One problem with my raw fruit and vegetable fasts is that I can never buy enough tomatoes and avocados and so I have to go back to the supermarket every couple of days. That’s why on Sunday at around noon I rode down to No Frills. A child of about three that looked Tibetan was just inside the supermarket where the entrance turnstile is. He looked up at me and said “Hi” and said something else that even after asking him to repeat it I couldn’t understand. I thought it might be something about “Mommy” but I couldn’t be sure. He kept doing the same with other people that came in. I figured his parents must be nearby but maybe I should have notified the staff just in case.
I picked up a lot of my usual fruit purchases but also a mini watermelon and a cherimoya. The cherimoya looks like a bevelled alien hand grenade and is native to Central and South America, though this one was grown in Spain. It’s also known as the custard apple and Mark Twain called it the most delicious fruit known to man. I’ll be the judge of that. I didn’t forget that I needed tooth paste and grabbed a tube of Arm and Hammer because I like the slightly salty flavour of baking soda that comes along with the mint. The others all taste like candy.
After unlocking my bike I leaned it against the supermarket entranceway window while I took off my right glove and resnapped the right shoulder flap of my motorcycle jacket, which always gets undone by the shoulder strap of my backpack. Behind me a young woman called, “Sir! Excuse me!” in a “you forgot something” kind of voice. She was holding up a glove that she’d thought that I’d dropped, but then when she saw that I had both of my gloves on she put it down and said, “Ew! I touched it!” I thanked her for looking out for me. She said, “No problem.” Our paths crossed a minute or so later at the corner of Jameson and King where she met a large, short friend with stoplight lipstick.
I spent a few hours on my English paper and actually started making it look more like an essay:
T.S. Eliot’s Modernist poem, “The Wasteland” and Allen Ginsberg’s Beat poem, “Howl” are both charged with sexuality. Each work pushes against the inhibitions of its era in how it describes the carnal meeting of bodies. Erotic desire as expressed in The Wasteland is subdued and cloaked in metaphor. In “Howl” it is uninhibited, unsubtle and it’s expression is offered as the very symbol of human freedom.
Sexuality in The Wasteland is centred on women that are victims of men’s expectations. These casualties illustrate the devastation that results from being “rudely forced”. The sexual refugees of Howl are men being denied the right to make love other men. Each poem is a howl against a world where sexuality has gone to waste. In Eliot’s poem, rape is the cause of the wasteland, while in Ginsberg’s work, society’s devastation is the result of sexual prohibition.
I will first look at the sexual victims of each poem, which are the women of The Wasteland and the gay men of Howl. I will then show how rape in “The Wasteland” and forbiddance in “Howl” each lay waste to the world.