Saturday, May 06, 2006


Recently, on the internet, lady genre writers have been excited over expressing passion in a character, perhaps so much passion that it may overshadow the plot.

Don't know about my own writing. I've certainly been described as an actual character on many occasions. But when it comes to my own characters, there is passion aplenty.

And there are times when emotions are so powerfully felt, they must be put in the shape of a poem, for here is where you can express these emotions.

Something published quite some time ago in a Town of Newmarket promotional magazine (I knew the editor personally, a lady):

Love Poem

He saw the teardrop on the rose
And again, he saw the teardrop on a rose
And he knew he could never melt the teardrop
And he knew this was already the end.

So he kissed the face of the evening wife
As he had kissed it before, in all its varying forms
And again said hello to the precipice of silence
A precipice of silence
For his eighteen months of loving

The Queen of Swords is crossed over
And all the king's horses and all the king's men
Are trying to get her together again
like me
To no avail

Gigolo and Gigolet
This side of the lake of mutilation
Strike a match
And the hotel burns

There is only
this path of silence
As we dump our gods
And become like them

And here is the experience that gave rise to the poem, though I fear the writer, at the time was more experienced than talented:


Life lays down strange asphalt for men to tread on in the dark and I have just left Yuppie City.

She was gorgeous, but she was expensive, the other guy had more and so defeat has left me divided, anger was very much in my taste and I contained within myself all the bitter exhaustions of a 47-year-old man while maintaining the cockiness of a bright boy:
Yuppies threw me out.

I was on the edges of what first seemed a literary circle, new friends high on Jung and something mysterious late at night that I was not quite privy to until I met the one I loved, heretofore a clear spoken and articulate girl rolling her O's like an idiot and really strung out on what must surely have been heroin.

Life lays downs strange asphalt and who knows what people do in Hell, especially when the other man was driving a new BMW, mustachioed Italian, his Newsboy hat on, tweed jacket with elbow patches, the pimp outfit, and you were still stuck in second gear. This was all so far ahead of you, they and their hiss of long cigarette lighters, the spoons, the garbled talk, as if they were driving a bottlemobile.

There is an old B movie abut voguish modern people who were allowed to party all the days of their lives, it seemed, till you realized that down below, there was a vicious mutant ant colony that would snare the revelers, one by one and stick them into a cocoon for later, casual devourment.

Yes, they were all down there south of Finch Avenue where the grass was dream grass and women would come and call themselves lonely.

How does it come to a man just hitting his prime, at the top of his professional form, in the middle of his success to be snared on a path that must surely be evil and only the strength of the mad can save him as the Chicklety smell of crack is high upstairs and the one you love in the clutches of a beast?

The middle class can sometimes be a class of bozos.

They always seek definitions, rather than seeing things for what they actually are. They try to define pornography, for instance, without realizing its palpable effect on them and other people; they toy with concepts of personal freedom without realizing that outright pimps snare beautiful women ever day, even from the apartments where they live. It's not all heaven in those gated communities, but more like like wifeswapping and uppermiddleclass peeping tomism while the beat goes on and the roses fade.

An old Russian proverb says untruth did not begin with us, nor will it end with us; praying kneads no dough.

I had no dough, prayed often, and Yuppies threw me out.

Can it be, can it just be that money is all there is, that people will prostitute themselves for it, live in hell for it and worship is as the newly rich do, even unto the gates of organized crime? For that is the sinister "safety net": At the bottom of the drinking the sex and the drugs and the open marriages are the Masters who make the rules for the wise men and the fools in a lower branch of Yuppiedom, the unholy collusion of Big Business, Big Government and organized crime.

It was an expensive education for an aging don still high on literature, a onetime luminary at the college, but now known by all to have gone more than a little to seed, especially by the company he was keeping.

First came the unofficial literary circle, then the introduction to an "open marriage" (a strange concept to me in those times, even though everybody seemed to be doing it), and then the inevitable jealousy, the pain and the final revulsion. What a shitty documentary I was in.

Nevertheless, it was the Yuppies who threw me out.

At first I resisted. One-on-one relationships were less complicated, the only ones that would work in the end.

After the first contact, I stayed away-- chaste fiance, hah-- dated no one. I wanted my love all to myself, not ad hoc, not in some strange daisy chain on the edges of Hell.

Until the frightening realization came to me that evil was just as much in me as in them and that I was beginning to love this woman very much and would almost gladly go to the ends of hell for her.

And she had told me that I was not the only one.

A half-fucked fox in the middle of a forest fire.

She bought me a toaster one day and I did not understand.

She paid my rent one day and I did not understand.

She said she wanted "out" and I did not understand.

And now the Beast is with her and I finally understand.

I did not have the guts or the intelligence, dumb prof, to go through the depth of Hades to rescue her and now must go through another hell of considering how weak I had been, how bad my timing had been. I was no better than those phonies at the literary circle, that collection of poseurs and wife-swappers and the fault was all mine.

She passed my door on night sobbing.

She had been beaten up and was high on blow.

I raced out the door to be with her, but she was gone in her bright grey BMW. Even in the world of 1988, demons, witches and warlocks still inhabited the landscape. She had not been crying for me, but for her demon lover, of whom I somehow was now a part.

I stood there high on German exhaust, considering a badly remembered poem.

I had a mother and a father
Who I knew were mine.
I had perfect eyesight,
so I could see the imperfections of nature.
I had wisdom
that lay like an asp
at the bottom of the well

And when the unworthy prince came
I turned
and in all my beauty
Rejected him.

I stood there in the rain like some old Hemingway and realized that the asp in the bottom of the well was a guy richer, smarter and sexier than I was.

I couldn't blame Yuppies. I couldn't blame the drugs. I couldn't blame organized crime.

I could only blame myself, for I needn't have gone downtown for my answer.

I only needed to stay in Newmarket and pray in the rain.



Erik Ivan James said...

"Yuppies threw me out"

All of my own deepest loves were lost to the men who were fair of hair, possessed money, and gave sex on a high.
I see one or a few of those past loves on occasion, as they drive up along the side of my poor old ride, in their big new Hummer or sleek new Mercedes.
They are still beautiful, but in a hardened way; dressed in their tailored silk blouses; me in my worn out jeans.
They see me, turn their heads to look away.
I wonder; are they looking away form me?
Or, are they looking away from them?
I stare on ahead.

"stay in Newmarket and pray in the rain."

God help me, please.
It was limelight and glitter.
The lights went out...the glitter blew away.


Anonymous said...

many nights I laboured to paint my soul with the colours I thought
would hide their tainted shell,with hopes and desires of a wondrous
landscape of love and beauty,only to be startled by the wash of a morning
dew,as it drew back the curtain of the rains came,truth
also brought its own hammer to the feast of agony,as it stripped away
shrouds of misty ,self-inflicted brush strokes,somehow laid upon a pocked
and uncertain heather ...

sometimes the best answered prayers are the un-answered
prayers...and the rain offers,at times,such clarity and hope...failures,as
first perceived,may,indeed, be magnificent victories...

ace zop

ivan said...

That is really good prose. Poetry?
Bautiful stuff. Ah life. Sometimes rejection, failure, pain.
But we can paint!

ivan said...

Thanks ace zop.
No fable!

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Erik Ivan James said...

No, not poetry (don't know how to write poetry). Just the way of it.

Good stuff, ace zop.

Ivan again,
Doesn't it amaze you how some assholes never seem to find the right way and always wind up lost; without any clues?
It seems our friend "Travis..." is going the wrong way on the wrong expressway and, on a wrong day.
Oh well, thats what happens when you get out of bed without stroking the ole piss-hard.

ivan said...

Good symbolic writing can emulate poetry as old Tillie Olsen used to do with her old-lady-manipulated all-the-time-by-stupid-husbands stories. Nothing like Tillie to show the way from story to poetry.
Oh if I could write like Tillie Olsen, that old prairie gal. We had some good ones out of Canada with Margaret Laurence until all the gran-grabbers got in under the wire to write semi-commie shit.

Yeah, Travis-Spammish gave me a laugh. Especially since I tried out a diploma mill or two (actually attendded classes) and found there creative writing teachers with not a thing published and one optimist who'd had a letter in his local newspaper and was convinced he was Balzac.
Gotta put in the old time, learn your trade.

ivan said...

About halfway through my own last comment, I said gran-grabber (an interesting exploration into the perverse anyway) where I meant grant-grabber, an entirely different thing. I further went on to say that these grant-grabbers were commies, which is kind of a dangerous thing to say in Canadian letters, especially since I've geen a grant-grabber myself (I got two, both from Ontario) and a whole slew of tuition scholarships at San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which at the time had its head as the University of California.
So I too am a grant-grabber, my latest overture being to the University of Alberta; but I am lousy on forms. I F*CKED UP THE FORMS. Now that they know I'm an idiot, I will have to start all over again.
As for commies, my stag party, many years ago, was given by the New Democratic Party out of Toronto, and though they are not commies, Uncle Tommy sure as hell probably was a commie. The NDP is kinda pink.
So I guess I was hoisting myself with my own petard, since forty years ago, anybody in literature who had half a brain was probably more than a little bit pink.
So carry on Ms. Atwood with your feminism and your dystopias.
I'd like to be able to say I write rings around you, but I can't.

Anonymous said...

> re-visiting your web/blog site,can't help but notice
> that the female portrayed is an almost dead ringer for one w.
> shakespeare,sans the appropriate facial growth and adornment...what the
> hell?...are you trying to play little mind tricks,you scheming
> Ukrainasian? cannot be that dis-enamoured with the passionate
> opposing...oops...opposite gender...all is not war nor is it all
> love...after all,carole pope was still a great artist,even tho' she kept her
> leanings quite confidential...that's no telephone pole,that's my wife...nice
> teeth,but can she run?...the heat's on,I'm the new janitor...all is
> confusing until the emotional agents strip away the cheap veneers of
> deceit...rub the right toad,and you may get a is a
> they say at indiannapolis,motor on,boy,motor on...on the
> other hand,she had a wart...
> ace zop

ivan said...

ace zop:
That comment was too cool not to post, though blogger has been running like mush lately.
: )

ivan said...

p.s. to ace zop:
I did have a photo of Greta Garbo in all her femininity and charm in my original layout of "Passion", but I screwed it up and had to get my blogger team to put up what is now up. I've got this thing for Garbo (necrophilia? Am I looking for dead ones?) especially since French television lately has been running Prof. Rath and the Blue Angel, something I really identify with; they made some great movies in l933.
Anyway, in YUPPIES THREW ME OUT in the blog just before you, there was something of the Professor and the Blue Angel in it.
I was the poor f*cked up capon learning to crow, up on the stage, for the people; the weirdest kind of Figaro. She had my soul and my balls and probably had a gay streak as well.

Bob Dylan:
Don't put on any more airs
when you're down on Rue Morge Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they'll really make a mess
out of you.
I did finally break up my Greta and her phantom lover, but it took twenty years.
And now that my font of passion has become my waterspout I wonder if it was all worth it. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Ivan, I liked gran-grabber better, thought you meant to say that, and that maybe you were now eying the blue-haired dolls! Did Greta really say, "I want to be a clone?", or was that David Suzuki, the clone prince of Canadian pop-science?

Yuppies and their damned Starbucks be damned! Any woman that would throw the likes of us for a yup get their reward and punishment at the same time! Please do not paraphrase W.C. Fields and say that you would not have any woman that would have you.

Say it loud, and say it proud; we march to our own drummer!

DoubtingThomas (no snappy addendum today)

ivan said...

Snappy enought, D.T.
As the actual story progressed, my Greta suddenly got endema, elephantine legs heretofore Lili St.Cyr smooth, a sagging face heretofore the spit image of a young Greta Garbo, and eyes like two pins from the heroin.
I attempted a rescue, but was very nearly killed in the process, though I got in a pretty a good shot at Superfly...I am five-eight and had to jump in the air like a banty rooster to land a punch; the whole thing would have been ridiculous had it not been so sad.
Eventually, somebody burned down my house, the cops said it was not Superfly and I attempted another rescue only to be ridiculed and called a moron. Flock! What a novel to have been in.
The upshot was that my Greta did eventually get away from Superfly
but by this time I was homeless and there was no way to reach me.
In any event it's all right to fall in love with a beautiful but damaged woman, but a hag?
After twenty years, we are both haggard.
Curiously enough, we both enjoyed the novels of Rider Haggard while in the literary circle.
I am convinced that truth is sometimes stronger and more fascinating than fiction.
Maybe this is why I'm having trouble with getting The Fire in Bradford republished; somebody might want to sue my ass off, though I do have a very strong fictional disclaimer at the beginning of the book.
Jesus, I live in my novels. My fershlugginer life is a novel.

Thanks for the comment, Thomas.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm....A monologue on writer's women? Zelda, Nora Barnacle, and Suzanne. One is known by the company one keeps.

DoubtingThomas (I ain't sayin' any more, and I'm not a politician!)

ivan said...

'Nuff said,though I am hardly of the stature of the writers involved with those women.
But Tabernac, could I live the life!--if you could call that period living.

Ginger said...

Dear Ivan,

Since my divorce I have made it a point to be the "girl" of interesting men. None of them writers, but architects, entrepeneurs, full-on troublemakers? Sure

No interesting men available? I am my own interesting man...even though I am female, and only slightly interesting. I know how to find the interesting women. I've known Madonna impersonators, greeting card writers, sex toy designers... I have been accused of being gay. No, women are beautiful, I am one, but for sex, penetration is a good thing, and a rubber phallis only recreates so much.

Trying to save those who would not be saved? Been there too. I still run into one of them everytime I go to my parents home to visit...a talented artist who fell in love with the needle. He works at my favorite hometown doughnut shop, and gives me free blueberry doughnuts whenever I stop there on his shift. I hope he still draws, but we only talk about my order when I stop by.

Passion is a deadly, dangerous thing. It drains your mind and makes your heart sing.


ivan said...

I sometimes wonder where the hundred grand went.
It was for passion, that's where it went. Not only does passion drain your brain, but your bank account as well. Makes you do stupid, manic-depresssive things and the first thing you do is lose the money, never mind the girl.
And all I got out of it was one lousy book, The Fire in Bradford.

Yet one day I parked my crapbox of a car in front of a barrel cactus
in Texas. Didn't have a cent.
...I had sent a copy of my book to my bank manager, a friend.
There was a bank machine alongside the cactus, and out popped $4oo and not crude.
This was hardly a publisher's advance, but I had somehow gotten to one person.
The thing is, is to produce the work.
Leave degeneracy to Ellen.
(I am surprised nobody has played withe this montage of words before--legal reasons, I suppose).

I would bet you, I would just bet you, that you are left-handed.
Which doesn't necessarily make you sinister.

Anonymous said...

> to ginger...keep in mind that there are many ways in which
> we all get synthetically screwed...we, all,at times,may be diving into what
> at first appears to be a clear pool of passion,but, in the process,we enter
> this world with souls and hearts of less than committed care,for the
> hedonistic moment of consumption,and somewhere down-stream,we deflect what
> may be genuinely loving response with our momentarily cold, synthetic souls
> and hearts...can't stay...only here for a little goes on...till
> the roulette of life makes its entirely too predictable turn and we find
> ourselves,in change,being the deflected...
> ace zop

ivan said...

ace zop:
Wonderful response. The kind of thoughtful response I should have made.
I'm sure Ginger will appreciate it.

Ginger said...

Roulette and passion - we all play the odds, and lose, mostly. But those times when we win...

I want to believe its worth it, even though I never win anything, not the lottery, not at the casino...the best I've done is broken even. And the game can be exhausting.

Eventually I'll put my chips back on the table, but, ever the romantic, I'm waiting to encounter someone that makes me think its worth placing the bet.

ivan said...

The Dan Hill song, late seventies:

"Sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes
and hide..."

Anonymous said...

> to matter how you shuffle the deck,you have to
> know when to hold 'em, and you gotta know when to fold ''s like a
>'s all about step up,two steps back...two steps
> up,one step back...smoke may get in your eyes,but it makes for one hell of a
> sunset...
> ace zop

General Jack Ripper said...

Ivan, you sharp devil you!

ivan said...

Body Fluids man:
You pretty sharp yourself.


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