Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Jan 25, 2022
51° F Dallas, TX

from THE LUNCH SONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFROCK (1919)

By  |

Let us go then, you and I

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like an overflow crowd at the newest can’t-miss spot.

The acrid aftertaste

Of meals consumed in haste

And snobbish waiters who refuse to meet your eye.

Meals that taste of the grease of french fries past,

And lead you to an overwhelming fullness…



Oh, do not ask “What is it?”

Let us go and make our revisit.



In the room the wine snobs come and go,

Speaking of labels we don’t know.



And indeed there will be time,

For the filets Italienne



Or shrimp Bombay and cutlets provencale.

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a phrase to greet the diners that you cheat.

And time for all the glib misleading words

That mesmerize the herds.

And time yet for a hundred indigestions

And time for posing as an epicure, Before the taking of the pommes au beurre.



In the room the wine snobs come and go,

Speaking of labels we don’t know.



For I have eaten them all already, eaten them all,

The moo shi pork and the sausage balls,

I know the sea trout in a kumquat sauce,

the Mongolian fire pot not worth the cost.

So what shall I review?



And would it have been better, after all,

After minces and blintzes and flan,

After the shark’s fin soup, after some talk

of ambience,

To have bitten off my nacho with a smile, To have squeezed my sourdough bread into a ball,

To throw it toward some smirking maitred’,

To say: “I am Chef Boyardee, come from

the dead,

Come back to tell you all, tell you all.”

If the reader, flipping past my review,

Should say: “What a pretentious snob.

Let’s eat at home tonight.”



No! I am not M.F.K. Fisher, nor was meant to be;

I’ve a plebeian taste, one that will do,

To shuck an oyster, chug a beer or two.

Overbearing, full of empty words

That change mere eating to an act absurd;

At times, indeed, almost unintelligible-

Almost, at times, the Bore.



I grow fat… I grow fat…

I shall make inept rhymes with cassoulet.

I have seen the waiters whisper each to each…

I don’t know why they never brought my quiche.

We have peddled our opinions ad infinitum,

To those who’ll gladly eat what doesn’t bite them.

To people quite content with eating slop Until they cease to read us, and we stop.