Tues September 15th 1992
Feeling to touch her, a sadness came and stopped me. What is this sadness?
Ellie it's a memory says the book. That she's a nice body and I'm not. Behind
the sadness is fury that I have to be this shamed ugly thing. They all say
- they lie and deny - that everybody has something. That leaves me furious,
what do I want, Trudy's open-mouthed acknowledgement - that happened to
you. Tell me about hiding. Hiding. That happened to me. She has never
acknowledged it, comprehended it. She leaves it out, covers it. What
did I see, a motion, an inward shrinking in the right side of the dark inside
my head. It shrinks and is aware. Pulls itself close, stays watching
from cover. Draws itself into a doorway while I pass.
The way the body is all warm and myself except for the limb like a grey
branch, not dead, feeling, but what it feels is aching cold.
A note of Louie in red yesterday, black and red. A cautious woman looking
at Canaletto, her Venice, with small pink fingers tightly lightly sprung
just touching the pages. Beautiful and far. And Ellie's crying because she
doesn't want Louie to go away but she wants David McAra/Carter, who at Larry's
party looked straight at me with black eyes and a dry line down his jaw
next to his mouth.
Grad seminar. Wonderful beginning said Ray. And how is it with David
- his eyes are fearless, I can't stand in front of them without wanting
to sit down staring. And his mouth doesn't get pushed forward, it's practical,
for definite messages and white smiles. Strength in reserve. "Oh Ellie.
I won't be at your presentation, I wanted to be but I have to go ---."
"Awwww" I say uncarefully. I'm in surprise, haven't got ready
a way to handle talking on about something while plunked down I suppose
joyfully, filled up with the white light of his face. Is that how it is?
Fascinated but not troubled. Next week maybe I'll see enough to know something,
so far I know not much: a light dry bright spirit. A girl man, no, more
like a curled dry breeze. He didn't have to come tell me he wouldn't be
there, is what's making me happy.
Bright and dark.
Sitting beside him during sad worried Mark's paper on pragmatism in non-ethics,
I couldn't see him, except for his hands, with red knuckles (he's the kind
of dark that has a ruddy base not a yellow-brown the way I do), a silver
ring, a watch, a bracelet; his thigh, new black denim; his grandfather's
dress shoes brown oxfords with scalloped seams, worn with grey work socks.
He asked a question, leaned forward, his voice with its double layer like
two voices superposed. Eventually I felt it and it was sadness. As if the
wish can't come without its disappointment - that wish. And when I felt
it he turned so he was sitting with his elbow on the back of the seat behind
me. He wants to say he's making his story as he goes, there is no fact.
Is there a story he's wanting to make? He's floating in a sea he knows unknown.
A neon eel lighting what he lights and no more, with some phosphorescent
delay. What does it wake. What does it wake? A suffering power. She
said find it where it was. I say, to find it where it was I have to take
it where it is. Why else would I love to be with the thought. Like holding
a photograph. But you taught me the valor it costs. I've been too proud.
Colin's movie. Ignatieff says his grief for his father is the central
loyalty without which his life would be empty. He's the man who says, in
his daughter's hearing, that the birth of his son was the happiest moment
of his life, and that anyone could die (his wife, his daughter) and he'd
survive those deaths, but not the death of his son. The little girl interposing
her foot in the frame, wriggling in his lap. He looks at her, holds her
hand, doesn't see her, continues.
Ocean, warm ocean. I wanted to swim out toward the haze on the horizon.
Keep stroking without tiring. (I'm crying about sweetness being gone.) I
want the warmth and rhythm. Turn on my stomach and look below. Deep sea,
sifting particles in the great weighty green. Go down, turn, drift upward
lying on my back. The shaking silver, one-way mirror. I realize coming near
it that I am going to approach my reflection. This is a moment of struggle
of some kind, reluctant and carried forward. I see myself brown and pink
and plastic and am carried through myself to the world, the sun, the horizontal
Haul myself out of the water on the round rock edge, enter the rock,
go down through round chambers. One after another stepping over thresholds.
Down there's another sea, the black one, black and bright. I can step into
it, I can lie in it, black and silent, a black mirror. I can sink through
it to a tube, a pit, far down.
All uncertain. Uncertain it's there, but I'll take the prism, a flat
diamond, into my palm, and bring it up with me. A basin cut in the rock.
I want my hands on the black water or near it.
The water, I'm thinking, is to be a black mirror. But I don't see on
it, I see instead a black mirror hung above it. It doesn't speak to me,
I have to give it an image. I'll give it his, if I can form it. Now speak
to it. What do you want - not you the person, you the image. Nothing. I'm
the one who has to say. I'll take your image and turn you, put you into
my chest so you look outward with me. (A howl of grief.) The flat diamond
goes into my forehead. And then. How do I look at you when I see
you in the world? Does beauty look gladly at beauty, not afraid it will
see indifference or worse? Even when it sees indifference or worse? (Like
crying out -)
This is where it catches - grief at liking - fear and hiding - shame
- fantasy. Is that where I have to leave it for now?
Helpless in the hands of a process that may be change.
And the grief in the work, where I'm in alien mind studying the enemies
of earth and women.
In Chaos and The dispossessed a quality of joy, arrival
- seeing I might be able to feel my way forward to someplace where my visual
work can come together with this labour in men's brains. Reading it again
seeing I'm finer in the detail, intuition and expression are closer.
It is as if I see a research program that can take me to the end of my
life - from this grubbing down into an academic base I can go to geometric
rep - to seeing and intuition - to 'seeing' and what mind is.
We lie alongside with our breaths close. I see the light and air of Melbourne,
feel Australia. We ask for another instruction. It says put words with the
breath, "Ellie-Louie" inbreath and out, imagining my consciousness
going into her with my breath. There's something I'm sensing, another kind
of home than ours was, more public and maybe with the smell of tobacco smoke.
A brown armchair, smooth, maybe leather. Marveling at the difference there
- is this her atmosphere? Then I see an image, hi-con black and white,
of the heads and shoulders in a crowd. A bit of color. It jumps or flips,
startles. I come to - realizing now it's Louie on the inbreath, Ellie
on the out. Try that. Shift it back again, wandering though, lost concentration.
We've come to with our mouths on each other's.
There were moments I noticed also where a bit of her flesh touching me
had a melting quality, something tender as if it were meat but semitranslucent.
That's not exactly it.
I wasn't slain, I was in balance, I wore nothing special, took off my
boots and showed my feet, had no intention. I did go rigid when he showed
up next to me on the sofa. Was holding onto myself in the corner. Feeling
how quietly he sat. But he was connected - I noticed that first. Sitting
cross-legged when I did, then opening up with his arm on the back of the
seat confidingly, quite still. But then - this helped me - when Tim saw
a chair empty next to me and crossed to it and I smiled at him when he sat
down, Dave snapped shut like a sea-thing. Instantly. Both legs forward,
arm down over his belly, shoulders forward. Ah - I thought, now I have to
reassure him. I'll sit the way he was. I'll have my palm open on the seat.
Then we both got interested in the discussion. He started gnawing on
his hand. Gadamer and understanding.
Dave Sturdee dismisses us. There's Mikhail leaving. I'm putting on my
boots. "Mikhail, what you said about the Greek temple and Being revealed,
do you mean that personally?" He takes his opportunity, stands in front
of me with his legs apart and his pelvis tight, "Yass in epistemollogie
I am aunti-realist but. In metaphysics or so. I am realist, I beliyve in
matamatical objectss." "We'd have to know what he means by it,"
I say. The Greek temple on the hill and mathematical objects and Mikhail's
tight pelvis have something to do with each other. And Mikhail tries to
get points with the men by putting down the women. And he does get points
from them, they collude, they're comfortable. He as outsider volunteers
to take flak.
There I am with Dave. "Have you read this guy?" "Yes but
in a different context completely." Literary criticism. 'Understanding.'
That people should understand each other. "It takes years," I
say. "Mostly it just goes past. Like in this room." "But
sometimes tonight it was connecting, it's nice to watch," he says.
I can see it too, his look of taking pleasure in the life of the room.
"But do you really think the relation between people is more important
than the relation between people and things?" "Yes I couldn't
last a month without people."
This is astonishing to me. "A month? I dream of a world without
people." "Could you really want to live forever without love?"
- He uses the word so freely, I'm thinking. What does it mean about his
life so far, that he's confident of liking to be loved.
"I got thrown to the wolves very young," I say. Consideringly,
what am I broaching by telling him this. "I found out I could have
a relation with the world, I grew up in the country, it's different there,
the world is so beautiful and responsive and it loves you back, too."
I don't know who to be now, I seem to have carried one lover to the next
for years. Did I 'lose identity' the way they said? Is there such a thing?
The identity that's given when you get someone to love you is not a true
one. The identity you are when you love someone is, but in you it is so
halted and young that it can't manage as an adult. That's why you are careful
not to show. That's why sometimes you can love when the power person has
set up safety for you.
What can I do with this love-baby?
Dependent unity. It must speak and ask and write and eat, but not necessarily
with Louie. Don't close your eyes with her. Keep them open to see what you
may not want to see. When you lose her don't lose your baby. Let me see
with you. You asked in desperation to have truth in the relation. You'll
get it. The truth is she's not your lost mother, she's not your dear daughter,
she's a near stranger your love-baby is too young for.
Is that all?
For the love-baby it is.
But she sometimes is really with the baby.
You're both willing to learn new things, but your baby is not her baby
and she has an urgency about finding a grown-up.
Feel what dependence can feel like but find it in your own place too
so your dependence doesn't depend.
Please don't go away from me and take all your love and knowledge
and beauty and perception away forever because I want to feel what I feel
for him and for others who look like him.
Have I been trying to force L?
Have I stopped?
You've stopped trying to get her to admire you but you still want her
to take care of you and get you into emotion.
Can I get myself into emotion?
You avoid so many circumstances it must be that they've got emotion in
Look for emotion?
And then what. With no one to help.
Start small, start with eating.
What's the nucleus of treasure?
Work, too. Images and feeling, like you were but softer, not at drug
speed. Yes like that simple seeing. Fearless encounters. Yes! Yes!
How, when I've been so long away?
Start now, just a taste.
And to make money?
Just so long as you don't bluff you can teach.
Western Front last night, Laiwan's opening. I was sleeping I think, came
into the room thoughtless, pained, dim, taking in appearances without comment,
helpless. Harsh light on people looking so corrupt, decrepit.
Dear larger one and dear younger one -
Talk to [curly E].
Young wild one how were you in it?
[curly E] I don't want to be ugly I don't want to be old I don't want
to be lame and poor I don't want to look like them I don't want to be fat
like Corey or spoiled like Scott or empty and dumb like the young ones or
scared like Robert, I don't want this to be the useless audience for work,
I don't want art to be so vain, desolate, conventional, socially ambitious.
I don't want to be awkward and visibly lonely. I was in a roomful of freaks
and didn't want to accept them. Thinking I look like a freak too, hating
it. Laiwan didn't look like a freak but she was trading with the freaks
as if she couldn't see they were that. Louie didn't look like a freak but
she looked weak and pleasant as if she couldn't see it either, they both
aren't willing to see it. It's a betrayal that they aren't.
Now you, dear wide one.
Oh a lot of energy in the protest. How long has it been that at social
From church, from school, and still.
Do you know a better way?
At the garden where there's work and Muggs's skill and a sure place.
An opening is a pure form of social hardness. What can I do with them?
You don't have to go but it's an exercise. You have to take it as that
or you're sunk. You have to have projects and strategies and treat it as
a place to find strangers in their own lives, however they are there. And
treat the work as if there's some one small present for you somewhere in
it. Don't stare at it. Use your nose. Talk to me. Go somewhere and talk
to your young one early on. You panic. And you have to go deeper into the
look of the freaks, individually. Pick one and find a careful way.
Why was Louie hateful about it?
She had an agenda. She needed a friend to help with how she felt about
Laiwan's power. She's on strike about 'supporting' you because she thinks
it's that that makes her weak. When she doesn't support you you don't find
where you are, and so you and she don't find your sense of contact. Then
you are both frightened. You have to find where you are independently of
her so you aren't covering and helpless. She can learn to track the real
cause of her weakness so she doesn't confuse you with blame.
Waking with Louie's head on the next pillow, her hair streaked over her
face as if she's come up from underwater, a childy sleepy swimmer, waking
happy and asking if I dreamed.
She gets into the bath. I say You're so pretty - there, the way it goes
there and there and there, the line from rib to thigh, in and out and out.
Classic. The way it is these days, she feels her rebellions and waywardness
and I keep calm household, you don't have to go away, you can have other
things too, I'm not leaving, I'm steady, I don't know what's coming but
I know my immediate way.
In work, in abstention, in yoga, with her, I feel my patience. It's being
in an effort and saying to myself, don't bail out keep going be faithful
to your intention time will unwind past this hardness and then something
will be new.
You want to know whether your openness is still open to harm. When you
get your longing you want to be beautiful with beauty, and you want to follow
something recklessly and totally and be boiling in transformation. Very
drastic. Very brave. Very unguided. You plunged into pain to give you fuel.
Do you want that again?
I want to live full and passionate and deep in work.
I've felt so long there's work on this beautiful border between science
and pictures, I feel a whole stretch in there, such a stretch when I feel
it, taking so long to get into - oh really it's work I want. Beautiful essential
intelligent creation comprehension work. Do you hear the way I say that?
I do hear you and I like it and I'll help you but you have things to
clear on the way to it and you need to see your whole picture and make your
workspace. You need to be more organized than you ever have been, like someone
going on a journey or getting married. A twenty year journey. What do you
need for it?
Health, strength, money, time, focus, friendship, clean warm independent
housing, new community, courage, organization, alright human contact, confidence,
I'll leave you with your list.
And whole feeling, whole intelligence.