Or Is The 'Great War Poem' Played Out; Transient Global Amnesia by K.R. Wilson

Or Is The ‘Great War Poem’ Played Out?

On the map, now,

if you can find it,

south of Ypres,

it’s Sint-Elooi,

but on maps from, or of,

the time (spring 1916) and

circumstance (see title above),

it’s St. Eloi.

The one I’ve googled and printed for novel research

is, thankfully, not—as the truism goes—

the terrain.

If it were, then its seven numbered, dotted circles

—representing seven steaming, mucky craters

caused by seven hellish underground explosions,

set and detonated by teams of men

trained for the task,

in patiently built tunnels below sprawling trenchfuls

of less trained men,

men with pipes and toothaches and sweethearts,

sheltering in wet clay,

thrust into uniforms and thrown at

a demon nation—

might rise from the page

and rend my limbs in their roar,

or entomb me in their collapsing rows

of fragile ditches,

the way the terrain

did those men

that day.

Today, on the satellite map, one of the craters

is still there, a groomed pond now,

behind a row of pleasant houses

with tidy yards.

Did you spot the ambiguity, two stanzas up,

about which men I meant by ‘men with pipes’ and so on?

Does it matter which side blew up which?

Transient Global Amnesia

Waves of casual agoraphobia lie low below the bog

of our collective breath as we teeter, noctambulant, toward

the peachy pie-cuffs of the premature,

the iron-fed rats of this time for sure,

hang the defenceless on the cross of la la la la you can’t see me,

the maskless a nagging mnemonic of vigilance

as we wax hopeful over uptake and waste water

while lower still an ugly stirring

points to some brittle tantrum, some blonde-faced

Will To Power brutalism, some slink of the pliable spine, breathless to

be the bearer of the cynical broadside, rectitude

deducted to swell the swill

for short-term points, to toast the fraying

intelligibility of his insect voice.

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