8. "The Last Evening"
"The new Rimbaud has fallen into my bed...."
- Hoshang Merchant, "Love: 24/6/00"
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by Edward Lacie
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I'm relaxed and feeling good tonight as I resume watching "Twin Peaks". My first session was six and a half hours long, my second session just two hours long; I won't be viewing more than two hours at one sitting again.
My kidnap victim is still alive. (That's a note from the first draft and was still true when I worked on the rewrite in early 2003. It is mentioned because, in the first draft, not only was I constantly trying to decide whether or not to kill my detainee, I'd not yet identified him in writing.)
He will be identified within two or three episodes. It is here that the "cut-up" feel of the writing began to be intentional rather than incidental.
Instead of kidnapping, "I wanted to kill him," my mind's voice is quick to recall, adding a mental comma and the word "dammit." I'm still thinking I should have. It would have been easier.
James Hurley and Donna have broken into the office of Dr. Jacobi, Laura's psychiatrist. They dyed Matty's hair blond or put a wig on her. There's a memorable long camera shot of Jacobi's open, unconscious eye after he is beaten while going to meet "Laura."
I'm writing about the "Twin Peaks" plot to avoid writing about my own. I have a lot of pages to fill and no need to repeat anything.
It must have been the night we had final rehearsal for "I Never Sang For My Father," the "closed door" rehearsal. I wondered if I would be assassinated on opening night, killed while on stage by the Son of Sam (the real one, not Berkowitz who liked to use the name) in the audience.
Emonds was older than both Baysans and Willkie and little is known about him after his departure from The JWR after the first couple years of its existence. He was a divorced father raising his son at the time he attended the Gay Mens Writers Group in the early 1980s.
Also, I've lost the rhythm I'd attained after hours of writing what goes before this. That's one advantage to writing for a longer time in one sitting, a better intensity, better writing, more proximity to the flame.
Earlier tonight, as I rewrite this, I realized a major theme of this is intended to be a lesson: Don't emulate poets. Don't wish to be one. Avoid wanting to be a poet by keeping in mind the missing leg of Rimbaud.
Rimbaud initially thought poetry would be financially beneficial. When it wasn't, he tried to apply his genius to business. What is the proper vocation for a visionary poet once his genius correctly tells him there's no profit in it, no return for describing the attraction of the moth to the flame?
Even today, after all the years that have passed since my first attempt at this book, my attempt at poetry since abandoned, I can't clearly say what it was that happened. I remember most strongly thinking that I was going to be killed that Halloween night while I worked, if for no other reason than I was a seer and could help find the Son of Sam's agent who was on the loose locally and in the paper every day. I wanted to help.
"You're under arrest for the murder of Laura Palmer," Truman says, repeating the line from the teaser ads shown all week leading up to this episode's first showing. Truman is arresting Jacques who is then shot.
Before writing the gnome book, I had just finished my first manuscript of poetry and had submitted it to a poetry contest on the last day of possible submission. It was called the Walt Whitman contest and was open to unpublished poets only.
The title was "Bouleversement" (a complete reversal of situations). "Bouleversement" was presented in two halves. The first half contained poems that were adaptations of journal entries. The second half consisted of poems that were each meant to stand alone.
"Cement," says Lucy Moran. Who knew the irony, the hidden meaning?
"My old high school yearbook," Pete says wistfully. "I thought it was gone forever."
Before he died, Ginsberg was asked what advice he would give to aspiring poets. "Don't try to be like me," he advised. I'd add Rimbaud to the list of unlikely mentors: who would want to emulate him?
Nadine has attempted suicide. Things happen quickly in "Twin Peaks".
They don't want to know group therapy is a cut glass exhibit.¹
Leland Palmer bursts into the sheriff station, "Is it true? Have you arrested someone for the murder of my daughter?"
Cement is the town in Washington state where the exteriors for "Twin Peaks" were shot, diner and all. Lucy answers phones at the sheriff's station.
Cement is an hour east of Interstate 5 from Anacortes which is an hour's drive north of Seattle. Anacortes is where Jim's parents live. Next time we visit, I'm going to suggest a detour to visit Cement.
Laura's boyfriend was Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashcroft) but she was also seeing James Hurley (James is the actor's name too) on the side. Bobby was seeing the diner's waitress, Shelley, on the side, whenever Leo was on the road. These were active high schoolers.
Poetry is not a worthwhile aspiration. The cost of disorganizing senses is always more than will be earned in return. Always.
Jacques did not die after being shot but is in the hospital. It is night. An unknown person enters his room, tapes his fat wrists to the bed's guard rails. The pillow goes over his face and Jacques is killed, a behemoth smothered.
Elsewhere in Twin Peaks, a huge fire is destroying the mill, the town's bread and butter.
This is the final episode of the first "season" and, to fit the television formula, must have a cliff-hanger ending.
Years after the breakdown in the direction of up (1979), I discovered The JWR. It would be another few years before I began studying the poetry of Baysans. His poetry no longer appeared in the review when I'd first discovered it.
Once I'd found my way to the Spokane college's back issues of The JWR and found the poetry of Baysans, I sensed a familiarity with his words like I did with Rimbaud. It is only now, over ten years later as I read more extensive biographies of Rimbaud than I have read before that I see more and more the similarities between them.
My first draft of an essay comparing them has been written and, rather than retype it all, I'll include it here as a link (http://members.tripod.com/~myrightmind/awde/essay.html).
Episode eight ends with Cooper talking into his handheld tape recorder as he often does. There's a knock at the door. Cooper opens it. He is shot in the chest at point blank range.
"Poet X, No more modest than immodest"² his business card read.
He was killed by a hit and run driver and died in Portland, April 13, 2002. His body was never claimed or identified. There has been no arrest in the accident and no clues to follow up on. (Local residents were told to contact authorities, of course. None did.)
I killed him because of his negative influence on a poet of intelligence³ whom I enjoyed and had begun stalking, Greg Baysans. I'd hoped to shock him into some new appreciation of himself, a positive self-image that Poet X had both elicited and extinguished with whiskey.
End of episode and of (short) season one.
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