As a delusional suburban teen, I longed for the gritty urban world of T.S. Eliot’s poetry. Never mind that it depicted desperate and decadent lives filled with sordid mornings after – to me, that was aspirational (actually, it still is).
I was also hooked on the rhythm and flow of Eliot’s poetry, which was unlike anything I came across before … or since.
“Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot
It was Eliot that first made me want to become a writer and, as ridiculous as I feel saying this, the kind of writer I wanted to become was a poet.
So from the age of 16 I began to secretly write bad poems. At first I just imitated Eliot, since I found most other poets pretentious or prissy or, more often than not, unfathomable (though Keats has his moments). And then I came across Charles Bukowski, and tried to imitate him (and trust me when I say Bukowski is a million times easier to imitate than Eliot). And then … I just stopped for several decades.
Fast forward until last year, when I wrote a poem with a whole different style than anything I’d tried before. And then (get ready for some pretentiousness) it was shortlisted by the Lord Mayor’s Creative Awards in Melbourne. And then (yes, even more pretentiousness!) it was published by The Blue Nib literary journal.
So without further adieu, you can read my humble poem here: