The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

Let us go
you and I
when the evening is spread out against
the sky
like a patient
etherized
lying upon the table
let us go through
these half-deserted streets
and muttered
retreats
these restless nights in cheap
hotel rooms
and those sawdust restaurants
with their oyster shells.

These streets which follow like
a tedious argument
leading to that
one overwhelming question.

Yellow fog
rubbing the back of the
window pains
licking its tongue
in the corners of our evenings
lingering on the pools
that stand in the midst
of drains
falling back in the soot
of the chimney
in that soft October night.

There will still
be time
for that yellow smoke
to make its way through the streets
rubbing its back up against
the window pain
prepared to face
murder and creativity.

There will be time for
the hands of work and days
lifting and dropping questions
on your plate.
Time for every thing
every indecision
and vision and revision.

There will be time
to wonder
to turn back
to descend the staircase
with that bald spot
growing amidst your
hair.

Do I dare disturb
the universe?
There is enough
time here in this
minute for the whole
world to begin.

I know. I know.
All these evenings
and afternoons
the measurement
of my life
with coffee spoons
the dying voices
and the fall
the music
and presumptions
of them all.

Eyes fixed on the
formulated phrase
sprawling
wriggling
pinned against
the wall
how should I
begin?

Is it this perfume
lingering in the air
from her dress
which alarms me so
but I digress.

Do I go out into those
dusky streets to watch
the smoke rising
and the lonely men
in their short shirt-sleeves
leaning on window
ledges?

If only I were the crab
scuttling to and fro
on the silent sea
floor.

Sleep peacefully
days and night
smoothed over
by long fingers
malinger
do as you will
stretched out
I will not force
the crisis
though I see my
head growing balder
by the day.

For I am no prophet
the moment of greatness
only flickers
the doorman holds
my coat
but snickers.

Is it worth it?
All these cups of tea
and marmalade
the porceline
talking between you and
me
the smile bites
of matter and
smiles
squeezed up
and rolled into a ball
for the sake of that
eternal question.

Is it worth it
these sunsets and backyard
sprinklers
these novel ideas
and short skirt trails
magic lanterns throwing
nerves on the screen
I don’t know.

I am neither Prince Hamlet
nor the pillow
nor attendant lord
to progression
Ask the prince’s advice
he’s an easy tool
deference
gladness
politic cautiousness
and meticulous
filled with high sentences
and the Fool.

For I grow old
so old
and the bottoms of my
trousers are rolled.

Shall I part my hair?
Eat the peach?
Grasp what is not yet
in reach?
Or just walk along
the sandy shores
listening to the mermaids
roar.

They sing for me
riding through the sea
combing the white hair
of the waves
and wind
lingering
seaweed vocals
calling our name
wake up
drowning.