Saturday, August 17, 2013

Kurt Vonnegut

He never quit smoking.
He called smoking his slow suicide.
He divorced his wife
and remarried another woman.
He adopted his sister's children
when she died and then wrote
about his love for his sister
and his struggle to find love
for her children with his imagination.
The critics panned it. Slapstick.
He gave himself a D grade
in Palm Sunday,
his autobiographical collage.
He may have tried to kill himself in 1985,
the year I was born.

Do you want your children taught?
Words from a suicide case?
Do you want your children taught?
Words from a divorcee suicide case?

He was captured by German forces
at the Battle of the Bulge
when he served in the European theater
during World War Two.
He regularly drew assholes
with a felt tip pen.

He attempted to write a war memoir
and this is from that book:

  "People aren't supposed to look back. I'm certainly not going to do it anymore.
I've finished my war book now. The next one I write is going to be fun.
This one is a failure, and had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt. It begins like this:
- Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

On November tenth, 1973
at an American school in North Dakota
this book was burned 
rather unceremoniously
in the basement boiler.
The word motherfucker 
prompted the burning.
A couple of motherfuckers
in over two hundred pages. 
I wonder if anyone at the school
actually read the book.

He wrote the school a letter in anger
stating he was real 
and his thoughts were real
and his thoughts about the situation 
disappointed him. 

He was from Indiana
and he was not particularly proud of that
most of the time
which makes sense if you are from Indiana.
But he was proud, sometimes.

Hopeful skepticism.

He continued writing
because he had to keep writing.
What do you have to keep doing,
Mitch Daniels?
I want to know 
because I do not know.
He wrote because it was all he could do
with his loneliness.
His writing brings peace.
What do your actions do
other than bring anxiety?
Maybe your biography will answer someday.
I doubt it.

Aaron C. Molden

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