Monday, April 14, 2008

My bucket's got a hole in it


We no sooner get our most profound personal revelations until we peddle them to the people in the streets.
The artist thing.
Suffer damnably. Weep.

But keep one eye open to see if anyone else is watching.

This, of course, can be a dangerous preoccupation as we fix on the stars and stumble into wells.

Those wells are very deep sometimes and, as luck always has it,the guy on top of the well will probably be an asshole. "What? Did I hear 'help'? Hey, you're down there, huh? Gee it must be awfully uncomfortable for you.
"Can't help you right now. I'm having my lunch."

I swear I am somehow talking about my immediate family. "Drown you bastard!"
"Says older sister: "Your books don't sell because they're dull."
Brother-in-law says he reads my books on the can.
Cindarella is having a hell of a time with the sisty-uglers.
And the frog prince, not fully mutated, sticks his head out of the carriage to snag flies.

So, it's probably best to keep our self-examinations to ourselves.
Just when we seem to get it together, you somehow meet an asshole. Like the time I last taught at an American university.
"Ya gotta pass me. Jesus. I'm on the GI Bill. I don't want to go back to being a gardener. "Well, I asked for a critical analysis of a gothic novel. Where is it?
"I didn't do it ,but I"ll give you a poem instead.
It was a good poem, but I'm positive he had used that tactic on another prof.
Even an economics prof will sometimes take a poem to explain, say, John Maynard Keynes' proposition for full employment.
I read the poem, but it was about gay love.
Well, Shakespeare has been known to write some rainbow sonnets.
Yet Curtis' poem had nothing to do with critical analysis.
He looked at me with fishy eyes.
I grabbed him by both ears and kissed him.
But he sort of moved into that.

"Ah well, Curtis, this is not a Judas. Go back to your barstool. I'll pass you this semester, but not next."
"I miss being in love," he said.
"Tell me about it.
"Now don't call the prof a fag any more."

Ah. Living proof that all english teachers are eccentric.

Says wife, "You've got to stop kissing men, Ivan."

Ah, but the novel, the novel. Years and years trying to develop a technique and always falling back to teaching, because the novel advances (save for one) just weren' there.

So one day I was fired by one department in a Toronto college.
"Go back to Seneca King. They'll take you back there.
But don't come here any more.
Ah. Stalin- type dean. He'd followed me everywhere I went in his car.
"I am watching you." Well, Newman, this time I'm watching you. Next time you're in the bottom of a well, I'm going to say that I will have my lunch first."
Drown, you bastard.

Revelations, revelations,some not too pretty.

Getting fired leads to an identity crisis.

I walk around malls, late at night.

In the parking lot, I find a watch. Good. This is an identity symbol

There is also a face-down playing card. I pick it up.
Jack of diamonds.

Hah!: Hoyt Axton, the great Oklahoma songwriter.

Jack of diamonds
Jack of diamonds, Lord
Well I know you
Well I know that your were bold.


You have robbed
my daddy's pockets
Of my mama's
Of my mama's hard-earned gold.

It's rainin'
And it's hailin' Lord

And the moon
And the moon it give no light.

Won't you tell me
Pretty darlin'

Why you never
Never ever write


Things come in threes. You get rejected on a novel, your wife wants a divorce and the campus dean fires you.
You want to talk to a cunning asp at the bottom of the well.

With my luck, there'd be a game warden up by the winch.
"Leave the snake alone."

"But I'm drowning."

"Ees not my job."

Cried the snake: "I am wisdom.It is not for nothing that you are in the bottom of the well. What does the discarded watch mean?
And that playing card, the Jack of diamonds?"

"Identity, I guess."

"OK. Now go write your song, Hoyt.

I felt the bucket starting to rise.

I grab it.

24 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

"You've got to stop kissing men."

Sounds like wisdom to live by.

I threw away a watch today. Time is fleeting.

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I have heard it said that clockk-wathecrs are neurotic. Health!

Ah. Fun with pun.

You're a scientist. Have you ever wondered that Einstein's key was just time?

the walking man said...

I kissed a guy on the lips once, he was an extremely homophobic foreman on a rant. Did it in front of the whole crew. He left his job and moved back to Tennessee 3 weeks later. Fuck those at the top of the well who need their lunch first.

Hang on Scarlett, you'll whore you're way back to prosperity after the war.

Ivan you just hang on; your flowers are blooming here and you will collect them, arrange them and sell the things at an open air market.

Peace

mark

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks Mark.

I needed that.

Anonymous said...

Ivan..I cut and pasted it for you.
tom


For Immediate Release: Monday April 14 2008
For: Editorial Release
Subject headline:
Poverty Square-table Continues..Grows!

The Poverty Action for Change Coalition of York Region continues in the quest to reduce poverty by acting as hosts, Friday April 18 at the Newmarket Magna Centre from 9AM – 11 :45 AM, to a committed panel of politicians as well as PACC members, assembling to find ways to reduce poverty in northern York Region. The second in the series of ongoing information gathering and discussion sessions between key politicians as well as PACC members, are designed to lead to action.

The non-partisan group is made up of all levels of government including: members from MP Stronach’s office, MPP Frank Klees, Regional Councilor John Taylor, former Aurora mayor and MP candidate Tim Jones, Georgina Mayor Rob Grossi and has added municipal level representatives Newmarket councilor Joe Sponga, Aurora councilor Allison Collins-Mrakus as well as East Gwillimbury councilor Virginia Hackson and will be again facilitated by PACC’s Chair, Tom Pearson.

This 1st ever forum to tackle poverty specifically in the region, will also feature the presentations of true poverty problems related to the panel from real people - living and seeing everyday - the affects of poverty. The Fri April 18’s attending panel will hear from the first three guests, PACC members, who will relay information specific to their lives and what is and isn’t currently working for them and what isn’t being addressed. Information is expected to include transportation issues (including disabled), housing, social services, work, health, and other related issues. Single and two couple families will also be represented in the process. Future meetings will address other concerns - again through true stories.

The unique forum’s format allows that the panel can digest (review/discuss) the information so that it can be addressed and hopefully acted upon in future meetings - including asking for attendance and input from various to- be-determined sources. The plight of the marginalized guests will literally drive the direction of the Square-table making it a unique, effective forum that cuts out the bias of a “middle- person” through directly hearing from the end users- those in poverty.

For more information on the Square-table forum or PACC visit www.povertyacc.com

Anonymous said...

Now this was worth sending on


Garge, the Newfie painter, while not a brilliant scholar, was a gifted portrait artist. His fame grew and soon people from all over the country were coming to Gander to see him for paintings.


One day, a beautiful young woman pulled up to his house in a stretch limo. She asked Garge if he would paint her in the nude.



This was the first time anyone had made this request. The beautiful lady said money was no object; she was willing to pay $50,000.

Not wanting to get into trouble with his wife, Garge asked the lady to wait while he went in the house and conferred with Lena, his missus.

In a few minutes he returned and said to the lady, " Would be a pleasure ma'am. Missus says it's okay. . I'll paint ya in da nude, but I has ta leave me socks on so I has a place to wipe me brushes.. "

(Submitted by a Newfie with a wicked sense of humour).

Lana Gramlich said...

*ROFL @ the Newfie-submitted joke posted by anonymous!*
The way I see it, the more I'm at the bottom of the well, the greater the lessons I have the potential to learn. Those at the top of the well haven't got a clue. F*ck 'em. ;)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Lana,

How right-on!

Donnetta Lee said...

Ah, Hoyt. Gotta love him. Philosophy comes from the strangest places. Well, you know, Jeremiah was a bullfrog. What more can you say?
Donnetta

Dr.John said...

THe bottom of a well is such a strange place. But are you sure you want to get out?

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hey, as long as you're in a bucket full of crabs there's others willing to pull you down. As for me, I ain't touching ya.

Thought I'd stop by, see what's in the bucket, say hello, then leave.

Ivan@creativewriging.ca said...

Always understoode everything Hoyt said, and I always drank his wine.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Dr. John,

That's my well and I'm sticking in it.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

JR,

A lot of Nefoundlanders, known for their humour, read this blog.
"Hold the lobster pots, momma, Johnny's come home with the crabs."

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Donnetta? That he was a good friend of mine? Ha!

T

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ivan, sir Ivan, you have once again given us a new taste and I like it...smiles. Sometimes You have to give a lot to just get noticed, but then that when it all pays off.

Now here is something for you...course, you may or may not understand it. It just came out of my head... too many exams?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Slow avenues in the middle of the day. Cars drifting like clouds, everywhere to go, But no means to get there

In the back of my mind The philharmonic play and I get lost in
The thickness of each violin stroke, each tangled up bang on the low lying drums

I’m trying to pay attention, but the colors are dull and my taste buds want something hot and sweet

Mid-summer, 90 degrees, sweat rolling off my freshly squeezed lemonade I bought for 55 cents out of the coke machine

The bitterness of the lemon brings me back to high school. Chorus actually, well rehearsed, yet ... forced to eat a lemon slice … clears the vocal cords you know.

I press the cold can to my forehead, the sun seems hotter this year and the Indian blood in me
is rising, like a pan forgotten and left on high heat

I turn the radio up, old 80’s songs are playing, “Addicted to love”, oh yes, that’s me, except I Have no use for all that make-up. Tragically not always a pretty picture. But then … I don’t have to be

The car next to me is playing Pavarotti so loud it drowns out my mood. What does it matter? Who wouldn’t want to hear the big man bellow out loudly,especially while being kissed. Oh yes, now, there’s
a fantasy, silly, I know, but still …

Finally the traffic begins to move, 5 feet out and we have stopped again. I change the radio station.
Pray out loud …Please God, play me something cheerful, you know how I get when I over heat

I look at my watch, almost an hour has passed. Everyone is frustrated, the woman to the right of me keeps pushing her hair off her forehead
and then bangs on the steering wheel as if that will make the traffic move faster.
I wonder what she is late for.

The man to my left sits high in his old beat up Pick-up truck, red bandanna around his head and somehow I am reminded of Olivia Newton-John singing, “Let’s get Physical”, not exactly what I was going for

The family behind me looks as if they are about to have a melt down. The mother looks physically exhausted and the children have nothing to say below 1000 decibels and the father looks like he would rather be drunk in a bar full of
strangers.

Alright! We are moving again. Nearly a half an hour has
passed since the last five feet. I am beginning to wonder if I will get home before night falls

I flip through the radio station again. Nothing, no reason to why we are stuck like tiny matchbox cars on someone’s rather large racetrack
Maybe their batteries are dying

(laughs)
Now wouldn’t that be interesting.

Seems like we will keep moving
Good thing… I am getting tired

It is late, finally I arrive home
Everyone is sleeping, but for some reason my fingers need to write, to express. (Funny) They behave as if I have someone beside me, actively listening …
I don’t … (Shrugs)



T

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

That's worth an A, Tara.
You're something of an empath.
And now I'm your not- so-secret sharah.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ivan?


::soft smile:

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Smle back.

Gotta watch Jon Stewrat on cable.
Had stressful day. Need a laugh.
Hillary can hold her liquor.

Whoops! Better not go there.

Sienna said...

Gotchya something Ivan, (slightly borrowed from Josie's):

"Illegitimus non carborundum!"

Latro! Fremo!

Pam

Ivan@creativewriing.ca said...

Hey Pam.

Right-O, mate!

Can't let the bastards wear you down.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ivan,

You won't understand this, but THANK YOU!!!!!


T

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

You're welcome. I think.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Oh, if you knew, you were not have to think....smiles.

T