At first, the separation was amicable.
"I'm not sure how you're going to fare, head in the clouds and all. You can't seem to focus; you don't get things."
She had vintage Bob Dylan on, Idiot Wind. We Can't even Feed Ourselves. I had been a writer and a money-making writer at that, for ten years. Then I stopped. She took over the bills. Then she stopped. We Can't Even Feed Ourselves.
Now two slightly incompetent people with dwindling bank accounts.Characters in a Willie Nelson song. Two lonely people each looking like houses, where nobody lives. There was enough residual money around for the kids to get an education, for her to keep the house and even a young bricklayer, whose relationship with her I could never fathom .She was certainly no Loreena Bobbitt. And I was no Brad Pitt, not shy with my Angelina Jolies.
Ten years of rutting lust, travel, songs, guitars, Malagena Salerosa, Girl from Malaga, girl of the red room, girl from California, girl from Frank Sinatra. We'd ride in limousines their chauffeurs would drive. Girls on the spike, how massive those needles seemed to be, big as Alice, and how quickly the girls would put on the side effect of endema. Gorgeous calendar girls, legs suddenly grown elephantine. Go ask Alice When She's Ten Feet Tall. Girls with pimps away on holidays. "You've got me all to yourself"; girls into alcohol, It's all the same; only the names are changed. And every day, we're just wastin' away. All the liquor bottles piling up, fights, Charles Bokowski scenes. You ruin everybody you touch; No, you ruin everybody you touch. No matter. We ruin each other.
Parallel scenes. Again the rich banker's daughter, the supporting older sister, Can I Have This Dance for the Rest of My life?
Well no. All my relationships are now poisoned. I can neither go back to the well nor stay with the wreck. And if I am a good cocksman it is really your bounty and not mine. You are beautiful. That is what they all told you since you were a little girl. And now you've had too much assertiveness training and too much group therapy and though your memory is still good enough to remember lines on stage, you are utterly fucked. Two husbands. Snapped continuity. You got through your hell through therapy, I am doing it through fucking, drinking and fighting. No Good Boyo and all that high school play for voices. I am sitting in a lifeboat, drunk, Ginny crack corn, and I don't care..
And then the separation got nasty.
If you know how badly you hurt me after what you've done. If you knew how badly you hurt me when you joined that swingers club, and you didn't even tell me. Night school. Yeah. All those nights with me babysitting and you were out there with your randy prof in your legal house of the rising sun. Good thing the old c*ck***ker died. Served him right. "Lass, I've got you by the ass" indeed. Fucking old fraud whose poetry won't last the decade. But mine will, because I copy. Copy the best and this will last forever.
Well, I can still write, I think. It's the damn piddly-assed details that are starting to get to me. Separation makes it hard to focus. Simple things are almost impossible to do. My short story is accepted, again. The contract is sent out by fax. I have to put my signature on it and return it by fax. I have no fax. I finally get to a print shop where there is a fax. I have to glue things together. It is too robust a piece of foolscap. Hanging chads. The contract will not go through the machine. Reluctant to show helplessness and dependence, I ask the printing girl for help. Self confidence is an aphrodisiac. I am losing it. And almost losing the contract.
The story comes out. The Star gives it big play. Wine-stoned cowboy. Women on the phone. Self-confidence back. Lights in Georgia even a local success. "You are a success in your own home town, the young girl says. Chuckles editorial writer, "Jones will be given a huge California publishing contract. But Jones will protest. 'I want Hollywood, or I want nothing”.
"You are just trading on your looks, you asshole," says a friend I can trust. "You charmed the ass off that publisher's girl and that's how you got the contract." Yeh.
The separation is getting really nasty. Now there is talk of divorce.
The furor over my book has almost peaked. Forty thousand dollars is a year's income for most people.
Divorce. That hurts. But perhaps there will be a settlement say Chutzpay boy. Who can love Duddy Jones?
It's older women now. There is no sexual finickiness here. They know how to get you off, whether you're in the mood or not. "I am a nymph," she says. I think of the old poet who had riffed my wife. "Are you a wood nymph?" "No, I am just a nymph, and you know what that means." Not-so-still life. Painting with Nymph. And Satyr.
I dreamed I saw St. Augustine
Alive as you or me
Tearing through these quarters in the utmost misery. I have seen the Johnny Cash movie and I too, am trashing my hotel room; she is trashing the hotel room. Rape of the Sabine Women. Paganism. We rape each other. Two passionate people. All I need is Norman Mailer's knife. Thank God we both are so weak and small.
I need a garret. I have rented a garret. She follows me. Sends me letters. "If you have better things to do, like cleaning lint off your navel or looking after that pot roast, you can stop reading this...
"Still reading? Heh. I though you would be..." I tear up the letter.
There is production in the garret, actually an industrial unit. There is work immediately outside, at furniture shop where I ply some of my father's talents. There is income, there is hope. My ex-wife visits me, looks at my circumstances, gets into her Honda and takes off. The final indissoluble antinomy had been reached. I am alone.
The sex chucks. What do you do about the sex chucks. I watch CityTV. Cycle Sluts. Going down with Moses.
All that talent and greatest success as a purveyor of soft-core pornography. Like me. He whom the gods would destroy, they first call promising.
Time. Time. Time. The professional uses time. You can not knock down a professional. The word-man. The walrus. Koo Koo Katchoo.
I am going to finish my book, read my stuff and hope to bring the house down, that house of the rising sun.
I'm already walking to New Orleans.