Sunday, June 9, 2019

Not Even Not Zen 166: The Love Song of J. Almer Simpson

T.S. Eliot wrote great verses about a less-than-great man, J. Alfred Prufrock.  A salient point in the poem is how Prufrock knows the mermaids aren’t singing for him.  After all, they lure heroes to their doom.  He’s not heroic.  He is a man who feels it is daring to each a peach because they are so messy.

As I wrote this, I wondered: what would the result have been if Homer Simpson or some other regular guy had narrated in place of Prufrock.  We would hear about a man who dares to love and who does heroic deeds.  That’s why the mermaids sing to him.  Maybe they’re wasting their efforts, just a bit, but he cares enough to lie about doing heroic things.

The Love Song of J. Almer Simpson

Let us go then, you and I,
When the beers are spread out on the table
Like clouds in a sweet, blue sky.
Let's go, by certain half-deserted roads
Carrying our loads
Of crap our wives insisted that we buy
Although no matter how much we try
We'll never win a single argument
With our innocent intent
Or get an answer to the question,
"How much did this cost me?"

Let us go and make our visit
In the room where women walk about
With glasses full of Irish stout.

The yellow lager that every man drains
The yellow pee that splashes down the drains
Makes it worth working till the evening
Through the fools and the outright pains.
Let's plant our buttocks on the barstools
Or slip to the floor, bottle in hand
And, seeing another A-Team rerun,
Curl up on the sofa and fall asleep.

And sure, there will be time
For the yellow lager and stumbling to the street
Erasing all our worries and strains.
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare lies for the spouse that you will meet;
To stare in wonder when called a 'reprobate;'
And time to play with rubber bands
While thinking of reasons to be home so late.
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred snap decisions
And a thousand regrets and attempted revisions
Before the taking of another toast and a pee.

In the room where women walk about
With glasses full of Irish stout

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Did I pee there?" and "Why should I care?"
Time to turn back and fall down the stair
With a bruise on my delicate derriere.
(They will say: 'How his ass is growing fat!')
My morning drink, my double chin, my annoying cat,
my stained shirt looks good with my pledge pin and hat.
(They will say 'How his head is getting fat!')
Should I care
About the universe?
In a minute there is time
For snap decisions that no one can reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the drunks, the barmaids, the jackass brays,
I have measured my life with tv trays;
I know the voices from each sitcom, eyes closed,
and words to the music from the living room.
At least, that's what I presume.

And I have done the gals already, done them all--
Or maybe a few in my alcoholic haze
And when I was sated, sprawling on the bed,
The ones who looked so fine you'd pin them to the wall
Didn't really look that way at all,
But with my wily ways I was good to them for days and days.
At least, that's what I presume.

And I have fired arms already, fired them all--
Shot down elk and grizzly bear
And also a unicorn with silvery hair.
No game would I ever dress,
though I like the powdered perfume of success.
I prefer not to see the blood at all.
At least, that's what I presume.
After a drink, I begin.

Shall I drink openly at dusk in narrow streets
Or in the smoke-filled bars, in corners,
With other lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning over a spittoon?

Each thinking, I should have been a movie star
making it with the model in Blue Lagoon.

And the afternoon, the evening, drags like a queen,
drags like a bunt down the right foul line
or like a clock above the exit sign
as my mellow mood comes round to mean.
Should I, after missing a traditional wastebasket toss,
have the balls to prank the boss?
But though I have laughed and overeaten, barked and brayed,
Though I have regretted each pronouncement,
I drink, I predict, I make announcement
Of deeds I'll do beyond my power.
I have seen the Eternal Barman hold my glass and glower
And ask me if I'm driving.

Oh, but it is worth it, after all,
After the ale, the martinis, the vodka collins,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of crap and pee,
We find out what our paycheck fetches,
Which is mostly spite from ungrateful wretches
Who want to make us sober drones,
Like my born again (and again) sister
Who says, "I am Shirley Maclaine come from the dead,
Returned to tell you, show you, how to think.”
And I, with the ice compress on my head
Must say, "You can't make me, not ever, think,
much less pry away my drink."

Oh, but it is worth it, after all,
To see the world in its warmest glow,
To watch the sunrises and the sirens and shining glass upon the streets,
To watch the movies, the whores, the skirts hiked high above the thighs --
Every part of life sends you shivers and sighs --
If you were drunk right now, you'd know what I mean!
Whether you're enlightened and fat or holy and lean,
Oh, but it is worth it,
You know it's worth every pain and every penny, every effort and strain
When you lie back on the grass with red wine and a red-faced woman, thinking,
"This is what I've worked for,
"This is exactly what I've worked for."

No! I am not Prince Charming, nor was meant to be;
Am an evil lord or maybe just a banal fraud,
One who would do anything
To advance my trivial cause,
To seduce my wife, to dine and play,
Obstreperous, full of abuse,
Overfull with laughter but with leaps into the fray;
At times, indeed, I'm of little use
But my life does not give me Pause.

I grow tired ... I grow tired ...
I drink double lattes and get wired.

Shall I scratch my fat behind?  Do I dare to throw the peach?
I shall wear blue denim trousers and walk upon the beach
Where I have heard the donuts singing, each to each.

It's a catchy jingle, meant for me.

I have smelled them from across the sea,
Rowed to meet them, all sprinkled and chocolaty,
Like so many things, each a lonely ecstasy.
I've gorged myself on life and custard cream,
Rowed my boat further, for life is but a dream
Full of donuts, drinks, experiences without number
And no one can wake me from my slumber.

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