Total eclipse of Florida

Responding to the complaint that more people know the lyrics to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” than have read Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry, Drew Gardner combines Bishop’s “Florida” with the Jim Steinman song.

The Total Eclipse of Florida

Turnaround, Every now and then I get
out among the mangrove islands,
a little bit helpless and I’m lying like a child in your arms.
They stand on the sand-bars drying their damp gold wings.
Turnaround, Every now and then I get to an un-lit evening,
a little bit angry and I know I’ve got to get out and cry.
Enormous turtles, helpless and mild,
turnaround. Every now and then I
die and leave their barnacled shells on the beaches,
a little bit terrified but then I see the look in your eyes
and their large white skulls with round eye-sockets.
Turnaround bright eyes, Every now and
I’m twice the size of a man then I fall apart….


Thanks to Jordan Davis — who notes that Gardner is “the author of the poem “Chicks Dig War,” which some people are comparing to “Howl” — just sayin'” — for the link. Davis runs the Million Poems Show, which might sound like a uniquely effective form of torture, but is a literary event I’ve actually attended. The excellent Sasha Frere Jones fills in as house band at next Wednesday’s show.

And while we’re on the subject of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems, a couple of which I admire so much I’ve memorized them, see “Had Bishop been asked whether her repudiated poems, and some drafts and fragments, should be published after her death, she would have replied, I believe, with a horrified ‘No.'”


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