T. S. Elliot Plays Me Like a Gong

(in response to The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock)

If we drown, we drown,

But we do not drown, no.

Instead we go around and around

speaking of Michael

Jordan or Jackson

or some other hero

known to the many

taken in by the most,

tho' not our generous host,

the tables set and yet we try on

the possibility that reality

is nothing more than morning toast,

a loaf of bread gone crisp.

Do I dare twirl this wisp of hair?

Do I stare? Do I stare? Do I stare

at the beautiful turn of a thigh?

Do I stare at your auburn hair,

your skin aflame in this skin's game?

All the same, I do not wish to indulge

this dish of consummate consumption.

Were it not for this eruption,

I doubt I'd have the gumption, but

I do not think anyone begrudges me the way

my hair is cut short for my balding pate,

the last hurrah not a minute too late

to think for a moment to stop and wait.

Whitman stopped.

Whitman waits.

Whitman knows

the body electric is where it all goes

into despair, joy, and ecstasy, and

I'm not half the man I used to be

if I can't cut the grass in this crass soliloquy

of voice and word and opulent choice,

the noise of the highway rising from below,

the cars on their way go the ways we all go

down the highway of life, that rocky road

to the bushes, to the bushes, to the bushes.

Can't you find another time when you is more than you,

when you is me, and we is a chorus of electricity?

We will rise. We will rise,

and take with us all the lies,

the last great hope to go where we all goŅ

Michaelangelo? I don't think so.

Recently scientists found a black hole

that emits sound fifty-seven octaves below middle C,

evidence that the big bang is credible,

but more important, that we and everything else

is riding on the pulse of that inaudible sound,

unspoken until now, undetectable until now.

I think, perhaps the meaning is, as Williams says,

in the imagination, machinations of red wheel barrows

and dreams, springtime in winter, the wish to survive

all the lies.

It's time to go backwards,

look into each other's eyes.

Let's catch up with the train of our youth

where the lies helped us surviveŅ

We loved World War II.

Now its memorialized

In a reflecting pool.

The Washington Monument

shouldn't be an impediment

when what we need is a sacrament,

not all the excrement

doled out by our government.

This genocide is testament

that there is something unwise

in the eyes of The Masters.

Anesthesia's not the answer.

The black holes sound;

our bodies resound;

if we drown, then we drown.

So turn the tables upside down.

As the evening spreads itself

against the iridescent sky,

we will go together,

you and I,

and together

we will rise.