Saturday, September 29, 2007

Invisible Jazz (diary, September 29, 2007)

I tried to send photos to my email address but to no avail. I want to show the garden past peak, what it looks like to be winding down, to be turning autumn in its leaves, the leaves on the ground, the withered flower stalks.

Last night we went to a poetry program at Bedlam Theatre called Invisible Jazz. It was a show about women being sexy (and a man named Wonder Dave being sexy), which in many ways was a shame because there were older people in the audience who probably came for the jazz & the language, as I did. It gets to be costly after a while to cast all women as sex objects, for them to cast themselves as sex objects, because little remains after that display is over for them to do, besides clean the house, and I think the younger women know it and think they can defy it and that it will be different when they turn 40, but it will be the same, not different, and there will be little for them to do besides clean the house and sometimes to look ridiculous dressed as aging prostitutes -- as there was one woman dressed as a prostitute dancing with her old man last night, and she was not so young, and she looked ridiculous, and if she were wearing clothing that showed joy or experience, she might have looked, actually, prettier, and had even more fun. Who wants to dress like a prostitute at 50? It's a story.

I was wearing a cat suit with cowboy boots and rusty fringe-leather jacket, but I was steadfastly asexual the whole night. I was on a date with a poet, but we are asexual. Perhaps if I had not been killed by a Catholic Recovery brigade, I might know where to fit physically into this universe, but not-killed is not what happened. What happened did.

The jazz, when it rolled around at midnight or so, was terrific, not least because it was poetry-jazz. The artists were Christopher Shillock, Tabatha Predovich, and Minnesota Spoken Word Association's E.G. Bailey and Sha Cage.

A few days earlier: Tuesday morning I found the lump in my right breast. I doubled my dose of Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant, which I should have done sooner. I bought chewable vitamins, since all pills, including nutritional supplements, now cause a gag reflex in me. The doctor did a manual exam on Friday and found nothing too strange. The lump had subsided, might even have been a wasp bite, as we had many wasps circling the yard, and my mother was bit a few times, and the bites swelled. I'll get a standard mammogram in late October.

The doctor is an old-fashioned G.P. and remembers me from ten years ago, when my disposition was sunny, and I had friends and a boyfriend -- really a long time ago now -- he said yesterday, to remind me, that I am one of his favorite people, and it was good to see me "back." "You know," I told him, "I had a really dreadful years-long series of manic-depressive episodes, but it's better now."

The people I know got to have jobs; I'll never know what they know about being respectable white people, even though they are supposedly writers, and writers are the liver of the country, and they'll never know what it might be to be white people without posts. Will they? I feel like I have to be private here: I did recently gain a post and would rather not discuss it, except to say it's good & right & high time.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dream in Snow Circle

I dreamt that we were in the snow. The snow looked like the tundra. My sister was there and was looking at me from inside the snow circle near the house. She was knitting or mending. Pierre Joris was standing in open snow, wearing a parka, and the fur ruff on his hood made him look sincere. I told my sister, “That's Pierre Joris. He's a poet.” “Oh,” she said. Then Pierre came to talk to me. He had a collection of record albums indoors; we went inside to search the records and see the equipment. The phone rang. A freelance client named Martin, who had unwillingly given up a chance to work with me to a man named Clay, was calling to warn me that Clay had ripped up a plastic milk jug in the house they rented, while claiming the jug was me. When I got off the phone, I wanted to play my “Sound Experiment” for Pierre, knowing he might like it if it were played properly with the right equipment, but it didn't seem possible: a French feminist in a caftan had come into the room and was applying cream to her elbows. She ordered the equipment. Pierre said to me, “I'm horny.” “I can read French," I told him. "If you heard my French, you would laugh.” My sister stayed outside near the snow circle mending.

Posted at Annandale Dream Gazette. Read Robert Kelly's description of poets' dreams at Ready Steady Book.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dinner

At our women's dinner last night, no one took pictures -- for a change. All seven women were dressed up and looked beautiful. We all look beautiful "for our age." Our ages varied 41-66 (or so), adjusting for the possibility that one of us is altering our statistics. Let's say, not. We grew up together, most of us. Our goal was to eat a terrific meal in a restaurant and to light up cigarettes afterward. Soon, we won't be able to do that, and already, we have had to drive to the neighboring county to do that. Our hostess, whom I call Lana at this weblog, visits Florida to see her snowbird parents and believes the smoking ban is our Prohibition. She has been watching old Bogart movies and realizing the end of an era. I wore my Mizrahi evening dress that I got at Target for $6. The truth is, we hardly ever understand what is going on. If you consider that it is legal to boot-lock my car in a Minneapolis parking lot for $119.75 but not to smoke in a restaurant, are we not in our rights to ask what rights are, what ours are and what they were? I ordered, of all things, beef liver. What a strange decision, to eat liver at a restaurant. All the women asked to taste it, as if it were an exotic appetizer. I gave them all bites. For liver, it tasted very good, but for food, it tasted like liver. The thought of it, while I ate it, was causing a ruckus in my esophagus, and twice I went to the women's room to burp violently near the sink. I ate it in the hopes that it will help my liver, which is holding up all right after all these years of taking medications and a past of too much drinking. So, we were all healthy but suffering financially, not equally so, and the tendency to suffer financially was caused by our men. We took a quiz in moral values, phrased as a party game for women. After the story-quiz, it came clear that I place my values in the following order: Security (the old male friend), Love (the girl), Sex (the lover), Morals (the girl's female friend), Money (the old man). There was every possible combination in the group. I'm keeping this vague, because it's more important to get out and enjoy company and a meal once in a while than it is to report on it in a detailed format; you see how it makes for paler writing. I do.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pay-off (def.)

(from Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary):

n., 1. originally, the act or time of payment. [Colloq.]
2. settlement or reckoning. [Colloq.]
3. something that is unexpected or almost incredible, especially when coming as a climax or culmination. [Colloq.]

We had a spiritual practice in Houston whereby one of us would open the dictionary randomly and point to the "power word of the day." The first time one of us did it, the power word was "fig." I've done this only a couple times on my own. Today's power word is "pay-off." Further words to help me interpret the significance of that word are "rodent," "sliding scale," "pudding," and "metemptosis," wh. means "the suppression of the bissextile day once in 134 years, to prevent the new moon from being indicated in the calendar a day too early: compare proemptosis (in chronology the addition of a day every 300 years and another every 2400 years to the lunar calendar, to prevent the date of the new moon being set a day too soon)."

Espied: neighbors in the dictionary: "promiscuousness" and "promise."

Candor, or cited

"The End," Oct. 9, 1991, p. 294

Prayer: May we be relieved of knowing (too much or too little) about the sins of others?

If I don't get back to life immediately I'll die. My throat is aching, just like the woman in the dream. They're killing me. Maybe a man's throat somewhere is aching. Our thwarted destinies. Romance is a romance. We repel one another. Union is brief, inconsistent. Peace is highly desirable. Bear your knowledge. If you can bear your knowledge, you are a plant. Men's greater physicality protects him from other men and from women. He remembers being overpowered and abandoned by a woman. His woman, his mother, left him. He's hurt. He must get over it. He mistreats women, who are peaceful by nature; he tempts her, too. What is sinister in us must be handled, melted, dwelt in, balanced. As I have always done, faithfully. How else could I tell the story I have told? I was supposed to be not only a suicide but a lesbian, to bear my knowledge by not knowing that women, terrible, destroy. Women do destroy. Freud was (right about everything except one thing) wrong. Are we locked in this coupling? Are we amenable? I need a vegetarian man, a thinker, a logician. Not what I'd had in mind the first time. I'd wanted the other kind, (a real) one to subdue me. I still do. He can know I won't use my power to blast him. He will be respectful, not fearful, because he has gone to the core of his knowledge and seen what men are and has re-formed. This re-breaking of myself, this giving myself (social) cancer (candor) in search of the truth, like Marie Curie, in sacred territory. Handle with care.

(repeated): from the Christopher Isherwood Diaries (July, 1940):

Prayer for writers: 'Oh source of my inspiration, teach me to extend toward all living that fascinated, unsentimental, loving and all-pardoning interest which I feel for the characters I create. May I become identified with all humanity, as I identify myself with these imaginary persons. May my life become my art and my art my life.'

Catechism

It could be a blessing but also a curse that in God's light a girl seeing her self-witness asserts herself. The mother built a haymow in the yard. The cat sleeps in it. The Catholic catechism is a gift to Catholic children. What people believe is in the human part of nature to realize -- that the genitals are reserved for Christian marital contact only -- was not in evident practice by Catholic recipients of the catechism and therefore not revealed and not in human nature self-revealing. Heathens, as the dust-men call us, never received the gift of the catechism. We were called to enter the Covenant with God. Our religious practices of childhood forsaken, but not our friendships, with Jewish gay men and women. The Torah tastes like Hawaiian honey-bread, but the Catholic catechism is grave and admits (repentant sinners) to joy and happiness, grace and heart. The condemned read in its pages their condemnation. The catechism calls us to live divinely in poverty, humility, and chastity. The Catholic women provide the orders of their religious upbringings to us who were given little guidance, only love of Christ on Easter and at Christmas, in our states of grace, perceived to be the province of our hearts and the hearts of our parents.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Linda (poem)

to Patty D.

"Do all women carry purses?"
she asked.
"Am I a woman?"
I asked.
"Yes,"
she said.
"Do I carry a purse?"
"No,"
she replied.
"Can I have your purse?"
she asked.

(1983)

Men's movement

What is it, really? These posts I detained: perhaps *Sonia* is peeved to see them "removed," but I can replace them at will, reveal them again at any time. These are not books. These are a blood list, not of names. A list of bleedings that I partially wrote, that I wrote as long as I dared to write them, a packet of essays, a list not of names.

The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman. I watched it Sunday evening at Oak Street Cinema while Asian sheisters locked up my car with a tire boot. Later, they charged me $119 to remove it. That was to be my dinner budget for Friday, when six women were to enjoy our final night smoking and drinking in a restaurant in Chanhassen, a night before the smoking ban takes full effect on Oct. 1. I was to take a cab, in case I wanted to drink too much: red wine, Bloody Mary's, perhaps a tangy beer -- until tipsy, something I do on rare occasions, and sex, something we are not to do in this Age of the New Men. Funny, during the age of the new women, men continued in their drinking & violence, did they not? And didn't they befriend one another? And didn't they meet & mingle? And didn't they graduate college & assume positions? In this, the age of new men, the women are to be tested and subjugated, neglected and ignored. Some women are happy in it, if they have found a little money, if there is still a trail of it, a hot one. Breasts: round & sculpted under skinny long shirts, reverse cut-offs under lingerie nighties on bicycles, inviolate teenagers riding alongside victimized ones.

Swedes in the film. The knight of the Crusades was angelic, true, but I liked the squire more. The women were beautiful, young, & ridiculously unchastened by Death, the Black Death, the subject of the film, that and religion, the film a tome.

Therapy disgusts me. I barely hid my contempt for it at a new therapist's office Monday. What a wimp! What a pathetic passive softhead. Still, in my dutiful condition I shall accept a top-flight therapist, an enlightened woman or man, a guide.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Getting it

Never have I felt so embarrassed. I have shouted about how much I hate rich people. This goes into the phone, along with many other words in the language, words about relationships & friends & men & hospitals & housing & outings -- to my sister, to T. My favorite lack is of outings. We go nowhere together. Anton Chekhov & Arthur Miller love me in the eyes. Sex is a thing of the good past, of the newspaper. New sex is a nuisance: the men had horrible marriages and their wives are horrible and their children are horrible and their careers in shreds and tatters and their ruins in suits as if their ruins were attractive and the men after marriage, in its aftermath & in chasing it; anyway, getting married is for sweethearts, as I may apply myself to be, and its excessive wealth, to relearn shopping, after giving it up, to learn a Sunday common prayer, a practice of religious worship, to be a salon-goer again, someone who gets up in the morning, who has a life, to be a wife, and just be embarrassed by it, by money: for decades. To sneakily give it away to men, to friends, to you. I shall write story plays with long passages of dialogue, and you will not; I shall write poems & short stories, and your poems & short stories will outshine mine, and I shall be glad for our bittersweet episodes of longshots. You brute! You singer! You zimcareeter, frog tester. Lipper. Yes, married, then people at the party? Invite yourself. I've been to three weddings, two of family, and a few funerals. We're having a great festival & wearing a great dress & a suit. We begin to live in honor.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Webgoing Notes

Oh, surfers -- is that still a word? -- sufferers -- who visit Ana Verse searching for Swedish folksongs: "Rida, Rida Ranka" & "Ode to Coffee" & "Varan Prost" have brought it to the top of the google list, yet the punctuation -- so lazy on my part -- is unofficial. Umlauts & the little circle dot over the "a," I guess you'd say, are missing. I was once very careful about such things but have grown lax; there is no translation in Spanish for the found poem in "Lesson 38." Again, lazy.

Million-dollar ideas: Here's one for Oisseau, my name for an occupational visitors' program to schools, similar to writers-in-the-schools, based on Studs Terkel's Working. Parents & community members visit schools & give presentations on their occupations throughout the school year.

Another one: WPA -- federal Writers' Project (from the 1930s) -- revisited, this time to systemetize the self-help book industry. I picture thousands of editors & writers reading self-help books & articles, in print & on the internet, selecting, critiquing, and reviewing those books and shortlisting them for the masses. Included would be books in use, even if out-of-print, with the best of those going into reprintings. Writers recommend novels, short stories, poetry, & plays that help lives & why.

Do you like Hillary Clinton? I hear from my correspondents & colleagues that she is too like the Republicans for their liking, yet I think she's the best candidate for fighting the terrorism that is the Reagan-Bush era. We cannot afford to have a Doe for president, next. I hear that she "is scary" and that John Edwards might be a new FDR. I revered John Kerry and believe he would have made an excellent administrative president. Hillary makes me feel proud to be a woman. That is not "neither here nor there." Is porn a genocide? No news on that subject. Who stakes bare her clam?

Jimmy Carter, they said, had too little sex; Jesse Jackson too weird diction. I don't even have a heart, except in quiet breathing moments with odd women; I've certainly never lusted in it -- a fete in sin. We miss their diplomacy, the once-tame economy, the affordability of life, and reduced crime.

Louise DeSalvo's book, Writing As A Way of Healing (Beacon Press Books, 1999), is excellent and a help to teachers whose students have endured traumas. She outlines safe procedures for writing through difficult passes & lists similar difficulties of many favored authors.

Heard on my walks: Tighty whitey!

Inchworm ...

Out.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lesson 38

The verb "tener" (to have) (present tense)

I have a book.
You are hungry./You have hunger.
You have a big bed.
He has a wife.
She has a child.
We have a problem.
You have a house (plural, as in Spain)
You have a house (plural)
They have tickets for a trip to Spain.
I have a father.
You have a mother.
My house has three doors.
It has seven windows also.
We have time.
You have a pen.
They have some tickets for the ferry boat.
They have some gifts for their husbands.

(from onlingo by Henry N. Raymond)

Windowkill (Goldfinch, m.)

Jack in the Pulpit

Sargent Highbush Cranberry

Viburnum

Grand i flora Hosta