Live Reading of “Corky Cain, Washed-Up Surfer Sings of Dead-End Hedonism

The text of the poem appears below the video

Corky Cain, Washed-Up Surfer Sings of Dead-End Hedonism

sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal

William Butler Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium”

My bleached blonde hair has disappeared,
leaving a freckled scalp in its stead.
Two black bags bulge beneath my eyes,
All rheumy and rimmed with red.

They say sagacity is recompense.
(I’d settle for a dollop of common sense).
Hey, little lady, could you spare me a smile?
(Or at least a wink instead of a wince?)

No, when it comes to wisdom,
I’m an old lecher banging on a drum,
cruising the boulevards looking for love
in the suburban sprawl of Byzantium.

Playing the fool, the pantaloon,
howling for hours at the hollow moon,
waking in the morning with a broke down head,
knowing that never will be all too soon.

Old friend, Willy B, sing me a song
that will drown out the barbarous gong
of the death knell clanging in my brain
you, the king of love gone wrong.

The Ravages That Time Had Wrought

The Wesley Moore at Yeats’s Tower 1979

What shall I do with this absurdity —
O heart, O troubled heart — this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog’s tail?
WB Yeats, “The Tower”

While Webster was much obsessed with death
And saw the skull beneath the skin,
Yeats was obsessed with the aging process,
The hollow cheek that drank the wind.

Fastened to a dying animal, his soul
Sought solace in a Martello tower
Where he climbed its winding stair
To compose swan songs in his waning hours.

Retrospective poems, autobiographical,
That rehashed old loves and battles fought.
Attempting to come to terms at last
With the ravages that time had wrought.