J. Alfred Prufrock re-calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Do I dare / Disturb the universe?

COUNSELOR: That’s a big question. And a bit vague. Can you be more specific?

CALLER: In a minute

COUNSELOR: Take your time.

CALLER: there is time

COUNSELOR: Yes, there is. Or, um, are we talking higher physics? What time is and whether it exists? Because I just meant you don’t have to rush.

CALLER: For decisions

COUNSELOR: Exactly. Take all the time you need to decide.

CALLER: and revisions

COUNSELOR: And yes, you can change your mind.

CALLER: which a minute will reverse.

COUNSELOR: Yes, you can change it back, too. But be careful of changing your mind too often, or you might confuse yourself.

CALLER: For I have known them all already,

COUNSELOR: You mean all the choices?

CALLER: known them all:

COUNSELOR: Or all the people who might be affected?

CALLER: Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,

COUNSELOR: Just to make one decision?

CALLER: I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

COUNSELOR: I’m familiar with that method. Many people find it helpful.

CALLER: I know

COUNSELOR: So how many spoons do you feel like you have left?

CALLER: the voices dying with a dying fall

COUNSELOR: So, not many. Do you think–

CALLER: Beneath the music from a farther room.

COUNSELOR: Yes, it can help to step out of the room, and remove yourself from the situation.

CALLER: So how

COUNSELOR: Well, you might consider–

CALLER: should I presume?

COUNSELOR: I’m not trying to be presumptuous, sir. But I do think you might have more spoons left if you could streamline your decision-making process.

The Queen of Cheese Presents: The Show Tune of J. Alfred Prufrock

I have wandered half-

Empty streets before

Like a patient etherized beneath a sheet before.

Women come and go;

Michelangelo

They discuss, but I just need to pee.

 

Do I dare disturb

The whole universe

With decisions and revisions that I might reverse?

Spend the afternoons

Counting coffee spoons

Then decide that I’d like to take tea?

 

And should I comb my hair forward?

And do I dare eat a peach?

I should have been ragged pincers

That scut across the silt beyond this beach.

 

I have doffed my socks

On this beach before,

I have wondered if I dare to eat a peach before,

Heard the mermaids sing

Each to each before—

But I don’t think that they’ll sing to me.