Wednesday, February 03, 2021

There would be time for this

"Gawd, mom," says the girl. "You're such a nerd." She's wide-eyed as I giddily skim the hardcopy course notes she just picked up at the college bookstore. The Hollow Men!, I exclaim, and off I go on a Doctor Who tangent. (It seems I've done this before.)

She's enrolled in a course that's a poetry face-off, Eliot vs Larkin, and I'm jealous. Maybe I should've studied literature. But maybe I'm relieved I didn't ruin my joy of reading.

Here's something I wrote for an assignment in high school a very long time ago. (I found it!)

For the Love of God 
[A response to J. Alfred Prufrock

Let us pour the tea 
While from the day's tedium we're freed,
Teas steams my pores and stains my skin,
Like he did.

(They know their art.)

A question twines itself about the steam,
Rising and spreading as all questions do.
Crashed to the floor, sparking, igniting, teeming with smoke.
There would be time for this.
But the tea is growing cold.

Does he dare? How dare he!
Lighting their cigarettes. In holders so long  —
Precariously balanced, flicking ashes on my dress.

In the room they speak as though
Only they know Michelangelo

He should have known
To crawl back to his hovel
Where no women go...

Time crosses legs, swings his foot, 
Fingers drumming on the table at his side.
Beside himself. "Besides, you never could
Take our relationship seriously!"

You know what I mean,
Do I have to spell it out for you?
It would have been worth while
If we tried and cried awhile;
Starry nights, and snow angels...
No. After sunset there's only twilight.
You know what I mean.

No! I am not Eve, no giver of life;
Am she who takes,
And preys on innocents,
Savouring life better than knowledge.
Living, not knowing.
Hunter of the hunted.

You grow old,
Ssooo oollldd.

I would sing for you, 
But I know the voices of mermaids 
Would disturb the guests.

I would've written you one for ten bucks, but I handed this one in myself. Top marks, of course, and seriously not bad for a 17-year-old, although I see myriad ways to improve upon it (particularly the title). 

What strikes me now:

  • That I had any notion of romantic love, or failed romantic love
  • That I referenced Lilith mythology, that even then I railed against intellect, that I argued (academically, ironically) that heart should trump brain
  • That I thought I understood Prufrock

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