Friday, February 19, 2010

*From The Depths Of Memory- A Personal Note On Youthful Romance

Click on the title to link to a "Wikipedia" entry for Vladimir Mayakovsky, the great Russian poet who is mentioned in the entry below.

Markin comment:

Not all the entries in this space are connected to politics, although surely most of them can be boiled down into some political essence, if you try hard enough. The following is one of those instances where trying to gain any “political traction”, or as I am fond of saying drawing any “lessons” would be foolhardy. I should also note that this entry is part of a continuing, if sporadic, series of “trips down memory lane” provoked by a fellow high school classmate who has been charged with keeping tabs on old classmates and their doings, even those of old-line communists like this writer. Go figure?

Trotsky once noted, as his most famous biographer Issac Deutscher related, and which is most prominently addressed by him in the last chapter of his seminal work, "Literature and Revolution", that of the three great tragedies of life- hunger, sex, and death-the modern labor movement had taken up the struggle against hunger as its goal. Trotsky also noted that under conditions of material abundance in a future communist society that the other two questions would be dealt with in a much more rational manner. Well, as this tale of my youth's thwarted 'passions' demonstrates it cannot come soon enough. Resolving the tangled questions of sex and love, moreover, will be a lot more interesting that the infernal struggle against international capitalism, racism, sexism, and the myriad other social ills that we are duty-bound to fight today. That too is worth the fight.


For Margaret G. - In Lieu Of A Letter

I make no claim to any literary originality. I will shamelessly ‘steal’ any idea, or half-idea that catches my fancy in order to make my point. That is the case today, as I go back in time to my elementary school days down at the old school in the X housing project. Part of the title for today’s entry and the central idea that I want to express is taken from a poem by the great Russian poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky.

So what do a poet who died in 1930 and a moonstruck kid from the 'projects', growing up haphazardly in 1950s America, have in common? We have both been thrown back, unexpectedly, to childhood romantic fantasies of the “girl who got away”. In my case, Margaret G., as the title to this entry indicates. I do not remember what triggered Mayakovsky’s memories but mine have been produced via an indirect school Internet connection. In this instance, damn the Internet. I do not know the fate of Margaret G., although I fervently hope that life has worked out well for her. This I do know. For the time that it will take to write this entry I return to being a smitten, unhappy boy.

Mayakovsky would, of course, now dazzle us with his intoxicating use of language, stirring deep thoughts in us about his unhappy fate. I will plod along prosaically, as is my fate. Through the dust of time, sparked by that Internet prod, I have hazy, dreamy memories of the demure Margaret G., mainly as seemed from afar through furtive glances in the old schoolyard at the elementary school(which is today in very much the same condition as back then) . This is a very appealing memory, to be sure, of a fresh, young girl full of hopes and dreams, and who knows what else.

But a more physical description is in order that befits the ‘real time’ of my young ‘romance’ fantasies. Margaret G. strongly evoked in me a feeling of softness, soft as the cashmere sweaters that she wore and that reflected the schoolgirl fashion of those seemingly sunnier days. And she almost always wore a slight suggestion of a smile, working its way through a full-lipped mouth. And had a voice, just turning away from girlishness to womanhood, which spoke of future conquests. I should also say that her hair… But enough of this. This is now getting all mixed up with adult dreams of childhood. Let the fact of fifty years' remembrances speak to her charms.

Did I ‘love’ Margaret G.? That is a silly thought for a bashful, ill-at-ease, ragamuffin of a project boy and a ‘princess’ who never uttered two words, if that, to each other, ever. Did I ‘want’ Margaret G.? Come on now, that is the stuff of adult dreams. Did Margaret G. disturb my sleep? Well, yes, she was undoubtedly the subject of more than one chaste dream, although perhaps not so innocent at that. But know this. Time may bury many childhood wounds but there are not enough medicines, not enough bandages on this good, green earth to stanch some of them. So let’s just leave it at that. Or rather, as this. For the moment it takes to finish this note I am an unhappy man and… maybe, for longer.

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