Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wasted Land

Wasted Land
FOR T.S. ELIOT*

April be not the cruelest month**
With birds in angry repose
Squawking over seeds casually thrown
By gentle men with senile minds
Young men watching whores on the tracks
With knives in aging knees...

No, cruel is June, the dog heat of July
The police brutality of August.
Makes a homeless man dream of April
And the first signs of Spring fashion
In the panty boutiques on the boulevard
Where vain oil wives go to spend commercial wages
Before the horse flies return with vengeance undefined.


Cruel is December and the large layoff of the company.
The babies crying in unknown terror of the land scams
And backroom deals that lead to their hunger
Cruel is January, a new year beginning
With celebrations by families
Lonely men humping their imagination as winds
Howl dark and long.
Planning projects they know will never be started.

Cruel is is May, when ex lovers marry handsome others
And you learn of this third hand like a dog
At a scrap table nibbling on fallen bits of emotional crust.
Pointless to send congratulations...
Pointless but you do anyway
And are instantly ashamed of your weepy
And pitiful madness. Memories so awful.
"There never was a trace of love in her eyes...
Or was there? Yes, there was...No, there wasn't..."
Lonesome, with flea bites. Oh, Cruel May!

Cruel is the death of green come October
No longer lame on cool night lips
but sharp and killing wind
dragon teeth buried on browning lawns
the reservoir may not recover
announces the newspaper bleakly,
below local baseball scores,
Without November rains that never come

Cruel is September and the turning of seasons on end
with another Wasted Land turning chicken shit into pumpkins
Gone are the berries of summer and the long legs of
sleeping nighttime. Gone. Gone.

Cruel is February, the month your arthritis groans
Decrepitude reminding your neighbors when your spine are awake
Cruel is March and the geologic clock grinding forward towards
Doomsday. The hopes and fantasies of your winter daydreams
Finally dying with the last unpicked apple on the tree
Pecan orchards lay wasted with trees bent from disease and drought

Cruel is November the month you don't remember
as 72 hour work weeks, devotion to the cable tray installations
neglecting teeth, growing fat off the exploitation
forgotten what unprocessed food tastes like
flirting with the wrong legs of turkey at the feed station

April be not the cruelest month, though a poet's opinion
Is subject to change
And the propagandist within us all
Can convince us of anything
Anything.


*April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers...
From: Wasteland

** I'm not going to recant this poem but the week that immediately followed my writing this poem was absolutely the cruelest. A day, mere hours, after I decided to answer Eliot's poem with one of my own the Boston Marathon was bombed and then a fertilizer plant exploded in Texas later in the week. At this point I'll be happy to get to May and will think twice before contradicting Senor Eliot again.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.