Saturday, May 29, 2010

An Epistle from Mark







Ivan,

Tovarich

There has been no change in my health or medication (Lipitor for cholesterol, Insulin for Diabetes, Vicodin for pain and Valium for fun).

I woke up one day last week and saw futility. Hell of an ugly creature it is, I allow that nothing in the apocalypse chronicles even compares in horror, to the heart of a man who sees there is no value left in anything, not life, not gold, not silver and especially in my case--words. Have no fear though, I am no Brautigan or Plath, I am not going to nor am I in the mood to choke on the shotgun. I am not that cowardly or afraid of succeeding as a poet and I have settled my childhood history a long long time ago.

I have returned to a place where I have been before, before blogging and writing every day and making friends over the world and looking for that elusive book that told truth as it is, not as I saw it. It is that same place in the desert where Stephen Crane saw his creature, that same place though, lovely in the way he worded it. where Bukowski came to when he wrote his Confession and that same place where Whitman wrote his ode to his own loss of mortality and the silencing of his voice, where he ends it.."to have been here--it is enough" That place called The Land of Disconnect. Unplug from everyone and everything and stick to the spatial boundaries of my physical self and simply allow my being to isolate and get through the days as best as I can.

When I shut The Walking Man down it was without much prior thought, I had been getting well over three thousand page hits a month (including the 2994 times I opened it) and had nothing left within my soul to put down that day and saw that what was there was, to me, had become drivel. Words that meant more to others than to me. I knew who and what my audience wanted and being of similar mind was more than willing to supply it them every day. It is easy for me to take a scene and write a poem about it. If God gave me a natural gift it was that he allowed only one of my eyes to be blinded 30 years ago to preserve my ability to write words. But I was also tired of believing "my own press clippings" the heaps of praise were a burden I did not want to shoulder anymore.

I so much want to leave here, go on a walkabout, but I know deep within my core that it would end badly. Joann has even encouraged me to rent or buy a vehicle that could go as far as I wanted to go (New Market for example) and take as much time as I needed to take but I feel it would end badly. Detroit would eat her alive while I was gone gallivanting around looking for small town North America again. (She does not have the heart to pull the trigger on the 16 gauge while I am near praying some bastard tries to kick in my door.) I would bring her and the dogs with me, lock the house up drum tight and rely on the insurance to pick up the tab but she has no desire to go and her job which she works three days a week never gives her more than four contiguous days off. She is content to stay home and putter round the yard while I am have come to a place of apathetic indifference. Even to my dear and lovely friends The Talls. They have gotten from me everything they needed and still want me to go out with them but I just seem now to think it more a pain in the ass to spend more than a little time with them while they live their youth without me being the director of their sane (if they are such) actions. They have in the past year matured and looked at themselves and see where they were and now have come to understand that there is more for them than they thought. It is time for them to move away without a thrice their age old man as their shield and protector.

Maybe I have lived too much life to early and these past ten years of forced retirement have shown me that the best I can hope for is to fight the city administration for a new sewer insert and cap in front of the house so when they finish the road paving job we won't have to spend the next 21 years sweeping water to the sewer like we have for the previous 21. (A fight I lost by the way but with assurances that if at anytime in the next 25 years it fails to drain they will tear the old out and put in the new, seems rather stupid to me but then that may just be the futility of rational thought talking.)

I thought of checking myself into a psychiatric facility for a neck up check up but I have known for decades that intellectually those haughty pin point focused fools were and are no match for me and I have no desire to watch them squirm anymore as I tell them the truth of my life as they nod their pinheads and say "uh huh, I see, so tell me again how you really felt about your mother?" . And no more desire to tell it them in either case.

So I don't know where the road leads from here, not to any physical disaster but you can assure the fine friends of the editorial board and anyone else who inquires that this too shall pass and at some point in the future even though I may remain silent I will re-connect to the world as it is and maybe, just maybe, by then I will again be able to see some of the beauty and worth of this place but for now--I am pulling out, stepping back en toto and moving on through Jon Dos Passos' USA trilogy to see what the hoopla about the great good of the socialist wobbly common working man was all about from that (so far) seeming horses ass.. So I put my chair on the porch, sit silently in the sun and read all of the litter-a-ture I should have read when I was 15 (If I can get some peace and quiet that is) and look for a door to a place of peace of mind.

Be Well Ivan

mark


TO WHICH IVAN REPLIES:

Mark,

Your burdens, existentiallly and artistically, have been greater than mine.

Here the parvenu carpetbagger somehow clumsily writing his way into a fortune and the klutzing his way out of it, possibly aping Mark just to see who he can be. It ain't pretty. That ugly dwarf that is the self.

You no ugly dwarf. You put others ahead of yourself no matter what.
A gift. For sure a gift. And you look not just inward, but outward.
I would say it's because of your damn intelligence that you are now not like other Americans. I used to hold Americans as durn nice people, but they have in their heads something like the tuning fork of an FM signal that cuts off the tops and bottoms off the frequecy in their heads, so that the only hear the loud middle, the tonic. Republicans?
Somebody once said that all writers are somehow Europeans, and therefor foreign to the mass of North Americans.
So away with the coffee house poet, more Fifities and Sixties style than now. Life has changed. The oil is out of the lagoon, there is a sensibility shift, a big one, and who knows what the sythesis will be. Enough that the past fitfy years have been years of nihilism as that oily thing has been polluting our souls--seeping into the cultural/intellectual attitude and now the incubus is out in the open, and it is hideous. Meanwhile, in Russia, it's even bigger totalitarianim
Perhaps I lean too heavily on old MAD Magazine out of the Fifties when satire, burlesque and nihilism could be bought at the drugstore. For better or worse, I wrote my thesis on MAD. It was Dada. Dada, putting urinal up as work of art, painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa.
But there is no Dada up now. We have Entertainment Tonight and Sex and the City. Women obsessed with enwhorement and the boys sort of liking it. In the word of Neil Postman, entertaining ourselves to death. And meanwhile, in the wings, people are being snatched and mugged left and right, like robed pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem during the various Crusades, grabbed, frisked and bumfucked in the bushes much as any naive crusader today.
What is it that I mean to say?
Perhaps it's that you're the real deal and I am a tourist in all this.
To attain wisdom, you have to take the hemlock, and I always hated the taste of pine needles.
Like Bassanio, let me play the fool.
But a busy fool. "Better a busy fool than a crazy one," another fool once told me.
"Keep busy, or go mad," said Hegel.
And find ein gutest bier.

Perhaps you have decided to stop playing the fool and have started to take yourself seriously. As you should.
The fame you already got. You've got a huge cult audience, we at Island Grove Press have published you and a wider publishing is surely around the corner.
Ah, but the price, the price. The god has a price. God has a price. The god wants us to find the evil and beat it with a stick. Let us get back to writing about good and evil.
Let us go back to writing about God vs Evil.
And the hell of it is, like one of your correspondents may have pointed out, that evil has this way of winning.
Jesus playing chess. I can't see it.
We go a lot of work to do.

I was once addicted to valium and dalmane.
Seems I only had mental clarity for one hour of the day. I could hardly write. Had to lock myself up to get off.

Came back as a badly patched up airplane.
But free.

Take care, Mark.

69 comments:

JR's Thumbprints said...

... and is not the best literature purchased, not at the grocery store, but at the liquor store? When will another Donald Goines profit from the misery around him? Why good vs evil? Why not shades of evil to wet our appetite? Why not an audience incarcerated, willing to learn how to read, suckling on the urban lit teat? If Eminem can make it in rap, then who will make it in this genre?

ivan@c reativewriting.ca said...

James,


You have surely shone a light on all this.

Mona said...

Ivan all I see are literary terms in this epistolatory novella of a post!

My eyes flip over words to land at words alike chronicles, odes, burlesque satire ....

I must be going bonkers with that exam in lieu!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Pressure before your exam for sure, Mona. I once got so nervous over an exam in Greek and Roman History that I mistakenly answered questions posed by another professor and not mine. The instructions were, "Students of Dr. Finesteine's class will answer Part A of this exam...Dr. French's class will answer only Part B."
I nervously anwered both parts.

I knew enough bullshit in philosophy to answer Feinstein's questions, only realizing too late that my answers should have been only in Part B,for Dr. French, my real course head.
When I got to the "reforms of the Tyrant Kleisthenes", I realized that this is the section of the exam I should be answering,not the philosophy part--ah too late; I had shot my wad and by now hardly had any idea of who in tarnation Kleisthenes was or what land reforms he had made.
Nerves, nerves.
There was this "choking" beforehand and I simply could not comprehend that I only had to answer part B of that exam, and not all of it, Parts A and B.

Ah well. Keeping true to form.

When I lived in Mexico, Clifford Irving, another flim-flam writer, but famous, said to me, "Mexico is an insecure and dangerous country.
There are only two ways for you to go here: A woman or a bottle."

...I took both.

Charles Gramlich said...

Powerful words from Mark, and from you. A man's gotta work through shit at times. and sometimes I guess all the shit is worked through and you sit down to rest.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Amen, Charles.

Mona said...

Did you pass?

ivan said...

Mona,

I did pass, but got only 63 per cent.

This was a little embarrassing in a premier institution like Trinity College, University of Toronto, where all the teachers and clever people went. You were expected, as in graduate school, to maintain an A, or at least a B+.
But I passed.
My friend, a Polish person tried inculcate in me a sour grapes attitude, by saying, "Sixty-three per cent. That's the Polish mark.
That's what we Polish people get."
I said I was not Polish, though certainly next door.

Ah who cares, I passed...Even though by the skin of my teeth.

Durn. Tough place that Trinity College. I swear it's like high school, but three times as hard.
Can't have dozy teachers....And I was so dozy.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I, too, am Polish (on my mother's side). Perhaps that is why I missed the mark in academics. There are folks who will say, "It doesn't matter where you are; teaching is teaching." Obviously they haven't been in a prison classroom. Teaching, if done properly, can get you killed.

Mona said...

Wow! Getting 63% in a subject which is not your subject is like getting an A++ !

& Here, I am preparing myself to fail. The exam that I am taking has three papers continuously for nine hours at a go. One of the papers is a multiple choice mental ability paper with questions based on syllogism, statistics , teaching and research aptitude, economics, political science and general knowledge as such...

I got some old solved question papers to practice ( solved, since I wanted to see the views of the experts ; who are the ones that set these papers) Some of the views are in direct contrast with mine, an appear to be very narrow minded.

For example, at one place they asked whether it is necessary in India to have a social security system for retired and old people. My answer is yes; while the so called expert thinks 'no' , since in India, unlike in other countries, most people live in joint families and so its the 'duty of the son ( mind you, not the daughter) to take care of their parents ; and so we need not waste public funds on aid for the aged!

Now , if my examiner is like one of those, he will not only mark my answer wrong, but I will have to suffer negative marking for each 'wrong' answer.

So I guess, with a mentality like mine, I might end up getting less than zero!

& If I do not clear THAT particular paper, my other two will be trashed unchecked!

ivan said...

Mona,

Wow.

Nine hours continuously! That is brutal.

I suppose that you have been abroad (why do I want to pun?) for so many years s that your attitudes will sometimes sharply contrast with
the received attitudes of Indian society.
That is hard.
On the other hand, you are of a certain class. In keeping with the caste system, Ghandi or not, you are of the upper business caste (I think) and therefore it is impossible to fail!

You are also likely familiar with not only English, but Hindi and Urdu. Is the test in English? If so, you have it aced, as these local languages are so nuanced and detailed that it must take an IQ of around 140 to be fluent in, say, all three of those languages!

I am surprised that one question is on the syllogism-- that trio of propositions that for me has led to some clarity of thought, but sometimes the logic-chopping of a Sophist.

E.G:

Socrates is a man
Socrates is wise
Therefore, all men are wise.

(Oops!)...It ain't necessarily so.

In a word, you are of a certain class. It comes with high IQ.

I wouldn't worry too much.

But the attitudes, the attitudes. Think like a Brahmin, I suppose.
Explain your attitudes.

I hope some of the examiners will be women. Durn paternalim.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

JR,

I was forced to do some academic upgrading on those who used to be called grunts at Seneca College here.
Once I was in that section of the college, and not in Arts, I had the sense that the other teachers were shitting on me. Ah, the company you keep!
Repetion and parsing of sentences, real teaching--that was so, well, grunt-like. But I myself was a grunt at math, so there were obviously things to learn here.
Like really, in those days I thought Trig was a deodrant.
Novertheless, to coin a phrase, It was hard to fly like an eagle....

I had to teach failures and welfare recipients whose reward was a community college education.
This wasn't prison, but some of the group consisted of former inmates, hard cases.
Still, Welcome Back Cotter was kind of fun, though some of the humour was certainly tongue-in-cheek.
One former inmate came straight out and called me a, lets say, cocksetter.
Being Cotter and having been around, I immediately advised him not to talk with his mouth full.
The class laughed.
But in prison, I suppose it might get you a shank in the ribs.

Humour. Got to have a sense of humour. Sometimes you have to entertain more than teach.
But then your poor dougheads probably don't get things.
And that is hard.
Be popular. Be the king of fools.
They might even end up liking you.
Hopefully, not as a sex object. :)

Mona said...

That is the problem with syllogism. It may be true, but not logical in the valid sense & vice versa!

& I don't get a chance to explain my views. just tick on an MR sheet!

ivan@creativeriting.ca said...

Durn multiple choice.

But you are a thinker!

When I was in Copenhagen, I met an Iranian chap and complained to him that my novel was badly received.

He said to me, "Give them what they want."
Urban fantasy?

But I am so Bored With the Rings.

Mona said...

The judgment system in India Stinks! Whatever it may be about , exam or court cases!

India is very frustrating in that respect! You can never get a fair deal . That is why the cream of every profession prefer to move abroad. They may have to work very hard, but they don't feel cheated since they get their due.

Here we have a system of reservations of seats , whether in jobs, or in colleges or in politics, for the scheduled caste & the scheduled tribes & their progeny. This system was introduced in the parliament bill after Independence, since there was a terrible caste system in India , & when Indians adopted a democratic system, they felt that they needed to abolish discrimination on the basis of caste & creed etc. So they had to bring the 'backward' and the downtrodden people at par with everyone.

It worked for some time, and now even when these classes have risen above the so called privileged classes after more than sixty years of Independence; they want to continue with the same system. As a result, the upper classes are being highly bullied and dominated by these newly risen classes ; & still dare not raise their voice for fear of prosecution . The moment you raise your voice, you become a culprit for class discrimination!

Can you imagine. 40% of seats everywhere are reserved for these people, whether they are deserving or not. The result is ( the first thing that obviously comes to my mind at the moment) is highly incompetent doctors & other men of professions & also bureaucrats.

The competent has a low chance in this country, specially if he is of upper caste!

& To update you...Brahmins of today think like that examiner I was telling you about!

Mona said...

Give them what they want?

I would certainly, If I knew WHO was sitting on the other side as the examiner!

Maybe the other one will not have the same attitude as the one I spoke about!

How am I to know...

so the only thing that I can do is to mark what I think is right & leave the rest to....whoever or whatever...

JR's Thumbprints said...

Perhaps I have brained myself on the raised foc's'cle. I'm not much for plunging into intellectual conversation, but I do know that "Less than Zero" is pathetic, that Brett Easton Ellis blows major chunks as a writer.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

JR,

Well, if it's the author I'm thinking of, there was certainly some extreme literary criticism of him.

I read somewhere that he got offed.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mona,

Same problem in New England in the late fifties and early Sixties.
The parvenu engineers and their slipsticks overtaking the established toffs in Boston and New Hampshire....But what have we now?...Bunch of dougheads if their perception of human sexuality and mores is any indication. And I don't even want to discuss Joe Lieberman!

Long lasting sturm und drang in India. What had been up has been pulled down.
Maybe sort of reverse Jim Crow?
Crow Jim?
I am tempted, as is my makeup, by humour.

Nirvana. It blows.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

It is amazing, that here in Canada, the multiculturalism foisted on the poor innocent native
Canadians--somehow works.

Poles and Ukrainians, long-time enemies seem to band together here despite the sins of everybody's father.
And some parts of Toronto might as well be in the Punjab, or the Carribean. "Cubanization"? I don't know.
Yet the miracle is--we somehow all get along.
Except fot the street gangs that are experts at murder and mayhem.
Seems to me that's where social engineering fails.

...And I'm not for social engineering. Seems to me we need to build a new elite, not just dumb paper-shufflers that JR describes so well in his blog today.

TomCat said...

I miss him already. :-(

ivan@creeativewriting.ca said...

TomCat,

Yes. An attractive natural talent.

(The rest of us have to work at it. :)

Mona said...

:) Crow Jim sounds good ! Now all we need for that is a scarecrow!

I would call it more like the present recession in the West due to imbalance in the export import policies. China will export & America Import. But it cannot go on importing for ever. The wealth has 'drained' to the East & East will not Import.

But let me digress a bit here, The West being desperate to set the things in balance, & knowing full well that they cannot excel anymore with East in any kind of manufacture except WMDs , try to create unrest in middle east and south east, and then offer to sell their surplus produce. Let them destroy each other , while we set our home right policy . But somehow, of the late, this has backfired. No one is buying any weapons from them anymore. We have learned our lesson well!

The imposition of sanctions did not work either. Infact, it created more self dependence in the south Asian countries than ever before. We started producing our own , which not only gave a boost to our economy, but also brought the prices down in various respects, specially of the things that would cost more upon importing them.

India has a vast potential and a huge human resource that is a boon in some ways. The only thing that pulls it down is the general mentality...

Mona said...

Hey Ivan, since I heard you repeat this question in many of your fictional posts , I think you will find it interesting to read this post of mine, along with the ensuing comments:Here

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mona,

There is no question that India is an economic powerhouse which may yet surpass not only the United States, but even China.

ivan said...

Mona,

Jeez, this is getting to be more like the uber Atlantic Monthly magazine than Ivan's quirky blog. And you commentators are making it so.

Your highlited post has drawn my attention to this honest and insightful exposition. I wish I had read it before I submitted my book on the femme fatale, titled "The Fire in Bradford", to House of Anansi Press, Toronto.
Sour grapes here, but I think the all-woman staff at ANANSI somehow missed my book. In fact, they rejected it outright and almost called me a schmuck.
This was odd, as a previous Anansi editor had gone to bat for me to successfully win an Ontario Arts Council grant for a previous novel of mine. He was a male, but now? Colour him gone...And colour me gone too?
I didn't quite get "F-off and die" from Anansi over my poor book, but the tone was nevertheless such.

So I turned The Fire in Bradford into a play and am now busy at probaly getting a rejection from the playwrights.
Perhaps it was that the book had the point of view of a male only and that is why the ladies at ANANSI had rejected me...That, or I wasn't writin' very good.
But I am sure that if I had read your highlighted essay first, I may have had a better insight, certainly a more positive response.

As the book stands, I have sent it around to friends, one of them John Dowson's wife (John frequently contributes to this blog).
She said, "What's all the storm and stress ahout in THE FIRE IN BRADFORD? This guy chases his girlfriend all over Ontario. Boring!"
The Dowsons went on to suggest that my HAT PEOPLE was a more powerful, more authentic and arresting work.
Think I had better now throw my HAT into the ring.
Already, one publisher has twigged.

Take care.

eric1313 said...

You are still my hero man. Reading and going to write more...

eric1313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric1313 said...

Letter to Mark

I'm reading the words of this man, Mark, The Walking Man... And I know him. We shared breath in a room with at 12 Mile High, the beloved name for our community college... Same place I learned from an outstretched hand and inviting voice to listen to the part of me that said fugg the world, I want to write so I should write. And he learned to hone what he has always been... I think. He was already sharp and I had the pleasure of feeling it a couple times. He got sharper and my skin was thickened. Life moved on, and we with it and the tides came in at the pull of the moon and the business that made our town packed bags and left town and the garbage men went on strike and the mayor went to jail for following his dowsing rod and lying about it. (nature)

Poets... heh.

I've read his words quite a bit, The Walking Man, he's a part of the history of Detroit, something he'll deny, but it's true... He's a part of the history of every place he's ever been through, any place he thumbed a ride, smoked reefer with locals or plopped down under a tree to read what he wanted to read and not what someone else told him to read. Likewise he wrote (writes--he's not dead yet, not by a long shot out of a red white and blue cannon under Barnum and Bailey's house on a pole) what he wanted to and what he wants. He went were he wanted to go, did mostly what he wanted to do, and like everyone else observed and learned to live with everything else in life regardless of wishes since it was there to be lived, loved, learned, liked or dissed, listened to laughed at or let go of entirely.

And now he says he's done.

Again?

I hate to call down the wrath of god, but he's said this before.

One does not quit life, it quits one. And All. But it will quit a person who feels truly that he has finished his journey and who cannot see another step to be taken. I know it myself. Going plenty crazy, worse than ever. But that's OK, it's my life to spiral around and toss about and pick back up because it is all i have. He is welcome to do the same, as often he has done, I'm sure, just not in the insane, asinine ways that I have chosen in my own drama that I write and re-write and throw away repeatedly only to have the pitiful wad of paper bounce back out and stare at me for being no Magic Johnson of the typewriter scene. He has his own insanity that drives him. A much sleeker beast that the amorphous demon that farts on mine and makes me laugh at inappropriate times.

He's no Plath, she was much more graceful and far more tragic and as he has pointed out stupid for shooting the beast that was her life right in it's big green eye. He's no Brautigan, same same... He's no Bukowski, he has too much self-respect to waste a dime on horses or hookers.

He walks. That's what he does and will do and has always done. He might try to walk away, but life, and words, will always be there to poke him in the shoulder or in the chest. He'll poke back. He does. Got some sharp fingers as I have said above. And until god strikes him with lighting or Tom Cruise's alien gods come to pick him up and drop him in a volcano, I think he will always be there and will come back. Maybe he won't just to spite me, god knows he can be like that when he feels like it.

At least he ought to come back. To verbally beotch slap someone as rude, arrogant, wasteful and hurtful as I am and have proven to be so often outside of my little poetic world of self-induced zen.

I welcome it, as i said, he was part of who made my skin thick and my mouth never run dry of counterpoints and teeth and taught me I too have claws, they are there to fight back with when ya gotta.

He shall return, and god help us all. Or if he does not... the same... all of us.

Because he's not done walking yet, not until he eats his own feet off.

So let it be written so let it be done.

eric1313 said...

And not one moment sooner.

eric1313 said...

-------------------------------
But maybe he is done, 'cause i bet his dogs are barkin' so bad it makes him deaf too.

If anyone deserves a break it's him. Delete my comment or keep it as you choose Ivan. I'll write some more later on what you wrote.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Keep writin', Eric..


I'd also be interested to hear what Mona says on all this. I think she loves Mark too.

Mona said...

Everyone is the part of History of wherever they set their feet upon...

& no one is anyone else...No one can be Plath or whoever...

Each one is Unique, with his/ her own fragrance ( or Stink ( do I pun?))

ivan said...

Mona,

Even though Mark has published a book, titled STINK through our Island Grove Press, I'm sure he's going to come up smelling like a rose. :)

eric1313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric1313 said...

Glad to hear he did get one nailed down! He deserves a nod for hanging in there, shouting the truth in people's faces even if he knew they weren't listening like they should be. He would make a point and you and I and everyone else he knows knows that points are what he made best.

And he wrote a poem yesterday on his blog. A good one. Liked it a lot, hit me right where I live since his poem is something that I kind of allege about myself in the above response. Universal truth is something he handles as well or better than most.

eric1313 said...

Letter to Ivan
(Diggin' this format, man!)

Giants lumbering in a land of ugly and unpublished dwarves. That's what you (both) are, whether it's been recognized or not.

Allow me to drop my pick and take off the silly hat and I'm just a dwarf with no job and less identity.

And of course you wrote your thesis on MAD magazine--what better way to show the soopergrads that you had mastered metaphorical means? That the truth of the world as we know it was a;ready in front of everybody, grinning and hapless and already processed into pulp for consumption by the much coveted 13 to 35 sausage market.

Today, if you were to write a morality play you'd be balled right out unless you started at a base of Evil vs Good (slight difference but palpable nonetheless). How would the story go? You've seen the Opening of Star Wars--it's a bunch of rebels of good but desperate hearts (rebelscum they are called, a name i have taken up for myself on different channels of media), on the fly and chased, hunted down, by the old standard of heroic goodness not fallen but given over gladly to the darkness for the sake imposing order on a chaotic universe.

We live it now, interesting times have found us.

And here we are, on the pages of some of the last truthful documenteers, saying goodbye to one, while heaping hope onto the one who still stands (or lies, it's all relative, is it not?).

In this way have I to keep busy, in the company of the old guard, hopng to steal wisdom from every sentence. A working man from a working town with no jobs, fresh up from the countryside away from the bumpkins and the race track junkies, and others who still have jobs (found mine there on the 2nd day of looking, so i know it's not me or my associates of general studies degree holding me back), typing while the sunrises (it also does that, ya know, it's not just for burning out your eyes while trying to talk to god) and wondering when I'll get up to eat breakfast and go hit the pavement to get a daily dose of rejection so i can feel loved when i tell myself one more time, 'not my fault...'

I'm starting to think that a Mad Fool is probably almost as good as a busy one. Has to be. The evidence was laid out by one far wiser than I a long time ago. And for that he was honored.

At least there is that. An honored fool. And people like me, who try to keep him busy.

(when I come around)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Eric,

You came back with something.

Supposing you had come back from the wilderness with no poem at all.

You have not given me permission to reprint here, but in my own impulsiveness and monomania, I am convinced that it needs an airing here.
I am sure the Dr. Mona and certainly others who read this blog will appreciate your poem for "Buffy" as well.

So here goes, the poem up on your blog right now.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010
My Hearbeat is Writing a Poem For You




and it might be a little too long
it might not even
be that good

but it will have warmth
and rhythm in it's blood
my heartbeat will know it
like it knows your smile
in the deadest winter night

knowing it forever and ever
and these 21 years of rain

my heartbeat
sings it like a favorite song
hot bluesman drunk with
memories and the muse

a poem about you
the dancing girl
who posed for a single
sepia picture
and floated off through
the maze of corridors
on a journey into the white

this poem will soon be over

but if you request
my heartbeat just might
be ready for one more
an encore just for you

singing it loud and strong
as the AM comes to light


------------------------------
Written for my beautiful friend "Buffy", the phlebotomist...

Known her forever and 21 years of Michigan rain! Tis true

Mona said...

That's the point Ivan, Mark's Stink really his fragrance...

Ivan Ivan Ivan ( shaking my head)Don't push on Vampire Slayers onto me, in your ennui!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Ode Dear,

I didn't realized the poem had a gothic turn, and I'm sure Eric didn't mean to have one.
Myself as an old Gothic fancier (I had to, for a course) I would like to say that I am so old as to have known the late Marquis de Sade when he was just a young whippersnapper.
As for Buffy, the nickname is one for any number of Elizabeths. I think our Queen was once known to her friends as "Buffy."

I think Eric was writing for a queen. Queen of his heart, to get really country.

Hah. That's what happens when Ivan acts unilaterally, without permission...I have lost more family that way. "You Toad!"

As for middleclass ennui, I hardly have time. People are still asking for reprints of my books which I hasten to publish at my own expense as not to lose a fan base.
And running from creditors gives me exercise. And the freelance writing for money--I get less and less money.
Says John Braine, "Write for money and you will get no money." Oh, it's true, it's true, though once, with my "Hat People" novel, I somehow stumbled into a fortune.
I was one of those losers whom people called promising, and it turns out, to quote some Englishman, "He whom the gods would destroy, they first call 'promising.'"...I think I drank the book.
Ennui? No. Too busy.

A Montreal friend, to pay an old debt, has given me, gratis, his entire publishing company, Warbrooke Publishers.
Heh. I just got a note from Mark, lately of our Island Grove Press:

"Christ, I want in!"

And he'll probably get in. I might even find some mild interest on his latest screed on masturbation.
Jerzy Kosinski advisted people to write about previously verboten topics.
Out came Philip Roth, with his immortal "Whacking Off", which, eventually became "Portnoy's Complaint" a huge bestseller in the late Sixties.

Ennui? Well perhaps.
Heh. Maybe you just caught me.

"No, no work today." :)

eric1313 said...

OK, she calls herself "buffy" since all the people she comes into contact with have the same tired joke about her being "the vampire lady" and she hates it. So she tells them her real name is Buffy and Vampires sun from her.

OK to reprint!

and it's also OK for people to dislike what I do.

After all, I write what gets put in my head and heart by the great powers. This just happens to be it.

If i learned nothing from my journeys in the southern US, i would not have come back home. I'll write about it one day, if i get some good words to start placed in my heart.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Eric,

Oh I'm sure she like the poem...She probably just didn't want me to set her up like that...

She was really bantering, as we do from time to time.
We're sort of a "paradox" a' la MAD Magazine-- Pair o' Docs,
though I'm sure her paperwork is a little stronger than mine.

I for one, loved the poem, and I'm sure if I can get my Quarks to come back, they'll ove it too...(Donnetta's computer has crashed in a house move and Liz Monroe doesn't like to comment in a high-volume blog because she says she "gets lost in a crowd.")
Come on now Mona, I don't know if you are in the F.R. Leavis or Lionel Trilling school of criticism, but wouldn't you say that Eric's poem holds up? Myself, I think it's good enough for Harpers or some other slick.

ea monroe said...

Ivan, I like getting lost in the crowd! ;-) All the better to see & hear everything going on! Although it does get a little weird and funny after smoking a reefer!

There was a runaway horse on the interstate today. He gave everyone a run for their money, even the lady with the apple. I think he escaped from the Derby.

~Liz

Hi Eric! Good to see you! Just call me Buffy.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Liz,

So nice to see your around again.

Runaway horse!. We mostly get runaway heifers in Ontario. And friggin' black bears with a sweet tooth for hunters.
Look out Elmer Fudd.
Mother Ursa will hit you with her pursa.
Eric and Buffy.

I saw your high school graduation photo. Eat your heart out, Sarah Michelle Geller. Smashing Liz, and she don't keep no baroque company. :)

eric1313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric1313 said...

Come on Ivan

Part of having thick skin is actually just bracing myself... at least for me it is, one never knows when the next slam is waiting to ambush you. I like to be ready in case it hits the fan!

Not worried at all, actually. It's cool...

But yeah, you could have warned me a little I think, though i do like a surprise like this.

Liz! Good to hear from you. "Buffy", ehh? ;) For you? I try to give everyone a unique nickname, but if you want to be Buffy too, then that's OK.

Mona said...

Ivan, its strange that you mention that! I HAVE actually written critical pieces about novels of Gothic tradition, specially novels of my friend James Goodman, the horror fiction writer from Tulsa Oklahoma!

Its actually on my blog. If you could let me have your Email Id ( you will find mine in my profile)I would first send the e book to you & then point out the critical appreciation for the read!

& No, I do not hate Buffy. In fact I admire her character! And an ode to Buffy is good enough for me!

My problem , is the same as you : The time factor! You know how and where I am embroiled in right now!

Mona said...

Eric, don't worry, no one here is ambushing you. &

If you really want to avoid ambushes, be like a river. Then, if someone throws a burning torch at you, it will remain burning, only till it reaches you. Thereby, it will be extinguished.

Mona said...

Ivan, :) you are beginning to 'know' me :)

TomCat said...

I saw a new post from Mark a couple days ago, but he still has comments closed.

Donnetta Lee said...

Mark will find his way through this fog. When in the midst of the doldrums, I ask God to please get me through this--not let me stay in this and be happy about it--but get me through it. So far, He never let me sit for long, not for too long anyway. There is always movement, usually forward. When you hit the bottom, there is only up. How many times do we hit bottom? Witness the ping pong ball. He's up and he's down. Just feels so much better to be up. Moving along...D

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mona,

I don't know about horror fiction writers, but I soon will once I see again some of James Goodman's work and your criical analysis.

I am at this time trying to wrench myself away from blogging a litle bit and get back to overground writing. Seems I have picked up an audience over the years, and they are asking "where's your stuff in the magazine?"-- and there ain't any.

And any number of old Ukrainians want to have my Black Icon reprinted at a time when for me even cigarettes are a problem when they are eleven dollars a pack here. And I have chapagne tastes, certainly in expensive booze.

Fok. Success comes thirty years later and one is almost immobilized.
I think I remember actor Don Sutherland being asked to come to Hollywood again after a period like mine. "Come to Hollywood," said the excited director."

Sutherland: "But I'm broke."

Director:
"Don't come to Hollywood."

Oh Damn. It's not money. Friggin' lunacy. Little devil on shoulder saying, holding his little pitch fork, "I'm gonna give you one hell a case of bursitis, ya little mothergrabber."
Ah well. Like I used to say in the Fifties, "It was da comic books that dunnit to me."

So yes, Mona. I will definitely look at your criticism of James Goodman's stories.
It's just that I have recently been passed over by, of all publications, the Newmarket ERA.

What. You don't like what I'm saying, hick paper? Is it

Hix
Nix
Stix
Pix ?

You nixin' my pix?


I gotta get out of today's funk and write someting.

I think along with Mark, I might have a case of black dog too.

This is usually made short work of by a bottle of Captain Morgan.

(Maybe that's the trouble.)

Get back to you soon, Mona.

eric1313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric1313 said...

I know that nobody here would do that... Ivan keeps very good company with dear exception.

But this is a public forum--one never knows when the the enemy will arriving with bared teeth and rifles loaded with copy pasted lambaste or genuine vitriol.

As I was telling him, I now enjoy the quiet on my blog. It's there for feedback from those who have it for me. He's posted my poems here in the past and I always like that, like being held up as a person with promise in his art. But this was the first time he posted the addendum/post script to one as well, and it colored who it was viewed, in a way I would not have thought about. :) It's all good though.

Anyway, just glad to be back visiting this house of critical, witty and original thought.

Good to meet you all.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Welcome as always, Eric. Hi again, Donnetta....great to see you back on air. Friggin' tornadoes out in Oklahoma have a way of rootin' out your router, don't they.
Makes me think of the last war and hiding in the cellar.
We are becoming cellar dwellers?
There is certainly some sort of war out there, but damn, on this continent, it seems to be coming from within. Why was Dick Cheney and Halliburton alowed to get anywhere near the BP wellhead. Hang it all. J'accuse.
Oh- oh. TomCat is the political guy.
I should not go out of my depth.

Folks, I think I have somehow shortcircuited myself. There was this pic of Lady Gaga nekkid in pantyhose and almost no bikini.
Yeah, yeah, lowbrow.
Heh. But I think I've somehow shortcircuited myself.
Well, Lady Gaga is low rent.
I am low rent.
Cheap fantasies of offering Lady Gaga a seat somehere.
This is cowardice, old guy poring over Lady Gaga pix.
Surely need to get out more.
Well, certainly D.O.M.
One has to be better than this.

Must write something to prove oneself worthy.
But hell, that's hard.

Ever try writin'? It's impossible.
So I write shit like the two paras above, by this time hoping for inspiration from above.
Sure need it.
Says on my liquor cabinet, In case of emergency, break glass.

This is an emergency. I must be more like Seymour Glass in the brilliant J.D. Salinger New Yorker pieces.
But I just keep seeing more glass.
I hope this hiatus is temporary.

Mark, what have you done to us? :)

Cheers all.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mona,

Oh Crikey,

I had a response to your criticism of James Goodman's book, and darn, again I went to "publish" without putting in my address and URL, and like a kluts, lost the whole thing in cyberspace.
Enough that it was a good read on James' part, and I am impressed by your erudition as a critic.

Just one note. When critiquing, try to keep it sort of "bestseller" style, that is to say, strive for brevity and make every word count.
But ya got the words and you use them well.

I must say I was impressed that James seemed somehow on a Dostoevkian theme, The Possessed, and old Fyodor surely knew how things would be in our time.
I think you probably sensed that.
So congrats on being a very thorough and canny critic.

Cheers.

Mona said...

Ivan, Its okay about the comment. I was just telling you about having been a gothic novel critic once

& hey, I am not professional. Haven't published a word of my own & have not experienced any conscious desire to that extent up till now.

Just make my own doodles on the blog for 'exodus of the mind'

Mind you know, is very dangerous. It can mislead you subtly & need emptying from time to time

Perhaps so does the heart sometimes...But the path goes via mind :)

As the D day nears, I would be extra busy too , and thereby be absent from active blogging for a while.

Thanks for the tips.

"Brevity, & every word counts"!

Don't make me Bacon . He was Machiavellian!

*Joking*

Of course you are right there! I am struggling still to make brevity my forte!

I guess, those "poemettes" you see on my blog are a little practice ;D

Mona said...

Lady Gaga? Now you have mentioned that one, I have always wondered how she must look as 'normal look'. She always appears as a creature from alien space!

Don't tell me, you are fantasizing about aliens these days :O

That is Bargain Basement!

ivan said...

Mona,

You say, quite originally,

Mind you know, is very dangerous. It can mislead you subtly & need emptying from time to time

That's quite an observation.

And I dasn't cite Bishop Berkeley in writing to Davy Hume, "No matter; never mind."

I do mind.
And I care.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

re Lady Gaga.

Without makeup, she really is something of a slightly nosy dog.

But like any spirited and athletic young woman, she has this body.

But then it's all body paint and klieg lights.

Bargain basement?

Heh. Musn't let the old army backround show, but we used to have this expression:

"You aint got no class.
You got pimples on your ass."

Well, I'm sure she has, but they don't show in the varicoloured coloured spotlights.
Maybe that's the thing with men. They are visual. And Vegas knows how to turn them on. Certainly Hollywood.
Oh the Follies.

And I fear I really am a DOM.
And more than slightly stale-dated.

eric1313 said...

A wonderful sense of humor you have Mona... (don't give me Bacon... lol) And true what we do cannot be mindless. I just saw a picture of her and a lightning bolt hit me it felt like... the poem was done in 20 minutes...

Speaking of which, "buffy" was ecstatic about the poem! And she said it was fine for me to publish the picture that I was talking about! it's with the poem now... a very artsy one, but cool none the less...

Ivan, any time yourself sir. I like it when you draw me out of my shell. Been needing it and you came through big time :)

I'm a happier man than I was last week! Friends make the difference.

eric1313 said...

Now to get Mark out of his shell.

the walking man said...

EVERYTHING EATS

Little sparrow, still as a stalking cat, stands
on the sidewalk waiting for time to pass.
It is near sun up and time
for the early worm to be gotten by the bird.

Cat stalks in the bushes and the tall grass
believing it is faster than a sparrow’s wing.
Sparrows, though, are smarter;
they work for food where they can see.

The cat intently watching the early bird
From its crouch never heard the mastiff,
without growl or bark,
jump from the porch.

The bird flew off, hungry still.
The cat fought with all it had, finally freeing itself
using its own claws and speed to move off,
beat up and possibly broken inside a bit, but still hungry.

The mastiff simply
went back to the porch
for a drink of water
letting the blood dry in its fur.

A blue jay flew so near and so fast past my face
that I felt the rush of wind on my cheeks.
It was the best meal of my day,
that bit of cooling rushing wind.

6-5-2010

© M. Durfee

Mona said...

MARK!!!!!

Eric, you made a wish :D

Dear mark! That is survival of the fittest you talk about. The blue bird brush is a bonus!

((((HUGS))))

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Eric,

I think my blog is getting a little oily, or how else did we get the Hermit Crab out of his shell?
Mark is back!

eric1313 said...

Don't blame me!

The man makes his own decisions.

But maybe it was good vibes sent from all.

Anything that gets you to create more of your art is a good thing is it not?

And the poem is top shelf. It has true substance and moves with grace as well, but TWM is not known for writing awkward lines, so that's to be expected.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Eric,

Yes. Mark is Mark.

But do some pretty cool shit yourself. In your poetry and especially in your essay comments here and elsewhere.

Mona said...

Just for the sake of this going #70 ;
Ivan (((HUGS)))

ivan@crreativewriting.ca said...

Golly. Thanks.
I needed that.