A Hollow Man

A Reflection on Mr. T S Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”

Robert Trakofler
Woodworkers of the World Unite!!!
2 min readOct 28, 2021


Photograph by author

Smoke curls along the lenses
of my fancy protective
blue light spectacles
As I take another drag of my cigarette
and a sip of my coffee
a strained exhale coalesces smoke
in front of my monitor
glancing the blank screen
of my 5 am mind
Generally, my first cup is spent
Staring at the blank page
by the second
my synapses are starting to assemble
into something resembling
an inkblot of twisted letters
and behind me standing in the desert
Mr. Eliot is reciting
“The Hollow Men”
his words resonate
with a tear in the corner of my eye
or was it just eye strain
but as I type this next line
all I can think about
is what could I possibly have to say
to a scarecrow
that he doesn’t already know?
And despite the toxicity;
of inhaling smoke, caffeine
and Mr. Eliot’s words
to my macular degeneration
in striking my own lines
I wonder if
I too am a hollow man
scribbling prayers
on ethereal stationery
and placing them under desert rocks
there is a cowardice to composition
in the displaced ownership
of character
or in the folly of observation
from a detached witness
or retina
many details are overlooked
or skewed by the myopic
reflections of a damaged lense
like those doughboys
standing in the trenches
in the war to end all wars
stuffed with the rhetoric
of righteous aim
waiting for the next call to arms
against an invisible foe
but never climbing the wall
to engage the enemy
but instead
mulling about
in arguments of indignation
till the trench rot
of moral decrepitude
overtakes the fibers
of their existence

© 2021 Robert Trakofler



Robert Trakofler
Woodworkers of the World Unite!!!

Poetry & lyric writer, drummer & vocalist Owner of an art gallery, antique store, Vegan restaurant and performance venue in Pittsburgh called The Zenith.