Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Young Ezra Pound, Shithouse rat mascot

Young Ezra Pound
Originally uploaded by Elvira Black.
Here is BG's portrait of psycho-genius poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972), in 1913 at the age of 28. During that year, Pound resided with fellow legendary modern poet W. B. Yeats at Stone Cottage in Sussex, England, where the two delved into the occult. During the next year, he married English artist Dorothy Shakespear and met T. S. Eliot. He sent Eliot's seminal work, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," to the journal Poetry, where it was subsequently published in 1915. During that year, Pound also began his Cantos, a major endeavor in his long, illustrious career.

Here is a snippet from Pound's Canto LXXXI, which BG loved to recite while drunk:

What thou lovest well remains,
the rest is dross
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage
Whose world, or mine or theirs
or is it of none?
First came the seen, then thus the palpable
Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,
What thou lovest well is thy true heritage.

For more on Ezra Pound's wild and crazy life, see my previous post: Ezra Pound, Psychotic Genius Poster Boy. For a bitchin' W. B. Yeats poem, see The Second Coming.


At 12:00 AM, Blogger !ce said...

Interesting facts about Pound. Also, like the quote.

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Blackie,

As a young alter boy, I remember many priests reciting T.S. Eliot's
words in their sermons. I didn't realize there was a link to him and BG's hero, Ezra P.

I guess an evil genius like Ezra needed equal, but opposite wit to balance his thoughts. Maybe the same is true about TS. An equal, but opposite stimulus to help balance each side of the creative fence.

I've never been able to really capture "What thou lovest well..." says to me unless I first balance my own fence. A little "Yin Yang" is good for the soul. Those two
guys needed to stay off-balance to create their own worlds.


At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To BG and Blackie,

I forgot to say I liked the portrait of the young EP. The boy seems to want to find himself without any concern of the on-looker's mindset.

Maybe he knows this feeling, or it could be he's decided to take flight of all rational concerns. Either way, his facial gift shines through on the canvas by the talented BG's work with paint.


At 10:32 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Thanks, Ice and BLLB, for your kind comments.

BLLB: You make some great points. I think that true geniuses are often cut off from the everyday workings of humanity and can exist in a very self-contained intellectual state. Some of them are mad; some become embroiled in horrid political beliefs.

There are some, no doubt, who would throw the baby out with the bathwater and totally discount--or even destroy, if they could--the works of such a blatantly fascist bigot as Pound (he recanted somewhat in later life). There are zealots, for instance, who will protest movies they have never seen based on what they've heard about them, like The Last Temptation of Christ (Christian protests) and The Passion of the Christ (Jewish protests). However, even Reni Rastenfal's (I probably have the spelling all wrong) propaganda films for Hitler are heralded for their artistic excellence, despite their nefarious intent.

Likewise, I can separate an artist's ability to move me from their political ideology. In a way, one's art is like a separate force that trancends these sometimes questionable, or even reprehensible, philosophies.

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Blackie-the "self contained intellectual state". I call it the "bubble". EP, at times, lived in a bubble. His most intense beliefs were either scorned or praised. They were certainly not forgotten-thus the midnight recitals of his works by the gifted orator, BG.

I remember years ago, Stubba gave me a German LP named "Triumph", with marching songs based on RR's works. Once I realized the basis of the music, I didn't feel like marching around the living room in triumph.

This story reminds me of a time much earlier when FMcM showed me
an old brownie snap-shot of piles of deceased Jews-it was quite ugly and alarming. He was still in the Army in Germany near the end of WW II and took them to remind others of the horrors that had occurred by the hands of those linked with Hitler. Look what happened to Hitler's bubble! His manical manifesto became the numbing nightmare of others.

In the extreme, some ideas become so twisted that nobody can recover from their final conclusion. I hope those so gifted with their bubble will consider how their convictions will affect those most closely aligned to them by their own ideas. Of course, these genius types never, or rarely think of others' feelings. So sad! BLLB

At 9:52 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


In Leo Rosten's classic The Joys of Yiddish, he describes a mench, in part, as:

1. A human being. "After all, he is a mensch, not an animal.

2. An upright, honorable, decent person. "Come on, act like a mensch!

3. Someone of consequence; someone to admire and emulate; someone of noble character. "Now, there's a real MENSCH!"

He goes on to say, in part:

"To be a mensch has nothing to do with success, wealth, status....The key to being "a real mensch" is nothing less than--character: rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous. Many a poor man, many an ignorant man, is a mensch."

Wealth, status, fame, awe-inspiring genius--how valuable, ultimately, are all these gifts if one is not also a mensch?

At 12:06 AM, Blogger Henry said...


I love the "psycho-genius" part. I just makes me chuckle....

I'm not much of a poetry lover, but maybe I'll check out some of Demento-Boy's works.

BG: The colors! That red is fantastic; the corona around his head is amazing! EP definitely looks like he's up to no good... LOL

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Pérola Negra said...

hi... it´s that photo or painted i like... very much... when i see this, to the first time on the flick , immedialtly i was inlive with him...

i have learn more about him... and, now... i think a like your painted, your hand´s in the painted.. maybe... rrsssssss...
sorry, i didn´t speak well your language...


At 2:35 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks guy. I am not much of a poetry maven myself, but guys like Pound and Yeats? Well, I think that after the Higher Power made them, (S)he broke the mold.

Poetry is pretty much of a dead art, I guess. Not that people don't still write it, but I think the only truly popular "poetry" nowadays is that found in lyrics, which is cool.

But I have never attempted poetry, and just couldn't imagine ever topping what these geniuses accomplished. There may very well be some truly awesome poetry still being written, but there's simply not much of a popular venue for it nowadays. Though I know there's still poetry readings and literary mags, not too many poetry books find their way onto the NY Times bestseller list, if you catch my drift.

And thanks for the compli's on the painting itself. Being a computerphobe, BG has kept his distance from this blog, but I know he thinks the comments I've read to him from you are as funny and flattering as hell.

Ervilha--hey, nice name! I get your drift, and I thank you. For some reason, I've discovered that some people from other lands have checked out this blog. Perhaps that is due to BG's art, which goes beyond language barriers. In any case, thanks again. I think your photography is awesome.


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