Monday, November 27, 2023

Full Beaver Moon

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches tigers
In red weather.

Oh those Modernists fucked me up.  Two World Wars had done it, I guess.  Up was down, black was white, in was out.  They blamed and rejected Puritan and Victorian standards.  Sort of.  Wallace Stevens, who wrote that poem, was a Harvard educated attorney who worked as an executive for the Hartford Insurance Company and lived in a house with a white picket fence.  I think that is right.  If memory serves.  If I'm wrong, it's about the house. . . but I think I'm right.  He married a woman of whom his parents disapproved, and when they refused to attend the wedding, he never spoke to them again.  His wife suffered from mental illness and they slept in separate rooms for most of their marriage.  

See what I mean?

Or take e.e. cummings who was court-martialed for desertion.  Or take William Carlos Williams, the obstetrician.  

I can't put Frost in this category so much.  But they were all contemporaries and didn't get along very well.  Stevens liked to drink, it is known, and one night at a party, he disparaged Hemingway loudly to the room.  Hemingway's sister was in attendance, and she went home and woke Hemingway up and told him what Stevens had said.  Hemingway got up, dressed, and went to the party.  What happened next is told differently by different biographers.  Stevens swung at Hemingway and may have hit him and broken his hand.  Or Hemingway hit Stevens and broke his jaw.  Perhaps both.  In the end, however, it is agreed that Stevens was soundly beaten and lay on the ground.  This all happened in Key West during the Depression.  

Frost and Stevens quarreled in Key West as well.  It was the playground of the successful artists and writers.

Now Key West is a middle class mall for people who want to have a Wild and Crazy Time.  It has become a brand.  I think all the writers and artists left before the '90s.  

I was watching "that show" I can't name last night.  They went to Cabo San Lucas.  Holy fuck!  What happened?  Once a sleepy fishing village not so long ago. . . .  


People want what everyone else wants.  It's o.k.  I think they are happier in their blandness than any of the above named poets.  I think the whole aim of the Modernist Movement was to make people as unhappy as they were.  

Me and my friends, babe. . . I think we all subscribed.  One foot in, one foot out, of course.  Just like those Bohemian Marxists in Mexico, like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.  BoBos.  I mean. . . they had servants.  I think that is right, if memory serves.  If not. . . but I think I remember that.  They certainly took money from rich industrialists.  

* * * 

So, though poor, I think I aspired to BoBo-ism.  I wished to be a Bohemian with money.  I got close to money, but never had any of my own, no more than enough to get by and just a little more.  I, like many of my friends, travelled the world on a dime, slept in places you wouldn't want to, suffered things for self-glory. . . yada yada yada.  It's true, though.  I didn't just kayak placid rivers and estuaries and pay to have someone sail me around.  I mean I have, but not "just."  I didn't play golf in any one of a hundred resorts.  I hate golf and couldn't afford the rates.  

But I like nice things.  They just keep getting stolen.  Not once, but twice.  Some people blame me rather than the thieves.  Q did just last night when I told him.  

I thought about it for weeks.  Ever since the robbery.  I couldn't afford  the newest Leica, the M11 which sells for $9,000 new, body only.  I want it, but one of you nice people are going to have to buy it for me.  But I bought one a step under, used, for the best price I could find in the weeks of searching.  It is from a reputable place known for its quality service.  I can't afford it, but I did it anyway.  As Clint Eastwood says as the filmmaker John Huston in "White Hunter, Black Heart"--"Sometimes you just have to do the wrong thing."  

Huston, another Modernist who did the wrong thing. Often.  

Maybe it was the moon.  I bought the beauty on the Full Beaver Moon.  Maybe it was madness.  

I considered this, though--those of you who are mommies and daddies probably spend that kind of money on your kid every month.  That is what I told Sky.  She simply sent me the video of the moon.  Yes, yes. . . it was a lunatic thing to do, but I did it and now it is done.  All I ask for is that one of you--or a collective of you--buy me some lenses.  I need an M Summicron 50mm.  Look it up.  Be generous.  

Yea, those Modernists f'ed me up.  BoBos.  They weren't like the Russians--Chekov, Tolstoi, Dostoyevski.  Maybe I'm wrong, though.  Probably.  I think they would have been different if they had not been in Russia.  

And of course there were the German and the French.  

I shouldn't have confessed, but I couldn't help it.  Will it make me happy?  Happier?  Or will I feel unfettered, self-punishing  Puritan guilt?  

Place your wagers.  Make your bets.  I think it will make me feel like this.  Autumn and all.  

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