Note: Words in bold provide passageways to complete texts alluded to in the poem, which was also influenced by the John Prine song “Hello, in There.” By clicking on the audio file at the very bottom of the post, you can listen to the song in its entirety.
a reading of the poem
You, TS Eliot
Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season.
TS Eliot, “
He died alone in a hospice house
Hallucinating for a day and a half, Surrounded by a swirl of phantoms, A misremembrance of things past.
His funeral, too, was poorly attended,
Empty pews here and there, The eulogy, merely perfunctory. No one shed a single tear.
Too long a life ¬– calamitous.
No fun being one-hundred-and-one, Outliving every single peer, His wife, his daughter, and his son.
The title echoes Archibald MacLeish’s “  ,” a very different type of meditation on death. You, Andrew Marvell
“Hello in There” John Prine
Think at last
We have not reached conclusion, when I
Stiffen in a rented house
TS Eliot, “Gerontion”
When I was young, I courted decadence:
a braless lover in her diaphanous blouse,
my amygdala aglow like phosphoresce,
my rented garret drafty in that crumbling Victorian house.
However, in middle age, decadence became passé,
radiators were ditched for central heat,
Man Ray lost out to Andrew Wyeth, and Sunday buffets
replaced sleeping the Sabbath away until three.
Now I am old, our children grown,
and though retirement offers a chance to pivot,
I must admit my wild seeds have been sown
as I stiffly stoop and replace my divot.
Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season
Nobody has a butler anymore –
or at least nobody that I know.
Some other domestic perhaps?
Cleaning woman, leaf blower?
The police have not named a suspect.
I suspect they haven’t a clue.
Nor do I.
Nor do you.
photo by Wesley Moore