Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"If I work my hands in wood."

"No intellectual work at night...you won't be able to sleep," father-in-law used to say..

Oh, what the hell, I won't be able to sleep anyway. Seems that that Blogger Walking Mans appears to do his best work at five a. m. I might as well get started a four in the wee. But. what I have to offer right now is just scrabble-scrabble scrabble.This is not good. This is not professional copy. Professional copy is different. The You is taken out of it. It has specific demands. Not a word wasted. Poets of typography we media freaks.
It is too easy to compose on the keyboard. I am so used to the old Smith-Corona, of pounding it, of making something with my hands. Odd thing about art--if you can call ratscrabbling that. . .You make it with your hands.
Or your feet.

I walked ten miles to Aurora, a pretty, town that used to be full of dressage horses and kids. Aristocratic little town, home of famed Torchy Miller at the Olympics, lately fallen prey to developers. The horses are gone, but the kids still around, going crazy as more often than not, in these new monster homes, there is no front or back yard. Running from room to room, screaming, texting each other.
Playing war.

Four miles into the trek, I hear echoes of Fats Domino:

It's time I'm walkin' to New Orleans
I'm walkin' to New Orleans
I'm going to need two pair of shoes
When I get through walkin' to you
When I get back to New Orleans

I've got my suitcase in my hand
Now, ain't that a shame
I'm leavin' here today
Yes, I'm goin' back home to stay
Yes, I'm walkin' to New Orleans

Why am I "Walking to New Orleans."

Well, like my father used to say, "You gotta use your head to save your feet, but but if no head, well, feet."

Gotta use both head and feet. Haven't sold anything for months. No money, no "funny".

I am walking to Aurora.
Follow your instincts. They will never let you down.

Along Yonge Street, a drunk is chased by a police cruiser. He throws a bottle of Bicardi rum out of his drivr's side window--which I immediately pluck forth. First time I caught anything but the flu in years. Hands like old Balitnikov. Heh. In this writing game there are times I wished I had been a homosexual so I could write better--don't they now?--but always quarteback of the stupid football squad. Well. Like riding a bicycle. I can still catch. Almost a full 26er. Holy Cow. There is a God.

There is certainly a Talmud. "Life lays down strange paths for men to tread upon in the dark."

Well, it's light out and something is guiding me.

"I am guided by the beauty of my weapons," Leonard Cohen sings. I have no weapon. Only my 26er of Bicardi rum, and hey, that ain't bad. Fer nuttin'. Gift from God. "Thou preparest a table for me..." Power in the psalm.

I walk right through the two miles of town, along Yonge Street, longest street in the world;goes all the way to Toronto.

I pass a woodworking shop. Antiques.

I step in. I love the smell of the place. Pine and lacquer. Linseed oil. Shiny, angled machines. New, laminated sidboards all around. Cabinets not yet finished. Sawdust on the floor. My father was a cabinet maker. I can hardly nail two boards together.

The professors had been too kind. "He writes like a Ben Franklin cabinet maker...a careful joiner."

Well, not so careful now.

I write like I make love. Everything goes in but the skill.

I need to work with my hands, maybe for therapy.

I recognize the shop owner. It is Paul.

"So how are you?"

"'Walking to New Orleans."


"Still. Flatfuggin' busted."

The last time I worked for Paul I composed an ode under a sanding machine for which I was paid a hundred dolllars.

"Paul, I need a job."

"What else is new? Get into the truck. We need to make some deliveries. Then we'll get you on the sanding machine."

There is a God.



the walking man said...

It is the walking in the right place at the right time that puts us in the position to catch the solution to a few of our needs like a job and even a few wants like a near full bottle of Bacardi. Your positioning also filled a need for your Bacardi patron...no evidence left behind.

Charles Gramlich said...

If I intellectualate at night, I sleep in the day. Good thing to have a job available when you have to have it.

TomCat said...

Ivan, Mark does his best work whenever he's conscious. Sometomes when he isn't, too. :-)

benjibopper said...

David Adams Richards always got up to write at 4 am - wrote until the kids woke up, got them ready for school, sent them off, wrote some more. Kids grew up and left but the habit never did. You write when you can, even when you make good money at it.

ivan said...


Yes, it was a win-win day.

Yes it's nice to snooze and not lose.

ivan said...


Like they used to say in Toronto about a good snooker player, "He's unconscious."
Great no matter what shape.

ivan said...


Interesting about David Adams Richards' work habits.
...Hate to say it about another writer, and a treasure of the Canadian East Coast, but I felt is I were on The Lost Highway when reading him. Hard to read.

Devin said...

I should have been born just slightly north of my home state -well maybe a little more than slightly (colorado) it seems all my favorite bloggers/people/writers/poets are Canadian! whether born there or not-Your blog looks so interesting and it seems you have been at it a long time (especially by post modern standards:-)
all the best to you and I can't wait to read more here -great to see Benji and others comments also!

ivan said...

Thanks, Devin.

Yep. Some of the "usual suspects" are here. Also some blogging ladies who haven't turned up yet.
Congratulations to the first anniversary of your own blog. You write well.

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