20 February 1990
When we came out over the last of the Rockies and caught up with a front,
for maybe two minutes the plane was fighting to stay up. I was staring down
at the clear land of the foothills confused by the confusion of its motion
and by the turbulence of fear - they were the same thing for a while.
Anywhere down there, it's millions of stubble stalks, rose bushes, rock
piles, grouse burrows, mouseprints.
Last night on Queen Street, dirty ice makes the streets shabbier, paying
for things at a grocery counter, had my back turned looking in a hubcap
mirror, absorbed, turned around, found the man amused, laughed, he laughed
too, but more than that was his look, was it really that? Check again,
yes - young Chinese face with a beautiful complete taking-in gaze. An amazed
Phil's movie. It's a turn-on, love in the afternoon, warm shallow tea-colored
river. One squeak of a woman's voice during a commotion in the boat. Lots
of pure intuition. That means something precise, it means you're noticing
a lot of things and you know you're noticing them but it takes more screenings
or more time to know what to call them. Like the something that happens
when the frame moves from water to include enough distant-enough bank so
that there's a jarring little leap from being the space implied by reflections
and being the space implied by trees reflected - they're moving at different
rates at the shoreline - no, see, I haven't got it.
Rich in pleasures. The camera sticks at an enthralling place. He has
to pry his way off it.
Saturday 10th March
Connectionist nets mean the cloud comes right into me if I stop
Woke to a wide bright Saturday. Skid row streets stinking, brilliant,
empty, high. Let out into the street, so happy to be in the old city, my
loved downtown. A beautiful old pruner at the pawnshop for two bucks, wrapped
steel spring and leather catch, oiled old iron, bright crescent beak.
Breakfast in the Hong Kong Café, fried egg and bacon sandwich
at the counter, face to face with one of the smart old waiters. Reading
After some morning work I get from the post office a long cardboard box,
light enough to be carried on the bike basket, lengthwise between the handlebars.
Inside is a black bag, heavy plastic, with three bundles, five each, of
roses with ancient names. I plant, with a wheelbarrowload each of rotted
leaves: Blanc Double de Coubert, r.primula of ferny, scented leaves; Lichtkönigen
Lucia; Zephérine Drouhin raspberry-colored and scented for a post;
Lordly Oberon; Celsiana clear pink with golden stamens; Königen von
Danemark; r.ptericantha with vicious translucent red thorns for the north.
What is the issue between them and me. What I really think is, some kind
of politics. As if: if thinking is like logical language, then men are superior.
If thinking is brains sparking, then men are not so different from women
and animals. Pat Churchland arguing for coevolution is like the smart woman
begging to have her category let in.
When the paper was written I went down in the still-sun to quick plant
the last five. Such a day. The herb garden has a scent like maple flowers.
I think it's the eglantine leaves. And it's poplar balsam time.
Moved Lichtkönigen to come up from the other side of the gate and
mix with jasmine offincinale. White Moss where it was, one end of an angle
with Blanc Double that encloses two yellows, r.primula and Graham Thomas.
Souvenir de la Malmaison by the angelica where it can spill onto the gravel.
Lovage behind White Bath and opium poppies aside of it. Constance Spry on
the second east front post and Roseraie de l'Hay in the dark, at the end
of that row where it can sprout up intense enough to peg the corner. And
Reine Victoria with other fat pinks in the west bed.
The new roses growing beautiful leaves.
With Joyce after a week only. An oddly intimate session this one, saying
with sparks of tears that I'm afraid the inner life will never come back.
We make sure we're understanding each other. I say it includes landscape.
She sees right away that it does.
When I said I was afraid it would never come back she said slowly "Oh,
I see!" I don't know what. I said when I was a kid I used to see that
people weren't there, and that made me think it must be easy to lose. She
said that was true.
What was soft, near and airy in the session was (partly the time of day,
one in the aft) having her see, having her company in those few things I
need to say: she said, "You weren't recognized. You did all that and
nobody recognized it." About how hard school is.
A restlessness like being hungry, and it is being hungry. It's lonely.
For people to be personal with me, fond, funny. Or maybe it's addiction.
It's addiction in the way it wrestles with itself. "I'll refuse to
phone him." And then phones him. Tries to find an attitude. Imagines
that it can stick to it. Turns away from sitting here at the table and working,
because it's uncomfortable. Eats. Goes to have (I put away the TV) a nap.
All right: addiction.
Martins were pecking in the pool excavation, dipping and carroming over
the marsh. I brought Louie to see the wonderful beautiful rose bush down
by the compost. Dark green hard perfect leaves, bit of a blue light on them.
Shell pink single flowers quite boxy when young, very very beautiful bunches
of fringed crossed little buds. It's holding up a bramble, racing it. A
huge pile, perfectly healthy. Bramble flowers coming out too.
Broom's just finished blooming.
A good quartered rose hidden by the entrance, grown large before we saw
it. Smells wise and is not bland. Firethorn powdered over with bloom falling
about. Notice it comes out with the roses. Paeonies too.
Excited this morning. St Teresa's room was the net settled into a crystal
- global energy minimum. Why I've wanted slow cooling and wide fluctuations.
[This is Patricia Churchland.]
Stood at a corner in the orchard path, by the bees and apple trees and
nut trees and fast-growing grass and valerian towers and oriental poppies
sprung up out of my soil given to fruit trees and the martins excited by
darkening land and fading sky and told Louie about the soul cooling slowly.
An instinct I know she has too.
Last week in the night in my bed with the phone I sang her I'm a pil-grim
and I'm a stra-a-nger I can ta-rry I can tarry / but a while because
she was there in her place upstairs from Jam's, the place with the wonderful
sight, thinking to call a taxi after she hung up, put her boxes in it and
I was her age when I had my last night at Eton Street in that neighbourhood
and where she's moved is here, up the street.
Woke with the solar on and writing. Hm so is that kicking in finally
I said, squirreled away under the light in the blue room.
The colors in black. Do you make it shimmer? someone said in a
dream, if the colors could be colors over the black like self-lit
clouds of gnats. Looking for faint lines of sound to curve down the stepped
invisible trail. "We don't always have to talk about anxiety."
Anything can be taken in the dark.
Today I know where going under is going to. Why it's a poet who goes
there. Why she dies on the way out. Why it's grainy.
Around him on all sides lie empty dream shapes, many as ears of grain,
as leaves on trees, as sands cast on shore.
Times I've felt I was dying and realized I had. It will risk fear.
Jane Harrison saying when she was old that she'd rather have given her
time to languages than to art because language is "a wider, because
more subconscious, life."
Religion a confident statement about something unknown. Ritual though
can find form not mistaken. "The keeping open of the individual soul
to other souls and other forms of life."
Also she said she liked living in a community, ie Cambridge. "It
seems to me sane and civilized and economically right. I like to live spaciously,
but rather plainly, in large halls with great spaces and quiet libraries.
I like to wake in the morning with the sense of a great, silent garden around
When light shells are led into light of course they are dissolved.
wind & leaves
"ten years to collect materials and warm my mind with universal
the bowing & stirring trees
I was moving very quickly toward a bright shining net which vibrated
with a remarkable cold energy at the intersecting points of its radiant
light flickering increased to such an intensity that it consumed and
which transported me into a formlessness beyond time and space
more than light, a grid of power
On Sunday after Dennis Yeoman's roses we were lying in each other's arms
in the sun. Feeling the way my hand was contacting his head through his
hair. "And the placement of this one too," on his wrist unconsciously
placed, but conscious.
He came to the rose garden with his hair down. Real honey hair, a warm
Hello Rob said the quite alright gentleman, tall, tho' tilted and slow
on new stainless steel hips. A liking from his not really old face, for
looking sideways into one's eyes.
Long Sunday morning in bed with Rob shmoozing. No obvious way to get
to come, so it takes a long time. Hard. Hard. Hard. I say, touching his
chest and belly. Hard. Laughing cause saying it made him so. I so much love
when I have my arms around him, when we are in each other's arms. The glow
in the chest, with breasts kissing him. In the end we came together each
in our own hands. My left arm is off the edge of the bed, somewhere out
there. I come and then in a few seconds I feel a large drop on my fingers.
We both crack up while it goes on falling. I haven't done that since I was
sixteen he says. He looks sixteen. The whole time was like an open gate,
is it a solstice transform maybe, pink and confiding. I licked his little
ridge and other things and asked how it was and laughed. He offered to reciprocate,
I showed him Jam's in and up stroke instead. Told him what I'd like next
time he's in, the pause for an echo, which he did understand.
In the alley tilting my head to kiss him goodbye.
Later in the garden he was watering and could see over the tansy to the
bench where I was sitting with Louie talking about getting unsaved. I only
saw one anxious glance and that may have been wondering whether to say something
about the basils.
She said she was at a missionary camp in the Homelands, fourteen maybe.
They were saving the blacks, who had to go along with being saved to get
medicine. They were in a circle praying. She shot out of her body to the
ceiling and saw the little minister and the little circle of people and
knew what they were doing was evil. So she said. And then went along with
it 'til confirmation was over.
She was in the garden with me later, working on one of the middle beds.
I was in the ditch under the west edge and heard a fireman on their balcony,
"John come and look at this." My head shot up, it might have been
the tone. The fireman when he saw me stepped back out of sight. "The
firemen are staring down your shirt," disgusted and possessive and
protective. The way they use it amongst themselves dishonestly to brag to
each other that they're masters of the ones with tits, patting each other's
These days at times she has a blazing face.
Saturday early. Woke when the sun touched the poppies at the window.
A couple of hours earlier than usual. The air flowing first in, then rapidly
out, says the coffee steam over a jar on the sill. Quiet and birdy nearby,
a traffic band in the distance. When the air's flowing into the house it
passes bare foot or face like a little curve of live touch and I say fresh.
She's a pretty body. So small. Came in the dark and squatted by the arm
of the chair stroking my arm - see, that happens sometime, the word gets
into the sentence before I've formed the right place for it.
The garden on a day like this, without cloud. Best is the grass, brome,
vetch, St John's wort, white clover, all the heights, tipped east.
Two butterflies in flight together so exact and precarious a management
of two large sails each.
The pleasure of dealings with working men, their good humor and how brisk
and effective these conversations are. We're both so good at what we're
doing. I stand accurately in my ignorance and intelligence letting them
know how they should explain - battling (talking with Louie abt phone conversations
with strangers, how interesting work it is) when I should.
Concrete yesterday. There was the moment I'd called everyone to rehearse
and we saw the truck had arrived five minutes early. Muggs ran to guide
him. And then the amazing sight of it swaying and lurching very slowly backwards
along the road we cut through the grass. The moment approaching. The way
it is when the moment approaches that will make it work or not.
I have to take charge and say what to do. "We need two people to
be pourers" in a carrying voice. Etc. Like teaching, the first words
have to be willed. "What's our best use of you, why don't you take
charge of getting the concrete into buckets." "Ron is looking
after the vibrator, we need one more person to tamp - we don't? Okay."
The truck driver suddenly thought how to do it with wheelbarrows, our
bucket pushers were about to be obsolete, it was going to be a show for
men with tools. I was scattering to get plywood but having time to think
and decided to stop it and did. "It was going well, why don't we just
go on." And they turned around and did it and the bucket pushers got
to finish. And then I was up on the form carrying the motor for Ron and
able to see. "Add more water" to the mix. The truck jumping. "Why
don't we start washing buckets." Get them before they're gone. Joanna
thinking and humorous. The pleasure of seeing Louie's keen face in the midst
of the line, seeing everything and seeing me too.
The truck driving slowly away through the grass. The Youth Corps lingers.
They're high. "Now you know what the nervous tension was for!"
I'm high. Tim is high. We forgive each other.
Saturday stopping at Michael's house to invite Rowen, we find them near
the kitchen door, Rowen carefully cutting cheese with the cheese slice,
Michael standing hatless with a fiddle in dim orange light like lamplight.
Their boat finished and holding water in the yard.
We were in a slit in the coastline at Whitecliff. A rock wall brought
the water's voices down over us like layers of covers. In the narrow end
driftwood crammed. On the damp above, a hanging garden of herb Robert, fern,
ivy. Angles and mineral colors and fungal washes and moving white underlight.
At times when we were still the rock wall strengthened into a beauty so
ferocious (I want to say) that I thought I was in the privacy of the real
coast, tho' motorboats and ten thousand cars and fifty thousand white people
crazed with buying power were with us.
The dark blood kimono with white strips and red and green. I wore it
in the three-sided mirror and stood and looked. The right profile a woman
with jaw and nose lean light sentient creative strong and astonishingly
distinguished. Head-on, younger, brown, bright, with a brush of hair rising.
Colored and pleased. On the left, the one I didn't like to see, an old woman
quite heavy-boned with a flap of skin stretched neck to jaw.
We were in Rowen's room, in electric light, with open window. Louie invented
blowing the train whistle out the window to make people think a train was
there. Rowen blew twice out the window and turned round skipping with joy.
The day after Whitecliff she was moving and came late. Knocked when Rowen
and I were back from the garden. Rowen, go open the door. He's flying down,
Louie is that you!
Open Saturday. Strong light in silent sheets. Great space permitting
the marks and tracks of sound.
Eric is in alliance with Ernie, both of them with Leo muttering against
the woman's takeover of concrete technology. Uneasy feeling the way I'm
shedding the countering patience with Rob's and Eric's spoilt boy ways,
as if I'm farther into the lead than ... than is safe, or defensible, or,
I don't know if it's just more than I'm used to. It's Louie making boorish
Louie Louie oh Louie arrived a so sexy bundle all for me - I won't hedge
When I opened my eyes on the bench, the whole land was shades of blue
like faded slide film. Poplars blowing their large leaves blue, with undersides
that shd be white, elusive virtual pink. Next time I saw them they were
green again. The shape of her touch can give me pleasure like the shape
It's night still, though nearly five. I haven't said what has been obvious
here, the five weeks without rain - extraordinary pump of fire-life into
our bodies and plant bodies - and that it gave me my summer body I thought
might not come again - springing some days.
As we lie together on the floor there has been accordion downstairs,
European fairground music, a lacy line jiggling like the concentrated light
lines above water, over laboured lungs of folk.
[We do a complicated pour of the round herb garden pool, base and sides
done at the same time] Rob in the midst of the pour. " But I want you
controlling the buckets" I say to him, knowing he's seen how badly
Anna and Paddy were placing them. He's thinking in the middle of the job,
he, Esshin, Thomas, Tim - the men powers. Because I knew I couldn't handle
the wheelbarrows I took on the chute, hauling it down, holding it back.
Louie too, I know, is thinking somewhere. Tim signals time out, Esshin is
down in the floor shoveling to get a level, and then later he's starting
to finish it with a trowel while they go on filling the walls.
I can feel her look on my face. She was standing on the lawn in front
of the house, with her feet together and head turned, waiting for the postman,
in a long white teeshirt. Under it, everyone's classic woman. Round. Heat
poured from the brushy gorge. Silk. Slip over the nub.
The herb garden pool standing made and unwrapped.
She likes to malign and she likes to adore.
But the limit is this, she's thoroughly a girl, is it physical even?
That the apricot velvet and blooming reaches disqualify her from picking
up Chaos with interest.
We went away [to Powell River] - not like traveling alone, I'd look with
gentle wonder at the neatness and spark and soundness of the being next
to me - into a hotel room with white curtains, red bedspread, blue windows,
our things spread unnoticed on either side of the room - the sort of goodness
of time that could be ordinary and also a saving both backward and forward.
He smelled of blue flame alcohol and was not jealous. "This is a
strange relationship isn't it, I'm not going to discuss it but don't you
think it's strange?" "I'd been thinking something like that."
"What's strange about it?" "I'm not going to discuss it."
This was the morning I took Rowen to school, came back and sat with Louie
in the big chair, discovered my body all over was saying oh Louie - reaching
for her. I find I know how to stroke and twist and pinch her nipple 'til
I see creases between her eyebrows, and come to her beautiful unlabiated
slit with so much assurance of welcome.
Wittgenstein says infinity is not a magnitude but a way of talking about
unfinished operations according to a rule. If it is not a magnitude the
> relation does not work. [Greek w] is not a number. You can't subtract
1 from it and get a number.
If Witt is right, not math but metamath or higher math is phantasmagoric,
and if that's so, the stronghold of male specialization falls, and it will
have been that it was built in the first place because men have too weak
a bridge between the subtilized spaces of natural language and the subtilized
spaces of symbolic calculation. Witt had the sort of mind, say, women would
have if they took on math without assuming their intuition is inadequate
to it. I.e. assuming, the way an aristocrat could, that the middle class
establishment is fundamentally muddled.
With the ugly alephs, I feel revulsion like what I feel hearing an ontological
proof - it's licensed squalor.
When I was a child, up until quite recently really, up until I was
thirteen or so, I would stop on the street to talk to cats, I'm very fond
of cats, I would be stroking them and I'd suddenly have the feeling they
were you, and I'd say things that were meant for you. [Luke on the phone]
"I love you" sez Rowen. "I love you too" I say politely.
"And I love how you look too." "That's very interesting,
what do you love about it?" "I was just joking."
Louie talking a long time, in the dark, on the pillow, about the intelligence
she has that is no use to her. No use? What would she want it to do? She
won't say. I say briskly I can see what it is - not being intelligent is
her way to say she hasn't committed herself yet to do it. That's all. While
we're talking I'm saying to her, within myself, later I'm going to poke
you sweetie, so that, when I do, I find myself very steady. The bodies alongside
each other are rolling in the same motion, we have our mouths together in
a nearly unconscious way. I'm acting and scanning, not roused but clear,
listening to her but not for cues, for confirmation that she's there as
much as I, noting how much further we've gone.
It's interesting how my fantasy studies - loving fathers teaching lovely
daughters - are inside out. I thought I was learning to be the raptured
daughter. What I've learned about being the skillful fucker, is that it
is not an excited state.
When I woke at night, in Rob's nest, I thought Practical erotics
is the name of the book of all the loves. It would be a coming out like
She didn't tell me in Powell River that seeing me walk alongside, wondering
how it seemed familiar, she remembered being maybe eight, saying to her
mother in the morning that her right leg was stiff and would stay that way
forever. "'Why? Did you see another child? Did you hear something?'
I walked that way all day. When I was walking downtown with my mother I
noticed how people were looking at her not at me." "How were they
looking at her?" "They were looking at her with pity and they
didn't want to look at me."
The part of the finger finding a smooth walled room under the pubic bone.
Now, girl, I have you, I'm going to pattern you, I'm not going to let you
thrash. You're going to face the waves steadily one after another slow enough
to see the ebb. I know she will and she does. I haven't time to see her
face, one instant is all, pulled tight between the eyes, a little face with
her living thinking mouth peaked. She doesn't signal and by now I know when
she's coming through. That was once.
Then she wanted to do something to me, oh alright I'll take off my pants,
but this is going to take too long, it's nice but here is your breast, the
skin around the nipple as fine-grained as new, and the nipple to coax, first
I have to tease it up, and then I can be quite tough, stroke, pull, pinch,
and twist. It's tough itself, sending bolts of feeling into her womb. I
know. And her back like a partitioned plum. And her belly a divided pad
of muscle laid under the skin. I know what I will find beyond it. This discrete
mouth never closed, marvelously silked, I can never say that strongly enough,
what I feel about her wetness, what it's like, the pearliness of the fluid.
More than that. All I can't say about the fluid trail she produces to invite
me. It slides me into a vestibule, a little porch, a circular place, very
wet but decisive. I can't go beyond it by accident, I have to decide. It
takes a push. Now, Louie. I'm coming in. I might linger, you might not know
how far or how fast I'm coming in. But you know I'm here, I'm going to fuck
I dreamed the Orpheus film, passages through color and Laiwan's otherworld
voice reads words.
What's to say about sitting in a bar in Dimboola, midriff trembling.
An ugly bar, carpeted, thickly painted, lino-ed. Between the bar stools
and the bar runs a gutter into which cigarettes and trash get tossed. They
stand together staring up at the races on telly. Computer must be the bookie.
I am five kilometers away from the Little Desert in a bare dry town. Stepping
out of the train station door a dry slightly bitter air. Tonight at Horseshoe
Bend, at nightfall, kangaroos will come to the Wimmera.
The way yesterday I walked into the state library and there was Simon,
as if I'd followed an inaudible tone straight to the only person in Melbourne
I can want to speak to. Mary-Lou at ABC asking good questions, when I finish
an answer giving a very slight nod to say, Yes, I heard you. "How can
there be an erotic film without people in it?" "Well, in actual
erotics, at least as I know them, there are no people either."
They say of horses, by Lord Runner out of River Queen.
Victoria Hotel Dimboola, Sunday
The beautiful beautiful night, last night I was there. Perfectly still
and wide and clear. As if it went on for hundreds of miles as still as that.
The trees resting.
The way each evening the wind stopped when the sun set. Blessed quiet.
Birds' voices. And then they stop too. The ants carry on silently all night,
crazed things, hinged robots. Earlier nights I heard large footfalls that
would have been emus, which look good running. So do kangaroos. The small
kangaroo feeding on lowest leaves of a banksia. It saw me and tried to sneak
away, did that on all four feet, the front feet/hands so small it's tipped
forward into a comic evasive mouse. So evidently trying to move without
noise. Then it gave up and just ate.
As I fell asleep a snatch of a view of a woman with long wavy hair -
a faded oval brown and grey - moving away across a desert. After that very
faint imprints of faces, half-faces very slight, banksia people.
Very uneasy after, anguish. Films I love when I'm alone seeing them,
are unbearable when I present them. Robert Nery gold line spectacles pronouncing
so righteously, sen-su-al. There should not be beautiful images for
horrific stories. Why not? Life regained would love the creep of light over
a door frame. "This is a very old-fashioned story about the conflict
between mind and the senses. We do not have to choose between them!"
I exclaim. But how uneasy after. As if I was stupid in my answers.
Robert Nery is finely beautiful to look at and the woman with him persistent.
She said, "To be concentrated, does it have to be slow?" "It
comes from both ends, when you're concentrated it isn't slow. When you're
tense it's slow. You make it slow to get the concentration. The state that
makes one want to take images in the first place is that state."
The anguish is the exposure of my loves and meanings to dissent. The
bodies get up in the dark and vote against. I was opening the door to them
and closing it after.
Their values also are feeling my contempt - I should remember. Seeing
the audience arrive, the gross, the red lipsticked, thinking, you'll weed
yourselves, it's not for you, you manic smokers.
I saw faces in the audience I could have confidence in - a thin man who
nodded, the man with dark hair back who I knew was a writer, the frightened
face forward, James Kalish. I went up and talked at the beginning holding
myself on those faces. Said they could escape after 17 minutes, to weed
out the people who'd make the rest uneasy. Some went out, some came in.
Then we went on in the dark one thing after another. I was hearing the voice
well enough so I knew they were hearing it, Peter Tyndall I thought was
hearing the Hegel. I heard the voice shift (was it in night horizon)
as tho' at a point where I had absorbed or matched Jam. A female voice that
had taken long reaches without leaving behind girl's love of place and person.
I want to say how I've become a woman who likes young men and is liked
by them - my technicians, the train conductors, students. I look at them
with a particular pleased openness they feel. It isn't only men and young
men but it is mostly. The women's makeup and hair or their boring insistence
put me off.
The film program. I was frightened introducing it because I hadn't gone
through fear and realization before it, I knew I was unconscious in it,
of its interpretation. Lying beside Rob last night realizing about Robert
Nery and the woman with him, that they might have been in the initiated
mind I learned and left behind with them, those people. Why does it have
to be slow she asked. Is it appropriate to eroticize torture he asks. Not
that they were clear but that I wasn't there to answer them as I could have
if I'd prepared rightly. What did that mind know? And how do I not know
it now? And what does it have to do with beauté du diable. I was
remembering it in the panic and sadness of not fucking, and then having
it wide and solid in me gave me cheerfulness back though not sensitivity.
It's a state of realizing one's pretensions are covering inferiorities of
desire. So the show was saying this is how I like to be fucked. But actually
I know that. I said erotic is deep pleasured attention and political is
intelligent value. So what was wrong with the show? I am not recovering
the feeling, which was a memory.
Came out of yoga in grey morning light and saw a flame standing high
over roofs to the south. The house of disorder on Hawks. Neighbours standing
on the brick plaza, faces water-swollen from sleep, came out without combing
their hair. Who's living with whom, who is friendly with whom. Firemen in
wet stiff canvas. A grey-haired man coming from speaking to the fire chief
says to his friends "She's still in there. It's finished." Her
husband when he arrives from his job walks first to the ambulance, opens
the back door, closes it. Stands in his letter carrier hat next to the fire
chief both staring at his house. Men on the roof chopping holes, flames
still appearing in an upstairs room. He looks the way I think I would -
well, that's what's happened.
Coming out into the warm night out of the station at Bairnsdale, dopey
on the train and a stranger emerging with people who are being met. I'll
just walk out and there'll be a hotel.
The afternoon in Terang, station platform, sitting on a baggage wagon
putting on my shoes. Silence when the train is gone, birds and scent. First
cross the tracks to the country road, blooming wattle with the smell of
a room in London. Main street with an ash tree boulevard down the centre,
my first sight of the form of a country town. Commercial traveler's hotel.
"A dry ginger please." Seeds in the hardware store, Queensland
blue pumpkin. Countryside showing past the houses, pasture, hills. The shops
are North London in Sexsmith, ice lollies and barbecue chicken. A library
closed except Saturday morning and Tuesday night.
Being so excited that day to be going out into Australia. Thistles and
red soil. A part of the country that's so rocky walls have to be made for
miles, to clear space for the sheep. Pine rows quite black for shade lengthwise
or crosswise or along the ridge of a hill. When the door was open between
cars the relief of smelling the land, pine and grass. Coming into Terang
looking at a house beyond the tracks, curved zinc roof, water tank, bottlebrush,
yard. Like the farm beside the tracks outside of Sexsmith. I say I'll jump
off but is there time. Run for bag and boots under the seat, train's moving
but not fast, I'll do it. In my red socks.
In Melbourne the office and its elevator woman and Flinders Alley with
curry and a green store. The early mornings coming up Collins feeling the
downtown street-café sheet-glass cosmopolitan amenity of the place
- Londonish. The alleys. England in the thirties said Ray. Yes! The cottages
are. Suburbs and their trams. Crowds along the rail at a tramstop in the
middle of Swanston with flies trying to drink from their eyes and nostrils
and the corners of their mouths.
"I'll drive you out, later." I buy food. Am in behind the counter
at the grocer's washing out the pineapple and butterscotch containers he's
giving me for water. Beautiful Tista at the Victoria Hotel. The wonderful
grape vine dressing the verandah. "A dry ginger, please." Then
the first people I meet are a black aboriginal who doesn't speak and a redhaired
one who says "It's all different now. You used to be able to walk through
there with a gun."
Tista brings me past what he says aren't farms, it's too dry. I don't
know where the Little Desert will begin, anything could be it. We come to
the dip around the hut and it's full of birds. There's the brown Wimmera
River. He says parrots. "It's wonderful here." Shows me where
the kangaroos will be and where they were.
When I am coming up along the river before dark looking at banksia and
bottlebrush, at a distance from the kangaroo plain still, are those figures
or not? I have to wait to see them move. I see them run, tail to balance
head in their flight, stop behind a tree seeming to think themselves hidden.
Then fire, burnt food, creeping down the log into the river, washing,
wind, flies, cold, heat, boredom, retreat, ants crunching underground under
my ear, louder than you'd imagine.
Speak to anyone as to a soul wanting to do its best.
Speak to anyone as to an unknown light that can be
Speak to anyone as to and from a soul noticing its
Practical and theoretical soul studies.
Wanted to talk about her to Eric. This is what's called missing. When
last have I missed anyone. I told Eric I was painting the kitchen because
last summer I cooked and ate and talked with someone in it. And, the feeling
is, sometime I might again.
There Rob was in the light of my Christmas tree last night folding himself
naked down into bed with penis as in cave paintings horizontal and long.
I wasn't needing to have it, not at all, evading and going to sleep. This
morning, tho', after tea, I say I've been remote and I've been missing
Louie, and when he touches my nipples I know I'm there again. I realize
tho' it's the time of day Louie phones, if it rings I'll answer. It does.
Two minute touch. "It's so hot here it must be snowing there."
"It is." What can be done in a two minute touch. "How have
you bin?" I say. "I miss you quite a lot." "Are you
sleeping closer to the river?" "I'm sleeping by a cliff, the moon
is so bright I can walk around."
I go back to the real whole of fucking, have one arm around him in the
affectionate way of companions. We go gently and thoughtfully in and along.
Long later when I've collected him again and it's after a stop so I'm swelled
up with sensitivity (my fantasy is, like a woman with a second husband,
who whispers to the brother at dinner, I want you to be slow tonight) I
come with so much laughing and blowing he says "Should I call the ambulance?"
"You are the ambulance, you saved me."
That, how deep and unknown it got, and the graces of what he does and
I do, and yet the stupidity of conversation on the way.
Looking together at the book of space pictures he gave me.
Last night digging at Gott. Ironfaced closedness. Gott is anger. It's
what I face him with. But when I took him on with feeling and mobile thought
he turned into a little boy. Oh nimble mind and feeling please come again
the way you were that time. Then I have a new good: transparency. But Jesus
got killed, feeling and mobile mind and seeing got killed and even
if it resurrected it's 'gone away,' it's become the face of grief. That's
as far as I get and then try to investigate the line of pressure between
my eyes. A face sleeping on the left and like a shell strained open on the
right. Can I wake the left?
I see their damage, I don't feel mine.
What I remembered today about Ed, the feeling of his calculation. A mentat
feeling. Not shrewdness. It's hard to recover. A kind of length under the
cheekbone and concentration in the forehead. It borders on paranoia. I recovered
it thinking of the spirit battle with him. The way he was aware of danger
to his (pride) - I don't know danger to what - like someone alert in a knife
fight. He's calculating in defense of his wit. It's a dark brightness. It's
knowingly alone. What's important is that he comes out able to feel his
wit is sharpest and fastest. I defeated him that time. He was feeling, it's
a trick, she wants me to let her expose me; and it was a trick. He didn't
fall for it but twice he turned and ran. Here it is again, the resolute
iron face. He could see certain things, sexual things about women and aggressive
things presumably about men. Lived afraid of being taken over by reading
but was taken over too by too little reading. A native sharpness he found
himself to be, seeing hidden things. Thinking he has to keep that special
edge makes him a sitting duck for flattery. He likes the game of leading
someone along, feeling his own nimbleness, so far ahead of the game. An
unhindered opportunism, he has the wit to see that other people don't exist.
Funny, yes, I'm angry. I ripped the 3 boring sheets across and across.
I'm angry because she hasn't sent a letter in these 3 weeks? Why wd I avoid
knowing I'm angry? She's more gone than she was. And what else. I'm angry
AND THEN AND THEN the phone rings. She was in a train awake all night
looking at the changes of mountains. Had 3 letters including the last one.
So little time it took her to get to me.
And still I'd like to know more about the night in the train. She went
backward because the mountains became smaller, she backed away from them.
She kept being tested with offers of a belief that evolution is wiping out
people who didn't change quickly enough, whose chemistries aren't susceptible
enough to restructure by prosthetic extension. Who are too close to home.
And tempted by offers to believe that if whites are crazy the blacks must
be sane. And seeing the night texture in flanks after flanks of hills made
Is it that my girl soul comes and goes freely now? Says: I'm leaving
for the winter, I'm going to the other end of the earth, but I'll be back.
And travels at a window in a compartment. I saw that. Moon only at the edge
of orange pink dawn, as they come to farms and towns. But in the dark end
of the night the bulks of the mountains rotate past with the immense smoothness
of their mass, accelerating with perfect evenness as their nearest side
comes toward the center of the rectangle, and there a speed faster than
light, which gives the immense armature of racing threads of light no time
to attach themselves at the eyes, so that they cross and fall. (Seeing what
happens - why not - because this is philos images and other fantasies and
not - but yes it is - girl soul at a window the only one awake - traveling
traveling south away from the sun away from wild Africa to an opulent rim.
What did I see. There were books of Australian women painters, four sisters.
A book of paintings, rust reds, a hill in gullies. The last one a woman
at a window, curls of vapor fabric blown back off her body. In between,
I don't remember, but the wonderful completeness and invention of my picture
And then at the end of the dreaming, I think, the sight so much admired
of a foxred woman walking away - probably her - copper red hair, brown
coat and longish skirt, russet ankles probably, so glossy - Copper Woman,
not that I think of it - a conductor from head to shoulders, (sez breath)
is how the images come to be.
Help me to understand, I say, and I promise not to take credit. But help
me to know how not to.
Electric body work in bed last night. Knowledge coming about teaching
next week. I think, look what it gives me, it works on my tasks while I
do other things. I say thank you. I go further, I say, I'll hug you. And
do (not with my arms) and then what happens is a smile starts to break on
my mouth - really it is as if my mouth is pushed from inside. And then,
see it wants to go further, it's wanting to laugh. Aloud. And does. I keep
watching how much is it wanting to laugh, more? And then I am lying in a
glow of sorts but wondering, was it laughing at me? Or glad to be (so socially)
Other things I tried. A pang in the breast. I say let's go for the five
vertebrae in the upper middle of the back. A pouring warmth up the arms
and neck. Then the diaphragm comes on. I'm wondering whether digestive enzymes
are in there too, being cut off. I feel I shd be digging in between the
vertebrae with gold-light fingers, digging quite hard. There's some alarm
as if a large wave is threatening. When I go to the toes I feel it immediately
in my neck. More to know there.
What's rust red. I thought too, cypris (kyprios).
Copper oxide the color of thistles in red ground.
Pennies to Aphrodite.
Cun nung knowledge, cunnan to know, to
Cupa tub, cask. Cunt isn't in the dictionary.
Morning of 12th the rust-red woman, flowing at the
end. Two days later an early period.
Something I do have. On the bus remembering how much I like to read the
journal now, that it's a voice so close to me in any kind of turn. Not impressive
and not a woman's.
What I think about Louie is that I trust her sanity. When I think of
what could happen the next thing I think is that whatever happens she'd
be willing to know and she could know what to do to go on. I think that
at moments like coming past the doctor's office on Hawks or standing in
I am always willing to know but I often only know how to go on alone.
I know my gladness is a danger to me. Not yet as much as it could be. Feeling
uneasily observed as I say this.
It becomes difficult to see. I don't know how to describe it. Sometimes
when there's a certain kind of joy it's like that. Everything is there together
around my face. Every stone I could have picked up. In all the red colors
of brown. Might make it to where we cross the river again before the light
goes. We do and cross in darkness. [Louie writes]
In bed last night the sense of anguish as being squeezed from both sides,
especially the skull. I move around seeing what'll happen electrically.
Once, from feeling the second outermost toe on the left foot, a light electrical
wave, that was blocked as soon as I knew it - not more than I would want
to bear, the blocking was only startled reflex.
Today in a room crammed with Chinese business students Ari the Neck (a
wrestler) tries out loud talk to his friend. But I've met that irritation
before. He's put himself in the opponent position in the room and that means
I'm in place to be his opponent too. I say, before he's aware I'm looking
at him, "I have something to say to you, right in front of me
- you. It's not really appropriate to be talking out loud in a class, it's
distracting to the other students and it's distracting to me and ..."
(by now I'm wondering whether this is enough but it's marginally out of
my control since I turned it on) " ... it makes you look bad."
His friend grinning embarrassed. I go on but there has been a cost, a slight
fright or shock that I have to cover. But the class is good, as a first
class. Half of them have spoken by the end. I love myself for how I can
do that, make a live unfrightened room.
Iraqis pumping oil into the Gulf. The way Saddam Hussein is using what's
to hand and bewildering the Europeans who think he'll wage a European duel.
He doesn't have to defend the prestige of rationality. At school yesterday
came upon Andrew saying to Ingrid, "All my advisors have told me to
be sure to steer clear of anything Eastern or New Age," and I smiled,
we all laughed. And I'm thinking of it since - the community defending itself
from what could change the terms or the style of talk to something they're
Connectionism says to me that what we give time to builds itself into
our brain, anything we think is thought in that abacus. And dreaming is
a projection of the structures made.
tigers, elms, apples, roses, water and gold