Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'll be damned if I'll run away from it or sour myself or give in.



What the hell have you done that I haven't done? I've stayed here, haven't I, and I've continued to exist. I haven't died and I haven't yet been licked. In spite of a tough schedule I've gone on keeping my mind on the job of doing the work there is to do without a day of missing my turn. Maybe I haven't piled up a bin of superior work but I've hit right into the center of the target first and last, piling up some work and keeping it right under their noses.

I've interpreted what I could find out of the best about me, I've talked and hammered at individuals, I've read their stuff and passed judgment on it. I've met a hell of a lot more of all kinds of people that you'll even get your eyes on and I've known them inside and outside in ways you'll never know. I've fought it out on an obscure front but I haven't wasted any time.

And I'm not kidding myself that my purpose is to be a great humanitarian. I've kept it coming into the hopper for writing...

What do you want me to do, run for the U.S. Senate?

... I'll be damned if I'll run away from it or sour myself or give in. I will do what I set out to do. By merely existing here I've been able to make myself a rallying point for others. Not that I'm satisfied or, I hope, finished. But I've done it - so far...

My whole duty seems to me to be to continue to exist here and now. My only regret is that I am so submerged with the labor of living that I can't write as often and as for as long a time as I should like to. But to live at all I have had to live as I have been able to do and that has been the most successful and most effective effort it has been possible to make...

It's a tough game. You know that. Once in a while it is possible to make one or two steps ahead. That's about the limit for one life. But the main thing is to keep so that you want to make the step and to keep fighting off the things that would make that spot impossible. It is still possible for me to make a couple of more steps.

Toor a loo, sweetheart.

-- WCW to EP, March 17, 1938; more on poetry and work here; and click here to see which lazy loafer writer played mah jongg all afternoon while ostensibly on the job

2 comments:

Ms Baroque said...

Aw, c'mon... that's lovely. Toor a loo, sweetheart. Toujours gaie, Archie.

David Shapiro said...

Williams ios such a hero if even to himself. A pediatrician should know. There's a new book on him with Coles and
photographs of the neighborhood. And this is the guy too
difficult for The New Yorker to handle? In one of his books
he speaks of "the bastards" as if he were a Wobbly.
My father once demurred and said WCW's oractise wasn't very interestuing. That's exactly the point. He made out
of all that work and all those sore throats and seeming trivia and all thjat obstectrics--of all that he made a hero's life and
ennobled everyone arouynd him from Ginsberg to poetry itself. His broither was says an old friend a wondetrful architect and good to work with--how else? The point I hadn't
gotten, --when he calls the poem El Hombre he is
definitely underlining he says his Spanish roots and putting down
what he regarded as the plethora of French toast in the
world of poetry. A sketch I'll do for you, real poems to follow:
EL POETA
It's a strange courage you give me,
William Carlos Williams. Shine when the bastards try and tried to get you, shine as strongly as the present tense,
as any poem, of any poem, shine as you give birth to the
spiral jetty, shine and save us by looking into our
cowardly mouths, shine with a show of force against the bastards who keep ruining the city and the waterfall,
and the language.