At a Bar Where they’ve Read Some Eliot


At a Bar Where they’ve Read Some Eliot

So, I says to that wreck of an Archduke, I says,
hurry up please it’s time.

and he says to me, leaning across the bar, belly dragging through these slimy stumps
of vegetation ( why he don’t eat the olives, I just
don’t know) 
jug jug jug jug tereu–

and I says, I’m Madame
to you; I don’t care what
they says at Kew.

But then he gets so quiet–one of  those frosty
silences–I couldn’t even get a chirp,
so, I says, at last, what you need man,
is some water,
and on the rocks, he shouts,
(and even then I have to hold it
to his lips–
swallow swallow)

only in a flash, he goes
all mad again, breaking into some deep
sea shanty
mixed with London Bridge–

and if this is how
the unguented live—
cause I tells you he still did smell good
under the gin–
let me stick
to my people, the humble
people.  (One has to be
so careful these days.)


17th draft poem for April.  This belated for Angie’s prompt on With Real Toads, to write an upbeat poem based on words for Eliot’s The Waste Land.  I’m in a real rush today so posting much re-cycled pic–supposed to be based on Prufrock.   Thanks.

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12 Comments on “At a Bar Where they’ve Read Some Eliot”

  1. Marian Says:

    Love the voice in this, Karin… not really catching the upbeat, unless, okay maybe it’s self-realization. Either way, I like how you describe this important moment and somehow it feels universal so I approve. Though “sticking to my people” could end up in disappointment as well. But at least it’s a choice, some acknowledgement and moving forward. Anyway love it.

  2. Oh I love how you turned Eliot into conversation.. and making it almost surreal.. so many times conversations are disconnected, and real communication goes in other layers like smells…

  3. hedgewitch Says:

    Unguented/ungented really works well, k, as do the Elliotish(and Poundish?) allusions.Very rich work from a solid vein of postmodern treasure.

  4. Oh, this is fantastic. I agree with Bjorn about loving how you turned the poem into a conversation. Amazing work

  5. Polly Says:

    Aha! The elephant! I’ve not seen him for a while…my fave 😀

  6. Okay, can I just say how happy I was to read the title?! Way to set the tone here and lighten all that is Wasteland. Jug, jug, jug…swallow, swallow…delicious. I especially like the confession that he still smells good. Can’t live with ’em…can’t live… Thanks for the smiles.

  7. whimsygizmo Says:

    MAN, I love the voice you’ve taken on here! And your title is fantastic!

  8. Rommy Says:

    The nod to Prufrock is adorable, though I think the speaker of the poem isn’t quite as defeated as old Alfred J was. I think they’ll bounce back nicely.

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