* sketch by Harry Clarke to Poe’s classic tale
* sketch by Harry Clarke to Poe’s classic tale
My mate phones me from the other side.
How’s it hanging? He asks.
Oh, you know. A little left of centre.
All our conversations begin this way.
How are things with you? I ask.
A bit up in the air, he chuckles.
We take a while to get around to things.
You still with that woman?
Nuh, I say. We had another stoush. You found anyone up there?
I’m in no hurry, he says. You know that old saying: Once bitten …. Besides, I’ve only been here six months.
Don’t go climbing any wonky ladders, I say.
Don’t worry, he says. There’s no light bulbs here.
So what’s the weather like? I ask. Up there?
Heavenly, he says. Heavenly.
A writer disappears into his books.
It is a familiar story.
And a familiar paradox.
If a man does not disappear into his books
They will not be written.
A judicious voice says, a balance must be struck.
But we are talking Creativity.
It is in the same category as Love and War.
If a man is to write a million words
Then he must disappear into his books.
He will not always be available.
Marriages will strain, children be neglected.
A woman can disappear into her books too
But not as readily.
Maybe she is more tethered to the world.
Maybe that’s it.
I have had a good think about this.
What is the best position to have a good think?
My first thought was of Rodin’s sculpture,
You know the one, the naked male figure hunched
over in deep thought usually displayed in public.
Nude thinking in public especially on a cold stone pedestal
does not appeal to me. Does it to you? Apart from the fact
It would lead you in hot water with the law, possibly
Not a bad thing if you were out there naked on a cold day.
There must be a better, more private way, I thought.
My favourite ‘think position’ is to throw myself on the bed,
head on the pillow, close my eyes and let my brain take over.
I am looking for some modern day Rodin to sculpt me
in this position, preferably not nude, and immortalize me
in public, a possible title being ‘The Prone Thinker’.
What is your favourite ‘think position’?
Reading about Roz Chast’s parents in her cartoon memoir
‘Can’t We Talk about Something Pleasant?’ makes me feel
Almost normal. I do know how to use the toaster,
I can change a light bulb, open cereal packets neatly
so it doesn’t look ‘as if a raccoon had tried to get into them’
AND I was comfortable using the new stove after only
six months. Compared to them I’m a genius.
Meeting the Parents
But I do ‘walk around with my feelers out’ like her old man
and ‘get distracted by interesting words thereby missing
the larger point of what was being said’. And I am a fast eater
like her mum. ‘Stop gobbling your food’, I was told as a kid,
[and am still told from time to time].
I’m only on page 30 of this 230 page memoir but I’m enjoying
meeting the parents. It’s like meeting me in a book.
after deserting me for a few days
my editor has a change of heart
and decides to return.
Yay! I say to myself.
Says he’s been reading my posts, and how I’ve been floundering without him.
You’ve pulled three posts in two days, he says. You’re sinking.
I know, I say, hanging my head in shame.
Look, he says. It’s no good fighting it. We’re a team. Conjoined twins if you like.
Like Laurel and Hardy? I suggest.
Same arrangement? I say.
Yes, he says. You write. I clean up the mess.
Most people think of stars when they think
Or grains of sand
But I think Adam Sandler,
All the films of his I haven’t seen
And all those I have
Even the stinkers like ‘Little Nicky’
I want to see again and again
There are so many.
Almost as many as the stars
and the guy’s still making them!
But as Jim Croce says, ‘there’s never enough time
To do the things you want to do,’
It’s just not funny.
If I had as many black hairs on my legs
As Roger Federer
Would I be a great tennis player?
Would I be as good as the Fed?
Do leg hairs maketh the man?
There must be a hair for every ace
He’s ever served.
If leg hairs were ants, which they look like
The Fed would be in screaming agony.
One day he’ll lose most.
Hair today, gone tomorrow.
You know the puns.
Hair’s to you, Fed.
Good luck in the Aussie Open.
Maybe I was too precious.
Maybe I should have had a thicker skin.
That way I wouldn’t have let the hurt in.
But then I wouldn’t have had that poem.
The equation holds.
Sometimes the best poems come from the deepest hurts.
But maybe I could have tried forgiveness too.
Chelsea spotted it in her comment.
‘Ha! Often that rail has a broken line’.
Maybe I had offended him. I’m not dim
But I am slow.
I should be building bridges. Not walls.
But then I would have had a different poem.
A more upbeat one.
I will try/
Better watch that mouth
Through it venom pours.
It’s like a runaway train
You got a mouth.
You got a brain?