Widah saturday

1800: Week Six

But also, a response poem, to T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” It is not line for line or theme for theme, it’s a mash up of what was inspired in me by it. I’m fairly certain this meets the requirements of “something about the class” since it’s a material and original result of exposure to the coursework.


Title: Whose Wasteland

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Sunday Post 1

An Obligation

Now a course requires a blog and so call this chapter zero of a seven part installment, reasonably guaranteed to appear on a weekly basis. Maybe I’ll discover a good habit.

The course is English Lit, and we begin with a rudimentary reflection on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Coleridge. The question: what if the Mariner were real. What if Coleridge modernized an oral retelling of something like the Old English The Seafarer, only it reflected tiny historical details. Maybe the Mariner is and had been dead by Coleridge’s time, but what if long he lived to tell his tale in different parts of the world, and the stories are always remembered a little different.

Then Tolkien modernized the English classic into Ëarendil. And so forth. The Mariner lives on.

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Two Idle Thoughts

Inspired by idle academic activity.


We stopped at a street performance between the Riverwalk and the French Quarter in New Orleans. They were four young to prime black men, and after the first demonstration, the MC began pulling volunteers from the watching crowd. Three lovely ladies, two rich white men, one Asian and five kids. “Now,” he said, “we are politically correct.” For the next half hour, between feats of dance and performance, the dancers ribbed the audience with every racial joke that made room for itself and they lavished over the Asian Sensation, bowing, mocking accents, looking for his camera and map, and goading him to dance to Kung-Fu Fighting. Just before the last most spectacular trick—flying over six adults—they took donations, pitting states and countries against each other for twenty, forty or a hundred dollars. New Jersey, North Carolina, Arkansas three times; Denmark, Serbia, Australia, Mexico and France. Finally they fleeced the rich white men, forty dollars apiece. Then, with sixty from the Asian Sensation, they asked where he was from. Laughing, he said, “Alabama.”


I walked up to a church, a church that doesn’t exist, didn’t exist, but is the church of all the churches I have ever walked up to. It is Orthodox and Catholic and Presbyterian. It is plain and ostentatious. It is abandoned and destroyed. The steeple has fallen in on the pews. You cannot get to it easily, you must fly, and then walk, the sun watching, the worn white crossed markers glinting near the ground. “Her tribulations were her glory” reads a faded slab. Fragments of painted color huddle in the shade, Mary’s robes, Jesus’ eyes. The foundations are local stone, blood red in the sun and buffed to a shine by the wind. The slats are wooden, imported, clinging to paint in the deepest grains of splintering cover. Broken shards cast jagged shadows on the muddy, scrubby, forgotten ground and the cross is gone.


It’s obviously been quite a span since I’ve posted. Taking the time to slow down and synthesize some work or reason has just been difficult to justify.