Not with a Bang

The title of this poem is taken from T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Hollow Men’, from arguably one of the most overquoted stanzas in the history of poetry:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Written for ‘The #tpomarquarantinepoetry Series’ – an Instagram suite of poems – ‘Not with a Bang’ is essentially about muted “finales”. When sitting down to interpret the prompt ‘Crazy night. Lonely bottles. Zoom rooms.’, all I kept thinking about is how the COVID-19 pandemic keeps being spoken about in apocalyptic terms – be that relating to Christian prophecies about widespread pestilence and plague preceding the end of the world or with regards to the end of everyday reality as we know it.

However, in contrast to what religion and popular culture have both made us envision, a Coronavirus-induced doomsday is altogether less “spectacular” than anticipated. In fact, with all it’s subdued sadness and silence, it is rather “anticlimactic”, much less “exciting” than one would have expected. Instead of ‘the wrath of the earth (…) break(ing) loose’ and us seeing ‘the last judgement out’ in a riotous and rebellious queer orgiastic fashion, we’re simply wilting away indoors, forever frustrated by digital dates and unfulfilled corporeal lust.

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