Maxwell Bodenheim

1892 - 1954 / Mississippi / United States

Condensed Novel

Shun the abundant paragraphs
With which a novelist interviews shades
Of physical appearance in one man,
And regard the body of Alvin Spar
Curtained by more aristocratic words.
'Alvin Spar in adolescence
Was neither slim nor rotund,
But slightly aware of future corpulence.
The face that Aristotle may have had
Was interfering, bit by bit,
With an outer face of pouting curves.
Alvin Spar in youth
Held half of the face that Aristotle
May have had, and the pungent directness
Of a stable-boy.
Alvin Spar in middle age
Had the face that Aristotle
May have had- a large austerity
Disputing the bloom of well-selected emotions.
Straight nose, thick lips, low forehead
Were apprentices to the austerity
That often stepped beyond them.
Alvin Spar in old age
Had drawn the wrinkled bed-quilts
Over the face that Aristotle
May have had, but his eyes peered out,
Fighting with sleep.'
Shuffle the cards on which I have written
Alvin Spar's changes in physical appearance,
And deal them out to the various players.
Accident first, then the qualities of the players-
These two will struggle to dominate
The movements of the plot.
The plot of this novel will ascend
In twenty lines and escape
The honoured adulteration so dear to men.
'Alvin Spar loved a woman
Who poured acid on his slumber
By showing him the different fools within him.
Sincerely longing for wisdom
He married her, while she desired
A pupil whom she could lazily beat.
She convinced him that emotions
Were simply periods of indecision
Within the mind, and with emphasis
He walked to another woman.
The second woman loved him,
But she was merely to him
Clay for mental sculpture.
She killed herself, believing
That he might become to her in death
A figure less remote and careful.
He forgot her in an hour
And used the rest of his life
In finding women over whom he could tower. . . .
He died while madly straying over his heights.'
The incidental people, chatter, and background?
You will find them between
Pages one and four-hundred
Of the latest bulk in prose.
134 Total read