The Love Song of Jake Alfred Morgendorffer


Summary: A psychological portrait of Jake Morgendorffer, adapted from TS Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’.


LET us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a toy train entering a tunnel;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

After arguments and little hells:

Streets that follow like a cruel sergeant

With insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question …

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

Let us go and make our visit.


Damnit damnit damnit.


And indeed there will be time

For us to regain the spark we may have lost,

Rubbing its back upon our stressed-out brains;

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a case to defeat the cases that you meet;

There will be time to enquire and litigate,

And time for all the working days of hands

That lift and drop a question on your plate;

Time for you and time for me,

And time yet for a hundred promised holidays,

And for a hundred revisions and delays,

Before the taking of a shared retreat.


Damnit damnit damnit.


And indeed there will be time

To wonder, “Do I dare?”and, “Damn Mad Dog!”

Time to turn back and descend the rope,

Where I was stuck without any hope--

 [They always said: “How he isstuck up there”]

My standard uniform, frozen firmly in their stare,


My manner rich and modest, but asserted by a simple grin—

[They will say: “But how his excuses are growing thin!”]

Do I dare

Disturb the college?

In an hour there is time

For assistance and insistences which a glare will reverse.


For I have known them all already, known them all:—

Have known the evenings, mornings, and the rest

I have measured out my life with what others suggest;

I know the voices reaching with a stern fall

Beneath television music from the room.

  So how should I assume?


And I have known the eyes already, known them all—

The eyes that fix you for a formulated phrase,

And when I am castigated, responding with a grin

When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,

But how should I begin

To recall the memories of past daysand ways?

And how can I assume?


And I have known the claims already, known them all—

Claims that are bracketed and whiteand never new

[But in the lamplight, they seem sotrue!]

Is it a desire to regress

That makes me so digress?

Arms that lie along a table, or begin to bawl.

And should I then presume?

And how will we linger?

      .      .      .      .      .

Shall I say, I have gone home at dusk through rush hour

And watched the smoke from the forlorn cages

Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of car windows?


I should have been a dedicated man

And have tried more and more to please.

      .      .      .      .      .

And the memories, the therapy, sleep so peacefully!

Smoothed by the passing days,

Gone … resolved … or itstays,

Lies on the floor, lingering with you and me.

Should I, after lasagne and coffee and ices,

Have the strength to force this moment to its crisis?

But though I have wept and ranted, wept and strayed,

Though I have seen my life [slightly staid] brought in upon a video tape,

I am no prophet—and here I must gape;

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

And I have seen the punk wedding Footman hold my coat, and snicker,

And in short, I was afraid.


And would it have been worth it, after all,

After the cases, the meetings, the overtime,

After the cleaning, among some talkof you and me,

Was it really worthwhile,

To keep biting off the matter with a smile,

To have squeezed the tension into aball

To roll it toward some long-delayedquestion,

To say: “I am Jake, come fromthe bar,

Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—

If one, settling another plate by ajar,

Should say: “You’re not thinking about this at all.

That is not it, not at all.”


And would it have been worth it, after all,

Would it have been worth while,

After the sunsets and the camping and the cramped cruises

After the plays, after the crises, after the suits that trail along the floor—

And this, and so much more?—

It is impossible to say just what Imean!

But if I suddenly threw all my thoughts in patterns on a screen:

Would it still be worth while

If one, settling a pillow or throwing off another call,

And turning toward the window, should say:

 “That is not it at all,

 That is not what I wanted, at all.”

      .      .      .      .      .

No! I am not Hamlet, nor was meant to be;

Not Romeo or some other lord (that will do)

To swell a progress, start a scene or two,

Advise the partner; no doubt, an easy tool,

Deferential, glad to be of use,

Politic, caring yet meticulous;

Full of high-strung sentence, but abit obtuse;

At most times, yes, almost ridiculous—

Almost, at times, the Fool…I think.


I grow cold … I grow cold …

I shall be alone as time and I growold.


Shall I part my hair today? Do I give my daughters more pay?

I shall wear brown trousers, and bewalked upon then preach.

I have heard the relatives jeering,each to each.


I do not think that they will say it to me.


I have seen them glaring in my direction

Pitying or more likely with contempt

At my latest fumbling attempt


To be the shining light of the party

Respected by my family with hair red and brown

Till fear stops me, and I frown.


Note: The original poem can be found at;