Inspired Pleasure

Diary of a Dancer/Poet

            Sat. 6 May 78 – 1:30 PM
            Cleaned & waxed kitchen and bathroom floors, sitting 

with newly creamed hands and cup of coffee in recliner. Muse time.
Emerge blinking like a ground hog into a new and spring-like world. A year
ago, I was a rat in a cage. It’s critical never to let the “merchants of neurosis”
trick me into limiting myself.

            Tues. 9 May Plush Palace – 9:15 PM
            Mom spent the last two nights at my place – sleeping

in my bed since guest room has no bed. Me on sofa – doesn’t matter
since I can’t sleep anyway when she’s around. Up at 7 to make breakfast get
Mom to airport for 10 o’clock plane thank God. Avril came over with blueberry
muffins and gazpacho to discuss the visit.
Everything Mom said felt like an attack. (She did give
me $100 but I spent – and lost – more than that on her visit.) Avril says the
island has been worse for Mom because she’s never confronted with a life
that would contradict her narrow-minded theories, so it’s all: “Why can’t
people get smart and live exactly the way I do?” She tries to make her
personal tastes “emotional law” – and if you don’t agree with her – or God
forbid, want to explore something different you’re “the sick one”. Rough stuff.
We took her to our favorite Ellicott City restaurant – she
wanted Avril to “explain” Mason and me to “explain” my clothes. She said
my clothes trigger “weirdos” following us – it was completely in her
imagination! She cries. No one decent will “have” me, she wails! I say,
what if I don’t want to be “had”? I’d ask her about her life but she isn’t
honest – she doesn’t know Dad has already told us that her ideology is
untrue. She insists when you find Mr. Right everything’s peachy, but Dad
says she was uncomfortable and unwilling about sex at first – didn’t care
for it. They had to “work hard”. I say we have more experience of pain
than Mom ever had – Avril says she “refuses to learn.” Creepy. Turns
what pain she does have back on others somehow.

            The best revenge? Write a poem:


We run through life
She thinks
Dancing lightly on high heels
Past disemboweled sofas
Drunks & drains.
Taut veins serve as
Toque of manners
High & proud, worn
For company.
This house displays
Her purpose;
New red brick
Virgin stickers swearing
She’s the first.
Processed air admits her
“You look like one of us.”
Mentally she sweeps up sun;
Plans daisies, cashmere
Overnight guests
The roar from the street soon turns
This air to poison –
She counts to ten
And breaks a nail in locking up.
She sees it won’t do after all
Too close to stink & squalor;
Doormen, dogs, police locks;
Balconies with lightning rods.
She’ll choose new paths this time
Avoid electronics that have lost
Their parts,
Flexing knees
As always; she
Summons a cab; closer –
Closer to her death;
That suitor never accused
Of gentlemanly behavior.

            Can’t wait to resume my privacy and my routine, 

reading book about Forster (The Cave & The Mountain) in my own bed.
I think realizing your mother’s limitations is part of
maturity, and I’ve been slow because I’m unwilling to adopt Genevieve’s
methods – “Don’t give her anything – tell her what she wants to hear.”
I thought better of her than that but I struck out. Since their definition of
success is so narrow, I don’t see how I can ever satisfy them.

            Plush Palace – 11:30 PM – Wed  10 May 78
            Wonderful day – up at nine to play Frisbee with dogs.  

Eddy asked me to come in tonight and although A and I planned a movie
I accepted – that’s my new policy – say yes to everything except doubles
or driving all the way to Springfield. A & I had late lunch together at
Ponderosa – she’s says she’ll study all night. We’ll do laundry together
tomorrow and have drinks Sunday on some sundrenched terrace.
J. came in tonight depressing the hell out of me. I
had nothing to say to him – it would be like using a 12 gauge on a mouse.
Please, just go away and live your life and don’t bother me.

            Plush Palace – Midnight – Fri 12 May 78
            I love Friday nights.  They’re always exciting.  Gay girl 

in tonight approaching the dancers (without success) you’d think that would
happen more often. If she went a bit slower she might get lucky.
Unfortunately, she just asks us if we are gay. How can we know without
any experience? With the right kind of situation I think we’d admit we’re all
at least a little bit gay.
Avril came over to the house at noon – we had white
wine, macaroni salad with ham and croissants. Eddy called me in 3 sets
early – $265 extra. Irresistible – means I can go to NYC. Carol tells us
about her sexually sadistic husband – handcuffs and everything! She
orders pancakes for dinner to “cheer up” even though maple syrup gives
her hives! Jerrilee tells how hard it was to leave her husband. He held
a gun to her baby’s head. Kristi found a new “wonderful” guy but gave him
herpes and now she fears he’s “done” with her. What a waste since now
they both have herpes! They’re perfect for each other!
This is all a lot more interesting than Ann Bridge’s
Emergency in the Pyrenees. (Even Mrs. Radcliffe was more fun that that).
Who should come in tonight but Peter’s brother Julian!
Thought he was in San Francisco. Apparently I’m one of the Eight Wonders
of DC – can’t pass through without getting a gander. Kissed me in a brotherly
way. We had a nice reminisce about childhood till Eddy sent me back to
dressing room. He saw one set – when I came out again he was gone.

            11 PM Mon 15 May 78 
            Sun night got blind drunk on my day off through sheer 

frustration and exhaustion; then couldn’t sleep. Intermittent nightmares that
someone was trying to break into my car and throw acid in my face. Decided
to kiss the novel off and let it go – just get an opinion. Concentrate on
something else. Weather depressing – no sunbathing – four day monsoon!
Trying grumpily to live without booze. I can see myself becoming Lida.

2 AM Mon 22 May 78
Exhaustion follows mania. Yesterday couldn’t keep my
eyes open long enough to read the NY Times, but refusing to go to bed dragged
out my notebooks to arrange beside my desk. Horrible old valentines, photos
of Ryder, dreadful wailing screeds fall out. I have so many drafts of Flycatcher
it’s ridiculous. Purging isn’t easy – I totally understand hoarding. How can you
be certain you’ll never need something again? Must get to bed – tomorrow
meet A at College Park Library to see Dear Detective and listen to Couperain.

            Fri. Plush Palace – 26 May 78 – 7:20 PM
            Dancing badly.  Reduced to eating saltines (bad girl!) 

Feel I can see the end of all this and it’s a cold cold chill. Apparently nothing pleasurable lasts forever – as soon as it’s a “job” it’s over. Poor me! What’s
the next incarnation? Tending art gallery on windswept rainy isle? Living
drunken and obese in a trailer on the edge of the estate?


With age lubricity
Darkens into sweat;
We face each other
Across the cooling dinner,
Night by night
Stiff as andirons
Masterpieces best seen by candlelight
To hide the cracks,
Well-meant improvements by
Another’s hand.
A well-matched pair.
Gardens edged perennially with stone
Are called unkillable;
One fountain singing
This tune only. What oracle?
It didn’t look this way
Going forward
Backward is a different view.

I could have sworn that we’d last longer.
I think I caught it from my mother,
Who played a role in Wuthering Heights;
The crone who preaches doom
In guise of cheer.
I requested light enough
To read my tarot; instead recycling
Murky tea brewed
From your used bathwater.
These leaves are dark and do not speak.
I shiver with cold and you
With anger; a well-matched pair, a
Brace of disappointments.
There’s still too much
We can’t admit.

            Lovely “date” with Avril.  We went to Sea Fair 

(corner Calvert & Conn) for drinks, scallops, mussels at the outside
café. She says Shoulders is a total washout. Looks like Mom succeeded
all too well in convincing us romantic love is the most important thing in life
– I say let’s blame her. A having horrible insomnia troubles so before movie
we bought six classical records to soothe and stun. I really hesitate to go
out with Peter – why cultivate new people when they’re so likely to turn out
just as awful as the old people? I like him now but… he’s on his best behavior.
Really feeling shy and buried in myself. Instead of new man, start a new novel. Something crazy.
A tried Barbara Ellen (exercise studio) but was put off
by their insulting sales techniques. It’s like being chained to a TV listening
to a half hour of ring around the collar commercials. Too bad.
I say she’s got to stop telling prospective employers
she has “no experience”. She worked for hotline, courier service, horrible
fake gyno, etc. We need to construct a resume out of this – we are too damn
honest. Better to project even a witless confidence. I don’t want to have to
tell people about myself, either.

Dear Detective was superb! Followed it up with
gold rush sundae and coffee at Swensen’s. Trying to get into bestsellers
– reading Velda Johnson’s ghastly Etruscan Smile. Would rather read
theology (and Secaire shows it. Alas.) My novel is terrible. It stinks.
It needs to be rewritten from the bottom UP. Plot beyond help.

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