Upon A Mulberry Bush
(Looking For a New Woman)
by J. J. Jameson
as read during his last full length feature
at Coffee Chicago, January 14, 2005.
In a recent conversation
with Marcel Proust
he told me that no woman is a mystery
except to herself.
In quite puzzlement
I wondered out loud
did my mother
in her solitude
consider herself a mystery
as she read tea leaves.
In a common Freudian denouement
it is a given
that men go looking for their mothers
they wish to have children with.
One does not bring the dictionary to bed at night
and become a cunning linguist
with the mother of his children.
All other women
are fair game
for any quantum
of sexual rompages.
The first love of a man's life
is neither of the above;
neither the virgin Theresa
nor the harlot Ishtar.
She is the stuff of dreams
neither bleaching her hair
nor shaving her crotch.
Food can be forgone and undigested
she is all the nourishment
that is needed to keep all body parts functioning.
Bathing can be avoided
as her being is the transpiration
for the pores
and needs firstly to be licked and savored
not washed away
in some sweat less dictate of social propriety.
Sleep can be airborne
Given over to reading chapter and verse of John
Biblical self help on learning to walk on clouds.
When this first love fades and extinguishes
as it must
when the candle is burned at both ends.
A mighty glow indeed:
twice rapidly, twice brightly, twice ended.
And the burned out darkness closes
the desire to see her tomorrow.
Next morning there is mother
knowing that no one
can out persevere her
save death in yet another
At this linage juncture
A bright favored son
who is not nonplussed nor befuddled
that no single woman
can replace his mother.
I am now at the end
of my third relationship
looking for the complements
to resolve the egomatic mysterious
of my mother.
My first love was Janet.
She was roman catholic.
I was protestant,
Episcopalian by birth.
Northern bigotry commanded
that I not see her.
So we sulked and snuck and rolled naked
in the light dry hay
but the heavy wet bigotry
splashed and wedged our nakedness.
And we grew sorely afraid and separated.
Yet today we talk
with voices and language
supple and skin tight.
Janet has my mother's eyes.
My first adult love was Jan.
The mother of our children
We lived in the woods;
she yearned for her urban birthplace,
she went there with our children.
My heart broke.
Just what is the allure of the big city.
I took a clean pair of underwares,
boarded a fifth of schmirnoff's
and drank my way to Chicago.
We still have parental conversations.
Jan has my mother's stretch marks.
I found love in Chicago
with the Lady Rutherfurd
a daughter of the leading
Unitarian theologian of the last century
dying in a religious chair at Harvard.
She refused my nice fresh robust cauliflower.
We still talk Unitarian history and world politics,
American politics being little more than war-fearing mongering.
She is the most leftist non-communistic person I know.
The Lady Rutherfurd has my mother's sense of fairness,
trucking no hokum, no hum bunkering especially from me.
Upon this mulberry bush
I look now for a new woman
for yet another glimpse in knowing my mother,
no biblical inclination intended,
to fully know her through other women.
I fear I shall go to my grave not fully endorsed of her
as I don't think I shall ever meet a woman
who can read and divine tea leaves.
I hope this new woman
has my mother's sense of humor
as I wish a Sunday kind of love.
Howsomuchever I am willing to accept her having
any of the other mysteries
my mother may not have known she had.
On rethinking Proust
experience preordains some woman
mysteries not only to themselves
but to men as well.
Meanwhile, I have bushes of women to go.
--J. J. Jameson, Coffee Chicago, January 14, 2005
The Puttering Penis
Las week, late last week,
I went to the theater to listen, raptly,
to the vagina monologuing.
I put my ear down close,
I mean really, really close,
I wanted to hear every spluttering syllable,
I wanted to bite very pulsating enunciation.
I put my other ear down,
I mean really, really down,
I did not wish to miss fondling, aurally,
any climatic sentence even a fragmented one,
preferably a compound one.
I strained so hard
I felt like Arnold Palmer
Aiming that dimpled ball
For that verdant pinhole
With an unsteady puttering penis.
Thence, it dawned, slowly on me.
I began to reflect:
How come it is that only
vagina's can monologue?
Is it because they have lips?
Or is it because they have a lot to say?
All that poor old puttering penis
can do is bang that dimpled ball,
tweak it towards
that petard flapping pinhole
get down on his knees
pray for just the right arc
to curve over that lush velvet pube.
Howsomuchever, most importantly,
to be able to ace that hole
without being monolgued
about missing that hole in one.
I was spent, exhausted, flaccid.
Recovery required I heave the theater early.
I did so deflatedly,
puffed up my lungs and lit up a ciagarette
took an eviscerating drag,
put out that partially smoked cigarette,
and fell asleep promptly.
The vagina, the vagina is still monologuing.
We were at Pops, on Chicago near Hoyne,
a thoroughly urbane tavern.
We were drinking.
He was having brandy
taken from water on the south bank of the Detroit river.
I was having the usual Maine bottled Ginger Ale.
We had just come from Gabi's
where we had tried to participate in a poetry workshop.
Mitch, forever quarrelling with the astute application
of the written word when attached to images,
had managed to offend one of the other participants.
I fail to this day to understand how the other fellow took umbrage:
Mitch simply told him
he was full of shit and didn't know what he was talking about.
It was a poem about Sinatra.
But here we were at Pops
picking apart each word, each line,
and for good measure denigrating the poet himself.
I didn't like this pretentious son-of-a-whore soul
because he had said uncoplimentary things about my dog.
No poet worth his meter has bad things to say about a dog.
Mitch belabored on,
each sip of brandy sharpened and honed his assault,
to a reasoned critique that delineated
the failure of the poet as lacking intellectual rigor
to capture the quiddity of Sinatra.
A refill of the brandy had him singing Sanatra.
Milwaukee Joe joined us with his puppets,
entertaining us with his visions of life in other places
and joining Mitch in song.
The evening grew long into the next day.
As we drove home to the south side,
a mellowness invaded his thinking process.
I could almost see him trying to fight it off.
He asked if I thought he had been too hard
on the son-of-a-whore poet.
I am not one easily to let by-gones be by-gones
I would have been perfectly content
to let a valid critique stand
howsomuchever it is spiced with profanities.
But Mitch wrestled his gruffness
And said some kind words.
Mitch wrestled with yet more
and lost. He died.
With each sip of brandy and ginger ale
his words will speak kindness to us.
Note: Poetry by J. J. Jameson has been put on this page, including the poem "Upon a Mulberry"