Microsoft Word quit working on my computer and I began considering my options while trying to fix the cause. My God, would I have to go back to pen and paper? Since I’ve started writing again, I don’t use a pen or paper, just my computer. I’ve been silenced by some software glitch. No way am I pulling out a yellow lined tablet of Big Chief paper to achieve the right words in the right order. I’m not going back to those days.
When I was young, and most of my peer group were exploring music, creating garage bands, and wanting to live like Jim Morrison, or Mick Jagger, I was a garage poet. I did everything possible to learn about poets, forms of poetry, and poetics. I read of aspiring poets and writers dancing on the graves of those literary geniuses who lived and died before them. It was their moment of rebellion to say; “I am alive and you’re not.”
One day I traveled to Baltimore to Edgar Allen Poe’s grave, and then over to another Maryland County to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s grave. I did not dance, but instead smoked a cigarette while the disturbing urban traffic passed by on crowded intersecting City streets. I thought of Poe’s lyrical words of poetry and prose.
Of his poem Annabel Lee; “And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me.”
Of Fitzgerald’s compelling allegories in The Great Gatsby. The last line of that book appears on his marker;
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
I remembered reading that Charles Baudelaire wrote poetry on a naked woman with a quill pen. I had to have one, and a quill pen as well.
Getting a quill pen was easy, but convincing a young woman to participate was going to be more difficult and had to take place at a time of her “least resistance.”
The labor and scratching out my words on flesh, reciting each word to her on each completion. Watching her eyes close and open and roll left or right to the pressing of the sharp tip dipped in ink, and her soft grin when the feather intentionally brushed her nipples. Letting her freckles become periods, question marks, commas, or exclamation points.
“Press harder, harder, right there!” she demanded.
Yes, those Catholic school girls were always demanding.
And when she looked in the mirror, even though the words were seen backwards, she knew the meaning. It left no scar or tattoo and was more like mist on a Kentucky bluegrass hill, and the poem faded after a few showers.
When I wrote a Haiku poem called Melanoma, and swirled a magnificent calligraphy around a few small moles and freckles, she called me a “pretentiousness ass,” and that was the end of my “quill period.”
At the age of nineteen, I received The Maryland State Poetry award for a poem about Ezra Pound and paid $25 for the first rights to that poem. I also was selected by Loyola College as one of 13 college poets worthy of their attention and publication in a small anthology. I was in a community college at the time and if I could dribble a basketball, or use a lacrosse stick I would have received a scholarship. I could have made more money in a garage band.
I thought of Poe and Fitzgerald, and how, with all their success with writing, they still ended up broken men and financially poor. Irony is, to this day people are making money off their works and those men sure could have used it while they were alive.
Except for my writing on naked Catholic school girls, I learned for the most part, words were valueless, and had no monetary value unless the writer markets himself and finds an audience.
So I quit writing, even on naked girls. Put away my pen talent. Put away all what I had learned of this art. I had to find more profitable enterprises to support most of my life. It was not my time.
I DIDN’T DO IT. Haunting me as I pushed it away over the years and only jotting words down that I thought I might need someday.
Then things happen as we grow old and wear the bottom of our trousers rolled.
The currents eroded my shoreline of everything in my life and what is left is what investment I made so many years ago. A 401K of the Literary Arts.
So do not think of me as cocky, full of myself, or want to knock me off this lofty perch. Don’t ever say to me; “Get over yourself!” Like the least intelligent without talent would say.
I am in pursuit of title and championship belt.
I must market myself, do everything I can for you to read me as I create. Do everything I can to solicit an audience and profits. Seek support from others to keep me on my feet. A promoter and or a trainer in this boxer’s corner.
The blood and the mouthpiece spits in a vomit gust onto the canvass. I drop to one knee as the countdown to knockout begins. The ref swings his arm and points at me on every number; “Four…., Five…., Six…”
Microsoft’s Word is now working again. Only had to delete a conflicting program that kept it from opening. Now I can continue writing.
The mouthpiece is returned and the ref looks into my eyes to check my consciousness while shaking both of my gloves.
Sitting near ringside, an older woman leans toward her friend and says; “He used to write poems on my naked body.”
The round continues, so that one day, there will be smoking and dancing on my grave.