Prufrock Rex

Adiamo, si, andiamo. Io nerache lo saluto!
Ecco, mi saluto per lei! (si stringera una
mano con l’altra) Buona Fortuna!

Let us walk then, you and I
While the twilight is pressed up against the sky,
Like a chicken slaughtered in a laundry.
Let us crawl through dream’s half-crowded alleys,
Minding the cats in the fog,
Alleys that initiate a tedious monologue
Of digressions and regressions
To answer that overwhelming riddle …
Oh, do not ask ‘What is it?’
Let us do something illicit.

In the room the women sew and stitch
Chatting with Malcolm Muggeridge.

In a time there will be time
For a clock to change the mind,
Rubbing its knobs against the gutter.
There will be time, there will be time
When present passes into future’s past,
Scratching its belly in the violet hour,
To face the space of those beckoning bracelets.
arma virumque canunt,
Chewing pink meringues dipped in tea.

In the room the women sew and stitch
Chatting with Malcolm Muggeridge.

And indeed there will be time
When the universe is rolled into a ball.
Time in which we might presume,
Acting in eyes the Sophoclean progress,
(Acting at times also the chorus
If she should say, ‘Oh, hang it all!’)

‘And one unloosed the laces of Adonis,’
While another cut off Samson’s mighty floss.
I have known them all already, known them all,
In my hovel wriggling on the floor,
Spitting out the dregs of pneumatic days
After the smell of steak and garlic cloves,
As if a draft horse stumbled in the meadows.

Shall I part the hair below? Do I dare to spit a pip?
I have seen the mermaids crack a whip

Do I dare
Consume my Easter egg?

The shutters drawn, closed each to each,
Garlic and sapphires tumble in the bog,
Rattling the Theban bottles in the corridors
Until inhuman voices call us through the fog.

Fred Holzknecht

(from The Leviathan Machine and Other Stories)