Volume 18 of Aphrodite's Garden: 1993 October-December  work & days: a lifetime journal project  









Editing we made this and trying to come to terms with a different kind of feeling for a man than I have had. Part 1 intense drama continues with Louie, I meet Duncan McNaughton. Part 3 Ken leaves and I can't handle it. Part 4 searches through Tony Wolff and Michael Meade looking to understand what happened.

Notes: Alice Notley The descent of Alette, Neil Gunn The serpent, subtle body notes, Eriskay love lilt, Toni Wolff, a lot of Meade Men and the water of life.

Mentioned: Kenneth Sallett, Joyce Frazee, Rob Mills, Mary Epp, Ed Epp, Jam Ismail, Leah Rosling, Michael Voskamp, Sharif Senbel, Louie E, Rowen, Luke, Esshin, Duncan McNaughton, Ralph Maud, Ja-Min Jo, Luise Braun, Roseanne Konrad, Dave Carter, Rhoda Rosenfeld, Muggs Siggurgeirson, Rowen, Janeen Postman, David Cooper, Olivia Howell, Judy Epp, Peter von Tiesenhausen.

Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Just so stories, Ursula Le Guin, Avid Pro Tools, Artropolis, Robert Duncan, What will we know, Yeats Stories of Red Hanrahan, Chaucer, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Little Theatre, DERA, Jane Campion The piano, the Young Socialists, Them Days, Mills and Boon books, Mike Connor "Guide dog" in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Rudyard Kipling, Isak Dinesen Winter's tales, the Laexdala saga, the Mabinogian, Blackwood's magazine, Hegel, Mary Tiles, Denis Finch-Hatton, Isak Dineson's Africa.

824 E Pender St, Strathcona Community Garden, Pilgrim's Market on Hastings, National Film Board, Calabria Cafe, UBC, Jerico Beach, Koo's Automotive, Labrador, Hawks Avenue, Chinatown, Kootenay School of Writing, Woodwards Department Store, Kits Beach, the Princeton Bar, Strathcona School, Cineworks, Valhalla Centre, Rubina Kitchen, Iceland, Glasgow, the Air Care station, Keefer Street, Keefer Rooms, Revelstoke, Golden, Marine Drive, International Departures gate, the Simon Community in South London, Camden Town, Hull, Iceland, Occasional Harbour, Grande Prairie, Simon Fraser University, the Pofi Bar, Commercial Drive, Bino's Restaurant on Broadway, Trans-Canada Highway at Clearbrook Road, Welcome Café, Kitsilano, St Pancras Church.

 14 October 1993

Joyce back from the Tibetan mountain. She's very pinkfaced and has big glasses on. They drove ten days in Landrovers to get to the place where the walk begins. I said did she take us all with her, it's been very intense. She said yes it was very intense. Fortuitous. The morning after they arrived, the first day in two months the mountain was visible. It took three days to walk around it. I'd brought her nasturtiums, said I was feeling thankful. She showed me photos. What did I say to make her offer me the bowl of rocks. This is mean, she says to herself. Pick any one of these. There's one that looks like a mountain. This is the one that's talking to me I say.

How are you?

Well, I think, but a bit euphoric. I think I need to steady myself. A lot has happened. And what is my story. Strong enough and weak enough for me, both in ways that I sort of know. (What was it she said would be difficult for me? I rushed past it.)

Can I tell you a dream?

Please do.

I am looking at water, a very wide river or the sea, at a boat the size of a little fish boat that is foundered. It's full of water but it's still floating. Suddenly I'm on it looking at the big grey waves wondering how I'm going to get off, the water is very strong. I can't swim this. What I'm afraid of is that I'll get swept out to sea. But then the boat is on land still moving very fast down a road that is wet. There's water running on it. Maybe it's cobbled. It is still moving too fast for me to be able to get off. Up ahead I see a turn in the road. There's a very green grassy mossy bank. Maybe the boat will run into it, but it doesn't, it turns the corner and now is moving down more of a trail. It's more countrified. Then the boat is stopped and I've gotten off. In front of us is a canal, a channel, with water moving very fast and clean between the sort of banks there are on canals sometimes, cut stone.

There was something else about a man who'd been on the boat before, quite a large man.

Now tell it as the boat, she says.

I'm out in the water, swamped - but I'm not really telling it as the boat, if I had I'd have talked about what it's like to be swamped. I had in mind that he might be the swamped boat Ellie lands on. The boat at the end faced with a channel that may not be wide enough for it.

It's man-made, she says.

You really don't like this little channel do you, I say.

She says no it's my rebellion.

Well there's nothing to say it can't open up into a larger body of water further on, it IS clean and fast.

If you could re-dream this dream how would you do it?

I guess I'd row out to the boat and pull it to land and fix it.

Why didn't you just find this beautiful sailboat and step onto it and fly away to wonderful places?

It didn't occur to me.

That's the interesting thing, she says. (Later, Well, if I saw a boat like that I'd want to fix it too.)

What's in charge? It seems the boat is. No, not the boat, it's more as if the road is. Events are.

I thought I'd better know what I'm doing.

What are you doing?

I'm wanting to take on somebody like my father and get it to come out differently.

You know the danger when you do that is you'll get it to come out the same?

Yes. So should I just drop the idea?

Why should you?

Well, if it isn't going to work -

We don't do things because we know they're going to work surely, she says.

No. Laughing.

It's not the outcome, you'd better remember that.

Both laughing. I know, I know.

What do I know - my cheeks were hot coming out of it, are hot now retelling it. I'm wanting to forgive people, as if I feel I've gone round a corner, be nice to my relatives, write letters. I've been looking for womanly men, I say. This one is not like that. He has men's sorts of vices. He doesn't listen very well, he's not empathetic, his idea of doing something for a woman is to fix something for her, paint her ceiling. She picks it up right away: Protective you mean. Yeah. With that slant of satisfied irony.

Yes, so. So the energy is an energy of feeling I can make him be the father who changes into a good father. A strong energy, very dangerous. I couldn't see that boat enjoying the channel, it would need to be sent back out to sea. It's an energy also that turns against me in a second.

What are the dangers. Somebody's secret plan. Danger for me is it glamorizes so I don't have that easy rebalance into critical sight. Unbalanced I bail out. Bailing out terrorizes the other person. Must do something to me too.

Other danger. I think about it too much (what do you expect, taking on something hard), am impulsive and get it wrong and am mad at myself and mind too much.

What's the best I can do with it. I like the idea of a test. How can that strong primal energy get - it suggests - channeled? Where does the channel go? Having ridden the boat that far and unswamped it . - River is marriage, I wrote that down. The two banks that are rivals and have life racing fast and clean or sprawled flat and murky between them.

Oh, and he's impotent. Frightened, that means, she said. Well yes, but he says he's frightened and keeps coming. But it's his body that's frightened. Yes. And so is mine, I didn't say.


More from yesterday. The swamped boat. "Swamped, that's the word." That it reminded me of the boat at Read Island they are using in the breakwater. "It has a woman's name and it's full of water." "Oh that's wrong," she says, very definite. "It was sinister," I say, "people have to see that every time they arrive and leave." Her definiteness helps me as if I'm being shown the existence of a secure body of knowledge where I have only inklings.


A moment at the cinema, I'm late and don't find him and wait for him outside. The sensation of waiting at the door, the way I've seen him wait. The way eyes catch right close. We're standing each with one arm around the other holding a jacket over our shoulder, he with his right hand and I with my left, just on the threshold with the open door behind us. I notice Jennifer and Catherine from the Film Board coming past looking at me both with the same look on their faces, extraordinary interest and dislike. They're furious with jealousy. Amazing.


What am I thinking about the video. The subtext. A woman makes a garden, she makes a place, everything she does is symbolic. She asks people to do things for the garden and they like to. She gives herself to it without asking for security. It gives her a lover. A friend comes to her from outside. She takes that friend into the garden, invites her to work with her in the garden and under the garden, in the understanding of it. They are struggling against each other to bring each other to the same change, the beginning of their lives as women with men. The struggle is built into their work. A seeing of the garden: video is I see. Is it we see? (The strategy that wants to capture the mother's sexuality to keep her from him - such a determination, such a fake.) What we find in the garden, a furiously determined little girl, her propulsion. (Women keep limping past this morning, that was the third.) Her strategy different from mine. (Trudy's strategy because it worked.) Mine to give up on him because her vengeance is so extreme, her ignorance so terrifying. She has had the power of her wish, I have not. My solar trembling with, what is this, the rush of fast clean water through a narrow channel (here's another, with a cane) - comprehension and change.

What is the garden in this. Common life, where people are figuring in these extraordinary stories.


A Saturday morning, wintery. I drove to UBC to find a book, lay on the sand at Jericho and saw the day. What I've been living isn't writable. A dark haze over the city, trees in yellow bits but with air before them a color I've never seen. What was it, a metal, gunmetal maybe, a blue in a dark grey. I lay looking sideways at the sea, a loose quite flat surface stirring stirring stirring, and its thin edge a clinging brightness running up the hollows in the sand.

I'm saying to him, I let you in. I let myself see the possibility in you that is what I am really interested in. Then my belly feels like a sea in motion, a strong chop. I'm not calm, though I keep stopping. I'm saying to her, You are so proud, rather than feel you have lost any of your importance to me and control of me you will give me up altogether. We will not laugh together any more. Then I feel a clamp at the heart. And these days feeling the clamp around the cunt.

Lying down beginning to track it. I wander but begin to know it's more than cunt (which feels like a hard ring), it's circulation into the legs. Tight ring around the temples, and then I'm into seeing. Yes. And more I know about sex. Treat them like baby genitals, touch them with the least possible action. Consciousness by itself.

Is it the season. People cracking. Rob phones and hearing him I am so near to him I can tell him anything. He tells me too, he's living in emotion, his hands and arms are streaming, he's lying and getting into it. Louie doesn't sleep and phones me clear and tired, she wants things in suspense but not forgotten. I clean house, ritual preparation. Buy food. Hang my black camisole in the window to dry, the lace is a flag to the neighbourhood. Careful with symbols continuously. Seeing the hidden material in the video photos, a stream of light bits flowing across the image from the head of the baby on Frank's shoulders.

(Walking these days, I haven't said, in so light a body feeling shoulders, hips, waist, independently, and weight meeting the ground as if on the sole of a hand.)


Soft. I did a lot. Made a kitchen with a gold light over a plate of bacon and eggs. I knew to talk to him about Sylvia, and when I did he came present with me across the table. In bed in his green shirt with his arm behind his head beautifully happy. I was so mobile. There would be a little snag and I'd pull loose and get downstream into some new feeling. Standing behind him at the table, with my arms around his neck, I said what I had to say. "I got more real in relation to you. I took you into me a bit." He didn't say I love you too; he would change the subject and I would not be offended. My hands accepted him no matter what, not as policy but because they did and I was not in pride.

Under my green blanket, under the lamp. If he goes into a spin I keep touching him. He talks. I stroke his shoulders. The rule was, none of the sexual parts. Late in the night I, we, something, broke loose - we were moving fast and hard over across around. I was nipping and pressing, using tension, opposed by his shoulders and arms and thighs and feet, pushing, making some kind of noise I can't remember. Coming to the end of that lying on my back across him, damp, perfectly satisfied. And then we went to sleep. He settled me in his arms in a beautiful way he knew. I was wrapped in fur, even my knee between his legs. And then maybe an hour later, maybe more, I woke very suddenly from a deep sleep. The force of my waking woke him too. I thought maybe he'd had a dream. But maybe some self in me woke in fear of where I was.


Listen to this Kenneth (who the cards say will choose Sylvia, my swamped ship sunk to the bottom) and if not you then someone who likes the offer more than you do: I want to be loved and fucked, I want to be fucked with such love both of us are melted sexes and with them flying in the black wind. - I'd give you something that could make you, and if you aren't able to want it, it is my openness itself that will throw you out of my way. I'm saying to myself it is wonderful how being naked I am safer than when I am hidden.


Is it calming down? No it got wilder. Louie pretty from another of her nights is so full of confidence she imagines she can get the famous cellist. I imagine it too. I say: You could get a better man than I could. We have to go home and get it through. It's true she could get a better man than I could. It's true she doesn't want to know it, she is frightened of disloyalty to her mother. What we haven't admitted, that she chased David to test her power, and that she knew she won, she could have got him. That she could have got what I wanted so much.

I cry blindly with my hands surrendering on either side of my face.

How are you? he says. David imagined.

I don't know how I'm supposed to go on forever without you. To be so much less in my love than I could be.

Now what. I go on working with masculinity it says.


Duncan McNaughton yesterday in the Kootenay School's room above Hastings where the Artropolis opening had lines around the corner. My friend over there with his friend and me alone with the ugly poets. So surprisingly ugly. McNaughton wasn't ugly and said women need to be saying what they have to say. He wore a pink sweater and would come stand against the wall with his arm out along it. Came to sit next to me, a large man in his early 60s maybe, a soft grey thatch and quite a soft frightened look. I took advantage, leapt, said - should I be embarrassed by this - "I have something to show you." He caught it but I didn't stagger.

This happened because while he talked to some local beer bottle poet during the break and I was listening - repelled by the tone and wondering unconsciously what he was making of it, unconsciously staring trying to read him - it was only an instant - he caught my look very sharply and I stopped it before I had time to be aware. Strong on both sides. The way he dropped down beside me when he could was a measure of his presence I thought. His talk was no organized discourse but full of touchings-on.


A strong glint on the roof of a car. If I stare at it the air optics above it seem to strobe the way my solar is strobing. It is a good picture because of the way presumably it isn't there.

Is the solar plexus in the brain?

Look at that tree, a thin outer coat of few yellow leaves hung widely spaced in a single strip down its south-facing tips, catching sun and fluttering. Clean white and blue with it. When I'm at the Calabria am I always still with you? Another crowd on Sundays, Italian men. Smoke and voices. Dark busy air. The flutter. Which sadness is it fighting back today?

Duncan asked good questions. How did you come to be at the reading? How did you get your limp? Where are you from? Do you also teach? Were you always like this? What can I do for my daughters? Is there anything else I can send you? Who do you hang out with? Did you really design all this? Will you write back?

On the path outside the herb garden, affectionate, "You keep going like this, when you're older you'll be ..." - what? I was so pleased to be praised that I didn't register what he said.


A mood of childhood I'm remembering now. The child investigating her parents, finding and considering evidence found not accidentally but by intent unconscious search in closets and outbuildings. The closet in my parent's bedroom had an upper shelf like a little upstairs room, out of reach without a chair and even with one, hard to search without bringing down piles of blankets. In this little upper room I find a school scribbler filled with my father's small handwriting. This notebook was his copy of a handbook on horse-breaking. Or was it a handbook he wrote himself? Sitting on my parents' bed considering this notebook, they having gone to town in the truck, I wasn't sure he had not written it himself. The style seemed not to be his, but he would have been capable, I was thinking, of imitating a style he thought impressive. Horses meant something to him. He would have liked to be described as a thoroughbred among plowhorses. He thought that of himself, I think. But he was of two minds about the breaking of a horse. It flattered him that he was in position to break the will of an intelligent being larger than himself. And at the same time he knew himself a being on whom the community, secular and religious, focused an intention to break. He chose to identify himself with the breakers.

Was another choice open to him? No, it's more like this: he wasn't in a position to understand the whole of the relation one can have to a horse's vitality. He was in such strain in relation to his own temperament he could not form a clear understanding of responsibility. He was not a wise husband or father or citizen, but neither did he have a wise wife or wise children or a wise community. His wife had not been prepared for his spiritedness by the authoritarian kindliness of her own father. His children were frightened of him and not taught by their mother to understand him. (I felt, earlier - when I was talking about the child investigating her parents, the intensity of interest with which I sat considering his hand-written treatise on horse-breaking - that the only member of my family who would like what I am saying here would be my son, whose pride is like my father's. I thought it, pleased to have brought into the world someone who would understand us both.)

What would I like to tell my father about horses? Oh but I am writing this for you, little girl, to help you ride the currents you have to ride in that small house on so large a land. You love a man for his beauty and pride, he is the most beautiful and the most interesting man you have experience of, but you are proud yourself and you forbid yourself to show or feel a love that isn't welcomed, to a man who does not regard you. A contest of pride. What can you do? You can feel it elsewhere, and you have done that often.


The garden today: Hallowe'en a Sunday windy and bright, firecrackers in the distance like gunshots in duck season. Some of the trees are bare, but the cottonwoods are shipping enough wind to be giving it the sound of a fall day in my country. I worked from early afternoon until dark, today the early dark of clocks set back. These days I've been brushing out behind the west and northwest beds pleasing myself with bushes seen for the first time with space behind them - Portuguese laurel in the corner, white rugosa pruned so it is floating its yellow leaves at a distance from the ground. Russian olive with r.macrantha in its silvery arms, extracted from bramble's nets. Salmonberry backed with space so its pretty points and satin legs can show. The lovely relation of rose leaves, bramble and salmonberry in that edge.

4th November

That morning happy from having got to him the day before I looked up through the windshield where we were parked in the Cineworks alley and saw an angel balanced in the angle, a 6" column at the intersection of two white walls, plain plaster flushed below with a frail blue light and above with a pale pink, a form that held out its wings in an exquisite balance of sorted feelings, right left above below with a strong keel and undelimited expanse.

What do I know about last night? I woke a minute before he knocked. He came in as his foster-father, a stiff-necked man brumming and jerking, and then read me Kipling in a way that wrung his torso. I felt his physical fire, so much a dance from the belly, dancing the lines, and felt the elephant's child beaten everywhere digging in his little heels resisting for his life.

What it's like being with him is maybe like being several people. One is fast and hardworking in language, and that one is playing with him, nipping and tagging. With what intention? Exercise. It's frisky. Was there with waking this morning. Another is the velvet cat that sexes with his good aura, lies still and basks, hand on his wrist. Another is maybe this one, who is looking at him with strong impartial interest. Who is he at the moment - now I'm seeing him ten years old, a pig-headed boy. Now he is that closed old military man with a stiff lip and a belligerent one. Then there's this smiling blue and red and yellow man, a conscious charmer.

And it considers our motion - he's quite fiery, this man, look at the way he's coming after me - there, with him in, look at the way we're in round love, look at the way he's holding me at the shoulder, it's something new. If I turn my back at night he feels it, if I turn toward him his breath goes into deeper sleep. He likes it when I'm on top and take him. But sometimes he grabs my bum and pries me open - it's all talking isn't it, he says. I grab you. I say, I'm really grabbed aren't I. A lively man, sparky. And it is the romantic person saying it, another one, who is pleased to stand on the porch showing off her catch.

- The way his voice dips into Scots for certain stories.

"Louie reminded me that when you came into the garden I said interesting-looking people hardly ever come into the garden, but there's one." "You were on the grass mound looking at me. That's an appraising look, I thought." Writing this conversation the - what is the sensation? - surprised satisfaction isn't it, though near - of how the stranger seen can become that furry everyman body playing in my arms.

And along with it, I was thinking maybe this is one of the truer motives, the pleasure of feeling I know how to handle this kind of man who is tetchy and sleazy, ungenerous, critical, evasive. I'll never be helpless with Roy again, I'm not frozen in moralistic disapproval. I don't have to hold myself back with my dad because he's cranky, I can adore him and see through him, I can lead him out of his helplessness, I am not paralyzed.


I had to fight, myself and him, to get him there this morning, but the last two hours in bed with the wintering sky were very fine. He sleeps with both arms around me, all night doesn't let me away to my own side of the bed, presses up against me as if he knows famine, which he says he does. Quoting Chaucer or Uncle Donald of Labrador, Angela Katz of South London. Talking about women running away from his little dick with a face of bright glee. Goblin not elf, that's what his nose says.


Monday night. Back in my bed, early evening, a romantic feeling. It says: balance, that mood will not be there next time you meet. But say it. Seeing the green blanket over my knees again, I was saying, I'm loving him aren't I, this moment. We're loving each other, this moment. It was that soft keen lofted feeling of romantic pleasure. Not sexual but romantic. The way when he contentedly licked my clit on and on I was like a petted cat meeting the motion of his head with my hand. Small inventions of motion. And the way we went silent together when the light sank.

Stories from this time: once when he was traveling from the Shetlands on the bus he sat behind a young woman whose hair he liked. Lifting her case onto the next bus he memorized her name and address. For years after that he sent her anonymous valentines, from Iceland, Labrador. Once he was traveling from Labrador to California on a bus. He heard, behind him, a familiar voice, a Scottish woman from Glasgow, who knew the street where he was born. Months later, back in Labrador, the California woman having fallen through, he wrote the Scottish woman a long letter, many pages. She didn't write back. For two of the years he's been in Vancouver there was a cellist with the VSO who enslaved him, he says, with refusals of this and that. Once, for a Russian woman, he read on tape what he considered to be the thirty best poems of English. Kim who sells hotdogs outside Vancouver Little Theatre. Nancy of last year. The club-footed woman who was fey, wore chiffon and floated as best she could.


Is 'keeping in touch with the deepest being' the best way to live?     Yes and no.
Why yes?     It's faster.
Why not?     Because it's isolating and hermit-like.
Is there a common way?     Yes, action inwardly attentive.
Like sometimes acting at the garden?     Yes.
Suggestion?     Practice it during physical labour.
Inwardly attentive to what?     Something to do with feeling.
Rhoda's kind of attention?     YES.
More?     Reciprocity.
Do I do this already?    Not worth mentioning.
Do you mean using the body well?     Yes.
How do you feel about 'attachments'?     They are the way mind is tempered. They are good for a person.
What about that pigheaded person of Louie's?     Love it.
Can I?     Yes.
What would I have to do to be in that state?     Feel her oppression.
What would I have to do to be able to feel it?     Think.
Something deliberate with language?     Yes.


I was awake when the light was ungreying on his face, he asleep. We were body to body all the way down, he with his arm under my head sleeping the way he does on his back, both hands on me, both of mine on him, innocent transfusion, his young eyelashes. He was a youngster, I was skin, I was saying this is an hour I like so much I'd like to be able to call it again. His face gives me pleasure and I had it all to myself.


Sound. What I don't like in what we have. The lines of the levels are hideous. I want sound to be simple. There shouldn't be muddle in the movement of attention from sound to picture, there should be open space, clearings for something to come into, clearings afterwards to notice what you have noticed.

What kind of film it is. near streets. Bright clear and strong. Primary. Strong shapes. Unusual. Class politics without the manner of class politics. Idiosyncratic people, freedom and affection. Nothing dull. Foreground/background play in three layers. Sync background, visual foreground and voices in the ear. Michael looks at me when Muggs says 'Skid Row.' Rowen dances to a fiddle we provided later. There are many twos, the blue twin houses, the ee's and oo's in Keefer Street, Keefer Rooms. The woman and her reflection, two cyclists, two cars, "Ch-Chinese," "one and the other," two Indians passing the Chinese temple, two lesbians, two sick guys. Other threads: drifting fluffs. Radios. Horizontal flow: cars passing the garden, pedestrians passing M and Row, both cars and people in Chinatown, bus in front of DERA, the purse woman, Louie's yellow. Confrontations: houses, radio man, M and Row, the weight lifter, Joe, Sheila, orange teeshirt man, blue-faced musician, our reflection. Signs. Oranges, reds, blues, yellows.

In kale the frame flows horizontally, there's no confrontation, there is a forest of the small. It's another mind, it's two again, a two between modes, the two begun in near streets with Juan, a two of parallel texture in sight and speech. It's not primary colors, brown and blue-green. Plants' motion. Unhalting revelation, time's pace and earth turning. Then bye-bye waves the little lettuce leaf and bump goes the frame into the end of the show. But first we cross a space of open ground with no voice anymore.

herb garden. Is it anything yet? The plants and their industrial sound. Plant character like house character and face character. Whispers. Giggles. We've spoiled that though, the laugh isn't infectious anymore. It's image-sound stuff but then it changes, post, a gate and pool, children's voices, somewhere back of the gate, Look at it look at it look at it look at it the girl says, the boy says there's a big hole, motors and frogs take over, one flow of sound, a woman's hair, a woman's hand, another woman we grope for, the sudden smell of basil, a colored dark, a darker gate with lights. The way west sky keeps blue when it's already dark, the way water holds yellow squares while it moves. A fade that goes way deep under the threshold and is still there.


When I come from the bathroom in the corridor he's breathing dope at the open window. I take the exhale from his cold chin. It disrupts us. I stand back, I want to see what he is. I see how he's narcissistic with his impotence. Touching me at that moment, what he's with is not me but his anxiety about his penis. He's saying, Oh now it's going well, oh now I've lost it. I see again, immediately, that I don't find him, don't track him, that he's a being, that I let him go by unfound. He's going away out of my life unknown and without having known me. I lie feeling all this and he lies feeling something else. It's honest. I let it go on.

Later we hear a rattle of rain. I say "That sound must be so familiar to you." Lying in his bed with him. "You have been in so many beds in places where you were a stranger." There is a moment where he is telling me about the trains between Revelstoke and Golden. I can hear the way he says the names, his foreigner's acquisition of them and their places. He says the engine's sound on an incline: buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh. Yes exactly that. And then like this when the incline is more. This squeaking of the couplings between cars. That was a perfect moment, the bodies were in some exact harmony when I listened to him listening to the trains in a tent in a treeplanting camp.

What "verbally unempathetic" means. What she says - she asks questions. That's ass-crawling, he says. "Men think it's ass-crawling, women think it's a skill."

What did I dream. I can feel it here. A dark place, a bicycle? Boys - was it in some way his place - was it his tone. Spaces with things or babies. I wanted to be visiting his being, his dark. Putting my hand on objects he can't name, doesn't name, doesn't know to name, because they are him and no one else. Is that ass-crawling? No, it's travel.


Dear you - oh it's dark this afternoon, the Calabria, four on a Sunday, dull orange light, air poisonous with smoke. I've come out of the woods and here's a winter clearing chill and damp.

It's suppertime where you are. You'll eat with a friend and then sit down to your preparation for teaching tomorrow. What would I tell you if I thought you wanted to know.

I'm dejected. As if I'm sitting on a stump with my head in my hands. There's no hope of affection today. As if I'm excluded from my own room, my own fire. Tell me something. Address me. Say this: Come here. Come in my house. Sit here. Take your shoes off. Let me look at you. I'm so happy seeing you in my chair. I don't want to talk, you talk, if you want. I'll make a room in my chest for anything you say. I want to feel your voice in my palms. I want to hear the world you stand in when you speak. And I can, if I create a dark air to absorb it. Here you are. Eat with me. Come in my arms now. Tell me what you thought this morning when you woke.

Do you want to listen now? Then I'll tell you one thing. This was my dream. I walked up a flight of stairs in a city I often visit. There was a corridor. I walked past many doors. I was looking for a room where I could stay. There was a door closed I knew I could open. It opened very easily. I saw you standing by a window but looking toward the door. I came to stand beside you. We were standing looking together from the window. We were looking at a wide country in a color of light that was at the same time yellow and white, soft and sharp. We saw the light change. It was moonlight. And then storm and then morning. We saw grass and leaves growing and moving. Bushes were like beings whose leaves were their feelings stirring around them. We saw a field of grass blades turning to follow the sun. We saw shadows in motion, their sharp edges scouring every part of the ground. We saw the earth change color so that it was not the light that changed but the color character of everything in front of us. We felt our own color character change with it. We were something stable against which all of these changes could be felt. I knew we were looking at a country created when we stood together at any window.

I really dreamed you the other night. I came into a school being renovated for you. Your school. The school of loss, it said. I was willing to speak to you but you are still sore that I sent you away. Prince Loss at the sink. I've come to your city, I've walked in your door and found you, your face, your voice. What would be next. I would say, I can see you are angry with me. You are suspicious. You can't say you are those things unless you are willing to say - I've missed you Ellie. Say that. And I have missed you and gone away and come back and missing you is like home to me. How have you been?

6th December

Saturday morning. The light came again, storms of wind last night. I touched myself this morning and thought sun and a real fuck and I'm cured. But I'm not cured. I'm needing to tell somebody about him.

He was a kind of Mills and Boon man. Glamorous, untame. Interesting. I am those things myself, why do I want them. Because I could not get away with being powerful. He limited my power by not taking me in. I crave that resistance. He met me nose to nose, he hauled acknowledgement out of me. I needed to haul acknowledgement out of him and couldn't, not enough. It was hanging on a very fine balance, if I'd got very little more I could have hung on. Maybe real fucks wd've given me a base. I want to be loved and fucked by someone autonomous and difficult. If I look for that and get it, it's an expensive game. Consuming.

The other thing to notice and make something of is just what I saw would change if I had that desire - if it were possible to have it - what would go if the resistance went, come if I shifted to the person I'd be then. I resist desire I think will only humiliate me. I feel I have no choice. Energy is sent a long way round. This is where I have to work.

Is it like this: until I was in my wish for my father I was not in my own love woman. When I was living in my own love woman, I was free from her. She can't compel me anymore. Many lights. This love woman wants nothing so much as she wants a physical man, look, smell, fur, taste, energy, touch, especially touch. She competes with me. She abandons me for a man. When I lost Louie the first time I was afraid she would commit suicide. She does.


[Then with R] And in the dark, only in the dark, not when I see him, not when I listen to him, a sweet immediate appetite for being fucked. Deep in the longest night, somewhere in the silvery dark, an episode so direct and perfect I sang through all of it, I lay, he moved, we didn't kiss, we didn't hold, remembering it I want it again, sweet, complete, for the first time I didn't touch myself and it was altogether there, every moment, sweet heaven unending, until he came suddenly, unwarned. And was willing to go on with his finger.

In the morning, again, his face appalls me, his speech bores me. I don't want to see him, touch him, hold him, think him, feel him, speak to him, nothing of what I adore to do with K. As if he isn't here. And then that physical openness K cannot get at all. K cannot give at all. What does it mean?