I have to be in the mood to read poetry.
I haven't been in the mood lately.
Tonight, Liv's father called to talk to her and I got on when she was finished and for some reason, we started talking about Tennessee Williams and he said, "I will never forget that you were the one who introduced me to Tennessee Williams' poetry." And then I thought of my all time favorite poem of his. I like it because it sneaks up on you as all good poetry should. And I love this poem because, at the end, I burst out laughing.
Tell me what you think. Even if you don't like poetry, you will like this one. I promise.
LIFE STORY by TENNESSEE WILLIAMS
After you've been to bed together for the first time
without the advantage or disadvantage of any prior acquaintance,
the other party very often says to you,
Tell me about yourself, I want to know all about you,
What's your story? And you think
maybe they really and truly do
sincerely want to know your life story, and so you light up
a cigarette and begin to tell it to them, the two of you
lying together in completely relaxed positions
like a pair of rag dolls a bored child dropped on a bed
You tell them your story, or as much of your story
as time or a fair degree of prudence allows and they say,
each time a little more faintly, until the oh
is just an audible breath, and then of course
there's some interruption. Slow room service comes up
with a bowl of melting ice cubes, or one of you rises to pee
and gaze at himself with mild astonishment in the bathroom mirror.
And then, the first thing you know, before you've had time
to pick up where you left off with your enthralling life story,
they're telling you their life story, exactly as they intended to all along,
and you're saying, Oh,oh,oh,oh,oh,
each time a little more faintly, the vowel at last becoming
no more than an audible sigh,
as the elevator, halfway down the corridor and a turn to the left,
draws one last, long, deep breath of exhaustion
and stops breathing forever. Then?
Well, one of you falls asleep
and the other one does likewise with a lighted cigarette in his mouth,
and that's how people burn to death in hotel rooms.