if you think you read this previously on a personal blog which no longer exists, i have two words for you: prove it.
My wife says I should listen to her more often.Â Perhaps.
Then again, Frank Oceanâ€™s Nostalgia, Ultra grows on me. Itâ€™s still â€œokayâ€ in the â€œitâ€™s not wackâ€ sense, but Iâ€™m not ready to jump on the bandwagon. That said, I see the appealâ€“infectious beats coupled with â€œyoung-manâ€ lyrics.
Often, I thought as I listened, â€œGrow up,â€ but thatâ€™s my problem, not Frank Oceanâ€™s, Iâ€™m sure.
Favorite joints so far: â€œnovacane,â€ â€œsongs for women,â€ and â€œlovecrimes.â€
In â€œsongs for women,â€ Ocean muses about singing and writing songs to get with women. I canâ€™t sing, but I figuredâ€“once upon a timeâ€“that literature would do. Yeah, I just assumed women would drop panties at the sight of a postmodern parable on love and lossâ€¦written in prosaic form, no less.
Which begs the question: are there literary groupies? If I go on a book tour, would I have to deal with freaky, busty librarians who want their â€œcover pagesâ€ autographed?
Now, Iâ€™ve heard about some of the debauchery at such events as AWP, soâ€“I meanâ€“is it a stretch?
Baby, Iâ€™m the new Proustâ€¦just roll with me. No?
In my early writing days, I kept my passion a secret. Iâ€™d bring my high school girlfriends homeâ€“it helped to have a workaholic fatherâ€“and weâ€™d converse, laugh and giggle, make out and take it there.
But I was no foolâ€“when her bra dropped, that was not the time to compare the styles of Langston Hughes and Nikki Giovanni. And letâ€™s be real, I was a young lad with a wavy haircut and navy-hued Jordans unlaced; though fat, I had dimples and orthodontically-correct teeth, so I didnâ€™t need to write poetry or stories for women.
Besides, what could I say?
â€œYeah girl, I was in the labâ€“in the studioâ€“working on these stanzas, trying to lay down these paragraphs for the novel.â€
Music translates to literature, sureâ€“but itâ€™s not a clean connection.
And every time somebody ask me if I write stories to get at women, I say â€œyeah,â€ they say â€œno fair no fair, thatâ€™s cheating,â€ I say â€œshit, oh well, oh well.â€
But okay, I wrote poetry for my high school sweetheart to lose my virginity. Yeah, I loved herâ€“yeah, it all came from the heartâ€“but she swooned and swayed and covered her lips [licked] like, â€œItâ€™s like that?â€
So I understood the power. By the time I dropped out of college, I used it haphazardly. It got me in trouble. â€œTroubleâ€ is defined as serial cheating [emotional, for the most part] and serial getting-caught. Seriously breaking heartsâ€“serial killer of sorts.
I thought it was cute in the â€œIâ€™m an artist and I got appetitesâ€ sense, but I grew up. The cute shit just left behind a trail of embittered women and left me lonely; my nonsense precluded any opportunity for future friendships with them, so
Now every time somebody ask me if I write stories to get my women, I say â€œnah,â€ they say â€œokay I donâ€™t believe it,â€ I say â€œno, I swear I never do it.â€
Dudes like Frank Ocean remind me of my age. Iâ€™m still young, but not quiteâ€“time slipsâ€“and itâ€™s a new paradigm to navigate. It shouldnâ€™t scare me to get old, to become irrelevant, to be the elderly man holding up a gaggle of teenagers rushing to walk up the blockâ€“but it does. It frightens me more than death, but thatâ€™s regret talking. Wishing I was a little bolder during my younger youth, a little more confident, a littleâ€“dare I sayâ€“swag in my repertoire. Maybeâ€“just maybeâ€“I wouldâ€™ve worn my hat tilted and donned my eyeglasses more often, shared my love of Miles Davis with girls, escorted them to my bedroom and before legs splayed, I couldâ€™ve opened my notebook to show them the power of literature, of expression, of creationâ€“
I mean, we ended up creating a baby accidentally, but thatâ€™s not what I mean.
The couldâ€™ve, wouldâ€™ve, shouldâ€™veâ€“each in plural formâ€“mount up like the years.
mensah demary, whose prose has appeared or is forthcoming in various publications, is co-founder & editor-in-chief of Specter Literary Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @mensahdemary or trolling his own author site at http://www.inhelvetica.com