I have been in quite a few little semi-comical confrontations with Jim Valvis, a hornblowing subpoet whose been fouling up the waters of the small-press for quite a few years now. He’s one of those mopes who skulks and prowls around Facebook all day either ass-kissing or whining and getting in arguments. A teetotaling Biblethumper devoid of both wit and a job (his wife supports both him and his daughter), his chief characteristic, or Hauptzug, as the good folks here in Germany call it, is his bloated self-importance. I once heard him blowing and boasting to people that in the 90s, when he went to school in Gainesville, Florida, he used to give poetry readings and was considered by many something of a “local legend.”
“The smaller the mind, the greater the conceit” ~ Aesop
I have been to Gainesville many times, and when I think of their local legends, I think of people like River Phoenix, Tom Petty, maybe even Harry Crews. Sometimes it’s someone who makes the national news. It’s a big college town and a football town. It’s not a town that pays attention to the fly-by-night scrubs of the local poetry reading scene, viz., Valvis, the 300lb. orca & folk hero of his own mind, prattling off his innocuous verse in whatever coffee shop or seagull dump would have him…
Here’s one of my recent altercations with him. I started it. I couldn’t help it. His comments are always so trite, and his shameless flattery gets obnoxious after a while. Especially when you know he’s only doing it so he gets flattered in return. It happened on Facebook. Mather Schneider wrote a little poem on his page and our comments followed:
MY CAB DRIVING FRIEND JOHN
since he kissed a girl.
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MP Powers and 12 others like this.
Jim Valvis Heh. Probably needs an oil change.
Thursday at 2:45pm · Like · 1
MP Powers That’s because Valvis was in the passenger seat blowing him all those miles…
Thursday at 3:07pm · Like
Jim Valvis Got off on watching, did you?
Thursday at 3:09pm · Like
MP Powers No, I just wanted a cab ride. I didn’t think I’d have to see that too!
Thursday at 3:10pm · Like · 1
Jim Valvis You’re not funny. Quit trying.
Thursday at 3:11pm · Like
MP Powers Okay.
Thursday at 3:12pm · Like
Jim Valvis Maybe take up knitting.
Thursday at 3:12pm · Like
I didn’t reply. It then took him a day to come up with this next comment. He was obviously stewing over our “conversation” the whole time and tried to lure Mather (M) to his side, which he’s done before):
Jim Valvis Shame more people don’t comment on the poems, M, but when assholes are ripping the people who do it’s easy to see why.
Friday at 2:54pm · Like
MP Powers Not at all, Jim. I just thought it was rude of you. Here I just wanted a cab ride, and the whole time you were up front, standing on the seat, trying to tear the driver’s pants off him!
Friday at 3:31pm · Like
(And then the play of the oh so predictable PC card):
Jim Valvis Why do you hate gay people?
Friday at 4:05pm via mobile · Like
Jim Valvis Another homophobe like his buddy Jefferson Carter.
Friday at 4:06pm via mobile · Like
(Here he added something about all the editors and publishers who’d be reading this on his “feed” and how it would fuck up my floundering literary career. I then responded with what’s below, and he “muled over” what I said, and what he said, and promptly deleted his comment, doctoring the conversation in his own special way)…
MP Powers Not that I care, but seeing how you’ve got a wife and daughter, Jim, I never thought you were gay. I just thought you had a thing for that particular cab driver and your behavior was a little out of line. It really was! I mean, he was like cat nip to you! Totally unbecoming for a poet of your stature.
Friday at 4:33pm · Like
Jim Valvis Yeah, too tiresome to keep bothering. You’re a notch below a bore and it’s well beyond time for the block.
Friday at 4:36pm · Like
I’m not especially proud of this altercation. I was just joking around and thought he’d play along with it a little, or have some witty retort, but alas, he was unable. Some people just can’t laugh at themselves. I guess they’re too busy cultivating their own myths and legends.