I was listening to a woman discussing "childhood" problems this morning and while I was listening to her, I thought, this is what Philip Wylie meant by "Momism"--our notion that we must always do what "mother" wants us to do. Mom to boy: "Go comb your hair, you look a mess." Boy's response: "Aww, ma, I don't wanna comb my hair. None of the kids at school comb their hair." Mom's response: "You mind me, young man, or you're father will hear of this tonight when he gets home from work and he'll whup your hide tonight after I tell him how beligerent you were with me about this matter." Boy's response: "OK, mother, OK, I'll go comb my hair." Under the boy's breath: "I'll show that bitch. Maybe I'll get a Mohawk like Jimmy Brash has." Yep. That's how this "mother" was talking this morning in discussing "childhood" problems. She then began to praise young people, talking about how independently smart they were (Mom's are always pretending their children are smart), how innovative they are (Mom's, being subservient in this Male-controlled culture are constantly trying to prove they are just as smart and creative as Men)--and it end's up, a bunch of brighter-than-the-average-bear girls had started their own Indie magazine on "Teenage" problems and solutions to those problems. I was saying, "Yes, hot damn, that's the spirit; that's how you teach teenagers, you let them discover things for themselves." But Mom had some doubts about teenagers figuring out their own problems though she was still pleased as Punch with the fact these were girls, second they were smart, and third, they were taking matters in their own hands since the adults supposed to teach them were teaching them, yes, but were teaching them to be.... And into my mind popped "Circus Performers." And, yep, that's it, folks. We are teaching our kids to be circus acts--yep. You see, instinctually our Moms know we really are monkeys. Check out a Monkeytown--and there are plenty of Monkey shows on PBS television and the Nature and Discovery CABLE shows--Jack Hanna's always got a special-edition monkey show for you; or, hell, there's a little monkey cartoon character that runs on PBS children's programming (all sponsored mainly by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation--isn't that interesting?). In a Monkeytown, baby monks don't need a father. Fuck fathers. When fathers are around--usually when they're horny for mother--they're mean and rough and kick the shit out of the kids; so fuck fathers in the Monkey World. But moms! A little monkey is lost without a mother. The mother is salvation to a baby monkey, male or female, though both will grow up to become industrious females or Power Elite males or those who kowtow to Power Elite males. The big daddy. Every Monkeytown has a Big Daddy.
We consider ourselves above the definition of "animal." We consider ourselves not Natural-born beings but Supernaturally born beings. We weren't conceived in the trees of the jungle. Oh no. We were conceived in the mind of our Big Daddy, whose a big huge mountain silverback, I assume, backward-thinking monkey, and birthed in the wombs of our immaculate MOTHERS. Our fathers, too, have nothing to do with us, if you stop and think about it. Even in a gay marriage, the more feminine one becomes the industrious one, the child bearer and teacher, which is what "raising" children really means. We are in fact "taming" ("domesticating") our wild-born children and in the process, we are teaching them to be circus performers, to perform the proper tricks in order to succeed in this Male world--this world of subservience if you're a girl child; this world of constantly proving your manhood if you're a boy child. We are born under the curse of "Honor thy father and thy mother." First of all, what if you don't have a father or a mother? Or what if you do have a father but he's a wimp and wants nothing to do with you. "Get away, kid, you bother me." And that's the worst training children face in trying to justify their instinctual feelings with those of these strangers, these giants, these adults who either offer you love and affection and attention or deny you those needs. Or, what if you're born to half-tamed parents; in other words, parents who got trapped when they were half-trained, you know, with still a "wildness" in their "natures" (their characters), a wildness to control other child-like beings with beatings, pushing their disobedient children's heads under water until they're almost drowned, or chaining them to walls in closets or basements, or perhaps making them crawl around on linoleum floor covered with cracked corn. Obedience! Adults demand obedience! Same as prison guards! Parents expect teachers to be animal trainers first class. When I was a Social Worker in New Orleans back in Great Frontier days, I guarantee you every day a Mother would come to me saying, "Mr. Wolf, I can't do a thing with this child. He's, how do you guys say, incorrigible? I don't know what else to do with him, Mr. Wolf. So I've told him, I'll turn him over to you guys and let's see if you can handle him. I give up, Mr. Wolf." My advice was, "Get the hell out of here. Take that boy home and sit him down and asked him what his inspirations are. Like ask him what he's seen of life that impresses him! Like buy him books to read...or buy him a guitar...or a piano...throw your teevee out the window...." "But, Mr. Wolf, I'm so busy. I got six other children...blah, blah, blah."
Moms. But, you see, we need our Moms! Look at little monkeys left without moms. Their fathers leave them spinning in the middle of a dead-end road for all they care--their dads abandon them and chase on down the road horny for a female to replace the child's lost mother. Unless some outcast monkey mother adopts it, the little monkey is left behind to fend for itself or to simply drop out of the trees to lay limp on the floor of the jungle to be eaten by a predator. "Ah, tasty. I love fresh-killed baby monkey! Ah what a meal. Now for a little snooze," thus spaketh the predator. Yet, our moms are leading us down the wrong path. Our moms are trying to convince us we are children supernaturally conceived; fuck Darwin, they try and teach us, Darwin's this dude we call the Devil. Whoaaaa. Right there's when children start rebelling. We love the natural, the cool: like first of all snuggling up against our mother's warm chest to instinctually know where those breasts are and to instinctually know that those breasts both contain a thing called a nipple, and they know where those nipples are and what those nipples mean, and we don't have to be taught what to do with those nipples. Mom sticks one in our mouths and soon we're sucking away to beat sixty. Happy as a baby boy with a brand new choo-choo toy. And breasts become toys for us, objects of pleasure, salvation from starving to death--why those of us who don't get some titty end up sucking our thumbs. Or if we get a plastic pacifier, oooh, nasty plastic, we start sucking our thumbs--our thumbs are big nipples--aha.
Backward thinking begins at home. With the mother. That's what Philip Wylie was saying. It's our mothers who either turn us into schizo-psychopaths or behavioral perfections--little devils or little angels. Sometimes, abandoned children are more artistic that coddled kids.
I enjoyed reading Anais Nin's diaries back when Anais Nin was given her last respects by American women and her diaries and her sexual dream book became her accepted masterpieces. In the diaries, Anais struggles with her love for her handsome, profligate, classical pianist father, her deep sexual love for her father, even intimating in dream-like states that her father may have fucked her as a girl child, and her obedience to the laws of her mother. Henry Miller amused that though Anais was the best piece of pussy he'd ever had in his life getting involved with her sexually was like being gradually eaten by a black widow spider--you know, they eat the heads off their lovers as their lovers are ejaculating!
My mother, I now realize, was much smarter than my father, though she lacked his wit and his great sense of humor. My dad was a typical male of the day. He was allowed to grow up on his own, the youngest of 5 boys, with four older brothers to raise him. My mother was raised by a single mom--she lost her father when she was 12--for the rest of her life she pined for her father who she used to tell me was such a soothing father--he smoked a pipe and she would talk about how the smell of pipe tobacco always reminded her of her father (ironically, smelling pipe tobacco made my father deathly sick)--and she had a photograph of her sitting on his lap on the porch of her childhood home--and that photo represented perfect peace to her--and sure enough, in the photo her father's puffing on his pipe and looking very proud of his pretty little daughter as he performs his fatherhood as best he knew how--then right after that photo, he up and died on her; and she was there while he was dying--he was moved out on a back porch away from the family because he had what was called catarrh, which is now, I think, just simply known as tuberculosis or pneumonia. Cataarh was known as a "housepainter's disease"--and though my grandfather wasn't a housepainter, he was a sign painter--his beautiful signs stretched from Beaumont, Texas, over in East Texas, all the way along the highways west all the way over to Houston and Galveston. And as a hobby he raced automobiles--and my mother had a photo also of her father in his racing car, an EMF--and my mother had an older brother and he was named the same as the father but he was the opposite of the father; her brother was contemptuous of everyone except beautiful tragic women who he spent fortunes seducing and marrying--he wanted my mother and her sister to develop their sexual attractions to the hilt and end up marrying a rich dude and living like princesses for the rest of their lives. He taught his sisters rugged individualism as their substitute father. And why shouldn't he, he was raised by a single-parent woman, a hard-as-nails White pioneer woman who had lived in dugout houses off in the wilds of the Western prairies--prairies still swarming with Native Americans and ex-Confederate Soldiers who formed raiding parties and were called "Nightriders" by the prairie folk--and she lived with rattlesnakes, pumas, panthers, Gila Monsters, scorpions--and she was a female rugged individualist and naturally her son, who she allowed to develop in his own ways, became a rugged individualist, too!
My mother was not prepared to deal with children. She was prepared to deal with adults. And that's the kind of mothering I got. No titty. My mother couldn't conceive of a child sucking on her small breasts--yet, my father loved her "dinners," as he called them...and I've seen him just come up behind her and reach his hands around and squeeze her breasts and laugh his silly laugh and look at her with his silly grin. I knew what "Stop that!" meant. I knew "Stop that" meant "Ohhh, go right ahead and squeeze 'em silly." Was that backward thinking?
for The Daily Growler
From wood s lot
Consider the name “Jack.” The poet Jack Spicer certainly did. His poetry, finally available after a long period of out-of-print obscurity, echoes through with references to his own name. A poem of admonition is wryly presented “To Jack;” in another poem the “Jack of Spades” materializes in a deck of tarot cards; in a third, an invocation of Shoeless Joe Jackson reshuffles the syllables into the boxer Jack Johnson, Jacks and Jacksons multiplying in an aural hall of mirrors. Even the poetry journal that Spicer briefly published in mimeograph went by the suggestive initial, J, a mere letter away from the autobiographical I. We may not all yet know Jack Spicer, but we all know Jack.(....)
At the heart of his work is a paradox: Spicer means to produce a “pure poetry” that is self-sufficient, magical and ecstatic, yet he freely draws from his own relationships, his obsessions and interests, his thoughts and fantasies and wishes and swoons. He published his work in his lifetime only in small editions barely distributed outside San Francisco (and even in the city he sometimes avoided major poetry bookstores like Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights). Yet his poetry seeks a conversation that is culturally wide-ranging and engaged with the publishing world, if in a conflicted, splenetic way. His last book, the posthumously published Book of Magazine Verse, proposes a series of poems dedicated to the major periodicals of the day, none of which would have been likely to publish his work. Most would probably have rejected his submissions, if he submitted at all. Thus, this title dramatizes Spicer’s ambivalence: how would parodic “magazine verse” differ from some other kind of poetry, and how can it remain “magazine verse” when published in a book? Ultimately, Spicer implies, this is a question of integrity, of whether poetry advances a poet’s professional, worldly agenda, or speaks for itself.