Monday, 12 February 2018

Prefabricated Venus

            On Sunday I spent some more time throwing down ideas for my essay.
            I read a few times and did research on some of the references in the poems of Frank O’Connor. He was a museum curator by profession and so lots of his poems mention paintings. He also wrote a lot of poems inspired by his lunch breaks in New York. He drops a lot of names I’d never heard of and so I had to look them up. He apparently had hundreds of friends in the art and poetry world. One of the people he mentioned having died in the mid-fifties was John La Touche, who was a lyricist that wrote the words to a lot of hits like “Taking A Chance On Love”, but I was only really impressed by his song from the 1947 film “All the Dreams that Money Can Buy”, “The Girl With the Prefabricated Heart”:

Oh Venus was born out of sea-foam
Oh Venus was born out of brine
But the goddess today
If she is grade A
Is assembled upon the assembly line

(How divine! Rise and shine!)
Upon the assembly line!

Now Julie was born as it’s proper
Her every proportion was planned
She was poured from a mold
Exquisite and cold
And she grew up untouched by human hand

(Oh how grand! See her stand!)
Untouched by human hands!

Her chromium nerves and her platinum brain
Were chastely encased in cellophane
And to top off this daughter of science and art
She was equipped with a prefabricated heart

She prepares for life!

Shall I be auburn or dark or fair?
Shall I unbind my nylon hair?
Would love make skies look clearer?
Or should I serenade my mirror?

A hero would always admire me
He’d pamper and pet and inspire me
Why else were my charms made so drastic?
Why else were my arms made so plastic?

What else was my heart electroplated for?
Oh, send me the mate it was prefabricated for

Then just like the movies, a mail-order male
Was sent by the gods direct from Yale
He was handsome with biceps of stainless steel
Plus which he was rich, and his love for her was real

By fate he was guided to knock at her door
‘Twas love at first sight for evermore
They were made for each other, exclusively planned
So he bent his knee and he asked her for her hand

Her bridal gown was a synthetic weave of coal tar, milk, and wood
Spun under atomic pressure in a four-billion-dollar machine

I’ll offer you sterilised flowers
Expensive and scentless and rare
There’ll be pedigree birds singing songs without words
As they fly through the air-conditioned air

Your fanciful dreams I’ll interpret for you
Your hidden desires I will bring into view
All the wheels in your brain I will polish and shine
To prove they can move in harmony with mine

Oh, nature and art will not win her
So ply her with diamonds and pearls
For bracelets and rings are practical things
That appeal to the mind of a healthy girl

Oh, nature and art will not win her
Oh ply her with diamonds and pearls
For bracelets and rings are practical things
That appeal to the mind of a healthy girl

– Julie, at last you’re mine
– I guess
– I’ve always dreamed of this moment divine
– It will be nice, unless
– Oh, darling, let us seal our marital bliss
With a glorious technicolour kiss
– I suppose so
– You express every ideal I’ve ever had
You’re as evocative as a full-page ad
Tell me that you care
– You’re mussing my hair
– Oh, darling
– Watch my new clothes
– Beloved
– Oh, well, I suppose
– Angel
– Don’t make such a fuss
– Treasure
– Oh you’re so impetuous!
– Dearest! Sweetest! Queen!
– Oh, this is ridiculous!
Sisters, come to my aid!

            Her Amazon sisters were passing that way
They rushed to her aid and they saved the day
The swine! He has frightened her out of her wits
The brute! We should shoot him and tear him into bits

Wheels started turning inside her head
So from his ardent arms she fled
Girls of wax can’t use devotion
They might melt if they felt an emotion

She left him bereft and wifeless
And he fell to the ground, quite lifeless

But she rides on into the dawn
On and on as her wheels revolve
A riddle whose answer none can solve
Who sends all her dreams to the laundry
Who prefers to live in a quandary
Her loneliness she must insist on
She’s Isolde without a Tristan
Her groom who for doom was slated
Dissolved into tears and disintegrated

And so she rides on through the evening
As pure as she was at the start
For there’s no man alive who could ever survive
A girl with a prefabricated heart
A love-proof, unbreakable heart

            I watched another episode of Star Trek Discovery. The version of Philippa that Michael rescued from the evil universe tells the admiral how she conquered the Klingons in exchange for being made captain of Discovery. The crew is told that it’s their Philippa and that she did not die as they’d thought.

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