Excerpts From a Diary 6

by silverapplequeen

[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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