Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Remembering Jim Metcalf*

As a young man in New Orleans -- a poser and a fuck-up -- I got laughed at while reading Jim Metcalf out loud to girls more than any other poet; more than Lord Byron, more than Rod McKuen even.

I normally leave the making fun of Chris Rose to Jeffrey, but, when you get to be my age, it's good to remind yourself that few things in this world are more pathetic than a middle-aged man telling anyone who'll listen about his past studliness:
As a young man in New Orleans — a poseur and a rake — I got laid while reading Barry Hannah out loud to girls more than any other writer; more than Dorothy Parker, more than Pablo Neruda even.

  Writers like that tend to make a lasting impression. I wanted to be Barry Hannah — back then and sometimes now — all wild, indifferent, frighteningly talented and sexed-up. But I couldn't carry Barry Hannah's jock.

At least he tempers his bragging with a slight dose of humility. But, his ostensible paean to beloved dead writer still ends up a psalm of Chris Rose's coolness:
I have a family now, also. There are young writers who think it would be really cool to get faced with me. But time and words change a man. For instance, I have not gotten drunk and fired a gun inside of a house in over 10 years, and it's been more than a year since I last saw the inside of a jail cell.

  I am 49 and I have never caught a significant fish. The avenue of regard is wider than I can fathom. Yes, time and words change a man.

  Tonight, I will read some Barry Hannah to soothe my restless writer's soul.

  My chances of getting laid while doing so are zero.

I won't be getting laid tonight either, but I'll be reading Ralph Gomory and William Baumol. Who knows, if I'm still blogging in twenty-five years, I might write:
As a middle-aged man...I won more economic debates, impressing more women, and ultimately getting laid by quoting Gomory and Baumol more than any other economists; more than Robert Kuttner, more than Joseph Stiglitz even.

It would be pathetic bullshit, of course, but the kind of bullshit people tolerate...when it comes from an old man.

*Not really about Jim Metcalf, but if you're about my age and from New Orleans, your mother probably watched his TV show, which wasn't bad. Form your own opinion about his poetry.

Jeffrey and Rose are both now your bitches. Must now stop laughing and resume breathing.
I remember Jim Metcalf. Chris Rose is no Jim Metcalf.

Heck Chris Rose ain't even Hap Glaudi's shoeshine boy.
I started laying off because everything I started to write about him just ended up looking like this.
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