Un déca allongé, I said, por favor

French followed by a version in English y una versión en español.

Un déca allongé, j’ai dit, s’il vous plait

Claire 3, chaise, by William Eaton, 2021Un déca allongé, j’ai dit, s’il vous plait,
Et une douzaine de biscuits sans sucre ni blé,
Un amant qui m’aime sans jamais bander,
Qui trois fois rien n’ose pas m’exiger,
Qui me donne un enfant qui ne sait pas crier,
Qui ne souille pas ma joue quand je veux y aller,
Et il ponde les petits déjà salariés,
Aux visites, aux cadeaux… désintéressés.

Un déca prolongé, c’est ça qu’il me plaît.
L’homéopathie délavée vous pourriez l’appeler.
Quand on renonce aux effets, on renonce aux dangers.
Et vous pouvez aussi ma discipline constater –
Ma soif et mes désirs sont tellement purifiés,
À la tasse mes lèvres ne vont même pas toucher,
Et pour toute cette eau brune – pourquoi payer ?
Si de goût lui manque, aussi des frais.


A decaf extra long, I said, if you please

A decaf extra long, I said, if you please,
Plus a dozen cookies without sugar or wheat,
A lover so loving he’s transcended sex,
And is afraid to ask for more than he gets,
And he gives me a child unable to scream,
Never making a mess, never begging ice cream,
And quick come the grandkids with jobs guaranteed,
And for visits, for gifts… they can’t see the need.

The mother of all decafs, that’s what I’d like.
Homeopathy neutered and jumbo sized!
Absent all flavor, all dangers, thus, too,
Which is not to say discipline I ever eschew.
My thirst and desires are so purified,
To the rim of the cup neither lips nor eyes;
I never drink, or not knowingly, water brown dyed,
And you won’t find me paying for bland nothings besides.


Dije, por favor, un descafeinado largo

Dije, por favor, un descafeinado largo
y muchas galletas sin azúcar, ni trigo,
un amante que me guste sin necesidad de sexo,
que sabe lo más mínimo que no debe pedirme,
que me da una niña que no sabe gritar,
que no me mancha la mejilla cada vez que salgo,
y pone los pequeños ya empleados,
a las visitas, a los regalos… completamente desinteresados.

Un descafeinado largo, eso es lo que me gusta.
Podría llamarse la homeopatía castrada.
Si renuncias a los efectos, también a los peligros.
Y también puede ver mi enorme disciplina
-mi sed y mis deseos están tan purificados,
que ni mis labios ni mis ojos llegan al borde,
y por esta agua marrón, ¿por qué alguien pagar?
Si le falta sabor, también cuesta.

— Poem(s) and drawing by William Eaton.

I note that this poem is based on a true story! A woman came up to the bar of a Paris café and asked for “un déca allongé.” In English-Spanish such an order, for a “decaf Americano,” would not sound strange. But allonger, to stretch out, a drink already decaffeinated? The order made me laugh and write this trio of poems.

And may I make a tangential connection to a a recent story in The Guardian about the abandonment of pets, grabbed to be companions during the pandemic lockdown. A dog-welfare expert is quoted: “Families and individuals suddenly found themselves at home with a lot of time and that encouraged them to go and get a dog or other pet on impulse rather than thinking about the commitment and responsibility that comes alongside.”

Could we say of these pet-grabbers/abandoners—and we are talking more than 1 million pets in the United Kingdom alone—might they have been better off with decaf dogs and cats?


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