Lisa wrote me. I am hanging onto emails from Lisa and Olivia like lifesavers. I’m wondering if I should transfer my efforts to my own writing. Signs point me in this direction, but I don’t want to go. Maybe I should give it a try. Might make me happier in the household.
TV noise at night bothers me. I feel very lonely. I remember Eli watching movies drunk in the middle of the night. What am I to do. Sam is asleep on the couch. The soundtrack of “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” is pleasant. I can try to listen to it.
I want to stay relaxed.
I’m nervous about Sam coming upstairs. If he saw me writing, I would say “I’m writing.” I don’t want him to know what I’m doing.
I have the anger about the network router. Something is working—why change it? I live with a curious technology monkey.
One of the things that I love about Natalie is her ability to make judgments about people and say them out loud. It’s thrilling to hear her sum up a person, their behavior, their motivations, their unconscious fire, all rolled into one or two quick incisive statements. Initially, I just bought into everything she said. I had never experienced such a wise window opening onto other people. I was hungry for the guidance. Somehow, I had been misled, led to believe that everyone was a Child of God. Christian psychology is very flat and its behavioral modification systems are very dumb. I had no ability to read people, to differentiate between them. I was like a person, a woman, in an arranged marriage with everyone. As far as Natalie’s stories go, later I learned there might also be other points of view.
I sense there are too many people in the world with too many attachments. There isn’t room. There is no more room. I am squatting here.
Everyone is on a trajectory of some kind though. Achievement-life: I can smell it coming a mile away.
I was privileged to meet him, Russell Edson. I had to go to New Hampshire to do it. And he lives right down the street.
Suely told me about her sister’s breasts. So ugly, so ugly, one larger than the other, and after childbirth, even more misshapen. She sent her first money earned here home for her sister’s breast operation. Results: keloid scars and things are worse than ever. She cry, she cry.
I am not hungry. I lost my appetite. No dinner last night, just some mozzarella sticks, frozen and reheated at Richie’s. A glass of cold white wine. Sauce: ketchup mixed with hot sauce, tasted good. Richie and Suely slathered hot sauce on knuckles of reheated chicken meat. I watched and held my own.
Note the differences: Anne and Sylvia, Remedios and Leonora.
I love the worn out ladies brave in Mexico.
Still sad. Sadder than ever today. I want to throw myself on your mercy. To wander into your crowd full of people I don’t know. I set up a conflict with people around me. I don’t stake my claim.
I don’t taste my own sauce. I guess I’ll leave here now.
Now Gertrude Stein was she more focused? Did she probe her inner parts?
Unseen baby, unknowable one. You don’t invite them to be a bad mother. You don’t correspond with mother. You don’t know the alignment, the starsign, the angel of mother. You don’t ask and the mother won’t retreat. You avoid the mother. The tattoos, the breath, the side dishes. The lack of respect. You are eternally grateful.
I am going to stop for a moment and read Desnos halfway through.
The foxes coughing in the mountains. The evil fox light. Lost lore of animals lost lore of fears. Our superstitions are gone now, transformed into bombers from the air. Our strange fear of foxes or wolves following, met with turbans and robes. We do not learn much about any of this, we don’t push through it. We just take it as it lays.
What are these women up to? And then these men, their heads white and bony, their chins with flaps like lizards, that they have to shave.
The surface is uneven. The cutting board is warped. The gentleman was proud to show me the use of passive voice in my writing sample. Fucking shit. Well live and learn. I am still expecting to show them, every one of them, show them—what?
If I could find my way to a simpler conception. If I could find my way to the egg on the pedestal, if I could find my way to the walking rock. No table salt. No laughing pepper. No funny farm. No moldy vegetables. Rot in a garden. Where do we see that rot, the heavy mosses, the packed earth of the path? The beaten borders, crumbling boundaries? The edge trees fallen into the river, bouncing, bouncing, bouncing, in a death flirtation with the current. Where do we see that? Where do we see the planes? How far away are they? The red light blinks far away at night and there you are, another person. We forget that all of these poets are also persons, one after the other, exhibiting bodily functions. Yes you are a wizard of language. Yes you may set a bonfire. Yes you can turn and turn and turn. No you are not a clergy person. No none of this should be bandied about. No you are not for sale. No you have no memory of the mountain of marzipan you saw in Italy.
I love my in-laws. I felt so sad that I won’t see them this weekend.
The coffee is a bit appalling, as is Sam’s insatiable desire for a phone.
I miss Blair.
Animals. Lisa has an enamour of animals.
Very smart, very sensible. The horse is an animal.
The reserves have lost all their tigers. A tiger reserve outside New Delhi with no tigers to show for it. A man willing to shoot to kill. My nephew going into the Navy.
I have to write about Crystal Bowles. There’s only one joke there, which is her name.
Dedicated to kids.
A lot of great teachers have passed through my life unnoticed.
The lady next to me, stunning in wrinkles, eyes blue smoked opal coat black and white houndstooth wreathing in wrinkles, eyes blue with bruises, careful with lipstick, still on her chair, dressed to the teeth.
Phenomenology of poetry.
Aversion of poetry
Resting through aversion
Resting with oily skin
Loving their children
Another strong-minded woman. Another sort of reparation. Another cane or a cast.
Distribution of Jeannie’s, ratio of under-Jeannie’s, an elaboration of Jeannie’s.
What is he reading to the birthday girl?
Something I know: corduroy shirts
Something I’ve forgotten: spring
Lisa is subdued. The whole group is almost utterly subdued. They don’t write emails, they don’t open pdfs. We don’t bond or do I just mistake what bonds there are for something else?
Lisa provides a small spread of snacks each night. Sometimes hot cider, occasionally beer. Food is good.
The cats fight. Harry, Mina, and Bela. They frequent the poetry salon and get pet, as long as they’re relaxed and noses kept out of the food.
People have busy lives. They interfere. I try to gauge how diligent with my homework I should be. I produce some writing I guess each and every time. I’m eager to contribute also eager to unlock the secrets.
I never gather Duncan. I try to read the poems assigned, I never get them. I buy some of his books, don’t think I’ll crack them. I pay $300 for this class, I’m not sure why. I pay it in installments once a month, and I get shy about my childish checks with purple swirlies on them and a Comic front. I think I should have soberer checks like a real poet.
Trying to contribute. I translate a poem of mine into Olde English. Enjoy this exercise. I’m asked to read it aloud, a fairly strugglish effort. Seems okay. Better in Olde English than it was in New. Lisa picks out phrases in our poems. Well, should I toss the rest away, enshrine that phrase? Who knows.
I learn some techniques, puzzle over leading vowels. I want craft but I don’t want it. I am interested in the other students. I’m interested in shaping the interactions. The environment is so subdued, inhibiting. I ask a lot of questions. One dominates. She seems suitably irritable for a teacher of poetry. Poetry teachers swimming daily in bad words. THere are no highlights. I observe the women’s clothes. I’m familiar with an odd fact or two, like Ian Hamilton Finlay’s death this year or fallout on the Hanford Reservation.
Somewhere I don’t bloom. People very sparing with email, commentary, keeping their vast opinions to themselves. Closetsfull of opinions, jamming in on the shelves.
One of my thematic exercises highlights the word Intimacy.
I go to Bernadette Mayer’s reading at St. Mark’s. Appreciate it. I read Winter’s Day from cover to cover on my 2nd try.
I drop Ashbery’s name a couple of times, get a small sound of acknowledgement from Lisa, but no more.
End of October—I blurt out in an email that there’s a reading from In Pieces, an anthology of fragmentary literature by Impassio Press in the city on October 29th. I’ll be there (but not reading). Of course, no one from class shows up, it’s not that kind of group. I’m quite excited by this gathering—there’s Guy, and Jason, Audrey, Ellis, Mary, and lovely Roy, and afterwards, I collect signatures like a giddy child and drink wine and talk of fragments and connections. It’s a lovely gathering. Outside on the plaza, in a windstorm, I fall down and break my wrist.
I miss the next two classes. Halloween is just two days away, can’t really navigate, I stay home becalmed (uncalm) in an utter slump. Unable to celebrate in any way with Sam, a masked witch in a bad mood.
The next week, I’m in New York, but entertaining Geno and Michelle after the marathon. We’re eating at Pure Food and Wine, with Blair, and baby Harry. It’s a good time although I feel phenomenally stressed by the logistics of meeting people in the city and the baby and the driving and the wrist and the expense and the phone call saying I won’t be there at class and the what the hell of all of it. But I like Michelle. She tells Blair stories of the squats in London and Berlin. Geno wrangles Harry pretty well, and Sam takes him out for little walks into the rainy courtyard. We even stop for coffee (terrible) at a nondescript, nonrecommended deli (Greek joint). Returning to my car something like the sound of a loud gong, in the Gong Show, loud and deep and fatal—parking ticket, $65, I parked at 5:40 pm somewhere where I shouldn’t have parked until 6. Just suck it up.
I catch up with the next class. I think I’ve lost the thread of Duncan’s life completely. All I know is that I’m envious of his household, alive with art and poetry and avant friends, community with all its prices and its costs. I’m envious of his ego and his correspondents. Him. Levertov. How to come to terms with what is past. That was then, you see, and this is now.
Discs—Physical Earth energy
Grounded. Material needs. My body. Not being able to take care of myself. Not being able to defend myself from the demands of a project.
Priestess of discs—She’s doing Yoga! Can I still take my Tuesday morning yoga class? I would dearly love to be able to do that. Physical—trainer setup? What about a zafu/zabuton in this room?
Working can be bad for my health, bad for my mood. I don’t want to reach out, make connections. I don’t want to feel over my head again in an extroverted analytical culture.
Six of discs—reversed. Is about this. I don’t want to participate in the madness. I try experimental remarks with Linda, jumping outside the box of her behavior. When I think about healing/leadership, I think—BIG. I want to modify the whole extended team so that we can work well together. My intuition screams at me to modify other’s behavior in situations. I can’t. I avoid participation to a great degree because of this trap.
Son of discs—Goals. One of my fondest dreams is to improve the house. I would love to gradually transform this space into something that would feel good and livable. I don’t dare to wish for what. Seems materialistic. There are poor out there. I am no good at home decorating. Etc. First step—money. Could I feel good about this? I don’t know. I might feel like Michelle or Richie. I might be susceptible to Sam’s criticisms, bound/engaged with his actions or lack of action. I don’t want that.
The Indra work tells me—my life has been quite diverse and varied, here, there, and everywhere—it’s a little dizzying to think that this was all one person and one person’s life. It is shocking.
50 x 365—unique work. I don’t know. I’m exhausted by it. I want it to be over. It is a huge meditation on interpersonal relations. I tried to exercise lovingkindness—could not succeed at times. I don’t know how much to reveal. I’d like to WOW people with it. That’s not such great motivation. I’d like to let people know they have touched my life. I’d like to open the door to an intimacy—but this is not very mutual. I grabbed all the power and authority by writing these things.
I found a source of motivation. I was not going to let D see me stop. Ha.
It’s not that big a thing really.
A need to relax the mind, heal the interaction. She is a poet. He is dressed in second-hand clothes. She resists friendship, the contaminant of it. He is studying in the hot, in the cold. She is working on images not words. He is dreaming of the garden. She is assembling her questions into a marble monument, he is handling rotten fruit and leaves.
Everyone is gone.
Everyone is gone and it is after winter in this cold café.
At the next table, the woman drones into her cell phone in a monotone. Sad face and sad words. Manicure. Hairstyle. Family. You know, what am I getting in return? Nothing, absolutely nothing. And maybe expecting something is my problem. I just thought things were going to be a lot different. … skiing with Megan…
Vague wish to go skiing.
She wants to know what is the story.
Get tattoos and become a normal person. The dichotomy, the dogmatic. The woman starts to laugh. The laugh, the litany, the lost.
You big dog, you dirty dog. Birthday card for Kristin. I want to
Unashamed evaluation. Here in Starbucks, tears behind my eyes unreasonable. Feel pressure to make phone calls—Kristin, Lorna, Margaret, and I don’t want to do it. Feel the competition of Stamford, everyone is out. Feel a freaky drama starting in the house, so tied down, so unhappy, so oppressed, so much by what who knows the lack of private time, the restriction on my inner life my meditation my suffering over inability to recharge? Yes, I am an aging Ipod mini battery so
Thirsty and so suffering—it’s been coming up for hours, weeks, and months—I put it down (PUT IT DOWN) you see and there it is again this vagueness this unease the only solution that I want
Luckily no tears—K stopped by to say hi—my friend—oh well.
Here are characters—Chikeola, the African Queen whose body bending like a snake gets up to chant Gayatri mantra—
There is handwriting on the wall in this location.
Why struggle with this at all? I am insecure with anything that requires any level of resolve.
I can work a Program, show up, practice feebly on and off—I can read and write and work on software engineering. Fitness is not part of my routine. I’d let Sam work on his truck, the house, the computer, I’d let anyone do anything. There is very little I can figure out.
Holding Separate—here is where we are reckless holding ourself Separate—because there is a lack of dharma friends.
K—Starbucks and her husband—Burger King.
I could easily have been married to __ or __ at this point—Jesus fucking God forbid—I could be a tourist down in Costa Rica tormenting monkeys, dropping trash, failing once again to speak the language.
I am accepting that it’s just okay to Not Fit In.
Eli has almost gotten to a Saturn Return (?)
Eclipse—astrology? What is it all about?
In the light
Matt, Rachel, Jake & Isabella (twins)
Vivian (surgery tomorrow)
the way your clothes
lie neatly along the angles
of your body
smug somethings of her afterbirth
no stories please
especially no photos
I can’t bear it
thinking of her
trying to breastfeed
little ones failing to thrive
on the diet of America
how could she rise above
how could she contemplate
the fingertips of
Many Americans are beautiful and they have nice clothes but they are in the majority not enlightened.
Arriverderci. Italian man across from me talks into his cellphone. Yawning, with headset, newspaper.
Who are your friends?
Who are your relatives?
Why can’t there be original artwork on this Starbucks’ walls?
Why is suburban life so oriented toward the dead?
Her face made up like a cadaver.
More reading, more writing. Right now my skin is salty with dried sweat, I’m jittery with coffee. There is no torpor. I am radiant in the fragility of March. The fleeting ice, the flavors in the atmosphere, the thin glittering legs of these lake birds, hunting, hunting. Fish? Wishing for a lot of frogs around the edges of my pond, wishing for a pond. My parents’ relationship with the spring peepers in their backyard swamp. Yes, I have boredom, ill will, yes, and guess what—it is mine. I saw and felt that here just now. How latent it remains, the tendency to blame. Here I am warm and contained, my teeth are singing off the fluid line of ink. The failbetter, the magazine. Lists of objects. A book, over-sized, with heavy plastic pages, inscribed (somehow) with freewrites. I feel breathless.
Chikeola sits there African and deep black and inhumanly strong and flexible. She touches my back, my hands, my feet, guides my elbows into microbends. Thoughts cross my mind—I’m 50, no I’m 51—and this is pretty good, right? Well no, she wouldn’t buy that, would she.
Tiresome. Tiresome culturally. Advice is grating sandpaper. Would rather taunt the shy mink. Or is that tempt? Would rather tempt the shy mink into my clutches, offering morsels. Would rather miss my family, friends, than see them. Illusions. Going to move.
There is no book. There is no book. This book of no book. The thought of non-thought. The mystery of transmission. Heartfelt. The girl’s sweatshirt says “Fianu.” I am reluctant to go home.
Here is what you have to know.
Nek Chand Sculpture Garden.
Don’t raise kids with big heads. Make sure they know their place. No touching, thank God.
The desks of childhood, the pencils. The awesomeness of three-year-olds.
Fast talkers. At work, an impulse, so intense, to slow down all conversations. Slow slow slow slow down. Make you repeat each word in line so the thoughts can be absorbed. So what is this phenomenon, this riffing disrespect? Does it hide ignorance or escalate frustration? Where is the mountain, where are the waters?
Egg looking for the riverbank. Eggplant seeking streamside.
Little girl lacking, lacking coffee, not that good for her anyway. I would have made an excellent divorced dad.
Women looking out from underneath raised eyebrows.
No one’s here. Loud sound far away, a fog horn, some emergency of rain. Sam went out on a call about a flooded basement. Last night we ate at Pepe’s, the original tomato pie, no cheese. And hear the cheeping, the continuous chirping of suburban birds, and what is their mental capacity, and how do they stay warm? I want the angel of bird feathers and down to clothe me. I want the tendency to sing and fly. Their lives pass cheaply, no funerals at their deaths. No funerals, no funerals.
And yesterday or last week I heard about a service, body washing. Washing the body. I want my body tenderly washed by my faith community. Nothing more beautiful than that. And here I chatted about inconsequences with co-workers and Margaret’s family, while her mother lay in state. I thought—at least there should be silence. We are so bereft. And Poland—what happens when you lose 3 million Jews?
This morning I listened to stories about the golden carp. And stories about stories. And resistance to the fact of stories. And the sources of stories. Beyond. All I can tell you.
You enters shyly. You has been driven away, off the mountain path. You has flown over the cliff in a blaze of herbal fire and lifting smoke. I feel your cloud on my arms. I feel cold leaching down my arms. I feel devils on my arms, in my hands. I feel dust coming up, dust and ash, clouds of smoke from the charnel grounds.
Her laughter—can’t kill herself because her son would then have to kill himself. I listen and might be tempted to be afraid, temptation to be afraid, mentally ill like everyone one. Everyone one.
So here we go—
I don’t know where I want to go.
She is sad and lonely, after all.
She lives without a purpose, fed on grandiosity; it’s not nutritious.
So behind the scenes.
My boyfriend doesn’t sleep with me.
War—there—you might lose your arms.
Arms are impermanent.
Happily, no arms. Her bruise is permanent, now permanent. Operations that abuse the body.
People going on vacation—she’s close enough to practicing sympathetic joy. And—generosity.
How are we to have a moment where I contact you? Evening.
I let you alone. Left.
How is this to be done? Radical.
Longing for the quiet of the bustling morning shops. In the small town, does anyone arise before 6? In the village, do you encounter people on the street? In the English village, naked people with monstrous faces? In the white north, chanting lunatics? In the humid south, alligators are successful, polar bears are not. Difficulties among the animal populations.
The words the words the words the magazines. Shopping at Goodwill immersed in a fabric well waiting for the dingdong bell that makes me finished and the mothers buying clothing for their kids. A load of sweetness.
Adorable. He’s adorable, the way he curls his toes in, snuggles. The poetic journal, contentment of those “I’s” that misarticulation. I posted indirection on my website. Someone said “I don’t know what this poem means to me.” Wouldn’t that be me?
Girls as big as horses, reminiscent hooves of shoes, long hair like manes sleek with exercise.
What business are you in?
Every movement seems audacious. Basic rule: to think, to work, invent.
Dave and Heidi. Julie and her baby.
Mental flexibility is so important.
Just to let you know.
issues with travel come up when other people are doing it
the day your son gets a passport
the day a friend misinterprets
the horsey women leave and so do the foxy women and the blondes
Misconceptions. A tension from upper back through neck and into head.
A sick daring causing stomachache
a slight—what sort of slight
naming what is “hard” obscuring what is “soft” or “easy”
Some problem with the order—where are the 30—were there 30 or not?
honking, rapid, repetitive
see ya later and I got the door
salad for here
sometimes best to disappear
I will work with Inna. She is from the Ukraine and she has definite opinions. Sigh—I am—sigh—repulsed.
Morning waves of aversion rise like nausea where am I, what am I doing.
Joanne Kyger Joanne Kyger Joanne Kyger just an image
Ecology. Well, our remove from it.
I know my row of herbs in the upper yard—rosemary, sage, lady’s mantle, bergamot. Some lavender. Oh well, okay, bored.
A flicker in my toe. The obnoxiousness of writing the seethrough sheer. The obnoxiousness of writing, the impulsiveness. The retardedness. Someone has to be you and you are IT. Someone has to name the fashionable names. Someone has to translate. Someone has to have the skills. Someone has to be unresponsive. Someone has to serve the lunch, someone has to struggle in the office with a flicker in their left third toe and a stabbing pricker in their pinky and that one is me.
Silences. I won’t tell anyone. I won’t tell anyone. I won’t tell anyone. Blossoming of lies like bindweed. This one doesn’t trust hate like a fool.
Some things I don’t have room for. Titles. Organizational structures. Some things I have a talent for. Some men are women, some women are men. I have my own clients now. I’m managing the project. This is my practice. Practice management system. What is manageable, what is unmanageable. What is your sentence? Linda saying. Job interview. I will ask you a hard question. Your job is to ask the hard questions. Change management. This and that. When are we on the same page.
Com mun i ca tion
Se man tics
It’s not just semantics. I will blurt. I will micromanage. I will be an addict. I will repeat the question. I will get the job done. Please.
I thought I saw one of the many Scotts twenty years later,
twenty years ago.
Busy women clopping by in heels.
We’re not sure we’re wanted on this planet.
Try to be direct, try to direct, the team, the leadership. The common, the committee, the approach, the aftermath. Amazed. I am amazed in grass in weeds in yard work. The root, the colors, the shapes, the tiny “M”, the way things are happening. A tiny phone in a tiny hole. Rhythmic remarks. The tiny mags, the page turners.
Oh that is it and tonight the Dinner Party a casual affair.
Flooded with resistance like a blinding light.
I am off the bat. The boat. Boating an activity of many while they are still the middle class
why don’t we all go home to the drowned home with the backdrop of garbage the white elite the bored the this the that
Hot page cool breeze. Birds and juice. Death in the air, creeping. Suicidal Ideation. Nothing but pleasantries, a need to scan the lines. Rustle woods, the deer step, squirrel shuffle. Peculiar disconnectedness of individuals, editors, the edited smile, the censored speech. Pileup of phrases. The litter of prepositions, the punctuation of punctuation. Texture of voices and air conditioning noises. The bands and patterns of tension. Often I ask: what are you talking about? What does it mean, the transfer function?
Shock of Ron Ferguson’s reference to Gail Godwin’s novel what it was. About coalescing, coming together and apart, Monrad and Rob in trouble, what about Joe, what about Warren?
Unwieldy Characters. Awesome characters that I will try to separate. An effort.
I am sad. Little girl with pastry, mother talking on the cellphone. Unsweetened. Men doing crosswords with raised eyebrows.
Her friend Rafael. I don’t have a dog, there are no stories of him anymore.
Stone blue eyes, steel and Georgian silver. All is gorgeous.
I am mad at them.
Let me ask – how much do you know, is there compassion? What is knowledge-based compassion? What is argumentation? What is keeping quiet? To never lead you to believe that there was too much talking.
Speech is ill-considered and dangerous.
I will let you know my niche and you will visit
impressed by all my lone wolf contemplation
swimming about without a project
there is nothing I can do
no means no ends no optimistic no despair
and here a series of no’s
that anyone would call bad poetry
and in my hand, the summa critical
of everyone who thinks
or writes or speaks
just wanting nurture
It was after her remarks.
It was on account of his smirking.
It was on account of being steady state.
Worried look. Eyes echoing her beads, shiny, pink.
Jim. Sam. Bob. Bill. What will they do?