I’ve been in lockdown for a month. An itch to cross the border comes over me now once in a while, but with about 2000 known cases of the virus in the San Diego county, why would I want to go up there?
After all, I could remain south of the border, where there is no accurate count of the spread and everyone is in blissful ignorance to the extent of it. The official numbers seem unreasonably low for the state of Baja. But how will we ever know? Even with the internet you can’t find all the news. Or hide it. Whether it’s horse hockey or not.
And there is so much of this horse hockey coming at me from all sides. From people who mean well. And people who I thought had better uh- discernment. While I have never parented a child, I feel like this is a small taste of what it’s like to be one. You have to sift through everyone else’s opinions on how best to take care of life. It’s such a weight of unneeded energies bearing down on a person. Why not smother people in things they need? – I mean really need. Oh, what is that you say? That takes too much time? Too much listening? You can’t afford to care? Well, people’s ego and the state of modern society are (disappointing) topics that will have to wait for another time. I can’t bear a deeper dive into that right now.
My one little light can only do so much against the dark. So I am not overwhelmed with the massive failings of the humans species, I trick myself into calm with diversion: jogging in place, accidentally burning myself with a hot glue gun while being crafty, making short improv movement videos, researching stuff. You know, diversions.
One of those edifying research diversions came from my friends over at aromaticapoetica.com. They posted an invitation for you to (re)visit The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot with an active nose and consider the smells and flavors of the poem. I hadn’t been through that writing in a long time. Maybe I’ve never even been on that journey… I can’t remember… I’ve been in my own wastelands! Which, by the way, are also lilac scented and well- forsythia isn’t exactly hyacinth, I know, but, it’s my wasteland, OK? Not that famous, wanna-be imperial dude’s wasteland.
It’s an interesting read. Or a listen. Do both! You will remember it better later if you see and hear the words. Plus, if you listen to the youtube link, you can appreciate how marvelous the Yorkshire accent is as Ted Hughes gets to read a few stanzas of the poem. It’s a lovely accent. The man himself, of course, not so much.
It’s a long form poem with a slopping heap of allusion mashed into it. And let’s not forget the lines in several different languages. Thommo, my brah, showing off, is still showing off. (I should know, eh, eh?) And, as the internet tells me, he got made fun of for it in some likewise long-winded jab penned by H.P. Lovecraft, of all people.
So with my heard swirled by poetic pomp, I furthered my distraction. I imagined a t-shirt with the slogan I survived the ‘T.S. Eliot’ Wasteland. It felt like such an appropriate lit-nerd thing to come up with. I even did a little graphic design work; as you can see at the top of this post. (I don’t use reading aids to surf the web so I apologize to any seeing impaired readers if my alt text description of the image sucks terribly.) It’s perhaps a little off-brand for aromaticapoetica.com but it was a quick and fun thing for me to make. One small, clever amusement after another and I can keep going. Sort of.