Berkeley 24 January 1989
It's a long time from yesterday. The feast of hearing stopped. Stopped
with a silence the men hadn't the sense to hold. So beautiful a silence
full of tremour. I'm slow and shaky but with the nervous importance of ritual.
The many moments of the one thing. The two women who were in it like
devoted sex. The one behind me who came last night in her Tibetan colors,
light aqua and orange red, would sit against the wall and float her breath
through her body in a way to open it most to the buzzing of the others'
vowels. I was carefully learning from her, and at two when there were few
of us left we were making a space together that was cream velvet, her voice
and mine showing separate ends but one thing in the body, amazing. The fine
standing shiver across the back. And the goddess wife with her exquisite
face tipped up burning with commitment. Oh I liked it when she seized the
men's numbing pace and slowed it to where she could feel it most. She was
ringing so strongly I jumped in beside her with my best.
Is it a third? - The note that brings the others' most into the hearing.
There was a crossing harmony that was too mechanical, I got to hate its
church tones going round and round. The few woman did something atonal I
think, just for one note. That was good again and again because every time
the note had to be reached for and defended.
There were vigorous women singers who grated by their insensitivity.
The bearded tall Dutchwoman had a ..., what, an unpleasant tight unspreading
sound - a yell, which is projectile. The Brazilian was beating away energetically
as if to insist by / on her energy.
There was a large man with a big head who sat with a curved mouth and
then later was shaking with laughter. I wondered if he was laughing at the
room full of people devoutly repeating Vajra Guru paid ma CD / o-oh oom-aye
ya-hoo. But then he began chanting again in a way I recognized, the
voice pours out surprisingly strong with individual joy released.
The four o'clock break yesterday was the stonedest. I realized by the
way I was walking across the concrete stairs and climbing the steps that
I was crossed into another condition. I just wanted to sit in the sun's
heat hearing the great roaring texture of the street, seeing patterned red
through my eyelids and feeling my body quake. Thinking of Joyce saying Tibetan
Buddhism is like acid. Cold like acid.
What is the building saying. What is the route that has brought these
people. A verging confident gentle curiosity.
When it's over the ordeal is gone out of it, it becomes something else.
So ordeal means dread of the time still to come.
Quite unheavenly people walking past downhill in this street in heaven.
They look worn and drab. The light has a pale frail quality and it isn't
getting to them.
I got to love the wheels. Sitting with the fairy woman after, I heard
monks far away chanting on two notes - a host of whispers and rustles from
the back corner.
This moment I turned to the tall woman to ask about an iron and her face
was taking me in as if with its whole surface.
I did something I've never done before. I decided to feel into the (slowed
down, seeing when I want, a passing sound came in, fine delicate shifts
and openings, the head turned as sweetly as if a branch moved) pitch of
escape I felt when Christina was telling half a page of textbook insight.
I started to shake from the solar and went on like a washing machine on
spin. Couldn't do it now, had to be really loosed and was. It wasn't an
emotion but ah - if that's what the solar clamps down.
Then Eric made a sly move when he had a chance and I had to rally up
unhurt, and did. And then he said it would be only him next week. It meant:
only the school kids (oh I'm wanting Joyce), the horrible church kids, no
bright soft curious seeing eyes.
Thinking of the (self portraits of artists, the paintings with people
in them that have live eyes) skinny bum and accent more American than Americans,
either I have to feel them or I have to feel the hard hold of not feeling
At night in class woke with heat pouring from the solar like the fine
rays off a chrome glint.
Go into the heavy dark sinking energy. Crying for the damagedness I've
felt. I never have before cried for body's sake.
How was it in the small buried room, red-lit and so profoundly humming
into my flesh. Moments gasping as if I'd cut off my breath, waking and gasping.
Something deeper would happen it seemed after thoughts had wandered me away
to the right, sort of ribbony. I'd have to float right away with them. What
was it that did happen - I'm not sure I remember - maybe the hum penetrated
more - I thought it was 90 minutes, it was twice that, dark when I came
Sudden noises are gashes in the solar. Here in the kitchen it's the refrigerator
purring into my sex.
Enduring Jack's talk yesterday, after the chant had made me shake. I
said I would keenly study what it is to endure like that. I saw - oh how
responsive and tender body is, much more than warrior-mind is accounting.
I don't know whether defense is necessary, it will be useful to know.
Yest felt myself breathing with my back!
Little touches from the past. Once last night, once this morning. It's
the thrilling whole of a time in a second. No what's thrilling is that the
whole of that time can be in this one - no it's it, the touch of
it, the return of its medium, and I can't say anything about either of the
returns, can't remember the time they were of. Why. Because the muscle of
astonishment pulled tight.
Resnick. Oh the image of the academic, several strings of hair greased
down blindly over his head, overfine synthetic plaid coat, very thick glasses,
rolling cultivated voice. "I've got nothing to lose." "And
what do I have to lose." "I can flunk you." You can patronize
me is what it is.
My friend was awake this time, howcome, kissing hard, thinking to touch
my nipple when it would double me into indescribable. For a long time I
was fucking him like a rabbit, it's not pleasure as I knew it, it's a driving
on, and then later slowing down, but still not opiate. I meet him in his
style is how it feels. That's how it is with us. This morning he was soft
blue and blurry blond and so many worrying moles. Flatsided spear hunting
and tracking in the air, he's protesting and pulling up the covers. Don't
forget what describing is, just a trace on top of a completely full something.
Now I'm going down for the morning-after pill though the pendulum says
I don't need it, no brilliant engineer girl will be born.
He was a shabby extraterrestrial insect I was overjoyed to be out with.
Actually on the bus together, actually on Georgia looking up, actually in
the back row of a theatre and passing through crowds together and paying
ten dollars for a pizza. Joyfully in love, laughing, seeing myself more
beautiful than Susan Sontag in the theatre washroom though not in the pizza
Then we go to bed. I put on music and am confident of being fucked. He
gets kissing me hard and I'm so happy thinking of other people's frightened
mouths that I burst out You're so wonderful, you're really so wonderful
it's amazing. And then I'm frightened to have said it and start wanting
him to reassure me even by just putting back his arm and getting a safe.
It's something all over again. I wait and he doesn't and I get more desolate
and clam up and there's nothing he knows how to do. I put on my pyjamas
and go to the other room and come and then I begin to think what happens
is chemical like a chemical overshoot into despair. An oddly helpless state.
I saturate in femininity and wait for him to love my givenness, understand
it and be inspired, and he doesn't. That's where he starts to fall asleep.
Then I'm really abandoned, completely sad, though there's something theatrical
too. It's very painful but it's not deep. So different if I come, it makes
a clean finish, I don't brood.
[meeting with Evelyn Fox Keller]
I said anything straight out and she too. "I want to change science."
A moment when she looked at me with her full force, so deep dark awesome
an intelligence. I felt safe with her on account of it.
She laughed when she came to the penis knocking, and then she kept on
"You're a serious loner aren't you. You would have liked the McLintock
book for that."
Something like a direction. I go for a credential, investigate the opposition.
Keep working in perception, take a position able to make direct perception
The way these papers are all at sea until some late but not frantic half
hour. I have to thank you dear body or whatever you are.
What do I know. Nature doesn't talk. When I say everything, that is the
new houses filling all my origin with cultural construction. At the garden
I rail at the trash hoarded by my trashy inept poor people. I fight to order
them. I can't do it alone. Irish Mike drags back what I throw out. The edge
of the wild area so frayed and compromised. The further depth so thorny.
Rob decides for the orchard, which is us standing together. Muggs is quick
to establish a simple workable shape. Oh the connecting paths so ruined.
We're a disarray.
What's it like in the solar cave. Longing to be comforted.
Reality is the assignment.
I use the pendulum to test superstitions. Super-stare to be paralyzed.
My eye found the new moon nearly overhead, a geometrically drawn part
rim of a circle. That wasn't important but it was one of the few moments
of looking up. My eye was hooked by it before I saw it, pulled over to it.
The sky today was open blue. Zinzolin said, The sun is hot, the air is cold.
Chopping ditch this afternoon all down the line.
He let himself go quite wild. He's a wild kisser when he agrees to be.
I like how he will hold my hand during. He let me kiss him as much as I
wanted, as all over and around and winding and sliding. When I wanted to
come he drove on and on. You're a good friend, I said. I came and laughed
and held him tight, praised him too much again and then all day was really
rid of him, working and quiet.
How this entire year I'm giving my freedom to the garden. Where I'm hating
the ugly poor who make hideous jumbles of collected rubbish wherever they
Last night I was picking at somebody's heap on Malkin when a trailer
door opened and out stepped that fat longhaired French Canadian man who
goes through the garden in summer nipping vegetables into a plastic bag.
"Oh it's ugly old you," I say belligerently. "What did I
ever do to you?" "You've bored me for hours on end."
I yell at old Mike who every day comes to his land. I'm screaming at
him for cutting down the tansy edge, he's standing with a string of snot
stretched round by the wind. At his bench he has a bathroom rug dirty pale
yellow and days' chicken bones not well cleaned.
Mrs Hsu's piles of little boards. I relentlessly got rid of her Safeway
And there's my dump of dirt boards wounded plants in pots rocks bricks
ditches concrete plastic buckets with little stones.
And the whole garden without its space, like a shanty graveyard. Marsh
Yesterday running around supervising. Ellie! they yell from the
other side of the field.
Brian the logger in suspenders pale sapphire eyes dirty curls tobacco
fingers and a flatbed truck. I like to squat down with him and survey the
scene. Jo the trucker girl backs the truck, gauges the job and hugs me against
her lovely hoisted boobs.
Rob Mills stalks up with his bike, the two light frames. After the day
of running I want to put my head on his boot. He presses his thumb between
my eyebrows. I see the sheen of the sky for the first time. Oh such open
spaces so interestingly formed. A much higher skin of cloud becomes visible
as it brightens in pink.
I'm so quiet he takes a turn to praise. He looks closely at my arm. You
have nice pores, he says. "What do you mean nice?" "They're
definite, they're nice and even, they're deep."
I walk with my hand in his pocket for the first time, in Sunday's Chinatown.
I don't like the philosophers so far. What about them - they're cold
- they mince words. They don't like me either.
Woke in first grey dawn thinking of how I must be alert and careful going
into the realm of these sharp untrue men. I vow to keep clear of their power
language. I want to tune my own. Even yesterday I began to. I will to slip
through them to my own direct and clear wise passionate form.
Bin wanting to say, twice in the last few days, when I've been standing
in the alley garden, there has risen around me a particular sensation of
magic, very strong and other. What exactly is a sensation of magic. It was
the first time I'd met it in that form but I knew what it was. It's a curve
in the air, a flavoured tension, like any time has but unnoticed. I noticed
it because it was a space in space, like a block of glass.
I'm working hours at logic calculations and feel I'm grasping the ends
of the fringes of a cloth being whisked past again and again. It's a paisley
cloth, very intricate, and Jennings whisks it, standing solidly planted
setting transparent sheets out of the binder onto the projector, on to the
other projector, off back into the binder.
He's Canadian improved by England, has a firm civilized voice and the
English way of dressing. Glasses on a cord. Far-sighted, he looks over them
at us. Small narrow mouth just a slit in a redbrown Naval bristle, square
dome with a soft little fuzz flaming up by itself from the crown. I like
the way he's so brisk and fair and thought-out. "Now I'm going to be
irritated with you for a minute because you weren't listening, and then
we'll be friends again" he says to a pushing boy.
The pre-Socratics when there's time. The earlier they are, the more I
have to bring them. I so readily dilate with them into the thrill of land
and sex. "You will find a spring on the left of the halls of Hades
and beside it a white cypress growing You must say 'I am the child of Ge
and of starry Ouranos." I see it all, white cypress and the earth-roofed
land. But when they begin to believe in argument how repelled, as by aluminum
pans. And yet I assume that dead metal is what has made us able to branch
into the proliferation we are, and V Woolf and the rest of those who've
brought calculation's net to strengthening the landscape of perception.
I labour at figuring out the procedures for these proofs, hoping to get
through to the right answer but blind to the sense as it rattles past. But
I can see Jennings is in the midst of something that makes a variety of
kinds of sense to him.
I'm reading along, Sophists, Democritus, etc, feeling how close to our
system they are, how much of the debate is current, etc. How to say this.
Feeling it as a confirmation of the questions, how perennial they are. Then
I get a shock and turn myself around, say, naturally they're like us, we
are them, what it indicates is how we're stuck repeating. As if seeing
through them would be seeing a different possibility of category. Following
tracks but not to the source, only to the source of the track. What would
be there would be (I envision) an open space.
"In six months you'll say, thank you Spanish Woman." She was
so much the picture of the Gypsy fortune teller, greasy braids, blouse cut
to show the long tops of big breasts with a pendant immobilized between
them when she'd lean forward holding my two hands in her two palms, brown
face with small brown eyes. She sang her speech, stayed in character though
I tried to invite her out of it.
"There is somebody who doesn't want you to succeed in love and romance
- do you know who it is?" "Yes I know." "I can sell
you a charm to take off the curse from you." "In the next six
months you will find marriage and happiness. It will be a small family but
there will be happiness. You are a woman you have had pain and misfortune,
you are a woman in the last years you have lost someone from your house."
"You mean they've died?" "You have lost them from your house,
not died - but now you will have success and happiness."
"You know what I really need to know, I can never decide what kind
of work to do." "I said already, you are the sort of person you
can't do the same kind of work, you always have to change your work, but
the kind of work you will do now, you will have success."
As she spoke, touching my palm here here and here with her forefinger
though she wasn't looking at it and I don't think ever did look at it. When
she meant the reading to be over she brought the hands in her hands closed
like a book.
We don't intend to but we go into a fucking state with little reserve,
we just go. It's not erotic, there isn't the lag for resonance, it
is other people doing what they do, alike. In it I feel like praising and
loving him more than I can account for. I mean: I don't especially like
his physical mind or my own with him. He doesn't put space and time into
it, I don't feel sentient and willful space in his motion, but I like something.
I like the sense that we're steadily making a sane wildness together.
It's a particular way I haven't said yet. Is it more like gardening than
"Shaping spirit," I thought it's the one in me whose forms
I wait to be given. My body drew breath to say yes.
Where do I go, that moment before sleeping. Who do I become. Myself in
movable spirit, myself recognizing myself as spirit. - I can do better.
A total sense, a quality of sense of space, because it's one space remembering
another. It's like one space remembering another.
I've realized why I won't study ethics. It's a well of fury and I don't
know whether to say it. It's the sight of 25 centuries of men complacently
discussing the principles of justice while they blindly enjoy and enforce
and perpetuate patriarchal privilege.
Little mouse staggered out from under the door, tottered, staggered like
a little thing on thin mechanical legs, dropped onto its belly - why do
they come out into the open to die? when the whole of their lives that's
they place they don't linger - crouched there with its eyes staring and
a spot on its flank pumping. I could see a creature, I could see myself,
absorbed in dying. I put out my finger to see if it was so far out of it
that it would let me. It lifted itself on its thin legs and staggered a
few steps forward. I had needed to say to it that someday it will get me
Joy to have made him gold-red with being loved. Nobody will make him
so beautiful. "There's that grin again." It turned out he meant
it overwhelmed him. "You aren't ever going to forget me." "I'm
not ever going to forget your THING!" with a whoop of laughter.
Knowing it includes Jennings, for whom I'm going to do the Sophist
paper my own way.
On the bike, "hap-penis, hap-penis." Then I heard
- "We should go and give something to the gods."
- "They should give us something."
- "We're keeping them going."
- "Yes. It comes to the same thing doesn't it."
It's like being delirious with joy.
I open my eyes and am it am it
What's it a joy like, like being barely alive.
I have no argument with philosophy.
In the essay I have to keep remembering that it is speaking from me to
him and I can't help it and he'll read it so, partially.
What's the fantasy. That I might have a teacher.
Watch and see how this will collapse and rebuild.
Tuesday night, summer night, problems for Thursday not started, how're
things. Take a breath. The anguish of writing, every time. Last night, midnight,
it's gone as far as it can, stopped where he refutes all the philosophers
before him. I'm writing about the pain of writing, acknowledging that I
read him as me, in the shattered atmosphere of the sophist, feeling all
the smarty doublings, of trying to say it right and trying to look smart.
This morning I woke before the alarm, quarter past five, dreaming I was
writing. Got up and knew how to get past what I couldn't do, honestly. And
knew at the end how to say what had happened in the shape of the end of
the dialogue, that the philosopher had escaped the net. The dialogue amazed
me. I really had had a life to know it.
I came in worn out and frightened and had forgotten who I was going to
greet. "I thought I'd leave this and run." He was right there,
"Why are you running," smiling. I don't know whether I show pleasure
those moments or being sorry not to have been there to meet it and say You'll
So is Jennings the figure of the philosopher now? Am I going to be an
academic? I do like the clear way he deals with people, close and clean
at the same time. I'd like to know how to do that. But I'm not a logician.
I'm more inductive than deductive. The way I find words is like induction
- is it? Epagoge from particular to general. "She who sees to
the center." I can nose into what it is about something. It could be
induction-deduction but it's not. It's isolating a quality not abstractly
but nonverbally and bringing a word swiftly from the other side.
Jennings Thursday handfeeding for the [Logic 210] assignment. "I
feel like a calf that has to be fed from the bucket." He shows with
his hand getting it to suck, "Then you have to go down to the Co-op
and get one of those big teats." Suck suck. We're both bold and free.
I was going to say he more than I but it's his establishment. And we keep
moving it fast to a kind of pained flash of being ourselves. That is how
it is for me. He gives himself a good time everywhere.
R so much likes having his penis petted, I so much like doing it, my
hand gets a squirrely kink. It's alright if he takes his time learning to
pet me, when he opens my shirt it's expecting and then getting perfect bliss.
"Do you want to get a thing?" Beautiful tight greased thing.
I lay my thighs over his lap. It finds in. That feels like having made it
at last. And so on. I can't say all the in's and out's and how much for
some reason I like them. What it's like being with him in that, the
unspeaking one. Motion decision better than before. Free to speak like never
Dreaming last night a hard sad wrangle with the woman of the philosophy
department. She's saying I'm unsuitable. I say I've read Hegel cover to
cover. She says nonetheless I haven't got it right. I say style has to be
revised as much as content.
Was doting on Rowen. "Rowen I love it that you're four." "I
know a lot of things now."
He sits in front of cartoons with his mouth open. He's so pretty with
his deeply indented little neck and bright eyes. Walking to the garden or
daycare he runs fast through roundabout side loops like a puppy. I showed
him how best blackberries are accumulated just at his reach near the ground.
The way on the mountain I'm sometimes caught by the shape-beings of the
hemlocks. It's a ready trance. From the library window ten in a row like
people. The way it holds out a pointed branch, a weighted float.
Or the way the tree's surface of leaves is stirring all over. The alder
She wears a green dress with bare shoulders that buttons down the front.
On a Sunday morning he invites her with him for a walk. They stop at the
café. Her small glass of wine is spiked with a drug that brings her
to herself as every stirring of a blade and vanishing of a cloud. He touches
her arm or neck or waist in a way she feels as a slowly traveling heat.
They come to the grove where all the men are waiting. He is her sponsor
in the ritual way.
He says, My daughter is very beautiful, I bring her to show you and to
begin her delight. He stands behind her and unbuttons her dress to the waist.
He shows her breasts and how to touch them. He turns her by the shoulder
and drags her skirt up slowly past her waist. Etc. She is made to bend forward
onto a stand. He is offered a jar of spiced grease. He greases his penis
and parts her bum. This is done so all the men can stand close and see her
face. With his hands on her nipples he sinks in. Then they both stand so
he is backing her and all can see his hands stroking her skin. He reaches
into her bush and strokes her. She has her head back on his shoulder and
her eyes closed. He stops if she is near coming. (I come usually by this
Then the ceremony. He sits down on a kind of throne bringing her with
him onto his lap. He opens her legs back against his chest and straps them
there. He keeps his hands on her breasts. He tells her how the ceremony
goes. One by one she looks into the eyes of every male there. It's their
invitation. They come in front of the dais, each holds her right shoulder
with his left hand and with his other sinks a finger into her. They must
stay connected by the eyes while this happens. There are little boys and
old men too. What is happening is that she is exchanging her sexual privacy
for a powerful and fearless existence in the community. Her father exchanges
one violation of taboo for a free sponsorship of her power. When everyone
has greeted her she is to signal with her eyes anyone she wants and he comes
with his post and sets it in front of her. This is the first time she kisses
anyone. He has both hands on her shoulders and she has hers on his shoulders
and he butts carefully through her virginity. So her first lover and her
father get to delight her together. Then everyone goes home to find someone
to lie down with. After that she has one or many lovers as she likes; it
is too late for jealousy. And she has a voice on council.
Then thinking of writing something, Robert MacLean in the bush. I got
to it by Neil Gunn through the cauldron which for him was a still and is
the boiling-out. The powdery night sky at Edson, Slave Lake, the nine stars
of the Dipper. Then walked around and ate muffins etc and came to the thought
that the story ends with finding out what his poems and my visions were
about. And am going on seeing it's a story about vision, which is what I
wanted to learn, and what he is, mythically.
- the night weeds downstairs
- something about fairyland
- breath catching
- see it's when I touch that gold - I followed him into it but already
knew the way
- I can go without it and must go opposite it but it's the state that
- what about it - it's unknown - it wd die with me
The way with Rowen something happens, like a humor, that squeezes the
upper line of the solar. Last night I got into his bed and he wanted me
to play I was having a bad dream. I'd play-sob and he'd clamp onto me as
if he were the frightened one, but saying Wake up it's just a dream
in a soothing voice.
I was staring at his shelf lonely thinking of going home and wd'v but
he reached out his arm, put me on his lap and unbuttoned my shirt. This
morning still together. He did what he wanted. "I'm contented"
he says. We come one after the other in the right order. It makes me chuckle.
He doesn't signal he just shows his motion. "Good timing my friend."
The way it is.
Barbara Pratt's pink, thinking, diffidence.
It's not diffidence, it's that beautiful quality some young women have
but what's it called. It's her blooming open face eager to speak and slightly
checked. She's looking out of a space full of intelligent feelings.
The tactile brightness of his skin especially on his chest. I was in
heat and all over thrumming with love and then in open-hearted generosity
said to him, "It's a feeling of love but I don't think it has any ethical
Suffice it to say that amidst the unearned emotion, facile ideas,
undigested cultural tradition and slavish derivativeness of much of the
work I saw, Epp's films stood out as works of bracing, resolute intelligence
and purity. I would trade dozens of features I could name for the final
shot of Trapline, which has the kind of heart-quickening beauty which
makes you want to stop a screening session and be alone for the rest of
the day. James Quandt film notes
In the Princess Café reading for Brown's class. "Ethics is
the logic of the language of morals." In comes a hoooker in black elastic
with a baby, a thin man with quite a sweet face but bruised under the eyes
and very pale, and a little girl. He whines at the little girl. The woman
snarls, Keep your voice down. Aren't you eating, he says. No. She walks
out, no goodbye to the kids. He orders. He's so wired I'm waiting to see
how long it is before he hits the kids. He combs the little girl's hair,
yanks her head back, she doesn't wince. He calls Pauline over, says, Bring
me bacon instead of sausage, the sausage tastes terrible. They're yelling
at each other. He says, You Chinks . She says in her sturdy way, You're
on welfare, your wife is a hoo-ker, you should be ashamed. When he walks
out he lifts the baby by her arm, like a pot by the handle. Baby doesn't
cry. From this scene by a practical syllogism not yet explicit I decide
to dump Brown's course though he is so beautiful and subtle. It follows
that I'll take Kant with Tietz, who says y'see gracelessly and looks
like a longnose Mennonite.
Then the colloquium. Resnick's implausible spiel, Zimmerman elegantly
topical, new Bigelow speaking up in a woman's voice from the far side, and
then Jennings waves his hand. Resnick loves him and cuts the order of hands
to let him speak. He says the idea was to unperplex us but we're still perplexed.
The students laugh gladly. "There are still things to be interested
in about private feelings."
When he was screwing me (that's his word) I said I wd give him rubies
and emeralds and diamonds and money and cars and boats, but actually I bought
him a sundae. We found a tree, unknown, with little crabapple-looking berries
that tasted and mushed like rosehips without the fuzz. Catherine is less
beautiful than me, I said he could talk about her again if he wants. He
sternly barked at me for answering the questions I ask him myself. "Are
you cold? Yes." I sit among his piles of stuff looking at a garden
book, ask him something and he brings other books so they are piled around
us on the piles of other things. What does it mean abt someone that they
have such layers of strange curtains.
I was staking and stringing the herb garden.
Colloquium. John Bigelow shows what philosophers do. Two meaty suave
Jews from UBC probably and Ray Jennings show they can do it too. Tietz's
ribs move gently up and down. Resnick across the room, several of the boy
students and I, feel the pleasant vanishing of place.
What philosophers do is try calculating small models. If you start with
these primitives, define this as this, can you calculate to x with large
rather than small circularity. The guys give each other salaries for help
in impressive conversation.
Eric when he's angry says 'everybody' at the garden doesn't get along
with me because everything is my project. I do determine how the garden
will look. Am deciding things with Rob in a private way. Don't ask the membership
where things should be. Am as if owning the land and getting them to help
make it. I earn the right by bold moves and political instinct and staying
power which the rubby contenders - it's the older men who are annoyed -
If I didn't make the land use decisions would it be Eric? Rob should
but he won't fight for his vision. I do block other people and also make
something possible for them. Would they be democratic without me? Only if
they were wrongly led. Otherwise the older men would squabble with each
other and the women would be marginal. As it is the old men are marginal
and the women mostly cooperate. It might be my despotism is good for the
garden and called leadership.
What is so tedious about the imaginary examples in philosophy. Our concepts
aren't simple, but in the examples they are used as if they were.
Saturday. Sat in the bath this morning and saw gulls and crows on the
roofs in sparking air shot through with leaf gold. Rowen Rowen let's go
out. Leaning on my shovel, Dave McConnell with his hair in strings, "I'm
just standing around in the daylight." "Me too."
Monteverdi in the cathedral. When Linda Perillo stepped forward and sang
the Deus Canticum Novum, which is Alessandro Grandi not Monteverdi,
I stared at her so unblinkingly that my vision changed and I had the whole
cathedral as a field, mostly dark with here and there a flare of white,
she in a small focused spot, the brass flashing, songbooks brilliant, a
dizziness and marvel. Wondering whether her high notes were doing it. It
was like being in heaven, seeing a host, but I was frightened too as if
I might faint or die.
He wouldn't have told me his eyes unfocused too and he saw the songbooks
folding and opening like a rise of birds. "I would never have known,
doesn't that seem a loss?" "In a way you don't know now either."
The day it hailed in the city, cold black water standing in sheets across
the road, green and yellow cut shapes beaten off the trees lying heaped
among white. At the garden partly pulped green, the whole so beautifully
live and bright. Walking in the clean freezing untimely air, huge banks
of discharged cloud reflecting pink light - pink-white light so intense.
The pond flooded, up around the poplars, seeping over the dyke even, standing
in the orchard.
In the laundromat today, a man smoking. I asked more or less civilly,
explained etc. He was an East End drinker, puffy dignity, not large. Bulged
his eyes in what he thought was an intimidating stare. In the end I whipped
the cigarette out of his mouth and threw it in the street. I couldn't have
done it so neatly if I hadn't known something - it was so satisfyingly sudden
and right. Then I had to do some yelling, Vietnamese people standing listening
to white people fight. "I'll remember you, douche-bag" - this
as he's leaving however.
I jib at the welter of inconsistent description. There's a culture I
don't want to master . I think its masters are dead folk I wouldn't want
to be like, I don't want to assimilate to them.
That I am unwanted in a community that pets beer boys like Dominick and
promotes poor wrecks like Todd disgusts me but what would break my heart
wd be my students thinking I'm a fool.
An intense irritability in relation to male stupidity in conjunction
with power - its symbolisms - tones.
A lift of happiness to be coming home to once a week love. Will he be
asleep in my bed? He's at the TV table in Rowen's room reading. I only want
to get close up to him. Put my whole palms onto the love his body's made
of. His remarkable sweet life - I mean something by that - the quality of
his chest or shoulder, thin light flesh over light firm bone. It can't be
good health because he's often sick, but it is as if perfectly even clean
bright health. Like daylight.
We have our arms close around each other and sometimes kiss. I hold his
head in my hand when I can to feel his warm hair. I stroke his so fine-grained
tongue standing brightly in water. He folds the strap down off my shoulder
and pulls my breast, and meantime fucks me the way he moves leaves, steadily,
watchfully, a good worker who doesn't spill accidentally but still sees
the sky as he goes (I said that to make you laugh). Oh my.
About philosophy. I think there is going to be a shift and I want to
help make it. It isn't just 'environment,' it has to do with giving credit
to bodies. Now I have to look for allies and go more discretely and perceptively.
Standing with beautiful Mike Kaiser in the mud. I've put the string where
I want the path. He resists politely. I know I'm the boss but the way I'm
going to get it is by keeping him standing there discussing it until he
agrees. It is hard to be certain if I stand back in the orchard and look
at the land's fall. I'll risk taking the level. We hold a board against
the string [and set the level onto it]. I feel him thinking I can't know
better. I have to push his will with mine, and at the same time pet his
pride. We discover his board is two inches low at this end. "Funny,
it was level before." So he'll just raise that one two inches too.
No, by the time it gets over there it will be more than two inches, I say;
go by the string. It will be a lot of fill, a foot and a half by that end.
He doesn't want to do it. I coo about how wonderful the drainage will be.
And so on.
I come from school to the garden and find the herb garden paths making,
an actual level across top and bottom, so much good labour done not by me.
Day like granite, granite-colored. The garden's dead plants like rotting
fur unpleasantly plastered onto drownd earth. Ducks a-sail on very wide
untidy pond. There are few birds I said morosely. Next moment up rose two
hundred starlings from the orchard floor.
What have I never liked about Tietz? His color. Gravy brown, shit brown.
I mean, that he's opaque, frightened, dully egotistical and holed up in
Haven't said Philip's river film that had me agape this way, by filming
continuously from a boat let to drift in a slaggy stretch, sometimes bumping.
The boat drifted, the camera decided to see. I was full of joy in every
disclosure the way I was in Lis's film. David Larcher's. "Phil that
was absolutely wonderful." Coming to the projection room door at CFDW.
I go to Van Dusen Gardens to have some life away from the gnaw. Go along
talking rudely to ugly plants. "You're ugly." And after expensive
lunch joyful in the Western North America section, juniper, uva ursi and
then beautiful manzanita in all its stems.
Anne to say Opa died last night, did I know?
Louie phones. I tell her abt this man outliving his life by ten years,
absorbing the time of fine middleaged women. And about not wanting to go
to his funeral where they will talk about heaven. She giggled and then I
Last class. Wade says he wishes we'd talked about god. I have them talk
about god. It was the best goodbye, getting to see each in their beautiful
Mary brought Rowen a book called How God gives us Chocolate.
- God gives the jungle lots of rain,
- warm sunshine,
- & good rich soil.
How does the lie survive, that masculinity gives us what physical universe
gives in fact? And equatorial people for foreign exchange for landowners
and the women beaten by the men who get drunk on their wages.
Angry, yes. "Your wife will be like the fruitful vine and your children
will stand about you like olives." A psalm Opa claims to have been
given before he married. And lo it came to pass. A covenant between men
is what it is, a covenant men make with masculinity. Serve the masculine
principle and you'll live at ease everywhere confirmed in your own opinion.
The masculine principle is the devil and Jesus may have refused it or maybe
not but still he's part of the plot.
Did the C from Tietz collapse my potency? Yes. Trying to fuck Sunday
night eventually disgusted. What's this monkey thing going in and out of
my far end.
Falling asleep: the physical universe is the soul being made - if I'm
making soul that's where I have to make it.
Working on Kant six days straight, I have more and more piles of paper
and still don't know what to say and am in fear, seeing myself cut down.
On Friday aft I was in the bathtub sobbing, cracking, feeling the children
in school contempting me. I was smart and after many years I made them know
I could do what they couldn't - but cracking, I felt I wasn't smart anymore.
I fought for seven days. Haven't seen Rowen in two weeks, hadn't seen
Rob, lost, overwhelmed,
Then Sunday I wrote until I saw what had been holding me: the god Kant
is willing to posit is his god in fact: systematizing intelligence is his
subject, his method, his aim and his drive. He's stuck in a reverb, and
that's the superimposition he's trying to separate. When I wrote that I
said, Okay, that's it, and went looking for Rowen. Had cabbage soup at Carnegie
in a zonked state saying to myself this taste is taking a long time getting
from my body to my soul. And then went to the garden and saw Rob sitting
quiet in his garden with his hair backlit.
It's always, nearly always, awkward getting it in, but much happiness
when it's all the way there. I keep having to marvel that that should be
so. My heart springs open and I hold him tight. It is not him in the way
he is when I see him. It's very level. Like two beings of the same kind.
Am I in him then? I seem to remember his darkness, the flavour of it, unsayable
Sunday early, 2:30, before the alarm rang I seemed to hear a different
alarm. Dialed Luke in London and turned the light off again. Two hours,
I'd thought maybe one, with his voice and the other voices in his house.
Roy's quiet blunt South African sound shouting at Josh, Josh protesting.
Jedd or Ezra singing at the table. Illy says goodbye. The ocean's floor
crackles with starry silence. Little beep voices of some computer starfish.
Undersea and outer space, night all the way though he's in Sunday morning.
Long silence. She lets it be. I come up with what I need to ask. "When
I said I was doing this, you said it was wonderful. I don't understand why
it's wonderful to do this nonsense if I could be doing this other."
"It is wonderful," she says. "It is the steel girders
that make something float. It's your struggle with your father, that you
have to make something of. If you don't make something from it, it harms
you." "It seems to me to be a spiritual danger," I say. "It's
the contrary," she says. "You mean, just for the exercise?"
It's a death festival I realized, lying down touching myself into the
soft state, sleeping, waking, lying on the pillow in my room feeling the
way they claim thanksgiving for eternal life, eternal life the light in
the darkness. The light is true but eternal life isn't, we never celebrate
death head on, say, here's to death that cleans up the wreckage. We're here
but we're deteriorating, death cleans up the wreckage but it takes a while.
The way Mary and I have died for each other.
Afternoon going to bed and wanting him straight in. As soon as I touched
the base of his penis, while he started with the condom, seized with ardent
longing. Amazed how unambiguous it is. There was no coming to the end of
it, I'm still there. When we went to bed we were lying with the Christmas
tree lights still on, my front following the zigzags of his back, melded
in gold-colored heat.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday saturated and buffeted by the department, replaying
what he and he and I and he said - looking for what? and why - as if I'd
registered the events as crumples of my body, that I have to hear again
as they release - what kind of person so amplifies these small events.
Wanting to say how much pleasure Ray gives me. Was sitting with Louie
at the philosopher's table talking about Dorothy Richardson, feeling Ray
at the far corner unfolding his lunch cocking an alert eye toward the sight
of me joyful and conspiratorial in the presence of my own knowledge - or
so I felt it, as an increase.
It was his day at the colloquium. There he sat in his shiny orange shoes,
on the table, straight and bright like a four-year-old. He has been thinking,
I think he said, about how or can mean and, an etymology of
[Greek word] against, again, meaning, he says, Let's try that again.
"My name is Cupid - or Eros I should say - well, it's both, but."
Like him, I thought, to say there are discourse motions nothing like
P v Q, and like that lot to disagree, since their conversations have none
of the live dimensions of his.
Thinking how to set up tutorials with Phil, realized I have to do a lot
of rehearsing because on the spot I am the other person too. So my interests
have to be sorted when I'm alone. I said that and body heaved a large sigh
Teaching. It's different this term, more brisk, less present, maybe.
Being there with a very ready political analysis. I use what I know to stay
ahead of the women too, anyone I can. It's coldly canny and allows me to
be warm, takes quite a lot of attention the pros use on being pros. But
I know by now that it's a foundation and has to be seen as it's done. It's
not cold so much as it is set. I'm not wavering. I'll support my constituents
but with calculation - for instance I set up the student evaluations, some.
Willing to mix now.
She says she takes it that she should talk about her physical attraction.
I say I asked the cards and they said she felt that, but I was puzzled.
She tracks assiduously. "Why are you puzzled?" "Usually
if one person feels that, both people do, and to my knowledge I don't."
First time meeting her, I was thinking, this one's good right through,
Laiwan should keep her.
She said I noticed something in her right away, that has gone unnoticed
nearly everywhere, and that has been private to her. She doesn't want to
have to prove it.
These days at school it's a scrim. I'm learning to run with the ball.
Not yet how to feint, but how to sidestep. It gets very fast. Wonderful
classes with Kim, who meets questions so neatly and thoroughly, checking
through the branches behind his answer, accounting for where a different
answer would come from and what its relations would be to other things on
the table. I'm liking Kim, now, for the way he's in the midst of the life
of his creation, has it all around him to be joined by the midst of my creation.
So fine a day on the periphery today, the wide far periphery off the
sides of the mountain, snow halfway down the north shore so one of the juts
of the range was showing a shape I'd never seen. Wind this morning, crows
trying to ride the tips of Lombardy poplars. Birch twigs easier to ride,
for the curve before the dropped tip. Coming down in a car this afternoon,
the exquisite lacy feltings of the alder thatch sorting into orientations
by the direction of the strength of the light. That, and cream ribbons of
patches of ditch couchgrass. And the glittery snarls of salmonberry, which
unlike the alder can't be sorted by the light but seem always so marvelous
for their color, and something else maybe. The talismanic salmonberry.
In tutorials, just talked. Here's how you do a philosophy paper. Last
term I wasn't so sure but this term, see, I'm preaching argument. It's like
teaching a focus, and that must be alright. "A philosophy paper
is like a machine. You have to figure out what are the working parts."
I like the practice of authority. It's a physical sensation of will,
a pushing from the brow. It's not a different sensation than when I'm granting
authority but determined to learn, as with Kim or Peter.
This morning, at the bus window looking out at trees and roofs piled
with slush, strangely intent, dreamy, having come from the crew at the garden
(a thick grey stream leaping out of the new drain under the log, new kids
in their raingear), seeing parts of the new work and own garden (there 'seeing'
comes to pass), saying my Mao speech ("architect, polemicist, social
planner, garden designer, politician, contractor, construction foreman,
fund-raiser, visionary") in a little trance of happiness to have so
much action possible now.
I'm scared of my light shutting down because of disconnecting from sex.
Losing good sense and joining philosophy without seeing anymore what's wrong
with it, loving my own words because they make me seem to have a friend.
No not scared of something, just a scared heart.
The way the weeks go by without love, now, my sweet self shut out, a
wasteland of mind and rain, sitting in front of xeroxed papers with a red
Second item, looking at Dewdney remembering where the heart is in this
mind work, and it's in getting ready to do things with imagining.
I don't have to be a theorizer on and on.
Mid-day a stroke of pain I wanted to say. Is it a stroke? A dreadful
It goes when I work. And is there when I stop. What does it say? It doesn't
say, it tortures.
- Sick with reading grey junk.
- Sick of the lack of friendship of the department.
- Sick of being mediocre where some are good.
- Sick of being frightened of pain.
Here Louie phones to say Mandela will speak just now, and there he is
reading from a blowing paper, orating in quite a pinched high vioce, slowly,
very formally and conventionally. "I salute our general secretary Joe
Slovo." He is acknowledging all the groups who've worked. "I salute
the working class of our country." "I pay tribute to the mothers
and wives and sisters of our movement." "We thank the world community."
His wife and family.
"The future of our countrrry can only be ... democratic non-racial
and ... Mr De Klerk himself is a man of integrity ... a decisive moment
... the sight of freedom looming on the horizon ...to lift sanctions now
would be to run the risk ...." His voice is stronger as he goes. "But
if needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
The light has been fading so fast, that's why your picture is so red,
says the moderator. Capetown City Hall, 8:16.
Louie was crying because he didn't mention a single woman's name, not
even his wife's. And the women only in relation to the men, a bedrock he
says. But she knew he was going to be released because two men in South
Africa, from whom she hasn't heard in years, left messages on her machine,
one after the other.
Snowing, snowing. Last night three hours getting home from school, standing
in the bright lighted flower porch of the corner store at Kootenay Loop
waiting for a bus, seeing outside in the dark, women passing with their
hair and chests caked with snow.
Churchland - is very tall, has a short red-brown head, stood gesturing
with a silver wand, spoke from a whole moving body and took me with him.
I gleamed at him quite personally as if he were a boy from a farm who had
found a way in philosophy to defend the pasture.
Then Charles replied, shaped and dressed like a belted sack of ordure,
bald, greasy, diffident, and reading a long fabulation of language philosophy,
dun cows, an argument Jane thought she'd won, Pia and Hugo, milkability.
It's true I already disliked him for his weak gaze and the time he said
a woman is a woman but a cigar is a smoke.
One peek at connectionism and I could see the way it defends what I want
defended, which is comprehension made forward from the eyes and set in space.
In the middle of the day leaving the conference to see about getting
a round table cut. Rob held the nail at the center and I stretched the cord,
with a sharp little nail knotted close to the point, to scratch out a circle.
I liked the way we were working. What about it. Having his thought come
to meet me in space.