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a novel in progress

Month: February, 2016

Excerpts From a Diary 6

[June, 1979]
Man, I don’t even know what day it is & I just realized it’s June. I don’t know why I bother to have a calendar – I rarely look at it & I never change it until 4 or 5 days into the new month cuz I just don’t realize – I’m too busy partying.

***
I talked to Mom today. She & Dick are very upset about my grades but they’re sending me money to get me through the next month, by which time I have to have a job or I have to go back to Gates Mills. But I’m never going back there. Crony told me today that he might be going to California at the end of the month & I don’t have a job by then, maybe I’ll go with him. Of course Eddie told me he was coming back for me at the end of the summer. So I want to be here for that. I would hate to miss Eddie. But – California! I have always wanted to go out there. Of course Crony might not go there, either. He was pretty wasted when he was talking about it.
I visited Bard Ellison tonight. It was our best visit yet. I think it’s going slow but that’s alright. Better slow & steady than fast & fucked up. & I think he needs a long time to make up his mind. & it gives me time to hang out – feel my oats a bit – I need a little freedom but I need a little hope too.

***

Oh man, I’m so excited. I was hanging out at Bard’s yesterday afternoon, listening to his band – Chaotic Bliss – tune up & practice a little before their gig & Bard said that they needed to find someone big & tough to take money at the door & make sure no one got in without paying. They talked a while about various guys & I said, “Well, I’m not big but I’m tough – I’ll do it.” & I talked them into it. So I went to McVan’s with them for the 7:00 sound check & hung out until opening. People didn’t show up for the longest time – it’s slow on Sunday nights – so the drummer – Greg Bodinski – “Gregski” – & I hung out together & talked. Once we found out we’re both into the Beatles, we traded acquired knowledge. He’s just a senior in high school. He’s kinda plump but real cute.
When people started coming, I was tough. I was amazed at all the excuses people will use to try to get in for free. “I’m with sound.” There is no sound man. “I know Bard Ellison.” Everyone knows Bard! Or they said they knew Barrett. A few said they knew Frankie or Gregski but not by name – they said they knew “the guitarist” or “the drummer” which is a dead giveaway that they really don’t know anyone at all.
Late into the second set, this humpty-dumpty dude came up. “I’m the band’s manager,” he said.
“That’s nice,” I replied. “It’s a dollar-fifty cover.”
“Listen, you don’t understand, I’m the band’s manager.” He put his hands on my shoulders & I shook him off. “Got any i.d.?” I was smiling but I wasn’t letting him in.
Well, he really was the band’s manager – Fred Fuller, his name is – & he was impressed with me, so he took my name & phone number – & I have a permanent job. “This band is going places,” he told me, “& you’ll go too.”
This is so great! This band is musically & lyrically the best band in Buffalo. The Jumpers are great but they aren’t intellectual like Chaotic Bliss. & I’m a part of it now! This is what I’ve always wanted! I belong!

***

Last night we played a private party at the Belle Starr out in Colden & everything was fucked up. We thought there was gonna be a P.A. system but there wasn’t one. Fred called around & got a sound man but then there weren’t any microphones. Honestly I don’t know why they don’t bring their own stuff just to be on the safe side. I know I would. You’d think Fred would be on top of this stuff. Then they found a mike – just one – but no stands. The band was supposed to go on at 10 but it was past 12:30 before they did. Gregski & I hung out together most of the time – he borrowed money from his sister so he could buy beer. He’s so sweet, so nice, so pretty – I want him. I was so high all night – dancing, cruising around, laughing, making other people laugh. “You’re always smiling,” said Frankie, the guitarist, who is obviously hot for me. “Cori’s very happy lately,” remarked Fred to Bard. “I think it might be Gregski,” said Bard.
“He’s so pretty!” I gushed to Bard. “& he’s younger than I am! Like everyone I know is older than I am!”
Writing up set lists, I talked to myself. “He’s cute, but he’s so young. You know he’s too young for you. Don’t get involved!”
Finally, they had to go on. I was the human mike-stand, holding the mike for Bard – or Barrett – whoever was singing at the time. They did a lot of jamming, so they didn’t have to sing too much. & then when they did sing, Barrett insisted that I get up there & sing with them – they were doing Beatles tunes & I belted out harmony – totally impressing everyone. “Wow, a rock’n’roll Ethel Merman,” said Bard. It was really fun. & I got paid, too – when they divided up the money, I got an equal share – only $2 – but I told Fred, “It’s just so much fun. I mean, I want to make money, too, but I’m here for the fun. It’s just so much fun.”

***

Chaotic Bliss has four members. Bard Ellison does lead vocals, plays viola & writes most of the songs, especially the lyrics. He commands most of the attention because he dances, he beams – he is so joyously high on rock’n’roll. You watch him & you can’t help but feel great, cuz you know he’s having the best time of his life. Plus he looks so bizarre – his shoulder-length frizzy hair – his tall thin body – his little kid grin – he might talk a good line about “punk rock” but there’s really nothing punk about Bard. He’s an old-time hippie who is rocking out with the kids. & he’s loving every minute of it. & he brings out the most bizarre instruments to rock out with – an autoharp – an ukulele – things you never see in a rock’n’roll band, let alone a punk band. He is supposed to be spending the summer writing his dissertation but he admits that he doesn’t give a damn about anything but rock’n’roll. I totally understand where he is coming from.
Robert Barrett – just known as Barrett – plays bass & also sings & writes songs. Like Bard, he is writing his dissertation but he is much more serious about his work. He’s been playing in rock’n’roll bands since he was a young teenager & has never been out of a job. He’s played some really big gigs – some of the big music festivals – & he’s seen or partied with everyone. It was the daily grind of the rock’n’roll life that made him want to become a scholar – he’s really an intellectual. But he’s a really good bass player. He’s solid, ya know what I mean? Never loses the beat – always right there with the firm bottom. Also – I think he exercises the most power in the band. If I had to say which guy was the leader of the band, I’d have to say it was Barrett. Which is funny, cuz it’s Bard’s band.
My feelings about Frankie Marone are ambiguous. He’s a good guitarist – good, not great. He’s a better rhythm guitarist than lead. He really drops the ball whenever he has to fill eight bars in the middle of a song. But he’s a good driving rhythm guitarist. He’s good-looking is a suave macho cool way – blonde, well-built – & he’s certainly very nice to me – but there’s something there I don’t like. Maybe cuz he isn’t quite natural. I don’t know if I would go so far as to call him a total phony but – maybe half a phony. I don’t know – I could be way off here. But that’s what my instincts are telling me & my instincts are rarely off. He’s very pleasant though – I like him – on a very superficial level.
& then there’s the pretty drummer – Gregski – from Cheektowaga. I call him “Wonder Boy” cuz he’s such a fantastic drummer. & he’s such a sweet kid – he really is. Bright – enthusiastic – loves to party.
They are so tight – such a tight, tight band. They haven’t even been together all that long, but they are really great. They are all excellent musicians. Musically, they have everything they need to be a great band, all they need is a following. & of course – lots of practice. I really believe in this band. I really do – they’re great.
Tonight they were working on new tunes, so there were some personality clashes. Barrett was clearly in charge & he tends to treat Bard – especially – like a child. Sometimes they would be squabbling & I would think – what a bunch of silly children. I can also see where Gregski may rebel in a while. I mean, he’s 10 years younger than the rest of them. Bard & Barrett, anyway. He told me how they often treat him like a “total kid.” In the next couple years, he’s going to really change. I think of the changes I’ve gone through in the past twelve months – they’ve been monumental. He’s still in high school & lives with his parents – he’s still a little kid in so many ways.
As I was sitting listening to them practice, I was humming harmonies & wondering if they will let me sing again.

***

Yesterday & today – yuck. It’s been terrible. First of all, it’s been so steamy hot that tempers are short & I can’t sleep at night – I’m never good when I can’t sleep – plus I still haven’t found a job – the phone company wants $100 deposit – a fucking $100! That’s ridiculous! – & I’m tired of my housemates. Mark Miles has been one of my very best friends since I first met him at Mayfield High School – he was really the first friend I made there. I understand he’s hurt & confused about Sara breaking up with him but it’s all part of Jon breaking up with me. I mean – that’s obvious. & it’s obvious that it’s been going on for a while. But I don’t get why Mark is taking it out on me. Like I’m the one who screwed it up with Jon & that’s why Jon is dogging Sara & that’s why Sara doesn’t want Mark anymore or some such shit. I was over at Bard’s, blowing off steam & when I got home again, I was locked out – this house is never locked! It’s a good thing it’s real easy to break into. I have to start remembering to carry my key.
I went out last night with John & his two friends C & D. What a waste of time that was. We went over to the Elmwood Strip. First we went to No Name’s, which wasn’t half bad, because the baseball game was on. I love baseball – I don’t care who’s playing. After the game, we went down the street to Mr. Goodbar, a disco. I hate discos, but I felt like dancing. However, it didn’t take long to become thoroughly depressed from the music & the people. I left for C’s place – John said he’d follow me later.
He showed up a little while later. He said he was almost sure of a ride home. “Great,” I said, “I’ll wait here.” I fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up, I figured that John was still at the bar, so I got up to walk down there. I saw a guy in a car & I asked him what time it was. “Four-thirty,” he answered. “Four-thirty!” I exclaimed. I wondered how I was going to get home from Elmwood Avenue at four-thirty in the morning. “Do you need a ride?” he asked. “Where are you going?” I asked.
“Winspear,” he answered.
“Oh great,” I said & got in. We talked as he drove & he asked me if I wanted to get high. “Sure,” I answered. He parked at Medaille College – nobody was around & I wasn’t happy – & he rolled a joint. We smoked it & as I expected, he put the moves on me. I said, no way. He got aggressive & I kicked him in the balls with my wooden clogs. “You fucking bitch!” He yelled. “I was just trying to be nice to you!” I thought, I’m out of here & jumped out of the car & ran away. I could hear him trying to start his car but the battery was dead. He was yelling at me to come back, but I wouldn’t.
So I walked all the way from Medaille College – not a bad walk, actually – but I was wearing my high-heeled clogs, not shoes you want to be walking in. But it was warm & the sun was coming up – the sky was pale blue & pink, changing as I watched it. I would have enjoyed myself if I hadn’t been scared shitless. Black dudes in long cars would stop & offer me rides & they don’t take no very easily. I was so scared.
I was getting blisters from my clogs so I took them off & walked barefoot. I felt a sharp pain – I had walked through broken glass. I limped down Main Street, getting more & more tired. My foot, which was bleeding, was becoming swollen.
Then I stubbed my toe. I was right around Hertel Avenue. The impact didn’t even hit me – I just stood there – numb – watching my big toe turn red – the skin pushed back & the nail broken. Then there was pain & I felt like puking. But I brushed away tears & started moving again – just slower & lop-sided.
Finally I was home. I hopped up the stairs & down the hall to John’s room. He was in his bed, sleeping. “John,” I said, “you fucking asshole.”
“Cori,” he said, waking, “you’re home. How’d you get home? I was so worried when I got in & saw you weren’t around.”
“You were worried? You fucking left me stranded, you asshole! Look at my foot, I can barely walk!”
“Wow, how’dja do that?”
I went to bed. I didn’t even bother to clean it off. There’s blood all over the hallway & bathroom floors but I haven’t cleaned that either. I’ve been soaking this foot all day – at Bard’s – & my toe is lots better. He has Epson salts & he keeps changing the water. But the glass is really wedged into my heel. For a long time, I thought it was out, because it wasn’t hurting, but now it hurts more than ever. I stuck a needle in the hole to see if I can pry it out & it’s definitely in there & very well lodged. I’m just too tired to do anything about it now. I was at a party tonight but I had to leave cuz I couldn’t walk & I was in so much pain I wasn’t enjoying myself. I’m so pissed. I can’t believe I’m hurt like this.

Today I soaked my foot almost all day. At intervals, I’d pull back the softened skin & enlarge the hole – then I’d let it soak again. Just a minute ago, I pulled back more skin & saw the piece of glass, shining in the light – I squeezed my heel & it came out, with blood & pus. I cleaned my foot & dressed it & bandaged it. Now I’m gonna wrap a plastic bag around it so I can take a shower. I’m meeting Chaotic Bliss at Bard’s, before we go to the gig at McVan’s tonight.

***

Wow, what a gig. We got there & our sound man didn’t. There was some fuck-up – some total lack of communication. We couldn’t get another one, either – although Bard deserves a gold medal for trying. Barrett & I are really pissed off at Fred – he couldn’t be found & this is definitely his fuck-up. Bard is much more forgiving.
So I went around, giving people’s money back & telling them that there was no P.A. but the band was gonna jam anyway. I think giving the money back to the people impressed them, because they all stayed.
The band was never better. What they lacked in vocals, they made up for in excellent solos, tight back-up & Bard’s incredible mime act. He is one out-there dude! & people were really into it! & the band was really into it, too, they were obviously enjoying themselves – I don’t think I’ve ever seen Frankie smile as much – not while he’s playing anyway. They did all their tunes, except the ones that had to have vocals. They were great!
Fred showed up late in the second set & wanted to know why was there no P.A. & where was the sound man? Barrett wouldn’t talk to him.
Going home, we stopped at Mighty Taco & munched. We were all so high & giggly – we just talked about the gig constantly. I’m writing it up for the new newspaper in town, “Rockers”. Fred was going to, but I was so exuberant & talking so excitedly about the band that he told me to. Barrett agreed that I should, since I was there for the entire show. Plus, I’m really into this band. They’re great, that’s why! They really are.

***

I have a job – I’m 90% sure of it! It’s a typing job at a credit bureau – minimum wage to start, then a raise after 30 days & benefits – Blue Cross/Blue Shield, life insurance, disability, sick days – everything. I can type 53 words a minute – I had never known that before. I can actually type faster than that, but not accurately. I told John – the guy who interviewed me – that with practice, I can & will get better. I want that job.
The reason I’m 90% sure of the job is that this guy always hires from Ruth – my employment agent – they’re personal friends – & I’m the only girl she sent to him. I think I made a good impression – I hope so!

***

Oh wow – I just woke up. I was pretty sick all day but I just realized it would be from lack of sleep as much as too much beer. Oh – last night was fun fun fun – I can barely remember it but that’s cool too – that’s how I know it was fun.
Around 3 in the afternoon I went over to Bard’s – the band was hanging out – they were gonna practice, then go to a gig at McVan’s with 8 other bands. It was another one of Mark Freeland’s extravaganzas to promote his bands.
We got there at 9 p.m. & didn’t go on until 3 a.m. In between, we drank several pitchers of beer, smoked a handful of joints & I myself had at least 4 bottles of beer on top of that. Plus, we had been doing shots of bourbon before we even left Bard’s house. So we were all quite wasted. Bard wasn’t – he never joins in with the drinking & the smoking. But the rest of us were partying hearty.
I wore a blue & white mini-dress, navy blue tights & my red mary-jane flats. I had on lots of eye make-up & all of my silver jewelry. I got asked to dance a lot. When I was asked whom I was with, I said, “Chaotic Bliss.” They’re my boys.
I was standing at the side of the stage, listening to Davy & the Crocketts with Gregski. We sauntered back through the dark hallway backstage to the dressing room. I don’t know what we were talking about – I can’t remember – but in the noise & darkness our heads were close together to hear what we were saying to each other & I’m not sure if he kissed me first or if I kiss him first – only that we stayed in the darkness a long time – a very long time.
& then, after the load-out, I was beating up on Frankie, to prove that I was tough in retaliation to his accusation that I wasn’t tough at all – & his kisses were deft & practiced – & his tongue wound around mine like a snake wound around a mouse. “Would you like company tonight?” he asked. “Sure,” I answered, without really thinking about it. In bed, I pulled myself together enough to fuck reasonably well, but in all actuality, I was too drunk & tired to be any good at all. We slept, our bodies entwined, which was nice – but as it got lighter out – it was 5:30 when we went to bed – the heat & the humidity increased & so did my headache. He left me in the early afternoon & I was glad to be alone. I don’t like being sick around other people. But I regretted that sleeping with Frankie hadn’t turned out entirely great. I mean, it doesn’t matter to me – but maybe it doesn’t fit into his macho image. Which won’t bode well for me.
I just got rid of my headache & I’ve finally woken up. I have to shower & then get over to Bard’s cuz we have a gig tonight.

***

Wow! I’m stoned, man! I’ve been stoned &/or drunk like all the time lately. I can barely write. Last night I bought half an ounce. I just couldn’t stand being without weed. I thought: fuck the bills, I’m gonna get me some marijuana. Went to bed stoned – woke up stoned – smoked some more. I can’t even write – I can barely hold a pen. I wanna dance – I wish it were night & I was out dancing – yeah.

That job fell through & I’m so depressed I could cry but I refuse to let myself cry over something so silly. I have to call the employment agency cuz they have another interview for me – but I just don’t want to. I’m so tired of this dress-up play-act game – especially since I don’t know how to play & I seem to be losing. I’m so sick of this!

I went out job hunting today but not much luck. I miss the band. I saw Bard yesterday which was nice – our band’s the best! Sunday’s gig was great – people were up & dancing – me too! I was bouncing in my seat & Fred said, “Go on, dance. I’ll watch the door.” We’re getting a following. At last!
However, there are major problems brewing. Gregski doesn’t like Fred at all, nor do I, really. & now Barrett says he’s picking up “bad vibes” too. Fred says money was stolen from the door – which is impossible – because I’m always there – I don’t even take a piss – so in essence, he’s accusing me of stealing. & why would I steal from my band? The band I love? Plus I get paid out of the money from the door, too. Stealing from the door is stealing from myself.
But there’s always problems, right? I guess that’s normal.

***

I have a job! Really! I went out this morning & went all over Buffalo, applying everywhere & finally was trudging up Main Street from Hertel, depressed as hell. I was passing Broadway Joe’s, a bar run by this disco wimp who picked me up hitch-hiking one night. It doesn’t get much business. Anyway, there was a Help Wanted sign in the window, so I went in. & walked out a half-hour later buzzed with beer & employed.
I went right over to Bard’s house. “I have a job!” They were all happy & even happier when I delivered an ounce of weed to Mac – Bard’s roommate – but there was definite tension. They were in no hurry to start the rehearsal. Bard told me this morning, “Frankie got a lot of hassle from his family because of the lyrics of ‘Son of Man’ & he’s redefining his priorities. He says he wants to go to school.”
When they finally went down to the basement & started the rehearsal, they worked on “Dog Breath”. Fred was there – more bad vibes. Bard disappeared upstairs for a while & returned with a bunch of disco albums. Without any forewarning or any words at all, he started smashing them – throwing them against the basement walls & on the floor – until there was nothing but a pile of black plastic. When he was done, he went back to playing his autoharp like nothing had happened. The room was a total mess of broken vinyl.
The rehearsal slowed down & stopped. Then the fireworks started.
Frankie said that, as a Christian, the lyrics of ‘Son of Man’ offended him & he wanted them changed – “Just three little words” – or he wouldn’t play the song. Then he changed it to – change the lyrics or he’d quit the band.
Bard said that the three words weren’t important in & of themselves, but the song as a whole was important & changing any part of the whole would be artistically & morally wrong. If you changed the words, then you change the song & then it wouldn’t say what he wanted it to say.
Frankie’s rebuttal was that Chaotic Bliss is not Bard Ellison – Chaotic Bliss is the entire band – Bard, Barrett, Frankie & Gregski. Something clicked in my brain that this may be the real problem. This & Frankie’s family hassling him – if they are, indeed, hassling him.
Fred was trying to be the father figure – Barrett & I got the giggles because he was so ridiculous at it. So Fred tossed Barrett & me out. We went upstairs & watched TV for a while, then Barrett went back down & I sat on the stairs, listening. Basically, it was more of the same. Barrett made a beautiful speech defending Bard’s rights & feelings as a artist. It was great – I wish I could remember it cuz I’d write it down here.
Frankie left after that. Bard, Gregski, Barrett, Fred, Mac & I sat in Bard’s kitchen, smoking pot & discussing the situation. Bard read his poem “The Pope on Christmas Day”. It was beautifully offensive. I left after that.
We’re meeting tomorrow at 11 a.m. I’ll be there earlier, of course. But now I need to sleep.

***

I walked into the house yesterday at 11:45 – way later than I had wanted to arrive – but I overslept. I listened at the cellar door, but there was absolutely no sound at all – a bad sign – when all is well, they can’t wait to play – so I dashed upstairs. I walked into the kitchen & they were all sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. We all said hi, then Bard said, “Frankie’s just announced he’s leaving the band.”
“Oh,” I said & sat down.
Frankie said, “It’s just that…with you, the Bliss is your primary interest, your primary goal. But it isn’t mine. I should have said so from the start & I’m sincerely sorry that I didn’t, because I did you a great disservice. But I’d be doing a greater disservice if I kept on playing & later quit.”
There were the same questions over & over again – why did it take so long to realize this? How much of this is family pressure? How can he cut off a possibility for the future? Etc. Frankie replied, “I want to be a speech pathologist.” He left soon after.
Barrett, Bard, Gregski & I hung out all afternoon, talking about the situation. “Anyway,” said Bard, “we should not settle for any guitarist until we find the best one in the world.”
“That’s a good idea,” I agreed. How I wished at that moment I played guitar! Gregski fired up a joint & passed it to me. Bard suggested that they write a song, “so that today isn’t a complete waste.” For about an hour, Barrett pounded on a guitar with only 5 strings & Bard & I traded lyrics, while Gregski thumped & pounded an accompanying rhythm & finally we got it finished. Barrett left soon after that & Bard, Gregski & I walked to Might Taco to get burritos. Talking – of course – about Frankie’s decision to leave. We all think there’s more to it than the lyrics of a song or wanting to be a speech pathologist. But if Frankie doesn’t want to talk about what’s really going on, there’s nothing any one of us can do about it.

***

Last night’s gig was terrible. We had the worst competition – 999 was playing Stage One. I would have loved to have seen 999 – I don’t want to be disloyal to the Bliss but still. & there was almost nobody at McVan’s at all. & then, Gary’s A-string broke on his ukulele & he didn’t have another one – or the one he had didn’t fit – so those songs were shot – then Frankie’s amp broke & then Barrett’s did. I mean, it was one thing after another.
& I was depressed because Frankie now treats me like I don’t exist. I should have known, right? I poured out my troubled to Barrett on the way to McVan’s – “He doesn’t flirt with me anymore,” I complained, hurt but not exactly caring. “If he had never flirted with me, I wouldn’t care. But he was only flirting with me to get me in bed & now that he’s had me, it’s like I don’t exist.”
Barrett said, “It seems to me that you’re taking life by the horns, which is admirable & takes a lot of courage. But you’re gonna meet people who are gonna take advantage of that quality of yours & put you down, or at least try to put you down. They’ll use your independence for their own ends & then revile you for that independence.”
“I don’t get that. I’m not that kind of person.”
“You gotta toughen up, baby,” he smiled at me. I smiled back. “Bard & I were wondering,” he mentioned, “how much you taking Frankie home that night had to do with him quitting.”
“Yeah, I was wondering, too.” I sighed. “But that’s not my fault, Barrett. Him quitting the band.”
“I know that, baby,” he answered.
& then Fred was down on me, but he always is lately – it occurred to me that maybe he blames me for Frankie quitting the band, too. It bothers me that Bard might blame me. If Fred blames me, so be it but I don’t want Bard blaming me. It’s not my fault. If that’s the way Frankie is, that’s the way he is. Anyway, the night sucked. The few people who came in were hecklers. The band quit the stage without finishing the set & we packed & left without smoking a joint & hanging out in the back room like we always do – talking about the set & congratulating each other about a great show.
The only good thing was that Frankie – supposedly unhindered by whatever his hang-up is – played better than ever. “I feel so relaxed, now that it’s all out,” he said. What an asshole.
(Later). Saturday night was far better. The Jumpers were opening for Alex Chilton at McVan’s. I wasn’t going to go but after I caught a buzz in the early evening I decided to get out of the house & party. I wore a black velveteen mini dress I found in a thrift shop – black tights & my red mary-janes. I did my eyes up in black & I looked fabulous. It was cold out – for a coat, I wore a man’s maroon smoking jacket – also found in a thrift shop. It has plaid lapels & cuffs & large pockets. It goes down to my knees & looks like a coat. I love it.
I got a ride to Hertel & Elmwood, then I was on my own. I hate thumbing there – it’s too dark, too unpopulated – there’s a corner bar & that’s about all there is. I really hadn’t been out there very long before someone stopped. A guy on a motorcycle! He was Latino, very handsome. I strapped on the helmet & got on behind him. Oh, I love motorcycles! I have always wanted a boyfriend with a motorcycle. I loved riding with Eddie, the few times he’s had his bike running. He took me right to McVan’s – I was so very thankful. He wanted me to party with him all night – he was going to some bar downtown – but I said no. Maybe I should have said yes?
At McVan’s, I sat with Gregski & his friends, all of whom were charmed by me – I was in a very good mood – laughing & making fun of them. & then I felt it – I turned & there stood Jon. & of course, that was the reason I said no to the guy on the motorcycle – I was hoping to see Jon – I’m always hoping to see Jon. I wanted to go talk to him but then the Jumpers came on & took the stage & started to play & I was right up & dancing because there is no keeping still to rock’n’roll. I danced every tune – I danced with everyone who asked me – & then I danced back to where Jon was standing. “Dance with me,” I said. We danced several tunes, actually talking a little bit as we danced. “I’ll see you later on,” he said to me, moving away. I smiled at him – I felt like I owned the world.
I sat & drank some beers & caught my breath. I saw Sean standing across the dance floor, by a speaker & I went over to him. “Cori!” he said & kissed me. I was so very surprised & so very pleased. We danced until the end of the set. I said, “Come smoke a joint with me.”
He said, “Well, Jon’s with me, do you mind if he comes along?”
“Shit, I don’t care, the more the merrier!”
We went & found Jon, then went out to Sean’s car & smoked. Jon & I argued lightly, like we always do. He questions every little thing I say – jumps on my statements – points out all my inconsistencies – & demands total accuracy. Since I was buzzed on beer, I had quick witty retorts. It’s only when I’m straight that words come slower than I want them to. Around Jon, anyway.
After a while we went in & stood in the back. Jon went to take a piss & Sean asked me, “Are you going out with anyone? Cuz I’d like to see you.”
“Sure,” I said & touched his hand.
“At the rate we’re going, it’ll be another month before we ‘just happen’ to see each other again,” he laughed.
“I know,” I agreed. Which is really OK with me. I like Sean – but I’m still in love with Jon.
Jon came back. We started talking about the new Joni Mitchell album & he told me about a collage of photos he was putting together. “You should come over & see it,” he said. “We can get a pizza or something.” & fuck our brains out, I added silently.
Alex Chilton came on & we made a dash for the stage. He was alright – not great. The bass & the drummer were rarely together – like they had never played the tunes before. The rhythm guitarist was really good, though. Jon said, “I think the back-up band is the Philly Nuggets.”
We were dancing – I wanted to die. His hand on my thigh – then my ass – then my back – my shoulder – I was dying. He brushed up against me & I could feel his hard-on & I could have screamed – I could have fainted. Instead I clapped with the rest of the crowd & flashed a smile to Sean.
That night – in bed – I sank into sleep & wished I was with Jon.

***

I went over to Bard’s this afternoon & Barrett was there. They were talking about last night’s gig & had decided to quit gigging for a while until we had a new guitarist & could really burn ass. “I just can’t stand another night like last night,” said Bard. It’s true. I think with another gig like that, Bard would have a nervous breakdown or something. I worry so much about him.
Anyway, Bard was going over to Barrett’s for dinner & he invited me too. He had to take a nap first & I hung out with Barrett while Bard slept.
Barrett is truly amazing. He talked for so long today – out on the porch, while Bard slept – he taught me how to roll joints – the right way, he said – he said that when he was at Columbia University, he had a physics professor who taught him how to roll joints – the right way – along the laws of physics, of course – so that they burn properly – not too thin & not too fat!  I had difficulties in getting them exactly right so he had me rolling one after another & we smoked every single one of them – I had a half an ounce & we smoked the whole thing! I asked him about gigging in the late 60’s & early 70’s & he said, “I really don’t like to talk about it.” & then went on to tell me all about it. Meeting Janis Joplin & Jimi Hendrix & the Grateful Dead & the Jefferson Airplane.  & everyone else you can think of!  All the drugs & the drinking & seeing the world. “Were you one of Janis’ ‘pretty young boys’?” I teased him. “One night & one night only,” he admitted. “She was something else. I could never drink enough to keep up with her, that’s for sure.” He told me how she would be onstage, a bottle in each hand & never miss a beat. “But she was totally wasted the entire time.” I asked him if her death made him want to leave the scene. “Not her death per se, but the death of other people much closer to me – too many O.D.s & car wrecks when people were trashed behind the wheel.” I could identify with that – my father dying drunk behind the wheel – as he well knew.  It seemed like we had a lot in common. “So I left the life,” he told me. “I went back to school, got married, started work on my Ph.D. & I’m much happier than I used to be.” We laughed a lot in the warm gold sunshine & by the time Bard woke up & joined us in the late afternoon sun, I felt that I had gained an ally.
Supper was good. Rina, Barrett’s wife, made chicken wings, broiled in lemon & soy sauce – there was rice, corn on the cob & a salad. I couldn’t decide if I liked the chicken or not, but I ate a lot anyway. I mean wings – they’re supposed to be deep-fried & smothered in a mixture of hot sauce & melted butter, right? These even had the tips still on them. But they were alright. Rina’s from Brooklyn – she doesn’t know about real chicken wings. But she had a library to die for – one room with bookshelves from ceiling to floor – I was so envious – & all the Anaïs Nin diaries – & she let me borrow some books – although none of the diaries, which are signed copies. Signed copies! I wouldn’t let those out of the house either! Barrett loaned me some D.H. Lawrence novels – Lady Chatterley’s Lover & Women in Love.  He had every copy of my father’s novels – which pleased me to no end.
Bard talked to Fred on the phone about quitting gigs for a while. Shameless me, I sat & pretended to read about the Rolling Stones while listening to Bard’s side of the conversation. It was easy to tell what Fred was saying, even without hearing what he was actually saying. Fred thought that Chaotic Bliss should finish out the contract at McVan’s. He thinks we should go right on gigging regardless, but Bard vehemently – as vehement as Bard gets – disagreed. Although the gig for next Sunday is definitely on.

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Excerpts From a Diary 5

[May, 1979]
End of the semester. I managed to finish my Mina Loy paper on time & I gave it to Mr. Barrett. He was impressed that I was able to get it done on time & that it was longer than the required pages. “I look forward to reading it,” he told me. “I hope you like it,” I answered.
We stood talking for a few minutes – he asked me what I was going to be reading this summer & I replied “Anaïs Nin” off the top of my head – although I have lots of other books to read – & while he was telling me about D.H. Lawrence, who walks in but Bard Ellison! It turns out they’re really good friends & they’re in a band together! Or they’re trying to get one going or something. They have a drummer but they’re still auditioning guitarists. They have a gig next week at the Masthead, over by Buff State. Bard had a stack of flyers he was putting up everywhere. I thought it was impressive that they already had a gig but not even really a band. The name of the band is “Chaotic Bliss”.
Bard wanted to see me this Friday night but I’m going to the Cheap Trick concert with M. I’m kinda sad, actually – I think I would rather hang out with Bard & hear about this new band.

I failed my Women’s Poetry Class because I never showed up for the poetry reading at the women studies college on Winspear Avenue – I knew where it was – I’d been there before – but I had been partying with Bro & Crony earlier in the day because Crony was leaving for his home in the Adirondacks – “But I’ll be back,” he said. “It’s gorgeous up there but there’s nothing there! I’d rather be here. You can do anything here.” I thought I would be able to party with them & then take a short nap & make it to the reading OK but I never woke up. So I really fucked that one up. The thing is, if I had just taken an incomplete & left it at that, I would have been OK – I was the one who insisted that I was fine & I could make it to the reading. So yeah – I really fucked up.
My other class I have to finish by the end of July. I have to write a paper on how the capitalist patriarchal culture screws over women & keeps them from being able to fully participate in society or become the person she can become – or something like that – I’m not even sure yet. I have two months to flesh it out & get it to my professor. But I’m just so happy about having to finish up that one class because that gives me a reason to stay in Buffalo – & stay close to Jon. You never know – I might be able to get him back.

May 4 was the Cheap Trick concert in Rochester. I went with M. from the Q station. M. & the Q station is everything Jon hates & used to rant about all the time – the slick corporate element taking over radio stations & squashing out all creativity & spontaneity & true musicianship – the AOR-set lists & “classic rock” hits which are crowding out all the new music – the bloated budgets of some bands, while others starve as they roadie their own gigs & sleep in their vans to save money.
But I wasn’t thinking about that when I was going to Rochester with M. He had some killer cocaine & I was already half-blitzed out of my mind & feeling fine. I was thinking that maybe tonight was the night I would start my career as a groupie – although at almost age 19, I was a little old for that. Most girls start way younger than that.
Backstage wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. The concert was at the Dome & it was shabby, to say the least. There was a spread of various cold cuts & cheeses & stuff like that but no shrimp & caviar & champagne. Not like you read about in magazines. & it wasn’t any wild party. It was really quite subdued. & I was the youngest girl there. I mean – if those other girls were younger than me, then they must have spent years partying. They looked like that anyway. Rail thin & wearing cheap silk-like dresses – although it was way too cold for anything like that – & none of them looking any too healthy.
& Cheap Trick themselves! I mean – they rocked – it was a good show – but they were so old! & so tired looking. Even before the show, they looked like they hadn’t slept in – I dunno – weeks, months, even. A good long time. Rick Neilson looked really bad – big dark circles under his eyes – but he was really nice to me. He gave me a bunch of guitar picks & a Cheap Trick button.
After the show, we partied with them on their tour bus – both Robin Zander & Tom Petersson chided me for drinking Rolling Rock beer when I could have had Heineken – but I hate Heineken & I don’t drink beer that I hate. They were both paired up with the skinny chicks that were backstage. M. pulled out his vial of coke & one of the girls had opium, which we smoked in a glass pipe – I have never smoked opium before – it was really cool – real dreamy & slow & soft – it’s hard to explain – but I really loved it – especially paired with the coke.
I spent the night in the motel – in M.’s room – I wish I could say that I had an orgy or something with them but the truth is, I passed out as soon as I hit the bed & the next thing I know, M. was waking me up & it was morning – I couldn’t tell if he was pissed off about how I didn’t even give him a blowjob – but I was too out of it & I really didn’t care. I wasn’t hung over – I was just – kind of sick. & really tired.
I was glad to get home. Even if “home” was the dorms & I had to start packing to move out. I’m moving in with Mark Miles & John Frederics. But I have a few days to get my shit together.

***

Eddie’s going back to Brooklyn for the summer. He says he has a job with his cousin & he can make some real big money before the fall. He doesn’t know if he’s coming back to school but he said that no matter what, he is going to come back for me. That made me feel really good.
He gave me a ride on his Ducati, finally put back together & running smoothly. It was in pieces most of the semester. Eddie’s room looked more like a repair shop than a college dorm. His roommate complained to the R.A. but there was nowhere else for Eddie to work on his bike or even to store it. The R.A. & the roommate both were customers of Eddie’s so the problem was easily solved. Marijuana always makes friends.
It was thrilling – flying around campus on the back of his bike – holding on as tightly as I could – since there was no backrest to keep me on. When he cornered – we were almost parallel with the road – my knee was an inch from the pavement – it was terrifying & electrifying at the same time – it took my breath away –
He dropped me off at my dorm. “I’ll be back,” he said. “You have my phone number, call me, don’t disappear on me.”
As he drove off, I thought about his promise to return. & that he has never kissed me.

***

I moved into my new house yesterday. It’s on Heath Street. I share it with Mark Miles & John Frederic. John has the bedroom across from mine. Mark sleeps in the downstairs bedroom. The house was so dirty – it still needs a lot of work, but at least it’s livable. I am so glad to be moved in – I can hardly wait for the rest of my stuff to come.
This house is large. The front room is Mark’s – it must have been a porch at one time, but is closed in now. Then there’s a large living room with a lovely but extremely worn rug on the floor. There are several easy chairs that are also quite worn. We have the walls decorated with posters – when we get a stereo, it’ll be really nice. The kitchen is large, but oh – what a mess. It’s gonna be a long time before I have that room in order. The dining room is nondescript – just another room, really. The stairs going up are in the corner of the dining room & they are very steep & winding & have old, hand-braided rugs on each step that will trip you when you’re drunk. Upstairs is the bath – very dirty – maybe I’ll get to it later this week. There are two rear bedrooms yet unclaimed by tenants – John & I have the front bedrooms. My room isn’t large but it isn’t small, either. The walls are painted pale blue & I’ve got them covered up with my pictures. Of course I put up my Janis Joplin poster immediately & the Beatles poster from the White Album. There’s no curtains on the windows but a large tree covers up the view. I love having a tree outside – I feel very secure around trees. It’s a maple tree.
My bed is a big double bed & it sags in the middle but it’s alright. I have to get used to sleeping in it – I’m so used to single beds. There’s boards I can use for shelves if I can find bricks or some other base to set them on.
My room is the best room in the house.

A new notebook for my birthday. A new notebook for a new diary.
Never again will I listen to anyone tell me that my diary is worthless, stupid or a waste of time.
Never again will I kill my diary like a symbolic suicide. If I want to die, I kill me – not the diary.

***

Today was hungover & tired-out but I dutifully went downtown to find a job. I went to an employment agency – I heard it’s the easiest way to find work. I only wish I had a phone. Using the pay phone on the corner of Main & Winspear doesn’t cut it. I had an interview at Victor’s department store at Genesee & Pearl at 2 p.m. – I hope I get it, although I doubt I made a very good impression. The whole time I was wishing I could throw up. I should stop drinking. I should really stop drinking. Going downtown on the bus I was even thinking that maybe I should find a meeting. That’s how bad I felt. The thing is, I didn’t think I drank all that much last night. In fact, when I woke up, I felt fine. The hangover grew on me. Now I feel alright but I slept all evening. I should eat but I’m not hungry. That’s the problem, I never eat.
Last night I went to see Joe Jackson at Stage One with Bard Ellison. Actually, I was on the guest list, but I was with Bard – I’ve been seeing him for a few weeks. I can’t believe it, actually. It happened so suddenly – right after Eddie left – & I’ve been so busy moving into my new place I haven’t had time to think about it, let alone write about it. The first time we went to the Tralf to see a friend of his play radical jazz & then we ended up spending the night together – it was the first time I had made love with anyone since Jon – & it was so wonderful – strange, though – because it wasn’t Jon. It was almost a relief to have finally made love to someone else – & someone as seemingly as sweet as Bard – because he was so very sweet as he made love to me. I spent the night with him last night. We didn’t make love but that’s ok. Just being together is fine with me. & honestly – I don’t know if I’m ready for all that – anyway.

***

Bro is marrying Deanna at the end of the month & they’re honeymooning in Paris. Bro came by & picked me up to take me to the beach. We went to Canada – he said the best beaches were in Canada. I remember going to my grandparent’s cottage in Long Beach when I was a little girl. We went to Pleasant Beach after going to the brewery & getting a case of Brador Beer. We had subs too from Boulevard Sub shop & of course Bro had a bunch of joints rolled. It doesn’t seem to bother him – crossing the border with weed.
It was a really hot day – one of the first really hot days of the season. But the lake was still shockingly cold. There were ice burgs in the middle of the lake & where the water hit the shore, there was a line of fog that was waist high. We were the only people on the beach.

Bro has always wanted me. Even though he has always been going out with Deanna & she is one jealous babe. But she doesn’t live on campus & he considers himself a ladies’ man. We have partied together a hundred times & almost every single time, he has made a pass at me. He almost always got out a Playboy or a Penthouse magazine to show me the newest poses of the models & he was the one who advised me to start modeling because I had the perfect figure for it. More than once, he has pulled out his dick & stroked it in front of me.
But I have never wanted him.  I’m glad he’s getting married.

***

3:00 a.m. “Oil of Dog” is just starting. I love the way Gary says, “I’m Gary Storm & I’m here to bring you nothing – nothing – nothing but love.”
It’s Jon’s birthday. I hope I get to see him today so I can wish him a happy birthday. How I wish we were still together.
Mark left for New York City this morning. Oh wait, that was yesterday. Thursday morning doesn’t start until I wake up & it’s daylight.

***
Tonight John & I got dressed up & went to Mulligan’s on Hertel, a well-known disco. It was their “rock’n’roll” night – what a joke. It was full of disco queens & macho men on the make. John & I danced & stole other people’s drinks but it was really a drag. I can’t stand that plastic pick-up disco scene. I was glad when we left.
John is crashed on the sofa. I’m still wide awake. But then, I slept most of today. I’m gonna go out & call Bard from the corner phone. I so wish we had a phone! Having to go out to make phone calls is a drag. I know he’s awake because he told me he always listens to Gary’s show.
(morning) I called Bard & went over to his place & hung out all night. I just don’t know – I kept thinking, do you like me? Do you want me? Please want me – I want you to want me – can you feel me wanting you – I wrote a poem & stuck in the back pocket of my jeans. He looked at me & smiled but did not ask. He’s a writer too – a poet – a rock’n’roller. & I’m screaming silently – screaming screaming screaming – because I’m sitting in my bed, lonelier than hell – thinking about Bard – feeling so uncomfortably horny & wishing that John in the next room would wake up so I could seduce him.
He did kiss me goodbye. But maybe he does that to all his girlfriends. I hate feeling like this – never knowing what’s going on –

***

Oh, it’s another lonely night. John is out somewhere. I’m alone here with the radio. Alone with the radio & my diary like a hundred nights before.

***

I am not going to call Bard today. I am going to stay away. I am not going to ruin this relationship before it’s even got a chance to get going by being clingy & insecure. I am going to stay home & write.
(night) I did call Jon. We finally talked about our relationship – without arguing about it – where we saw things differently & what problems we had & why. For the first time, I was able to say, this is how I felt & why I couldn’t tell you & this is what I was trying to tell you & why it wasn’t coming out the way I wanted it to. I said, “You must understand that a lot of the things I thought you were saying or doing may not have been happening in actuality – ” – again, letting him off the hook. But it’s better than perpetuating the same old patterns of accusation & denial.
I did accuse him of playing a “yo-yo game” with me, because what the fuck, that’s exactly what he was doing – Mark & John & Eddie & even Bard says that’s what he was doing. He protested, “But that wasn’t what I was doing!” Once again, I let him off the hook – “Yes, but that’s what it seemed like to me & that’s what you have to take into account.” So I let him think that it was just my emotional problems that created the “yo-yo game”, not anything he actually did. But I know & everyone else knows that’s not the truth. & he’s got to know the truth too, if he’s honest with himself.
I told him about falling in love with Bard Ellison. “That’s good,” he said. I’m sure he thinks it’s good – it means I’m not in love with him anymore. It frees him. But I wailed, “It’s terrible! I don’t want to fall in love! I hate falling in love. I always get hurt.”
“Well, you let yourself get hurt,” he told me. So it’s all my fault.
“I can’t help it,” I said. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Stop feeling?
But it was so good to talk to him. I didn’t realize how much I had missed him. He said he thought that the abortion had fucked us up. I don’t agree, but if that’s what he thinks, that’s what he thinks. “That was the problem,” he insisted. “After that, we weren’t the same anymore.” If he wants to have regrets, he can – I don’t – I can’t – it’s over & done with & I am not going to cry over something that I no longer have any control over. Besides, it was all him anyway. I’d be having a baby now, if not for him.
So now that we’ve talked – now that things are settled between us – maybe we can be friends. But I’ll always want him – always love him – always – till the day I die – & beyond that. & I’ll always hurt because I can’t have him.

***

I was at The Spectrum office today, making telephone calls – looking for work – & I hung out because there was going to be a meeting & there was food – I’m not one to pass up a free meal. Jon was there – looking more desirable than ever.  His hair is blonder than ever & he looks like John Lennon in his new wire-rim glasses. He was as animated as ever – going on about how heavy metal is going to make a comeback – I don’t know about that – while Mark Miles made me the butt of his very bad jokes. I don’t know what’s up with Mark lately.
After the meeting, I hung around as long as I could without looking as if I was waiting for Jon – finally I just left but he soon followed. We walked together & talked – naturally, a continuation & elaboration of our talk the other day. Of course. Jon always has to talk everything to death. & sometimes he was really hard on me & I felt miserable. It was really much better the other day & I wished he had just left it alone. He said that I had “refused” to see that the relationship had “ended”. I was really confused – as far as I could see, there was no real ending until I ended it in March. & even then, all through April, he was still acting like he wanted me. I mean, how was I supposed to know when it was really ending? How can a person refuse to see the ending of something that has no real ending? I wasn’t going to argue this with him – I know better than to argue with Jon.
“It was the best relationship,” he said, as we shared a joint, “are you kidding? Man, at times, it was downright brilliant.” So fucking brilliant you had to end it, I though bitterly but I kept my mouth shut. We talked of the possibility of having “another” relationship. He was leery, of course. “But we aren’t the same people,” I said. “We’re older, we see things differently. We came through all that drama from before, we’ve learned what not to do.”
We talked of relationships with other people – Bard Ellison, of course – & his interest in other women – I didn’t bring up Sara but that’s obvious – & music – all the concerts I’ve been going to – more than he’s been to lately. He seemed jealous that I am getting out so much. I thought that was petty. I mean – he broke up with me.  & now he’e resentful because I’m going to more cool shows than he is?  Really?
Finally, he asked, “Do think that we will ever have sex again?”
“I should hope so!” I burst out, almost indignantly. “You were the best lay I ever had!” I laughed. Then more seriously & quietly, I said, “I would really like to. I think I could handle it. I don’t hurt anymore – it would just be friends having sex. Nothing heavy.”
“I would like to have recreational sex with you again,” he said & I smiled, although inside I was thinking – you couldn’t call it “making love”? “Recreational sex” sounds so – like tennis or golf or something. Like it really doesn’t mean anything. Or you get a prize at the end of it. Blue ribbon for the best fuck.
Since it was beginning to rain, he offered to drive me home. We went a roundabout way since Main Street is a construction mess – because of the new subway – talking the whole way – about doing interviews – he wanted to know how Gary Storm does them – he seemed jealous that I was around when Gary was interviewing Joe Jackson & Tom Robinson. I just happened to be there – because of Bard – I really wasn’t part of the story. We stopped in front of my house. “You have the whole thing?” he asked. “You want to come in?” He grinned.
I showed him around the house, downstairs & up. “This is my room,” I said, leading him in. “It looks like your room,” he said, closing the door. He sat down on my bed & stretched out, watching me. I sat down next to him, prattling on about Cheap Trick – “I don’t even listen to their songs anymore. If one comes on the radio, I turn it. It was fun partying with them but I’m really not that kind of girl.” I was very nervous.
“What kind of girl are you?” He asked.
“I’m just an ordinary girl,” I replied. “Not a groupie – not a music journalist – just a girl – ” I bent down & kissed him & he kissed me back.
He asked, “Are you sure you can handle this?” “I’m sure,” I answered. Inside, I was thinking, I’m dying, I’m dying, I’m dying –
It was so wonderful – Jon is the only one who knows how to touch me.
We were in the middle of it when John thumped up the stairs & went into his room. “I can’t do this,” Jon whispered. “But you are doing it,” I whispered back. John then knocked on my door. Jon & I hastily put our clothes on. I went out to talk to John but it was too funny & I nearly collapsed laughing. “What’s the matter?” demanded John. “Oh – nothing.” I went back into my room. “Lock the door,” hissed Jon. I did, trying to do it quietly. I almost died laughing. Jon laughed too, loud & full. We sat on the bed & I gave him head. John finally went downstairs & Jon & I resumed making love. I have not felt that good in a long time – a very long time. Not since the last time I made love with Jon. & it’s “making love” – not “recreational sex” – I don’t care what he says.
We sauntered downstairs. “Don’t you dare flip out,” he warned. “I won’t,” I promised. He left & I hugged myself & danced in the kitchen. I was so happy!
Then I went upstairs & looked at my double bed & I never felt so lonely in my entire life.

Excerpts From a Diary 4

[April, 1979]
I feel a little better. I just got out of the hospital – the psych ward – I can’t believe I was in there but I couldn’t stop crying – Eddie was the only one who seemed to care – even my roommates were like – well, that’s the way she is – but after 10 days of non-stop tears & missing classes, he said, “Cori, you’ve got to do something” & he took me to the ER. They weren’t even going to take me. I wasn’t actively suicidal. I was like, “What do I have to do? Slice my wrists? Where’s your knife Eddie, I’ll do it now.” I was really insistent & finally they admitted me. Honestly I can’t imagine slicing into my beautiful skin – or even just cutting it a little bit like some of my friends do – but I wasn’t allowed to use a razor or even shower unattended the whole time I was there. I couldn’t wait to get back to the dorms & take a long hot shower by myself & shave my legs & underarms & wash my hair! I felt so itchy & grotty!
I actually have almost no hair left. It was a few days after the John Cale thing – I got drunk & decided to cut my hair – I ended up with almost no hair at all – I wanted a real punk look but instead of looking tough & cool, I ended up looking like a toddler. Make-up didn’t help – in fact make up makes it worse – like some obscene little girl – a pervert’s wet-dream – I started laughing & then I was crying & I couldn’t stop. That’s what started the whole crying thing.
I suppose it’ll grow back in but meanwhile I look like a freak. That’s ok. I feel like a freak.
I had a really good therapist – a resident from UB named Marc – who helped me withdraw from my classes so I don’t fail all of them & I can complete them over the summer or whenever – & two weeks of relative quiet – compared to the dorms – & no partying. I had to go to the AA meeting they had at the hospital – which was OK I guess – I don’t deny that I drink too much but I’m not sure if I’m an alcoholic or if I even have a drinking problem – although I do admit it’s really nice waking up without a hangover. I’m not sure about the Twelve Steps – I don’t know if I’m powerless over alcohol or anything else – although my life is definitely unmanageable – but whose isn’t – & I don’t know how turning my will & my life over to God is going to help me – I grew up Catholic & I’ve been doing that my entire life. In fact, I can tell you right now that God does not care.
The food sucked. Hospital food makes the dorm food seem like gourmet dining in comparison. What I really missed was smoking weed. Eddie told me to deny that I smoke it if they ask about it – which they did. He said it would open a whole ’nother can of worms if I admitted to smoking marijuana so I should just deny doing it. Just say I drink at parties on campus & when I go out & leave it at that. & that I’m distraught over breaking up with my boyfriend. Which is all true.
My mother never came to see me. I guess she was taking Tish to some colleges out west for interviews but still it hurts. Like I don’t matter. The only person who came to visit was Eddie. He came down a bunch of times. He even brought me flowers. He’s a real mensch.
I guess what I really needed was the rest. I was totally exhausted – at the end of my rope with Jon & his games – I couldn’t go on anymore. Marc told me that when I get back to UB, I am going to have to deal with Jon again but I don’t know about that – it’s not like I was ever an actual staff writer on the Spectrum – I just hung out & helped out. So if I don’t go over there – to the Spectrum office – I won’t see him – I won’t have to have to get my heart broken every time I see him. I don’t have to go over to Main Street at all.
But can I stay away?

Eddie went with me to talk to my teachers. He’s in my contemporary poetry class anyway. Our teacher, Mr. Barrett is really cool & says I can have the entire summer to make up the work but if I can get my final paper in by the end of the semester, I don’t have to do anything else at all. I was wow, that’s more than fair. So I am doing a paper on the poems of Mina Loy. I really love her.
My other teachers weren’t as understanding but having Eddie with me really helped. It’s amazing how a guy who has never put the moves on me can be there for me, every step of the way. I call him “Eddie the Angel.” He has long curly hair parted in the middle & big blue eyes & he looks like a Renaissance painting of an angel. He has the best weed I’ve ever smoked. I think that’s really the only reason he’s going to school – to sell weed. I’m so glad I met him.

I was up all night last night – with the radio on – sometimes I’d doze & sometimes I’d be wide awake – looking out the window at the night sky. I didn’t even get fatigued until 2 a.m., which surprised me because I had been up for Easter Mass at 6:30 a.m. Today I didn’t get up until 11 a.m. I’m slightly tired now & I have a bit of a headache. That’s because I need food & more sleep, probably. But I’m getting by.
I’m eating cinnamon toast right now & drinking tea & smoking a joint.

***
I’ve been thinking about some of the other things I talked about with Marc. He stressed that I had to deal with my feelings of abandonment after the death of my father when I was fifteen – but I don’t know if that’s where the feelings of abandonment stem from – honestly – they could just as easily stem from when I was ten & everything changed. His best-seller & getting his prominent teaching job at Lesley University & buying the dream home on the ocean. I never really thought about it. I guess my sense of abandonment & betrayal was greater at age fifteen because of having to leave Manchester-by-the-Sea & move to the Mistake-on-the-Lake – Cleveland – because my mother just had to remarry almost instantaneously – to her so-called high-school sweetheart – that she met at her reunion the summer before Dad even died – so maybe something was going on there, too. Who knows. All I know is that Dick was the correct name for my step-father & I could have been living in the paradise & he would have ruined it. & it was gorgeous in Gates Mills – all homogenized as fuck – but really beautiful.  Yes, it was beautiful there – but somehow like all civilized places are – everything is dead & nobody even notices it.  Like you’re living in a parallel universe that isn’t even real.  I have always felt more alive on the streets of the city – any city – than in the polished cul-de-sac subdivisions that supposedly is the American dream.  Wildness calls to me – whether it’s in the city or in the country – but the suburbs have pressed out all their wildness like a crisp white shirt to be worn with a business suit.  Water calls to me – wind & sky & rain – & music – music music music – to dance to – I feel so alive when I dance –

***
I do feel abandoned by Jon – which I said to Marc – but Marc insisted that I clung to Jon – am still clinging to him, emotionally – because of my unresolved feelings of abandonment with my father. “Why did you return to Buffalo?” Marc asked me. “Go to the very university at which your father taught? Where he wrote the book which made him famous?” “I could have gone to Lesley University,” I countered. “I could have gone back to Boston.” “& you could have gone anywhere at all,” he argued.  “I’m sure you were recruited by many fine institutions.”  I sighed.  “I went to UB because my friend Mark Miles was going there & he said it had a good English department.  It really didn’t matter where I went.  I just wanted to get out of the house.  I couldn’t stand my mother’s husband.  & she wasn’t much better, honestly.”

 

***
Talking about this with Marc has made me think about my father again. I haven’t thought about him in a long time – maybe because Jon has filled my entire life to the point where I don’t think about anything else. It’s true – people bring up my father to me all the time – when they meet me, they’re like, “You’re Bob McBride’s daughter?” If they didn’t have any interest in me to begin with, usually that one fact will make them interested. & then they will tell me how much they love my father’s books – mostly how they read “The Frustrated Freemartin” & it changed their life – some people bring up his earlier, less-known & less-successful novels, “Birds of a Feather” & “Two O’Clock Blues” – sometimes I think people aren’t interested in me at all but as “Bob McBride’s daughter”. If it wasn’t for that, I would hardly think of him at all – it’s as if the morning I heard he was dead in a car crash, he was wiped from my memory forever. & then all the lurid details – which my mother tried to keep from us kids but of course it was impossible to do so – the fact that he was blind drunk behind the wheel of the car – a car that belonged to the woman in the passenger seat – who was a student of his at Lesley – who was his latest affair – after a long career of such affairs – it’s better not to think of a father like that.
The father I remember used to take me to school with him – we lived on High Park Boulevard near the University in a huge old house – I loved that house. The grand piano in the living room & the giant kitchen in the back opening up to the huge back yard. Helena & Ross were already in day school & my mother was always busy with something or another & must have complained of me being underfoot so he started taking me to classes with him a few days a week so she could have some time off – of course when Tish was born, Mom waited on her like she was the princess royal & with Greg – Rocco – it’s even worse. I do believe I was my father’s favorite – at least for a short time – until he became the darling of the media & was seduced away from the family. So maybe there is a feeling of abandonment.
Perhaps I have been willfully not remembering. When I walk around Main Street Campus. When I take the bus around Buffalo. Do I feel stirrings of the little girl I used to be – holding my father’s hand – walking from the parking lot to his office & then to the classroom, where he gave a lecture on William Shakespeare’s sonnets?  Or his plays?  Was it a comedy or a tragedy?  Or maybe John Donne?  Is that where I learned to love the sound of poetry, of meter & cadence, of the sound of words? I used to fall asleep before the end of the class & I would awake to the sound of feminine voices telling my father what a beautiful child he had & what a good father he was for caring for her while he was working. Not understanding the sexual undercurrents at the time but feeling it.
The trouble is – I can hardly remember what he looks like anymore. When I try to remember – try to hear his voice reading one of Shakespeare’s sonnets – the image I get is Richard Burton. Maybe their voices were similar – at this point, I hardly know. I actually went to the library & looked up one of his books to see his picture on the dust jacket to try to remember who he was. Do you know, he actually looked a bit like Richard Burton? No wonder all the women were crazy about him. Not that Richard Burton was especially handsome but he had something – charisma. Even if he was hideous, with a voice like that, he’d be golden.  Anyone would be.

***

Last night I talked to Jon. I was so lonely & so stoned so I called him. He had just gotten in from a 4-hour rehearsal with his band & he was stoned too. It was the first time we’d talked in almost a month. He told me all about his band – how hard they’re working – right how they’re doing mostly covers, but they’ve written a few tunes – he went on & on about them. I still believe that Jon & I are meant for each other but if all we are going to be are friends, then I’m OK with that – as hard as it is.

***

M., one of the d.j.’s at the Q station asked me to be his “date” to the Cheap Trick concert! I am so psyched. It’ll be backstage, the whole 9 yards. I hope there’s lots of coke there! Something that Jon never had & said he didn’t like. Last night he said he thought he could get tickets to the concert & I said I was already going – like, too bad, too sad. If he hadn’t broken up with me, I would never consider going with M. or anyone else. But breaking up was Jon’s idea, not mine & something he worked on for a long time before it happened. I mean, that’s easy to see now.

***

Elvis Costello is on the radio – “Watching the Detectives”. Before that was Blondie – “Don’t Keep Me Hanging On the Telephone”. Last night I had another dream about Elvis – or was it Jon? I don’t remember details, but it was nice – I have papers & joints & tea & toast all over the place here. I’m trying to finish my work & I’m so behind – this semester has been a total mess with all the problems with Jon. I’ll be so glad when it’s over.

***

I went to the Spectrum office. It was the first time I had been there in a long time. Jon was there & he was very nice to me. Nice enough to totally disarm me but I wasn’t going to let it happen. I was following up on something Marc had said to me – either let go of the things I had given to Jon or get them back & end it all – but as long as he has things that I consider “mine”, there’s a tie between us that needs to be cut. So I looked him straight in the eye & said, “I want my Rolling Stone magazines back by Friday,” real aggressive, real butch. But I looked real feminine – Harry G. told me I looked “really pretty” – what he said was “Miss Cordelia, you’re looking really pretty today” – & “pretty” isn’t a compliment I usually receive. “Sexy” – “Hot” – even “Beautiful” – but very rarely “pretty”.
Jon was stretching back in his chair, looking me over & I thought – I felt – like a volcano – oh, I want you – it hurt – but I continued smiling & flirting – no more hurt little girl – it’s all tough girl now. I figure – gotta give him something new to fantasize about. I gotta put it on a level where he wants me again. I’m gonna love him a long long time & I’m not giving up. When I fall in love with someone, it’s a total thing – a total commitment. I can’t just shut the feelings off. & I can’t just go out & find someone new. I mean, I can but it won’t work – I won’t be in love with him – I’m still in love with Jon.
Anyway, Jon asked, “Do you have any pot?” & I said, “Yeah.” “Could you spare me a joint?”
I said, “No.” You should have seen his face! He couldn’t believe I said no to him.
“Not even for old time’s sake?”
I laughed. “Fuck old time’s sake, man, why should I give you a joint?” I put on my jacket & left, still laughing. I was half-way down the stairs & I heard: “MacBride!” “Whadaya want?” We met halfway. He said, “I’ll give you a dollar for a joint.”
“Oh geez, you don’t have to do that! I’ll give it to you.”
He was smiling down at me from the landing above. “Are you seeing anyone?” he asked.
“I see lots of guys!” I replied.
“What happened to Eddie?”
“He’s my very best friend & he saved my life but we’re not sleeping together.”
“What – you’ve been celibate?” He was smiling that smile – that smile! I melted –
“Yeah,” I admitted. “I don’t believe you!” he asserted. “Well, fuck you, then!” I answered. Why didn’t I ask him if he was seeing anyone?

***
The next day.  Thumbing up to Lockport with Eddie – to this motorcycle parts place next to the canal – as usual, he’s looking for parts for his Ducati – & after telling him all about seeing Jon at the Spectrum, I predict that within two weeks, Jon will have made a move for me. Naturally I was drunk when I made that statement. But I wasn’t far off.  Within Twenty-four hours, Jon called. “I’m bringing over your Rolling Stones,” he said. I was so nervous. When he came, he sat on my bed & I looked through the magazines. One was missing. Of course!
He sat there & I sat across from him on my desk chair & he laid back oh so casually & talked – about problems he was having – not caring about life – & I wanted to touch him, hold him – but I was too proud. Too proud! But I had to be – the way he had hurt me. & I had the feeling that he wanted me to reach for him – he wanted me to make a move for him. But I couldn’t do it – I had too much pride. Later, I told Mark Miles about it & he agreed that Jon wanted me but was probably too proud as well. Usually I make the first move – I make it easy for him. I make it easy for everyone. Jon once told me that when we first met, he wanted to kiss me but he was too neurotic to try because he was afraid I’d reject him – so it was a good thing I kissed him first. Oh – it was so nice – that first time – that first kiss – I remember it so well – how I wish I could be kissing him again – the first time –

On Friday was Springfest, but I missed most of it. I showed up around 4 & I was flirting with Dave M. & John Frederic & then I turned around & there was Jon. It seems like we’re drawn together – I always see him – it’s like I feel him before I see him. & he smiled at me & we talked – I laughed a lot but I was trembling – I guess I was laughing to try to cover up my trembling – I wanted to show that I was just fine without him. But I’m not!
I planned to meet John Frederic at the dance that night, but first I went to J.W.’s house & did bong hits with J.W., Rob J. & Dave M. & watched the hockey game. They’ve all graduated & have writing jobs – J.W. writes for the Courier Express, Rob J.writes for the Buffalo Evening News & Dave M. writes press releases for the Buffalo Bisens for the AP Wire service. I had been drinking & I was very horny & I came onto Dave M. – the first aggressive sexual move I’ve made in almost a year – except for Jon – I felt powerful & good for once. He gave me a kiss that meant thanks for the compliment but I’m not into it. Then I was so depressed I skipped the dance & thumbed home – although John Frederic would’ve cheered me up & so would have the music. I was so depressed I wasn’t thinking right. I thumbed home at 2 a.m. & luckily I was picked up by a guy who lives on the third floor, so I wasn’t with strangers. Although sometimes I think I’m treated better by strangers than by people who know me. On Saturday night, I walked to 7-11 on Millersport Highway & bought two 6-packs of Labatt’s Blue & drank 8 of them walking back to the dorm. I was quite drunk. There was a cop on the floor – he was there cuz someone broke a window & he seemed to like the look of me & he let me know it. We flirted until I got bored. I went into my room & fell into a deep sleep.
Pretty soon I’ll be on my way to the Cheap Trick concert – & M. But I really want to be with Jon before then. I feel like a virgin. I haven’t had sex in over a month. Not since the beginning of March. I don’t even know if I can have sex. I mean, all I want is Jon. I don’t know what to do. Force myself to do it, I guess. But maybe it won’t even be an issue. Who knows.

Excerpts From a Diary 3

[March 20, 1979]
This has been the worst month of my life. Jon & I have broken up & gotten back together a dozen times. I no longer have any idea where I stand with him day to day. One day we’re madly in love – making mad love – the next day he just wants to be friends – the third day, he telling me that I should be completely independent – totally on my own.  I don’t want to be on my own!  He wants to be on his own.  He wants to be with other girls.  He doesn’t hide it anymore – he talks about it – all the time – like it’s an admirable thing!  Like I want to hear about his fantasies!  Because it’s so rocking & cool.

He even said that “we” never should have gotten an abortion – like it was “our” idea in the first place – it was ALL his idea & now he’s regretting it? Telling me that we were “reckless” – that our love is “reckless” – & we have to “pay” for our recklessness – pay how? By not being together? What kind of bullshit is that?  & I’m supposed to “pay” – for what was his idea in the first place?  I would be – what – eight months pregnant now?  Almost ready to give birth?  I don’t have any regrets but he wants to make ME pay?
I just talked to him on the phone & I am sure that we have broken up – I mean really broken up this time. He called to tell me that I could come pick up the Elvis Costello tickets & take anyone to the concert that I wanted – I said, “I thought we were going together.” He said, “I think it’d be better not to perpetuate anything further – after Saturday night, I think it’d be better not to see each other again at all.”

It’s not like we actually “saw” each other on Saturday night. I went to see the John Cale show at McVan’s with Eddie.  I’ve been catching various shows with Eddie – who’s nice enough to go with me so I don’t have to go alone – since Jon’s been taking Sara – the arts editor – to the shows. His excuse for taking her instead of me is that he can only get two tickets instead of four like he used to & he needs to have pictures of the show & she’s a photographer. How convenient! I mean, really! I wish I had a camera! I should have thought of that & asked for one for Christmas! Not that I would have gotten one – I never get what I want. I’ve been trying to save up for one – I’ve been doing some nude modeling but most of my money goes to buying bags & eating out & stuff like that – when I’m with Bro & Crony, I’m one of the guys so I have to pay my own way.  At least Eddie is a mensch & pays for my drinks when we’re together.  Anyway, I went to the B-52’s with Eddie on Wednesday night & then to the John Cale show on Saturday night. The Jumpers opened for both & Terry Sullivan, the lead singer said hi to me – gave me the “Haven’t I seen you before?” line. I had to laugh.  Anyway, seeing Jon there with another girl – even if it was supposedly professional – it was too much for me. I know she’s still Mark Miles’ girlfriend but she seems really into Jon. & why not? He’s gorgeous, he’s witty, he’s fun. He’s mine! Anyway, I drank way too much – I just couldn’t stand it – & I had done a modeling job earlier in the afternoon & I had money so I didn’t care – Jon is the one & only man I want – & it was breaking my heart – I was so drunk I made a huge mistake – I walked over to Jon & said, “Help me, I’m messed up, tell me to be strong” & he said, “You’re drunk.” Well duh! I didn’t need to be told I was drunk – I already knew that! He turned his back on me – he turned his back on me! I had to go to the ladies’ room to cry – I was so upset. I won’t cry in public – I have my pride.

***

It’s no use arguing with Jon. He always gets the better of me. Today, I was trying to tell him about how upset I was & all he did was accuse me of being drunk, like that was the only reason why I was upset. I mean, I wouldn’t have been the kind of drunk that I was if I hadn’t been so upset! It’s such a simple concept I can’t believe he can’t understand it. He just didn’t want to. He was going on about how I needed a psychiatrist & how insane I was. That I was a nymphomaniac & he couldn’t keep up with me anymore. I said, “Gee you loved that part of me in the beginning.”

He accused me of “acting seductively” in front of other guys – specifically, Bro & Crony – but also the other writers on the Spectrum staff, guys at the clubs where we see bands, old boyfriends with whom I still talk to.  He brought up Brady Devine – & that terrible night when I first moved to Gates Milles & I got drunk & high with him – & he & two of friends all had sex with me.  I remember telling Jon about it – it was when we were first getting to know each other & I wanted him to know everything about me – good & bad.  &  Jon got turned, hearing about it – I remember being surprised about that – but because I loved him, I let it go – & honestly, I embellished the story after I realized he was getting off on it – it’s not like I could really remember exactly what happened anyway.  But now he was accusing me of being a slutenjoying what was really one of the worst nights of my life – & what really ruined the rest of high school for me.  I trusted him!  He was my boyfriend!  He took pictures of his friends fucking me!

Jon was fucking brutal about it.  “I bet you loved every minute of it,” he sneered.  “You’re the horniest girl I’ve ever met.  One dick isn’t enough for you.”

He said, “You get to a point where you can’t tolerate anymore & I can’t tolerate this relationship anymore or you – I can’t take your jealousy & paranoia, your emotional breakdowns – ”

I exploded. “My jealousy! My paranoia! My emotional breakdowns! Well, can you fucking blame me? You played with my emotions – you played with me – you played me like a fucking yo-yo – one day things would be fine & the next day you couldn’t handle your guilt feelings & the next day after that you were bored with me & having all kinds of fantasies about other girls & then you’d tell me that everything was fine with the relationship & you didn’t want to change a thing & then you tell me I’m too heavy & you just want to be friends & then you decide you want to be lovers again – can you blame me for never knowing what is going on & never knowing how to act – who the hell made me into this emotional mess in the first place?” I couldn’t believe I got all that out in one piece.

He said, “I won’t listen to this.”

I said, “Of course you won’t, it’s the truth & you can’t stand the truth.” & I slammed down the phone.

I am really pissed & really hurt. I can’t believe what he has done to me! I can’t believe it! I have had emotional breakdown after breakdown – I burned my journal!! – I only have bits & pieces of it left – I wanted to die so badly & I couldn’t kill myself so I decided to kill the diary.  Of course I went right back out & bought another notebook to write in but – & Jon has always hated the diary – he told me a hundred times that he thought it was a waste of time – I don’t know why I even listened to him. Now I have almost nothing left. He has totally wrecked my equilibrium – & he talks of tolerance! He has no tolerance at all! I can’t believe what he has done to me – all because I loved him!

Everything I wrote as a child – everything I ever wrote – my teenaged diary – the diary I kept after the shock of my father’s death – moving to Gates Mills – my high school lovers – the diary I had when I first met Jon & wrote about love love love love – nothing but love for his perfect body, hair, eyes, mouth, brain – gone, gone, all gone –
I’m going to Elvis Costello with Eddie & selling the other two tickets – Eddie will probably know somebody who will want them. He knows more people than I do. So I’ll get $15 out of this deal anyway – I am still really pissed off. I am totally cried out, so I don’t feel hurt anymore. Not for now anyway.

He has really hurt me with all his talk of “tolerance”. Like I’m something to be “tolerated”. I sacrificed a great deal for him – my baby, my family, my emotional sanity – & I cannot take it! How can he talk of “tolerance”? That bastard!

I’ll be honest – I don’t want to fall in love ever again. Every time I do, I get hurt – I get hurt real bad – & I’m tired of hurting. I’m never gonna love again – not if I can possibly help it. Never.

Excerpts from a Diary 2

[February, 1979]
I just found out that my 10:30 class on Tuesdays & Thursdays has been cancelled because not enough people signed up for it. I was wondering why I kept showing up to an empty classroom. I thought maybe I was in the wrong place. That’s easy to do, especially on the Amherst Campus. They keep changing the names of the buildings. & some of the buildings had names that used to be buildings on the Main Street Campus & those buildings have new names now too. It’s becoming very confusing. Now they’re calling the campuses North & South, not Amherst & Main Street. It’s ok but sometimes I wonder just where I am.  Sometimes I wish I had gone to another college altogether – someplace smaller – in the country – but then I wouldn’t have Jon.
I’m not going to try to find another class. Right now I have a great schedule. I have a noon class on Monday & Wednesdays & an evening class on Thursdays. I guess I should really pick up another class. Three classes really aren’t very much. I just don’t know what. I’m so tired of standing in the Drop/Add lines. I got Jon all his classes – I should have been paying attention to my own schedule.
I’m hungry but I’m not. Like – I want to eat but I’m not hungry in the least. I’m so bored at the moment – that’s the problem.  I’m not hungry but I want to do something.  Go somewhere – have a couple of beers.  I wish I had something to smoke.  That’s what I really want.  Jon would say – don’t spend your money on drugs – get food. He’s real old-fashioned that way. But who cares about eating? & I don’t look at marijuana as a drug per se – not like coke or heroin or even pills.  I mean – it’s weed, ya know?   I don’t have any money coming in until March. Oh shit! I only have $6! The other night at McVan’s – I paid for all that – the guys didn’t have any money – I was the one paying for the pitchers of beers. Jon owes me $15 but I’m not gonna hold him to that. I’m not an asshole like that. I need the money but he’s my man – I’m not going to make him pay me back. Oh what the fuck, a piece of toast isn’t going to hurt me. I just wish I had a nice joint to toke on while I studied or wrote or whatever. It’s so nice to take a hit, write a couple of lines, take another, finish the paragraph, toke again – I’ve spent entire days doing that. Then there’s the cup of tea I always have with me & usually a bagel or piece of toast whenever I feel like getting a bit of substance into my stomach. The more I go through life, the more I realize that I am meant to have a nice income & spend my time studying & writing books & getting high & seeing lots of good music late into the night. That’s the way I want to live – oh shit, why am I poor! I can hardly wait until summer when I plan to find a room to live in – hopefully with Jon – forever & ever. My mother is going to dry up & die but she can do that – & that jerk husband of hers & die twice – but I don’t care. Jon is sure my family hates him. I don’t have the faintest idea if they do or don’t – I don’t think they waste that much emotion on him – but I don’t see the point of trying to bring him into the fold. It isn’t worth it. It’s not like they really want me around, either.  Maybe after a few years, when we’ve been together long enough that nobody can say anything to us anymore.
I have to go put another dime into the dryer.

***

My life is so upside-down lately – totally crazy! I don’t think my life can get any wilder. I have been going out every night. Monday night was a stoned wonder. Ya gotta love your friends!  “With a little help from my friends”, right?  Tuesday night, I bought a bag from Eddie & got stoned – he had a bottle of Crown Royal & we were chasing them with Pepsi’s out of the vending machine.  Wednesday night I stayed up really late – or early, whatever – to listen to Bard Ellison. He comes on before Gary Storm – it’s a little easier to catch the show – Gary comes on at 3 a.m. & you have to be really committed if you’re going to listen to him! I usually catch the beginning of “Oil of Dog” & maybe a half-hour of tunes but that’s it. I woke up on Thursday at noon & didn’t do much – cleaned my room – even washed the floor – then on Thursday night, I went with Jon out to Stage One in Clarence to see the Ramones! They were great! A roadie tried to pick me up! Jon was pretty pissed off but I was like – I can’t help it if he thinks I’m cute. I mean – really! & the way I see it – Jon should be proud that he has a woman that’s sexy & attractive! I’m proud that he’s gorgeous! What’s the problem?
Jon & I smoked 3 joints on the way over & once inside, we had 3 beers each before the Ramones came on. Before the show started, I met Gary Storm! & Bard Ellison! I saw then both come in & I smiled at them – Gary played it cool but Bard smiled back & we kept smiling at each other – then he saw Jon – he & Bard are friends. Jon introduced us & we talked – his mind goes at 100 mph! He is so intense – he’s so cool. No wonder he’s a great d.j. & a poet – I’ve read his poems – they’re absolutely fabulous.
When the Ramones came on, it was great. Everyone was on their feet – dancing & shouting – during “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”, everyone sang along – it was like an army singing. After each tune, everyone shouted for more. They didn’t wait long between tunes – like 4 seconds – as long as it took for them to count off – “One! Two! Three! Four!” & slam into the next one. Jon & I drank more – probably two more beers apiece. We danced too – I was standing in front of him & he held on to my belt loops & we danced, rubbing against each other. I could feel his giant hard-on. It was great.
A lot of the bands that played last Friday night were there: Billy Pirhana & the Enemies, The Vores, members of George, Mark Freeland, The Jumpers. It was a great night.
A great night until we went home. & then suddenly, we were arguing. Jon was upset about guys coming on to me. I said that it didn’t matter, that I was with him & no one else & why couldn’t he be proud of having a sexy woman? But it was a terrible argument – I called him Friday & apologized. I don’t know why – I shouldn’t have to apologize for something that isn’t my fault. But I don’t want to lose him. & I hate arguing!

J.W., the editor of the Spectrum, was having a party Saturday night. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. I like J.W. – he always flirts with me – he’s always asking me just what am I doing with the music editor when I could be with the editor-in-chief? I know he’s just joking but it makes me feel good. “Be sure Jon brings you,” he told me on Friday. “It wouldn’t be a party without you.”
Jon & I had another argument on the way over there. He was pissed off because when he got to my room, I was still dressing & one of Brenda’s African boyfriends was hanging out, talking about marijuana in Africa. He was saying how it grows like trees & they cut it down with machetes & build huts & then set the huts on fire & get inside to breathe the smoke to get high. I don’t know if he was telling the truth or not but it was a cool story. Brenda was there too, of course. She’s crazy about this guy.  But Jon couldn’t stand the thought that there was some guy in my room & I was half-dressed. I mean, I had on a bra & panties & my emerald green velour bathrobe on over that – I was sitting at my desk & rolling joints for the party & trying to decide whether or not I wanted to wear my green sweater or my red one. My jeans were laid out & I figured as soon as I was ready to put my clothes on, I would have him turn around or something. It wasn’t like the guy could see anything. & it wasn’t any big deal. Everyone walks around the dorms half-dressed – in bathrobes, in pajamas, in sweats. It just isn’t any big deal. The whole argument was really a carry-over of the argument from Thursday, when Jon accused me of being “too forward” with guys & trying to turn them on. Believe me – I don’t try to turn then on. I’ve never met a guy that I had to try to turn on – they get turned on any old way you look at them – nice, mean, indifferent, whatever. Actually – sometimes the more you ignore them, the more they’re turned on. So as far as being “too forward” – honestly, there’s no such thing.  Except in his mind.
At J.W.’s party, I started drinking pretty heavily – a 6-pack all by myself – then Jon & I started smoking joints – along with other people – Mark Miles came up – he had a nearly-finished bottle of tequila & he was very blitzed – apparently he passed out right after Jon & I left – & he started hugging Jon & me, going on & on: “You two! Definitely the best couple I ever put together! What a matchmaking job! You were meant for each other!” Then he started mimicking Jon when Jon first met me: “What’s she like? Do you know her well? Should I write to her?” Jon & I laughed so hard – Jon put his arm around me & held me close & everything was alright again. When he took me back to the dorms, he fucked me in the stairwell – it was so exciting – his large raincoat surrounding us – I couldn’t believe that he was able to do it in public like that – anyone could have walked in at any time – it was some of the best sex we’ve had in a while.
We’ve been talking a lot about our relationship – too much if you ask me. Jon can talk anything to death. He thinks it’s a good relationship – but – there’s always a “but” – he says I’m too emotionally dependent on him. I agree that I’m somewhat of an emotional mess but I don’t know if I’m necessarily dependent on Jon. I mean, I have other friends. I just don’t want to sleep with them. I can hang out with Eddie or Bro & Crony or my roommates & not want to jump in bed with them – regardless what they may want. & why is being in love with someone “emotionally dependent”? Why can’t it just be – ya know – being in love? I think it’s Jon – he’s restless – he doesn’t know what he wants – he wants me – & he wants other girls – he’s obviously attracted to Sara, the arts editor – who up recently was Mark Miles’ girlfriend.  Maybe they’re still a couple – I’m not sure.  & Jon doesn’t hide his as interest in some of the other women on The Spectrum staff – which I’m not supposed to notice – so he blames me for that.  For seeing what he doesn’t want me to see & not being able to act on his fantasies. Because I’m still here.

Excerpts from a Diary 1

Some of the names have been changed for obvious reasons.

[Winter, 1979]

(The State University of New York at Buffalo)

Back at school. Finally. Not that I really want to be in this hot & stuffy room – oh, I long to open a window! & Brenda’s new boyfriend hasn’t showered his entire life & Jane & Anya are definitely sleeping together but it’s not that bad living here – I just wish it was closer to Jon!  He was all I could think about the entire trip back.  It seemed like forever since I had seen him or heard from him – did he still want me?  I felt like I had been a prisoner in Gates Mills since Christmas.  It had only been three weeks but that was enough for me to be almost out of my mind.  When I got back, I went right over to the Main Street Campus & went to the Spectrum office – even though it was Sunday – & of course Jon wasn’t there – but MJ & SL were, so I left a message that I was back & looking for him. When I was back in my room, unpacking my stuff, Jon called. He said, “Stay where you are, I’ll come get you.” So he did – amazingly fast – I was a little shy & a little scared – cuz I hadn’t heard from him in almost a month – I mean, obviously he still liked me because he was coming for me – but I felt very confused at first. But it was alright! He took me to his place & we got high & ate pizza & drank Lambrusco & listened to tunes & fucked just like old times – it was great.
But the Tuesday after that, we had a godawful argument. I was upset about him not wanting to hang out after the Spectrum copy was done – like we’ve done every Tuesday since we got together. I don’t even know what-all we said to one another. I mean, Jon & I never argue. & here we were, screaming at each other on the phone. I shouted, “I hate you!” & hung up on him. I couldn’t take anymore. Then I went upstairs to Bro’s room & got stoned with him & Crony. When I was up there, Jon called me to apologize – I was so surprised. Of course I didn’t know this until I came back down from partying. But I called him back & we decided to meet the next day.  We talked a long time & he was like another person. Not the anxious lover who had picked me up as soon as I got back to school. He told me, “I can’t make you happy. I’m not right for you.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. I have been totally happy with Jon – what was he talking about? & I had turned my back on my family for him – had an abortion for him – what the hell was he talking about? I tried to agree & disagree at the same time. “Maybe I’m not completely happy, but who is? & without you, I’d be a hellovalot more unhappy!  How can you think otherwise? I love you!”
He was talking about breaking up & “just being friends” & I was like, well of course we’re friends, haven’t we always been? “Why do we have to break up?” I asked. “Do you want to see another girl?”
“Maybe,” he admitted & I felt as bad as I have ever felt. I turned away so he couldn’t see me trying not to cry. “Listen,” he said, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Things were good for about a week. Then he was depressed again – he said he had an argument with his parents about me – because he wants me to spend the entire night with him. Then he switched gears – so I thought – & started talking about our relationship – he can talk a problem to death – about every little thing that was wrong with it or could be wrong with it or could use fixing – & then he started in on how “sometimes” he wants “something different” – what, like wanting a different car? – & how he fantasizes a lot. Well, doesn’t everyone? But when he said that he wanted to take out another girl – it hurt – but not as bad as the first time I heard it. Although I told him, “It hurts my ego that you are tired of me.” He insisted that he wasn’t tired of me, he just wanted “variety”. & that he still loved me.
After he had left & I was getting stoned with Bro & Crony, the whole thing really hit me. He doesn’t want me anymore. The relationship that was supposed to be THE ONE for me was falling apart.

***

On Thursday, we were supposed to meet, but he never showed. He has never blown me off like that before. I walked around with Mark Miles & blew off steam. “I can’t take it anymore,” I complained. “I feel like a fucking yo-yo. One minute he loves me & then he’s saying he wants something else. I love him & I can’t stand this! I’m going to have to set him free because I’m not any good for him.” Mark thought I was over-reacting & nobody can set another person free, because we’re all free anyway. “If Jon wants to end the relationship, then he has to do it,” he told me. “You don’t have to do it for him. Make him do it.”
But I was upset & I was tired of feeling like shit. I was ready to end it all & live without him, if that’s what I had to do. I walked into the Spectrum office on Friday morning, all ready to break up with him & martyr myself on the altar of true love.
He said, “Let’s cruise, I wanna talk.” & even though I had just decided to break up with him, I thought, oh no. We walked out to his car & cruised downtown, getting high & listening to tunes. He told me about another huge argument he’d had with his parents. It was a carry-over of the other one he’d had with them about me. I guess Jon just freaked out & said stuff like: “Why shouldn’t she spend the night? Are you afraid we’ll fuck all night? Why shouldn’t I fuck her? If you’re afraid I’ll fuck her in my bed – ya know, I could fuck her in the back seat of the car, you motherfuckers.” I wonder if he really called his parents “motherfuckers” – that’s really harsh. I couldn’t imagine ever using that kind of language in my parents’ presence – well, maybe Dick, cuz he is such a dick – but never my mother – & I can’t imagine arguing with them about that kind of thing – you just don’t.  Well maybe he does.
We talked a long time about our respective parental problems – we have a lot of the same ones – & we have different problems, too. & then he said: “Ya know – what I said the other say – I never meant that I wanted to modify our relationship in any way – I like it this way – I’m not looking for alterations.” So what am I supposed to do? How can I set free a guy who doesn’t want to be set free? Especially when I don’t want to let him go?

***

This past week has been great. On Monday, Jon, Helen J. – the arts editor – Mark & I had lunch together in the Rat – actually, it was more like Helen & me insisting that Jon eat whether he liked it or not – cuz Jon eats so very little. He says there’s nothing ever to eat in his house. Jon said to me: “Well, you don’t take very good care of yourself, either.” “I take vitamins,” I retorted. We had a very good talk – actually, it was mostly Jon & Helen & Mark but I love to listen – they were talking about being an editor, how to write the perfect article, where the arts fit into a newspaper’s viewpoint – also the problems of the Spectrum. I interjected a few thoughts & supplied words for Jon. We’re always doing that for each other. When he took me back to the dorms, we sat in the car & talked – he was depressed about his parents – & other things. He said, “I’m very confused at the moment & I think I confuse you too.” I said, “I’m getting used to it,” which is true. He laid his head on me & I held him – I’m so maternal – & as I was getting out of the car, he said, “Thank you.” “What for?” I asked. “You help me,” he answered. That’s the nicest thing he’s ever said to me.
Tuesday & Wednesday, we talked on the phone – he didn’t come to campus – & on Thursday, there was a wine & cheese party at the Spectrum, which was lots of fun – I got pretty buzzed cuz I hadn’t eaten all day – Jon had to leave early & he asked me to go to Drop/Add for him. I said, “Alright,” & he said, “Oh, you’re great, you’re great,” in front of Harry G. That really flipped me out! I don’t know how or if he talked about me to his friends, but he never compliments me in front of other people! He left & I went to Drop/Add for him & then back to my room – & I got really fucked up. It was really strange cuz I really didn’t notice it – I had 3 or 4 glasses of wine – on top of the other wine at the Spectrum – & 3 or 4 joints – then some more wine – what I like about Thursday nights is that I have no classes on Fridays & I can party as much as I want – oh, I woke up on Friday – yesterday morning – so hungover! I felt really sick. Then somewhere around noon, I felt better, so I showered, got dressed, made up & went to see Jon. We went downtown with a friend of his, Sean, who lives in Lackawanna & needed a ride home. We had so much fun – they were telling me about how they used to streak all over the place. “We weren’t just mooning out of the boys’ john or running through the girls’ gym class. We were serious streakers.”
& last night, we really had fun. It was the First Annual Buffalo Music Awards at McVan’s Nightclub on Hertel Avenue & Niagara Street. We almost didn’t go – we were both really tired – but we had promised to take Sean with us. Sean is so nice. He says, “Does anyone want to smoke a joint?” like he’s really saying, “I know you don’t want to but I’m asking just to be polite.” We had the best time. Gary Storm was there – he has the best radio show in Buffalo – “Oil of Dog”, which comes on at 3 a.m. – he was one of the emcees – Dale Anderson, of the Buffalo News, was the other one. There were 9 bands – at least – & any number of free-form jams – it was great. The Enemies & the Jumpers & Mark Freeland’s Electroman & George & wow, I can’t remember all the bands!  No bouncers at the door & the smell of reefer all night long. Also it was really dark in there – the walls painted black & red light bulbs in the light sockets – totally cool. I loved looking at the people – all dressed up in punk gear – I really need to start re-doing my wardrobe. & the dancing! You can really dance to this music! It isn’t like disco – you don’t need to know the dance steps – you don’t need a partner – it’s just – get up & start jumping! Shake it! Move it! I shouted to Jon, “This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time!” We left sometime after 3 a.m. We smoked more joints on the way to Amherst – I was already beginning to black things out – the way I do. I got to bed at 4:30 a.m. I woke at 11:30 a.m. & Jane asked me, “Who called last night?”
“No one,” I answered.
“No, someone called at 4:30 & you talked for a while.”
“You sure? I don’t remember any of that.”
“Yeah, Brenda remembers & so does Anya.  Brenda said, ‘Who calls at 4:30?’ & I said, ‘Shut up Brenda, go back to sleep,’ & you kept apologizing.” All day I’ve been trying to find out who called me. I still have no idea.
Anyway, last night was great! Even though it seems like a long time ago already. I wasn’t even hungover this morning. I wonder how I pulled that one off.