Saturday, March 23, 2013

Existing in New York City: My Early Days as a Poet

Foto by tgw, New York City, 2013
President Obama Shucks and Jives Us Again With Bush-Like Deviousness
From AntiFascist Calling:

Wall Street's Choice

As one of the filthiest dens of corruption in Washington, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in a league of its own.

In late January, when the president announced he was nominating former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), The New York Times, as they are wont to do, proclaimed that the "White House delivered a strong message to Wall Street." [Mr. Ed: Bullshit!]

A rather ironic assertion considering the tens of millions of dollars "earned" defending Wall Street criminals by Debevoise & Plimpton partner Mary Jo and her millionaire lawyer husband John, a partner at the white shoe corporate litigation shop Cravath, Swaine & Moore, as Above the Law disclosed.

Keep in mind that White will soon lead an agency that for years covered-up financial crimes by routinely shredding tens of thousands of case files on everything from insider trading, securities fraud, market manipulation and the Madoff and Stanford Ponzi schemes, as a 2011 Rolling Stone investigation disclosed.
Say Goodbye to: Virgil "Fire" Trucks, a big favorite of mine when I was a little kid and a Detroit Tigers fan.  They brought Virgil in "to put out the fire."  Old baseball players seem to live forever. Virgil Trucks, 95, American baseball player (Detroit Tigers).
Say Goodbye to: Herbert Streicher (better known under his stage name, Harry Reems), the New York City actor who became famous as one of the pioneer porn actors, acting that some of our sleazier intellectuals might consider poetry: Harry Reems, 65, American porn actor (Deep Throat), pancreatic cancer.
Thanks to: The Existentialist Cowboy for adding The Daily Growler to his blog list.  The Cowboy is a "brother" from the individualist wilds of West Texas from whence came I.
Here's an Absolutely Cold-Ass Blast of Well-Written Accusations in Celebration of Our Glorious Victory in Iraq ("Hey, come on, man, they had weapons of mass destruction they meant to use to kill Amuricans...'Bring 'em on,' as our great president taunted the unholy Muslim bastards!"):
What's So Alluring to Women About a Poet?
Outside of jazz and blues, the next music that interests me is the music of Charles Edward Ives, a fascinating man born in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1874, who started writing music at age 11 and who by the time he was 14 was an accomplished organist.  He went to Yale and there studied under Horatio Parker (whose father's name, coincidentally, was Charles Edward).  While at Yale he started writing his first symphony (he ended up writing 4) and many other pieces, including marches, ragtimes, theater music, string quartets, songs, violin/piano sonatas, organ music, orchestral sets.  After he graduated from Yale, he moved to New York City where he made his living as a church organist, while staying up all night writing more music.  By 1914, when he was 30 years old, he had written the bulk of his output, including his most famous work, his Second Piano Sonata, subtitled, The Concord Sonata.  By the time, Charlie quit writing music, he was becoming a successful and innovative businessman, forming in those early 1900s the Merrick and Ives Insurance Co., a company that eventually evolved into one of the most successful insurance companies in the USA.  Due to bad health, Ives retired from the insurance business a millionaire in 1929.

After Charlie's retirement from both the insurance business and writing music, he became a patron of new music in the US, especially contributing funds to such composers as Henry Cowell, Edgar Varese, Elliott Carter, and helping the career of a pianist and songwriter, Katherine Ruth Heyman.

The latter Ives funds recipient, Katherine Heyman, was a pianist who specialized in the piano music of Alexander Scriabin whose preludes Ives admired. [Scriabin, by the way, is worthy of much attention.  There is so much entertaining weirdness in his biography (as a kid, he built pianos that he gave away to people; he became a mystic and begin to see his compositions in terms of the colors of the notes; he wrote a piece to be performed by all forms of artists in the Himalaya mountains; Asteroid 6549, Skryabin, is named after him).]

Katherine Ruth Heyman was born in Sacramento, California, in 1877 (when Charlie Ives was 3 years old).  She studied piano with her father, Arnold, who was a concert violinist, and made her recital debut at age 6.  Intrigued, I Googled-down her life story and was delighted to find in her biography put out by the New York Public Library in relation to their having an archive of the songs she wrote that she was a friend of Ezra Pound's and had put two of Ezra's poems to song.

The Young Ezra Pound

Always attracted to any woman who became a friend of Ezra's, on further investigation, I found out that friendship was more than just a friendship. Ez was 19 (living in London) when he met 34-year-old Katherine Heyman.  The amazin' Ez, poet, woman charmer, and lover got engaged to Miss Heyman who in return gave Ez an heirloom diamond ring.  Ez being the gentleman that he was went on to charm the pants off Hilda Doolittle and got engaged to her using Miss Heyman's diamond ring to seal the deal.  Hilda, a highly romantic Moravian girl from Pennsylvania, wrote that Ez's kisses were "fiery" and "electric" and "magnetic."  All was fine until Hilda caught Ez in a romantic clutch with her gal pal Frances Gregg.  Believe it or not, after breaking up with Hilda and Frances, Ez went on to charm Mary Moore out her pants, getting engaged to her using, you guessed it, Miss Heyman's diamond ring as the engagement ring.

Young Hilda Doolittle

Ez's later love life is well known.  In 1914, while acting as Katherine Ruth Heyman's manager, he met the beautiful Dorothy Shakespear (as Ez described her, "not only beautiful but also well off") and married her.  Then 8 years later, in 1922, Ez happened across the dark American expatriate beauty and violinist, Olga Rudge, who he took as his mistress, dividing his love time between Dorothy in the winter months and Olga in the other months, a relationship which ended with both of these women living with and caring for Old Ez on into his final years.  It was said that Ez in his final years sat speechless with his head resting on his chest while these two faithful women waited on him hand and foot though they hated each other.

Dorothy Shakespear

Olga Rudge

As those who know me know, I grew up with a grandmother who was a poet and her influence on me caused me as a young Ez-type in college to begin writing poems, many of which I wrote to the "girls" in my life, especially a young 16-year-old rock-and-roll columnist on my hometown's newspaper whose pants I eventually managed to slip off her young body using poems and champagne, a poetic romance that lasted for 4 years, a romance that in a poetic way ended in her getting knocked up by a man I hated while I was off doing time in the U.S. Army.  I got a poetic revenge on her (a la Ez) by after she was married re-seducing her by confessing to her via a long highly erotic poem my continuing lust for her while openly wilding around town with her best friend, a girl with her head in the clouds whose ambition was to write verses for children.

After college, while living in Dallas, Texas, I pranced around that town posing as a Poundish-Byronic poet-rue charming the pants off both idyllic single girls and unsatisfied married women alike by being able to create poems to these women on the spot, so to speak.  A sonnetizing Casanova with the morals of most of the great poets in my past.

My old pal, Languagehat (at, recently sent me a well-written and researched article from The Awl, by Carrie Frye, entitled, "How to Be a Monster: Life Lessons From Lord Byron," that concerns itself with the London doctor,  John Polidori, who Byron hired on to travel with him on his golden tour of Europe, a doctor who Byron called Dr. Polly Dolly, an article that revealed the many immoral seductions over women and young men instigated by the poet monster, seductions that included his own half-sister (with whom he had a child), all sorts of actresses, and young loose adoring ladies both single and married, to a woman of London high society old enough to be his grandmother.  The article also sketches the life of Lord Byron in a Swiss chalet in the company of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his underage mistress (she was 16) soon to be his wife, Mary Godwin, and her 18-year-old sister, Claire.  At one party in Switzerland, when Lord Byron entered the room, many a damsel fainted at the sight of his glorious presence.  One of his lovers, Lady Caroline Lamb, called his hold over women "Byronmania."    

The Monster Himself, Lord Byron (contemplating his next seduction?)

Lady Caroline Lamb (Laying in waiting for the Monster?)

Mary Godwin Shelley (Percy's babe; Dr. Polly Dolly broke his ankle by jumping down off a wall to offer young Mary his arm in escort after Lord Byron coaxed him into the act knowing the bland doctor had the hots for her)

Never Coagulating 

The bad blood
flowing in the poet's veins
when opened with a jealous knife
never stops flowing
its bleating
bleating out songs of seduction
even as it flees the panting heart

for The Daily (Yeah Sure!) Growler

The Art of My Old Friend Will Shuster 
 "Santa Fe" (an etching)

No comments: