14 March 1994
See how much I still have to say to you - I heard your voice this morning.
You are perfectly a fairy. How do I know. I knew by the shape of your chin,
by your voice, by your step, by the way you would sit on the floor to put
on your boots. By the way when I speak to you I am in a world where blackbirds
and starlings enter my sentence. I say: oh yes I'm here, in the clean room
with a picture book on the side table. It is never that I marry you, it
isn't for armchairs, it's for legend, it's for wonder, it's a free air.
Am I in denial? Yes, it says, you are denying real happiness can come.
But it is coming. It says that, half a page, I come to the table having
forgotten, the way I forget these trances - are they? People say when they
phone, Were you asleep?
I sit in the armchair eating rice and I'm talking to you - so intimately,
with such a claim. I'm saying confidently, wondering at the confidence,
this is the way it is supposed to feel, I know this about it, I'm not wrong,
I'm supposed to be with you, I'm supposed to stand beside you, I'm supposed
to be your home. Where am I feeling it - in the womb. Looking at you with
warm eyes. Is it a madness? So-so. Not if you act on it.
How it has been - oh strong pain - I don't rebel - it goes away and comes
back. It seems to come back when I get to the weekend. And then only Tuesday
is easier. But still it seems to be enough, it is like waiting in god -
I wanted to say even the cleaning. Helen Harris the gentle diffident funny
woman with a photo on her desk of a man with false teeth, white hair and
a boy's look. Shabby little apartment, a white carpet like a worn-off bearskin.
She puts twenty-four dollars on the sideboard so she doesn't have to hand
it to us directly, and can see us out as though we were company. Olga Cameron
a richer widow in her classic little house. Five pruned camellias coming
into bloom across the front, large perennial square out back with a wide
patch of oriental poppies come up like thistles, prickly. A walk lined with
mauve primulas that could, over so many years, have been divisions of one
first clump. She has a story - her accoutrements, the silver, the carpets,
the Steinway, the rose books, engravings, glass, pottery - her house is
English culture centuries deep, but she has Chinese eyes and the excitable
manner of an odd girl. (There is always fresh baking under a glass bell,
I am always disappointed not to be asked.) She comes to the door to greet
us in a voice so high and small, a tiny frail thing bending back her neck
to see us, jerking her hands not with palsy but with excitement. She is
like another order of human. A voice so far out of the adult bandwidth she
is like a pure emotion. We speak to her as if to some extreme foreigner
who is also, whose house is, a satisfying epitome of familiar central culture.
There were so many birthday cards on her big lumpy sideboard. I thought
to all these unknown people also she is an icon of something she is not.
Helen Harris is exactly what she is, no icon, a woman who is a lucid girl,
Canadian, reticent, with family joy still fresh, stored in the oak table
and in other things we don't recognize. She liked the man who died. In her
closet are pink mules with narrow heels. Her back with its thin curve is
older than her direct autonomous eyes.
I'm saying there are loves in the work days. I take pleasure in working
with the houses, beginning to know them well enough so I can see what else
I can do.
And today we found ourselves slipping down between ranks of pink flowering
trees, many blocks, an almost unconscious ecstasy.
Say the fine day. We did Grant's strangely conventional house - so conventional,
golf magazines, a whole room for his stamp collection, holiday photos in
indexed folders - that I feel there must be secret depravities - with clear
sky and piles of blue-tinted clouds outside the broken door. Broken door
- is that the clue? Then had Alba Rosa's and got lost on the way to Denman.
The bay a choppy deep blue - then the mountains a completely different blue
- then the sky another completely different blue. Got detoured into Stanley
Park, and there were the big weeping willows like embroidered trees, smallest
bright yellow-green new leaves in swaying chains, long lines of little stitches,
Chinese lines - moving amazingly. And then a coffee house with an alcove
outside. Delany's. I was so excited to be having coffee in the West End,
that I was quivering and frisking at the counter. Betty in her zippered
army coverall and pink hair, elf face.
At Alba Rosa's looking together at her fossil fish and then at the Annigone
book. She liked the portraits and I had glimpses of mythological landscapes,
what I thought of as the Ovid style, that old Roman style with just edges.
They paint the highlights. We saw holly trees glittering and I said, Like
those, see, they just paint the light.
I lie down, and find my head tight in a vise. I say alright pain I give
in to you. I say, if there is someone in me to whom this is not real, let
them come and be me. I feel my head as if unwrap in a series of motions.
I am lying no longer in pain, passing unconscious into dreams. Now I wake,
it is just after midnight, thinking life could be more terrible than I know,
there could be terror on terror, I could have cancer and it could be his
energy that would have cured me. It could be that I am trusting a helpless
guide. The weather has changed again, it is the poisonous low pink of rain
cloud over the city. I am seeing the photo of Jane in extremity. Every weekend
I go to hell.
It could be that generosity is final self betrayal, that guaranteeing
Louie through to her gifts has cost me my life or strength finally.
It said 'love' and what I did was put myself into large hands and feel
loved as if from outside, and then the elastic bandages slipped and I was
peaceful and slept.
And woke at seven in fearful pain.
Worked with it 'til 11, the way it is, stopped, not understanding, trying
to persist, exasperated, incredulous. Is it saying this, is it saying the
opposite of what it said?
And then stopping and going to the Drive for cleaning stuff, in the supermarket
with my heart smothered with pain. And then bringing in a bucket from the
trunk, standing on the table and starting to wash the walls. I am sitting
in a room where clean books - Ibuse Waves, Pound's Cavalcanti
- are lying on a table next to a glass jar with five yellow tulips. A scrubbed
table. Cut carrots and apples and walnuts bright with salt and oil in a
black bowl with red chopsticks. That is how I used to write in my journal
in the first years of having my own things. It is Sunday.
What I'm thinking when I wake is, this is how pride wins over love in me.
I'm at the Calabria, Frank is opening the window and I'll close it when
he isn't looking.
He's opened it twice as wide to punish me for having closed it.
My heart, away from affection, is immediately sore. Is it sore because
it needs to be loving all the time and I am afraid of action - could it
be that what I have to do is let it love and not act? It feels so timid,
What is betrayal, what is harm? Someone says I want to be with you, a
bright arrival, the other says no I don't want to be with you, I want to
be with her. Or there is a safe zone where I know if I want to be with you
you will want to be there too, and then she takes that safety away. It is
competition for the space to be. It is the fantasy of that space that has
brought adoration back into me those days when it comes back.
It said - Can you bring it now?
Here I am in agony anyway. I might as well go for broke and take on all
the loves I strangle out. As if I were dying, or as if pain were unavoidable
and it were only a question of leading in joy as well. But I have had good
times in this island of eight years of power defended. I have shone and
loved and come into good lines of prose description.
Joyce was not consoling. I read her the three pages of the - what - the
dilemma - and she didn't say, Oh my dear you are mistaken. She said, This
is true, any woman will like to hear it.
I am feeling I'd like to send it to him, and to her too, as if to say,
I have nothing to lose, and nothing to gain. Would I walk free then?
She said, I think what it's about is coming to love the world.
A book in her waiting area said, Let longing be a stretch.
This morning I feel this tempest is over, as if I had already sent them
both the writing and held their hands at the wedding reception: fire animus
and love woman.
The mountains whited in all their crevices, a day with freedom later.
It is Sunday feeling like a Saturday because there was a work party.
Light that is yellow and blue, the blue when you look sideways across bare
earth in the herb garden, at small perennials coming back in blue-green
clumps. Plants in their small compactness, leaves clean. Small bright color:
paeonies putting up red forepaws in clumps. Arabis. Little daffodils, violets.
Wallflower buds just cracking, I can see which will be yellow or dark red.
And otherwise the new green - even the pure greens taking a blue from the
light. The space that is here with this light, more like a desert, clumps
not overlapped, not run together.
I worked the way I do, concentrated. I'm on this half of the strawberries
by myself. Down that end five women talking and laughing - that tone, I'm
thinking, is the tone you hear when little girls in daycare play store.
Social pleasure. They are liking to hear themselves sounding cooperative.
I'm glad I don't hear what they say. I like to be speechless weeding with
both hands and a trowel, very fast, flinging weeds across the path into
the orchard grass.
Saturday morning. Today I begin to work. A monk's life I guess. It says,
Promise what you have always wanted to promise, not to delude or to be deluded.
Promise to work for good being. What I have tried to do brutally and promise
to do skillfully.
I do promise to work for good being. I do promise to become skilful.
I trust what wants to teach me is manifold and intelligent.
What's wrong with this? The wrong person is promising.
Who should make the promise? - That isn't it. It's that you have to pass
through difficulties first.
Yesterday when I was making my second cup of tea, Easter morning, I phoned
Rob to say why don't you invite me for breakfast. He said, I was thinking
I'd put the bacon on low and call you and say do you want to go out for
breakfast and bring you back here.
He cooked for me the way he does, lightly, precisely. Sets something
good in front of me. Then said something goofy and took me to bed. A light
hand he doesn't have in speaking, but could. I felt sad and lost. Oh why
am I here. He did what he does, persisted rationally. I lie in his arm sad
and inert and he puts his hand up under all the lengths of my blue sweater.
I'm slow to warm, but when I get there, surprisingly sweet and wet. He's
close from the first. Slips. We fold back the curtain. It's bright though
not sunny. So bright that when we see only a little of it it looks like
sun. I say I wish I could have more. You can get it back he says. It's rubbery,
I say. Talking about it, pulling lightly over the ridge. This roundness
here. That's the place he says. I know. Having it back when I've waited
a while is even better. I'm lying in his arm on his right. Have my big left
thigh up against his chest. Sometimes he pulls back the knee. Sometimes
there's kissing tho' he always has a limit with that. Sometimes my right
knee between his knees. He does the work. That's my preference. One-all.
We continue but we're done. Let's get up. There's sun now on all his little
seed trays on the balcony.
My father. I have been finding him indirectly. When I find him indirectly,
I find the soul of the little girl who lived with him. There is a paradox
in the life I discover. I must resist him, but where I resist him I tear
my gifts away from myself. I must adore him but where I adore him I set
myself up to be contempted. "If I'm not mad at big good looking men
I'll be a sitting duck." "I know you think that," Joyce says.
Then I go into it. Fearsomeness.
What should I be doing? I don't know how to work.
It reminds me of Medusa - the way I have had to fight him. Seeing him
in reflection. What is the danger of looking directly. I'd like to live
to fight for something else.
I'd want the writing to give me discoveries, that's the first thing,
I don't want to be labouring over what I already know. I'd like a sense
of winging. I'd like to find a good mind that would continue good when I
stopped. I'd like beautiful sentences that make me want to read them again
for the way they hold me loved like a baby. I want the sense of setting
up an inferential structure whose parts like the flat winnows of a threshing
machine shake their material forward to an exit I haven't foreseen.
There is a precision inviting me with any image given the way that one
was given: I can rush past it or, seeing that I've rushed it, go back and
try again. The image was this - winnows in a threshing machine were screens
in wood frames. They looked like windows set horizontally and shaken so
chaff would cascade from one to the next while grain falls through the screen.
It's a separating process. There is a progress through the belly of the
machine, and two kinds of exit: the real stuff, the formed, the live stuff,
the grain, with its extraordinary sound - the continuous pour of thousands
of minute scrapings of seed against tin, a sound like husks - the sound
of the skin of the wheat pouring through the chute - a sound that has in
it the fullness of individual grains, their tightness, tension, and the
slickness of the cuticle that wraps them; and through the other chute, with
the blown air that has to carry it since it has no weight, the storm of
chopped straw and chaff shot from the blower and drifting down onto the
haystack. Satiny gold stuff shot across the blue, not at all worthless:
this isn't a moral image. It is a discovery of another ability of things
the child knew in what was given to her. What the image, which came, not
from nowhere, when I said 'inferential structure,' was suggesting, was that
I could want writing to be a shakedown rather than an inferential machine.
That there'd need to be some back-and-forth in it, to find the qualities
of its materials, and that it isn't a question of what exits where, but
of the staging of the sift, which happens anywhere, in the paragraph, the
sentence, in the word.
Yesterday morning, driving, Betty reading, I was talking to K, remembering
what it said about obsession, and made an opening gesture of some kind,
felt an extraordinary stretch sideways at the heart, very acute and very
subtle at the same time, like a sensation of a non-physical body. It was
like being racked, but pleasurably, an excruciating tenuous love.
When I was driving home on Commercial I was looking for K's van and among
Sunday night foot travelers between restaurants and coffee bars saw a man
walking energetically south. It's him. Carrying a book. That's how he walks
is it. He was being a stranger near home, walking the way he does in Glasgow
or Bremen, energetically, with a book. Sloped forward leading with his nose.
A particular glide I recognize even out the tail end of my eye.
What I'm puzzled by is this: Joyce says, when you feel attraction walk
away, it is all projection. He and I meet on the street or at the garden
as if a puppeteer in the sky were arranging our intersection. It is more
than a daydream, it is a physical force, and two people are involved. Attractions
have been the twisters that bury me in wet snow and also they have been
the invitations to the education I have given myself. They have been my
curriculum, my family, fuel.
And also: if I think of attraction in Louie I see that it was child's
hunger, impossible to satisfy, that made her frantic though she was loved.
I can see it was child's panic when K went away, that couldn't be comforted
by the forms of love that were there: a duvet and a radio promising return.
Alright: I crash because there is a specific hope I hold secretly. That
hope, it says, has to be abandoned. But somehow the child who holds it must
not be abandoned, is that it? When she says abandon the hope I'm afraid
she means abandon the child, the life in her. Abandon desire, joy, energy,
which have come with the hope. Is there vitality without hope?
The hope is this: it is not true that they don't care about me. Secretly
they do. If I am good, now, he will love me after all. And all along rebellion
had its part: it is because I am difficult that he doesn't love me. I choose
it. Otherwise he would. And here is another way: I will love the broken-hearted
one in him so I can keep the hope in me and not know I am broken-hearted.
Isn't it better to keep the hope and its joy and energy and drive and
use it to live rather than die? Even knowing what it is?
The alternative is to know I'm broken-hearted. But I am broken-hearted.
It is a technical term, she said. It means a function is disabled - secure
mutuality - safe withness.
Behind this, behind all of this, I am saying - he loves me. And so here
is what I don't understand. Feel she says; it says. Live as love
woman. But this hope is love woman's feeling, and you seem to be
saying suppress it. Feel, but don't feel what you do feel - feel something
The answer that works through is this. Self responsibility becomes hope's
mother. First it informs hope of her losses.
Dear one, you have been abandoned. Your parents are not strong enough
to be loyal to you. They are not smart enough or honest enough. They have
harmed your emotional foundation by their weakness. Your life will be almost
wasted because of it. You will live in great pain. You will abandon your
own children. You will be compelled to abandon anyone who depends on you.
You will be lonely frightened and deluded.
I'm here to help you. I am strong enough to name your abandonment. I'm
strong enough to name their weakness stupidity and ill-will. I name your
desperation loneliness pain fear and delusion because you can be free of
them. Free in them. I promise that when you face them I will be with you.
I will back you. I will be behind you, holding you. I will not abandon you
to them. You will be able to grow up on a true foundation. You will be able
to love the world with a true heart.
You have lost a lot of time. I can help you with the time you have left.
Come into my arms. Will you?
And then I take her in my lap and put my hand over her sore heart. She
says I called and called but Mama didn't come. The nurse just came and shut
the door. When she says that the right response is tears. Oh my sweetie
that makes me very sad.
My mother would not have cried. I've never seen her cry. A stoicism so
blank so hopeless. And what else - anger I think. a heavy cynical tone of
heart. Hard. Their two hard masks: her cynicism, his self-admiration.
What am I feeling. Moved. I know it is so.
You are a person who is full of love. Helplessly so. Bewildered where
to give it and giving it in rushes all the time. It took me a while to understand
that. I keep hearing how hard I was - fighting in ways I'd learned - fighting
for what, to stay free - as anyone maybe should fight when they are in sight
of the undoing of their hardness. Love from E. That means something technical
you wouldn't like to hear.
Leah yesterday. She comes with lipstick and earrings like wind chimes,
moons, a conforming woman, small, with her characteristic way of pulling
the other in through a gap in the chest and watching worriedly over the
too-much coming in. What does it set up in me. A confident pouring-forward
of what I know, with its tone carefully rounded not to hurt. But something
else happened yesterday. We talked in this order - her work, what it's like
for her living with Tara, my personal work, the work on imagining, José's
incomprehension and what I think it means. And then the imagining work again,
when she had suddenly and I thought completely caught on. It was as if energy
poured up through her head, she went bright pink and sat solid up the middle.
As if she'd said, yes - I'll put a root into this, I want some of this.
A spin-off, why not, I thought. If I'm onto something that would happen.
Even the illusion of it would get her started. I saw what she wanted.
What was it she saw. She put it together. Maybe more than I have. I said
it is suggesting to me that there is a false hope that a certain false tree
has built its branches from. That tree has consciousness in some of its
branches calling itself I. To remove the hope is to remove the routing
of life into that tree. It isn't a matter of giving up hopes in the present,
there is no danger in that, they are shot off the ends of branches. Maybe
there is another tree, built in the same space, built with some but not
all of the same branches. Perhaps its branches have not reached into a certain
zone, because there has not been enough life let through. Maybe that is
the tree meant by the body present if it were grown true. Maybe it has many
contacts with the branches that say I. Maybe it come on when daily fear
is asleep, and leaves traces in the I that are there as if they have come
by safe channels. Maybe paraperception is the way the tree designs itself
in some upper levels, bypassing certain structural habits. Maybe the silent
tree does work, recognizes, constructs whole shapes which are looms for
possible comprehensions. Maybe loving you with this ardency is a structure
building itself from a leader checked when I was three, maybe it is a beginning.
What Leah saw was implications of calling minds structures, so
that if José does not have the circuits to see what she sees, it
is a question of engineering. The contribution of her own that she saw,
was the way she can plainly see in people's mandalas the shapes of conscious
and unconscious structure relative to one another. (Maybe loving you helps
me know how to love the not-false tree, and maybe loving is a technical
term for routing life into something.)
For Joyce in an hour: I have the world of what I call work, an academic
mapping, a hope of mapping, a map of a map to be made. It exists in my relation
to certain sheets of notes. On certain days, and today is one, I have skill
among these notes, I readily organize, expand, refine. On other days I have
had a world I also call work, an emotional sounding, conversation with a
feeling state. The first work is my own relation to fields of public discussion.
It offers a way to currency, also financial currency, in an arena which
is historical too. I can do good and interesting work. I have a contribution.
The second work is my relation to love and suffering, my own story of feeling.
It could offer a currency if I took it into personal writing. I don't sustain
thinking of it as offering money or community, although it could offer a
community I might like more than the academic community. What is the relation
of these beings?
In the work with love and suffering I have an inner mentor as well as
an outer one. Are you there for both kinds of work? Yes. Does one interest
you more than the other? NO. Do you see them as a unity? Yes.
I take Luke to introduce him to and at the institute. We sit by the sea
in his neighbourhood. Below is a small bay whose pattern of small and then
larger ripples is just the pattern of ridges on a clam shell. He says being
a security guard relaxed him after the scare of ITN where he tried to be
older than he was. We are seeing jet boats on English Bay. I say for myself
it is wonderful that he is here although I hardly believe it and feel I
don't deserve it. He takes me to Angela's apartment. Green carpets and deep
dark-varnished windowsills seen as the lift rises. A bay window over maple
trees and eye to eye with whatever sky there is in a day. A tower of audio
components. He plays music and I close my eyes in an armchair. Whales. The
voices that sound and are heard through a thousand miles of salt water,
he says. And then shows me the scale of atomic bundle machines, atomic sensors.
Two microns: spit on the forefinger, touches it to his thumb and draws out
between them a thread finer than a hair. (There - I did it too.) We both
stare, feeling the magic of that materialization.
I go home. "Give us a hug," he says. I would be too diffident
to ask. Complete. Complete.
What I should say about my parents is that they made it possible - they
helped in ways I don't know - for me to be where I am so glad to be, although
they don't know I am there and don't know what they have been to make it
possible. I'm struggling here - I know they tried to hinder. But from Russia
and complete piety and women circumscribed, to this moment where I sit on
the grass with my son and he loves me without condescension in an open world,
there was a bridge and it was them. As if they took the brunt of the fear
of the transition. Was that it? Do I know now what I can thank them for?
Put lube on him this morning and stroked like business, easy, and got
on him, which he always likes best, clamped his knees with mine and raked
up. "You better stop or I'll come." I don't stop. He comes. Laughs.
"Or don't stop." "That's what I reckoned." My turn after.
"Can I get you back?" I hold it close to the bottom where it's
still lubed. Three-sided. Yes. And then it's for me. We doze together. We
moved the curtain and saw wind and sun after rain through the night.
There is in epistemology a picture of knowing that not only excludes
certain kinds of knowing but that also leaves out something that is in any
experience of knowing, the feel or sense of it, the experience that one
tries to name so the name will evoke it.
I like to work between knowing and knowing knowing. Things that happen
in a day. Describing them. Reading descriptions to see what I've known.
We woke unconnected. "So that was different last night," he
said. Instant affection, I'm next to him holding his shoulder with a sweet-feeling
palm. What does that mean. "I was a mare. You seemed to want it that
way." "I did?" "I let go." "Yeah you
let go, I always like that."
Saturday morning on the Drive and I'd like it if you showed up. But this
missing is getting unconvincing. There's a parade of men and they are irrelevant.
They aren't furry or literate or sharp. I'm sad. Could look at the linden
leaves hung thick and live like skin and soft like clothes on a line.
The voice behind me the kind of voice that only wants to hear itself
on top of the conversation. Wrong faces. The way a little mouth in a bloated
face snapped shut on the end of a word.
The soft lindens leaning and tossing in a breeze from the north. I do
still miss you. I'll stop after a while.
my starting image like steam a stretching surface visibly made of shining
grain an image of what's happening in the brain in a different register
the classical figures a woman descending something similar done with sound
'a woman descending' she's just a shell of light suggested the shape
of her outline says she lives in muthos sounds of words her outline could
be the shape of a sound and what sound does suggests what her image does,
dwindles evenly away
it is the unification of sight and sound that I am hurrying toward -
she is - she is going down into to the lake of mist the sea within a sea
that penguins found under an iceberg
Hello day - a lidded day. Dark. There's a bird, definitely singing. There
are the tipped-up flowers on the chestnuts, sharp waves all over the tree.
Pile driver over across the tracks thumps all day. Chinese people taking
the park for their half hour, Joan Meister with them in her wheelchair.
Anti-clockwise. It's seeing people I know are living in another country.
The pile driver is two sounds, an engine and the knocks - what about it
- it's like hearing the heart's motor that makes it beat. There is that
woman I avert my eyes from. Can I say why. No. She is ordinary and unbearable.
'Complacent mediocrity.' More than that. The word I have is congestion.
Maybe it's a cloud of fear.
Now I have to get ready for the associate dean. I lose the sense that
there is work I want to do - I lose it remarkably totally. I take it as
hearsay. I have to re-hypnotize myself to find it. Does it live in an envelope
of fear? Simple being is afraid of being displaced, it says. It's a true
fear though not necessary. I hang onto romance because I am simple in it.
How would I like to live at school. Would like to work the way I do at
the garden, eager, not holding back. Would like to be simple with it, presenting
exciting stuff. Talk to people from the centre of the structure of intuition
which really is myself.
Last night with Rob in my bed. My bed's a prairie. The room extends to
its edges and out the windows. There was a breeze he was liking. He'd had
a rum and coke at home, hours before, and was still loose so I could see
just a bit - he'd say something about the current of air and I'd ask him
and he'd be tongue-tied but I'd have a moment to imagine how he feels it.
"A wild night of sin" - goofy, he said. Exactly. Like you.
We were fucking and I could hear K's bear grass clicking in the kitchen
- it is not even in the window but hung under the cubbies, and the wind
reached deep into the room so he was speaking to me from far - I loved that.
Meanwhile Rob's brother-sister body so light so warm so sweet and friendly.
We got there. I'm still there. This morning my skin tuned and he at the
beginning of the sequence substantial and reaching so I'm fast. And then
frightening him with joy. It's such a switch, he complains.
He eats out of my hand. We're successful lovers. We get to passages new
to us. (Oh am I going to write somehow.) How am I going to say that one
- something about a region, his first four inches and mine - that is physically
impossible but it's what I remember, as if the deepest part of the passage
and the base of his penis were rooted together. Beyond that it's dim. Something.
A transposition. It was simple there. "Why shouldn't I be happy, you
gave me something, you put life into me." A little girl and daddy at
the next table as I write. That sort of confident affection, except that
he's not a dad, he's a kid too. A going away present I said. Something to
make sure you come back he says.
Now I've been there will I be satisfied and spend the day as I must,
Yes I was satisfied and ran all day and now it's six on a silvery morning
and I'm in the ferry lineup at Horseshoe Bay. Across the divider there are
buddleia rooted in cracks of very fractured silver rock. They are stirring
like all the trees, like the little fir, no not like the little fir, they
have their characteristic motion, the little fir jiggles, the buddleia quests
with its weighted branch ends, the larger firs on the sea-side of the road
flow north and then spring back. Even that's too general. The fir next to
the one I just described was doing something else. Can I remember what.
(We've moved half a mile down the hill.) It had shorter branches in a thick
bundle. A commotion, contrary motion. I'm writing on the steering wheel.
We drive ahead between phrases - just there. Swooped through the empty business
core this morning onto the bridge, frightened of the height and speed, the
iron walls, more frightened of driving when it's a journey.
Being famous. What should I notice about that. People say they like the
photo, people say it's a good article, but the significant fact for people
seems to be just that I had my picture on the paper. The question is what
is fame. The answer in this case is that fame is like being famous, suddenly
I'm routed through respect circuits. It is the same phenomenon as being
invisible - it is automatism. Then the next question is, is it better to
be famous than to be invisible? The answer I had so far is that being invisible
is a strain and being famous is the absence of that hardship, but the look
on people's faces - imagine seeing that everywhere you go, that would be
miserable. But then you're in a position to relieve them. And also you could
look across the heads of the people with abject looks on their faces to
the people who are looking at you straight. And then there is the test of
whether fame otherwise is worth having: are there people looking at you
straight who can see you, and who didn't see you before, and if they didn't
see you before, why didn't they, if they are people who can see?
So I ask the system: what is fame good for? It says love woman likes
it. Do you mean the child wants it? Yes. What effect does that have on the
whole? It makes you more capable of action. Less inhibited? Yes. Do you
want to say more about that? It makes you more sensitive. How so? More intelligent.
Do you mean people give you something? Yes. Somehow in the whole you're
allowed to be smarter because you've shown that you're working for the whole?
YES. They give you something in encounters? Yes. They also give you something
psychically? YES. Is there a best way of handling it? Don't take it as directed
at the ego. What is it directed at? It's support for the work, it's confirmation
of the work.
Arras is good. So-so. What's your criterion? Relation to the unconscious.
What does the unconscious want it to be? Conscious and unconscious sharing
pleasure like being on a date together. Is being moved a sign of that? No.
What is? Being bereft. So pain is the pleasure they share? Yes. You are
surprising me. (The lovers) it's a sign that they are in touch rather than
split. Pain in the maker is a sign. Yes. Pain in the experiencer too? No.
Barry and Goldberg make these things without enough pain.
Bruce Baillie was direct and right. Marilyn. It was adoration.
These guys are afraid to be seen adoring. They are not responsible to their
impulse. They want adoration to be disguised as various kinds of mastery.
Precisely they are saying "That's sucking off the tit." The charged,
simple voice of adoration. Is it always simple? Bach. Mozart, Beethoven.
Skill is built in conflict. - I saw the beauty of the structure and sighed.
A tension endlessly fruitful.
Last night sitting I was going to say gently, this is a time when you
thoughts should not come for a while, I promise I will do what I can, I
am doing what I can, you could let me be for a while. It came to me a different
way. I said oh, you thoughts, I see you are a way of being love, yes you
can come anytime, I'll love you, you are innocent thoughts. As if my heart
had its doors open, its little doors, and there was a warmth inside. That
I wonder who is really sane. Do I know anyone, probably many, whose judgment
is under attack and steady. Maybe not many. The difficulty of making decisions
without support. That is the aerial art of the wire. I want especially in
that decision to have it destiny's gift so I'll know it's right. Imagine
yourself on a wire and secure. Your passions are not heavy passions. They
are storms around your lightness and balance.
- Half an hour. So far so good
- Take a breath
- I take one. I find myself in love
- Is that alright?
- My heart is smiling. It says it's alright
- There is another line
- It's the one that won't come to me if I wait
- It is summer. There is another kind of poem
- Something that floats in at the window
- Now I have to go to work
- Am I getting ready
- It seems I am getting ready
- There is something I want to take with me
- What was that sigh saying yes to
- I am ready. I'm ready
You call that putting him out of your mind? You were there all day -
what was it like? - I kept wondering what it is for, what's it for? The
answer is it's for more than one thing. It's not a conscious spell and it's
not a telepathic conversation. It is a way other loves and joys speak. Listen
to the tone. Widen the love to love the lover. I have to say that to myself
how many times in twenty-four hours.
Mrs Harris meeting me in her sewing room says it is twenty years since
her husband died. "You lost him quite early" I say, warmly because
I love her love for him. "Sixty-three. He was such a hard worker. He
couldn't keep still. He built our house." There's a picture behind
us, an etched line drawing. "He built this part first. It was going
to be a garage, but he'd put so much into it when we were living in it,
and materials were hard to get after the war, he moved it and built onto
it." A family house, two storeys, a normal house. Porch, basement.
"He'd put so much into it." That. She has very pale eyes, I couldn't
see water in them but I realized she was crying and wanted to bite my lip.
"You were lucky." I say that from where I am as I dust her things.
Her jewel box has his picture pinned with a hatpin into the quilted lining
of its lid. Malcolm Harris.
This was true all winter: I come into her shabby small pale place and
take secret shelter in her rectitude.
What is it about the word 'marry', it is like 'Mary' tho' also it isn't,
homonyms have the same sound irrelevantly because there is as if an inner
sound, a feeling. 'Marry' has a sweet-cheeked sound, it is not a sound of
sex, it is a sound of innocence - looking at someone in a certain way that
says you - it's light.
What am I learning when I note dreams these days. As if I'm learning
an accuracy in the noting. It can be always more accurate. What aspect is
intended. Probably there is a grammar. There are events, the ones where
I want to say "suddenly it ', and those are marked as a sort of verb.
There are qualities before and after. States. Is it transactions of adjectives?
There are features like the gay men that indicate what register we're in.
Sorts of information the dream needs to give: paragraph grammar maybe. Some
dream objects I think are there to carry qualities - not important in themselves.
Then there are the day-ego remarks on the dream that probably have to be
disregarded or taken as symptomatic on another level.
What have I been doing - I ripped through Leah's piles of books about
imagery - hideous professional psychology, or New Age pleasant summaries.
What do I want to say there - books written out of books, both types are.
Pleasant female mind unreadable because it's textureless like lentil soup,
unpleasant male minds in rubber gloves speaking English with the accent
of a German machine. Test procedures. "A fifty-five year old female
subject with depressive..." 'The image' for both is like a petit
objet a, a deified lump. There is no such thing anywhere, why are we
putting it on a little cake-stand. Fantasies about magic pictures.
There is magic, more than one kind - being able to give ourselves experience.
Being able to do it. I want to talk about it in the way of being it.
Also to say: this is what we need from a theory of imagining. This is
what we've tried to get from it. This is what it has covered.
Coleridge and the motion of leaves. Mind as.
Today I have this radical idea: since loving is life energy, couldn't
I consider it a resource and just enjoy loving and adoring and ardently
desiring and dreaming and rehearsing and working toward, and stop being
very very afraid that I will love somebody more than they love me, and stop
being hurt if they don't. - Is that possible?
Look at this day. Leafy evening. I have my elbow on the kitchen windowsill,
there's honeysuckle in the air, the little bite of footsteps in the alley.
All the other sounds (no, writing there's the pencil - did you hear it?
- the scrape of the dash) are quite far away and soft. When I said that
a flurring in the right ear, like the sound of a moth.
A man walking quickly skirting the park. It isn't you.
Skammen. The moment next to the first shot when Liv Ulman comes
toward us with her beautiful breasts. Her eyes. The way Jan stops being
pathetic when he turns brutal, as if being weak was his only defense against
being a killer. He turned his coat. The beautiful black-silver and white,
When I lay in his arms quietened down and not in any need I saw ghosts
of the day's little weeds. A catalog of their kinds. That faint silver white
in porous black.
It was saying, I think, that I'm still wincing off moments with him not
following them into the underground, which is black and porous and has him
bare and true dissolved in them. Bring him out with me. He is freaked by
not being touched for six months - his mouth jerks - he's starved for praise,
hungry to hear himself described in any way. I was giving him that but the
further thing, the real rescue, is that careful tracking behind, to where
he is not presented but watching. Is it like touching? Like touching with
the imagination. How did she do it? It's more than love though it is love.
He's building and I climb into his moment by climbing into his task.
He was wearing what suits him - yellow boots, strap jeans, working man's
thick checked shirt. I wasn't talking for some reason. He'd say anything
he thought and I'd say mm cause I hadn't heard it. I was being a helper,
feeling the two bodies' relation in the narrow spaces around the truck and
on top of it. Yes that's what I was doing with my silence - I was engrossed.
Climbing onto the roof of the cab holding the edge of the plywood flush
while he nails from the tailgate, opening the cab door and standing with
one foot on the seat and one on the armrest, bracing the corner, steadying
the frame while he leans under my arm to put in a toenail, I'm looking at
the top of his head six inches from my mouth. Did he know it was dancing?
It sez he did.
Oh Blake. He conjures what can hardly be seen, and that to him is vision.
Gods and battles, nothing smaller than cosmic. Black winds in non-space,
caverns, rocks, fire, flood, swift flight, sweet or evil gigantic women,
and all these things to be read as something else, but what, if we are not
to think of bodies as real?
Yeats when he says 'symbol' I think means something different - he was
trained in magic, and so symbol for him means power of evocation. Empirical:
say this word and something will happen that is an image and much more.
Blake's vision is more like proprioception maybe. - As if he's in early
prebirth and Yeats is well-born into a world where there are swans and other
things. Childhood feeling both preborn and born into happy childhood safe
to see world furnished amazingly.