What exactly is “the pompitus of love?”

27 Jan

joker1

Here is what I have learned —

The word pompatus (also spelled pompitous, IPA: /ˈpɒmpɨtəs/) is a neologism used in the lyrics of Steve Miller’s 1973 rock song “The Joker”:
Some people call me the space cowboy.
Yeah! Some call me the gangster of love.
Some people call me Maurice,
‘Cause I speak of the pompatus of love.

The phrases “space cowboy” and “gangster of love” are both references to previous Miller songs. The “pompatus” line is also a reference to an earlier song of his, “Enter Maurice,” which was recorded the previous year:
My dearest darling, come closer to Maurice
so I can whisper sweet words of epismetology
in your ear and speak to you of the pompatus of love.

Although Miller claims he invented the words “epismetology” (metathesis of epistemology) and “pompatus,” all of his song-writing shows strong rhythm and blues influences, and a 1954 song called “The Letter” by the Medallions had the lines:
Oh my darling, let me whisper
sweet words of pizmotality
and discuss the puppetutes of love.

The song was composed by Vernon Green as a description of his dream woman. “Pizmotality described words of such secrecy that they could only be spoken to the one you loved,” Green explained. He coined the term puppetutes “to mean a secret paper-doll fantasy figure who would be my everything and bear my children.”

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