Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Happy birthday, T. S. Eliot

From today's Writer's Almanac birthday tribute to T. S. Eliot:

He started telling practical jokes [after remarrying at age 70] and became fond of whoopee cushions and exploding cigars. He wrote a fan letter to Groucho Marx, who wrote back, and the two became close pen pals.

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Poprocks" (excerpts)

Let us laugh then, you and I,
When the evening is waiting, sly against the sky,
Like cellophane stretched across a toilet bowl.
Let us go, with smiles for all we meet,
Bunny ears on our feet . . .

* * *

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Larry, Curly, Moe.

* * *

The yellow cigar smoke that curls about your moustasche,
The yellow haze that obscures your face and hides my face
Preparing to meet your face after the cigar explodes in your face.

* * *

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and "Do I dare?"
To knock, leave fake vomit and run down the stair
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--
[They will say: "Act your age--not your shoe size!!"]

* * *

It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if I have a joybuzzer hidden in my palm, reaching for one's hand:
Would it have been worth while
If one, standing after having sat on the whoopee cushion
And turning toward the window, should say:
"That is not funny at all,
That's not my idea of humor, at all."

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Paul Decelles said...

ROFL Love it...and i am not a Groucho fan.

John B. said...

Thanks, Paul. I mostly just wanted to have a bit of fun while writing it.

meg said...

I cannot believe you did that to my favorite work of literature.

Don't worry. I think of something good for Blood Meridian (Faulkner is too easy).

Okay, I will concede that you are good with parodies, but that's all you're getting, Buster.

John B. said...

I hope you know that for inspiration I alternated between looking at "Prufrock" and thinking about you.

Also, I'm of the opinion that parody is ideally a form of praise for the work being parodied. Why spend all that time working on poking fun at a work you don't like to begin with?

Ariel said...

The line about cellophane and the toilet bowl is really impressive. Taken as "tribute via parady," nice work.