CoffeeAndTeaShow

July 7, 2006 at 10:11 pm (1977, Prose, Web Sites)

I am involved in a podcast – check it out at http://coffeeandteashow.libsyn.com/

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

Circus Acting

May 20, 1977 at 3:30 pm (1977, Journal)

A weariness is over life—No, a blanket, and beneath is the weariness. What is life for? We spend our whole youth being packed with gun-powder, aimed, and shot—towards what? It is supposed to be life—but it is just a net that we land in, as if at a circus. Outside everyone claps, a good feat. So we learn skills, a career, we get married with another who has learned a career—and walk the tight-rope as lovers, never quite able to relax for fear of losing our balance, and falling to disgrace and the death of illegitimacy. Married, and carry on our bedroom acts like trapeze artists—somersaulting from swinging bar to bar, clasping tight hands in death-defying grips, catching bent legs with bent legs, legs with arms, arms with hanging ankles—we know so many tricks! Yet we never feel . . . what?

It is all an act—a show, for approval. We so desperately need approval that we withdraw our own approval from those who don't appear to quite approve us enough. We are all afraid of falling.

How to cure us from our fear?

And how, alas, to catch the meaning of life—we catch the other in our death-defying leaps but why doesn't it feel like life? Why, somehow, somewhere, perhaps someplace, some before, something is missing . . . What is missing? Life. But why.

Both things are cured in one stroke. The circus has become a weariness—at first it was fun, with a deep, underground wonderfulness, so death-defying—but now it just wearies us to a pulp, as if we were ready for the paper-machine.

But look up my dear! Look up! And you don't see things flying between the day and the night! No swallows, no bats! You don't see them.

Why?

A blanket has settled over us, a canvas, held up by long tent poles. It is between us and the sun. It is between us and the moon, especially the moon. It is between us and bats. We have even blocked out the insects.

What a divider this blanket is, this canvas! It has divided us from life.

Now, be specific . . . what does all this mean? What does it refer to?

There is nothing wrong with thinking (it is good for people) so long as thinking hasn't got to be habit with you. Only when a word sounds new and fresh, is it keeping us free. Let it be a word old, a word "universally recognized" as true, and it is dividing us beneath a blanket from the vast stretch of world beyond blanket.

Charlotte said this afternoon, though tonight's party included swimming, she didn't intend to swim. Her in a bathing suit, among other people! What would they think of her in a bathing suit! (Her skin would be so white—and she is not, after all, Farah Faucet-Majors who looks so attractively sexy she ought to be squeezed flat in some machine and placed permanently into, yeah, Playboy.)

"You shouldn't let what other people think bother you. Just think: they don't matter, then." I told her.

I was wrong, though, as even I know. What they think does matter. But what I mean is that, let it matter, and still go out in your bikini. Reconcile yourself to that sort of illegitimacy. Don't be afraid of it. It is not a fun pain, but if we want to get outside the tent, we must take the blows. We must let them call us illegitimate. We must fly our legitimacy right into the face, like an angry moth, but with a flutter of moth-livingness.

Permalink Leave a Comment

My species

May 18, 1977 at 7:30 pm (1977, Journal)

That is the very purpose of touch: to unarm us. The man and the woman must become unarmed fully in each other’s presence, present each other no danger absolutely, then it is touch.

There must be no hidden thoughts, like hidden weapons, and exposed ones must be shown harmless, not intended as weapons.

These truths I learned from Georgia, from thinking about it.

With someone like Peter I feel—what is it I feel, I like him so? I know that he is like me, a genuine animal, human animal, and stepped out of the crouching, civilized cemetery long ago, like a man skipping beyond the club-armed primal forests into a new, a human, kind life. We agree, even with our different words, because we know we talk of pretty much the same thing.

I feel like I’ve never talked of it before, the same thing, with someone else.

I feel like—Peter is one of mine, one of my species. Yet I am frightened, a little, not having met one before. It almost puts me on trial.

I like him.

He grants me a certain insect-nature, like a dragonfly.

So I grant him being a living specimen of a human being, which is so rare—a species long thought extinct.

Permalink Leave a Comment

to Georgia

May 17, 1977 at 9:00 pm (1977)

Box 61 Morris Hall
Univ. of Ga.
Athens, Georgia
30602

Georgia,

I think that you may find this a strange letter (but then, what is life for, if not strange letters?) First letters are always hard to write. I think this one is especially hard for me, because I don’t know what to write, or what I ought to write. I’m not even sure, in myself, what I honestly want to say to you.

I'm sure I could write you a short, meaningless letter about school or this or that, and it would probably be fine, would probably be all that you asked of me—or expected.

But I don’t want to do that—I want my life to be a serious thing, that I don’t run away from, or degrade into meaningless, innocent, everyday letters. I don’t want this to be a common letter, or a “sweet” letter, or a “let’s-write-about-anything-but-what’s-important-in-life” letter. I think it would be just lies—or rather, fear of living, to write like that to you. I owe you something more meaningful. (It’s like some devil’s in me, assuring that this won’t be your run-of-the-mill letter.)

So here goes:

(Probably, I’ll frighten you to death!)

(Without reason, of course.)

Anyway, here goes:

(I think I’ll start with Sunday night—yes, Sunday!)

Sunday night Charlotte thanked me for “keeping” her younger sister “company” while she was down (or up?) here at Athens, and for “giving her a good time”.

Now, I hadn’t realized that that was what I had been doing—keeping you entertained with a good time while you were here. It didn’t seem like that to me.

“Well, I enjoyed it too” I told Charlotte. (Which seemed like I was lying, because, it just wasn’t like that.—I don’t consider you my “entertainment for the week”—Saturday (and Friday) Night Live, or whatever. It’s alien to my blood, to my instincts, to feel such a way.

So anyway, I told your sister what seems to me to have been a white lie: “Well, I enjoyed it too.” Well, Georgia was my weekend toy; I enjoyed it; who will be next weekend’s toy? (Florida? Idaho?)

It was a white lie, see.

At the same time it would have been as much of a lie to have said: “I’m in love with your sister.” It wouldn’t have been true. For one thing, the thought is ridiculous—there can be no question of me possibly “being in love with” a girl I’d only just met, and couldn’t possibly really know.

No, I should have said something like:

“Georgia and I had a touch. I don’t know what it means; but I know it was important. A touch cannot but be important, and this one was important. It was life. But how important it was, I can’t know. I can’t know just what it means, or what it will come to mean, if anything. But it was a touch.”

I didn’t think of it to say (too many words!), and even if I’d thought of it, I would have chickened out. Must not let anyone think there is something, well, funny, about me! What does all this “touch” business mean, anyway?

Georgia, I don’t know.

But I take my life seriously, and I admit I’m only a beginner at living (you see I’ve never been alive before). So I don’t know what I’m doing writing this letter now—I’ve no idea, really, what it is I’m trying and stumbling so to say—perhaps I am not trying to say anything.

Still, I know my purpose. I want you to know that I don’t want to follow the normal path and degrade our touch—and our touches—into the normal jargon and phrases and classifications that most people use in order to dispense with having to handle things too seriously, with too much reverence, awe. They’d much rather turn it into “entertainment”, “a good time”, “love”, “making out”, this, that &c. All of which, to me, is just a bunch of lies—the things I do (if I’m honest with myself) just never fit such categories—or any of the other thousands of categories people have set up like bins for them to toss their experiences into, and not have to worry about them.

I touched you. You touched me, I think. So it was a touch. At least of some sort, to some extent, and in myself I know it was important. Like that street-washing machine with all its noise going by, which was of no importance in the scheme of things—in contrast to our kisses, which were.

But how important, is for us to decide.

I’m a person of instincts. It is my instincts and my sensibilities that I’m most interested in. I don’t want to deny them; I don’t want to treat them as of no account. That’s why I’m writing what I know must be an awful confusing, tentative letter.

I hope the confusion and tentativeness doesn’t frighten you off—or simply confuse you. Or lead you to standard conclusions.

I don't like standard conclusions.

I guess I’m in a strange mood tonight. I think this is a brave, unexpected (and probably weird) letter—but then I feel I owe it you! (If only I knew what it was I was saying!)

You touched me! I accuse you of that.

I touched you,—I’m willing to stand accused.

You didn’t sting me, by denying it was really touch—that’s what most girls do, and boys too; they deny (always later, by words, gestures) that it was really intimate touch, because they are afraid if they admit it was for them really touch, that they will be stung by the recoil of the other.

I’m not afraid of being stung—I know that’s the chance I take, when I choose to live by my instincts and sensibilities.—And yet, when I recognize stingers, I back away.

But after this last weekend, I know you’re not a stinger. —though this letter may frighten you, it is so strange. Just what does it mean? you must be thinking.

It doesn’t mean anything. I just thought it would be fun for you to get a strange letter, and yet one that is in some way gasping to be honest (I admit, gasping). I want the deeper things of life, the deeper knowledge. I know my sort of deep knowledge, my sort of path, may not be for you, or yours for me, but that’s what we’re to find out.—and to do it without me denying you or you denying me, of being special. No stinging. Just honesty, even if it means pain, or whatever.

I must call on Pan, and Isis, and Osiris, and Artemus, for what to do. For I'm just a beginner in life, an amateur, and they are the generations of the world.

It is mystic language, I admit; but I know what it means. How to tell you, I don’t know.

You touched me, and so my sensibilities, and instincts, and intuition, will not let me pretend it was nothing—like spirits from the underground, they come up and haunt me, when I begin to. Does that make any sense?

Oh well. . .

There is a girl named Georgia who seems to me sincere, silent, capable of sincerity and silence, and physical touch, without degrading it with her words, making something trite, or typical, of it. Yet I think you are a little afraid, which is good, for that shows you also have sensibilities, and true intelligence, that isn&’t alienated from your emotions.

Still, I think to myself, I don’t know this girl, though we’ve been intimate. I know (I think) that she is softly genuine, but I don’t know if she’s of my intrinsic sort, quite. I am very uncertain how far I should go with her—how far I could go without deceiving her, deceiving myself too, and betraying touch. I don’t want to hurt her, or be hurt by her. At the same time I know I must, must not cower in fear from touch. I don’t know this girl Georgia; she doesn’t know me; so lets don’t be afraid. Let’s give openness a try.

That is how I am thinking.

Do you think I’m a “strange one”?—I guess I am.

I don’t expect every girl to be acceptable; and I certainly don’t expect every girl to find me acceptable. So I’m a cautious thing—usually.

This letter doesn’t seem too cautious to me, though. I hope you will forgive any transgressions.

I know it puts you in unusual shoes, to have to answer such a letter as this! I wouldn’t know what to do, if I got a letter like this. (I think I would be speechless. I’d probably wonder: Was this sent to the right house?)

This letter was sent to the right house, wasn’t it?—You are Georgia reading this, aren’t you, and not some other girl? I would die!

So please don’t be afraid what you write to me. Let me know about yourself—who you are—what this summer hammock hung between the trees is like—it is up to you entirely to choose what sorts of things we shall and shall not tell each other about.

You make what rules up you want, for between us, and I’;ll make up the rules I want, for between us; and then we’ll arbitrate. How does that sound? Let’s not be afraid.

(I am a little afraid, though—Just what kind of a letter is this to write to a girl, I keep asking myself?)

No, be brave, trust. (I must tell myself.)

When we stood there (remember?) and I held my hand on your neck, I could feel how womanly a neck it was, a real, living, sincere neck, and it trusted me, with its vulnerability in my hands. And I trust you, don’t want to be afraid of you. A man puts himself in the careful trust of a woman, just as much as a woman puts herself in the careful trust of a man, don’t you think that’s true? (I’m very big on the importance of trust.) I trust you.

I think you trust me.

I’m worried this letter may seem “pushy.” I really ought to have written you some short “Hi, there!” letter, that took no chances. As I said, it would only have seemed a lie to me—because, well, we were sort of intimate with each other.

Don’t neglect to tell me your honest reaction to this letter (—if you can figure out what your honest reaction is), because I’m eager, and afraid, and curious, to know.

From Athens, May, 1977, with love.

Dwight

Permalink Leave a Comment

Me & Georgia

May 16, 1977 at 9:00 pm (1977)

“Thanks,” Charlotte said Sunday night “for keeping my little sister company, and giving her a good time.”

I hadn't realized that was what I was doing—it hadn't seemed like that.

But then Charlotte wasn't there. Charlotte doesn't know. Charlotte knows only that her sister didn't come in until 7 in the morning, and until some early hour like that the morning before. I guess that's “giving a good time,” alright.

And my own impressions—no, feelings—are rather uncertain. I don't quite know what has happened. We had a touch: what will it mean? Was it too much willfulness on our parts—so it seemed to me after Friday night, to an extent. Despite the seriousness of the kisses—or rather the total seriousless abandon of them—somehow I couldn't find myself being drawn in completely enough—like I was touch, but wasn't touching, quite enough. I remained too conscious, and I knew it. And yet, I let myself go, I lent myself completely to touch, and didn't really feel touch, nor that I was really touching. Yet it seemed to me that Georgia, in the way she seemed to close her eyes and be quite abandoned in kisses, really was taken. And yet, it all centered around the face, the arms, and not the rest of the body.

Somehow, after all was done, it seemed to me it was all willful, rather than spontaneous, on my part, or on hers. That was Friday night / rather Saturday morning.

Yet I was certainly attracted, was certainly delighting in her. Because as it got towards morning I seemed to lose my conscious awareness of her, my resistance. I would guess, too, that she began to lose her resistance, for she had clearly wanted touch to center on the face and arms, not elsewhere, as I realized later. And so her answer to my, I admit, conscious, willful desire to pull down the zipper of her dress-suit, to expose her breasts. I made to ask if I should unzip it—and she indicated no. (We were after all, on the side of a gradual hiss, of leaves, in a park, with a highway on one side, a road on the other.)

And yet later, less willfully perhaps it seems to me, just that happened. And I uncovered her breast, and her neck, and her shoulder, so that my hand could feel from neck to shoulder to breast, and so accomplish what kissing alone could not seem to: touch. And with my lips I did what my hands had done, and I tugged at her breast-tit, like a carefree baby, and light had come into the sky, and it was morning. Yet we lingered, especially I, having, I think, lost much of my willfulness. She had a but to catch at 3. We never did finish our ice cream, and it was cold, but the ice cream had melted, with only a few lumps.

Skip to Saturday night.

As we headed from Ken's dorm room toward Rutherford, I knew she wanted to stop, sit somewhere, kiss like the night before, and I really didn't want to. I didn't know what I wanted—I wanted talk, not physical touch, willful physical touch, which it seemed to me, had been the cause of the night/morning before. So we walked, talking. Finally, we began to approach Rutherford, where the party still (or rather, the bridge game, that constituted the party) still lingered on, even at 3 in the morning. Slower and slower, Georgia wanted to walk, as we approached the dorm, and when I impulsively stopped a second to read the poster at the bus-stop shelter, with seats inside, she even more began to try to linger, hoping without doubt we would sit there—whereas I knew if we sat there, we would kiss, and I didn't want it, didn't feel like it.

But I wanted to keep on walking, and thought of an excuse to do so, head off in a new direction. Instead, as if neither of us had noticed, we merely followed the sidewalk along its bend, never crossing the street to Rutherford. And so we went up, to the high grounds of our campus, and out to that old wooden bridge, that seems to end, at night, in sheer drop. Georgia didn't like the bridge, really, and neither, really, did I, and glad I was not to have to worry about kissing on the bridge—besides, cars came beneath, and their lights blinded. So we left the bridge, and walked on a sidewalk that circled round, and found ourselves going back the way we had come. So I offered to show her north campus, where two greens were, and the law building.

And so down, down, down the steps, from high ground to low, across the bridge, and up again, climbing to north campus.

And I took her up the steps of the Administration building, because it was such a strange architecture, and took her to the two balconies, where the tables and love-seats were, and we didn't sit down, but whether she had hoped to, I don't know. I didn't want to. I don't like chairs, or kissing in a sitting position, because it is all heads, and a funny angle. So down again and out we went, all the time talking, I guess, with perhaps some silences. And out the gate, and by the iron fence, and she was getting tired of walking. “Perhaps,” I suggested, “we could sit in the grass somewhere,” and she could rest. And I knew it was what she wanted. And I was ready for it again, and wanted it too, since we had talked.

So we took a tree, as much as possible in shadow, and put our arms around each other without much delay, and kissed, and found a comfortable lying position. But it was all much, much less willful, this time. Spontaneous. I was much more non-conscious. I didn't have to talk and talk, spewing out strange, absurd phrases, in order to supplement our physical touching, in attempt to make the touch. It wasn't—apparently—necessary.

We were so much more silent and genuine: it was touch. I held my hand to her neck, feeling the soft vulnerability of her neck, and it was touch. Still, I won't say that it was complete touch, that our trust in each other was complete, that we held back nothing. But it was much, much more sincere, trusting, than the night before.
And as we made that long, slow, hour-long walk back—there! between trees and building, I saw the sliver moon. Thin, sliver crescent, and facing toward Lucifer, the Morning Star. It was just a light tincture of blueness for a sky, and soft crescent of moon, just barely new, and the Morning Star in junction with it.

And I knew, seeing it, it caught how it was, with us. A thin crescent of a moon—a possible beginning.

But, there are repercussions. There are doubts.

We've made our touch, and it is important that we don't, once we are able to think about it, find ourselves unwittingly denying it.

I kept Charlotte's little sister company, and gave her a good time—my good deed for the week. And so denial that it was anything more: say, a touch.

For touch is cheap, is everyday, and should not be taken too seriously—except by the immature.

But like Peter—I say, give me the immature, and not the mature. I'm tired of maturity; since it denies touch, and even, touches.

So I will not be afraid of admitting, it was a touch I had with Georgia. I'm not going to become defensive, and allow myself to deny it, thus mentally destroy my experience—and hers too.

But one doesn't want to sound immature, or too innocent—for no one else (the myth goes) among young people today, is.

At the same time, I do have uncertainties and doubts—definite ones—as to whether Georgia is a girl I should make too final a touch with. For one thing—I hardly “know” her. More seriously, she is not of my philosophy, and whether or not it is one she could come to understand—I can't say. She is not familiar, say, with D. H. Lawrence.

But she seems capable of sincere, silent, physical touch, and a little afraid. She does not sting, for all her intelligence. I hope to God I don't sting her.

I will call on Pan, and Isis, and Osiris, for what to do.

But I can't deny touch. That makes me a stinger. Yet again, I mustn't deceive her into too much touch, and trap myself.

So somehow I will try to write her a letter, that straddles some log in the middle, and lets her know the touch was genuine, and I won't, verbally, act in fear of it; and also, that we must neither of us be hurt—nor be afraid—if one of us cannot accept the final touch.

Why is it dragonflies don't have the problems of people? The circumstances they live in, it must be, haven't been destroyed into perversity.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Georgia

May 15, 1977 at 3:30 pm (1977)

Almost everyone I know is afraid of touch, or else is one of the ones responsible for making others afraid of touch, and even such ones, if the truth be told, are afraid of touch, more fearful of touch than any. Even I am afraid of touch. I don't want to be plucked like a flower from its stem, and so I am afraid to let anyone get their fingers on me.

Yet there is nothing we want more, than the touch. We want the other's hands firmly, gently to lie on the unprotected, exposed part of our neck, where the windpipe is.

So it is with Georgia.

I want so very much to leave my neck exposed to her, and I am afraid. Afraid, for one thing, that she “didn't mean that at all.” One could have private sexual intercourse with a girl, and still not know whether that were an invitation to intimacy, or whether it was but a false store-front. One has to know what rules are being played. Is it to be the game-rules of the “fast” society, in which nothing sexual is to be denied, but in which it is entirely forbidden to “let it get so personal” that one deposits the full trust of one's very legitimacy in the keeping of the other.

Or is it the rules of complete tenderness and trust, in which just that—the full legitimacy of the one, is placed, with each physical touch, into the tender keeping of the other. For then, each touch means an iron, a blood-binding. And one must be careful not to commit—”pledge”—oneself to a binding that will not work out properly, because of intellectual, philosophical, religious differences of vision.

I want to be able, even if with embarrassment, to say to Georgia, let us play by the rules where each touch is a bonding, and we are not afraid to place the question of our legitimacy in the hands of the other, fearless of the great hurt possible, yet sensitive. The way I touched your vulnerable neck, the tender, delightful way you touched me, the way our lips were not afraid of touch, but rather became careless and inebriated with it; let that be the way we handle our mental intimacy. Let us not pluck the other like a flower from the stem, simply because we've got our hands intimately on the stem, and can do it. Don't sting the face we kiss, with words from the same mouth our tongue darts from. Let's don't forget the sacredness of the other.

This advice is for me especially, but for her also, though, right now, I am not afraid of being strong, since I know that is the gamble I take. I'm willing to choose it for touch.

The important thing is to be clear we agree on the rules, so that we don't have to worry about fears that the other will be playing by “faster” rules, and will find “slow” ones a sign of innocence and ignorance, and inexperience.

I willingly admit my inexperience. Also my innocence. I less willingly admit ignorance.

Then we will be ready for sincerity: for telling the truth of what we each of us want—in the other, or, if the other doesn't fit—then in someone. We must be able, after so much touch, to face the fact, if it so happens, that we don't fit, and still keep each our legitimacy intact.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Death and Touch

May 12, 1977 at 4:30 pm (1977)

There is no eternity, but in the moment, the momentus. And there is no serenity, but in the moment's very briefness. It is the soul that dies, when the body dies, since the soul is the life-quick of life.

And life is the final truth, since we aren't dead yet.

Death is pure meaninglessness, for it isn't life; to have died is to be worthless to life.

Having once been alive—means nothing. It is being now the living, and only, that carries meaning or value. Life is valuable and death is invaluable. And in the money sense, it is death that becomes valuable, while life becomes invaluable. Money always does it.

To live for death is a rather poor show.

But to live in a deathly way, all you modern children, is as valueless again. To live always destroying touch.

Modern life is afraid of touch. And people who live in modern life are cowards in peace, but brave fools in war.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Shame

May 12, 1977 at 11:00 am (1977)

Ah shame-faced girl! Be a shame-faced girl, that doesn't care. Come dancing blithe-footedly down the green, and earrings and razors in your hands; pile them on [an] altar of sacrifice to the green-eyed gods of life. Pile mascara and makeup and fingernail polish on the altar of life, then sing your thoughtless song, strike the match. Burn it all on the altar of life. Incense for the gods. And as its stench goes light smoke waving skyward to etheral death, there your shame goes with it. Put your shame as well on the altar, and watch it up, gaily, gaily up!

But you must be a shamefaced girl first, before you can burn your shame on the altar of life, and send it on to its eternity in the realm of the dead. How the city of Dis deserves shame!

Shame. Shame. Let us learn to know our shame. The painful illegitimacy of being but half-alive things, divided selves. Shame, of having abandoned dear life, which is our baby—we abandoned our baby! At the steps of the city of Dis, there we left our baby in the dark night, wailing, squealing away. Shameful mothers we are, to have so limply cast off the little sparks of our pre-life wombs, sparks of life. We sent them up as sacrifice to Dis, and got shame for return. Now we must set shame itself on the altar, if we would have our babies back.

For oh, we have lost our childhood, and now we have come to know what price it is. We abandoned ourselves on the steps of Dis; now we want back out. It is not so easy.

Were there a wise owl in the Catalpa tree, he would tell us we had forgotten how to hoot.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Balls & Baud

May 11, 1977 at 4:00 pm (1977)

Oh mirror, mirror on the wall
Who's got the most beautiful balls?
Check them here as they sit in the stall
Who is the balliest in Morris Hall!
Is it Mike or James or Philip or Billy,
Charles or Steven or Dicky or Willy,
Who's got the most beautiful balls?
Or do none of them have any in Morris Hall?

There was a grey swan was really Zeus
Who abducted the young Leda for his use
Pushed his web-feet into her loins
Jammed his wet-seed into her groins
And came up for air, outdone by her IUDs!

There was a young maiden from Spain
Who gave her donut to a dog in the rain
Dog entered its dark places
And touched all her bases
But after, she wondered how puppies would explain.

There was a plumber in Stalingrad
Whose wife looked like a horse-bodied hag
He threw at her his two stones
And his six-inch pubic bone
And explained he'd given up as a stag!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Naked and Shy

May 10, 1977 at 4:00 pm (1977)

I really do feel that the healing of life (and modern life desperately needs healing) must begin with the body, with our attitudes to the body. Not until we realize that the body is us, the body is all we've got, can we begin. To degrade the body is to degrade life, and to try to run away from the finality of our short life. Since touch is that thing we most tenderly desire, it is but insane to run away from it, as we do most effectively when we get into the mask of degrading things, or of turning things into games. It is fear of life.

So we must begin to begin by putting some sort of hood over the socialized aspects of our minds. This, and I'm afraid only this, will enable us to think cleanly about ourselves, and others. It will prepare us for the next step, which is carefree nakedness. But girls will find that nakedness has a lingering feeling of degradation hanging onto it, until the hair on their legs and arms grows back, and until they reject unconsciously all the social norms of human beauty. A woman is beautiful because she is a woman with a woman's body—had she three legs, or a breast turned inward, then she would not be very beautiful.

The important thing is to see the body with the innocence, or rather, the ignorance, of young children who have not been given the notion of it as some “dirty” or “sexy” thing. Let us replace “sex” with copulation. Let copulation be free enough to occur in the grass, in public.

But the main thing is that hood over the sharp-headed, defining parts of our minds.

Until I can walk naked and leisurely across north campus, I will know that we live, still, in a world we don't deserve. Until I can walk unnoticed—or rather, noticed, but only by eyes that see the wonderful human animalness of me. It is such a feeling, such a discovery, to see the natural human animal self-absorbed in its own animal being. This (to be Eastern) is Tao. And as Lao-tzu or one of the others said, you can't bring the shy human animal out of yourself by effort, you can't “make it happen”. It just has to happen, and will only happen when there's nothing to frighten the shy thing away. Effort frightens it away. So does talk that carries with it implied (or unstated) judgments.

For the shy human animal is the natural physical life-awareness come blindly, adventurously out. It is physical, and directly, physically mental rather than causically mental (i, e., mindedness that sings, not judges). You can't will the physical out, nor can you think it out. You just have to resign yourself gaily to your physical body, and then, if the coast becomes clear, your body will slip out, look gaily, joyously, blindly around, and so be life.

That is the object: not to live, but to be life.

Again: not to be Life, but to be a life.

We must begin with nakedness and with shy blindness.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Around Machines

May 9, 1977 at 3:00 pm (1977)

I admit I am very self-conscious around machines, even a sort of illegitimacy. I feel somehow I am indicted, somehow I am guilty of not belonging.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Blooded Anger

May 7, 1977 at 2:00 pm (1977)

I have seen the drunk, wreckless, lion-like trucks screetch by, with a dust of pebbles: boy trying to prove to girl how exciting, important, his life is. And girl, sitting in front seat, looks out with a quick, rouged, powdered, ear-trinketed mask, with eyes painted wide and a fixed grin, as if to say, “How much fun I'm having in life! How important it all is!”

I hope the truck rolls over and kills them all, I'm so tired of such scenes. Or puts them like crippled vegetables into the hospital: then we'd see how fun they thought life was.

Ah, but silly, it wouldn't do any good to give them cracked skulls: they're already cracked. And even as an armless, legless thing in the hospital, they would never think: “maybe life isn't what I thought it was. Maybe in the end, fun with trucks doesn't matter.”

Anyway, they'd probably start being religious, so incapable are people to learn anything about life, no matter how explicit experience tries to make it.

Perhaps, after all, all the swelled-cranium intellectuals are right, that, without its myths and opiums, life is meaningless and only painful. We are all shipwrecked, and without hope for any full life, so entertain us, drug us, fill us with tales of afterlife, give us toys, toys, and toys enough to divert us from our doubts. For without the glittery frosting, we would find there is no cake.

As every Christian, even every Deist, knows, if there's no God, no Afterlife, no world soul, life is meaningless then.

I only know that between the closing jaws of religion, music, drugs, drinks, trucks, afterlife, make-up face-masks, glittery frosting and all, life is made meaningless. The whole thing is become a joke without a punch-line, though a moral of sorts: the dead find the joke was on them, i.e., that they are even more meaningless in the end, than the joke itself.

The more one thinks about how meaningless modern life is, and how religious everyone is in consequence, the more one's head and blood spin. Anger. Real blooded anger. But you can't do anything with it, you can't throw it about, and so soon anger sinks into despair at the pointlessness, the uselessness of life. And then back into anger again.

I want to just say damn them all, and throw off my clothes and all my learning, and tear off earrings on every girl I see, and smear off make-up, and tell them each to either take off their clothes, or cover up their sassy hair-less legs and arms, and be decent and shame-faced for once.

But such things can't be done. Even take off your clothes, and all faces will crane to look, and mental heads will start shooting away, turning it into a joke, a mass-joke, as if to convince you of the pure ridiculousness and meaninglessness of even the naked body.

A human body can't live in modern society, until he destroys himself, and becomes something else: namely, a destroyer of other human beings. And all that is needed to do any of this, is words.

Words pre-suppose “facts”, and views of life. To even talk to other members of modern society, you have to accept their words. Yet, once even that is done, you've already turned yourself into a liar.
The only hope for mankind lies in his cutting off his tongue. Even then, I'm sure he would find other ways to illegitimize the experience of each other.

The truth of the matter is that real life, simple homo-sapiens life, is not legitimate in the United States of America today, to speak nothing of legal. It only exists, if at all, in the counter-culture in the country.

The whole problem is that there are too many people. Our physical space is penetrated by others, all the time. We have to draw defenses (because after all they are strangers, and our natural tendency is to not let strangers too close), and to do this we resort to words. We abstract from our real experience, thus abandoning our real words, to our “common” or “acknowledged” experience, thus using trite and worn-out, standardized words.

So our very choice of words and phrases, being dead ones, ones that have died and no longer contain any quick of life in them, degrades our own lives. We can't talk truly about ourselves; we only use words that are lies.

In the slang at its earliest inception, you notice a meagre attempt to buck having to constantly lie, but as new slang becomes widespread, it too dies, often into an even harder, deader-than-ever shell.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Want

May 7, 1977 at 7:15 am (1977)

Morning sounds push hastily in the window, but I am awake already. I hang in bed, still tired, without heart for day again and I lay my cheek on my own arm and shoulder. It has a draughty skin smell. My hand falls gingerly on the strange skin of my upper arm, caressing it like a woman's hand would. If only there were the dead-weight body of a woman for me, with its great fleshy “thereness”. Piece by piece, touching me sacredly and blindly, she could recover me to life, and bring my blood to the surface again in joie de vivre.

Oh, the heavy, fleshy body of a woman. A girl, a woman, her flashing, blood-built body. Tender, with the heavy touch of female blood. Mindless, thoughtless blood.

If only she could be mindless and thoughtless, and in no hurry. Could run the little hairs of my arms between her lips, to return them to their protein glory, no longer little headstones of half-death. We would pass the unknowing soft gentle twitches of the pulses, like blind sentences to each other.

Oh, I want my blood to come out of hiding, come to the careful, cellular surface, all in strength, and make her touch, and touch. And I want my head to become consciousless as an arm or a leg, with the blood come blindly to its surface, for touch with her blood, and not for thought. Let us be overcome by our own bodies, and taken under.

And let us never have the mind of the common social world.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Yearning

May 6, 1977 at 9:00 pm (1977)

Oh my male blood seeks female blood, and can't find it.

It really does. Yearns. For the right female blood, and it isn't here.
I am nothing. Like trash, scum, I feel. My arms look (and feel) small, listless, run-of-the-mill leftovers. A leftover human body, that nothing's to be done with.

We're sorry, but we can't use you.

I can't explain my yearning to be touched. If only someone would touch my arms, they wouldn't have such a given-up feeling in them. They wouldn't feel pointless, vain. I would begin to feel a strength, very male, even a glow, in them, even pride. I think, I hope. I don't know. If someone would take my little hairs, and run her fingers over them, and press them to my arm—they would begin to look less like hair growing on arms doomed to never live. Oh, I want to live. I want to be important, as important as very life itself, be vital. Let me be vital. Let me.

That is my word: vital. I can't be vital. Oh and I want, I want.

I seek female blood. I seek to betray my very softest, my tenderest, untouched points, to female blood. And hope it is female blood that is not poisoned.

Arms, that have never known arms: it is like they have never been justified. My fingers have never been justified, they have done nothing yet, in all their years, that could in the least be considered king-fingerly. They have never, never touched with real touch, that received real touch back, and justified them. To date, they haven't earned their keep, haven't shown themselves legitimate, worth the cost of finger-upkeep. Scum, seaweed fingers, no matter all their sincere yearnings.

Yearnings are empty, washed-up shells. It is touch, the living membranous animal, that counts.

And so it goes with my face, and my chest, and stomach, legs, and penis, and feet. They all hang, disgraced, on my limp bones. It is a disgraceful body, honorless, for failure of ever making touch. The disgrace of never knowing life.

And I feel it, so drearily, so wearily, so pointlessly, so shorn of any but mechanical run-of-the-mill life.

There is no specialness in me. Nor is there any will for joy or for adventure. I only feel bound, bound to unlife. My skin, my meat beneath it, just runs down some city drain. Must I settle for this, a city drain? Must I settle for the petty television life? Is it to be meaningless then? Must I settle for God, and all that, and have life go down a meaningless, importantless drain, as if to wonder why it was, or ever should be?

I will buck. I will screetch, kick, damn you all. I won't take it. I'll die. I'll just fade out in silent, meaningless, unnoticed protest, that doesn't mater. You kill me, and I can't even get revenge. But that a living thing dies, that living things are always dying in your world, and never allowed to be but shadows, never allowed up—god that damns you all. damns you all, damns your world, hideous cemetery world.

If I hate you, it is you who are damned, for you are up against my very life. You won't let me up, to breathe. Won't let me remove my clothes, for air, won't let me be mentally sane in freedom. My damnation is life's damnation. My damning you is life damning you. You, your world of the unalive.

You people have nothing at stake, because you're unalive. My whole, my very life's at stake, and you deny me it. You ought to be damned, and God too, since he's one of yours. Your gods, they are evil gods, the evil God itself. You hang them around your necks, like flaunted jewelry. You pin them to your ears, you glue your eyes to them, and to your radios. But all you ever hear on the radio are disc-jockey voices of dead men who gave their very soul, their once shimmeringly alive soul, as fodder to the evil gods, in order to be “important”, a radio-man. You can't be on the radio without being a liar. I could never be.

Permalink Leave a Comment

What days!

May 4, 1977 at 4:00 pm (1977)

If you write for money, you almost sure have to write lies.

Oh what days those were! We sat beyond the fence that bordered the pool, on the little grass that made for a hill, and ate our baked beans and our wild rice, drank our lemonade, over the din of the pool party. How much fun they were having! Girls and boys, frocked out in their fun, thin bathing suits; boys grabbing, throwing other boys in; boys clasping at girls, to pull them in, go under with them. Even girls pushing boys in from behind. Girls with great yellow towels wrapped around them—almost as if nothing underneath and oh, if she'll only turn around. She does!—only—there is something underneath, and pity her hair is not as yellow as her towel. And so many others—girls for the boys, boys for the girls—to watch, to meet, to toss in the pool, to shove, to line up for food with.

But we, not come for bathing, but for a free meal, sat just beyond the fence, on the little hill. The sun burned white in the west, just beneath an innocent hang of clouds—light, fluffy ones. No threat of rain, but brilliant sinking white sun, that wants to draw one's eyes, yet is too bright, too bright.

Peter, so enjoying it, up now to line up for beer for us, up for cake (german chocolate, a plate-full for us), up now all himself to get 4 cups of beer—so enjoying it. And it was nice to be served, though why should he be so eager to serve; but he so enjoyed it!

Even to show off! Drinking the cup down in one long gulp—hadn't done that for years. Tests, tests were over—and he felt like a little fun, white-sun-sinking showing off! And so eager to bring us beer—and cake.

And now, a friend across the fence—Richard. Richard, with classical guitar, and classical guitar fingers. But that was later. One doesn't want the guitar out in the sun—so we move down the grass to the bottom, in shade. Peter takes the guitar softly and plays a little—very softly, with a little soft, half-inaudible singing.

And Richard takes the guitar and plays spritely, yet so quietly medieval tunes. Medieval, no—renaissance music—classical—and just beneath, hanging in the shadows, in the eddies of the tunes, that pre-industrial serenity—such a medieval serenity! You can read all the book on medieval and renaissance you want—it takes the music to really understand what life was like then—how so less hectic it was, yet in its own way complex, not simple at all. The leisureliness of the lazy brook—it is medieval. Or renaissance, for there was very little change in pace of life between the two. It would be the 17th century and the 18th, that the great change came. When suddenly the tone of life turned industrial, soured to the sound of mills working mechanically away, away.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Epilogue

May 3, 1977 at 7:45 pm (1977)

Life is final.

Everything is alive, everything has its experience—even a rock. Even water; for it has movement. To exist is to be alive, to have movement, to be a little creature, temporary. So it is even with a rock, or a piece of sand.

But that's not to say that their life is the same as our life, or as plant life. Plant-life is a further voyage, a further excursion into experience. And we, men and women, we are composites of plant life and organic life that come together into a physical unity: a body; and this body, as whole, has its own spark of life, or soul. And it is deep, ever deep excursion into experience—but temporary, alas, temporary as all things must be.

What we call physical death, it is the very soul dying; only afterwards the body gradually dies, or decomposes. The soul, or spark of life as a complete, a unified body: that dies. The brief, arching excursion through experience falls back to earth like a sparkler going down: death. Life is over. Life that is final, is over.

But there is still life remains. Our body lies in the ground, become but earth, rock, water again, and as earth, rock, water, it has the certain sort of life of earth, rock, water. So that there is always life, always experience.

But now, this brief moment as animal, we have a different, a deeper sort of life, brief. It is a final, unrecoverable thing. Yet there is always new life: the new-born, the seed.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Lairds & Roses

May 2, 1977 at 9:00 pm (1977)

A week ago, I went into the night, searching after Lairds that was across from a Piggly Wiggly. Only, from what I was told it sounded like the name was Lars. So up Baxter I went, looking for a Piggly Wiggly. A long way, and I passed a fence, and the 4-lane and the fence squeezed me in on the sidewalk.

Roses. Red, magenta roses, they hung from the fence at intervals all along it. Thorned, soft-petalled roses. Roses, symbol of the body. Thorns, symbol of death. And Carol was—unbelievably—dead; and here were roses. Roses? Roses along a highway? Roses climbing a tall fence?

As I pulled the petals, weakly, in my hands, watching them die softly in my hands, the piercing eye of the traffic darted at me. Forked-tongued monsters in their cars, I had nothing to do with them. Why were these roses here, red, magenta roses?

I had missed Lairds, as I later learned; it was a mile behind me. For it was Lairds, not Lars, and across from a little Pantry Pride or something—not a Piggly Wiggly. So I walked the whole of Baxter and back, before I found it. I brought with me, safe in my pocket, petals of roses, quickly shriveling.

Candy, Charlotte, Peter were still in Lairds when I finally arrived.

I didn't tell them about the roses.

Permalink Leave a Comment

I don't know

May 1, 1977 at 2:45 pm (1977)

My atheism is the same as profound scepticism. If there actually is an afterlife, and a God, Creator, and so on, it is absolutely beyond us to know. So why believe in something we can't know to exist or not exist? Even if there was a God, I doubt he would want us to go around worshipping him, praying to him, believing in him.

All I know is that I am physically alive, and that there is plenty of god for me just in that. Why, there is not even any need for a God.

But don't I feel God to exist?

No. I feel god. That's quite a different thing.

God, if there is one, is beyond our life utterly. And since I am not in the least beyond life, it would be a sin, the equivalent of a sin, to go around believing in God.

So there you have it: I don't know if there is a God or not (as far as earthly life is concerned, there can't be), but I know that if there is one, it would be a sin to believe in him, much less worship him.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Morning

May 1, 1977 at 7:45 am (1977)

Ah morning, morning! It came! He looked up like a little ground-creature peeking out of a hole. Weak daylight of morning! Life again.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Suddenly life

April 30, 1977 at 11:00 pm (1977)

My manhood seems only a dream to me. An idyllic daydream, that won't come true. I can't imagine the joy of it, having a girl. It is beyond me to imagine at all. Suddenly life. It is very life.

I see so many men who have women, are married or the same as that; yet they keep it such a good secret that this is very life itself, the touch with a woman. Oh it is great, it is “love” after all, they will admit—but apparently not life itself. It's not enough to give them their very meaning, their very legitimacy, it seems. Their woman is not enough, not at all, it seems, to appease their overwhelming need for afterlife, eternal life. Or if it is, it's the best kept secret I know of.

For me, I know a woman, the right one, a real one, a true woman, would be enough. It would be life. Suddenly life.

But there is a feeling that runs deep in me, that I'll never know a woman. That my manhood is all a dream: to be unfulfilled. A daydream even.

Why that must be I don't know. It is only a feeling; that doesn't mean there is necessarily anything to it.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »