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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

14 Mar

By T.S. Eliot

“If I thought my reply were to one who could ever return to the world, this flame would shake no more; but since, if what I hear is true, none ever did return alive from this depth, I answer you without fear of infamy.”
              — Dante, Inferno

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question. . .                              
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,                              
And seeing that it was a soft October night
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;                                

Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions
And for a hundred visions and revisions
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—                 
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all;
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,                      
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?                  
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
        .     .     .     .     .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets              
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . .

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
        .     .     .     .     .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?                  
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet–and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,                                
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say, “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,                                      
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”                                
        .     .     .     .     .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .                                  
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown              
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Richard Cory

23 Feb

the awkward thoughts of awkward me

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
‘Good-morning,’ and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

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The Color Blue

11 Feb

I Want A Tuesday Kind Of Love

22 Jan

I Want Your Bad Writing

5 Jan

I want your bad writing.

I want all the poems you wrote when you were feeling too much hurt to put words in a logical order. I want you sloppy grammar and penmanship, and I want the words to be mispelled the way they were in the first draft.

I want to hear every thought you ever had about yourself. I know that nothing has really happened to you in your life that sets you apart from any other teenager, but I don’t care. I want you to start every sentence with “I”. I want.

I want you to use all the normal prescribed fixes for bad writing. I want parallel structure and repetition. Try it. It won’t make your writing any better, but it will make it look like you’re trying harder. When you try that hard and your writing still sucks, then I’ll know you’re at your very best.

I want the words straight out of a thesaurus, too. Pack ten adjectives into that sentence and it’s still not enough. It’s still not enough for the things you’re feeling in your very average, teenage, American life.

Do you think I’m kidding? I’m not. Watch me make all the mistakes of a terrible writer. Watch me care. I care.

I want your bad writing because I understand. I can see through your crappy writing because I write it too. I can see exactly what you were trying to say. You think that underneath your lack of experience there is originality in you that is just waiting to come out. You’ll be the next beatnik. You’ll start a revolution. Of course, you’re wrong. Under your lack of experience is an average teenager who is naturally self-obsessed. But that’s okay, I want to hear it anyways.

I’m sick of perfection. I’m sick of sacrifice and complication and grand ideas. All I want is to know that somebody else is out there writing line after line of horrible, awful, self-centered teenage nonsense that will one day make them cringe with embarrassment.

I want writing that is as bad as mine. More honest, and all-around worse.

Grow Up!

20 Dec

Top 10 Thought Catalog Articles

3 Dec

So because my blog is essentially a worse version of Thought Catalog, I figured I should let any of you people who read this (and aren’t actually obliged due to friendship with me) know that you could be reading something a lot better. The following articles are my personal favorites. I started reading TC about a year ago, and I would also like add that these just a very few of the excellent articles on there. There are so many more by people like Ryan O’Connell, Stephanie Georgopulos, Chelsea Fagan, and Mila Jaroniec. Hundreds.

Keh, have fun. Probs won’t ever see you again.

Remembering School Lunch/ Stephanie Georgopulos (6/21/11)

Types Of Face People Make When Getting Their Picture Taken/ Ryan O’Connell (11/8/11)

Advice I Would Like To Give To Teenagers/ Ryan O’Connell (12/19/11)

How We Talk About The People We Don’t Know Anymore/ Stephanie Georgopulos (5/8/12)

I’m Here For You/ Mila Jaroniec (8/1/10)

Disney Songs For The Single Girl/ Chelsea Fagan (10/12/12)

I Want You Because/ Mila Jaroniec (10/23/12)

The Halloween Candy Hierarchy / Brian Donovan (10/31/12)

On Language, Texting, & Being/ Daniel Coffeen (11/10/12)

I Belive In Everything/ Ethan Ryan (11/14/12)