The romances in our novel, The Philip Dolly Affair, are brittle yet redemptive. We have difficulty glorifying the entangling romances of American suburbs, of the trailer parks, of career machinations, of deserted single moms. Yet we are confident romance can flourish in contemplation, soul-reverence, and nourishing-love. Certainly we have fun with bikers, exotic dancers, the Bug Man, and “Girls Night Out” references. But at the core of our text is a cry for respect—and understanding —and the intrinsic worth of lovers who do not abandon the essence of being. For this stop on our Virtual Tour, we wanted to include some of the romantic [or psycho-dramatic] poetry voiced by our characters. Many of these poems can be found in the novel—the rest appear in a chapbook of poetry called Jack Frost’s Middle Class Poems and Other Voices from Copperfield. Hopefully these poems help to illustrate both the violent and tender romantic proclivities depicted in the Phil Dolly Affair.
Jack Frost’s Lament I was silly, long ago. I thought those girls were interested in me. Oh, I wasn’t the best looking, not at all. I was thin and probably showed signs of inadequate nutrition as a child - - or impolite behavior - - or misplaced small town Narcissism. I owned two or three pairs of jeans and a shirt or two - - and always looked the same - - unkempt and erratic... I didn’t have any money - - rode an old Triumph - - and could only talk about fishing, or Chaucer, or romantic poetry, or lonely rides on cold Kansas concrete highways. I was keen on worthless things like mysteries of the chilly Canadian north, blonde furniture in old stone houses, pickled beets, and the glorious smell of burning leaves on late October evenings. I wanted desperately, while sitting on a hay bale, to hold some pretty girl’s gloved hand and sit around a bonfire with other happy couples. Never Happened. [Now I live in a travel trailer with a Big Mean Gal] Of course, the young ladies I knew - - and I suppose I flirted with them, and tried silly games with them, and made some foolish boasts to them - - Well, they moved on... To real life... And I see their faces - - still beautiful, poised, and kind - - on the alumni pages. And they are happy, and I am not. My nutrition is better now, but I still don’t know how to behave. And money is hard to come by for me… Sometimes I wake up at 3 am and see clearly I never had a chance with that Life…Probably too impolite, too silly. The world has passed me by, and my time has passed, too. Angry Woman with a Ball Bat Frost watched Buzz drive up, The old Bronco bounced through ruts and broken pieces of shale - - Though it was cold outside, she was sleeveless. She was smoking a straight Pall Mall and grunting when she swung open the door and stumbled through the skiffs of snow, Carrying a ball bat and cursing… “I know you’re in there, Frost! You can’t ignore me you - - “ The howling wind blew her words away - - Frost was standing behind a Ponderosa pine tree, a thick one, sipping on a good cold beer and watching her- - She careened around the yard, tripping over a stump, swinging the bat at his Sporty but missing, Cursing the trailer, the bench press - - screaming louder than the wind at times… Angry at the weather, her old boyfriend, herself…. Then, without damage, she crawled back into the Bronco, and bounced back down the hill. Big Buzz was gone…. Frost sat back in his lawn chair and watched the snow fall. Any Sonoran Morning – Frost and Julia Together I could ride those miles to see her Any hot Sonoran morning, my heart throbbing, I could dedicate time and space to have lunch and hold her hand for moments In a cute cafe by the highway, her way We would have Mexican, sure, and perhaps a drink or two Couples would come and go, thinking she and I were together The lunch would be long and animated [but leashed] I would have cheese enchiladas - - she would not..... She might laugh her gleeful laugh Her head thrown back in rapture Eyes and hair perfect….always beautiful and confident... She would ask about my publications, or my neck of the woods, while texting a dear friend And mumble “that will be good for you” or “that sounds like fun” [She is thinking about exotic skiing in Colorado now, or flying to Montana, or her career, or the next tortilla chip - - but not about me or the cute cafe’] Some ancient sense of obligation, or perhaps tired adventure, has brought her here today. She is beautiful and charming still - - but transparent… She will gently apply lipstick after wiping her mouth with a paper napkin Her fingers are deft when she toggles a mint…. [She has left no crumbs or messes] Then, she will walk across the parking lot to work without one backwards glance And look refreshed and wholesome [easily] Despite her echoing minor protests, I gladly pay the bill…. My eyes will follow her and I will shake my head in the sad awareness, recognizing the world of joy and romance and playfulness is gone, fully gone, and buried….. Oh, I marvel at swarming feelings wondering why I couldn’t make the speech and couldn’t articulate the depth of my wonder and sadness - - I am Frost, and the end times have come for me. Jack Frost Comes Home Jack Frost comes home from his job… Numb from the cold, he leans his 87 Sportster on its jiffy stand And struggles to get a crinkled key into the front door [numb fingers, you know]. He is living in an older travel trailer now, down by the weed-tossed brickyard - - Alimony, bad health, and depression have pretty much cleaned him out. He doesn’t pay attention to scrolling marquees, billboards, or television…the icons of pop culture are so just so much debris to Frost... Our World has beaten him badly - - perhaps his fault, perhaps not.... He has a job and pays his bills, and sees the strident silliness of social slurping... Jack Frost treats himself to smoked oysters and a six pack of good cold beer each Friday night … He has no photographs in his place, nor phones, nor any past or future... Just the present... And his memories focus and refocus on those who have ridiculed him mercilessly... He doesn’t go to movies, or watch American Idol [he owns an AM radio, but not a TV!] But he reads and reflects quietly. You see - - Jack Frost took that sage advice to be an individual - - “Never conform! Be yourself! Do what you want to do! Just Be Happy!” And the World has beaten him for it... The World has beaten him badly - - perhaps his fault, perhaps
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Facebook Info Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/College-Leadership-Crisis-The-Philip-Dolly-Affair/109780632466832?sk=info
Getting to Know Phil Dolly Blog: http://copperfieldcommunitycollege.blogspot.com/
Twitter Account @SalinasChick: https://twitter.com/#!/salinaschick
Jeffrey Ross Creative Efforts Home Page on Web Eden (Music and More) http://jeffreyross.webeden.co.uk/
Jeffrey Ross Open Salon Blog—other poetry and essays http://open.salon.com/blog/slipdoc/popularity