Big Daddy Grabs His War Rank on Sunday Brunch

Photo by Andrew Bartram. CC-BY-NC

(After TS Eliot’s Geronition)

There he was, an old man in the dead month
being read by a waiter, waiting for food
In the cross between god and game day.
He was neither at his hot gates
nor lost at in his eastern woods
nor knee deep in electric cutlasses
(Or fire river quays)
but is aggrieved by a stutter.
Communion brunch is a decayed brunch
and the Sunday restaurant crowd gazes
and heckles from their window booths;
the waiter and the people
fetishers in some dream war in Antwerp,
an imaginary Brussels, a bright cartoon London
where they die and live in videos games o phones
Rambo’s. Snipers. Patriots. Merds.
Summer soldiers gaze upon him, order a beer,
sneer at his sorrow, watch their peevish channel.
Bobby, Bobby, what did I fight for…
He is a dying man,
a broke spirit among neon stone spaces.

In the soul catchers November? Crumbling sage,
The Lost Tree of Lebanon, invisible among cedars,
lambs that stunt as lions as the seventh seal
is undetectable yet in your bone fibers (the brand
of the crown of those who conquer to conquer).
No horses come to save in the land
where red is the symbol of sorrows.
New wheats and barleys flash on tv
to show the last prices of scale deals.
Authority congeals over a 4th of the earth
and playa pastors, bowing among the titans
and ladies in the spin room
sifting the tea leaves (as the comrade
plan makes its new leap forward
till their feet are on his soil and door).
Vacant shudders weave the room.
“I have too many ghosts”
and the old man holds his rank
above their threshing floor.
“Bobby, Bobby, what did I fight for…”

After such knowledge, what forgiveness?
Words on his passages, pleas for respect
are denied by the boy men’s ears.
Words that ring through contrived Sunday corridors
turn to a thousand black horses—
turn to a thousand black gainly specters
deceived by whispering ambitious.
Deceived by the vanities of baby-man charges
and the creators of a Frankensteinian eagle.
They fly when attention is distracted.
They fly above fedora strewn confusions.
They fly too late above what’s not believed in
In the concrete sentimentality of memory.
Neither fear nor courage saved them,
the lost boys he transformed into horses.
Unnatural heroism fathered by vices
once stored in the memory of last letters
ride above a wrath bearing tree.

The Cheeto springs in the dead month.
Us he is devouring,
In rented tables, crowds squat for a conclusion
Outside, ankhs signify purposely
the dumb and blind here claim sanctity in numbers
and wrap their souls around imagined devils.
In the November of the soul,
beauty is conflated with terror
in self-created portraits of the other—
conflated with passion and inquisition
in the masks that ram our masks.
Masks-in denial of shared sight, taste in touch-
are the prisons of souls in the dead quarter.
“Bobby, Bobby what did I fight for…”

Symbols are taken for wonders.
They only see the symbol, Daggers they mistake
for crowns without royal order
In the eleventh hour. In a shiny, death strewn, corner
the people here await a Christ-brat child.
“Bobby, the promised land is dark and wild”
“Bobby, what did I fight for?”

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