words,
yet awash with colors and sound
while down swooped the shrieking seabirds
to feast on thoughts she thought profound.
Nought remains of the languid snail
tossed to and fro along the beach
except her opalescent shell
tumbling within the frothy reach.

The Patronizing Patronage Of Alfred Prufrock

I have pinpointed the precise problem
with the poetry of
TS Eliot
and it is in his lack of confidence,
which is to say, his ego, his
proportion,
for he overcompensates his
Americanness
with self-aware learning,
bastardizing natural
talent
with stilted posturing to impress,
like a painting by
da Vinci
framed in a gaudy gold neon lit
toilet
ready to ironically flush itself down.
Being a poet primarily of
English
he was an Anglophile,
as are most,
and being dissatisfied with his
Missouri roots
he lopped off his dandelion head
so the fragmentary seeds could drift
across the salty Atlantic
and settle on the isle of Albion
where he would renounce America’s
rough-spun Plebeian quilt
for a Patrician’s patronizing banner.
It was his lack of confidence
that spurred him toward his
adoptive homeland,
seeking Anglican angels
to sing him to sweet surrender,
trading a mongrel empire on the rise
for a purebred, dying one.
He was a
Hipster gigolo
fucking an old aristocratic socialite
beyond her prime,
yet still proud enough to taunt his
flaccid inferiority complex
as he withdrew from her primly preened
hedges,
all the while ejaculating profuse
apologies.
And for what?
A wasteland of would-be
conviviality
between himself and his
tea-teetotaling, modernist pubmates,
all of them condescending
and yet Eliot being so smart
as he admittedly was
being also self-aware enough
to know he was a joke to them,
a novelty from
Missouri
(Misery?)
and desperately seeking approval
due to his colonized mind.
But he was never really accepted
for going Native.
Woolf conflated him as
alien to her as an
Australian
for all the difference it made
while riding her waves of
hyper-association.
And I pity him,
truly,
for he never loved himself,
not really,
as he sought acceptance on
foreign shores
like Boudica if she had
betrayed herself
for the sake of Britannia.
He applied a stress-test
to fracture poetry to many facets
only to be fractured
himself.
Like any true-born English intellectual
he preferred the language of
French,
or the pretense of it, anyway,
but failed to be
embarrassed of his own
Britishness, too busy being embarrassed
by his Americanness.
If not for Academics
equally insecure as Eliot himself
and thus seeking a sense of worth
in a world indignant and derisive
toward their pretenses…
if not for Academics
entombed in their ivory towers
and peeking through ivy curtains
to scoff at the Plebeians down below…
If not for Academics
peddling codas and ciphers
for his esoteric babble
then Eliot would never have been
but a scornful footnote, at best,
in the annals of Poetry.
See here how I kick his
corpus
and yet it remains aloof and insular and
masturbatory and cryptic?
This is the best poetry the
modernist
could muster,
and would have been better
with his newfound silence,
or at least that is what this
simple Kentucky boy
tends to think
after having attempted once
to cut his own roots
and drift to far shores.

Overfull

I am grasping at stones
in this lake,
not with my lumberjack’s hands,
but with a little girl’s curiosity,
wondering how this dreamy-eyed
Woolf
drowned in this water,
her belly full of rocks
and her naked Albion body
wrapped in a red cloak, a red
hood
with pockets full of
bitter chocolate biscuits.
I cannot retrieve these six stones
from the waves
and must find my own,
following the stream of
thought
to the lighthouse
so I might dissemble it
stone by stone
to build a room
of my own
wherein to while away the
hours
before the rabble
drives me to drink.

Epigrams For Luminaries 1

Jorge Luis Borges
He stumbled through a labyrinth without walls,
blind, as we all are, as he walked those twisting halls.

Virginia Woolf
She rode her stream of consciousness wherever it went
until she sank in the waves, pockets full of rocks and sediment.

Charles Dickens
His expectations were not great at the start of his life,
but they grew more expansive, as did, too, his wife.

Douglas Adams
He did not throw in the towel—rather it unfurled
as he hitchhiked elsewhere, to another world.

Philip Larkin
He sang a song to the gloomy morning hues
when all he wanted was to listen to Jazz and the Blues.

Ambrose Bierce
As a lexicographer he sought to define many a word
from the perspective of the Devil, so as to not be absurd.

Anne Sexton
It was not a fairytale life for someone of her kind,
so she hopped in the car to leave it all behind.

Sylvia Plath
She had Nazi boots always pressing down on her chest
and marched herself into an oven, wanting to rest.

Terry Pratchett
Though a jester, he disliked drama, as does Death,
and so he merely nodded upon taking his final breath.

Diana Wynne Jones
Not always living a charmed life, she still wove magic
to transmogrify resplendent joy from what was tragic.

Robert E Howard
He imagined himself better, a throneless barbarian king,
and crowned himself with a pistol when he tired of living.

HP Lovecraft
He dreamt of horrors lurking in every sphere
and died, eventually, of a lurking fear.

Edgar Allan Poe
His career was buried prematurely before he hit his stride,
fame meeting him on the Plutonian shore like a deathbed bride.

MR James
Like an academic scrapbook, his life seemed a bit dull
so he inserted into it mezzotints most diabolical.

Sheridan Le Fanu
How dark with murk was his drinking glass,
through which his green Irish tea came to pass.

Flannery O’ Connor
Lupus reminded her that faith was not a friendly dog,
but a wolf that hunted you through the dismal fog.