this took me two years to write

i was going to post this yesterday on my birthday, but i got a little out of hand and did not get around to it. so i’m doing it now with my hangover courage, before the afternoon regrets settle in. and i’m doing it as a kind of sigil thing, first day of the rest of my life type of joint, so that maybe i’ll spend year 26 of this ride doing art things that scare me. because it scares me pretty much all the way down to post this. because it is poetry, not comedy, so there is no laughter shield to it. it just exists to be there, not to amuse or anything. scary stuff. also because it is like a little brain treatise. my me thesis. it took me two years to write. i started working it right around the time i moved back to pennsylvania in 2008 and have just been poking at it randomly since then whenever it floated into my head. it finally struck me last month that it was almost done, and i decided that birthday was the publish day. because i likes me some deadlines and significant dates.

anywho. it is a response to T.S. Elliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, which is one of my favorite things in the history of great things. i just love it. i’ve been gripped by it since the first time i came across it back in high school. (about 10 years ago, come to think it it. damn.) it just says so goddamn much. i have read it so many times and get more out of it every time. i just read it again twice three times as i was writing this blog. so it is clearly of import in my thinking on the world. and i don’t think my little poem makes sense without reading that awesome one first. a few times perhaps.

but yes. well. so. and how. ok, no more stalling now. in short, prufrock has sat in my mind for a long time and this is my response to it.


a love song for j. alfred

each meeting of two souls or minds
is sure to end—just give it time.
we pass each other like ships at night
close enough to break off a chunk,
close enough to be the one who’s sunk
sometimes we’re icebergs picking fights.

like jellyfish, no eyes, no souls
just spinal cords and tentacles
we’s are always groups of me’s,
drifting in the same direction
trading glances, words, erections
scuttling on floors of silent seas.

. . .

the future is hidden but can’t be reversed
the lines are all scripted, they’re just unrehearsed
what we label free will is a bend in the hall
taking comfort in lies that we cannot disprove
giving names to a void we create as we move— 
then again, that may not be it, at all.

and how, in fact, could i presume
that any woman in any room
sees Michelangelo like me?
my life and thoughts so intertwined,
how could i know a separate mind?
when two see one, it’s two they see.

. . .

smog and men, a hundred visions
i float inside my indecisions
guarding truths with pearls of fear
lost in dreams as real as life— 
       directors cut me with a knife
       and wash away my insincere.

. . .

oh Prufrock! you really should know better
we’re all in this alone together
you, me, and all the prophets, too
drifting along in current events
making up noise and causing dents
a whole lot of rubbers and not enough glue.

so force the moment to a crisis
bring toast and tea and all the vices
and dressed in pearls with fine champagne,
you sing me yours, i’ll sing you mine
a strange love song for this strange time
that hasn’t even found its name.

. . .


One thought on “this took me two years to write

  1. About time a slam poet [forgive me if the term is a pejorative; i’ve MC’d and won a few myself, merely commenting on the style] turned Eliot on his ear. I was waiting. Very, very cool.

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