Vera or Nora



Vera, Nora, Zelda, Caitlin, Viv or Hugo or

Tess? which of the famous Lit Wife Archetypes was

best suited to the office

of Hero Scribbler’s muse/

midwife/ domina/secretary/ succouring and/or bittering

breast? and by extension hurt

the works the least while providing palliative and/or punishing

Sex? which would you

prefer were you

Scribbler of talented

ambition? exquisite Vera


Sirin-sleek, proved Vlad by far

the simplest

blessed. though pie-faced Nora (who cleaved

to blade-faced J and J to her as neither

believed they’d ever do better)  playing

first J’s whore-of-letters, then

consort, homely scold and long-sufferingly anticipatory

widow can boast

she wombed old scat-mad J’s great

Eternal Indifferents: (renal) Molly and (milky) Greta whereas

the line from Vera to Lolita’s oblique,  inverted, crypto-Oedipal at

most (that photo of  sunbathed V)

(in Montreux posed)

(in Lo Shades notwithstanding). “I go to bed,” wrote demanding


Nora to someone’s fishwife,

chum, “and then that man sits in the next room and continues

 laughing about his own writing. And then I knock at the door, and I say,

now Jim, stop writing or stop laughing,”  and

much to his Holy Goad’s relief did trapped

Jim eventually

both. lucky Nin


paid for, nursed, encouraged and bored

by cuckold hubby Hugo who

kissed her beestung lips and tasted

Henry Miller’s

dick in reward.  Dylan in his cups quipped “Methought

i saw my late espoused saint passed out

on the bathroom floor,” about plucky


Caitlin, who made it her lush life’s work

collecting on his posthumous

debts, like/ unlike abstemious

Tess (who seems)

(oblivious to her and Ray’s Ur-debt)

(to the minimally modernist calvinist)

(Lish), bumbling and buzzing

from Critical Lily to Critical Lily on

Ray’s behalf, fertilizing stigma of tulip-common

canon with humble dust of

middlebrow ressentiment’s

pish. Zelda bitched


with justice and wit, “It seems to me that on one page

 i recognized a portion of an old diary of mine

which mysteriously disappeared shortly after my marriage, and,

also, scraps of letters which, though considerably edited, sound

to me vaguely familiar,” then

died, Scott free,  in an asylum fire: dire

punishment, even worse than

Bertie Russell-plugged Viv’s

distaff madhouse rap for

never (or) having

blown wan anglophony TS’

narrow canoe though we

bet Tom prolly must

have rather had

a caning. why do Scribblers

marry, again? oh for


witness, assistance, class

calculation, comeuppance, con

jugation, sweet

nemesis or the ecstasy of

blaming at dangerously

close ranges. auto-gulaged to


sad high attic rooms for

incubation’s cruellest

sentence, emerging in

solopsis caul with

awful urge for

swift/ sharp/ exsanguinating

review: mortifications of

the letter in

the flesh for




(three cheers)


(Trekkie Parsons)

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