[lit-ideas] Re: Mercedes Paul

  • From: Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 07 Jul 2009 03:48:36 -0400

What's "going down to the end of town"? What's so bad about going there? It's surely not like strolling into a firebombing and getting stuck in molten asphalt. Not as much fun as water slides to the swim-up bar at a tropical resort, but more fun than being swarmed by an angry termite colony. To be more precise, probably less inviting than a taped tour of Afghan art at the Met, but more inviting than being chased and stoned by kid gangs in a barrio.

"Going down" traditionally implies a visit with the underclass. For example, the Seven Hills rose from valleys full of Roman poor.

Going down to the worst air and water. To violence and crowds, she went down. JJM's Mom went down to a local badville on the wrong side of the tracks west of the poisoned creek bridge.

The mom's motives are not known.* We must puzzle them out.

We know that she went "to the end of town." The beginning of the not-town. She went to the limit of the law's protection and the boundary of civil recognition. She went down to the very end of her town where untamed wildness --bandits, mad hermits, wild animals, and so on -- met the beginnings of association and claims of order.

Less discernible is the relation between this versified domestic calamity and esteemed Robert's wistful asseveration that he is the last of the Jones cousins. Of course that may be a reference to a common work, such as Mike Geary's new musical about Salvador Dali. We strive without certainty. It blows.

Wyatt Pooh


* The mom may have been having an affair. Consider this aside by Fats Waller: "I wonders what the poor folks are doing. Wish I was doing it with 'em." If so, maybe the mom wasn't murdered, but instead fell in love down at the end of town and left her old life ... including whiny JJM and his antsy insistence that he share his mother's fate ... far behind. The father? No clue. Likewise the sudden interest of the aristocracy.

To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: