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Archive Click here to see other poems we've featured.

 

You Should Write a Novel—That's Where the Money Is

Maybe it's that damned sherry,
he thought, turning over heavily in bed,
thus letting the reader know that something's
wrong, and surely NOT the sherry--damned
sugary horse piss!--or "fucking", etc., if it's to be
a hit with the ladies, to whom a mere
"damned" is condescending.  Or more
likely it's that today at last he'd have to
tell her--there was no more putting it
off (and the patient reader knows he'll
be told what IT is, all in good time). He threw off
the remaining (fly-specked?) sheet. There follows
a long descriptive passage, very
droll and vivid, about how bad he feels,
how sour his tongue tastes (weird simile, please),
maybe the rattle of a fan. In short,
the reader learns what sort of an
author he is dealing with.
Then he splashes cold water
on his face and leans before the
mirror for the obligatory
wry self-appraisal scene
("Not bad," he thought, pondered,
chuckled, heard a gruff voice in his
head remark--me, he realized...)--which gives
the author a chance to tell the
reader about the hard jaw, the
cold, but smoldering, blue eyes, the scar
(Isn't it fun to say "aquiline"? Later
the female lead will be said to have
less than perfect features because of excessively
large eyes and full lips), etc.,
and bring in the career, somehow leaving him
empty despite a facade of success (a bit of
technical shoptalk, please, as he thinks
about what he has to do today at the studio,
bank, stock exchange, rodeo, race track...)--all
without stepping outside the hero's (?)
claustrophobic viewpoint. It's
time to start something--at least
give the reader the idea you might be
going somewhere. For example,
half his face is still foamy with
lather (in case a major Hollywood studio
decides to adapt it--lather just hangs there
forever in movies!--great for suspense)
when the phone rings (or makes
some more striking effect inside
the still convalescent head--say,
explodes: "a shrill explosion"), and a
terse conversation ensues where we get
only one side (because suddenly the author
forgets whose head we are inside of?),
and it's just intriguing scraps--
"I'll be there...I SAID I'll
be there, OK, so I'll be there!"
At this point things should clarify
or shift. The smoke curtain
parts or coalesces into stale crystal,
or perhaps it now gets hinted
that someone else (Dean Blehert?)
(who doesn't smoke. No wonder...)
is writing a poem about a novelist
trying to write a novel that starts
with someone turning over heavily
in bed (Which seems hardly more interesting
than the novel--What's novel with you?--about
someone turning over heavily in bed
(and I might add--in fact, I will!--
that it's fun to have somebody ELSE turn over
in my bed--turn over, dear--which is what
a novelist does, whereas my only characters
spell words (fucking A!), which is perhaps
why there's a faster turnover in novels
than in poems, though garrets have
lower overhead.))  I don't see how
to write a novel in the nakedness to which
I've grown accustomed. From the first
tentative line I feel like a loin-clothed, oiled
native of Tierra del Fuego swaddled in wool
by prudish missionaries, losing my immunities
and getting deathly ill. (But if I were a
novelist, I could afford a type-writer with
brackets (to avoid unsightly parentheses
within parentheses (a poet's sense of
proliferation of characters being mainly
concentric))).


Copyright c. 2007 by Dean Blehert. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   
last updated: July 8, 2007