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Inspired Pleasure

Diary of a Dancer/Poet/Official Girlfriend

    Ferry Sat 26 Aug 78
            Made the ferry with nine cars to spare.

    Plush Palace Thurs 31 Aug 78
            Three sets down. Tonight I’m asking Eddy for only

three days – it’s hard to be constantly here – like living in a soap opera.
No writing – been sending out query letters. Rod called – had the nerve
to lecture me on publishing, “If you want to play in their league, you have
to wear their uniform.” Deeply annoying – makes me want to bite him.
I refuse to wear anyone’s “uniform”. Back to the unspeakable Constance
Heaven book that is the only thing I brought.

    Thurs 8:30 PM 7 Sept 78
            Day spent in the mundane, pricing wicker at Pier 1 with

Avril.  Lots I wanted but can’t afford. Bought mugs and plant.

  7:47 PM Plush Palace – Sat 9 Sept 78
Dinner with Rod. He is handsome, rational, helpful,
kind and forgiving.  Unfortunately, he’s also some unknown Third Sex, a
complete zygote. If he’s gay he’ll be the last to know. After three glasses
of wine I found the nerve to say he must have noticed we have no sex life. He
talked sententiously about how we’re both cautious, both been burned before,
give it time, etc – it sounded good, but I knew it wasn’t true. Something’s
wrong with him. The last months of his marriage he slept sexlessly in same
bed with his wife – at the very end her boyfriend even joined them! (Nobody did anything.)  Strange and unhealthy. 

We went to watch his friend, Zachary play guitar in a coffee-
house at Tyson’s Corners. Now there’s a guy with a noticeably sparking
electrical overload. I was turned on to him and he was turned on to me but of
course nobody did anything.

Rod was absolutely serene, probably didn’t even
notice. But would he even mind? I can’t mention it because Zachary is basically
a sewer rat. It is not a sign of emotional health to even consider counting coup
with this guy. Pity Rod’s so perfect. Waitresses gaze at us adoringly.  Mom
and Dad would love him. Wakened this AM by postman thumping on door
with package – turned out to be twenty copies of Flatiron with my
Resurrectionist poem spread – I’m going to send every one of them out.
Makes such a perfect gift and peace offering I may order 20 more. 
  Reading Nathanel West’s horrific Miss Lonelyhearts.

    Plush Palace 6:10 PM Wed 13 Sept 78
            Mon Avril and I went to the play Mrs. Cheyney – it was 

excellent – then to the Apple Tree after to dance but the volume of turkeys pitched
up way too high. We made a wonderful evening anyway – picked up effortlessly
right where we left off – complete with psychic communication like imperfectly
sundered Siamese twins.  Then off to Rod’s in my black satin suit – he had a
bottle of champagne to celebrate Farrar, Straus & Giroux wanting to see my
novel (I know better than to celebrate a thing like that.)

    2:25 PM Thurs 14 Sept 78
            Wonderful letter from Devon affirming and reaffirming 

his love. Very healing. Asked to keep the photo I sent him of us when I was seventeen. Described me as “majestic, mature.” Ooooo. Reading Gore Vidal’s
Edgar Box stories.

Difficult letter from Mom. She doesn’t seem to realize she can’t “win”. Her will cannot prevail. If she keeps insisting we will only become more alienated. Good diet day – eggs, grapefruit, almonds. No booze. Lots of water.

    Powder Mill Road 20 Sept 78 2:00 PM
            Avril and I met for drinks and steaks, then to White Flint Mall

to see Rituals. Hal Holbrook surprisingly good. Trying to read The World of Somerset Maugham  in bed – fell asleep at 11 – didn’t wake till nine!
Finished letter to Genevieve answering hers in which she
lectured me on wearing “tight pants”. 

Groomed dogs, dishes, vacuuming. Sent Flatiron around – wrote letter to D. Re-read Mimsey. I think it’s a little gem but
can’t be pried out of its’ setting without destruction. Maybe I should send
it around anyway, even though it’s so short. Also found old MS of Secrets –
not bad. But the real eye opener was my writing teacher’s horrible editing –
suggested I change “opaque” to “grey green” – “pressed her eye against
the window” instead of “applied her eye”, which is what I had. Ugh and shiver. Counted up bills. Tight. I hate hand-to-mouthing. So will sell stock. Zachary
told Rod he is attracted to me. I don’t know where that will go – it surprised me.
He is ballsy. See them both at tonight’s party.

    Tues 26 Sept 78
            Strange party. Lots of people.  Zachary was there, 

visibly lusting. Rod seemed perfectly comfortable about Zachary and me. 
He is the weirdest ever. Repressed gay? Asexual? Pod person? Put his arms
around us both. Z very effusive – he is “onstage” all the time. I stopped
myself from saying, “Show everybody your appendectomy scar.”  Let him
reveal himself. What do I care? He produced dope but no one got high.
Rod told me I should allow Z to satisfy me – use upstairs bedroom. (Probably
wired for sound.) I was not happy with that – made him follow me home instead.
Good sex, but he hung around till 1. It’s true he made me breakfast – a delicious omelet. But it’s always a mistake to bring them home. When Rod called, Z was still here. That was uncomfortable for me – Rod said relax about it. Stock at 16 so
really can’t sell. Told Marc to watch it for a week but I will be needing the
money. Must unplug phone and work.

Quarter to 7 – Worked on childhood stuff till tension got too
much. Plugged phone back in, dinner, read NY Review of Books. Exercised
dogs. Went to library – got bio Hart Crane – a nice big one – bought huge
desk calendar for planning.
Plush Palace 27 Sept Wed 78
Sitting in dressing room all suited up, breasts taped up into
vertical position – might as well scribble. Good diet – yogurt, plums, apples,
eggs, tuna. Wrote. Scared I’ll arrive at p. 100 and be “finished” – pushed
thought away. Avril called upset – el Diablo died and she missed an exam.
I went to pick her up. She has date tonight with Mystery Man. I am reading
about Hart Crane’s relationship with his parents. Too familiar for comfort.
11:45 PM
Interesting night. My lighter schedule helps me have more
fun with the other dancers – I don’t feel so invaded by them. Avril phoned
about date. Fifty-fifty, she rated it. That’s not very good.
Letter from Devon inviting me up for Oct. I was amazed –
made reservations for Concord Inn. Went to see Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends
with A. We liked it – seemed extra poignant since Opal had to “drop” us
rapacious females on her remarriage.

Then to Warehouse to hear Z sing. Surprise – he was
tense to see me! His throat closed up.  Finally sheer professionalism
carried him through – everyone seemed impressed. He never looked
straight at me but I could tell he was watching me out of the corner of his
eye – he flinched at my slightest movement. Flattering? Or scary? I don’t
know. I’m trying to feel flattered – why assume responsibility for everything?  Shoulders and Peter P showed up with girlfriends – hello –
big surprise –  all exchange new phone numbers. Everyone friendly.  Avril
charmed by Shoulders all over again – said she didn’t think that girlfriend
looked serious.

Z descended from stage – I could tell he was having a
battle – should he be “aloof” like a “real performer” or effusive with me? 
My unwillingness to seem needy saved us both – I was cool. He asked privately
if he could “stop by” I said yes. Could have kicked myself later.  
Shadonna called – asked me to do a double. I forced myself to say no.

    Fri Oct 6 – 1:35 PM
            Who should come into the club but Rick Marl – he 

said he had just seen Ryder and Ryder told him things between us were
“still the same”!!! I haven’t spoken to R in weeks! Told Rick that. Rick
then showed a desire to “move in” on me –   I didn’t squash it. Told him
“call me.”  Starting to think the time for “instant honesty” in relationships
is passed. It’s way too dangerous. Make them earn the right for a tour 
of my insides.   A and I saw Steve Martin last night at College Park.
He skewers the Ryders of this world pretty brilliantly I thought. Specially
loved the skit where he feels “responsible” for his girlfriend’s death. 
He shot her when she became annoying. 

Fight with Zachary over sex – he thinks – I “take too
long to satisfy.” I was so annoyed I left at 3 in the morning to go to A’s
place. When I came back he was gone – left a note – “in your absence
your odds improve” in his odd little precise architect’s handwriting. Bastard.
He obviously doesn’t mean my odds of being satisfied. He thinks he’s such
hot stuff. He’s performing at The Mistral this weekend.

    10:35 PM Tues night 10 Oct 78
            Stock sold. There’s six months rent. Or I could go to 

England (I don’t give up easily.) Instead I do a little fun winterizing – new
electric blanket and bathroom rug. I’m enmeshed in an ego problem with
Zachary – this is the “hedonism” Dad is always worried about. I only want
to see him once a week for sex but my ego demands he fall in love with me.
He has invited me Home to Meet the Parents so perhaps I’ve succeeded.
Very handsome unkempt hunk at the club invited me to see him race his
motorcycle in Fredericksburg. This is a tempting piece of Americana I don’t
think I can refuse. He’s just a gorgeous mud puppy.

Spent $17 at the post office sending copies of To Drown
In Air
around. Seemed like a lot to me.  It’s not just men I’m jumping between.
Reading both Russell Kirk’s unctuous book on Eliot and Ross MacDonald.
Much prefer the latter: I’ll return to him now.

Sat 4 PM 14 Oct 78
        How did I get myself into a situation with men calling all

the time? It is supposed to be a girl’s fondest dream – in fact it is hell.
I am unplugging the phone for long stretches and not telling them either
or they might be tempted to come over. As Zachary did yesterday –
we ended up sixty-nining on sofa – I admit it was his best sex yet.

        Mon 11 PM 16 Oct 78
        Avril and I drove to Fredericksburg for the unkempt 

hunk’s race – gorgeous weather – spectators everywhere and I had a hard
time finding a place to park – then a guy in a blue and yellow racing outfit
and helmet appeared and banged on the hood of my car. I thought it was
someone telling me I couldn’t park there but it was Buck and I hadn’t
recognized him. So handsome!

The race was just about to start – he had a party of five or
six people to cheer him on. I didn’t quite get the names – we had to rush out
onto the course. Buck got a good start but his bike went wrong twice – once
he did a spectacular flip and it came down right on top of him. Brady, his friend,
said, “that happens all the time.”  Buck was unhurt but had to leave the race.
He seemed relaxed about failure – opened a cooler – gave us all roast beef
sandwiches he had made himself and beer. (I hate beer.) was busily
finding out that Brady’s “unattached”. He’s a big shy handsome lunk too.
Buck put his arms around me and gave me a big hug – told me now I have
to come watch a better race. Ah, the fantasy – the mystery of Buck – who
is he and what is he – taking fire in me. Big, strong, unthreatened,
unthreatening male, bursting with muscles and apparently emotionally
undamaged by life. Why not horses, farm, children with such a one as this?
Could I get so lucky?

I cooked dinner for Avril – liver, onions, mushrooms, rice.
Plenty of bourbon. Still need to go to bed early. Colored and conditioned
my hair and wrote letters.

Powder Mill Road Wed – 18 Oct 78
        No poetry - Too much going on – I’m longing for my 

hermit days. I think: I ought to be able to date. I ought to be able to have
a little sex, a little love, a little affection – but what a can of worms!
Instantly it spins out of control! I thought Buck might show up at the
club – and indeed he did – after obviously making a special effort with
his appearance. Tight leather jacket, blond hair all puffed out, face
glowing. It was just like a date – only with me dancing onstage. He
stayed 2 and 1/2 hrs – I gave him my standard lecture about not
wasting his life hanging out there – come in say hi and leave. One
beer. Before I finished he said, What are you doing Fri night? I said,
“going out with you.” When I got home Rick called – spying for Ryder
I have no doubt. But I had to tell him I am booked solid through the 30th.
Truth to God.

    Powder Mill Rd Thurs 19 Oct 78
            Still balancing thank God. Had lunch with dancer 

Yvonne – she said she still wakes up having screaming nightmares
about Warren (he was killed in a car accident. Faced smashed in by a
coke bottle he was drinking at the time. He bled to death.) At least
I don’t have those worries.  I sleep like a baby. Worked on costumes.
Waiting for Avril to go with me to Interiors. Reread
my stuff. Think there’s a great deal to be said for the short, short novel.
Maybe encapsulate them into short stories? But no money there.
I remain unappreciated because of refusal to hook
up with some “movement”. Drown rejected. Started dividing the novel into geographical locations – Hooks Lane, Paradise Road. Would make
good short stories.
11:30 PM
Awful, awful night. Dancing badly, shoes broke. Rushed
out and bought another pair in my break. Pasties fell off –  carpet tape
of inferior quality or possibly I sweat too much.

    12:15 PM Oct 23
            Sitting by phone feeling illogical joy.  Wonderful date 

with Buck – restaurant with lots of wood and Tiffany lamps – just a
pleasant, free-flowing conversation. No sex at the end – hug and kiss
in doorway. “May I call you?’ I told him yes – invited him to be my date
Nov 5 at Shadonna’s wedding. He said he would.

    Fri 27 Oct 78
            Concord, Mass – the grave of Nathan Bond.  

Seems a good place to write – sitting on a gravestone in the sunlight.
So, what was last night like? I arrive to the theology college and another
student goes up to get Devon – I overhear him say “There’s a very
good looking girl here to see you and I mean very good looking.” He
came down looking so different with a new silky beard – exclaimed over
and over again about my gorgeousness.  We went up to his room and
were making out on his narrow plank of a bed when the radio played Ambrosia
How much I Feel. Too much for me! Started to cry and lost a lens!

Now Devon thinks I’m a psycho – which I am. Luckily (for him) and sadly
for me psychos are his specialty. Wish he wasn’t so unctuous about it.
When he attacked me with those eyes I had to get myself a drink – broke
out in shivers and hives – thought I was must black out.  He was talking
in general ways about what he wants out of life – he seems to be expressing
fear he can’t find someone better than me. I did my best to get him back
to specifics – even saying a woman can’t propose to a man (Well she could,
but if she proposed to this man she’s never hold him.)

Obviously, he loves me. That question answered. But
there are more. But as much as I deserve? Seems like not. He’s incapable
of making the kind of statement I need him to make. He wants to get a clinical psychology degree and he hinted that I wouldn’t be such a disaster as wife
to a psychologist. (Flattering?)

I told him he has a fear of “emotional success” and
he agreed.  He astonished me by making passionate love to me – I didn’t
have to do a thing (other than wear my short pink gauze peasant blouse
and the denim gauchos that show my bellybutton) –  he couldn’t get my
clothes off fast enough. Very satisfying – wasn’t an inch of my body
he didn’t kiss – including my heels. I told him my heels had never been
kissed before – so he kissed them again – also sought out all the other
unkissed places.  I do feel satisfied for at least a century. We went out
to a Greek restaurant for dinner, then to see The Deer Hunter. Powerful
movie. Crazy, just like life. Christopher Walken lovely.

Drove to Concord in pouring rain. Inn is no Night
at the Plaza – more like Early Hardy Boys. Read Violet Clay before
falling asleep. Dinner tonight with my cousin Tory – pumping him
about Hill School experiences to use in Paradise Road. Buy some
wine for tonight and celebrate my own existence.

    G’s place – NYC – Central Park West – 30 Oct 78
            Why do I do this to myself – visit Genevieve?  

I just realized the mirror in her hall is a fat mirror. I did eat a lot of
junk food on this trip but I don’t believe I look this bad. On top of that,
Genevieve’s life is a fat mirror to my life – that’s the truth.  We just saw
Chabrol’s Violette – we both have a pash for him – but agreed this is not
his best – plus the only Chabrol we know of with absolutely no romantic
elements.  It’s probably something I will end up thinking about a lot – and
rewriting in my head – so maybe it’s Ok after all. Wrote a poem for Devon
Practice Cuts.

Practice Cuts

The dead gush cruelly after dying;
High time to change &
Get religion
Have yogic visions
See god or be a nun
That would be a self worth knowing.
Time is gunning for me
I can feel arthritic fingers
Scrabbling at my dreams
Playing the old tunes but
scratchier, less sensitive.
I’m a body in search of a car wreck
A crime scene consubstantial;
The old deus ex machina
Blood is so good
At erasing uncertainty
Bringing back
A taste for life.
Reduce me, silence
To the essential bones
Of my non essential self
Fortify  some other ego
Mine is tired;
Peel from my eyes the thickened skin of grief
Unstop my ears from the dust of
My own consequence
Free my feet from the sharpened judging splinters
For life passes from my like a fever in which
I cry out and cry out and yet
No sound is made
Time to head on out
Like the tide &
the woof-warp of a pattern
So plain that even I can see it.
Teach me not to envy
The gulls their mirrored flight
unmeasured like my own
Reduce me to
unbending bones of my
Essential self
the dark sister;
The soul I was
I became me.

            Can’t turn it into a presentable poem – however, 

it did make me feel better writing it. I guess I don’t like being Devon’s
flirtation with damnation. Writing really is the best revenge.

    Plush Palace – Thurs 2 Nov 78 8:30 PM
            GiGi’s last night onstage.  She is very down. Charlie

is making her quit because “no wife of mine blah-blah-blah.” Eddy says
she’ll be back: can’t find these perks in any other job. I am dancing well.
Apparently, no one but me realizes how fat I’ve gotten.

Both a good and a bad day today. Worked hard on
Gift and Drown – sending out query letters – took pkgs to post office only
to be told a MS has to be bound to go mss rate. I made them look it up
in the manual so I won’t have to go through this again.

They treated me like this must be personal – I’m
trying to “catch” them in mistakes – forgetting I’m the customer entitled
to service who doesn’t want to pay extra for no reason at all. And the
book spells out what services I get – in case they forget. Apology
letter from Tory: his girlfriend “out of line” to be so jealous during our
paella dinner. She did seem strange but since she’s an artist I didn’t
question. I respond with a short note saying I think my questions were
just too personal for her ears so I really cannot blame her.
Reading Edmund Wilson’s life like watching a slow-
motion car wreck – horrible man.

    3PM Sat 4 Nov 78
            Trouble bouncing back from the most recent 

rejection of Gift. Wouldn’t be so bad if I felt they actually read it. My
agent compares me to Mallarmé – trouble is, no one likes Mallarmé. 
My bank has charged me $24 for being $1.70 short on a check. 
They did the same thing to Avril – since she has a $6,000 savings account,
she figures she’s paying them to lend out her money at 18% interest. And
whoever you talk to turns out to be a computer.
Buck and I are having a very interesting relationship.
I can hardly believe it’s happening. There’s no bickering over unmet needs –
it’s very restful.  Sex could be a potentially explosive problem area –
can’t tell yet – so far so good – I think he’s a learner claiming a lot more
experience than he’s got. There are definitely problems associated with
having sex with a person who is obsessed with speed.

My period started today and it seems cruel to task a
beginner with this issue. At least Buck goes down nobly like Jacques
Cousteau. But he’s not much of a talker. The most amusing aspect is
how we’ve settled down socially – we have a lot of fun around other
people. I am contemplating writing a story called The Official Girlfriend
which will treat this from a sociological perspective. Tomorrow we are
meeting his parents at a restaurant – I hope its dark in there because
they are bound to think I am too old for him. Naturally we are keeping
my job a deep dark secret – I have to be a “hostess” which really blows.
A week from tomorrow he has another race – we’ll take a picnic.  I love
these outings.

Plus Avril’s really getting along with Buck’s buddy Brady
– definite prospects of a dating foursome. Unfortunately, Brady left his wife
like two minutes ago and is not what you’d call “fully detached” as yet.
Fortunately: no kids.

Sun 11:15 PM Buck amazed me by confessing that
every time  before he sees me he is “sick to his stomach” with worry
that he won’t come up to my expectations. I am a “high status date” and
all his friends are waiting for him to stumble. But then when we’re together
he says he just relaxes and we have a great time. I was really touched by
this. It is nice that in the car mechanic’s world dating an exotic dancer is
high status. I prefer that to being the Shameful Secret which I assume I
was in Rod’s world.

Next week I’m supposedly seeing Zachary twice –
haven’t told Buck – why am I doing this? Insurance? I think I don’t like
Zachary. Am I competitive – is it just thrilling to see him come off the stage
and touch me intimately? (Everyone’s jealous – the men as much as the
women. Rod wants Zachary more than he wants me I think.)  But actually
I don’t like Zachary. The trouble with canceling is then it would be just
Buck and me. Me and Buck. Going steady.

    12:30 PM Mon 6 Nov 78
            Bizarrely warm day. Had a wonderful time yesterday 

at Shadonna’s wedding. Buck wore a marvelous blue suit with blue
suede patches. It was indescribable – sort of like country singer
performance-wear, and with his wispy moustaches and his motorcycle
boots I’m telling you he was a sight to behold.   I wore my “slit to there”
diamanté rainbow dress and we danced for hours. Nobody paid us any
attention. We didn’t stand out at all, that’s what I’m telling you.

    Plush Palace – Tues – 9:35 PM 7 Nov 78
            Avril said to me this afternoon, “My life is completely 

out of control and I don’t care.” She has to drive Brady to his in-laws to
pick up his clothes today because his wife took the car. There’s bound to
be a glorious, satisfying, soap opera scene with a lot of screaming and
object throwing – just like there was the time she helped him extract his
clothes from his wife’s apartment. On top of this Brady is apparently
extremely jealous – in spite of the fact that he’s technically married and
she isn’t. She is seriously thinking of inviting him to Thanksgiving
because he won’t believe that she’s not secretly meeting a beau –
or six!  However, he showers her with love, attention and sexual worship
so she says it’s worth every minute of it. 

Went out last night with Zachary – we had a sandwich
and drink at Booeymonger’s and saw Animal House.  He was driving his
mother’s car. He is assembling a band called Prairie Dust and he’s in
some kind of power struggle with the lead singer who is female. He needs
to be the prettiest person in any band. He says Rod – playing Daddy Big
Bucks – foisted her on him. Because Rod works in radio and is paying
for the tape mix he has Zachary right where he wants him. (She is a
fantastic singer.) Rod might just find his mojo after all. 
Following the movie, I finally met the parents – now
that there’s no point in it. Got along like a house on fire with his Dad
because I knew all the obscure Giraudoux plays he had framed posters
of on his wall. I quoted: “And the sewers will be fragrant with jasmine…”
which was my line in Madwoman of Chaillot. I could tell I was a
considerable cut above the street people and space chicks Zachary
usually drags home.

They must be worried as hell that he’s gay – his
room is full of what can only be described as pinup pictures of himself.
Little do they know it’s worse than that – he’s into anything that would
be into him. Bestiality would be frankly appraised on its merits. “Is it a good
looking chicken?”) House full of unbelievably beautiful, unbelievably
uncomfortable furniture – striped satin Empire sofas – stained glass
windows – wrought iron candelabras – that sort of thing. His mother very wary – fiercely Catholic – thin with a long blonde pony-tail and a long horsey face –
but actually quite intelligent and attractive.

Zachary’s room is full of crosses and Gonzaga
pennants – I should have realized this boy has all the earmarks of being
terminally mauled by priests. Parents frantic: when will he get a “real” job.
College was such an unpleasant experience all shudder when it’s mentioned
and no one’s willing to discuss it. I’m betting drugs were involved. 

Of course Zachary wanted to have sex in his narrow
twin bed – right beneath the picture of “The Holy Father” (he doesn’t even
have a lock on the door!) and I have to admit I found the Chabrolesque
aspects of the situation arousing. He seemed to lose track of the fact that
it was me – but his orgasms were more explosive than ever.
So there I am again; “The Official Girlfriend.” 

Could I put an ad in the paper – some kind of specialized escort service? “Impress
your friends – terrify your parents!” Buck doesn’t know about Zachary and
since I don’t care who else Z does he must realize I’ve got a back burner
– but the truth of it is that between the two of them they’re barely one boyfriend.
One is charming, affectionate, trustworthy and dumb as ditchwater; the
other is upper class, complicated, interesting, artistic, totally untrustworthy
(and most likely a male whore.)  It’s a damn shame it has to get like this. I
just don’t know how good at “keeping secrets” I can be. Need to go home
and get some sleep. If have to get down to Funkytown one more time tonight I
won’t be answerable for the consequences.

One response to “Inspired Pleasure”

  1. Dear Alysse. I love your stories. I was a soldier for fifteen years. I dated two dancers in my young days. I like the dancehalls with the Sports on TV. I befriended the ladies. I could fix a car and I wasn’t chasing them. You take me back to my easy days. I like the honest life and true thoughts. I miss the night people, who were living for today, maybe tomorrow?


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