Lovesong with Backup Vocal

ENTRY # 66 Its been a couple of days.

Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised 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 a visit. In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.

It started with a pile of junk mail thrown on the floor. My trash, left on the dining table. Gabriel toppling it down. Some words. A day spent cleaning the house, not speaking, taking turns leaving. We speak to the boys gently, but not at all to one another. By evening, we direct perfunctory sentences. “Good soup. Thanks for dinner.” “The bathroom looks nice.”

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.

The next day. We are growing apart. He said, its not that were becoming hostile, but indifferent. More words about us, the children, us.

And indeed there will be a 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 decision and revisions which a minute will reverse.

Truce. Later, as I cook dinner, he puts his arm around me and kisses my forehead. He doesnt hate me.

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 heres 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. excerpts from T.S. Eliot “The Lovesong of Alfred J. Prufrock”

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