"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Manifesto for/by the Badly Behaved

1. Being purged is kinda shitty, though I think I understand why it's necessary for some.

2. Sometimes nothing's your fault and other times everything's your fault, and from time to time, culpability is shared, and (as Jimmy Buffett and Aerosmith remind us) sometimes it's nobody's fault.

2.1 Of course the results of 2 are sometimes 1. (I know this doesn't track, exactly.)

3. One learns, one thinks, as one grows older and presumably wiser, that instances of 1 would lessen.

4. They either do or they don't. I have a difficult time keeping track.

5. Poetry can come from 1-4. In fact, I have two manuscripts of poems, primarily written for people who no longer speak to me.

5.1 One of these people has drifted away, as people often do, not out of necessity or willfulness or anything calculated. We've just (this sounds cynical) used each other up.

5.2 The second of these people expelled me forcefully. But this was to be expected. I rejected her in a particularly forceful way, but I HAD TO. Yes, we were lovers, and yes, I was in love with her and yes, it was the most frightening, fitful, stress and trauma-inducing time of my life. And yet, I want nothing more for her than to be happy--even if I think she's crazy.

5.21 People who seem to end up with other people they deem crazy are usually crazy themselves. My Professorial Therapy Buddy suggested that no, we are the sane ones. The new partners are sick, sicker than we. I'm not sure I agree. In fact, Ben, no, you're wrong. We'll hash this out over coffee (but not at a 12 step meeting).

5.3 The third of these people, well, shit just happened. And it started out blissful and ended in a way that Elvis Costello describes "I Want You"--a pornographic snapshot, smashed box of chocolates, a little blood on the wall. Of course I'm paraphrasing and probably exaggerating, and toward the end there was nothing very pornographic unless you count extremely bad manners on the parts of both people involved. And yes, there was love. And desperation. And me failing. And falling. And 100 poems.

5.31 I saw the red truck the other night. I saw the man getting out of the driver's seat. I walked slowly to Little's then confessed to Aaron that I was fairly seething. He calmed me down. What a sweet, mellow guy. On the way back home I jotted down the license plate number. I know I'm not supposed to do anything about it, and I won't. Having that little piece of information, though, somehow calms me a bit.

5.32 You want to help people. You can't. You can't even help yourself.

6. "We drift in and out." One of the finest love songs ever written in the "rock era" is by David Byrne. Every woman I'm with, I tell her it's "our song." And I've never lied. How can it not be everyone's song? "Sing into my mouth."

6.1 "Love me 'til my heart stops. Love me 'til I'm dead." See, the simplicity here is key. Brutal and lovely. And I can't help but think that there are people who don't like this song. And there are cathedrals that men trace with their fingertips and there is a string section.

6.12 Tall lamp, white shade.

6.13 Edna Holt, Lynn Mabry, Steve Scales, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir. Am I forgetting anyone?

7. Beginnings are so messy. Endings are so messy. We can make promises. We don't mean to lie.

8. I cook certain foods out of a desire to be close to someone who no longer loves me (or who I no longer love). Apple tarts are one such food. I gave one to the office girl today because I could think of no better recipient.

9. "I've got a new partner riding with me." Will Oldham, PDX, Nov. 4. Another awkward paraphrase of something someone said: it's a song about not not loving someone you used to love. The song is about the old partner, hence the need to emphasize the new. Deliberate self-deception. And the voice cracks. Depending on the version and one's preferences a steel guitar does or does not diminish or enhance the plaintive flat statement.

9.1 "Ease Down The Road" is my favorite BPB album. It's about infidelity and well, beautiful and beaten people.

9.2 I think I have ruined certain songs or artists for certain people. My Navy roommate Jeffrey Carter ruined The Doors for me. An ex-girlfriend came to hate Lou Reed and all things velvet because they reminded her of all the drugs I was (wasn't) doing. Well, she was sure I was. She read my mail and my journal as well. The last bit of commerce between us was a bit pornographic and sad as hell. A few months later, in an envelope sent to my parents house, I discovered the silver chain I gave her the previous Christmas.

10. Yesterday, grocery shopping, I ran into a friend of mine, a friend I hadn't seen in too long, and one with whom my relationship seems odd partly because one of those who no longer speaks to me (and whom I bake for in absentia) also had/has close ties with her. Anyway, she was looking for meat in the Safeway meat bin. Pickings were scarce. She had quit doing something she enjoyed and I had quit doing something I require for sanity. And I thought, well, hey, maybe I'll start writing again.

10.1 And of course, I'm writing again. But the melancholic temperament has also returned. Maybe I can last a month, write some more poems.

10.2 There's a huge potted basil plant on my front porch. It will not winter over.

11. The other night I came home to find a familiar number on my machine. No message.

12. My book is coming out this month. Nobody will read it. Not even my mother. As for my other unpublished books, everyone who can possibly derive any benefit from any of their contents has already done so. They have been used. What's the use of putting it out there for nobody else?

12.1 I could be cynical (or career-minded) and start talking about jobs here but I won't. Besides, I already have a job. I like my job.

13. A final shout out: to Kevin M. in the rainforest, to Beatrice wherever she may be--I'm sorry, to Marge, Patron Saint of the Purge, to Alon Raab--I still owe you two Hebrew poems, to Sara M., where have you been? or where have I been?, to those of you I don't yet know, to "poetry friends," to the last day of the rest of my life--I'll be seeing you!

6 comments:

Tony said...

To be most effective, that last bit should be read out loud in Nanci Griffith's voice.

Julie said...

i would read your book if you let me. You should know that by now.

Larissa said...

I will read your book. I would love to. Heck, I'll even buy a copy. It will be the first non-compulsory poetry book I've bought in 5 years. Plus I think you should go back on the happy sauce. I like melancholy Tony, but optimist prime Tony is my favorite so far.

Larissa said...

ps I think they're all crazy...
pps Even your melancholic ramblings smack of poetry.
ppps See pics from Friday here: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0BaMW7Jo2ZMWEo

M. said...

I always see your MySpace posts about beer after the fact. Like, the next day, or two days later. Pick up the phone! MySpace is for suckas. And also me, but only sometimes.

Diana Marie Delgado said...

We are all crazy.