Life Story (How people burn to death in hotel rooms) Tennessee Williams

I could not resist posting this wonderfully cynical piece of writing

Life Story

by Tennessee Williams


After you’ve been to bed together for the first time,
without the advantage or disadvantage of any prior acquaintance,
the other party very often says to you,
Tell me about yourself, I want to know all about you,
what’s your story? And you think maybe they really and truly do

sincerely want to know your life story, and so you light up
a cigarette and begin to tell it to them, the two of you
lying together in completely relaxed positions
like a pair of rag dolls a bored child dropped on a bed.

You tell them your story, or as much of your story
as time or a fair degree of prudence allows, and they say,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, until the oh
is just an audible breath, and then of course

there’s some interruption. Slow room service comes up
with a bowl of melting ice cubes, or one of you rises to pee
and gaze at himself with mild astonishment in the bathroom mirror.
And then, the first thing you know, before you’ve had time
to pick up where you left off with your enthralling life story,
they’re telling you their life story, exactly as they’d intended to all

and you’re saying, Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, the vowel at last becoming
no more than an audible sigh,
as the elevator, halfway down the corridor and a turn to the left,
draws one last, long, deep breath of exhaustion
and stops breathing forever. Then?

Well, one of you falls asleep
and the other one does likewise with a lighted cigarette in his mouth,
and that’s how people burn to death in hotel rooms.


I love it!



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4 responses to “Life Story (How people burn to death in hotel rooms) Tennessee Williams

  1. Jennifer

    What a romantic yet sad story, Pen. I used to watch a pair of lovers jumping to the well to commit suicide due to the strong opposition from their parents. Of course the plot is from the movie. Hope your story is not a true one either.

  2. Happy

    LOL and with that perfect capture of sweetest sadness. What a writer. Oh goodness I so want to write something now. I am inspired. But am off to the eye doctor shortly. Dreading the eye drops/frozen eyes stuff so won’t enjoy the blurry world for later afternoon and evening. Thanks for this post.

  3. Martin

    LOL, Eloquent in it its cynicism and love it too

  4. ..

    LOL … romantic and sad !!! What a combination !!! What a writer!!!! Take good care and smiles on Penny. Brighter days are here!!!! Always HUGS for my dear friends. LOVE, Alex xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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