Who Stole My Sonnets?!!

by Fishspit

    No one believes my tale . . . what happened . . . no one, that is, but the two most mentally ill people in my mental health support group. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen! But maybe I should tell you about “the curse” I live under that led up to the incident before I tell you what happened.
    I live under a curse! I don’t know when it started . . . yet over the last two years it has become obvious. I have had nothing go right for two years! I hear my beloved optimist reader: “Fishspit! You are just looking at the negative! You dismiss the positive!” I hear the cognitive behaviorist counselor say, “Fishspit, you have developed a negative cognitive schema. You need to change your cognitions.” Bullshit! I’m under a curse!
     Does a person who gets in four wrecks in four months have a problem of mere cognition? Hell no! There’s someone out to get him! I can hear you! You blame me! Say I am cognitive deficient and caused the wrecks . . . but no!  I admit to two of them . . . but the other two . . . well, I got rear ended. I was sitting at red lights.  
    Everything was going wrong! Had been for so long I can’t even remember what to regale you with as proof since it was a daily occurrence! While I try to cull some of the big miseries from my curse, I’ll go ahead and regale you with a strange tale.
    I had me a girl.  I loved her.  She always had good luck! It irked me!  But her karma was so good. It was just unbelievable! She didn’t lie, cheat, and steal like yours truly. No . . . she was a good person.  I’ve often wondered if my curse is me paying for my decades of terrible actions. But in all reality, I believe it is some woman who has put a curse on me. Really! I was lousy to a lot of them when I was a drunk . . . a bad drunk . . . I must have hurt one so bad that she put the whammy on me . . . a voodoo curse.
    Back to the girl though . . . damn! . . . I’m always taking you on long tangents reader. I don’t know how to avoid it. How do you avoid rambling off like this? It’s my poor bean. It’s so fried. But that girl! She didn’t do bad things! She really was good! A good woman?! I know it’s hard to believe. But she was one if there ever was one. As a matter of fact . . . as I ponder it here . . . every broad I went out with when I was so rotten was a good person. Hmm. Maybe those stories mama told me that all women were bad (except my mama) weren’t true. Maybe misogynist dudes like me have it all wrong about broads. Hmm?
    But back to the girl . . . goddamned . . . she was a good soul!  I ain’t lyin’ either! I ain’t stretching the truth! She was my girl and we loved each other a lot. I lost her though. I was too mentally ill for her . . . I liked to live too hard and fast.  She wanted a smart, mellow fellow. I sure wasn’t either of those things. So she left me for a smart, mellow fellow.
    Ugh! I’ve got to do it reader . . . I’m so sorry . . . but . . . well . . . I’ve got to take you on another circuitous route . . . but I’ll get back to “the tale” soon . . . . . I promise.
    In my heartbreak over this girl, I spent a lot of time reading 18th century British poets. I do that when I’m low. Somehow I stumbled upon this poet from this period of literary genius whom I had never heard of before. His name is John Bampfylde. Nothin’, or hardly anything, is known about him. He wrote 16 sonnets . . . fell in love with the famous painter Joshua Reynolds’s niece (or daughter, or some other pretty she-devil related to Sir Joshua) . . . and went insane from unrequited love.
    He then threw a lot of rocks through Joshua Reynolds’s windows . . . and mad as a hatter at age 25, he was carted off to the lunatic asylum. He spent 20 years there! They let him out at age 45 and he immediately got consumption and died. And I complain about my lot in life! Sheesh! Here was a fellow that had worse luck than me! Well . . . almost. I became intrigued.
    His sonnets were published once in his lifetime.  Sometime in this century, an eccentric sort fell in love with Bampfylde’s sonnets and published the 16 of them in an edition of 300.  It cost me 50 bucks but I got ahold of a copy.  These were the first sonnets I’d ever read (except for a handful of Shakespearian which bored me), and I dug them.  I really did.  I decided to learn the form and write 16 of my own.  There are a number of rhyme schemes in the sonnet form.  You’ve heard of the Shakespearian sonnet.  It’s the most commonly used form.  I think! I’m no fuckin’ scholar, so don’t quote me on that. . . but it’s the one they taught us in high school.  Bampfylde deviated from this form and so I used his rhyme scheme.
    But I needed a muse!  I needed a fair dame to write the 16 sonnets to.  I chose the girl who broke my heart.  I wrote sad sonnets to what we had, and what we’d never have again.  I had written 13 of the sonnets or so . . . worked goddamned hard on them!  One night I was writing on one late into the dark hours, but had stalled out.   I couldn’t finish a line.  “Fuck it,” I concluded and put the journal containing all the sonnets so far writ onto the nightstand beside my bed.  I took my anti-psychotic meds, turned off the lamp, and laid back.
    The mind never shuts up of course.  Mine kept working at the line I couldn’t finish.  Whammo! Hot dog damn and diddly! The line that eluded me!  I had it! I turned on the light excitedly and reached for the sonnet journal . . . it was gone!!!  Reader!  I am not a believer in weird shit!  I’m a pragmatist!  Obstinately sensible!  Way too imbecilic to appreciate the fantastic!  These things just don’t happen! Figuring it had to have fallen down behind the bed, I crawled under . . . nope.  Must be in the bed . . . tore the bed apart . . . nope. I started feeling really weird . . . totally zizzled in the noggin!  Already dizzled in the head enough, this sort of situation sends me to the other side of the rainbow.  I freak out!
    I tore my room apart. Nothing! I started searching in places it could not possibly be!  I checked all the other rooms I go into . . . rooms I hadn’t even been in that day. Nothing! I was going mad.  I knew I wouldn’t be doing any sleeping anymore.  It was a Saturday night.  I live in my parent’s basement as I’m going to school and can’t afford both tuition and rent at present.  My folks were upstairs asleep.  I did not want to wake them over this. They already think I’m bonkers!  Hell . . . one night last December I got a push by God . . . up the stairs. . . at 3 a.m. . . . and God told me to go to my mama and tell her Jesus loved her.  Really! I was standing there at the bottom of the stairs and something came along and swooshed me up the stairs! Right on into the bedroom . . . I didn’t even walk . . . I floated! I swear.   I did it . . . which totally confused my shaken awake mother as I gave her the message.  It was crazy!  But . . . well . . . hell. . . that’s a different story.  I want to talk about that fucking sonnet journal. . . not God.  I just wanted to show you, dear reader, why they are wary of me. I chose not to give them the further opportunity to wonder about me . . . and I laid there in my bed staring at the ceiling.
    When you are awake all night, the chattering mind comes up with some doozies!  My mind decided that my lost love was dead! And her spirit had come by to take the sonnet journal.  I wanted to call her and check on her . . . but like I said about my folks . . . she already thought I was batty . . . a regular doodlesump! I didn’t want to run her off anymore than I had.  At that time, though she’d kicked me to the curb, we still were in communication and civil to each other.  Deciding she was dead, I decided to think what I’d wear to her funeral.
    Dressed up in my imagination in my suave black suit and slick Italian-made wingtips . . . for the funeral you know . . . man I was looking sharp . . . well . . . I laid in bed, eyes wide open . . . waiting for my folks to get up to go to church . . . so I could nab them before they left to come have a look-see into my abode.  Surely they’d spot the journal.  I was just missing it somehow. My parents were even more practical than I!  Things didn’t disappear in their world. Hell no!  Just didn’t happen.  The laws of the universe that we all follow slavishly . . . they too followed unquestioningly. It’s a comfortable way to live.
    I certainly wasn’t comfortable in my own mind.  I waited.  They were up.  I waited.  I could tell breakfast was going via my nozzle.  I jumped up and nabbed them!  My mom went at it; then my dad.  Every nook and corner!  Every cobweb! The cat’s behind! Places the damned thing would have to shrink up something awful to fit in to.  My mother was getting flustered.  This scared me.  The woman’s a rock!  She told me that they had to get on to church but when they got home we’d all do a full spring cleaning of my bedroom.  It would certainly show up.  But there was a twang of nervousness in her voice.  She was a little flumdiddled.  That had me feeling . . . well . . . spooked!
    After they left I lay back down and stared at the ceiling.  I wanted to call the girl and see if she was up yet, but I didn’t wanna wake her up with a frantic  “Are you dead?!”  Then if she was I’d be really spooked!  Or if she wasn’t, how could I explain the sonnet disappearance?  She was even more pragmatic than the rest of us put together!  She’d think I was trying to pull a fast one! An attempt at getting her back involved with me . . . in some unfortunate manner. I got my pride goddamed it!  I loved (think I still do too)
that girl though she don’t love me no more . . . and besides my pride, I still have a modicum of concern for others left, and I didn’t want to disturb her sleep or her peace.
    I'd call her later.  If she was dead there weren’t no hurry.  If she was alive there wasn’t any either.  There commenced two hours of dreadful waiting.  Thems two hours I’d like to have back . . . staring at the ceiling.  And worse . . . thinking!  Thinking that some evil spirit was cursing me.  Damn!  My ass hurt from the reaming I’d been getting by good old bad luck.  Bad, bad luck! And let’s not forget hardship! Hell no!
    Finally! The folks got home.  We donned our gloves, grabbed 52 brands of cleaning supplies, and went to town. We cleaned every inch of that room!  No notebook!  My mother sent my dad to clean the rest of the basement. Places I didn’t even go to!  She had a new theory that I’d been sleep walking.  “I didn’t sleep walk mama! I turned the light off, thought of a verse, turned the light on, and it was gone!”
    My mother, totally out of ideas, well reasonable ones suggested, “Maybe Pip took it.”  Pip!  My 3 and a half pound 15 year old cat!  Was she joking?  Her face didn’t imply she was.  But every spot had been checked!  Double checked!  Quondrupledouble checked! The sonnet journal was gone. 
   
Over the next week I lived in a surreal world.  I tried to live the practical life. . . but that journal kept popping into my mind.  Was I really cursed?  Maybe it was that Jewish girl I used to tease so bad!  She’d moved to New Orleans!  Had she put the hoodoo on me?!  I was getting paranoid!  I spent hours going over the broads in my life and trying to figure out which one hated me the most and had a personality inclined toward witchcraft.  I visited one of my local gurus.  She had me keep something precious in my pocket (I chose a clipping of Pip’s belly fur), to immerse myself in salt water baths, and to say “return to sender” whenever I could . . . all this to send this curse back to the one that sent it.  I did them.
    Things seemed to get better . . . I started to slip into a normal routine. The girl was not dead. Life went on. I started a new set of sonnets called “Who stole my sonnets!?”  All sonnets about broads that had good reason to put the hex on me!
    Things settled.  I concentrated on school.  Then . . . about 2 months later . . . I woke up . . . sitting on the floor . . . three feet from the side of the bed I sleep on . . . yeah . . . you guessed it!  The sonnet journal!


This piece is a part of Fishspit's ongoing project Wiseblood.  Learn more about the author and the project at WeMakeZines.

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