I’ve been reading & thinking about the epic economic ripples of covid. Luckily I’m on a fixed income so I have no real concern about earning an hourly wage. I recently read about a shopping mall declaring bankruptcy because its tenants have lost so much revenue due to necessary covid restrictions they can’t pay the per-square-foot rent. Seems the only ones making $ are food delivery services & labs processing covid swabs 🙂
When a restaurant closes – as many have along the Danforth here in Toronto it is easy to see the direct results: waiters, cooks out of work. But this ripples out, as the restaurant also has supplier such as laundry service, bakeries for breads & desserts, equipment (broken dishes have to be replaced), butchers, fresh produce.
So the providers of those supplies have less customers. Bakeries have suppliers too – flour, dairy etc – suppliers who now have less demand for their goods. The restaurant has less income to tax & so the actual tax base our country runs on is gradually reduced too – less taxes effects the services we count on – health care for one.
I’m not an economist just an occasional diner. I sometimes buy coffee on my morning walks but I can’t drink enough coffee to save any indy coffee shop, or even a chain – Starbucks has been closing stores. I suspect the economic structure is going to have to be restructured because once the low income base crumbles there’ll be no money to bail out the billionaires.
You can credit T. S. Eliot for my love of long, meandering, numbered section poems. Here the section numbers included the degree sign after each but WP editing suite finds that difficult to render & I’m too lazy to figure how to make it obey. Such is life. Such is the march of time too, so with some of these pieces, from nearly 50 years ago my memory is unclear.
I have a vague recollection of writing this as a single piece over the space of about a week. It, unlike some of my writing then, isn’t stitched together with various scraps. I can’t say if I wrote it in the order it appears here – though it does have definite progression. It deliberately references other poems in the book – for example ‘nightmare strangulation’ is a nod to the hangman; ‘straw in my pocket’ to Waltz.
I also play with cliché ‘flying of the handle’ ‘give & take’ ‘the damage done’ – recasting them in ironic contexts or leading them to unexpected conclusions. ‘pagan dancers’ is a reference to my paintings of the time (link) – also the dancer on the cover of the chapbook.
Reading this now I see it as another poem about coming out, about the confines of cultural butcher-boy definitions of gender, creativity, productivity. At the time I wrote this I wasn’t aware that ‘the seed’ was those various elements. Many lgbtq people create themselves from parts of the world around them – our sense of self is the result of our inner Dr. Frankenstein creating from fresh. Not that heterosexuals don’t have to do some of this but they have clearer role-models to work with. It was like being give ten model kits of various planes cars boats that had been opened up & dumped into one pile without instructions.
What parts of me have to be cut out to get to the core? I also sense this use of violence, of bloody butchery as a way to appear more masculine. Being a teenage poet is not as butch as being a teenage football star.
It also alludes to the fact that I was a cutter. Wounds that no one could see but myself. A self who also had an awareness of his suicidal thinking, which was buried in this piece. I don’t recall anyone, who read this piece or who heard me perform it, ever asking me if I was serious. I guess they thought it was a part of the poet’s pose. Artifice as opposed to a serious mental issue.
The last lines echo a favorite song if mine – ‘How can I be sure, in a world that constantly changes?’ Today I’m not afraid of being unsure – that’s one of the things that makes me human.