pent up with two women who love me
whom I love
and who coldly hate each other
how could this tragic situation have been avoided
like trains on a senseless track
we speed toward our fates
see I feel like
forcing your wife and your mistress to live with you at the same time
if it’s not directly a cause
you could at least
this was foreseeable, is all I’m saying
so where was I supposed to put my mistress, then
if not with my wife
with one of my OTHER mistresses?
I didn’t mean –
because that would be ridiculous
you can’t keep two mistresses in the same house
well, she could –
where else could I send her?
to live with our secret daughter?
listen, I don’t even visit our secret daughter
except during my semi-annual hiking trip to tell her about my other secret families
I guess you’re right
no one ever thinks about how hard this is on me, you know
being in love with so many women at one time
and then having to come up with stories when they find out about each other
that sounds like a lot
it IS a lot
I barely have time to convince my favorite mistress to abandon her promising career as a violinist in order to play nursemaid to me and head archivist to my legacy
i can see how that would get
and that’s without all the anti-Semitism, even
which also takes up a lot of my time
the virulent, even taking the attitudes of the time into account, anti-Semitism that I enjoy so much
it’s a very important legacy, you know
I do know
I mean, what do you think people will remember me for
my all-consuming devotion to fascism and for choosing the wrong side of the most important moral conflict in the entire twentieth century?
or the fact that i am VERY good at describing what branches look like when they are wet?
hard to say
perhaps the best wet branch describer there has been in a hundred years
not everyone can describe a wet branch you know
no, hardly anyone
i bet you couldn’t
i wouldn’t even know where to begin
are you making fun of me?
you’d better not be
it’s not everyone who can translate a bunch of Chinese poetry into English
using some other fellow’s notes he’d already done on it
you know someone called me “the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time,” when they saw the Chinese poems I had written in English out of those old Chinese poems
was it someone Chinese who said that?
don’t be ridiculous
it was T.S. Eliot
why would anyone ask a Chinese person what they thought about Chinese poetry
you want to know about Chinese poetry, you ask T.S. Eliot
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.