As The Tenor Strains
Commentary by Tark Mackintosh
I see her sit This audaciously bad poem, of which we were thankfully only permitted to print the first two stanzas, sets the stage if you will for the first-person upper-class peeping tom (a stalker) on the hunt.
stage-box We presume: a place where you sit at the opera, a private loge or opera box. If the victim is sitting inside the cramped PROMPT BOX it would be difficult for Professor Stout to get a good gander at her, wouldn’t it? Also she would likely be sweaty and gross, especially in the area of her throat. We wonder what the box, then, has to do with the stage, except that from the opera box (Professor Stout chose a different term) you can see the stage. OR THE VICTIM IS AN OPERA PROMPTER, AND HER CUFFS ARE SHOWING.
diamonds Do not be coy with your only readers, Professor Stout, or treat us like assholes. We know it is not the jewelry you are after.
throat Rhymes with note in line 4: the pattern is ABAB for the duration. While wrist is an innocent commonplace in this type of sophomoric rhyming poetry, usually representing the repressive mandate of the ‘stronger sex’ in Edwardian upper-crust America, the throat is where the vampire stalker is to sink his villain’s teeth. Whoever this lady is, she had better hustle to her carriage after the show!
indolent Sloppy and carefree. Professor Stout is trying to get us on his side by calling his victim names.
tenor Metaphor for Professor Stout himself, who has been reduced in the course of twelve short months (see lines 7-8) from sturdy bass, to hunting women like prey. Professor Stout was infamously divorced by former wife Senator Shelly McPaul in late 2022 and now wears sweat pants with purple cowboy boots to the grocery store.
strains…topmost Enrico Caruso this regional tenor is not: he has got to work like a son of a gun to nail every single aria. It is 8 o’clock and the tenor is already at the top of his range.
corner…shadowy…furthest Professor Stout has not even been invited to this show, and must sneak and tiptoe around the theater.
row Used effectively in Shakespeare, Keats and Wordsworth, Auden Yeats Frost Heany and Plath as a verb. In this line the word is a noun.
[end quote] In fact this shit goes on for thirty-two more stanzas.