23rd August 1988
It's not a time when we can get next, no, but we see the evening all
the way through, meteor a streaking spark gone out before we stop seeing
its appearance, three stars the summer triangle, that then became Cygnus
in Alberta. Moon was white in pink, yellower and higher in dark blue, so
on, the little mountain ash standing as they will all through the night
by themselves. Enough. But are we playing chicken. As if I'd have to make
the first move and I'm not going to.
26th, day after
What's the headline. I went up to speak without knowing what I would
say. Held a pause. That was interesting. I got silence. - Oh, the best was,
like for Muggs, my lot applauded when I went up. That made it possible for
me to stand there in silence 'til I knew what I was going to say, and then
later, in the stream of speech, I was so little divided from what I was
saying, was that it? that I only fractionally could notice the way it was.
I can't recover it. I don't know if it was good but it was commanding. It
was beyond anything I've ever done. I put myself at the mercy of silence
and they were at its mercy too.
And. Is this the same thing? It was so beautiful a one ("Does this
run in the family?") and on so loving a one. What else, a sweet night
not at all wide but very close, a face I didn't much like to see, or, a
face I was loving while not liking to see, so rapt a patience of holding.
There's something unreal and at a remove, maybe it was what came, the
moment he found out it wasn't a right leg only shorter. A blank of pain.
I don't want to face you. It was pain and also patience, whatever it is
I'll want to know it. He didn't meet it there, buying time maybe.
Oh supervisor how did you know that about him.
"It's nice standing with you." "It's amazing."
Should I talk about the hearing too. It was your fans says Michael.
A room full at first, emptier later with the wild ones of us pacing.
That will have to stand for it.
I'm here in my bed mooning. You're industrious talking to bee people.
Aeroplanes plowing the hills.
What's beautiful about it. It's straight flared broad doesn't fall over.
Why am I going on about it. Because here's somebody who is clean and smells
his socks before he puts them out the window, doesn't smoke, doesn't frighten
me, says his own part, tho' in a squeaky voice, what else, lies so lightly
in my arms I could hold him through an hour of sleep, in a passion of love,
what he inspires is love, mysteriously.
This evening the hot yellow in a flare above sundown. I'm baking in desire,
stewing. "A passion larger than its object." You're not doing
this I know. Not as much. "Beautiful and intelligent and charming"
as if you'd decided to assent to a reasonable asset column. So who did my
math. The supervisor. My ache = your thing. Where are you, thing. I won't
Which of the moments to say, from suffering fire and planning endurance,
to the knock on the door and the high school boy in a jean jacket. And night's
man. He can fall asleep and it's still there. Did I make it up, his man.
More than I would've asked for.
Hands light and warm with a deeply comforting dry rasp.
Absorbed in natural motion - we are taking in the laws by which the universe
is organized - we take them in by a faculty other than language.
Nature self-organizing, the organism is a theory of its environment.
The same mathematical laws apply to brains and to turbulent fluids.
Perception can handle more complex wholes than naming does.
What I'm aiming for is probably a PhD in philosophy, a theory of imagination,
advocacy of self-organized universe and intelligent perception, done in
a way so body stays right and soul isn't stuck in argument but travels in
Not experimental, documentary, in that they want to see and show some
real thing. What they want to show is the qualities of natural motion, and
then beyond that the experience of how much can be seen, a state of speechless
It has to be seen, it can't be thought, but seeing becomes intelligent.
What I like in film is precision, slightness, economy of means, delight,
inference, and a kind of motion that can be followed but not tagged, and
makes seeing intelligent.
Matter is what's here, around.
Soul is the same thing thought of as experience.
It is not inside/outside, it's a difference of set between doing and
I spend a night seething physically, my friend falls asleep, I wake him
turning around, then there's morning still craving and far off, and then
there's the sun in the chair, finally soft, my hair a light pile of rainbow
filament on my arm. I brush out his long bright mane, looking down onto
the brightness of the skin on his nose and temple. We look into Canaletto's
pictures. Doze. That's when finally I'm satisfied. Breaths come in and leave
"I can't figure out why I love you." That was in the dark grey
light of the open sky before dawn. "That's what I can't figure out
either." But he knows it. Laughing joyfully at the three definitions
Rowen at Crab Beach peaceful, as I am, plays in a tiny stockade. I make
a tent. Pieces of bark. Chips floated there from axework anywhere on the
coast. Tiny chips are people. They go in the tent. The cook calls them for
lunch. What do they have for lunch? Jelly fish. He wipes out the stockade.
Catastrophe. Get them back in the tent, bring a boat. Lay them down in the
boat and take them to the doctor. What happened? Did you get an owie?
For once I wasn't raging, the water was there breathing calmly choppy
blue. Toothache geese were swimming for pleasure near the shore, and then
docked in a series and went up the cobbles on legs, except for one who first
delayed and then had to help himself with scoops of wing, a bad leg. An
Indian couple was sitting on a log when we came, with a little ruffled kitten.
Rowen came carrying it against his rabbit sweater. It was trying to climb
the chain link wool. He carried it back and they put it into a red daypack
and went home. "For dinner" said Rowen.
- Cypris who puts the sea to rest
- And holds the bridegroom in her care
I'm Aphrodite and Hephaistos.
- a yellow-coated pomegranate, figs like lizard necks,
- a handful of half-rosy part-ripe
- a quince all delicate-downed and fragrant-fleeced,
- a walnut winking out from its
- a cucumber with the bloom on it, pouting from its leaf-bed,
- and a ripe gold-coated olive
- dedicated to
- Priapus friend of travelers, by Lamon the gardener,
- begging strength for his limbs
and his trees
This night - I brought myself first, through such acute genital feeling
I had to hang on inwardly to keep going. Then was lying flat starting to
dream when I heard the bicycle. Jumped to the window and smelled the fresh
wet air. Good. Jumped back in bed. I play courtesan in a solipsistic way,
little charms and favors I think he actually doesn't like, as if they're
deferential, are they, they're 'cause I want to feel femmy, why, like twenty-four,
it's balancing, I'll watch it but not stop it, for instance making my bedroom
And then this smooth long body, so skeletal at the hips that I'm embarrassed
to touch him there. I love it when he comes. He suddenly grabs control and
creaks and folds. I like it because he's suddenly himself. In his other
fucking he is still waffling. I'm not complaining, no. For now I'm not complaining
A welling of sensation into the chest he says when he sees a well-grown
plant of certain kinds.
Coming back home on Saturday, rowing away from Reiner on the shore, the
skiff went lightly steadily over the brighteyed sea.
What else. There is a smell on Saturna, on the landing yard, the sweet
tobacco maple-flower smell.
Am I a person who is more alive when I am hurting someone? I think -
or fighting someone.
The way he will confidently bore me for hours. And at the end, cos he
asks, sure I will kiss him and the kisses are irreproachable nibbles I wd
gladly go on and on in.
[my mom visits] What abt her - she's the 'humanities' - she's an endless
suck of anxiety about human relations.
I did it - got her in and out of us without getting drained - with good
moments of some kind, good enough. It was a fury of stubbornness. Absolute
strike. "If you push me I have to be mean to you, and I don't like
being mean to you so don't push me okay." And I lied just like that,
I'm going to the Film Board I said (here I am at the Welcome Café).
Went and dug potatoes. There was my earth turned over, gunny sack with
potatoes drying on them, green tomatoes, summer squash, hyssop branches
upside down in a jar, lavatera stalks with black buttons, dill, fennel,
Until finally I do get what I want, that simple thing. Nowadays is it
really as elementary as it seems - that isn't the word - basic - fuck me
or I've got no use for you. He's the way I used to be, wanting heart talk
first. I'm there just relieved to have made it finally to in-and-out of
no matter what quality,
Of it what I carry is the image of his standing length. What does it
mean. I see it is the kind of body shown crucified. But in my image he stands
and his beautiful penis stands and he's the picture of sentience quiet and
He doesn't like it when I stare. I see his crookedness and cleanness
and many other unnamed things.
On the chair - oh today he really wants it! I didn't say. On the chamomile
lawn his face descended from the sky and kissed me of its own decision.
Feeling the descent and will every centimeter so the kisses made marks like
See I'm like a mum encouraging the boy to get his confidence, but not
completely giving in. Curious about how the fucking changed when I started
touching myself. I started to meet his pushes with a matter of fact equality
as if exactly to the halfway point, much more accurately, even when he changed
rhythm to the little stopped as if curiously examining ones before he came.
Altogether, though he didn't make his bed and speaks too much about Catherine
and falls asleep though lightly, a good find.
Then in the Inuit gallery where I am drifted in this soft clear state
I come face to face with this soft clear astonishing made-thing with cuts
as clear as the birch is. The shaman is a woman said to be a dead one, but
the face which is said to be unalive is marked all over with the knowledge
of the human person whose hand dropped red stitches from the brow up in
circuits. For a while he would not make these pagan things. When he began
again the red lines were an awkward uncomplete sort of diagonal disrespect
of the face. But this one is everything everything everything he knows.
The left eye is an eagle's, the right eye lets out a biting black canal
of tears. A night elaborated with crescents of color.
The shaman is not dead, she is in agony.
The left side of her face is refined to line, elegant. The right is flayed?
Is it opened to show the moons of the night in her trance?
The right side of her mind is collected and facing away from herself,
the left side of her mind is clinging to the right side.
She is crowned with feathers, her thoughts balance above her.
She is the power of very great pain complexly experienced.
"What does she have coming out of her eye?" I said "Ink,
she's a writer."
I feel, comparing, more savage and intolerant. And Lis's too disciplined
to speak ill tho' sometimes if I do - . A look easy to set into a high-necked
dress in an oval frame. Talking about Marilyn [Bruce Baillie] a drawn-up
drawn-back affronted look, a missionary maybe, god-fearing, sharp, kind,
principled and loving to laugh. Force of character it's called. And what
am I that's different than that. Very different. No principle could override
the gaping wonder at seeing Marilyn naked. I take wild chances. Yet the
unkosher mixes of my household are made in free adaptations of comprehended
I suspect Lis's kindness is a maturity, being on the other side of finding
out it isn't alright for anybody, and I suspect my intolerance keeps me
closer to health and sex. I'm stating that cautiously as if it's noting
On either side of the breakfast table. I was telling Lis the story of
going to see Aurorra, so delighting in the telling, singing to demonstrate,
"Ju-ust / as / I a-am / with / ou-out / one / plea / but tha-at"
(at just that pace) "your blood / was shed / for me." We were
in sobs of laughter. And about the woman creeping up the aisle during the
meditation peering carefully into each face in a row with green Kleenex
in her hand.
The warm foothills under my hands. Monday morning in rain. Lis finds
his big grassy gumboots at the foot of the stairs. We have nothing to say
but my palms are magnetized to the shapes of his back. I love the heat in
his hands. When we start fucking I'm crazy with joy, not for pleasure, we
aren't there, or not in the tissues of color, but it is like starvation
satisfied. I'm crazy for tail it seems. The solidity of what he puts into
me. Slowly I say. Otherwise it will hurt.
A church service. Platform full of men. I am in the back preaching a
countersermon. Loud and clear I say the real church is when people work
together for something and come to love each other in that way. I see in
the mirror I have nicer breasts.
Eric when he was desk clerk at the Canadian Hotel was planning to fumigate
the cockroaches. He saw in a vision a lot of slender women and children
with brown sort of pointed bodies, and took it as an appeal for mercy. But
he went ahead and decimated them anyway. Next day he had an auditory vision
of someone saying they'd be back. He went to the West End to a bootlegger
he knew, a big tough woman like a man with her hair straight back. She showed
him her bankbooks with $90,000 savings, she could treat a man right who
knew how to treat her right she said. He'd better have a few beers to take
home he said. She wrapped them in newspaper. When he unwrapped them in his
room four cockroaches scattered from between the sheets.
A mouse used to come out into the room to look at him. He thought it
would be nice to tame it, feed it enough to keep it out of the food. Some
time later he felt it cross his bed in the dark. The next night it ran lightly
over his hand. He was nearly asleep and his years of conditioning overcame
him. He grabbed it and flung it on the floor and killed it. He still feels
shame he says, because it had come in reply to his invitation.
There was another cockroach who'd sit on the edge of the dresser observing
him. One night it drank with him from a spilt drop on the table.
A man in brown with a brown horse is coming through the streets of the
East End singing aloud as if he's a vendor. Cockles and mussels maybe,
but he doesn't have anything but himself to sell. I'm seeing him as if from
above going into a by-street or alley. Then I'm in the alley and hear him
saying to his horse, You haven't made love in a long time. Ahead of me from
another alley on the right I see a black horse with a rider dressed in black.
The horse is antsy, pitching. The rider is hung round his neck dodging his
front hooves, but confident and unshakeable. I think - here's the horse
for the brown horse to make love with. Looking at the rider thinking it's
Sniffing in Plato for a template of something, maybe of mystification.
There's the figure of the philosopher, and there's x the unknown that operates
in a system maybe the way a negative root does? It evokes my own mysteries
and the point of mystery in other systems.
Evokes also, love, light, beauty, seeing and 'seeing', open sky
He's private and doesn't try not to be, and at the same time he's good
natured and sweet and willing. Doesn't at all try to be a man and is mysterious
That doesn't say at all what it's like with him. For instance looking
upward from under his chin and seeing the cartilage rise of his nose, chin
falling back from it, an old husband snorting on high pillows. Other times
the girly wisps around his earring, denim collar of a fourteen year old,
swinging his big boots outside my door.
"A way of life with the eidos in view" meaning that
when I give the day to nookie I'm bound to search through it for something
I can make of it in the other chamber, this one. (I wanted to be doing it
with him.) But what I make here is the being that will go on - I'm seeing
my two screens, soul is the one that overlies the otherness to add up to
What about this work now? It's 'painting'. What else shd it be. Often
it's fantasy not creation. What would creation be. This is the uneasy moment.
Sure it's creation, it's a color place. But it's a color painting
not a color place. Shd there be a, yes there should be a, coherence feelable
behind. As if something tightknit invisible but inferrable in another dimension.
Noticing what a labour of bracketing I do in theoretical reading. 'I
doubt this means what he means but is the picture good for something else.'
I find myself thinking about learning to think, the way it gradually
condenses into methods like bracketing.
Sendering. Jake K talking about what he's going to do at Oxford.
Pictures. I assume writing too. He's been getting up before man's work days
and studying. What was the word? He shows it in the dictionary, movement
against the stars. Painting? No. He's starting to move away. Photographs?
Must be. Black and white pinpoints.
Loveliest fucking. The shapes of warmth in my hands and his. I got my
right knee under his hip and left knee between his two so we could lie on
the pillow. The friendly way he has. He could lever right up under, a long
way it seemed. What is it I can't gather to say. The marvel I feel when
he muscles in. The marvel was still there on and on slow and steady, ecstatic,
not the blue ditch but an expansion of buzzing air. The way I like it best,
so a kiss has the whole body in its curve. Inspired. And not at all finished
when he was, adoring this morning, so steeped in sentience.
- The way there's begun to be assurance, that when we're there for the
night we're going to be in each other's arms and we're going to fuck.
I love to read that sentence.
Michael's being stern. Don't tease he says. We sit at Carnegie making
formal conversation. He looks fine in his green work shirt and dress pants,
red beret, stretched lip and close shave. You're looking fine I say looking
at his lip. Don't rub it in he warns. Rub it lightly I say as it flies past,
meaning, I guess, don't make so much of it. But he's made more of it. Well
I made a good joke, I'll own up to it. You're full of shit he says a couple
of times in his eloquent way. You should control yourself. I'm soon putting
my jacket on. I'll see you around. Laughing on the street in delight to
have got to be such a Jezebel. Sober at another moment. The parts that don't
jibe. He claims I enslave his imagination but if he's so mad to screw me
why doesn't he get hard like my engineer - hmm. You're not even hard up,
that's what puzzles me I said. Did it again.
I was measuring with Mike Dunn at the garden. A spectre came staggering
toward us, a very thin small man with a plastic litre container of paint
thinner probably. I didn't know whether he would be violent so I said officiously,
Excuse us please, we're busy doing something, we're working. His face crumpled
like Rowen's when I'm mean. I felt I should put my arms around him. Also
as if there would be no help possible. He was broken-hearted.
Phone in the aft. A pause, an in-breath, "Ah Ellie!" says Eric.
He tells his stories, just now he's very taken with a woman, he sees her
at a hundred yards and is filled with lust. Thinking about her, he called
to see the Yin, who was a cloud, before; the earth with her eyes down. This
time he saw himself in the mirror. "I realized it meant I'm a woman."
"Oh Eric should I send you flowers." "Are you jeering at
me?" "No, no, I'm encouraging and congratulating you." But
he went on to say that if he could do what he wanted with the woman he occupies
himself with, he would give that quality to her. "Why do you want to
give it away!" "I want to be a man."
I hunted his unease and found it. It wasn't until dawn. "It's called
making love because it makes me love you. I don't know why it should but
In the grey dawn wrapped around him I said "I feel like we're covered
with snow," the snow we could see on the apartment roof."I felt
we were covered, though not by snow." "Do you feel the electricity?
Did you see it?" "No I pictured what I felt." I meant it
was standing quite thick around us. Maybe.
Should I say something about later. I hadn't come and lay down in the
evening to try it, with a pencil. Was in the same quality, murmuring. Why
is it embarrassing? I'm wondering if it was abandonment or my particular
kind of nerve - I do it with a sense of trying it out but also I was really
afloat in a warm sea of joy. Fuck me with your big cock, fuck me deep, I
love your big cock, what a sweet fuck this is. I'm urged to patronize that
state and keeping myself back from saying "etc." I think that
the state is true in its own terms. With my body I thee worship. Then the
question is, who jeers? What is abandoned by it. (Wd I publish it.) Thinking
what I came to with Roy when I was drunk - you fill my whole sky. Ah. Does
sexual adoration obsolete political adoration. Wd I stand in front of a
room full of feminists and say I'm a cock worshipper? Yeah I would. A room
full of men? I worship breasts too, don't take it personally.
Dusan tears plastic for hat and cape when it starts to snow. He's deep
in the irrigation ditch. The snow is dry. I can keep on working in my green
sweater all through the afternoon. Thick flurries circling from the north.
Where is all this light coming from. It's the snow reflecting in all directions
as it falls, makes a steady state of cumulative brightness in the whole
surrounding air. At times the sun shone horizontally through.
I take off my mud-soaked glove and blow my nose and look. The dirt, the
rocks, the green glowing grass when white lies in among them.
When it's so dark I start to fall, I can't quite stop, I have to just
finish, just the last of this path. and then cross Prior's river of Friday
At the garden alone this aft moving the asparagus bed. Good dry light
stuff, rotted seaweed. Asparagus roots ripped up. Tiny raspberry plants
in series on an underground wire. Dismay when the wheelbarrow goes over
- twice I step into the ditch full of cold water.