Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Love and Loss

Josie's recent blog about a marital reconciliation has moved me to reprint this old chesnut of mine about love and loss.

Watch out, it's dark.


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 she even a acquired 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 big those needles seemed to be and how quickly the girls would put on the side effect of endema. Gorgeous calendar girls, legs suddenly grown elephantine. 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'tcare..

And then the separation got nasty.

If you know how badly you hurt me after what you've done.

He: 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. 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 emotion. 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. And editorial witer chuckles, , "Smith will be given a huge California publishing contract. But Smith 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 says Chutzpay boy.
Who can love Duddy Smith?

It's older women now. There is no impotence 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 quarter 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..."

There is production in the garret, actually an industrial unit. There is work immediately outside at a 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 curcumstances, 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, the CityTV founder.

All that talent and greatest success as a purveyor ofsoft-core pornography. Like me. He whom the gods would destroy, they first call promising.

Time. Time. Time. The professianal uses time. You can not knock down a professional. The word- man. The walrus.
I am going to read my stuff and bring a flood of applause upon the house of the rising sun.

I'm walking to New Orleans.

In the wet.


Josie said...

When I was thirty-five
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means
We'd ride in limousines
Their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

But now the days grow short
I'm in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine
from fine old kegs
from the brim to the dregs
And it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

ivan said...


How nice.

Wish I could have said "I did it My Way".

But then that sounds sort of deviant too. Heh.


Josie said...

Indisposed? Hope you're okay...


ivan said...

I told Liz I was echoing that old Hank Williams song, "My Bucket's Got a Hole In It", or as in the old Gunsmoke, with James Arness, Festus might come up to the Marshall to announce, "Somebody shot a hole in mah frame, Mr. Dillon."
I think, metaphorically that somebody shot a hole in my frame.

Liz suggests I use chewing gum.

Think I'll try that.

But that somehow makes me think of Wrigley Field and the Chicago cubs.


ivan said...

P.s. to Josie,
Just leaved through a novel by young Dennis Bock, THE COMMUNIST'S
It's largely a bunch of letters Dr. Norman Bethune sent to a daugher he'd never seen.
Mildly interesting, especially the part where Bethune says using your brain makes the present situation somehow less stark.
Must get on with it!

EA Monroe said...

Good morning, Ivan. I hope you are feeling better!

I adore "Love and Loss." You have lyrics in your prose that would kick Richie Sambori and Bon Jovi's ass!!

ivan said...

You sweet thing!
Comparing me to my musical heroes,
Richie Sambora and singer Bon Jovi for Sambora's tablature.
I am not quite out of the woods yet, though the sun is shining brightly at four American degrees above zero. Snowbanks now all around.
I have only written two songs, none of which can match Richie.
As for the prose, music so does inspire, but largely it's other people's.
Thanks, doll.


Sela Carsen said...

Ivan, that was beautifully tragic. Everything you write is so beautifully tragic. There's a lulling rhythm to your voice.

ivan said...

Thank you!
Some publisher said tragicomedy is something I should try.
I just had a quick gander at your site and see you have a second novella out now, whose name is
"The Virgin Courtesan", a kind of Mata Hari who'd never Hari'd anyone. This has to work! Woo-Hoo!
Forgot the publisher. Samhein?
I'll have another look
Thanks again, Sela.


Sela Carsen said...

This one is for Forbidden Publications. Fairly new. The Jan 29th batch of books all center around a theme of "Forbidden" in some way.

ivan said...

I will hit "Forbidden Publications" as soon as I stop being crazy.

JM said...

I believe you let me read this piece sometime ago, Ivan.
It remains brilliant.

ivan said...

Thanks, Jeff.

I had been reading Josie's blog on marital reconciliation and somehow stumbled, in my archives, upon an old piece that shows what happens when you end up in Gustave Flaubert's land of "shot horses and fallen women."

Hey. You're a professional crime writer.
Just see by the news there was a major fire in Ajax, Ontario. Arson?

Just curious.


H.E.Eigler said...

Sela describes it best - beautifully tragic.

I am always surprised by what I read here Ivan. Well done.

Josie said...

Hi, Ivan, I hope that cranky civil servant on my blog hasn't scared everyone away... :-(


ivan said...

thank you, Heather.

I see you're gaining all sorts of new commentators on your blog. Great.

ivan said...

What in tarnation is happening?

I go to Sela's blog and the most recent one is missing, then I go to yours, and the top blog is missing as well.
All I see in what should be today's blog is that column on uh,
natural gas.
Is it blogger? Is it beta?
Is it the cranky civil servant?

I don't trust my moods these days
but I really feel like reducing someone to a hank of hair and a piece of bone.
Like, I've been to the school of repartee, I am skilled at the put-down, viz,
There is a drum roll.
Everybody knows Ivan has been to the school of repartee.
There is a hush.
They wait for Ivan and his awsomely sophisticated epirgram.

Ivan: F-off!

Josie said...

Ivan, I can always count on you to make me laugh.

I have a new post now. It's probably politically incorrect as well. But the blog policeman can go sc*** herself if she doesn't like it.

Did I just say that?


ivan said...


H.E.Eigler said...

Indeed I do - thanks to you!

ivan said...

Take a page out of your book, Heather.
We do what we can.
Thanks. :)