Stars and Scars

For Susie’s prompt on Real Toads. She wants us to celebrate the Day of the Dead and use a quote from a favorite dead poet or poets, perhaps even writing in their style. I offer two quotes today – one from T.S. Eliot and another from chef and writer, Anthony Bourdain. This is also being posted on dVerse Poets Pub. Today I honor the dead in my life by being honest and posting a poem I feel that honors T.S. Eliot and Tony Bourdain and my honest ancestors with their integrity and their non-pretentious way of life.

Stars and Scars
“The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink. T.S. Eliot
“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” Anthony Bourdain

Scars and wars,
Wars and scars –
Stars and scars and wars –
We think ourselves superior to one another
hiding in our snobbery,
ignoring those we feel less than we –
Snickering at the ugly women,
Laughing at the unhandsome men.
We put pride in ourselves
and dance on the graves of the suicides.
Bragging of where we travel,
Where we eat,
Where we buy clothing,
Where we live.
We wound the hapless and the helpless.
We look down our noses
and shrug our shoulders.
We cut apart the poor and use them as bait.
We turn ink into blood
and do not care.
We hide our scars from others
always wanting to present the perfect face.
The stars in their courses weep
and crusts us with bloody sleet.



23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laura Bloomsbury
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 08:33:22

    A soliloquy to solipsism – beautifully critiqued- the Eliot quote is inspirational and ‘”bloody sleet” is a perfect match


  2. annell4
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 09:26:44

    A wonderful write!!


  3. coalblack
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 11:57:15

    WOW. This hits like a sledgehammer hit of reality. The dancing on the graves, the bait, the sleet…powerful as hell and right on the mark.


  4. sanaarizvi
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 12:52:46

    Love that quote by T.S Eliot 🙂 this is such an exquisitely woven piece, Toni.


  5. anmol(alias HA)
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 16:26:16

    Ah, you pick the heart of the matter and put it on display as it is. The tone of it is something very well captured, given the theme and the quote that it takes its inspiration from.
    “We hide our scars from others/always wanting to present the perfect face”: This says it all! 🙂


  6. Glenn Buttkus
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 16:32:36

    A perfect rant on the absurdity of Madison Avenue, and the stupid trends too many follow blindly, plus the presence of apathy; the world has a lot of work to do.


  7. kim881
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 16:40:57

    Your title reminds me of the Neil Young Album, ‘American Stars and Bars’, Toni. I love both quotes and the way you play around with the words at the beginning of your poem, and the lines:
    ‘We turn ink into blood
    and do not care.
    We hide our scars from others
    always wanting to present the perfect face.
    The stars in their courses weep
    and crust us with bloody sleet.’


  8. Frank Hubeny
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 17:18:55

    I like the descriptiveness of this line: “We cut apart the poor and use them as bait.”


  9. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 17:37:41

    First I love that you have written this in the perspective of we… we are all part of it really, the mockery and pretense… alas it’s all true, and we need to change cause the scars bleeds through the masks.


  10. Brendan
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 18:35:06

    That cold rain we are lost in…


  11. V.J. Knutson
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 18:42:49

    The arrogance of believing we are separate – better than – a good message.


  12. Grace
    Nov 01, 2018 @ 19:50:34

    This line speaks to me the most: We hide our scars from others
    always wanting to present the perfect face.


  13. rothpoetry
    Nov 02, 2018 @ 09:03:20

    It is amazing how much of what we worry over won’t really matter in thirty or fifty years. It is who we are and what we believe and share with others that really brings change. Sadly you described the world in which we live very will.


  14. Helen
    Nov 02, 2018 @ 17:57:47

    This is intense, and sobering, and true.


  15. Vivian Zems
    Nov 03, 2018 @ 06:25:27

    Love this admonishing poem. We,as a race are the most impoverished in spirit. Well penned!


  16. memadtwo
    Nov 03, 2018 @ 11:37:26

    We should all be weeping…(k)


  17. purplepeninportland
    Nov 03, 2018 @ 12:44:22

    I love that Eliot quote. The whole tone of this poem reminds me of a sad costume party.
    ‘The stars in their courses weep
    and crust us with bloody sleet.’


  18. lynn__
    Nov 04, 2018 @ 22:00:20

    We’re pretty pathetic really…this is tough, Toni.


  19. Lona Gynt
    Nov 05, 2018 @ 15:07:00

    It’s true, we do all these things, I have hope though when I see it called out, thank you! Love especially
    The stars in their courses weep



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