Watching home videos last night on our daughter’s thirteenth birthday. Every second of film was precious, exposing outward expression of an inward laughter. What a messy ego drive and determination make. Some years have gone by and memories forgotten. Hell is not other people so much as a present life coveting comfort. In the painting above I am wooing my rollerblader date. We will be artists in France! We will board a ship because planes breed business, which is anti-love and laughter. And ships are slow. We have a whole lifetime to arrive. How simple I was in days of courtship, cherishing alike the nightly promise of a meal and the natural shine of a horse chestnut.
This painting is for sale. All of my paintings are for sale. I sell few, and those I do, garner way below the price of a bus ticket to Cincinnati, let alone month of May passage to Le Havre.
You can read how a painter-poet (fool) woos the most beautiful girl in the village in the 2013 publication, Leopold Courting Rose.
Below is an excerpt for free:
Okay, you’re lucky. No notes about thighs, eyes, sighs—I shall write to you a confessional. That is my desire for this Tuesday morning, a little over a year gone by since I first held your hand. Always in the library I am on these fall days when I have a greater sense of the life within me. Since childhood I have revered these moments spent in the gray cool morning. As a man I am still overcome by them. They take my breath away. Delve me into dream. Retard me for the betterment of self.
I am the happiest man alive. Now at twenty-nine years I scan the shelves of books with the small part of my brain that seeks to know some other man’s happiness or misery, and this I do for a good long hour to end up cursing the great ones, because I know that good behavior will never get published in a book I write. I hate them and deliberately misplace their works back on the shelf because they don’t deserve all the attention I give to you in dreams. This makes me happy. Dostoevsky will mingle with Thoreau probably until the next time I arrive at the library to mix things up again. Then I will carry that Russian idiot over to the Hindus, and all the dead
philosophers can argue over who is more miserable in their time, and therefore deserving of recognition. The Hindus laugh. The Buddhists snicker. Saint Testicle wears a hair shirt. Good god, they’re all jealous of each other. Petty fools. They are dead! I have nothing to share with them. I am certainly not going to give you away. No more sacrifice. You are mine, and these skinny legs will prove it. I hoist my pile of books up to the counter, check them out, and take our happiness outside where it belongs on this perfect day. Here is the gray light. Shoulder my backpack, hands thrust into corduroy pockets, and the long walk back kicking the leaves high. I am alive with you. That is all we need to read about.
Okay, I lied. Your eyes… Now bear with me.
Two years ago about this time I was being haunted by a dream ghost. You were coming into so many dreams at a time I was out of myself and delusional. Then to New York to wallow in my misery, which I did very well, a strange man equipped with the special powers to plan and execute his own demise. I was well aware of all my moves, fully conscious and sane, for I knew all along that I was torturing myself. Oh, but I felt alive. I went on long walks throughout the city. No different from today, except the feeling was different. I could lose myself. With both hands in pockets, I walked through Central Park oblivious to all around me but the sound of my own breathing and footsteps.
Today is a day similar to many of those I had in New York. Inspirational feelings abound… They take hold, control me, pull me back to the realization that I was “chosen” for this day, (better make the best of it), a complete sentence in the story of my life. We all have this ability to not take for granted each moment of our lives. The novel won’t amount to much if it be replete with
paragraphs about shopping for shoes.
Anyway, I feel then what I feel now. Every move I make I make for the biographers. I live my life as though I am being watched. A one man act, who writes his own plays, and performs on the road. These are the romances I have been writing. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this type of behavior. It’s original for sure. And it gives purpose toward realizing fatherhood, companionship, poetry, self-liberation… Whom do you know, other than yours truly, who would live a whole sober day in this super economy, solely for a meal? Who but village idiot Ron would give up certain lifetime security if it meant losing his ability to dream of you and the impossible requited love on a ten mile walk around New York City? Who besides a fool could claim one of his happiest days penniless with a borrowed cup of coffee, sitting on an Upper West Side stoop dreaming of her? Just dreaming? She didn’t even know him in that way. She barely knew him at all! But he knew about her. All the important things. He knew that if she ever took the plunge with him, he would always use a good olive oil when cooking for her, no matter what the cost. He would over-elaborate in poverty. It’s what poets do. Everyman would become a poet for the woman he desired. And the woman would only respect poetry offered. All dealings with security and pension into old age would be mutually respected after love. But love must come first, and love can only be born of poetry.
So he walked a long day and in the evenings sauntered into any neighborhood book store. His story gave him the strength to seek comfort in the stories of other men, dead and gone, who would never get the chance to know his joy and suffering.
From the stoop on gray days like this I would look into the eyes of girls passing by, think of you, and watch your tail wag down the street on your way to class. Your face on every woman. Your eyes glaring into mine. Eyes so sleepy, wanting a warm boy to curl up with you under covers. I thought of you thinking of me on a walk and talk along the lakeshore with another guy. You wanted me to hear your laughter and listen to your speech, its tone and vibration reaching all the way to Larry’s cold November stoop. These Autumn days I would keep with you. In evening the street lights glowed brightly in the rain. It took the length of a day for you to love and lose three men before spying me on an escalator heading up to my favorite authors. They were going to write about our life together from now on.
Rose, you are in time a mystery to me. I will not become familiar enough to let you go. I still cannot pronounce your name correctly. You are a lovely dream and vision of hope to me. This time spent with you has been streams of evenings on Larry’s stoop wondering how perfect the world would be if you would just let me hold your hand.