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.
“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd; the longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”—Fernando Pessoa (via quotewhore)
What magic does touch create that we crave it so. That babies do not thrive without it. That the nurse who cuts tough nails and sands calluses on the elderly tells me sometimes men weep as she rubs lotion on their feet.
Yet the touch of a stranger the bumping or predatory thrust in the subway is like a slap. We long for the familiar, the open palm of love, its tender fingers. It is our hands that tamed cats into pets, not our food.
The widow looks in the mirror thinking, no one will ever touch me again, never. Not hold me. Not caress the softness of my breasts, my inner thighs, the swell of my belly. Do I still live if no one knows my body?
We touch each other so many ways, in curiosity, in anger, to command attention, to soothe, to quiet, to rouse, to cure. Touch is our first language and often, our last as the breath ebbs and a hand closes our eyes.
Croutons. That’s right. I do not sleep at night because I am too busy lying in bed, thinking about croutons. Not because I love them so much (although they are pretty tasty sometimes) but because I think about all of the different ways I can make them. Seasonings and herbs and a bit of olive oil and then into the oven they go! Also, I think a good crouton relies totally on the type of bread you use. So I would have to bake a loaf of bread a few days before making my croutons. And that is why I don’t sleep at night.
To all my fishies in the sea, come along and dance with me!
We have a fish tank here at the apartment and I often find myself talking to the fish in my (annoying) sing-song “animal voice”. I get slightly irritated that they don’t respond to me like I want them to. In a perfect world, the cute little clown fish would wink at me and then leap out of the water and into my arms to give me a great big hug and a kiss. I’m fully aware that he would probably die if this were to happen and I do not want that at all but this is just a FANTASY, YOU GUYS!!! This also reminded me of a time during my childhood when my cousin Zach and I decided that my goldfish wanted a “roller-coaster ride” and so we put him in Zach’s baby blanket and swung him around at super high speeds until he had had enough and was not moving and completely stuck to the inside of the blanket. I remember my Mom being so angry that we would do something like that but we were kids and, apparently, didn’t quite get the whole concept of fish needing to be in water.
So, as much as I would like to meet my little fish friends face-to-face and without the glass barrier, I will resist the urge to give them hugs and kisses and roller-coaster rides in blankets because I love you, fishies! You are my friends!
Dear Prince William: What happened? Honestly? I mean, when I was growing up I totally had a thing for you. You were high up on the list with the likes of J.T.T. and Devon Sawa and Edward Furlong and that one kid in the Disney movie who decided to play basketball on the school team despite having been turned into a leprechaun. Yeah, that one. Anyway, back to you, William. Where did your hair go? And I mean that in the nicest way possible. Because up until a few years ago, you were sporting a forest of hair on that head of yours and it just seemed to say ‘adios’ overnight.
Was it stress that did this to you? Did you have a freak accident while filming a Pepsi commercial? Suffer from Trichophagia? Maybe it was black magic? WHATEVER THE REASON, I would love to see you take care of that some time soon. And by “some time soon” I mean NEVER because now you’re married and it’s pointless to even try anymore.