Five Points, Vol. 10 No. 3Fall 2006
From Richard Howard, “I’ll have to go back a ways in order to respond. In teaching the works of Marianne Moore, of George Santayana, and of Henry James, I run into this question. These three people, apparently, had very little erotic connection with any other human being, as far as we know.”
Only losers keep journals. That’s what I told my caseworker, Stephen “Fancy Pants” Vance, when he told me to write down my thoughts and experiences.
“Losers,” he repeated, in the thoughtful way I hate. But it got me thinking. Any guy who ends up in a clinic for compulsive gamblers is by definition a loser. The winners are on yachts, islands; pressed between naked women like the way fossils are made. They aren’t locked up in a residential facility in upstate New York, talking to shrinks and doing arts and crafts, waiting for an old judge to die so a younger, more liberal one can hand down their sentences.
I watch Vance make a note in my file. I could have explained how I wasn’t always a loser, how a year ago I had a great car, a job in the city and Nicki the Body, whose ass could stop traffic. But Vance has heard it all before. All of us deadbeats talk about what we used to be. We have to; none of us are anything now.