Feeling Like Holden Caulfield

hat

The day began
With trash-talking radio DJs,
Bleeping garbage trucks in reverse,
Mouthing societal decay.
Lousy perverts, I say.
I feel like Holden Caulfield today.

At a park, spinning my little girl on the merry-go-round,
Hoping she doesn’t read fuck you scratched into
Lead paint or hear the
Clueless rebels reeking of
Pubescent insecurities.
Feedin’ hormones, yo.
Show ‘em how much you don’t care, bro.
Brawny bastards.
I feel like Holden Caulfield today.

Overhearing posturing mothers
Out parenting, out sourcing, out numbing their minds.
Bunch of phonies if you ask me:
Gluten free, unprocessed mashed up peas.
If they ask me a question, I’m gonna lie through my teeth.
Spin one that drops ‘em to their knees.
I feel like Holden Caulfield today.

Go fetch my hat, sir
So I stand out. So I blend into rye.
Feeling the catch before the fall is
Worth another round on the carousal.

Full admission is madness, so
I’ll wear my hunting hat in private.
Navigate the fields in my green dress
To the chimes of hangers
Blowing in an empty closet at the Edmont Hotel,
Wondering about the seasonal
Fate of ducks in Central Park.

I don’t even know what I’m saying.
I’m not kidding. I just know
I feel like Holden Caulfield today.

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22 thoughts on “Feeling Like Holden Caulfield

    1. Oh my!! This is truly an honor, FF! Well you must read it now. This was all part of my plan! We all have a little Holden in us, wanting to hold on to innocence, fed up the phoniness of adulthood. Like many, he was the first literary character that spoke to me in high school. I’ve read Catcher more times than I can count and it never gets old. I go right back to that feeling of disconnect.

      1. Agreed entirely. We do all have at least a little Holden in us, at least I’d like to think we do, and hope we do. Reading it in my teens, though, was different than reading it as an adult. As a teen, I’m like amen brother, whereas as an adult I do get why some people don’t like it and get put off by it. But there’s no denying the skill of the author as a writer and a voice for not just one generation, but many. And if you’ve read Franny and Zooey, or Seymour: An Introduction, then you know that Salinger was a genius wordsmith. His later books represented his natural voice as a writer, and they were excellent and so well-written, and to think that the same person wrote Cather is just mind-blowing. The consistency of the voice and tone of Catcher, in light of Salinger’s later writings… that is artistry and perfection of craft at the highest level. And really, you could say the same about his later works. It’s all constructed, whether natural voice or not. His mastery of craft is simply stunning.

      2. Great comment, Walt. Yes, reading it as an adult, I do get why some readers find him intolerable. But I still find myself going right back to that adolescent feeling of disconnect. Sign of classic, right?

        It’s been so long since I read his other works. You’ve inspired me to reread Franny and Zooey, to see and appreciate the difference in voice.

      3. Seymour is the most authentic Salinger, I think. Just my opinion, and what do I know, anyway, like I ever met the guy. But I get the sense that all his writing from day one led him to that moment, where he produced his masterpiece, in his own voice, and said all the things he’d been trying to say throughout his previously published works, Catcher, Franny, et al, as best as he could possibly say them. The quotes that open the book kind of speak to that struggle, the difficulty of even trying to put your heart down on paper in words without watching them, the words, flop about and die, failing to capture what you meant them to. My favorite, that one, but it’s not for everyone. Hard to read, if you’re not simpatico with it. But so worth it, if you are.

  1. Hard to protect our little ones from the earthy reality around them, isn’t it? Sure, they’ll grow up soon enough, but why push them? Well expressed, DD. Restlessness is a way of life, it seems.

  2. This is indeed wonderful. I think I may have been a bit jaded like him at times. There is so much in the world to save kids from…I certainly see a lot in the public schools. It’s rather heartbreaking. Great work!

  3. THIS! The title got me of course but I love the ‘posturing mothers’ because I SO know what you mean! You have the most wonderful sense of humor but also an uncanny sense of things, where you observe the smallest details – this is soooo akin to the protagonist of that classic book and you made this both deep and funny at the same time which is a hard feat. I totally agree with everything here – I spend the entirity just nodding like a maniac!

    1. Oh, thank you! You know great minds think alike! Yes, the posturing mothers are the worst, making a big production of everything. I want to tell them all to chill and stop posting their phony lives on Facebook. (Well, I guess I went right back to feeling like Holden! hahah)

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