P.S., T.S.

My idol was once Eliot:
I sought out stranger words
that seemed so erudite and suave.
I leaked philosophy
through lengthy quotes in native tongues;
with long, ecstatic notes
I piled up paraphrases,
odd translations and asides.

The simpler the subject,
the more complex the form required,
until it took a thousand lines
of interlocking verse
to demonstrate with certainty
a great command of thought;
to fill a bookshelf with such tomes
became life’s sole desire.

My readers, those who stayed the course,
at length just were bemused;
they thought themselves, like me, elite,
and with great dragon hoards
stored up minutiae by the pound
in some great thought Bastille,
imagining the world outside
looked up at us in awe.

And then one day, a prison break:
when that grand intellect
seemed no more than some prison slang
used to intimidate
and beat into submission
lesser minds and weaker souls,
who never heard of Eliot
nor cared what they had missed.

Epiphany! Enlightenment!
In freedom from the phrase,
unloosed from literary chains
and jumbled metaphor,
I found a simpler way to write
beyond mere show not tell,
past all that posturing and such:
just speak your mind, and quit.

27 APR 2013

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