The Love Song of J.S. Bane
A Morality Tale of Allegorical Dissent
(Originally published as part of the Seven Deadly Sins of the Small Press)
Good fortune was steadfast in the life of J.S. Bane. After 30 years as a professor of English, he was retired with a full pension. He could devote all his time to his photography and writing. J.S. was a poet, a bard, as he called himself. He wrote of the Earth, at least what he could find of it in the woods that surrounded his Michigan upper-peninsula home. He spent his days walking around, photographing things in nature, deserted buildings and lonely landscapes. His heart was full of the possibility of his existence, and even though he was getting on in the years, he felt younger than he did at 30 when he first began his career in letters.
J.S. generally preferred to keep to himself. He had always been a loner, but one day, while in town picking up some dry goods he noticed a flyer on the bulletin board next to the check out aisle. The flyer announced a poetry group in town each Thursday night at 7:30pm. Interesting, he thought. He logged the observation and carried his bags to the old Chevy pick-up. He wanted to make it home before nightfall.
He didn’t think about the poetry group again until Wed night when he was looking through the local newspaper and read a mention of it. He couldn’t help but wonder what he would find at such a gathering. Mostly novices, he assumed. But maybe there is something I could offer to these students of poetry… after all, he was a retired professor and could dissect poetry like a surgeon. So he decided he would attend the group the following evening, had a cup of tea and went to bed.
The next day would prove to be the beginning of a new period of J.S.’s retirement career. He would no longer dally in his writing pursuits, but devote himself headlong into them and achieve a new status for his literature. He couldn’t have been happier with his decision to attend the poetry group as he met a young woman there that was an aspiring poet herself. Upon looking into her dreamy eyes he knew that it was his fate to instruct this girl in the craft of poesy. When she smiled he wanted to engulf her with his passion and knowledge. Oh, but she could only be so perfect, he thought. Yes, she must be mine. All that night he dreamed of her in his loft, those eyes begging him to fill her with all he knew, her lips telling him what he wanted to hear…
The next day he realized that like everything he had in his life, he must pursue this girl likewise and repel all obstacles. The first of which, was obtaining her phone number. The telephone information services proved useful to that end and he was soon in communication with her.
At first the flattery kept her interested, but soon she accepted his offer of tutoring and agreed to meet with him. There were things that she did want to know and who better to ask than a self- appointed “master?” So they got together. He talked, she listened. After a few visits, she began to trust him, and began to suggest showing him some of her father’s writings, none of which had ever been published. He expressed a reserved interest… he heard very little of what she said, so infatuated he was with the way he cheeks wrinkled when her mouth moved. And those eyes… “yes, yes, darling, anything for you…”
The next rendezvous, she carried with her a tattered notebook held firmly against her chest. In it contained the words of her late father, who had driven himself insane on the streets of the small northern town, chanting the rhythms of verse documented in these pages. They were her endowment from the man who could barely keep a roof over her head. And she wanted help with them, to see them published and available to all, so that they could provide for others the pleasure she received from them. Could he help her?
But, of course, he said and pried the book out of her arms.
Little did she know that he would do more than that once he saw inside the book and realized that the writings of this dead man were more than he could ever hope to say. Instantly he knew what he had to do. And as beautiful as this man’s daughter may be, and as much as his loins throbbed when he thought of her silky thighs, he couldn’t resist the fortune of this opportunity.
For the rest of the week, J.S. transcribed the words in the notebook and reconfigured them into his latest ode, The Dance of the Juniper, which he sent out to the publisher that had rejected so many of his pieces in the past. While he waited for a response he began to spend more time at the young girl’s house, comforting her with his reassuring words of how well things were going in finding a publisher for her father’s writings, cooing in her ear, “don’t worry about a thing, my sweet damsel, I will take care of everything.” She groaned when he touched her and longed for the day her father’s words would be complete.
The next year, J.S. Bane was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.