|volume 7 of london: 1974 january-july||work & days: a lifetime journal project|
In this volume I'm often in the Baths shooting what became Trapline. Leave the doctoral program in University College, use my tuition money to buy filmstock. Fine times with Tony in his decaying neighbourhood in Ladbroke Grove. Part 4 hitchhike to Paris for an international women's film festival.
Mentioned: Luke, Roy Chisholm, Liz Anne Bawden, Keith Jackson, Margaret Gosley and Shoshanna, Peter Harcourt, Tony Nesbit, Mike Dunford, John Rowley, Mari Gaffni, Rosalynd de Lanerolle, Andy Wyman, Dee Price and Anna, Jane Downey, Sarah Black, Anastasia Hoffmann, David Larcher and Elizabeth, Annabel Nicholson, Madge Herron, Don Carmichael, Jo Ann Kaplan, Barbara Halprin Martineau, Dana Sardet, Julie Galant, Jean Morrison, Jane Howell, Mary Konrad Epp, Ed Epp, Sally Potter, Janeen (Postman) van den Berg, Jud Pratt, Naomi Wolf, Gustav Born, James Leahy, John Frick, Tony Hill, Miss Tugwell, Robin Wood, Douglas Lowndes, Deke Dusenberre, Barry Salt, Lois Hreger, Colin Thomas, Jean Morrison.
52 Burghley Rd NW5, 51 Buckingham Rd N1, Tottenham Court Road, Camden Institute, Twentynine Palms, Salton Sea, Slade Film Program at University College, London Film Co-op on Prince of Wales Crescent, Hampstead Classic Cinema, Townsend Thorsen ferry, Place Maubert, Blackpool Beach, Cimetiere Montparnasse, Montparnasse Station, Epping Forest, Trafalgar Square, Dale Road, women's bathing pool at Parliament Hill Fields, Kentish Town Road, Louie's Hungarian Patisserie in Hampstead, Hyde Park, Kings Cross, Compendium bookstore, Peter's Café in Tufnell Park, The Place, Dillon's bookstore, Metropolitan/Circle Line, Harold Munro's Poetry Bookshop, Manna restaurant, Habitat, Heals.
Fay Weland Down among the women, The day of the dolphin, Arts Canada, Le petit soldat, LM Montgomery, Robert Frost, Lord dismiss us with thy blessing, Vera Lynn, Now we are six, Nabokov, Carson McCullers Member of the wedding, Breughel, Rockwell, Ada, The fountain overflows, The well of loneliness, Valéry Histoires brisées, Lessing The old chief's country, The ladies of Llangolen, Potter's New Cyclopaedia, William Carlos Williams, Seferis Euripides the Athenian, Sappho, Bach Versage Nicht with Stitch-Randall, Bartok, Philosophical investigations, American graffiti, Hep Cats magazine, Femmes et films festival Paris, Hawthorne The American notebooks, Kaplan Dracula, a family romance, Hollis Frampton, Duras Natalie Granger, Led Zepplin, Don McLean, Pound A few don'ts, Barfield Saving the Appearances, Fenellosa, Castenada, Milner On not being able to paint, Asylum, Beethoven quartets, May Swenson, Conrad, Air on a G string, She moved through the fair, Wild thing, the Stones, the Beatles, The Sound and the Fury, Stevie Smith, Liverpool Lou, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Mozart Dies Irae and Lachrymosa, Praise god from whom all blessings flow, Gombrowicz French preface to Pornographia, Durrell interview, Sidney Cockerell the Times obituary of Stevie Smith, Perls, Korzybski, Die Meistersenger, David Pye, Spengler, BBC2 program on filming nature docs, Jane Arden The other side of underneath, Eliot's intro to Pound, Agnes Martin, Ann Wilson The untroubled mind, G Farnell, Mallarmé, John and Yoko Apotheosis, Jonas Mekas, Richard Leacock, Stroud Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, Felix Green, Ivens, Godard weekend, Pravda, Vivre sa vie, Vent d'est, Tout va bien, Coup pour coup, Mark Nash, Flying down to Rio, La femme mariée, David Rimmer, Laser light, Levi-Strauss, Barthes, Bach Partita #2, Gene Davis Solar diary, Ilse Getz, Brecht, Tung, Eluard, Galton, Pollock, Motherwell, Frank Wilson, De Stael, Aleopley, Hartnung, Sam Francis, Dubuffet, Len Lye, Giacometti, Penfield, Denise Levertov To stay alive, Mary Webb, Charlotte Mew, Ruth Pitter, Emilia Stuart Lorimer, Anna Wickham, Cezanne, Cassirer, Barthes, Mythologies, Norman Schulman, John Hershey, Plath, Duras, Nathalie Granger, Moderato cantabile, Détruire, dit-elle, Rivette and Narbonni Destroy, she said: an interview with Marguerite Duras, Steve Reich: Writings about Music, Art and Artists, Jennifer Oille, Co-op show with Carolee Schneeman and Anthony McCall, Eiseley The Invisible Pyramid, de Tocqueville, Lewis and Clark, Hughlings Jackson, Lucretius, Jean Bataillon, Bacon, Bachelard Poetics of space, Poetics of reverie, and L'eau et les reves, Bosco, Psycho, The birds, Jean Bourdeillette, The family herald, Ducis, Sait-Pol Roux, Supervielle, Rilke Notebooks of Laure Maltid Brigge and Lettre à une musicienne, De Van Gogh et Seurat aux dessins d'enfants catalogue of exhibit at Musée Pedagogique 1949, Joubert, Bernard Palissy, Riemann, Leibnitz, Diolé, D'Annunzio.
Sounds. Harshness of the voices
O light, o birds.
I still have no good ceiling footage.
The lights come on. O the mauve green.
The transformation of people when they dive under
Whiteness of the white bodies so pronounced
The puddle next to the dripping pipe shows the rosy chimney.
The ceiling shivered by drips is exquisite
Against the light, the cracks are clear, the panes more distinct.
That plant and its shadow are very gently moving, the shadow more than the plant.
January 9, the year's turned, we're under a comet no one can see because it's always overcast.
Have got back some rushes from the laboratory. What I've shot is quite nice.
A light spot on the bottom sending out rainbows the black boy goes through.
The halo around someone on his back swimming through sheer light.
The lavender shadow along the legs of the red-headed boy.
Little boys' thin backs and shanks from above, wet hair. Legs in the water pale green.
One strand of intense sunlight on the floor, flashing marvelously, a rather orange light.
Can I catch a reflected patch of light in mirror, something brilliant.
Beauty of arms and legs.
The courtesy of brushing his teeth before he kisses me.
Now my hands smell of Tony's soap.
Sunday morning - short night, awake often, Tony wrapped around me, heavy, a warm length. The alarm clock, sky far away blue and a touch of heat on the red clay chimney pots. This morning I ate him up with my eyes, tucking his shirt into his paint-spotted blue jeans, brushing his funny hair flat - standing bent over in front of the mirror, singing in his Louis Armstrong voice, with his eyes closed. Especially just standing at the sink pushing his shirttail into his jeans, hung over, face disarrayed. I brewed in bed, delight, bliss. He went next door, after a while brought back tea and had the partita #2 on loud . The window had begun to shake like a train going over a trestle - John and Elana upstairs. It continued to shake in bursts. Tony came and put his arms around me and I put mine around him so we were afloat carefully and precisely connected. He stroked my breast with his thumb. I just hung on and loved him, that was a bright real moment. So when John Frick (I said "like a brillo pad that's been used once"), beaming John from upstairs, and two more painters came, one in a green velvet jacket, one haggard neat little man, and they all got into the white van, Tony waving through the window to me on the middle of the floor, I felt that everyone was wonderful.
Outside in the back yard, among the beautiful cracks, mould, moss and rubbish, organ music is coming from the church, a congregation's thin singing.
Last night when we leaned out the window we could hear exotic birds singing in the feed store, a few bright stars in the purplish unclear sky, 3:30.
I dreamed a big white kite, flapping wings on the side and fluffy big tail weights, took it outside and it flew up out of my hands, we were flying it at night. Tony said "That's a very phallic dream."
Across the road there's a back yard with a grey chestnut and a grey sycamore, a tangle of grey barbed wire, and behind it centred between blind shaded windows is a long-unpruned bush of privet, caught isolated in sun so its leaves burn like light.
Going into the Metropolitan-Circle Line: the ticket collector reaches his hand for my ticket, punches it, looks at me and says "How're you?" "Tired" I say. "Had a hard night? You look very nice actually" in an Irish accent. "Thank you. So do you."
Said to Peter during our angry sad parting on the steps at Tottenham Court Road, fierce wind blowing us almost onto the road "It's very hard for me because I'm really hermetically sealed in my film, and I can't talk about it and so ..." Realizing now, much later, that my sadness and loneliness is part of the life of this film, I'm feeling that no one will love it or understand it, that I can talk to no one about it, and so I am sealed into a solitude with that bluegreen water and those rectangles that enclose it, boxes, in which there's such a life and all hope of ecstasy, but which can be simply invisible, private, part of my solipsism. Somebody reply to me -
The little timid joy when I realized that my sadness and isolation these days has to do with my film and my anxiety and labour, terror of it. Realizing that I must just work on it now, until it's done.
What is it, what is that place, that time's place.
If I work my attractions and impressions, is it the process of de(re)fining them and then laying them next to each other that makes a connection with consciousness, 'knowledge'? But if consciousness is just the area of the habitual perception, then 'knowledge' is a minimalizing of the intuitive something - is that why 'knowledge' has to be so tactful and oblique, so that you name and make visible without - these thoughts full of pieties like 'carnal knowledge,' 'categorization' - defusing the magical object. The other desire to defuse the magical object.
Be ware of confusing the magic with the ideology - be able to feel carefully for the connection, in the dissection, the little nerve that makes the eye a surface of the brain.
Be ware the false ideology erected to satisfy a much simpler hunger economy - what, in that meal, is it I crave. How exciting to be able to go decisively to the one necessary element .
Lovely woman who lives at Cranley, travels from London every day, is a secretary, talked so sweetly and curiously.
The chord wrung by an airplane sometimes at a certain distance.
Evolution if taken seriously means that we are able to think things as they 'are'?
Also fishes, monkeys, amoebas do.
Education of the subconscious
[notes on gender and language, 'mankind,' 'he,' etc]
[notes on rushes]
[letter, end of January]
Today was a beautiful day, after a month of rain. I was in my swimming pool doing sound recording for my film - it was the first time I had ever 'taken sound' - earphones on, 30' of cables around me, a microphone in my gloved hand and a neat piece of $1500 recording machinery next to my knee as I squatted at the water's edge sucking little sounds into my bag: birds singing under the glass roof, water chuckling along the poolside, the shower crackling like fire, a single swimmer beating closer and then further, children's shouts, far away voices, footsteps, someone whistling in the corridor.
Yes, the money came and is mostly spent to buy film. Thank you. Imagine money turning into light!
It has also been called, for instance, Silchester Road Public Baths 1807-1974, and Natural Light and Time's Place.
Anyway, whatever its title, today I showed the rushes that I've shot so far, to my class, with the sound I found yesterday playing in the background: and, when the lights went off, there it was, a film, with little funny bits where people laughed - people laughed!
Nobody talks much about our physical relation to a film, its colors, pace, the excitement of shocks, us as bodies reacting - that's the politics of ecstasy - vs the ecstasy of politics.
Gifts. Peter giving me dinner, his beautifully cooked steak, salad, decaffinated coffee, Port Salud. When he'd drunk some wine he hugged me in the kitchen and said "I've only been in love three times in my life and one of those times was you," made me almost cry; but then when he said "You never write a letter, or a postcard in which you don't use some word as no one else would use it" my stomach went on fire with joy and excitement.
Being in bed with Tony, and then on Monday morning making coffee and looking out the window with him, at the reflections on the façade opposite, at the two icy white clouds rocketing down toward us, spreading, deepening, diffusing at the edges, taking on internal shadows and then just overshooting us. I was happy, full of tenderness: full of talk, ideas for films.
The ways I'm not a warrior, little doubts, guilts, hesitations, like the window cleaner who got 50p for cleaning my windows, 10 minutes for which I worked nearly an hour (how mean and resentful I felt)(he asked a pound); my unwarriorlike body, my confusion with Roy, stupidities with Luke (absent minded babytalk - but not much - we went through the sea book and he asked in detail about all the pictures), fatigue, boredom - can't think or gather myself, like last night when I went to bed at 8. The window cleaner shook me. I was embarrassed and helpless with him - middle aged man.
Rang Tony in tears, Saturday afternoon, "Oh you poor sausage" he said. Arrived at his house - "Can I come late this evening and sleep with you?" - and sat in front of his fire until we went to bed; there his cold velvety hands, ah, we just stroke each other all over, everything we can reach, tiny pressures to press us together, our stomachs warm, our skin warms, way down in the bottom of the bed our feet warm, little kisses, brief and breathless because we both have colds and can't breathe through our noses. My body's intelligence pleases me, we're graceful and attentive. His hands like a cat on a picket fence. My hair is soft and springy, he crushes it with his long hand, I stroke the narrow bit of his back where the spine cuts in deep, as if pulling him, pressing him into me, what an adventure, every little movement so interesting and original, his prick pushes a little, pushes more, I'm coaxing it in, and we collide at the bottom, at the top, we dance around it, what a top to spin on, what a maypole, we slide on it, it's not his it's ours, slowly, parting, joining, but simply, because it's too new for variation. I warm and liquefy, he's uncertain when he comes, thinks he should have waited, but I'm just right.
When he goes to sleep I bring myself and something happens that just happens rarely and specially: my clitoris becomes fiery and sharp, sending warmth to the ends of my fingers, I can feel it radiating. Then I go to sleep. In the morning wake before Tony, get up and dress, look at the rain, after a while go back to wake him, he huggles me and we talk as we often do in mornings, very gay together. He strokes my breast as we talk, then he begins to stroke my nipple under my sweater, and I'm silenced, he puts his hand under the sweater and strokes the tip of my breast through the undershirt. I begin to rock with it so that my bum presses against his penis as he stokes, rocking. He says "Come to bed," I get my big handkerchief out of the next room, blow my nose, take off my clothes and roll onto him. The tip of his penis is wet and slippery, he butts at me, pushes in, pushes in, long slow strokes, my knees on either side of him, pull me wide open, he just slides - then we slide back and forth on it end to end. Pressing. I hold myself strong on the end of the sheet.
Get up, cook breakfast, work hard cleaning his windows, rain streaks them. Nice moments when he or I are outside, the window shut, rubbing the glass, the other inside pointing out streaks. Band next door, soft beat, just right.
He painted his fireplace silver, we played with the aluminum paint in turpentine, watching explosions and currents: surface tension. When he spit into it, an eye was created, in which the eyeball spun up to the surface and down around, steadily narrowing. Little anuses that just sucked shut, almost taking us with them. The cat nested in a coil of extension cable.
I loved looking at him today, long legs, standing on a chair, expertly painting the wall, pointed feet, eyes clear, swollen mouth; sitting in a restaurant with the scarf on, pink shirt, black trousers, jean jacket, Napoleon coat, bush of dry sparse hair, a joli laid, oh joli lay that you are.
He said that in his childhood Sunday was the day for cleaning and fixing, he had to clean his dad's shoes and vacuum the stairs and he hated it, but then there was a special Sunday tea, with jelly and sweets. His fierce grandmother.
What a nice man he is, he says he's never been in love is that why? I'm easy and funny with him, he likes me, we sing up and down the stairs. In the morning when we get out of bed I find myself whistling Lord Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing and he joins in.
Recurring suspicion that I'm light-weight, not really trying. Doris Lessing makes me feel that, especially her.
Authority is lacking. I'm not ambitious enough. It hasn't entered my head to be. Wonder how that could be planted. Could manage some successes and ask to be told. Need that. Peter saying I'm a writer, "Don't know how you're going to find that out; maybe you'll just have to make some bad films."
The pressure in private writing to make it public - explain, detail, over-note.
The pressure in thought.
History of art makes it seem a history of argument.
Roy came, bringing some of the rubbish that he used to carry with him from one messy room to another, the photography annuals, his schoolboy atlas, Now We Are Six, a school geography book, a stack of cassettes, his frying pan (that frying pan he got with green shield stamps his mother pasted): it was like the dream I had a long time ago, coming upon a box of rubbish I recognized right away, with a sad shock, thrill, as Roy's. He's dividing his goods because he's leaving the commune for the next part of his life. He's spooky, thin, stands a little bent, his face is terribly old, I look at him and feel, but Roy mustn't ever get old, his body must always have a sappy spring and his face shine with ill-got gains. He's all eyes, his cheeks are flat and lined, he's grey, his smile is peculiar and stiff, his eyes don't soften. He said to Luke, "Luke I'm not going to live at the commune any more, I'm never never going to the commune any more." Luke's face pouts up. "I want Jud" he says. "Who?" says Roy. "I want you and me and Jud." "That's finished forever" says Roy, I feel too brutally. Luke leans his head on Roy's knee.
He's lost his address book.
All this morning and afternoon digging into the compost pile, moving earth, finding seams of sand, glass, flowerpots, leafmold? clumped with roots. A worm I picked out to look at, shiny smooth skin and its poking blind movement reminded me of Tony, it is made of something that the soil doesn't stick to, on one side of it was a crooked fine red vein, liquid mud oozed out of its anus. I had to hide it in a pile of earth, felt responsible for it, expected it to disappear into the loose earth but it seemed that it has to swallow its way in.
The robins sang and raided, I found iridescent glass. Pleasure in watching the soil crumble off the fork; sometimes, not more than three times, a very brief whiff of sweet earth smell. The change of temperature on my skin when the sun came out, almost out, for three minutes, twice.
When I looked in the mirror my cheeks were very pink and plump and my eyes clear: a fine deep line around my mouth.
Luke this morning: both of us for a minute were foxes inside the damp burrow of my sleeping bag, with its airless dark: he curled beside me, said "I am very tired."
On the way home from school the bag's strap came undone and it smashed down: broke the 35p bottle of apple and black current juice, which slowly leaked out. He told Miss Tugwell about it and then Jane while she tried to tell me how thrilling is the constitutional crisis.
[undated letter - March]
The film's going well, mostly shot now, mostly processed, will have to start editing and hustling for money to make the final print.
I have part-time work gardening now - for processing money.
Digging up dandelions - the young red worms departing over the grass. Thought of Ray talking about how he had slow worms when he was a child - both their movement as they ran like red water wet and shiny - and the name.
Phyllis [Altman] - her big, lined, heavy face - and on her left temple, a birthmark? A scar? A coin? A porthole? A door? Round brown dug down like a flowerbed in a lawn - smooth.
Because she's a novelist, talking about the fair copy of the book she's writing - set in the East Transvaal, and she quoted, "ancient and mysterious land." She was thinking about something pleasant, she stared at the flowerbed and her mouth opened and closed very slightly, like gills (and her eyes, "her ancient, glittering eyes"), a self centred movement of satisfaction and pleasure.
"Writing really is fantasy. If it isn't it doesn't sell" she said. "Ah - but it's a sort of research into fantasy, isn't it, that's the thing about it" - announced the gardener, barefoot in bib-and-brace, hair up in a lump, skin-tight in a long-sleeved purple shirt.
My fantasy of writers - that they are people in whom experience actually emerges as a sort of multitude of berries - round around a core of seeds - they are fruitful people themselves, the interior articulates because of work on the outside.
David Larcher's two vans put back-to-back [parked at the Film Co-op], the small room smelling of pine smoke from the little heater, and the one candle lighting a white-haired baby and blond Elizabeth plump after childbirth. Talking about Turkey.
Tony talking about the reams of paper in his art supplies shop, making a rattle with his mouth and drawing the motion with his thumb in the air.
Tony this morning in the washed blue t-shirt: "I kept it on so you could grope me if you wanted." It slides off his neck and in the dark warm of his back there was a smell like earth.
Strangeness with each other. What doesn't he want me to know?
David's Rumanian rushes: a tractor with two trailers is rattling horizontally along a dirt field road, he pans with the tractor, loses the front and back, continues to follow them, they wave, three riders on the first tractor, they're moving out, he hangs onto the dust they throw, watches it settle in round clouds between four round trees, then moves after the trailer and catches up with some dust, follows the dust for a while, catches up with the tractor and overtakes the tractor settling along - at the same pace - another row of round undusty trees ahead. "This is the best shot of my life" he says joking.
Both these sections were processed by the Rumanians and are covered with blotches, scratches, seeming holes. All of it shot with one magazine on the Éclair.
Have a feeling that my relations with the Co-op are going to be like living with a man - all except Annabel they are men - fighting for my life in the face of their contempt, which they'll never recognize, and clubishness. Feel it needs good strategies and the most careful preparation, doses of protein, mystery, etc.
Riding the bicycle at night: the two willows across from John's sway out heavy ropes of leaves, the sound like a snatch of river brought by high wind.
Television program: a vigilant pike waiting, sliding down toward a stickleback, still long watchful face - the stupid stickleback hanging about - snap! We both jumped, beautiful moment in cinem-a! Then, looking down the pike's slit mouth and seeing the stickleback's two eyes peering out. BBC2 program on filming nature docs.
A grotesque little fact -
Ovarian cysts have been found in which were grown, in the egg's lonely attempt to make a baby, one hundred and fifty eight teeth, some bones, some skin and sebacious matter.
An Italian woman without ever knowing herself to be pregnant carried, for thirty six years, a dead baby, which gradually was fossilized and eventually born as a stone baby.
Ladies of Llangolen, their pieties, raptures; I too sound out of date to myself. Yet they created something and in the end lived as they liked and were recognized (a little) for it. What they made was domestic: a series of days with precisely the same rhythm, a sequence of raptures that could be counted on always to be rapturous, primroses, pinks, moons, storms, cows, their pride in their own devotion, lovely narrow certain current; in my imagination I flood - but actually - this pleasant room, its fire and child, seasons, jokes, inventions, are all biding time until -
It is sad that what's good and true in/for me, my own rural raptures, are so confused with the class / sentiments / cons / bad faith of the 'culture,' ie the way they've been exploited and falsified by other people, that I can't be sure of myself as they were, in their class / sentimentality / ludicrous bad taste / their weird time.
Historicity - I love other people's histories and my own, but history I really hate, movements of ideas; ideas do move and infect one another, people lean in the same direction like blown grass. No doubt. And people like me who try to step out of it are like a current in the current, thinking each other's thoughts.
I'm accompanied in my days by - I sometimes remember - scorn for my own body. Refuse to look at it as I avert my eyes from cripples and fat women; good manners, rebellion - I will not look at what's ugly. It hasn't really occurred, happened to me yet, that if I'm not to have to bury myself from myself, close that connection too, more and more completely as I get older, I have to choose the other ugly shameful unmentionable alternative - to preserve myself, really to have my 'self' as a project. I want to forget I'm a body. But I'm a body. How it restricts constricts me to be ugly.
Madge Herron shaking herself in her plastic raincoat hung with a chain and keys, slapping her thigh, telling me about a line in a poem (she quotes it, her mouth opens coyly and carefully because it's poetry she's saying), pigeons (Sappho) falling asleep, darkness flooding in their eyes - she said that she had to not read it for six months so that it would work again. Telling me about a simple girl in Donegal, they used to tease for her English which she "made up as she went along," she said oh no they needn't walk her up the lane, in the moonlight it was a "fair, white, night."
She herself has been in London thirty four years, came to go into service. When she was twelve she was in the fields, barefoot, "delving." Delving for what? Oh potatoes. All the men had gone to Scotland to work. Her father dead when she was five, her uncle telling them to pull their skirts down.
She ate all my bread, with thick butter and bits of garlic, demanded that I go make some more tea, offered me a holiday with her people in Donegal, invited me to dinner with Fiona and Dr Summerfield, extolled homeopathy. When she went home offered her cheek to be kissed. Sat here eyes pink, delicate for all she says about having been rawboned and ugly as a girl.
She sat and rocked and raved about my room, "terrifies me!" she shouted. "Jesus! There's something monastic in you."
Her tale about an exorcist she visited about the ghost that was making her dour, and causing her to spill things, especially water.
If we sit on the bench outside the back door, she says, we may see a ghost; there's one there, who was deprived of life, not killed, but somehow deprived of life. Maybe. "I wonder if there really are such things?" she says.
She picks up my Seferis, says "Oh he's good this man."
I look out the window and see that in the two summer afternoons we've had, an iris has shot up a flower and stalk, and when I went down to check, I could feel flowers inside the leaf-blades of two more!
Not to express experience but to enlarge it.
This Bach line that puckers me up like a thread pulled tight, every time it's repeated; it's in #42, the music that joins recitative to the alto aria, the duet with Stitch-Randall - Versage Nicht. There's a bit in the middle like hurdy-gurdy.
England! The operator whom I asked for an alarm call said "Sleep well, love."
American Graffiti, it worked out as it should have, saw it sitting next to Roy at the Hampstead Classic. It delighted me, the shine of streets, slow gleaming movement of cars across the screen, the hop with a girl in bobby socks jiving, young fat-faced Elvis on a television screen. The rear end being jerked from under a police car where it stood, clothes, pincurled hair, long night that dawned several times, at last opened into a misty valley with pylons, all shot informatively, unflashily, with real love for those days; it's a way of thinking about what was most magical for me too, my periphery participation in the thrilling - something - moment of time, not at all true for my time and place in La Glace, but something somewhere that I could sometimes just touch, by radio, Hep Cats magazine, Janeen, Reiner; talking to Tony last night trying to think why everyone's history is potentially equal, given intelligent feeling attention and the light of mortality. It was glamour - always right -
[Beginning of April I hitchhike to Paris for a women's film festival, am billeted with Dana Sardet.]
Peter and his tractor - red beard, clear green Northern eyes full of light, hairy crease of his bum when his pale blue corduroy trousers slip, beer belly, red hammy hands, so attractive that I decide this will be my first truck driver, if it works. But he's boring, totally male with no tenderness at all - that's his interest too, he lives in the wild west of TIR buccaneering, Blackpool to Italy for seven years, the younger men who've been to Afghanistan and Pakistan, he says, talk only of their motors and are spoiling the fun, they've never driven an old truck and done England-Milan in two days, and they wear fancy ski jackets.
His friends Peter and Dennis, Peter a tall broad and flat-hipped ginger-haired man going white and bald, a steer head on his large belt buckle, Yorkshireman with blue pale eyes, like Peter's full of light. From his neck down he's still red from the sunstroke he had in Italy, he's the bottom of the pecking order, a certain hesitancy.
I am of course proud, because my Peter is at the top, a history of brawling in cafés, once threw a plate of egg and ham at the waiter etc, but there's someone, Danny Malin, who's bigger and more dangerous when riled. A quiet man and a drinker.
Denis is crude, ugly and fat, Borgnine-greasy, but full of determined gaiety, takes Peter by the chops and jiggles them, "Good to see you Peter boy," he's senior, but Peter's got luck with women, it's clear Peter's on top with him as well. They remember old times, it's partly for me but they're having a good time and we're all laughing like princes.
- The time five of them, some with mates, had an enforced 5-day national holiday in Italy, "put our motors in a circle on the beach, with washlines and our smalls hanging on them, next to the cleanest river in Italy - the only clean river in Italy - every evening all the eye-talians would come and laugh at the English truck drivers naked in the river having their showers. All that week I had nothing but steak" (makes a sign a foot square and three inches deep) "and ale." Once backed a tailor into the Mediterranean for a diving board.
Peter himself has had idylls, took his son and a cousin, took his eighteen month old daughter, had two months with a Canadian girl, a while with an American artist living in Spain. His present girl from the Lake District, "She's a deep thinker," she says "I can't make out why you ever got married."
Driving donkeys on Blackpool beach at 5, says he made £10 per week. His grandfather's potato business, supplying all the boarding houses, the prams covered and used by urchins to carry bags.
His daughter Lisa, the tomboy. "She's got a thing about you, does she?" "Oh aye," in his soft accent.
City without people, only guardians. Birds loud in one particular tree with twigs like root hairs. Smell of plum preserve. Green fire of a completely established colony of iris in a rusty trough on legs, old leaves crumbled down to orange straw, new shaking stiffly their pointed leaves, flare up without flowers.
Ceramic wreaths, old purple monumental poppies now air greased black but in the crevices of the corolla a spit of seeing (blooming?) grass, a little weed.
Visitors, picking up debris. Young gardeners rubber-necking from the avenue paths, white tablets, blackened white houses architected as temples, palaces. In one of them a prayer chair inclines toward an altar with a deformed cushion on it. One iron door half dissolved into air ajar on newspapers, flower pots. Another tomb birds love to shit on. Outside against the pale blue sky is the black tablet at Montparnasse Station. A little pot of pansies that smell like violets.
A Mediterranean avenue of shaggy cypress.
One-room palaces, moss on the roof, stained glass windows no one looks through, wall stained in icicles under the eaves.
Birds sound sharp. Other sounds dampened, traffic.
A museum city, no one touches the flowers. I put my hand on a crepe-skinned head of ---, a diffuse shock, grass fire in another brazier, the gravel paths are growing only parted single centipedes of grass, but these pots with their fertile culture of soil catch yellow flowering weeds.
A glass jar, rusty damp sycamore seeds in it.
My rust tree with its eye.
Need some pensées.
White city tulips set as a continuous ceremony on a marble table.
O petit ange, prie pour nous.
The housekeeping gardener comes with a damp broom, they know their way.
Plum jam smell continues. Glistening brushes of an extravagant sort of jack pine.
Avenues with a walking scale, paths, doors.
Someone made a stained glass greenhouse, over a round-headed white tablet whose dedications are almost dissolved, bleached out; blue panes, and two burgundy coloured remaining, through one I can see the orange leg of a crane.
Two pigeons chasing each other like jets, throwing shadows like jets, and watching them I see a white butterfly struggling on its fabric wings.
Sitting in the Mercedes cab plowing up the M2, the two drivers in black silhouette up in front of me, a yellow light and two green on the dash constant, and disappearing taillights, red. A few approaching headlamps flashing in adjacent and opposite trajectory, a few circles traced on the dusty windscreen, the wide-angle wrapped black glass, and first Led Zepplin and then Don McLean on the stereo on both sides of me. I felt, this is a moment of perfect happiness.
Mossy's fantasies about being a likkle mousie, which Luke brings home.
Frances told this story, sitting behind her mask-like face:
Mossy: "You're just RUBBISH."
Luke, upon reflection: "You're just rubbish too."
Mossy: "Yes, we are both just rubbish. Everybody in the world is just rubbish."
Easter Sunday 1974, Luke woke me to tell me the sun was shining. That was after he came crying because he was wet, lying next to me on my pillow - he turned my face back toward him when I turned away to sleep a little more, said "I want to see your face."
Sad sad. Bony grey Roy in baggy trousers. Luke running in beech leaves in Epping Forest.
Beautiful Luke. His quick smile when he's caught in an absurdity.
The pee in the apple juice bottle. "Is it apple juice?" His eyes shine: shakes his head.
The diary form, it's flabby, occasional shapely things but yech no sense of reserve, makes me ashamed of myself.
When I look at Roy I see ashes.
Sal [Potter]: compulsive eating means you're the sort of person who has compulsive energy patterns; all you have to do is do something with it, or recognize what you really want to be compulsive about. Sense of being able to talk almost full stretch. Both still swallowing with nervousness, being truthful because she can tell the difference. A nice crispness which is friendly without flattery. Insisting on doing the hard things; just what I need to know.
The overlap last night of the sycamore and the reflection of forsythia branches on the piano. The next door window and below it on the brick wall my red door. I must work on this world of overlap to find out what it's about, it never used to be there. London has taught me. The last night one was about inside being outside. It was also about colors in black. Light and dark like Wells' two worlds. Last night my white ceiling with its strong moulding papered with moving privet leaves.
What's the meaning of two worlds - a strong esoteric meaning there - measured by attraction.
Sitting drinking wine, it's still strenuous with Joann [Kaplan], I begin to feel loud-mouthed and tired, find set phrases and Americanisms running out of my mouth, is that nervousness? Feels like compulsive American friendliness, don't like it. Like Joann. In her body she seems soft as a mollusk, soft eyes full of light, soft easy mouth, soft hedge of grey-brown hair. At the tube she gave me such an embrace, firm and decided, I was firm too, but not so decided, feeling the side of her face with the side of mine and having a sudden whiff of some wonderful smell.
John Hershey's report on Hiroshima: "Hiroshima was blanketed with flowers. There were cornflowers and gladiolas everywhere, and morning glories and day lilies that rose again from the ashes with an extraordinary vigor, quite unheard of for flowers till then."
Dancing on graves. [My parents, now 50 and 53, visit on their way to Israel.] The look of them, just come through the arrivals gate, faces so lost and frightened, looking around for us; their age covering their real remembered faces with its strange plumping softening distortion; little wrinkles on his fatter face like little wrinkles on soft apples, like skin on milk. Makes my neck lengthen, makes me brag, "I won't, I won't, I won't, I won't;" scares me foolish, maybe I will, in one way or another I will, inevitably. Luke was even more than me, his eyes shone and his cheeks were pink and he was generous, hospitable and charming, he'll dance on mine.
Constantly irritated by [my dad], the heaviness of his presence, his sulkiness, dependency; feel for him too. He's constantly uncomfortable in his body, his face looks pained, like secret toothache. Embarrassment.
She sits down in the tube and talks too loud, her voice is tight, she bends herself toward us all, her consciousness is always warped by his dependency even when he isn't there, or is it warped by other fears now? How flat it makes her, how underground she is; but present.
He compels us all to pay attention to his misery. Even Luke said to him (he removed Luke's sticky hand from his knee) "Grandpa are you tired?" My habits and pity make me want to comfort him; but my contempt, anger, make me want to discipline him like a sulky baby, by ignoring him, his self pity's too big to be helped, it would take all we've got.
I got rattled, like her: lost my cool and babbled, listening curiously to myself. But remembered myself a few times: said "You could go to bed without her if you like, I'll show you where to get the warm water." And put on the Bach duet.
Both are broader, better dressed. The Pentax. The [toy] tractor and its symbolic exchange.
The presence of their deaths. Their awful coupleness: "What was the name of that man on the airplane?"
It made me tired, preventing myself simultaneously from kicking his head in and from making tea when I knew he'd like it.
My father standing at the door saying "Are you coming Mother?" I look at him with unconcealed-for-once irritation and say "Why can't she come to bed on her own?" Feel brutal and exaggerated about that; only realize, with anger, when they've gone, that my cruelty was almost totally confined to myself, and he enjoyed himself, was catered to, and finally with Peter drawn out to a self confidence I find unbearable in him. I'm still incredulous when I remember how in his bragging tone of voice he pronounced that he knows what he thinks about Simone de Beauvoir.
And even she - her one trickling tear when she talked of how Mrs McKeeman gets flooded with Mother's Day cards, how she feels her investment in us children hasn't paid off in its own way, says she knows it's silly but ... and then when leaving says "It's hard to believe you'll be alright."
Needing to be measured and seen by them, needing their pride or accurate criticism, getting their ungenerous anxiety - is it envy? Curious how ungracious you-lot are. Useless. Tied in knots. I'm realizing it was easier when Roy was with me not to be sunk by their weight.
Doris Lessing as antidote to the heavy fleshiness of her face - we need another mother when we're grown - and her body and voice warped with caution and slavery. There's someone there who continues to exist in spite of the calamity of her marriage, but she's a coward too, and seems more cowardly than she was. She's a coward and he's a braggard creep and I hate them in myself, and have to strive to kill them both and at the same time have to let myself be them because I always will be. Her sagging chin.
Squashed between the generations. Luke becomes my child self, running ahead, eyes shining.
How is the hatred of parents (legitimate) when accepted and expressed still to be seen as hatred for oneself? I'm confused about why, knowing I hate them (him), I am torn in bits about it - beyond the fact that I must suppress the rage. Ah. Why do I suppress the rage? So thoroughly. Can't look at him for fear of hurting him / him hurting me.
In this order: the pale high sky full of light tender infinity beyond the Capital Radio tower. Sal. Shock of her appearance. Head so sharp shrewd and vivid red and white and browns, dressed in white. Embarrassment and shyness. Falling in and out of step lurching through Trafalgar Square's traffic patterns, the blue and yellow of the National Gallery's façade as day and night changed over. St James Park, marching through talking about angels. Told me about her guardian angel that led her around her room when it was haunted. She said it was dark, very pleasant, a sort of darkness, and a voice. It was one, but seemed divided in two, one behind each shoulder.
I had not fully realized that the restraint of one's will opposed by authority could at times feel like a threat to one's whole existence, an attempt to separate one from the very source of one's creative relation to the world; and that to give in to this imposed restraint could at times feel like the deepest cowardice and betrayal of one's whole identity more to do with the danger of losing one's whole belief in any goodness anywhere ... he cannot bear to look at them and face the jealousy and rage and fury they arouse. Milner
At the Co-op tonight, a moment dancing in the widened hall, Mike, Annabel, looking out the window at the pale tender summer evening street life, backyard sycamore, singing my phrase from Bach (versage nicht zu verstören) felt light and happy. Mike, Roger, Jonathan playing Japanese wrestling, Jonathan's friendly moves.
[I invite my crush to supper] The painful moment, Keith [Jackson] arrived and stood across the table looking at me with a look so beautiful - my heart contracted with fear - love and fear - I said something sharp and after that he plunged away into the talk he needs about images - he didn't see me, the whole evening, I had no existence and just battled on. But his brown eyes, his smile, the line from his waist, so painful not to be able to put my hand on that waist - his huge ugly nose, the radiance of that smile.
The shock of your face, how can you inflict such inaccessible beauty on me.
I wish I could keep that image of the man, just come in, standing at the table; body so slight and sweet, and turning toward me - me turning toward - his face so terrifyingly sweet and direct - annihilates and paralyzes me.
The classic disaster: I am unnerved by my love and its fear. Luke is awful. I throw the plates onto the table. The teapot's handle comes off in my hand. I don't listen to his theories and let myself compete with him and in the end don't go with him to the door and have spent all of the rest of the week thinking about him.
Women's bathing pool. [Carried my bedding up the Highgate Hill and spent a night on the Heath.] At the end of the meadow a chestnut tree held its branches almost down to the ground. Towers of flowers. In the dark under the tree I seemed to be at the edge of a large room, a large interior. Noises, sounds, intense listening for footsteps. A man, couldn't locate him because of the nature of the sound, whistling one phrase from Air on a G String again and again. A small animal approaching, a weird animal that seemed to scuffle like a mouse and yet moved from one place to another without connection. I listened for the man with the dog; that was my enemy, evil. Ducks very quiet.
I'm oppressed by not being allowed to be excited about anybody.
Often during the night, looking inward to the chestnut tree and its great shingled roof of leaves, hands, beams and rafters. Sometimes a shiver would pass through, the leaves would rattle as if it was raining a little. Then everything would stop. I had a lot of covers and was warm and tired.
In the morning the man from the men's pool, jogging past, had said "You've got a lump, better see what it is." Pat dressed in beads, freckled decolletage like a rich woman, sitting in her cabin at the edge of the pool all year round, clearing a small garden, watching for the fox.
My Madge Herron on Kentish Town Road last night, with her three dogs, the new one, she's called her Sally, thin as a herringbone on a string, pulling ahead ("I've been pouring potatoes and butter into her"), fine smart little head, triangular ridge of teats under the tight arch of her whippet ribcage, tail's curl pulled in close. Madge tells me the story of her toad, she bought him from a boy who'd raised him in a jamjar, meaning to free him on the hill, but someone told her that, raised in captivity, he wouldn't know to hide himself from the birds. So she kept him, fed him bugs from the fish supplies shop, a cocoa tin a day, it cost more to keep him than the cats, fourteen shillings a week. Then the third winter, when he went into hibernation, he didn't wake. She wrote a poem for him, that ended with a wrinkle in the sun. The way she recites her poems, looking straight ahead of herself.
This morning lying together in the white room with light sinking down the wall, when we slept it was in the heat of it.
Arriving late on Wednesday after sitting with Sal in the Ladies' Bar, drinking port ('white wine' and 'red wine') and smoking cigarillos, beginning to laugh: she went to the counter bravely with her face streaked from crying. Snow White and Rose Red in the waiting room, two dead-faced thin ladies opposite, with their glasses on the counter, making them last. Another one comes in and greets them, has a wilted red rose on her collar, addresses us all, "Excuse me, I want to talk to --- here," sullen-faced Indian young man, sitting beside a pint of lager. She brings out a greasy bag and shows him or offers him - I guess - two nice lamb chops and some chips and peas; Sal reckons maybe it's the shit of two lamp chops etc; her brother says old people who're a little crazy often carry their shit to show people.
Tony was out with John Frick playing snooker. At 3:30 the light goes on and Tony snaps in happy to see me, so I'm wide awake and we lie and talk - I remember again the fragile feel of his small skull under his odd dry hair. His moustache, his eyelashes. His big firm mouth with that strange muscle under the lower lip. His flecked red eyes. Shudder when I stroke his hip. That miraculous time when the light grew and the first train passed - so simply, basically, what more could be needed, perfect concentration.
The window frame, dust and the yellow light passing from the top of the frame to the bottom, the light on the wall mottled as if by fine leaves, the two levels sinking toward us lying in the bed, the room filling from top to bottom with the fine light, turning to look - look: the light has reached all of the window frame, each corner of the ceiling a different density and color of shadow, a jet swimming coolly across the pane, the rattle of the second tube train, perhaps the same as the first. The clock stopped and I didn't notice but Tony did, and smiled at me: "Thought I'd leave it stopped for a while;" at ten past six. When we slept it was only for a few hours, very hot in the sunlight. O Tony. When I was awake he was too, and I bought him a grapefruit and scrambled some eggs and warmed the croissants in a wet bag in the oven. John at work on his man [sculptor roommate], dressed in his blue hat, torn pants, looking so nice. When I came to the bedroom Tony looked at me full of affection and said "You're a wild thing." In that pocket of time early in the morning he'd lain and sung She Moved Through the Fair and a growly old song called Wild Thing. When we lay in that pocket of light early in the morning we looked at our two colours of skins, where I lay, his skin had turned to silver, a repetition of even little bumps on his neck, the amplified texture of his skin, we were so warmed by the sun - when I opened my eyes I looked directly at it, and closed them to see two hard-edged blue suns in the hot red ether under my lids. O Tony. The sound of the first car, people beginning to move. Tony's profile, eyelids closing round around his eye; I'd forgotten how I used to dislike his silly way with his drunk friends.
"I wish you hadn't gone home. I'll miss you tonight."
The three flies and the stretching plane between them.
We sat on the windowsill in the sun, his Stones warred with the Beatles across the way, little girls, three dogs running, and when the female dog stopped one of them began to pump himself into her, then the other, larger, a collie, just pushed him aside and took his place. The brick arch. The cracked asphalt. Always the beautiful façade shining back its ambiguous reflections opposite, a bunch of yellow-flowering weed on the portico. The feed man is gone. Therefore so are the horses. So are the pigeons most of the time. It's a real death: little film. We sit on the windowsill, I have both feet outside and am brilliant in the orange silk skirt, with my blouse pulled down my shoulder. Tony has on his green trousers and pink shirt and looks lovely. We're balanced, backed by the music, together and happy, reigning over the street. Old people, fat women, go by underneath us, we're lordly happy and our breakfast tray is on the floor behind us. John goes out to get a bottle of cider. We sit with the glasses in our hands smiling at children. "I'm worried about you sitting like that." "It's okay I have a big fat bum that grips." "I know." "Not like yours that would skid right off."
Saturday like Sunday. "The sartorial artist" says the milkman. "Wot's that" says the barber. John's working with his fiberglass mold, has his old radio on.
We standing, see a young man coming from the wedding, black suit, carnation, bright red socks, and bovver boots. I'm so delighted. I'm so delighted to kiss Tony my delight.
"One last kiss" he says. I want it so much, I could kiss him all night. "Just one more." I could go on kissing you till noon.
The way he sits in his armchair to read a chapter of The Sound and the Fury before he goes to bed, formally, maybe like his father.
Coming from Tony this morning. A glisten of sex on my face, made everyone take notice and stare. Anastasia talking to me about writing, as we broke up lumps under the tree, after moving Margaret's cherry tree. Margaret kindly bringing me tea, a beaker of it, a little Denby pot of hot water, a gold-covered sugar bowl, a cream jug, a plate with delicious cake, all on a metal tray.
Hot space between trees, hot skin, hard dug sweat. What a happy day this seems.
I had on the radio in the kitchen, something modern, he leapt up smiling in the doorway, "What's that it's wonderful."
"You don't do anything wrong" he says.
The woman on Euston Road, little, made up orange and pink face, a pale blue scarf around her white hair, a red plastic rose pinned to her shoulder.
The old soldier at Euston standing to guard me from rush hour legs, said "There you are my darling, you can write your novel in peace."
Not writing with words:
There's a pause while I consider, listen to, a sort of tension somewhere in my body, perhaps in my brain (which is not a muscle - c/f attention thought of as tensing the brain but actually tensing the forehead maybe)(maybe there is a kind of tension which is somehow neural, that would be a gestalt), and then the word slips out. When I write flabbily, it isn't that the words fail to come, it's that (I fail to listen to that area of silent tension - why is 'listening' better than 'feeling' in describing it, something kinesthetic or ? neural).
Walking home from Kings Cross after Wayne's party, there was a fat drunk with greasy hair in little curls following me, lisped at me, petulant, something about knickers, an infuriating baby. I shouted at him, he followed after muttering "Ththatsh rubbishsh" - I asked the young policeman to keep an eye on him, as he was there anyway, squatting in his little car; he got out and strode fat-assed after the man saying "Hey, there!" The baby-faced policeman gathered his offended daddy manner up, said "This young lady says you've been accosting her" - the man all sulky staring reproachfully at me sheltering behind the big policeman - I could hardly stop myself grinning with triumph - it didn't seem fair, also the policeman might think I'd trumped up my complaint. "What were you saying to her?" Long hesitation, he stares at me. "I was saying 'Good night,' I was saying 'Good night.'" "That's not what she says." The man pouts. "Where do you live?" "Holloway. I'm just trying to get a taxi." "Well you go home now. If I see you near any more women I'll book you." "For what?" "I'll think of that when the time comes." "You mean you'll just make something up?" He's whining about how he pays the policeman's salary, "Ten pounds a week I pay, and I pay her too, all the studentsh, I pay taxes." "Go home! Go home now! Go home!" The policeman is shouting as if to a dog and the man's said his little bravado, which I've liked him for; the both of them so silly I've been grinning in the shadow behind the policeman's back.
Finally the man sidles off the pavement and up the road, the policeman gives me a lift as far as the edge of his territory. "Nothing I hate more than people who tell me they're paying my salary." I thank him politely and apologize conventionally: I'll play my little part with pleasure. He says "That's what I'm here for," and I get home happy and quite light, clear and sober. Wake to see just a thread of cloud lit up pink in a white sky. Keep waking from five o'clock forward, at last sleep lightly in the sun that's reached the bed, wake happy to be alone, happy. Call Tony to ask if he's ready to be friends yet. "I'm friends" he says.
Yesterday morning I got up to put out the fighting tomcats, and heard water in the coal cellar. It had been a lagged leak, now it's a loud spring, a still oily pool in the black coal cellar, but best of all the wild frightening sound of it pouring out. I check the level with my forefinger. Can I afford to leave it until Monday, will it flood us? The broken floor, it's maybe earth anyway, soaks it back, among the pipes. It's so strong won't it fill the cellar, won't it float the house away, just lift it - scares me, really secretly delights me, do I have to repair it, will it breed mosquitoes, will it seep upward in the walls and melt them away, crumble them like coffee rising in a sugar cube -
Oh yes it's seeping up in the kitchen, it's saturated down there now, will it reach the lawn? it will be chill weeks before it dries - Luke's asleep upstairs, it will run out the door before it gets to him.
Film: my city eyes. Instant when an airplane's shadow is on a window.
Telephone. It's Roy in tears, drunk, weeping that he loves me and I'm beautiful, I'm sitting grinning with silly pop on the radio being sympathetic - "What's happening for you Chisholm," phony, gleeful - he complains I don't see the clouds - I say it's not interesting for me either - he says why don't I hang up then - I say that's his move, which I'm expecting any minute, he feels better if he does it himself - he says he misses Luke - I say he could see him more often - he says what about our relation, which I deny completely, but that's my problem - I say no, that's not my problem, it's my solution - fuck you, he says, then - I say, "You were talking about Luke, you could of course see him more" - "To see him I have to negotiate either with you or with the fucking commune" he says and hangs up.
In the garden the forsythia and mock orange roofed with the rose brambles, opens wide into a little room that I've made a room by hanging the mirror at the end of it, putting a bedroom chair in it. A skylight with mock orange lit white on the roof, whipping branches of it much higher like feathers on a roosting bird's tail in stormy weather.
The sound of the telephone is like a siren, it's a horrible alarm.
When I go upstairs I look for him behind the door, like a bogey.
The mirror under the bushes is frightening too, its hardness, brightness, brilliance in that indistinct place.
The bed. Singing. Skin. I stroke and stroke him while we talk. This morning the Dies Irae and it continued in our heads while we went to Compendium. Oh I love him when his body clamps up to me fucking involuntarily, tail tucking in; and I love it when we whisper inside each other voluntarily, and I loved it this morning when we lay and talked for a long time and took a kiss that was like opening a door and then just rolled in.
Then sitting at the canal, everything around gradually became itself, brilliant and particular, and I was happy as I can be because I could share my eyes, quietly, without exaggeration; the warehouse wall white and 'illusionistic' with the blue sky, the nets of light on the pirate boat's hull, the ducks sitting quietly as rocks on a ledge, on the right upstream the double arch of railway bridge and round arched roadway bridge, an area of intermediate shadow.
As I walked home after waving him goodbye - I got caught in the reflection of a corrugated wall where each bar twisted and fractured into an amazing bitty movement with a hard edge onto blue.
When I leap out of bed this morning - Tony says "You'll stick to the piano stool" - I play Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow.
The man's intelligence and kindness. How quickly he notices my little shifts when we're spiked together face to face, to follow them. How beautiful and neat in his jeans and jeans shirt and black belt and new blue sneakers that made him leapfrog over traffic control posts.
The story of the snails, their delicate white sexes torn apart, a long filament, their gentle joining for hours, so that our gateway kiss was like two snails.
The story of Naomi's birthday party, the streamers, and balloons she couldn't blow up because her stomach still hurt after her operation to remove a cyst from her ovary - "I'm prone to them" she said - we moved through the terrace on the rickety chairs to stay in sun - the cake, the punch, Hugh, who was going to marry her and make her rich, for whom she sold her cameras - her naivete and cunning - "Leonard Bernstein said Gertrude Stein and I were the two best living writers, but Gertrude Stein is dead so I guess that means I'm the best living writer" - her voice inverting, with her eyes, like snails' eyes.
We turned the helicopter into a tiddler.
Everything healed when - even before - no, gradually, ending when we lay quietly head to head on the bed - there he was on the doorstep, long as a shadow, and because he reported John Frick saying he ought to be living with me.
Mari. Door closing on Nigel, she says "It isn't working out at all," never seen her so sad.
Describing meeting with her [birth] mother. She knocks at the door, her mother comes, looking "really rough." She says "I'm Mari." Her mother smiles without understanding. She says "I'm Mari." "Oh - Mari. Come in!" A house almost without furniture. She stands at the mantle hands behind her back warming at the (gas?) fire. Her mother says "Yes, you are just like your father." Her mother Irish and in service in Maida Vale; her father, contrary to her fantasy ("When I couldn't have been more than six, there was a meeting with a woman who impressed me very much, it was very vague, she was quite masculine, and I gathered she was French. I suppose in my imagination I substituted her for my father"), was also Irish and a labourer. She was given away at two and a half; her father, who came and went (she was conceived during a brief reconciliation, her sister during another, three years later) battered her; her sister was retarded; they were together in a home until Mari was nine. Mari, fine delicate clear lucid steady and straight, her body intelligent in every line. The tiny cat lying on her arm staring up into her eyes.
Sunday a week later - sad lonely struggles with the Acmade at the Co-op, no splicer, no spacing knobs, have to borrow a split reel from David who is blithe surrounded by fans with his wife cooking them all dinner, I have to stop, part of the mag film chewed to pieces, to get Luke. The flitting quality of Jonathan and Annabel; Tony Hill and his frame, my gritted flabby will today; in panic in front of the Acmade, afraid to ask anyone for anything (that plump kid eventually helping me most, and kindly), detesting myself, my tone with Luke - mothery, false, keeping us cool to get us home without fury or collapse, he was tired.
The skills I'm demanding of myself, to acquire instantly; my doubts about the reasons I'm wanting them, the dreams of 'success,' and the lonely desperate feeling that 'success' is the only thing that could give me free loving contact with a working community. Feel so marginal at the Co-op.
The commune and how rich it is for Luke, houses and garden, Mossy and Isabel, a bowl of black olives standing on the counter, tomatoes in a warm corner of the garden, peaches on the tree in the greenhouse, hollyhocks in self-seeded clumps around the bomb shelter.
The woman question plaguing me with unease, sour anger, all day; look how I'm not pretty; if I roll on the hoop it's making a point, if I ask Tony for help it is felt as feminine fear of machinery, am I panic struck by machinery because I'm female or is that everyone's first experience with an Acmade.
Miss Tugwell sitting on the stairs telling me about the rockets circling before they dropped - airplanes nudging them back to Germany.