[This entry is cross posted at ordinary-times.com]
It’s a belabored point, but one that needs occasional repeating: TGIF is the eunuch of end-of-workweek acronyms. Thank God It’s Friday? I respect the devotional aspect, but His touted support for self-helpers makes this seem a bit passive. Now, POETS. That’s a call to action, clarion to the rugged individualists, crisp and energizing as a winter’s morning. Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday! TGIF is the ice cream social your parents organize for you and your school chums. POETS Day is the kegger you detonate when Mom and Dad are out of town. Leave TGIF for office coordinator emails with stock art balloon borders and posters of that long-dead kitten. Put aside childish things. You know the drill. Dissemble, obfuscate, fudge the truth, and gleefully trespass the norms and delicate pieties that preserve our hopefully durable civilization. Nearly all means are justified by the need to prematurely escape the bonds of employment and settle in at a friendly neighborhood joint a few hours before happy hour begins, lay comfortably in the grass at a local park with a special someone, go for a swim, catch a matinee, or for the masochists, go for a light jog. It’s your weekend. Do with it as you will, but in homage to the mightiest of all acronyms may I suggest setting aside a moment for a little verse? It’s a particularly good way to pass time waiting on friends who may not run as roughshod over the delicate pieties and were not as successful as you were in engineering an early exit.
When most people think of a poet, what one looks like as they go about their business, they probably think of someone Byronic leaning over a battered wooden table, scribbling mid inhale on a loose sheet of paper, fingers inkpot stained, a girdle-tight vest over whatever style puffy shirt the modern mind thinks was always in vogue before mass produced mirrors, a vee of dark curls fopping over the upstage eye like a bunch of wine grapes, the interior of the tent improbably well lit by a single candle, and the air still redolent of gun smoke from day’s battle for Greek independence. Poets may not be of the Romantic school, but we think they should look like they are.
At a favorite holiday spot in Key West, he got into a voluble argument with Robert Frost on at least two different occasions, and once he slugged the man he considered the anti-poetic devil. Per Stevens biographer Paul Mariani, “So it began, with Stevens swinging at the bespectacled [Ernest] Hemingway, who seemed to weave like a shark, and Papa hitting him one-two and Stevens going down ‘spectacularly,’ as Hemingway would remember it, into a puddle of fresh rainwater.” He did manage to land at least one blow, apparently breaking his hand on Hemingway’s jaw.Continue reading