Eliot tribute poem that no one will publish

Love song of myself

I.
~Do I dare to eat a peach?
… Do I dare disturb the universe? — T.S. Eliot

When the evening spreads its legs
like a glitter-skinned nymphomaniac,
let’s just admit our carnal desires
about impermanence, let’s fuck fire,
let’s drink to the death of dreams
to impossible futures
we’ll never live to see,
let’s admit that we too shall die
before winged ghosts descend the sky.

In the hospital they come and go,
discussing their options for chemo.

Tempus fugit, tempus fugit,
even clockmakers become obsolete.
Time hums like a warm circuit
in the guts of my memory.
These drinks on ice help me forget
the robotic nature of progress,
how factories of smoke and frowns
replace hearts in human chests.

Time hums like a drill on a tooth,
like a tire on the edge of the road,
obsolete gears still turn unseen
as time hums its mathematical proof,
theorists take turns cracking the code
between colors gold and green
time hums, a perpetual machine,
a rose that grows that’s never preened,
a spiral unending that never began,
yet we obsess about the unknown end
what it means to be a leaf on the wind,
to watch rain water pool in my hand.

In the hospital they come and go,
discussing their options for chemo.

Tempus fugit, tempus fugit,
time makes my heart a whirlygig,
a universe expanding until too big
to fit in this body, a snapping twig.
I’m dying, with every breath.
I’ve become best friends with Death,
a skeleton, the picture of health.
Is time flying?
Or do I fear my dying?
If I said I’d rather be dead
no matter the chatter of my psychotic laughter
you should know, in my heart I’d be lying.

For all my days, I’ve known nothing of love,
though I’ve burned with passion’s burden,
its transient taste like a shot of bourbon,
scratches the skin and leaves it raw,
until a scab forms, darkens and hardens,
so, how do I measure the truth?

For all my days, I’ve known no happiness,
except in youth when so naive
I thought the secret up my sleeve,
that lemons made lemonade,
flowers come from clouds and rain,
but time reveals all emptiness,
until we measure truth in dust.

I’ve seen the night turn lustful in the barlight,
the way time works like two stones rubbed smooth,
how forgetfulness becomes a benefit at the end.

I should have been a blacksmith’s hammer,
used to fold and bend the steaming steel of the gears.

II.

The evening basks in the afterglow
of a lifetime’s cigarette ends,
the flared embers of inhalation blends
into a sunset horizon, a blood-red horror show.
Should I visit my grandfather,
should I inject my veins with ice water?
It’s been ten centuries since I prayed,
since my childhood was a path to Hell
a purple popsicle stick dropped down a well,
dark water rippling and reflecting light
like calmness emanates from stormy night,
a whisper that says, Don’t be afraid.

Would time prove itself an arcane nothing,
an illusion like sight, to fret and to fight for?
An ocean swelling, swallowing the shore?
Is time truly so arcane,
to render all minds devoid of their names?
Such loneliness hides in the offing,
just beyond the grasp of our fumbling fingers.
The sinner said, “I was blind, but now I see,
how the candle’s flame signifies nothing.”
Jesus said, “Follow me, across the sea,
your fear is nothing,
as you are nothing.”

Would time prove itself an arcane nothing,
a soundless tide, devoid of names,
flotsam and jetsam stars in a ceaseless wake
of lifetimes’ reflections, hospitals and churches,
crosses turned to raven perches,
houses made with popsicle sticks
torn asunder by hurricane fists.
Is time truly so arcane,
it makes all things exactly the same,
if only the mirror revealed this phrase:
Your fear is nothing,
as you are nothing.

Rust reduces us to spoonfuls of dust,
while we flick our cigarette ash,
and sip our bourbon from the flask.
I am as you are and we are vanishing fast,
though these years drip like honey
down the throat of a bear
the bear stays hungry,
devouring all prayer,
a beast oblivious to questions asked.

No one can tell your dust from mine,
scattered and blown between the pines.

Should I put a gun in my mouth?
Should I sell everything in my house?
The sweetest wind blows across the South.

No one hears the words in the susurrus.

The voices carried from the past,
rustling between the wind and the leaves
a prophecy hidden up the sleeves of the trees,
the voices of ghost poets sent to guide us,
away from the shadows of ourselves,
our bodies nothing but soundless shells.

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