Altogether Elsewhere

1 October 2015

(Auden’s hundred)

Your first words that I read were “Look, stranger,”
which really stuck.
You hymned environmental danger
and illness welling up from bottled anger
in the out-of-luck.

Stranger than any of us was your
thanatology:
mental mapping was a chart of war
but lust for the diagonal metaphor
fed your geology.

Ominous uniforms and the sexy furs
you parsed as threat
like acid rain in silted aquifers
the Romans left. From gaunt commissioners
an each-way bet

gave your calciferous frontier the chance
either of Left or Right.
You didn’t much approve of France
for their symbolist poetic dance
was a downright

draught of colorless Coca-Cola,
not for grown-ups,
a canker in the thinker’s molar.
You could have liked Savonarola,
but in his cups.

You’d have known the date of each bubonic
outbreak, or heresy;
you knew that most blokes were moronic
and your blow-job poem was merely platonic –
well, ostensibly.

Ambiguous Europe has its weather still.
Expert in exile,
you turned the twilight into chlorophyll
soodling along beside the sacred rill
mile after lucky mile.

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