volume 4 of the golden west: november 1995 - january 1996  work & days: a lifetime journal project  




Deep in love. Write Brain and imagining over the Christmas vacation. Part 2 traveling home.

A lot of bookwork not transcribed yet.

Mentioned: Andrew Harvey, Charles Bowden, Ursula Le Guin.


December 3rd

I'd got there. I was safe. I started to tell him and then told more. I can't get enough of your smell. I can't get enough of the heat in your hands. I can't get enough of having my arms around you. I can't get enough of looking at your hands. My breasts adore you. My pussy adores you. - When I said that he something-like gasped. I got my wish. He climbed into me. He kept saying I love you with every slow stroke. I was shocked and then I took it as true and right. I'm your man, he says. Will you promise to fuck me every day? I say. We were over the line into pillow trust. Perfect. Slow fucking and murmuring. We fell asleep in each other's arms the way we do - we drop straight out and we are gone for two hours. He wakes and turns. Then I'm awake and go home.


The paper. What's my frame for it, a picture - very general - of what thinking is. They are doing it wrong and I am doing it right. I'm using their wrong ways to study them as systems, and so to study systems. I need to write those findings as well. I am doing philosophy as it isn't done. I'm going to go ever further. I'm going to talk about metaphor and texture. I'm going to get more complicated, a field that is forming in a lot of places. It is a very specifically designed life. Here are the parts. A philosophy of how to talk about imagining. Choose its friends. It generalizes to how to talk about what art is and is for. It generalizes to making images. It will generalize into teaching. I'll make the context I can speak in. It is a life with weeks of stress that crack me -


Afterward [I read him my journal up to here] he has things to say. You've pissed me off. You have no idea what a man is. You wouldn't know a real man if he came and bit you in the ass. I was fuckin' nineteen years old and I was in charge of a fuckin' platoon of forty Vietnam vets. They had combat experience and I didn't and I had to fuckin' make them respect me. I had to fuckin' keep order. I fuckin' did it. Of course my face is fuckin' plated.


And what if anything do women have to do with any of it. What I see when I ask that is a kind of free agency. They are structured into hierarchies but we can dance around. We can dance in and sting the man, but that doesn't make us the man. I can dance in and get under their philosophy but they won't notice I've done it because I'm not in the running. We're a shadow economy. We have a kind of explosive power but it's under the table. Depth charge. When the women got even they dropped him to his knees. Thus he liked showing me the line of women for sale. Calling it evil was his way of covering the pleasure it gives him to risk and survive taking the center of that street, twice victorious, American and male. I rightly said naïve but it is worse: complacent and complicit. The thing is that a repentance that calls to god is calling to the man. Alright. But I like his brawling, I like his stroll. That I don't like his repentance very much has to do with its form. It doesn't become intelligent, it thinks abasement goes far enough. Abasement is evasion of repentance, it's superstition. Again - I want to know its cost, I say, touching his face. It hasn't cost me much, he says, it costs the guys with briefcases who play office politics all day. Mm. "I had a great childhood, I've had a good life, my parents were in love." Yeah. Here's the clue: anything you tell me with that quality of energy is not true.


The primary fact that the means of perceiving/simulating aren't perceived - a seething sea of vortices, some stable like the great spot of Jupiter for longish times. We don't see seeing, we see what seeing sees.

The transition being fought out these years, to being able to imagine a brain doing it.

The insight that makes most difference to how we talk about mind is this one - imagining is like seeing in the fact that the means are not perceived - or rather we could say that with both the means may also be perceived, felt.

The ongoing interest of what, when the discourse is corrected and sorted, is being revealed about the historical process of theory making.

Philosophy as lab of conceptual tools, a sort of art, a soup in which the real products are being spun off emergently from the artist's dwelling in confusion.


I often love to be simple with your breath. I feel it expand in my arms. I breathe it in, to taste it. I shift my own to be with you. If you stop breathing I stop and wait with you.


What can I do with his aspiration? The home I want is a home for the body. For my heart, yes, but my heart is the heart of my body. Its so touching delirious joy when it thinks I have found that home for the body, its despair, like today's, when it realizes it has not. This is unworkable. I can't thrive where I am uncertain my body is wanted. There will be no end to misery and lostness. We do not have the necessary base.

Now having said all that I have to try to get under it.

I'm kind of stunned. Physically stunned the way I am on the days after sexual failure. It takes me a day to get my focus back when I'm so wrecked. There's another fact - he has no sense of craft, he doesn't ask what works, he doesn't do research in the library, he doesn't study the signs, he doesn't take my hints. In fact when I ask for something he always refuses. In his way he sabotages me sexually. I won't try to guess why. Sometimes he does something wonderful but there's a sense it has to be on his terms.


I have fallen in love with the waves - the power with which they hoist their enormous mass, their moment of translucent green, so brief I stand waiting on and on to see it again. The abandon with which they shatter. Their white ruin racing on. The sleekness of the sand when they withdraw.

January 7

He worked fast this weekend. He thought it out. He gave me first his doubt, then his anger, then his tears. I saw his responsibility and its weight. I understood to kiss him from the top of his head to his feet. I kissed his toes separately, his hands last. When I got to his foot, the foot on the first side, he began to cry. I kissed him down the other leg and he went on crying. I said, Turn over. He said, No. I said Please. He turned over and went on crying as I kissed him all the way down. Then I held him and he cried more. I think he cried for an hour. Then we went out and ate. Then we got into bed. I'm going right out, he said. And went, and I went with him.


From Grant's Pass at sunset two hundred and fifty miles in the dark. There was a semitrailer I'd pass and he'd pass me again, so I got behind him and let him mark out the road for me with his big square of red lights. It was like taking protection. I liked his speed. His signal lights would tell me what was coming. When there was mist he illuminated it. I assume he was thinking, Why doesn't this guy get off my fuckin' tail. I was relaxing in speed that began to seem unmoving - I mean I was just sitting in it without feeling its peril. When I closed the window and shut off the heater there would be suddenly quiet and I would see the black space above marked with a star.

I came into Portland that way flying without moving through twenty miles of fast food and industry and then a fantasy city suddenly, the freeway high in the air in fabulous spaghetti loops, ply on ply, with a city in sharp white lights after the proletarian dull orange of the margins, spread sparkling and reflected on sharp water. I rode through feeling it to be Le Guin's city, her futurist metropolis where a modest brilliant man in a poor apartment invents a power source that undoes hegemonies of money.

I wanted to sleep in her town and did, in a barracks on Anarres. This is a workers' dorm for sure, dirty carpet, shared bath, curtains that feel like plastic, dim lights in junk fixtures, plastic veneer, plastic patio chairs, walls and ceiling miserably spackled in beige paint, a door that I can see has been forced at least once. Value Motel it's called.