Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Ted at Fifteen
I still cringe when I remember being a barely hatched fifteen year old trying to write wonderfully complex and baffling rhymes just like Bob Dylan did, not understanding a single word I'd bothered to pass along to paper yet certain, somehow, someway, that that the abstruse (read incoherent) lines of mine had worth , value, and trans formative power. The task, for Ted At Fifteen, was to change the way the people in the world saw the world and help all the lonely people to straighten their perceptions , their own houses and from there create a new, better world based on sharing, caring, hugs, good intentions, and truth.
I was a serious, silly kid, half deaf with a hearing aid in both ears, sullen ,serious, humorless, very naive, obsessed with great issues and girls, and having no idea of how to solve the multiple crisis’s that spoiled the planet, and having no idea of what to do with a girl if one ever fancied hanging around me. Oh, to be fifteen again, Dylan posters, a room reeking of incense, Moody Blues albums blaring (when I was contemplative and scratching my lower lip with a pen \whose tip I turned into a tooth-marked nub), or Mountain , when what remained of my fascination with WW2 movies turned to distorted electric guitar caterwauling. I had yet to develop a middle ground, a sense of practical action. That was something that came , alas, with age, something I lacked. No matter how I scowled or grimaced, everything amounted to a sulking and moping. My expressed cynicism was sarcasm on a bad night, my irony was a mere mocking of adult phrases by repeating them in contorted voices, my art, my poetry, was deep as any indelible ink stain you cared to stare into. Precious, pretentious, naive, that's what I really knew about myself under the subterfuge of hip reference and gesture.
I was a fraud. My harmonica playing gave people the blues, my poetry made other people's fingernails dirty from head scratching. The poems sucked royal, you understand, a deadpan imitation of Dylan and Jack Kerouac's worst habits, the sort of prematurely varicose verse that revealed that the serious lad who hunched over his desk writing these bits in Quixotic longhand had not been tested in unprotected circumstance, which is to say that I had no experience except for feeling awkward and taking a dump (although I don't remember any of that, hence there never being a poem about it in my large and uneven oeuvre.Anyway, I grew out of imitating the uneven efforts of Dylan, Kerouac and finally came up with my own distinct style of uneven work. That much I will say about my work; when I am bad, the results are distinctly mine. No one sounds quite like me, but it is fairly obvious that I had to spend a good number of years imitating a number of influences before my own voice emerged from the mimicking of other writer's cadences. So thank you Dylan, Kerouac, Mailer, Lester Bangs, Hemingway, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, thank you for the inspiration and helping become the confusing morass of uniquity that is my convoluted state. I am one among many who are afflicted with that minor narcissism of lovng to hear myself write.