The Love of Marni
Richard Ozanne C. 2003
In every life there are those incidents. Here is a story that is split-fact and fiction. Here in lies the secret. (The names were changed to protect the innocent..play by play...a comedy of errors, and comedy-one American Artists struggle to find Truth in it all..) Her name was Marni, but rather Grief. We had hopes and dreams in times from 2004 to make a trip to Italy and grow our lives together. Of course I didnt really realize what a clever 'lady' she was, perhaps a bit more that could trouble any man by witness of her being a fiancee'-twisting the point, and very cleverly seeking her own passion and lust for the sitution to present some grand troubles outside my perception.
"Its all about Marni..."
or its all about money!
A smile can be worth a thousand words, a gleen in hindsight can be a conceiled weapon. Even scorpions can seem sweet and friendly until...gotcha!
Someone with a sophisticated way, can lead one back home, a trick of perception, that glisten in one persons eye thats out for the take!
In the spirit of art and ones life it can present trouble if one wants it or seeks it, calling one Marni (rather Money), trouble in life as an axe working on a tree without the woodsman noticing.
Its just these sorts of perceptions I wish to address.
Everybody has known the trick perception, more often than not it is learned. Im sure Marni probably would have been just the kind of lady that would have been suitable for me if her devices were left to her own and there wernt lifes training exercises, those somewhat brutal puzzles put infront of her to learn and not pass on to others.
I had known Marni a number of years, and again for a few. I met her during my graduate studies at Arizona State. She was getting her undergraduate degree there.
When I met Marni she seemed the nice sort, the sort of young lady that one would be proud to take home to ones mother.
Of course I was empty handed when it came to my mother, but not needing to be graced with a substitute as many women somehow are trained to do, act as mother substitutes.
But ol'Marni was gentle, young and sweet then, her kind eyes seeming sympathetic and not needy for attention, a gentle soul that seemed posessed to forever be gentle, and not get wound around themselves as many others that I have met had suscumbed to. The kind of 'ego or bust' personality, direct to source, that was the kind of individual that any man in his right mind should run from! But no, it seemed about time that romance was to grace my life. I was 29 a time a period where one hopes to meet the woman of ones dreams, marry and settle without conflict, that time when one says: "Yes this is deserved!"
It was just such a way that I think my initial attraction may have been.
I remember my dear great-grandmother once saying:
Its too bad youth is wasted on the young..
Of course its hard to think back in hindsight, feeling almost like a wrestle with cactus having observed the flowers that once graced its spines.
That ol' thing of looking back...
Of course I was looking back at naivity, and that silly thing called 'puppy-love', I dont think it was much more than that in retrospect, of course it is spoiled entirely by incident
We spent some time together and I had once considered engagement. In fact I was seemingly destined to want Marni more than any other. My head was seemingly spinning around and around...in a rather silly way, the way most young men waste themselves in honor of youth, the rite of passage. I too was taken in!
A wonderful ring was bought. She was seen in a Triumph Spitfire being taken to school, I ignored 'Biff' in the front seat, and also apologized for any misconception of those weekends when she went camping with other- boys up north just to give her a benefit of a doubt in that phrase:
"Well I didnt do anything"
She was playful, a child getting her degree with men after her at the leading party school in North America at that time.
I of course was getting my graduate degree, a very difficult circumstance in any mode of study whether it be a MFA, MBA or Phd. This study consumed waking an sleeping hours, but I made time to watch the setting sun and took time for grace of youth not to dissapear on me altogether between the committees and stages and stairs of the great walk in persuit, to the stairs on "Parnasuss"
The passing of my father revealed a different ambition, less lovely, that I had to contend with. This was one of those completely difficult times when one is tested on all fronts, and a time when one has to either sink or swim. Of course I must admit, even on the day of my poor fathers death...I was alone, and theres the time to be alone and a time for others during this time in particular. But it didnt really seem even.
Both Marni and her mother lived at that time in Phoenix. They had a little house and I had my studio condominium. My living conditions were alright but not perfect for during this time in particular I had never felt so lonely!
Marni seemed to drift toward me, and then away. For a while it seemed ideal, ut then again she was young and not tempered to life. Death of ones parents tends to indicate a test that no one really likes to go through alone.
But this was it, alone and...as alone as it gets. Well tell ya, I looked around and there was no Marni! She had gone off leaving me alone to contend with the finals, just when I needed her the most, she was off to Italy to be an
Au Per! It fell apart months after my fathers passing with destain, jealousy and discompassion which was unquieting, yet specific. I had seen another side of the situation which was in need of repair and growth. Marni seemed sympathetic and gleeful (happy) as well as addressed a sense of innocence. At 22 she was a bit of a princess who had to have everything her own way. Some parents give their kids everything they wish for without having to work for it. Of course I was spoiled myself, but I did work and worked harder than life through the tumultious mess of being alone most if not all the time...with a thorn in my side.
Marnis mothers name was Deardress. Some would call her the calm in the storm, or the storm itself. One can look at a coin form two different sides. "You must spoil Marni", somehow facilitated as the 11th commandment as during this special time- I had more cash-capital than the Duke of Windsor. of course Im somewhat sarcastic, it wasnt that much, but it could buy a castle, and I owned three of them!
This she demanded and was backed up by her mother Deardress who would charge through to see all of Marnis perspective were secure. Deardress, was singular, seemingly compassionate but had a big trick up every sleave especially for her daughter. She was not a sensitive woman except she could talk the Bay Bridge from San Francisco to move to Arizona, add to this the Pacific ocean. There is legend somewhere in Texas of someone who sold the extra pan-handle. Somewhere up north Alaska was said to have been sold several times before it was left to the United States as a summer resort with a warm climate in winter.
Im sure she was the best saleswoman that ever sold anything. She should have received the Noble Prize in salemanship for she was really polished and the most smooth tongue politician yet.
This was her expertise, to make confidence, to gain confidence and to draft the cream out of every situation- old friends arriving they would be settled to new uses in the climax of a sales pitch.
Marni was the budding young opera singer. She was good, in fact excellent! But not very clever. Both with very good talent and a 'matter of fact' experience she could make the grade as a good singer, excellent talent and possible Diva (But this is beyond the perspective that I am speaking of since her talent and focus was misdirected eventually)
Today she is insured to be happily married to a farmer (my ex-landlord) in Italy-Marni has moved on from her career for an onward and upward life. Probably children, the family dog and plenty of cash in the bank to buy clothes and cosmetics.
I wish her happiness, sincerely..no matter what karma is kept about in the woodshed under tears, tranquility, and correct perspectives.
She tested me from demolishing any presumed unnecessary heart-felt framework to the hospital after returning to her.
Basicly Marnis own focus was all about 'status' and 'money', this meaning a cris-cross perception and focus that involved me as well as a dozen others (in the interim). There was the banker, the automotive shop owner, the rich socialite, young and older men which she dissapeared with, and whom I knew about, before our parting- A necessary if there were to be any thing left. He focus was climbing the ladder and marrying some fellow who she could gleen from, someone of means, and necessary wealth for love (the capitalist in all of us) and not have to have honor a riteous path, for she spun many a web around Torino above me, below me and in my midst-
Our engagement for however long it lasted was an honourable one--At least I thought so, but there was a sneek principle which could only be Marni-
This she found-Forever hold the peace
Of course I did not notice this intitially since our new seemingly profound reunion in Phoenix, but I was always guided to the sense of some scheme being brought out, some usury especially in the shadow of all that happened via her mother Deardress and her actions, inactions towards me for the first year of our new relationship blessed in Michigan 04.
I had always left a candle lit for this particular soul. Always during chance encounters before we actually had gotten back together or at other times there was a supreme problem incurred. When I met her in Torino in 1996 we did not meet although schedualed to meet-the trip was wasted and made up by another exhibition in the interim- The falsetto was she was off with a Cypriot boyfriend-lover (finding out in the final analysis) Traveling thousands of miles wasted to find ones schedualed meeting dissolved in an affair in Cyprus was a warning-but still I held some candle to this.
Now was 2003 and a loving and seemingly long lost love was right there beaconing her return to me after a very very hard divorce- I accepted her offer and moved in entirety to Michigan closing up shop in Phoenix for a adventure I felt positive about (but admittedly somewhat guarded against)
The Michigan Kibbutz ( a story) experimental-description-
Part Fact and Fiction (names being witheld)
The Michigan Kibbutz is a place in deep pond of misunderstanding where the crawdads and critters wiggle. We will name this White Pond. It is an absent marshy swamp now, once a lake resort with an abandon hotel, the floors falling in one by one on itself, in wanting of a wrecking ball, but too historical this significance... John Quincy Adams slept there as well as John Wilkes Booth. White Pond. Its a place of 'skeeters' in the summer and ice storms in the winter. This is a place where there is a farmhouse, so moldy and shurb dense that it should have been bulldozed long ago. The old lady who used to live there never took care of it... "From the time those critters moved into the attic and the lost cats found their home in the basement of that place, left there to die or be petrified", yes petrified by a mumification process that is special to this territory. The locals call it White Pond Stone- Like the legend of Medussa, whomever she looks at turned to stone. The White Pond likewise would petrify anything that would sink into it, or crawl out of it.
Partially this was due to the sludge from an abandon factory which once stood over in the Thicket forest. No one ever knew much about its history or what they made there. One can see part of the foundation but most of it is all grown over and in poison ivy covered mounds. There was an old sign that said "No Trespassing", the rest unreadable. It was said that it was a coal gassification plant and the sludge ran up one hill and ended up right there in White Pond. Perhaps a partial environmental disaster area, it was beginning to grow back, but slowly. In the 1920's White Pond boasted a population of 3000 people. The depression came and it slipped to a little over 300, many farms sold out. Back during the 1860-70's there were several huge coal gassification plants. By the 1910's and the First World War most of the plants and industry moved toward Pontiac, leaving abandoned factories to later be torn down.
White Pond and the vicinity was called Moldy Town for everything would get so mouldy in these parts that they simply grow solid, petrified with a black sticky and pungent smell that was known as Moldy Town Goo. The old Black Pond was given a new name to try to sell the worthless land. In the 1970's another shot of hope was given to the town as sharecropper shacks and many old time dwellings were torn out to become White Pond Estates. The land was reclaimed by new dwellings and golf course properties. Over the next years the prices rose and the White Pond Estates grew to have multi-million dollar properties with long lists of problems for the developers. It was a complaint in the White Pond Starlet (a local newspaper)- "What can we do with strange oooz that is seeping into the basements of 100 area homes?". Some tales had it extraterrestrial in nature! There purplish spheres to be found marketed for jewelry under a scam-called White Pond Diamonds- but these were largely chunks consisting of what would be later be known as PCB crystals, the locals not knowing whether to wear them or smoke em- One can imagine the 1970's! The locals had a joke-
Those who smoked the White Pond Diamonds in the 70's would see 20/20 out of two eyes and 5 eyes, with 6 hands to grab with in the 1980's- It was very sad indeed but news was very slow to travel.. Soon the office of environmental protection came in, shook their heads. Exclaiming that it was coal-tar mixed with a chemical slush PCB and some other powder asbestos used to make mantles for gas lights, this was---an absolute environmental nightmare that was better hushed than made public. Hence the White Pond legend was buried, and buried again---The condemned White Pond was eventually bulldozed, called a nature preserve, over and over, the old histories burned and new real estate tracts laid--White Pond Mansions by the 1980's, and everyone had to have a Mansion there!
All but the old hotel were rememberences of the past and the home of Deardress, Marnis mother remained. This was known as the "Boss" house and there it stood on a slight hill overlooking the valley around the dried up White Pond-
That old house I imagine in my nightmares, just as surely standing before it. Lets imagine a haunted house. It was something between the Addams family and the Munsters, only smaller-Holes in plaster and leaking pipes. When you walk in the front door you were addressed by ancient furniture and the smell of mold. The ceiling and floor were cockeyed. There was a long stairway that went to the second floor on the right side and a long cooridor to the kitchen on the left. It was an odd house built for one family, and turned into a two family dwelling some time in the 1930's, a mansion divided. The rooms had odd shaped ceilings, lamps that flickered and strange noises running through the walls at night, with strange sighing noises from the basement all during the time I was there. Yes it was haunted. Turn on the water it turns black. Use too much water and it comes up and over the tub in some other part of the house as a backup of a leach field--so old as it was never cleaned but grassed over somewhere in the back- A shack stood up over a mound with a vacant 'out house setting near it- If one couldnt use the facilities indoors one was left to go out and suffer that place, creaky, filled with spiders, vermits and a skunk. If one manages to shower there is a thin red haze that covers your skin, the water filled with enough iron excess to form a layer of permenent paint on ones clothes. The conditions were basic..and sometimes haunting if left inside that home to see grandmas ghost climbing the stairs in the middle of the night, or the strange feeling of other ectoplasmic entities passing one in the house where there was no level floor.
The engagement followed in thought and finally in deed with a very expensive 3 carat diamond placed on her finger as earnest. In 2004 we settled on traveling to Italy together, making a home there, engagement and finally 'marriage' as we were to come together.
I was totally convinced of earnest at least from my perspective, but Marni was a clever-almost beautiful, and very convincing and cunning artist of Operatic drama and a keen wit.
Needless to say as soon as we hit Italy there was something that was going wrong. Everyday another problem would adress itself. There were so many-many problems that came through the door as far as manipulations that my head would spin around. There were other men too that she should have considered were her boyfriends too. (In Italy this is as far off base as one could imagine) I didnt notice the nice fellow who tended the cars whom she owed money to. I did not notice too much. The haze of love, intended love and committment overshadowed everything in my way. I never took engagement to be something playful or teasing. Of course in the couple of years I just didnt see too much that was going on! The men marching through, someone taking her to dinner, another to practice with, one other to propose gradious projects with. I thought it all to be business and above board. Deardress would come through in too many perpsectives, boil the situation over and unleash as control element that was second to none. Love is blind. Honor an integrity is shafted.
I remember the travels we would have and the promises made, but at least I was of true virtue. In the end it was a succession of affairs- hay loft discoveries with a Marmaduke farmer who seemed so innocent but was the landlord pulled in to make up for extra cash to pay rent. It was such a challenging time trying to go between the things I needed to do and 'the roses' that should have been loved at this time. There are many beautiful memories that have faded during the apostle of time-simply I have forgotton those and shelved them under experience. That Marni took the investment of a house/studio in Venaria from under me because of her love affair with the farmer is beyond faith in another human being. That I was literally left with one option-lose my studio and belongings in Italy (to her) in 2006 was the other option that was laid before me-that and gather what I could and bolt from Italy to challenge another much more uncertain life in America (despite the promises, the words and deeds) being left to the road somewhat suddenly and unprepared upon my arrival back in USA in 2006. It was all about the love for Marni, and the love of self, greed that foiled the promises and integrety of committment. That she went off with a farmer is some other perpective,seeing this in hindsite as some dull and nasty blur with karma pent up in the aisles of some Operatic drama! There is too much comedy here in the story of Marni and myself-the backroom dramatics, the lovers in the aisles and behind the curtains of some castle, theater as well as the unsung and sad scenario that was balanced between one of the greatest experiences I had in my life--Italy. It was not about sharing from her perspective, and it was never about love, hindsite 20/20 never ever to be heard of again nor willingly or wanting her to ever be a part of my present again. Operatic-Yes, Comedy of the Absurd- That I received a very dangerous stress induce illness during my last months in Italy was my reward. That I would never want to look back at the romance I had in Italy a definate of thinking words that would describe this.