Unwritten Poems Were Killing Him
While walking alone on scarlet stairs, pondering eternity, the lifespan of words, and where they go to die, I offered up a prayer to help find my muse. The song of a siren to help locate a place to crawl ashore and be eaten alive would do. I have never asked for much. Here, at this time, it was enough to feel warm, like blood sausage on a chilly night. I looked up toward blazing flames (which I mistook for the sun), and discerned a piece of paper floating along on down-swells of alternating heat and cold. I reached toward the yellowing print, and I read these words:
Poet, thinker, problem drinker, pill-taker, man of genius, manic depressive, intricate schemer, success story, he once wrote poems of great wit and beauty, but what had he done lately? Had he uttered the great words and songs he had in him? He had not. Unwritten poems were killing him. He had retreated to this place which sometimes looked like Arcadia to him and sometimes looked like hell. Here he heard the bad things being said of him by his detractors–other writers and intellectuals. He grew malicious himself but seemed not to hear what he said of others, how he slandered them. He brooded and intrigued fantastically. He was becoming one of the big-time solitaires.
Saul Bellow, Humboldt’s Gift, p. 25
Then I laughed. It was time to call Joe. Snap.
To be continued . . .