Diary of a Dancer – Last Post
Party Castle – Mon 9 July 79 – 7:50 PM
26 hours without T. Spoke to him last night and
again this afternoon. His acceptance of me is total, but it comes from
a position of strength and I have fears of being annihilated. Last night
I experienced hallucinatory states – drove home the wrong way – felt
something was happening to the car – re-experienced my swallowing
problem. Resolved my panic by starting a poem.
Sat night Toss and I read the diary passages where
we lose our “divinity” (his word) together. He cried and told me what he’d
felt like from his “side”, wanting to be male & in control, feeling helpless
& immature. Agreed if we had married then we’d be divorced now.
11:05PM Trying to read Oneness & Separateness. Not well suited to me
right now! Much as I want to be a mother the thought of a demanding
infant between me & T truly horrifying. Insane fears of rejection and
abandonment – why on earth should I trust this man? Called T at work!
Complete craziness. He reassured me we will have private alone time
a real vacation in the Berkshires. He said champagne arrived.
Called A & we discussed Mom & Dad – how they rewarded “self-sufficiency”
and responded to neediness coldly. Makes it hard to be honest now but
I hate this weirdly formal relationship with my own parents. Avril says there
is no retraining them.
Sat 14 July 79 – StormFall Farm – 11:15 PM
Oh, my God who would believe it – here I am 11
years later! Told T about my uncle last night as we made sexual
“confessions”. He was completely calm about it so it’s no longer a
Big Secret. He insisted I read his ex-girlfriend’s letters. She was a
Piper Cub to his Concorde, believe me. He kept carbons of his letters
to her!!!! Not very loving – downright fatherly. In a bad way.
T’s actual father and he smoked cigars last night
after dinner leaning against the mantel – they were so beautiful together
I felt stunned. Wrote a poem:
MY HUSBAND SMOKES CIGARS WITH HIS FATHER
Your profiles cut my heart like glass.
Go ahead. I’m a bleeder, I’ll
Still be here when you look back.
Your father is a silver-headed
Walking-stick; his elongation glows with far less heat.
You’re his nemesis; and he’s used to it.
The wooden floors washed cornelian
Perhaps by sunset
Perhaps by jealousy of girls who
Lost you; judged too soon the temper of your eyes
Wrote too many letters or
Not enough; the wrong kind
Addressed to the pale law student with
The cinderblock heart
Traveling commentator with the hundred
Dollar bill rolled inside his shoe,
The long-haired Pinkerton guard.
You learned to suck the cherries
Scarless from the tree; it’s no mean art
Broke a few at first; we all did.
By what right am I the winner?
You chose me in thirty seconds leaving
enough time to smoke another cigar.
Everyone wants us to marry before May. But I feel
I need some time in Kentucky first. Toss told me last night that on paper
he is a millionaire. Here’s luck, because if I keep on keeping on, I’m a pauper!
Tom’s grandmother’s response was “I am not surprised.”
She committed herself to reading my “thriller”.
At dinner he announced I’m the only woman he’s ever
wanted to marry. Tom’s dad said he thought he’d be a bachelor forever.
Privately we affirmed absolute sexual fidelity forever. Will we be able to keep it?
Plush Palace – Wed 18 July 79 – 4:55 PM
Boring day but good tips. Magnificent party at
The Third Edition last night for Avril’s birthday. (I didn’t care for Avril’s latest
“honey” Vigo but was furious at myself – she should date as widely as possible.
Maybe I was affected by T who is a snob and a purist.) Drinks, fruit & cheese –
then dinner at The Old Angler & Frank Langella in Dracula. (Not a good version.)
“Finances” discussion with T. He talked me out of
selling my car. I worry about being dependent on him but he says it will be fine.
Sounds to me like he is living on a knife’s edge – working part time, going to
law school, selling stock when he needs money (which he is loathe to do being
naturally frugal.) Too tired to make love last night but we started up in the
middle of the night – both asleep. Doors keep opening – then there’s
Castle – 1 PM – Thurs 19 July 79
So happy I can’t take it all in. Feel like someone
recovering from a long illness. Read Cheever’s Goodbye My Brother –
as satisfying as a novel. Last night we made love for hours and hours but
I just couldn’t come – kept holding his face saying, “Is it really you”? Dancing
with Barbara the Kikuyu and blonde Joyce of the day-glo costumes.
3 PM Party Castle – 24 July 79
First real friction last night – very predictably, about
my job. I’m irritated over the assumption that its sordid and brutalizing.
It is totally NOT the same as the dancers in DC!!! LIFE can be sordid and
brutalizing – I like this club because it ISN’T and I’ve tried others. We
discussed HIS job which also has its sordid and corrupting aspects.
Duh. His last girlfriend gave him shit about it (and refused to read the paper!)
so it’s a sore point. He should get it. There was a horrible moment when
he felt foreign and alien – but I expected it – too much intimacy always
causes a backlash. Trying to read Sisters & Strangers. The Victorian
novel is not dead.
Castle – 2 Aug 79 – Wed
Seems hopeless to TRY writing in this book – things
happen so fast – a month is an eternity. Last night celebrated our 11th
“divinity loss” anniversary – and a difficult anniv. It was. T came to see
me dance for the first time – with Avril so it wouldn’t be so bad but had
to leave he was so upset. He didn’t like me smiling! Like I’m ENJOYING
myself! The PLACE didn’t bother him (“reverent & reserved” were his
words) just my pleasure in movement beauty & freedom! Uh oh! He goes
back to my parents’ argument: IT’S TURNING MEN ON. So what? I get
impatient with that – that way lurks the “hajib”.
We have to educate each other. At the end the
atmosphere seemed cleared and we both cried with relief. Even though I
know my love is in the larval stage, I’ve never loved anyone the way I love
him. We had our last dinner at 641 E street – steak and wine, fruit, cream,
brandy. He asked me if there were any boyfriends’ the report of whose marriage “depressed” me (he was referring to my marriage) and I had to say no.
He opened a letter from Mindy, ex-girlfriend he was
thinking of re-starting a relationship with except she went to Nepal. A letter
I would have thought perfectly reasonable two months ago now strikes me as
ridiculous – an ounce of love is worth more than all these pages of barter.
I got a wonderful letter from Devon – he’s found
“another girl” (with three more in reserve I’m betting) and wishes me the best.
But T was upset because he closed with “I love you” a word NOT thrown
around in his world! (Mindy and Cindy don’t say it!) He says it’s the only
part of the letter he believes – “the guy is a total phony.” I said his only victim
is himself. We then made love on the floor on top of all our exes’ letters.
Gloriously. Got a poem out of it.
Yes, I know everything
You’re my poor
I know of your daddy’s desk where you
Fucked with formaldehyde fingers
I know of your lonely
Rosary of abortions
I repeat, I know everything.
We made love on your letters undisturbed
As two icons.
He told me.
Unseated by mortality
We must take our place
With the king’s crazy mistresses;
Brewing menstrual blood coffee
And mandrake root tea.
Swim away, little bridesmaid,
You’re too young
I’m in love
Too much in common ever to meet.
Need to see dentist & gyno, overhaul bike,
pay bills. T. meets Ralph Nader at 6. Lucky me snagging someone so
ambitious and competent.
Castle Mon 6 Aug 79 God I need Maine. I love T but I need to get away
from him. I am used to being alone 4-5 hours a day. Starving for that.
Wonder how many otherwise perfect relationships break up for this reason!
T. is a little TOO driven. A little TOO single-minded. Makes me argue with him
– I can’t help it. For example: he talked about the “ugliness of the desert
landscape.” It’s not my “thing” either – because I grew up somewhere else
– but O’Keeffe taught me to see the beauty of it. What he REALLY meant was
“I don’t like it” but he raises it to a religious principle “New England is better.” That’s embarrassing.
I constantly feel he’s trying to “re-educate” me
– for example he didn’t like my turquoise silk pants because he “doesn’t like colors
that don’t appear in nature.” When shown an aquarium of tropical fish he doesn’t “count” them, their colors are “cultivated” and somehow “wrong.” The truth is bright colors make him nervous. So say THAT.
Sat night we went to an office party of his people (to
which I wore the aforementioned pants) and praised the house over-
extravagantly. (He does NOT like my yellow velvet furniture. I’m giving it
to Maureen.) “One good picture” per wall, beige Danish oldern furniture –
unbelievably boring and sterile. A chipped china frog would have done
the place a world of good. Could warn of decorating problems ahead.
His younger brother Dominic in town – when I
complimented his Mazda sports car and said I’d love to have one someday
Toss said “we’ll see” as if I could never buy one for myself! These
flare-ups are important signs. Must work on my self-value.
8 Aug 79
Packing for Maine came across D’s letters. Not a
“good” one among them. “Phoniness” is NOT his problem – that’s not
the right word – he’s not even “tone deaf” which was Bruce’s disorder.
I think it’s a “temperature” thing – he WANTS all passion sexualized
(not that he would ever admit it) and doesn’t trust intimacy, closeness –
as if he doesn’t believe – doesn’t want to believe it exists. He fears never
freeing himself from the physical so he cultivates a lonely “spirituality” but
he’s mired HIMSELF in it. So that’s pathetic. I take responsibility – he
probably felt hounded by my love. Thank God I escaped is all I can say. I’m
betting he was geared up to torture me for a lifetime.
I let T read my short story about his mother. That was
probably a mistake. (In it he’s planning her death!) He made some idiotic
writing class comments – I said it wasn’t THAT far along – but there’s
something appealingly mythic about this undigested mass. Worry about
it in ten years!
Shadowe Island ME – Mon 7:30 AM 12 Aug 79 Toss just left on the ferry so I can relax. Wish this
diary ended here – I need a New Life. But Not Yet. Rainy with a gray sea. Dogs stretched out snoring on the Greek carpet.
This visit has been everything I wanted, but the first
night was classic in its ghastliness. Guests showed up at cocktails and stayed
through dinner – unexpectedly – this mob scene making our announcement
a bit tougher.
Toss whispered, “Want to go through with it?”
I said, “Sure.”
We opened the champagne. The guests loved it
– Mom & Dad really surprised. Dad started talking about his difficult
father-in-law and how things would be different but flat out calling me a
liar when I chimed in about how Wilbur returned his prison mail (he told
me this story HIMSELF last Christmas!) I kept my temper – oh I must have
got it wrong. (I didn’t. We’d discussed it later ad nauseam.) Avril attacked
me later for bringing it up and “embarrassing” Dad – but he’d been TALKING
ABOUT HIS DIFFICULT FATHER IN LAW. Toss was surprised at Avril’s hostility
– used to her as an ally. He said, “They obviously think you’re invulnerable.”
Probably. If so they’re all idiots! I thought A was upset
about her own out-of-his-depth boyfriend, Vigo.
Anyway T rescued the evening bringing tears to Mom’s
eyes by talking about how he’d always loved me. M & D apologized &
Sunday the four of us toured the island – trying to
get along with Vigo. (A says he has just one testicle as if that’s all that’s
wrong with him.) At dinner watched slides of my growing up – T tremendously
moved – then lobster dinner.
Tues 13 Aug 79 – 5 PM
T called last night on his WATS line and we talked ½
an hour. Says he used to play an “airport game” of “Looking for his future
wife” but thought “I AM married!” Wow!
Sun. 19 Aug 79
T’s letter came! Glorious. I do not feel worthy.
Tension between A & V – he teases her too much – we all try to ignore it –
tough to figure out how to call him on it without opening up hostilities. Hope
she dumps him. T on phone!
Ex-island boyfriend visits. A says he acts like he wants to knock me to
the floor and French kiss me to death. Seems accurate. Glad T missed him.
Party Castle – 11 PM 22 Aug 79
Glad to go to Maine and thrilled to leave it. Mary &
Debby dancing. Today’s been eventful – T got my letters and was
enormously moved. He says the worst mistake he ever made was burning
my teenage letters. We should try to exist without this phoning but can’t
help ourselves. Diet going well: I feel good. Struggling with a pile of thank
Castle – 7 PM Fri 25 Aug 79
T. and I separated 11 days already – feels like
eternity. Avril announces she wants her own apt so I should put house
on the market. Maybe its easier. Flooding small publishers with Blood
Memory – feel pessimistic however. 3 poems accepted – 2 by Colorado
Woman, 1 by Friends Journal. Doesn’t feel as good as I’d hoped.
Struggling with new novel where I try to tell the truth about Devon. But
why should anyone want THAT God knows. Moving costs $400. I still think
I should sell my Fiat. Rotten crowd. Bored and jerking like a marionette.
Dancing with crazy Robin and Anne who never stops talking. She says
June’s in the hospital in a full body cast – will never dance again. 2 more
sets – praise God.
Trying to read about Lewis Carroll. A says Zach
threatening to show up. Don’t show up, Zach. I have a headache.
2:30 AM Sun 27 Aug 79 –
There is a God. Zach didn’t show. Long phone call
w/T then walk dogs to think about it. He is such a powerful person
it’s a little disturbing. Said he read my poem (The Duel) to his most
erudite friend who was very impressed. We wound up in another
argument about my dancing. I can’t bear his slurs so I referred to his
past drug use – WE’VE BOTH EXPERIMENTED, ALL RIGHT? He
wants me to live without money then complains about selling stock. I told
him it’s a “schizophrenic bind.” Didn’t mention how I have to PRY my stock
(that’s in my name) out of Mom and Dad.
Reading an idiotic romance – its very idiocy is refreshing.
I see why people get addicted to these. Like looking at maps when you’re lost.
Ok they’re only two dimensional but its SOMETHING!
Party Castle Tues 28 Aug 79
Last night dancing. Celebrate with chocolates but I’m too
enervated to appreciate it. Finished I’m Radcliffe, Fly Me. Ultimately a failure.
Fails to explore the inherent corruption of institutional structures. Horrible
night. $5 in tips – they are sick of the sight of me and I refuse to buy new
costumes. I am scared to death of being dependent on T. I think he could
reassure me but doesn’t know how because if I really needed him would I
be so desirable? Is a puzzlement.
I feel like I’m unfastening my suckers from Avril and grabbing
onto T! Up here without a net! Then I get mad at myself for being so infantile.
Can I just write and feel powerful? We’ll see! Doubts creeping in! This time
next week I’ll be in Kentucky! Well, I’ve written some good poems lately.
Self-confidence atrocity attack. Feel & look rotten. Realizing
the extent to which I was fertile soil for my parents’ anxieties.
3:30 Thurs 30 Aug 79
Everything done, ready to leave. I’m in shock. Crawled
into the bath with a vodka tonic and now I’m feeling better. Trying to figure
out how to approach parents for money. Maybe they could give me my own
stock as engagement present? Feel I won’t be able to disguise my rage.
This “I’m All Right Jack” no matter WHAT – is mighty convenient for them.
I realize its any sense of helplessness that triggers all this
rage NOT a good sign for T’s and my relationship. He can’t “make” me
independent! I must not succumb, or Plath-ize. (She sacrificed herself
to the gods of rage.) I’m doing this guy no favors handing him a woman
on the edge of breakdown.
4:25PM – My darling just called! Relief! He borrowed a truck from
somebody so although we’ll have to drive separately we won’t have
movers or returns to cope with. He’s driving it out here so I can sleep as
late as I like which I really need. Impossibly intense happiness. Peace & joy. Feel we have been standing in a dinghy trying to balance. Equilibrium is everything. The irrevocableness of marriage. My children mutely regard my choice. The hopelessness of explaining myself to any of T’s friends. Rain. Any excuse not to take a walk (T lives in bad neighborhood.) Feel like a girl in a gothic novel except for the constant sex which makes it a different kind of novel. Break with the past.
Reading Robert Ludlum’s perfectly ludicrous Matarese Circle. In 100 yrs people will wonder how we stomached this stuff. A. and I going to Olney theatre to see The Bat tonight.
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