Saturday, May 29, 2010
An Epistle from Mark
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
TO WHICH IVAN REPLIES:
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.
Take care, Mark.