KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
CNF/aphorisms: 503 words

Post-Mortem Elixirs

by Bill Mohr
A touch of Montaigne, Groucho Marx, and the late Ms. Gabor

Reputations are like libraries. Most of their contents haven’t been checked out recently.

Bragging turns into arrogance the third time you tell the same story to the same friends. The second time is merely benign forgetfulness.

While a man can back out of temptation after the first kiss, it will always seem like an incomplete promise as far as a woman is concerned.

“Measure twice, cut once” is old advice. When time is worth more than the material, however, maybe haste serves as its own justification.

Love can replace the need for intimate affection, though only if the lovers agree to regard the need to touch, caress, and fondle each other with ferocious urgency to have been nothing more than a fantasy, which is now best served by endearments.

Marriage is the most exasperating friendship. Divorce is inevitable, once you become impatient with that fact.

History is the art of remembering how foreboding the past once seemed: what a small miracle it is that anyone has evaded the wholesale slaughters of previous epochs.

Sexual pleasure is never as good in memory as it was in real life, unless of course it was the memory that caused the pleasure.

Does a man need more than one woman’s love? That depends on how big an imaginary family he wants. For most men, the last thing they want to talk about with a mistress is her siblings. You know adultery’s gone too far when you learn more about your undercover brothers-in-law than any man ever wants to know.

Hunger is not an emotion. That’s why most men have so little interest in eating a variety of cuisines.

How can anyone not savor the poignant salt of tragedy? The only problem: it doesn’t mix well with the honey and lemon of comic relief.

When I was growing up, I thought I might become a minister, like an uncle on my mother’s side. Then I studied business law in high school, and considered becoming a life insurance salesman, like a cousin in New Jersey. After attending college, I realized there wasn’t any difference between those occupations.

A father-daughter dance at a wedding seems weird. It’s made to seem like a farewell ritual, but isn’t it usually the first time they’ve ever danced together?

A parent’s love for his or her children can be measured by how selfish the children become as adults. Don’t pretend that ambition has any other virtue.

As for a personal philosophy, always start with some fundamental impossibility: the uselessness of restitution, for instance; how cheating on your first lover after your first marriage broke up was really more reprehensible than adultery. No one ever loved you as much as she did.

When caught in urban traffic, the fantasies of one’s youth all too often distract one’s primary focus. Driving at five miles per hour, how could anyone not ask if there is some other way this story could have turned out?

Bill Mohr’s
Issue 8, August 2017

poems, prose poems, and creative prose have appeared in dozens of magazines, including Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, Caliban onLine, Miramar, Santa Monica Review, Sonora Review, and ZYZZYVA. More than a dozen anthologies have featured his writing.

In October 2018, What Books/Glass Table Collective in Los Angeles will publish a bilingual collection of his poems, Los Manantiales del Nirvana (The Headwaters of Nirvana). In 2015, Bonobos Editores in Mexico published a bilingual edition of his poems, Pruebas Ocultas. In addition to a spoken-word collection, Vehemence (issued by New Alliance Records in 1993), individual collections of his poetry include Hidden Proofs (1982) and Bittersweet Kaleidoscope (2006). His account of West Coast poetry, Holdouts: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992, was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2011 and has gone into a second printing.

From 1974 to 1988, Mohr worked as editor and publisher of Momentum Press. In addition to publishing landmark collections of Los Angeles poets such as Poetry Loves Poetry in 1985, he brought out books by poets such as Alicia Ostriker, Jim Krusoe, Holly Prado, Kate Braverman, Jim Moore, Harry Northup, Joseph Hansen, and Leland Hickman.

His awards include being appointed a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, San Diego and is currently a professor in the Department of English at California State University, Long Beach.

Author’s blog:

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Part One: The Publisher Speaks with Poet & Lit Historian, Bill Mohr at IF SF Publishing (27 March 2012)

Part Two: Let’s Not Deceive Ourselves about the Lack of Engaged Literacy in this Country at IF SF Publishing (28 March 2012)

Part Three: A Poem Is Language Occupying the Architectural Infrastructure of Language... at IF SF Publishing (29 March 2012)

Why the Heart Never Develops Cancer, in Luvina; two-minute video reading at YouTube by www.Poetry.LA (May 2010)

Three Poems in Moonday, Moonday Poetry (2006); includes “Naked Chef,” “Your Skin,” and “Big Band, Slow Dance”

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