My neighborhood buddy, Silky Wilky, a Southern gentleman painter, has very opinionated thoughts on my blog, which he thinks is a waste of time, and also a bit of embarrassment. “Anyone can write a blog,” he tells me. “It makes you look like an idiot.”
In his opinion, I should be doing more useful things, like getting wickedly drunk with him at James, the fanciest of casual restaurants in our neighborhood, or, as he puts it, “relaxing.”
It is his fault, however, that I am writing this post, because he’s the one who told me that I would love Dorothy Parker.
He was of the opinion that I should make her an icon, but that seems like a lot of work in terms of research, so instead, I’m going to make her my poet.
Dorothy Parker was a lot of things, but the thing I admire most about her is that in 1920, she got fired from her position as a theater critic at Vanity Fair for pissing off too many producers with her acerbic reviews. Which is something I would like to do with my own reviews if I weren’t so afraid of my editors, the general public of five people who read my work, and the commentary of my bipolar second cousin Shawn.
Because Parker’s poems are laconic, I will post a few, literally chosen at random. The first is for all of you ladies who are navigating the murky waters of how to behave while dating.
If I were mild, and I were sweet,
And laid my heart before your feet,
And took my dearest thoughts to you,
And hailed your easy lies as true;
Were I to murmur “Yes,” and then
“How true, my dear,” and “Yes,” again,
And wear my eyes discreetly down,
And tremble whitely at your frown,
And keep my words unquestioning
My love, you’d run like anything!
Should I be frail, and I be mad,
And share my heart with every lad,
But beat my head against the floor
What times you wandered past my door;
Were I to doubt, and I to sneer,
And shriek “Farewell!” and still be here,
And break your joy, and quench your trust-
I should not see you for the dust!
I am banging my head against the floor right now. Can you hear it?
And another, more sobering, for you who thinks they will never find anyone.
A Fairly Sad Tale
I think that I shall never know
Why I am thus, and I am so.
Around me, other girls inspire
In men the rush and roar of fire,
The sweet transparency of glass,
The tenderness of April grass,
The durability of granite;
But me- I don’t know how to plan it.
The lads I’ve met in Cupid’s deadlock
Were- shall we say?- born out of wedlock.
They broke my heart, they stilled my song,
And said they had to run along,
Explaining, so to sop my tears,
First came their parents or careers.
But ever does experience
Deny me wisdom, calm, and sense!
Though she’s a fool who seeks to capture
The twenty-first fine, careless rapture,
I must go on, till ends my rope,
Who from my birth was cursed with hope.
A heart in half is chaste, archaic;
But mine resembles a mosaic-
The thing’s become ridiculous!
Why am I so? Why am I thus?
And this is one is for me, a hysterical depressive, and for the nervous breakdown I had last summer while riding my bike around Prospect Park.
Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp; Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live.
I’ve chosen an extremely bizarre selection of her verses, so if you’d like to read 180 more, at your own discretion, click here.