Saturday, March 28, 2009
Complimenti, You Bitch!: For My #1 Baby Daddy
When I was 18, I got a tramp stamp. It is on my lower back, a most unflattering area of anyone's body really. A place where everything wrong intersects. All out of love, love for a man, a thug life declaration written in Old English font. With O.E., you are either thug or fabulous and either way you win. And win I did with this shout out for my number one baby daddy since AP English and 4EVA: T.S. Eliot.
A natty dresser and fastidious follower of fashions, a banker turned namby pamby poetry boy, high Anglican, a misogynist, an elitist, and wrote at the end of his life what would become the musical Cats. Dream man! My kind of guy! A poncy haberdasher, a crumudgeonly diva. Mon semblable! Mon frére!
The tramp stamp tat I reference is a line from "The Lovesong a J. Alfred Prufrock," and no I won't tell you which, put down the crackpipe and pick up a book knucklehead. Despite it's romantic title, all garden variety Eliot scholars and semi- literate self- styled critics agree that it is really more of an ode to indecision and feeble inaction. Dude thinks he's like Hamlet or something when all he really wants to do is make out with chicks but can't because he'd rather wander around the docks of Boston with his thumb up his ass, not to mention he's actually in love with his BFF Ezra Pound. Whatever.
My non- traditional and optimistically literal interpretation puts forth that this is in fact a piece about the joy and sorrow of growing up, about trolling half- deserted streets at dusk, of works of hands and days, and slurping coffee from spoons, of feeling like a big weirdo and of being in love, uh hello, that's in the title. And maybe it's not about being in love with a woman or a man but being in love with the possibility that stretches out before your late adolescent eyes, or all that is in store for you, one night cheap hotels, the toast and tea, and the million allusions to conversations and all the great books you will maybe read in college. I took the Suessian approach of "Oh, the Places You'll Go" rather than the Dante read. Yeah I know, the inscription is from the Inferno, not Green Eggs and Ham but "I am no prophet- and here's no great matter."
And then there's the Waste Land which at my current rate of expansion I may be able to tattoo across my backside in its entirety someday soon. Another universal truth about Eliot is that Ezra Pound essentially wrote that shit by way of heavy- handed edit, a fact I will overlook along with the criticism paid to "Prufrock." Eliot was origirnally going to title the epic poem He do the Policemen in Different Voices until Pound was like, "Girl, hell no." In a 1921 letter to Eliot from Pound, which included like one hundred changes, Pound closed his letter by writing, "Complimenti, you bitch!" (True story! Those queens were like the first Paris and Nicole.) And today, baby daddy, I extend the same to you. You, my friend, are indeed il miglior fabbro, papi chulo numero uno.