Essay

A Flower of Evil [flash fiction]

He writes:

Reading Patti Smith’s M Train. Got it for Christmas. Was in a biography of T. Williams at the time so did not begin reading it right away. Picked the former here up after the latter was put down (not like horses). Put it down again–much in the way of final revisions for my book,  poetry . ..  now ready. What means ready? Poems are and are not ever ready, perpetually revised? I remember Yeats wanting all the letters he had written to friends returned so he could revise them, I guess recalling them, thinking of them again and again and wanting there to be a gain from his again and again, or so I imagine.

What is it that anyone writes when they do, imagining that what gets written is some accurate portrayal, representation, true likeness of what one thinks–one, not he or she? Who am I in the lines I write; where am I in the thoughts I think, the words I use to represent thought–is it true that thought takes place in language. Ask Einstein, as it was that his thoughts went from words in sentences to numerals and signs in equations, the language of language and the language of mathematics . . .

Love the Smith book, I really do, I should say . . . had read her Just Kids when it first came out in trade paper, had taken it with me on vacation in Montauk. I like her measured line, the way I can fel the pace of her pencil or pen. I imagine she writes in long hand, as we say when someone does not compose on computer, not a prejudice I hold, unlike Capote’s prejudice against Kerouac, “that’s not writing, that’s typing,” Jack, the beginning of the end of the pen?

I can feel the pace of her pen or pencil–I know she writes long hand as I do most of the time, not all of the time . . . but reading Just Kids on the train out to Montauk and then on the beach or waiting for lunch at the Shagwong, or with coffee and almond croissants from the Montauk Bake Shoppe on our log that had washed up on the shore one year just there on the beach for us to sit on and gaze at the ocean from . . . the waves, the sky, horizon, clouds and gulls . . . but the pig owners of the new German Restaurant in Montauk took it and cut it in pieces for their parking lot, the fucking krauts, I would like to say, do say and add, “what do you expect from krauts, their grandparents were probably Nazis or members of a German American Bund” pig mother-fuckers, American Nazis, for sure, I would like to say and do say so to myself, but would never openly say so to anyone else, except my wife (that extension of myself as in the sense tha we have or make when we try to mean at being two persons, one body, a mystical union of two persons in this one body, mystically arranged, if you will, yes, will as in desire, desire as in want, want as in what we lack, what we lack only what we need because you cannot lack what you do not need so your want can only be for what you do not have that you need that is necessary everything you need you should want and should not want, cannot lack, what you do not need, yes, wanting is for wanting)–

We refuse to eat their over-priced cheap sausages, the fucking krauts, yes, fucking fat pig krauts . . . and I do iondulge myself in my journals–bile books I used to call them, where one puts his bile, where I vent my liver, my spleen, je le sais, mon frere, Baudelaire, mon semblable.

He stops writing. He covers his pen. He puts it in his bag. He closes his journal. He straps the journal cover. He looks up. He looks around. He signals the waitress. He orders another coffee. This time he orders a croissant with it. He loves croissants. He remembers the croissants he had gotten in Montreal that were better than the croissants he had gotten in Paris, which is not to say he went to where he should have gone to get great croissants, just that the happenstance of his croissant endeavors in Paris did not yield croissants as good as some of the croissants he had gotten in Montreal. There was a guy on Saint Denis, in Montreal, who made the best coffee, the the best coffee, really, the best.

As for me and what I write, could you say, that’s not writing, that’s editing?

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