I love the way this piece doubles in on itself – a spiral that rewrites what you have read by the time to get to the end. I had been reading books on Zen by this time. Partly to step out of the culture I felt trapped in & partly to seem more intellectual than I really was. I’m not sure how much I understood of them at the time but they sure looked good on my book shelf.
It’s another poem to a non-existent ‘you.’ The shadow was perhaps the fear of coming out? There’s also a realization that we often stand in our own way & until we learn to get over ourselves there is no progress. Maybe getting older was the shadow because as we age we can only remember but never get back.
I hear carousel music
when I want a lullaby
a dreamy hand to cover
this melody I can’t control –
who will I kill today?
Persephone danced for Gauguin;
Medusa carved for Rodin;
ears bled for Van Gogh;
children laughed for clowns;
who will we kill today?
let’s hang the clown,
railroad the circus out of town;
leave him sway till he rots;
who will we kill today –
ha, let’s hang all the clowns
I am a fan of Gauguin. I had prints of his painting hanging on my walls. The adventure of his life, the escape to the Pacific, were ideal fantasy fodder for me. If I had gone to French Polynesia it certainly would have been the native men I would have fallen for. I read & reread a biography I had of him. I had the Time-Life art series ‘The World of …’ so I was familiar with the works of Rodin; Van Gogh. They were thwarted geniuses – just like I was 🙂
I’m not sure how this poem segues from verse to verse – dance music painting sculpture – all fine arts, I suppose, but the connecting tissue is lacking. I’m also not sure where this penchant for hanging, or for clowns came from either. Maybe the face painters present to the world is a painting hung on a wall – like clowns presenting their painted faces to the world?
Dan was surprised that Sanjay did go to Kevin McLeod’s engagement fundraiser. The lineup outside was being entertained by clowns juggling on unicycles. Mario Delucia, Kevin’s manager/partner, dressed as an aerialist in pale pink tights, with sequins sown in a scattered pattern that caught the light, was greeting people as they came in and handing each of them a cd of Kevin’s new single.
“Dan so glad you could make it.” He gave Dan a CD. “And this is the Sanjay Kumar. A real power couple. Crime and cream pies. There’s a TV show plot for you right there.”
He turned to the next guests coming in.
As they made their way in and up the stairs they saw many people they knew who greeted them. Hugged, kissed, asked how they were doing, then busily went to the next people they half-knew as well.
Dan took a couple of glasses from a waiter. Handed one to Sanjay.
“Impressive.” Dan said.
“Yes, if you like glib.” Sanjay sipped his wine and wrinkled his nose. He looked for a place to put his plastic glass down.
“”You were supposed to call me back?” Cyrtys Baxter barrelled through a clump of people.
“I’ve been busy. Sanjay this is Cyrtys Baxter. He called the other night.”
“Pleased to meet you. Look there’s Tracy from Zephyr. I’ll go see if they need a hand.” He kissed Dan quickly on the mouth and went.
“Very handsome.” Cyrtys watched Sanjay leave. “You like them a bit on the thick side I see.”
“You know Kevin McLeod?”
“Not at all. We’ve met a few times but this is the event of the season. Why thank you.” He accepted a balloon animal from a clown. “Looks like cock to me.” He laughed. “You pose for this?” He asked the clown.
The clown disappeared back into the crowd.
“You know Kevin?”
“I worked on a couple of his videos. Post production stuff mostly. Some green screen.”
“You’re a man of many talents. I was expecting you to return my calls though. Even during business hours.”
“Sorry, I was caught up in work. It was interesting to meet John Kilpatrick though. He’s an excellent host for the show. Didn’t sound like he was leaving the show.”
“Look, Daniel I didn’t mean to mislead you, honestly. But he was talking about wanting more money, about having another offer but that offer fell through and we’re stuck with him for another season. Contract you know.”
“So what did you want to talk to me about.” Dan accepted another drink from a waiter and some canapés.
“We want to do a more complete follow up to the east coast case. Possibly a mini-series looking only at that one case. I’ve seen the footage Stephanie shot with you and the camera loves you.”
“I know how to find my light.”
“Mr. James you have to learn how to take a compliment.”
“Mr. Baxter you do realize some of us can tell the difference between flattery and a compliment.”
His reply was cut off when a young girl jumped at them with a flash camera. She took three quick photos before taking the camera away from her face.
“Moxy Moxham. Girl reporter!” She did a quick curtsey. “And I do believe I just caught Mr. and Mr. James in polite conversation at this prestigious event.”
“Sorry to disappoint ya’kiddo,” Dan tried a 30’s news editor voice, “but no dice on the Mr. & Mr. angle.”
“Oh,” she was crest fallen.
While he did introductions he looked around the room. “Is your Dad here, too?”
“Over there somewhere. Oh look there’s Lady GaGa! I got to get pictures of this. She’s dressed like a normal person!” Ashely pushed her way into the crowd shouting. “Make way! Make way. Press.”
“What a handful.” Cyrtys shook his head. “Ever wish you had children?”
“Not at all. Sanjay is often enough.”
“I am serious though about …”
“Cyrtys I’m not here to discuss business, Really. I came as a friend of the grooms. Come to my office Monday and we can discuss whatever it is your are trying to pitch.”
“At two-fifty an hour?”
“That’s only if you have a camera on me.”
“Daniel James!” Jeremy Moxham appeared out of the crowd. “Ashley said you were here. I suppose this is your …”
“Let’s not go there. This is Cyrtys, with two y’s, Baxter, of Quintex – is it studios, films?”
“Films.” Jeremy answered. “Yes, I’m familiar with Mr. Baxter’s work.” Jeremy shook his hand. “Jeremy Moxham.”
“Of … TevTec?” Cyrtys asked
“Yes. If you don’t mind I’d like to have a word with Mr. James.”
“Certainly, sir.” Cyrtys walked away.
“What was that all about?” Dan asked.
“Just wanted to rescue you from his grip.”
“A subsidiary of mine that is involved with Quintex. It’s one of those tiny logos you see at the end of a TV show. That is if you watch the credits at all.”
“Sometimes. But never the fine print.”
“Your other half here?” Jeremy peered around the room. “Ah, yes, managing the dessert station. You’ve trained him well.”
“Your other half here?” Dan asked. He struggled to keep up the appearance that he and Sanjay were the model couple.
“Jane? No. We’ve been separated for several years. If it weren’t for Ashley I probably would have forgotten her name by now.”
“Did someone mention my name? Smile.” Ashley popped up in front of them. “Moxy Moxham girl reporter catches the wealthy Jeremy Moxham with the debonaire Daniel James in an intimate moment at the 519.”
“Intimate!” Her dad laughed. “With this bunch of clowns?”
“Oh Dad!” she laughed.
There was a tuba and bass drum fanfare as two clowns pushed the crowd aside to allow Kevin and Stewart to enter. They followed the couple to a stage at the end of the room.
“I’d like to thank everyone who came tonight.” Kevin said. “We’ve raised over $500,000 for the 519.”
He was drowned out by the applause of the crowd.
“But even more important.” He continued as they quieted down. “I’m pleased to officially announce my marriage to Stewart O’Connor after this year’s Pride Parade.”
“Where?” Someone shouted from he crowd. “Queen’s park?”
The crowd response rattled the chandeliers.
“There’ll more people lined up for our wedding than any royal wedding.” Kevin reached for his guitar. “Here’s a little something I wrote for my … I wish I could say my two husbands but that isn’t legal yet. You want it, you knot it, you knot it, you got it.” He started to sing.
It was nearly one when Daniel and Sanjay got back to their house.
“Thank God that’s over.” Sanjay said as he turned on the kitchen light
“It wasn’t that bad, was it?” Dan open a bottle of water. “As always it was too much booze though and not enough water.”
“You didn’t waste much time.”
“I saw you flirting with that hot black guy.”
“That was Cyrtys Baxter from Unsolved Cold. It definitely wasn’t me flirting.”
“Maybe not you, but he had his eye on you all night. Then daggers after your other friend showed up. That his daughter?”
“Yes. Ashley Moxham. Daughter of …”
“Jeremy Moxham. Yes I do read the papers. He certainly doesn’t need his pictures touched up.”
“I thought you were overseeing the desserts. Or are you jealous?”
“I hadn’t … I don’t want you rebounding.” Sanjay took some cold chicken out of the refrigerator.
“I’m not looking, if that’s what you are getting at. It hasn’t been a week yet. I was there. They were there. We were there. Perhaps you saw me kissing the grooms.”
“I kissed the grooms and their best man. Now he’s a looker.”
“Mario?” Dan took a chicken leg and began eating it.
“I hate to tell you but he’s taken. It’s a triad. As Kevin explained, three person weddings aren’t legal yet but we’re working on it.”
“Yep. As I understand it they live together, sleep together, though I don’t know if it’s one big bed.”
“I suppose the three will honeymoon together too.” Sanjay wiped his hands clean. “Maybe we should have a break-up party so neither of us have to work at keeping up appearances.”
“Of us as the happy couple.” Sanjay leaned against the kitchen counter.
“It doesn’t matter to me who knows or how they find out.”
“Very adult of you. How many people did you break the break-up news to tonight? Baxter? Moxham?”
“Sanj you know I was happy with you, with us, as we were.”
“So you say, but you don’t seem to care much that it may come to an end.”
“You made it all pretty clear already. The fact that I’m not broadcasting it means … May?”
“You know what it’ll take. I’ve made that very clear. You want it, you knot it, you knot it, you got it.” Sanjay sang the chorus from Kevin’s song.
“See you in the morning.”
Dan started to undress as he went up to his room. When did I start thinking of it as ‘my room’ instead of ‘our room.’ I guess I made that transition to sort-of-single easier that I expected to. Things were so ordinary a month ago and now every time I turn around there seems to be something else to deal with. At least there isn’t a new RCMP case to add to what’s going on.
He change into his bed shorts and pulled the covers around his shoulders. The bed was warmer with Sanjay in it though. I do miss that. I guess I’m human after all. What kinds of gifts would people bring to a break-up party? Or would we give away things that we had given to each other. Thanks for the memories.
Paul Simon – one of my non-literary inspirations recently released ‘In the Blue Light’ a new recording to celebrate his 77th birthday. He’s taken some of his older songs & reimagined them as pop jazz. I would have liked him to go even further back to his Simon & Garfunkle work. It is a fine set of songs all the same. Listening to it made it clear to me that some of my influences weren’t the dead poets I was forced to study in high school or even the literary poets that ‘real’ poets cite as inspirations so that can sound educated.
Simon’s lyrics weren’t necessarily that complex. I Am A Rock spoke to my teenage sense of isolation. Little did I realize ‘I am an island’ was a John Donne reference, nor did I need to know in order to be drawn into the words. It had alliteration, evocative imagery – things that became a part of my own early writing style. It was so simple & direct that it made poetry accessible & seemly easy to write.
So I wrote endless poems in imitation of Sounds of Silence, Old Friends, For Emily. I actually still have some of those high school explorations somewhere. His longing for love was never dark – like, say, Jim Morrison; nor was his search as wordy or complex as Bob Dylan. His music itself was sunny. Even my sexually explicit poetry maintains, I hope, the sense of innocence than runs through his lyrics.
Later Simon became more personal to him yet never felt forced, overly bitter or oblique. He used humour to express some of the difficulties he was going through as he got older, as his fame became less rewarding or as his reputation stood in the way of his just being a guy who wrote and sang. It’s only looking back now as I think about my inspirations do I see how much I owe him.
Imagine my surprise to find a new, to me, genre of music that turns out to be perfect for my Nano project this year. Part of Picture Perfect take place in a circus museum that I’ve imagined on the east coast. The museum is an attempt by a smallish town to create somewhat of a tourist attraction – as tourism is the prime industry in many parts of the east coast.
rides are in my blood
So I did a search for calliope music to see if that would put me the mood – it put me over the moon – what better invitation to sit down to the computer to write than a great circus march. A little goes along way mind you but the relentless fun of this music is hard to resist as it gets my imagination really flowing and flowering.
tea cup rides are so scarrry
I also grabbed some fresh beta beats (as suggested by nanorimo’s Chris Batty) for my iPod to tune my creative frequencies when I’m out for my morning walk. The walk falls after I’ve done my first couple of pages where I get the scene started. Getting out gives that start time to develop in my subconscious. I may know how things start & where I want them to end up but the thinking often changes how they get there.
but not scarrry as clowns
Over the past few months I read the various NaNoWriMo books – ‘no plot no problem’ etc – nothing new to me in them but a nice confirmation that much of my creative (as opposed to structural) approach is a good one to get the job done. One thing I learned in improv is that pushing fast can take you into unexpected and sometimes brilliant directions. Nano is a written improv in which I try transcribe without editing or telling the brain to slow down. When I do that I lose all fear and can find myself on the tight rope without intending to be there.