(30) "Beyond Life and Death" (IV)

"The goal is constant refinement."

- Arthur Rimbaud, "Farewell", A Season in 
Hell

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by Greg Baysans

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Alternate Ending

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I confess that my name is not Edward Lacie, Jim Post, Son of Sam, Blaise Cendrars, Martin Luther, Fred Sauser, William Blake or Poet X. Those are all real characters.

The entire narrative has been the work of one Greg Baysans. Perhaps I am The Other. I've been going by the nickname "Poet X" for almost a decade now. In this story, however, he represents my drinking which, for now, ended on the date given as that of a hit and run which killed Poet X.

I invented Edward Lacie on November 30, 2002. A few days later, I undertook my project to watch "Twin Peaks" and write a first draft of what, I had little idea; Edward Lacie as "Evil Cooper" was an idea from the beginning.

Lucas Edwards was invented in January, 2003, while I began transcribing slivers of ideas written in a rough draft onto web pages. I reached a day when I questioned the entire project and began to "tinker" with it, planning to more or less erase it and start over without any of the rough draft notes.

As soon as I began to tinker with the adequate bones I'd already constructed, I copied the whole "manuscript" as it then existed into a second, differently named folder. I didn't know it then but that back-up copy became "Luke"'s version of things, a more extensive study of the 1979 events than I'd thought I write when I first started this.

The events of 1979 did not happen in Spokane, Washington, but in Minot, North Dakota. And Iran. Many of the events ascribed to Seattle happened in Minneapolis, Minnesota, including the reading by Bill Burroughs, the first of two times I heard him read there. The second time was in 1984, shortly after the first issue of The James White Review hit the presses. The JWR, of course, is an actual publication, and all "historical" references to it are actual.

I intended to include more stories about the early years of the JWR but those stories didn't make it into the first draft beyond a few early mentions. I figured at the time that mention there would be a seed of inspirationn for the final draft. None of the later drafts mention anything about those glory days. It just didn't fit the themes that matter more to me.

One of those themes is the need for competence in the workplace before the competent will be able to be employed.

Like Edward, I am still unemployed after years of being available for some job that has not found me. (I mentioned briefly what happens when I find my own jobs, and my writing doesn't begin to do reality justice.) Important to this modern allegory, the point isn't that I'm unemployed - it's why I'm unemployed: the pretenders are holding the jobs and have Ayn Rand's lawyers to keep them there. (See my poem "Viaduct" for the quote about "Ayn Rand's lawyers.")

I'm trying to think of what kind of job a career advisor would suggest for Neal Cassady, Dylan Thomas or Sylvia Plath. I don't claim to be as talented as they were, but I am drawn to the same flame it seems.

Instead of finding work as a sandwich maker, I have resorted to this sort of occupational masturbation: writing, the folly of Rimbaud, the foible of Baysans, a sure sign of feeble-mindedness.

"Jim Post" is a very fictional version of my partner whose name is Jim but not "Post." Thus, the whole narrative is fictional. And yet the whole narrative is non-fiction, especially my unemployment and the reason for it.

I'll quote from "Edward Lacie" in the first "episode" of his "half" of this construction. He asked, "What does this have to do with 'Twin Peaks'?"

Too many people didn't watch "Twin Peaks". It was cancelled long ago. I am so lame, so crippled and idea-less as to not let it go. I live in the past, a fantasized past at that, a past that I am loathe to escape. 

Dr. Phil is talking about "authentic self" versus "fictional self." What am I doing on my living room couch instead of his television one?

It is April 1st, 2003, and I hereby finalize this "narrative." In honor of the day and the theme, rewriting history, I include this anonymous e-mail received in the last ten minutes:

"April Fool's Day, sometimes called All Fool's Day, began in France in 1582. 

"Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, from March 25th to April 1st. In 1582, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) in which the new year began on January 1st. 

"Back then news had to travel by foot. As a result, there were many people who didn't receive this news for several years and many who refused to accept the new calendar continuing to celebrate the new year on April 1st. These people were labeled as 'fools' by most of the population and suffered ridicule and harassment. 

"Over time the prank playing became less malicious and turned into a tradition when jokes are made in good fun and are not meant to harm anyone. 

"The English and French introduced this day to the American colonies. April Fool's Day is a "for-fun-only" day where the cleverest April Fool joke is the one where everyone laughs, especially the person upon whom the joke is played!" - anonymous

Happy New Year! Poisson d'avril!

A last note about another "character" in this narrative. 

George Klawitter is mentioned as the source of a quote in the "Out of Africa Redux" essay invented in this fiction. George is an actual person and his letter was that sent to "Edward Lacie". 

He and I did meet back in the early to mid-1980s, almost twenty years ago now, this being spring 2003. He and I have been corresponding since "Edward" sent him the letter inquiring about Baysans and his poetry. I mean no malice in temporarily presenting myself to George as someone else.

His first communication with me asked me if I'd heard of Edward Lacie. Still writing this, I had to deny it for the time being. I did not bring up the subject again for maybe a month at which time I asked George if he'd heard from "my fan Edward."

George answered and noted "I don't know anything about him. For all I know he could be an ax murderer." I like the fact that he's close to correct! My apology here for deceiving him is sincere.

Another e-mail from a friend in the last few days concerned the unreality of our times. There's a trace of racism in it, but I'll include it here. "The best rapper is a white guy. The best golfer is a black guy. The French are accusing the U.S. of arrogance and the Germans don't want to go to war." That about sums up the world I've known since working at DJC where to do a good job was to do a bad job and Ali Hassania's actions were unpardonable.

I, Greg Baysans, continue working on a few translations of ("interpretations of") Rimbaud. Nevertheless it is as myself that I end this page with a heartfelt confession: 

Once, if memory serves me right, my life 
aspired to a banquet where every whim was accomodated 
on an island in a sea of fine wine....

Afterword:

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