The Pose


At the risk of sounding cheerful, today seems like a good day to spend bumming around. Maybe Iíll go downtown and have my picture taken. With any luck, Iíll find a photographer who can furnish a vintage wardrobe:

ďOkay, Bud, hereís your robe. The ward is down the street. Theyíre waiting for you. Donít slam the door on your way out.Ē

Iím thinking in terms of late nineteenth century American, something in the style of Whitman, with a well worn, wide-brimmed hat. No tie of any kind ó the collar must be loose enough to show the veins bulging in my neck after a wild night of drinking and versifying.

The photograph itself could be made in an old drawing room in one of Salemís many antique stores. And of course Iíll make a scene, and attract a huge crowd by posing as an eccentric writer who just happens to be visiting the area, and is thinking seriously of buying property and making Salem his permanent home.

Itís a shame that Mr. Cartwright, the fellow who ran a music shop in the basement of the Reed Opera House years ago, decided to move his business to another town, because today would also be a good day, I think, to try out several fiddles and banjos.

After having my picture taken, I might stick with the vintage clothing, and open a saloon with swinging doors and a hitching post out front. In fact, if I understand the system correctly, I can do anything I want as long as I have a good lawyer, and as long as Iím willing to pay.

Unfortunately, I have no lawyer. I have never had a lawyer. But Iím definitely willing to pay. I have always been willing. I just havenít had the funds to follow through ó probably because I donít have a lawyer. Itís a vicious circle.

Nonsense aside, how difficult would it be, really, to become famous if I really wanted to? Isnít it just a matter of putting on a good show, and of relentlessly making oneís life public, and then, when the fame reaches a certain magical threshold, of watching the money pour in?

The sunshine this spring morning is spectacular. The shadows in the street are vivid and well defined. The newborn leaves of the maples and birches are bathed in light. Earlier, a demented voice on the radio, warped by stress and commercialism, reported that the temperature today might reach eighty degrees. I also noticed when I was out that there is no school today. And yet the street is devoid of children. Why? Where are they? When I was that age, I eagerly leapt out of bed, rushed through breakfast, and ran outside to begin the dayís adventures. I wonder: Can it be that kids are losing their spirit? Are they so disheartened by the disgraceful antics of their parents that they no longer care to drag themselves out of bed or away from the television? I hope not, because that would spell the end.

April 28, 2006







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