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a novel in progress

Month: March, 2016

Excerpts From a Diary 8

[August – September, 1979]
At last moment to write. Barrett got me a job in the English department at UB – technically I’m in the mail room, which is fun – I see everyone’s mail, including Barrett’s – but I am also covering for people on vacation & this week, anyway, I have been doing some accounting work – me! Whoever would have thought it! – but I really like it. It’s like a game. It really is. Just like math. I never thought I was any good at math, but I’m not bad at it. I just have to pay attention. There’s just so much to remember! But I think I’m getting better & everyone tells me that it takes time. I think I make so many mistakes simply because I want so badly to be perfect.
Right now I have full-time hours – 35 to 40 hours a week – but when school starts, they’ll cut me back to 15 to 20 hours – which is all this job requires anyway. I’m just shuffling mail around. I wasn’t going to go back to school this fall but Barrett thinks it’s a good idea & he helped me pick out classes. He’s such an incredible help to me. Lately I don’t know what I would do without him. I’m taking Early American Lit, American Poets, the Victorian Novel & Modernism. Really a lot of difference in all of those but I registered so late there wasn’t much left.
I am always tired. I come home & I am exhausted. Bard says I’ll get used to it but I wonder. I am living with Bard & Mac now. Mark Miles took off to Canada & John Frederic moved to the West Side. I didn’t want to stay alone in that house so I moved over to their place. I am still sleeping on the couch but I don’t care.

I’m cooking spaghetti. The sauce is ready – part homemade & part jar. We’re waiting for the water to boil. I’m starved. I haven’t eaten all day.
Bard said, “You’re cooking? Great!” Either I do the cooking or Bard does. His favorite book about food is Diet for a Small Planet so he makes a lot of vegetarian meals but they are very filling & usually very spicy.  He makes the best chili I have ever had – no meat but you would never miss it.  I never had vegetarian meals before I met Bard.  Now I cook vegetarian all the time.  I cook while the band is practicing so there’s a hot meal for them when they break. No wonder they like me!
I’m beginning to burn out. All at once.

***

Bard’s in Colorado, for his high school reunion – the tenth year reunion – so there was no gig last night. It felt so strange to be at home! I’m sure that my body felt that it should be drinking, dancing & laughing & a mini-dress & colored tights. I missed it.
Bard said he hasn’t been home in 5 years – he hasn’t seen his high school acquaintances in 10 years. I wonder if he’s having a good time. I miss him – far more than I thought I would.

***

Bard’s back! Mac & I went to get him from the airport. We picked up a pizza on the way home & ate & listened to tunes all evening.
Before I went to bed, I hugged him & he hugged me back. I said, “Oh Bard, I missed you.”
“Why?” he asked.
“Cuz – ” I laughed. “I dunno, I just did.”
“Cop out,” he accused. True – but what would he have said if I had told him that I really did love him? Not the clingy kind of love he fears but a true friendship kind of love? But I never seem to be able to say what I really want to say.

***

I’m dead. I slept tonight with Bard, although not exactly by design. Last night, he & Mac were going out to dinner – I said I had already eaten & I was exhausted from working anyway. I fell asleep on the couch like I always do.
I didn’t wake up until David came up, looking for sugar. David S. lives downstairs with two other guys. He is a British Jew – very cosmopolitan & good-looking – recently we have become lovers – but I was too tired to even flirt. I fell back to sleep.
I woke again at 4 a.m. I heard voices & got up to see whose they were. Bard & Mac walked in, drunk & surprised to see me. I was indignant – “How come you didn’t take me drinking?”
“We thought you were too tired,” said Bard.
“Actually,” explained Mac, “there was no real plan to drink, it just happened. We had dinner & started drinking.”
“& forgot about you,” added Bard.
“Everyone always forgets about me!” I wailed.
We sat on the couched & smoked a joint & talked until Mac passed out. Gary said, “Yeah, I’m tired, too.”
I was tired, although more awake than I had been earlier. But I didn’t feel like going back to sleep. Bard went to the john & I pretended to thumb through some magazines. When he returned, I asked, “Do you want company?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said softly, “sure.”
In his room, he shut the door, then shut off the light. I undressed. I don’t know why I felt so shy – I simply did.
“Where are you?” called Bard softly.
“Over here,” I whispered. I reached out & he embraced me. He kissed me – which totally surprised me with its passion & fire – & led me to bed.
His lovemaking went on for hours, it seemed – & he pleased me immensely. But what I really loved was the sight of his white teeth shining in the dark – I loved that he was smiling as he was loving me – that it was enjoyable to love me – & the way he smoothed my hair back so tenderly. I came to orgasm several times. Sometimes he hurt me – the way he thrust – I grit my teeth & put up with it because he was trying so hard & I didn’t want to hurt his feeling & I don’t like to show pain anyway – but after I cried out he became very tender & sweet.
We lay there & the sun was already beginning to rise – it was getting light outside & the birds were chirping. I snuggled up against his shoulder cuz I was really tired. He said:
“This is the first time I’ve felt like making love in about a year.”
& I thought – Oh, I’m so glad it’s me.

***

God, I’m wired. Last night’s gig was great. God, I gotta get used to little sleep! It’ll be good for me. I would like to be awake for more hours per day cuz I get so little done. I work from 8 to 5 every day & get maybe an hour to myself. When I get home from work I’m wiped out & in the mornings too dead & too busy at getting my shit together for anything. All my writing is way behind & what writing I do is letters. I’m way behind with my letter-writing & I hate to write letters when there’s so much other writing to do. I haven’t written the novel in ages. Everyone’s so happy that I have this stupid job – especially my mother – & it’s such a pain in the ass. I work all the time & I barely make enough money to make ends meet. & I never have time to do anything that I want to do. & now that school has started – this morning – I’ll have even less time. I don’t know how I’m going to handle everything. The truth is I don’t want to do anything but the band. Chaotic Bliss is the most important thing!
& then when I go out, I’m so tired I can barely hold up. Last night I only danced two tunes cuz I was so tired I wanted to die. & I was so winded! I couldn’t believe it! I can dance for hours without winded or tired at all! I forgot to pay John our sound man or give Bard spare cash in case of problems when they take the P.A. to Cheektowaga. It’s a forgivable error – & an understandable one – but I can’t let these things happen. I am now the bookkeeper – I can’t let anything happen to the money. It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re tired. Plus I just hate being tired! & I hate being tired the next day, like I am now – & I’ll be tired tomorrow. & you can’t play with numbers when you’re falling asleep. It is just drudgery. Usually I’m really into my work – I love it, I really do – but when I’m tired, I just can’t do it. The day also goes a lot slower when I’m tired. When I’m awake & into it, the day flies by & I have fun. I also get depressed when I’m tired. I’ve been so depressed lately. I miss Jon very much. I don’t know why – it’s been really bad lately. I’m going to see him Friday at the Jumpers going away party at McVan’s & I’m half anxious & half scared. What if he brings a girl? I have absolutely no idea how I’ll react. I’m not sure I can handle it – but I’m not sure I can’t handle it either. I am very lonely, although I live with Bard & Mac & the rest of my time I’m with Chaotic Bliss. I have good friends who really care & a good job but something’s missing & that’s why I hang onto Jon – which isn’t really true either, since I don’t really have him – it’s just the idea of Jon. I fall in love all the time – I flirt with almost every guy I meet – but I haven’t fallen in love with anyone like I fell in love with Jon. I’ve never had a high like that one. Just remembering it makes me smile & I feel like that again – all the hope, the anticipation, the delightful confusion – the way I used to look at him & try to figure out if he was good-looking or not – memorizing every little thing about him. I miss the feeling I had when we were new in love & everything was sparkling & special. It was like the huge rush you get when you smoke really good grass – only infinitely better cuz it’s emotional – it was the best.
I’m just a wreck – I want it & yet I don’t want it & I get so depressed because I’m so lonely. Eddie didn’t come back to school – he wrote me a long letter telling me that he was making too much money in Brooklyn & he would come & visit before the “snow flies” – he sold his Ducati & he has a Harley now. I was really looking forward to seeing him again – more than I ever thought I would. Everyone I know seems to have someone or something else in their life – not me.
But I can hardly wait until Friday night. I hope it turns out alright. I think it will. I’m a wreck, trying to decide what to decide what to wear – but I guess in the long run it doesn’t matter. I just hope I don’t end up depressed.

***

Last night was great. Wow – it was great! It was a really warm day & Barrett came by my office to give me a ride home. The band was assembling – unbeknownst to Bard – to celebrate Bard’s birthday – which is August 31. He’s 28. I baked a chocolate cake for him & everything
At the house, everyone was there except Bard. “He’s sleeping?” I suggested. “Well, who’s gonna wake him up?” All heads turned to me. “Oh, no, I’m not going there. I’m not his old lady!”
In the end, we all decided to wake him. “It’ll be great!” Joey insisted. “We’ll all just burst in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ with a lighted cake, man, it’ll be great!”
I stuck twenty-eight candles on the cake in a messy, punked-out anti-design & Joey & I lit them. We filed down the hall – laughing softly – then Joey threw the door open & they pushed me in with the cake & we stood there & sang. Only I couldn’t sing – I was laughing too hard. Bard looked like he was just born – blinking & squinting in the light – covering up his body with the sheet & moaning: “You shits – go away – fuck all of you – ”
I set the cake on the bed & he blew out the candles. “Now get out of here,” he said. “I’ll be out in the a few minutes after I wake up,” he added.
They loved the cake. They all had two large pieces & it got praised to the skies. I was so happy! I love to cook & I love to be praised.
After a while, everyone left promising to meet later at McVan’s for the Jumper’s party – except Joey, who had somewhere else to go. Bard’s & my ride was coming at 9:15 p.m. – Bard shaved & I did my make up in the time we had at hand. I have never done my make-up better. I just thought – fuck it – & put everything into it. I painted my nails real vampy red & my lips & cheeks were also red – blushing cherry & juicy cherry. My lip gloss even tastes like cherries – cherry cough medicine.
I wore a tight t-shirt belonging to Bard – I accidentally shrunk it when I did the laundry – it says “019890”, which is the name of a local underground punk newspaper. I was nervous & impatient all the way there & as soon as I got in the door – of course Bard & I were on the guest list – I went to the bar & got myself a beer.
I saw Jon right off – he was dressed completely in white – as usual – his hair longer than ever & blonder than ever. He said he’d heard that I had a job in the English Department & that I was doing alright. “Yeah, ok,” I said. I wanted to say, if you call working all the time for almost no money & being tired all the time is doing alright but I decided not to. I talked to Harry G & hung out with Bard. After Mark Freeland did a fantastic solo set, I found myself with Jon again & all his Lackawanna friends, who all seemed to know who I was, although they had never met me. Talking to them, it occurred to me that Jon had never taken me anywhere – just to his house. I never became a part of his life at all. Just a small part – I wonder why.
Jon bought us beers. “Is it true that I broke your heart?” he asked.
“Yes,” I answered. “I’m still not quite back together again, but I’m doing alright.”
“Well, you know,” he said, softly, so I had to lean forward to hear his words, “ I suppose you broke my heart, too.” He went on, “I’d heard that you thought I was being too critical of you.”
“You were,” I answered.
“It was only because I cared.”
Oh, how nice of you. Pick me to pieces because you care. I said, “I’m better off on my own.”
“You’ll never be alone!” he laughed. “Your big problem is that you never realize that people do care, which is why they get pissed off when you’re stupid.” He turned & talked to a pretty girl next to him. Just turned away from me, just like that. To talk to some other girl. He turned his back on me.  After telling me that I’m stupid, in fact. I felt like shit.
Billy Pirhana & the Enemies came on & I jumped up & started dancing. At first there was only me on the dance floor, then Roxanne joined me & then there a few more & more until the dance floor was jammed. I thought – sit down! I like having the dance floor to myself. I can’t dance when I can’t move.
After their set, we went out to smoke a joint. The club was unbearably hot & nearly everyone was going outside to get some air & to get high. It was a beautiful night.
Inside, a bottle of champagne had been opened to celebrate Bard’s birthday. Usually I don’t drink champagne but tonight I liked it. Probably cuz I was already drunk.
They played Beatles songs over the P.A. & everyone danced & sang along. The Beatles are the best! Jon leaned over to me & said, “All these Beatles tunes, you must be in paradise.”
The Jumpers came on & everyone was up, moving toward the stage. I wanted to be up front too, but I kept to the back. There was more room in the back & I danced – I danced, danced, danced – I danced until I thought I would explode – I couldn’t stop.
They played over an hour – easily – then took a break. Everyone went outside again. I sat with the Lackawanna group again & we all got high. Several joints were going around. I sat & listened to them talk, acutely aware of being an outsider – but they were all so nice to me. Oh, to be part of a set! To live in the same place all your life & have the same friends you’ve always had! Every year I find myself with new friends. I’ve never settle down. There will always be insecurity. There will always be loneliness – always aloofness. It’s my curse.
But I sat & listened & laughed. Sean turned to me & smiled – which warmed me all over. He has a quiet calmness which is not unlike Barrett’s.
Back inside McVan’s, the Jumpers played for another hour – or maybe longer – & several encores. Everyone was dancing – everyone was sweating – everyone was wet all the way through. Sweat ran off my face – my hair was wet – my perfect make-up was running off in streaks. I never felt so good in my entire life.
The Jumpers had finished playing, but not many people were leaving. Jon went somewhere with his girl. I felt all tight & hard inside. Sean pulled me to him & started kissing me – which was nice – but – but – I wished whatever it was that was inside of me that was hurting me so badly would break – break –

***

Chaotic Bliss usually practices in the cellar but the cellar’s flooded – luckily they got the equipment out of there before it was an issue – so they’re playing in the living room. It’s so much nicer up here, with the windows letting the light in – it’s late afternoon, a warm day, so it’s a golden light – but soon it’ll start fading cuz it gets dark fairly early now. The furniture is pushed to one side of the room & I’m sitting on the couch. This house is really getting congested. I love it!
I’m sitting here, smoking a joint. Every so often Barrett walks over & takes a toke. They’re working on “Work Out”, a song by Joey. I love it, what a rocker. Joey doesn’t look like a rocker – he looks totally jazz – but man, can he rock. This band is so much more improvisational now – they’ll just go off & jam in the middle of a tune now – they never used to do that. Bard’s songs are great for extended jams – or they can jam on a single riff – punk rock jams, whoever would have thought it? I am experiencing such great musicianship – hanging out with these guys. Do you know how lucky I am? Just hearing them play – watching them play – does me good – let alone listening to them talk. Their discussions about music!  I feel like I am taking a music class – theory & history & culture & the way they feed each other & intersect.  They practice so much better than they used to -much more focused.  I was watching Barrett play this riff out of “Work Out” – over & over again & it killed me – what musicianship. Watching Joey play – I’m totally amazed. What a fucking great drummer he is. But of course, that’s what he does – he doesn’t have a day job, like the other guys do. Joey’s job is drumming. Bard & Barrett are both professors-in-training & Marc’s a counselor. Everyone has so much to do – their day life & their night life.
It amazes me that Barrett – laid-back, low-key professorish Barrett – can write & rock’n’roll like he does. Barrett is so grown-up. He’s the most grown-up person I know – I mean, when he was my age, he was already a success – playing all those big music festivals in the late 60s & early 70s – touring the world – doing all the things I would have done if I lived at that time. & he’s totally mellowed out, but he still rocks. I have so much respect for Barrett – although I don’t know much of his life, really – just what he’s told me – which really isn’t very much – but I feel a lot. Barrett is really good at letting you know how things are without saying a word. Just the little bits he’s told me & the way he’s told me about them tells me that he must have been really fucked up at one time & he doesn’t want to go back there.
If I can grow up & end up like Barrett, I’ll be happy.
Time to work on one of my tunes. YES!

***

Tonight’s gig sucked. The Bliss burned ass but sharing the bill with two cover bands sucked! But we made $55 profit & definitely held the crowd by their fucking teeth, man! Except for the ultra-cool, ultra-cold-as-ice girlfriends of the “Phantoms” – who wore ultra-cool black leather, silver studs & cowboy boots – The Phantoms themselves were macho men who made complete fools of themselves by bringing too much equipment for McVan’s & blowing the fuse three times! Thanks to our sound man, John, they finally got their act together – while we sat at the bar & laughed. One of their fans tried to pick me up – I got rid of him by talking intelligently about music. That always works. Talking intelligently always works. I told Bard, who said, “Yeah, it works with girls, too.”
They sent me out to get junk from McDonald’s & I walked down the street – smiling at myself in the shop windows – stoned – thinking, I’m just a groupie, after all. I prefer to call myself the bookkeeper or “earth mother” – which is what Bard calls me – but I’m just a groupie. We worked on one of my tunes the other night – “Macho Man” – which I think sounded really good & even Marc & Joey liked it & even Bard had to agree it’s a kick-ass tune but he still doesn’t want me singing “officially” with the band. “At least not until we get a new manager & someone to take care of all the things that you do now,” he said. “You do too much to add performance to it too,” & I had to agree with him – even if I have to wait longer. But I am dying to be on stage with them! I know I can sing & I want to be part of the band! Not the stupid groupie!
I had been depressed earlier in the day – “Why are you bummed out?” asked Bard. “I’m alright,” I answered, not wanting to admit that I felt self-conscious about my looks with all those super-thin girls the Phantoms had with them – but walking along Niagara Street, I felt fine – I felt different – the same fears were there – the same hang-ups & desires but it was different.
The other night when I saw Jon, I thought beforehand that I would die – but I didn’t. When he danced with other girls – I wasn’t jealous of them – I was simply jealous that I didn’t have somebody too. I’m lonely. I’ve always been lonely. I’ll probably always be lonely. I love Jon – I always love him – I want him whenever I see him – my god, do I want him – & I’ll always hurt – but somehow it doesn’t matter anymore. It just doesn’t matter anymore. it’s there but it’s cool. I’m used to it. I can forget.
“I think I grew up,” I said to Barrett at the bar. I’ve changed, I’ve hardened. & I finally – a finally – let go.

***

At Mass. The priest is talking about the Sacrament of Sickness, which used to be call Extreme Unction. He talked about various sicknesses – mental or bodily sorrow, greed, depression, hard-heartedness, vanity, envy, etc. It’s an interesting idea, but actually this sermon isn’t too great.
I like this church – St. Joseph’s University. It’s very big & very beautiful – although I’m sure it was much more beautiful before it was modernized. I love the stained glass windows. There’s a lovely rose window right in front. The organist is really good, too. I hate bad or apathetic organists. I love Mass, I love it. I get such a good feeling from going to Church. I really do believe it helps me go through the week. It also helps me measure the passing of time – the holidays & the year.

***

I did my personal bookkeeping & the band’s bookkeeping. I am so broke – just $34 in the bank & several hundred dollars in debt. But I am surviving & that’s what counts.
I thoroughly cleaned the house yesterday. I had to really scrub. The kitchen & bathroom floors were so dirty that you couldn’t tell the real color of the linoleum. Now it’s real pleasant here again. We rearranged the living room – made it real homey.
But there’s also problems. Our landlord wants us to get rid of the kittens & of course we don’t want to. There’s been talk of moving. I’m not sure – everything’s up in the air.
There’s no gig tonight. Joey’s gone to New York City to record a demo with his jazz combo & there’s 2 upcoming gigs in which Gregski will play. It’ll seem strange to have Gregski back after Joey.
There’s really nothing to say. I have the laundry to do, but other than that, it’s just a quiet day at home. It’s so nice here.
I went to UB’s Fallfest last night – Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes were headlining – & it was quite nice, particularly since I had a backstage pass – so I had a good time hanging out – & today was Buff State’s Fallfest. It started at 1 p.m. I showed up around 5 – I mostly wanted to see Steve Forbert, who was headlining. I also wanted to see if Jon & Sean were there.
As I walked up Elmwood Avenue, I passed Mark Freeland, who was walking with a friend & he waved & said hi. I was so surprised & so pleased! I was even more pleased when George recognized me & said hi because he’s one of the most handsome rock’n’rollers in Buffalo.
A friend of Barrett’s came up to me & introduced himself. “Is Chaotic Bliss here? I heard they were playing.” I was pleased that rumors like that were circulating. I was also immensely pleased that I was associated with the band & being asked about their whereabouts. I sat with Barrett’s friend & his friends for the first part of Steve Forbert’s set – oh, he’s so cute – I fell in love with his face & hair & lovely body & the way he sang his songs – then I saw Harry G., so I hung out with him for a while. I like Harry. I like him even though I thought his novel need a lot of work – or just plain sucks – although I would never say that to him. He mentioned that “Kudzma, Sean & them were around somewhere” – we set out to find them & we did. They were all very wasted – Jon not as much as the others, of course – but the others were definitely fucked. Although I could see Sean’s eyes light up when he saw me. They did – they really did! I sat down & talked to Jon about writing. But the others were so lively that conversation was almost impossible.
Jon proposed leaving, so we all got up. He had Sara’s car for some reason – he had to drive back to her place to give it back to her. “Why do you have Sara’s car?” I demanded.
“Well, I didn’t leave the fallfest until late last night, so I just stayed there.”
I was silent. I felt like I did when I was a kid & I fell out of a tree & I landed on my back & had the wind knocked out of me.
“Rather quiet, aren’t you?” He sounded pleased with himself & I turned to him, smiling.
“Have you heard Rachel Sweet yet?” I asked & started laughing. I knew he hadn’t – Bard just got the record. She’s fabulous – I love her song “B-A-B-Y”. Bard says it’s a cover of an old Stax tune but of course that’s why it’s so good.
At Sara’s, I went over to Sean’s car. Screw Jon. We made a date to go to the Masthead. Then I hung out at Sara’s for a while. I told her I was over Jon. “Oh, I’m so happy,” she said. She told me how Mark Miles was treating her – how totally fucked up he was. I nodded. “I saw him last week & I couldn’t believe it.”
I walked home, thinking about everything. I’m so happy, I thought. I’m lonely but I’m happy. I think one reason I’m happy is that I have a home – I have somewhere to go. Before – Jon was all I had. I haven’t had a home since I left home – which sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. It’s so necessary to have somewhere to go where you feel safe. Home – what a lovely word & a lovelier feeling.

***

I went out with Sean last night. He said he didn’t have any money & I said I would treat. Cori, queen of generosity. I really don’t know why he called me if he didn’t have any money. Maybe Jon told him I pick up the tab when he doesn’t have any money. You gotta wonder. Anyway, we went to the Masthead to see George & all the punk rockers were there. I was a little pissed. “Why don’t all these people show up to see the Bliss, man?” It was a rainy Monday night, too. We drank a few beers, talking & joking, me laughing all the time. I did most of the talking – I talked about the Bliss & poems I was writing & things I wanted to accomplish. Sean doesn’t talk much, although he can make conversation fairly well. I can talk to anyone & can usually get anyone to talk to me – it’s an art – the art of conversation – & it’s fun, too. Drawing people out & getting them to share their lives. Anyway, we left after the first set to smoke a joint & ended up just hanging out in his car, making out. “Why don’t we just get a 6-pack & hang out & talk more?” We decided to go to Delaware Park but we were so stoned that we kept missing it. Sean doesn’t know Buffalo at all & I was having problems seeing – it was raining pretty hard. Finally we gave up & parked outside of the Zoo, on Amherst Street. It was nice – just sitting there, drinking beers, listening to the rain – talking, smoking another joint – eventually making out some more.
So like – it was the first time I’ve gotten laid in a car in a long time! It was really cramped & the fear of cops driving by or someone walking their dog – or some other undesirable coming by & looking into the windows – although it was raining really hard for that – Sean was more afraid of that than I was & kept glancing at the windows – personally I barely cared – I was turned on – I loved the streetlights shining on us & the few cars that drove by. It was so excellent simply because of that! Getting laid next to the Zoo! What a trip!
It was pretty late by then – 2 a.m. – I had classes in the morning & then work in the afternoon – so he took me home.
“Did you have a good time?” I asked. Oh, dangerous question – bad question – unwise question – but I had to know. We are both too close to Jon but to feel a little nervous – I knew that he was nervous at the beginning of the evening. I was nervous – I’ll always feel Jon’s presence in my life.
“Yes, yes! I had a good time,” he answered. “Yes, a great time!”

***

Chaotic Bliss – minus Joey – was practicing & I was sitting there – listening & applauding during breaks – cuz they just worked up a beautiful little number called “Mariella” – a beautiful ballad in 5/4 time. It just rolls – it’s so lovely, I can hardly wait until we have Joey to play it. Bard was jubilant – I haven’t seen him smiling so much in days. He’s always in a bad mood lately – he’s sick, he says – he’s always tired – he’s either bitching about the cats or worrying about the landlord. I understand that. His class was cancelled because not enough kids signed up for it so all he’s doing is writing his dissertation & living on his savings & what he makes from gigs. I know his level of anxiety there because I have hardly any money myself & I am thinking about modeling again. I saw some new ads in the Spectrum & I could easily pull in an extra $100 in a few hours. I need to lose a few pounds & grow my hair out.
& he really hates how Barrett – & now Marc – are pushing to get me onstage, get me singing – I often sing harmony during rehearsals – they both say that I would be the perfect addition to the band – they point to how my dancing is getting almost as much talk around town as the band’s music – I’m part of the show in that respect. Which Bard resents as well. It’s not fair. If I’m an asset, why not use me? Use whatever works? Does it have to be a boy’s club? I mean – there’s plenty of women fronting bands – or just in them – bands Bard loves – women he adores. Why the opposition to me? I would just hate it if this ruins or at least puts a strain on our relationship. I value Bard’s friendship – I love him. I don’t want him to resent me!

***

I have a lover, David, who lives downstairs –
But lately, I don’t feel like I want David to make love to me anymore.
I still go downstairs because I am so horny I almost have to – but it is so meaningless – just beating off, really –
We laugh & drink tea & smoke reefer & argue & eventually fuck – but I always leave feeling very cold. I just don’t feel as if I’ve been touched.
It’s very depressing.

I feel all tight & rebellious today. I’m not watching to see that I don’t swear & the office is full of strangers. It’s not conscious – I have to really psych myself to play the game – & I can’t psych myself today. Basically I like this job but I’m so tired of it. I’m also tired of my classes. I want to write what I want to write & I want to read what I want to read. I want to be myself & not have to play these silly games all the time. I’m simply tired of it all.
I just want to be with Chaotic Bliss. Singing with them & dancing their tunes. Really nothing else matters to me.

***

At the Schuper Haus. It’s been a nice night. Lots of people are here. I’m not sure what time it is – it could be after midnight – it probably is. I’m sitting with Tanner, our new manager, & Zu, our new sound man, & my band is playing – god, they’re great.
It’s really strange, because for the longest time, Barrett & I were really close – we used to talk all the time. I remember sitting on the stoop outside of McVan’s, smoking reefer & talking – before gigs on Sunday – just us two. He’s tell me pieces of his life – not much really – but I feel like I know what he’s been through – I feel a lot. But lately he’s been somewhat distant. Can he tell I’m in love with him? What difference does it make? I’m gonna fall out of love soon enough. I always do. I know he’s busy with his poetry class & writing his dissertation & the band & of course he’s married but I really miss talking to him & being with him. I can’t help wonder if Bard had something to do with this too. I don’t know what’s up with Bard lately.
So I’ve gotten very close to Marc. At first I was somewhat aloof with him because he had been my counselor but now I talk to him all the time. I have to talk to someone. At first he made me think of a bear but now I think he’s more of a lion. But he’s so gentle. He really is. & so very understanding. & man, can he play the guitar! He’s tons more than just a rhythm guitarist! I’m so glad I wanted him in the band, although I really didn’t know what I was talking about! It’s hard to describe Marc. He’s just so laid-back & mellow that you just don’t see all what’s underneath. I mean, I don’t either – I just know. His lady, Mary K., is also great. She’s tiny – dark – with a huge smile & big eyes. I really like her & what’s more, she really likes me. She said to me: “Where do you get your energy? You’re so exuberant!” I like that word. She loves to see me dance. “You’re such a good dancer! Where did you learn? Did you take lessons?”
“No,” I answered, laughing, “it’s just me – spontaneous reaction to the music, I guess.” I laughed again.
She said, “When you dance – it makes me feel all – good inside. You have so much joy in your dancing.”
Of course, things like that I love to hear! It’s nice to know that people like to see me dance & that they know who I am & I’m part of the show! Of course not everyone – I get bad vibes from Bard – heavy bad vibes. I don’t know why he hates me but he does. I can’t ignore it anymore. He treats me like shit. He treats me like a groupie. He treats me like Fred used to. Seems like there’s always some aggravation. We argue all the time. I can’t stand it.
My relationship with Joey was real slow at first. I always though he didn’t like me but tonight when he saw me – he’s been in New York City for a month – he said “Cori!” & kissed me. He kissed me!
Later, I watched Barrett & Joey play a game of chess – it was great – they analyzed each move near the end, showing alternate ways of winning – & I felt shy, simply because I know almost nothing about chess – just the basics – & because I admire the two of them so much.
Before the gig started, Marc, Joey & I were upstairs, talking & then Marc went downstairs & it was just Joey & me. I had been rolling joints & I asked Joey if he had always been sober or if he had once partied & then quit.
“I used to do a lot of drugs, yeah,” he said. “Psychedelics & lots of pot, of course – I haven’t smoked pot in a year. I just haven’t felt like it. I’m not sure what would happen to my head if I smoked pot.”
So then we talked about rock’n’roll & jazz & then dance. “You dance really well,” he said. “Do you take dance? You should, it’s so good for your body.” Then we talked about sports – he’s really into sports – & I mentioned that I used to play soccer. “Really?” he said. “Girls with big tits usually aren’t into sports.”
“My tits aren’t all that big.”
“They’re not small.”
We started talking about music again. He complained about the life of the road – never really knowing what was up next. I could tell that he was just digging it so I teased: “Well, the life of a groupie is hard too.”
“Don’t say that.” He was serious. “You’re no groupie. You’re too intelligent to be a groupie.” I laughed & he insisted, “Really. You’re sharp.”
I dug that praise, baby! He knew it too & grinned at me. I like him. He’s so sexy but that’s beside the point, really. He doesn’t carry his sexiness around his neck like an albatross. He’s so cute – & he’s so very cool. Very jazz, but also rock’n’roll.
Later in the evening, I started getting bummed out, cuz everyone had someone & I didn’t. I was sitting alone, drinking during Davy & the Crocketts’s set – I just wanted to be with someone. Plus Rina was there & she was making it plain that she was Barrett’s woman – was I so very obviously in love? I wasn’t sure. I didn’t care. I just kept drinking.
Then Barrett – who hadn’t danced at all, not even with Rina – leaned over & said, “May I have the pleasure of this dance?” & I broke into a huge smile. I love dancing with Barrett! We danced & danced & then the tune was over & I kissed his cheek. I was warmed all over. What a way to end the night!

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Excerpts From a Diary 7

[July, 1979]
Yesterday’s gig was the best yet. Believe it or not, there was no huge crisis! No heart attacks! There was quite a crowd & we not only broke even but made a profit!
Barrett didn’t want to take Gregski all the way out to Cheektowaga so he said to use my charms on him to keep him in Buffalo. We were all in Bard’s kitchen after the gig – it was maybe 1:30 or 2 a.m. Gregski got up to go the john – I intercepted him in the dining room on the way back. I lightly punched him & he gently tackled me & we rolled around on the floor – then I kissed his lips – & he stuck his tongue full into my mouth. “Stay with me,” I cajoled, my fingers teasing his cock, “stay.”
“I have to call my parents,” he said. As he went to the phone, I stood in the doorway & OK’d to Barrett.
It was a fun night! All we did was laugh & giggle & fuck all night. & what a fuck! He’s so good! He’s rough along the edges – but oh! He has so much potential! & it would be so much fun to teach him! Oh, how I would love to.
I only got several hours sleep, then I had to get up for work. Getting up early is bad enough – leaving a warm body is worse. I wanted him so badly!
Work isn’t bad. Cleaning is dull but easy.  Yucky – there’s no way around that.  But I doubt I’m doing it for very long.  Vinnie put me behind the bar & he was impressed at how quickly I took to it.  But bartending is super easy – especially when you’re serving nothing but shots & beers. Mostly shots of bourbon or rum & glasses of Genny draft. What I really like is working the grill. I really like to cook. I think I’ll look for a cooking job in a little while – I can see that this place isn’t going to work out – there’s too many jerks here. But for now, it’s ok.
I came home, hoping that Gregski was still around, but he had gone. I went to bed & slept for several hours, then I went to Bard’s. They were auditioning a keyboard guy named Horowitz. I don’t know if that’s his first name or his last name, that’s all they called him. He’s short & shaped like a pear & has a small, rat-like face, with a big nose. His hair is very short & dark – his skin pale.  He looked very unhealthy.
He’s a fantastic keyboardist. The farfisa sound adds so much color to the tunes – a Doors flavor – & the synthesizer adds a Who vibe. & he’s certainly crazy enough – Chaotic enough – although he made me think of a puppy jumping & yipping for attention – the way he presents his material to the band. But he’ll be alright.
What was great was that when we were talking about the possibility of Horowitz joining the band, I was given a vote – equal with the other members! That means so much to me! It makes me so happy & so proud that Barrett & Bard think that my opinion is worth that much. So often – during a rehearsal – I’ll be sitting upstairs in the kitchen – reading or writing & having a cup of tea – & one of them will come up & ask me what I think. & really listen to what I have to say & want to know why I think the way I do. I mean, it means so much to me that they respect my views & take them into consideration.
Oh, everything’s alright! It really is. I just wish I didn’t have to get up for work tomorrow. I hate dragging myself out of bed. & I wish I had someone to sleep with.

***

Yesterday was unreal. I don’t think I’ve been that tired in a hundred years. I put in a full day’s work, then went to Bard’s to sleep. I really hate that bar. All the guys are jerks. I’m making decent money but I still wish I had something else to do. I was crying & Bard held me for a while.

***

This morning I got to work & found half my work already done, which pissed me off. There’s never enough to do! I hate just sitting there. I hate bars – I really hate bars. I hate just sitting around! What boring, unimaginative people go to bars!
Roy asked me to barmaid tonight – so I will – for the money. I don’t like Roy, though. I don’t like anyone there. It won’t be long, just until 7 p.m. Barrett’s having a cookout & Bard & I are going after I get off work.

***

What a shitty night last night was! Right from the start, it sucked. I got to work at 4 & Roy told me I had to work until 9, not 7. So I called Bard & told him to go to Barrett’s without me & I’d be by later. So I was pissed off about that.
Roy taught me how to mix gimlets, because that’s what he was drinking, but most everyone else was drinking draft beer & shots. I didn’t want to drink but Roy said I had to be “sociable” & it didn’t take very long for me to put on a good buzz.
It wasn’t busy but it was steady for a holiday afternoon. But I was so bored. What a boring clientele! Mostly old farts & younger dudes playing pool.  In Janis Joplin’s terms, “No talent” at all.  & I so resented missing Barrett’s cookout.
Then things got really bad. Roy called me into the kitchen & showed me his wallet full of twenties. “There’s plenty for you if you play ball with me,” he said, handing me a twenty. Then he tried to kiss me & grab my tit. I escaped back to the bar. I wished I had said, “What, you only have one ball to play with?” But of course you always think of those great lines after the fact.
I said I would stay until 9, so I did, but I left. Roy was pissed off. “You can’t leave! You have to stay until Vinnie gets here!”
“Fuck Vinnie! I’m leaving! I quit!” The bar cheered & I walked out the door into the blinding sunlight.
I thumbed up Main Street to Barrett’s. I was so drunk I could barely remember where he lived. Finally I got there. I sat in the kitchen & cried.  Eventually I calmed down enough to tell Barrett & Bard what happened. They were both outraged – Bard was quite angry.  “Nobody should have to go through that kind of sexual harassment!”   Bard made me eat & Barrett made me tea. After a while, Barrett took Bard & me to Bard’s house. Bard made me more tea & wouldn’t let me go to bed until I had 2 or 3 cups & several glasses of water. He then put me to bed & I immediately feel into a deep & lethargic sleep. During the night I woke – or thought I did – several times – & I felt heavy & brain-aching & sick. But I only fell back to sleep again.
When I woke up, I was alone. I got up & dressed but I still felt strange. In the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror. My eyes hurt & they looked funny. Bard was sitting in the kitchen drinking tea. He seemed like he was waiting for me.
“Hey,” I said.
“Hey,” he replied.
“I cried a lot last night, right?”
Bard nodded.
“I was really drunk last night, wasn’t I?”
“You certainly were,” he said.
“I don’t remember it.”
I wasn’t hung over. I just felt really strange. I just wanted to sleep.
So now I’m out of work again, all because of that fucked-up bastard! But – that was a really lousy place to work. I mean, out of all the boring bars in Buffalo, that had to have been the most boring.

***
Mac & I went over to Shera’s to talk about the possibility of me moving in there. She lives in an upper apartment on Springville Ave, in Amherst, just over the border from Buffalo.  She’s renting a small bedroom off the kitchen.  She seemed real receptive & said she would give me an answer on Sunday.  It’s a real cozy, homey place & I would love to live there. I need a home. I need to say, “I’m going home,” & mean it.

After that, Mac & I rolled a bunch of joints & went cruising in his  ’68 MG Midget. He’s been working on it night & day. We cruised all over Buffalo – over the Skyway – down into Lackawanna & down Route 5 past the Ford Plant. It was so much fun – like being on a rollercoaster without a track.
While we cruised, we talked. Or Mac talked & I listened. Shera & Mac used to live together & then Teddy moved into the little room I am thinking of renting. Now Teddy sleeps with Shera & Mac is sleeping alone in the small bedroom at Bard’s apartment. Mac is still in love with Shera. Shera still sleeps with Mac once in a while. Just enough to keep him miserable.  Mac is still deeply in love with Shera & says she is the only woman he will ever love.

***

Last night I hung out at Bard’s, as usual – curled up in his quilts & crashed on the couch with the cats. Chaotic Bliss was practicing in the cellar but that didn’t bother me – it was a rock’n’roll lullabye. When they came upstairs, I woke up & I was horny – I flirted with Gregski, who teased me back & we rolled around on the porch together. We were making use of the rug in Mac’s bedroom when his parents came to pick him up, so we were both frustrated.
Today Gregski was impossible. I was tired & irritable – everything he said or did got on my nerves. I saw with Bard & Barrett after the rehearsal & poured out all my troubles like I always do. The conversation switched from my problems to Gregski & Chaotic Bliss. His irresponsibility, his apparent lack of interest, his immaturity & selfishness. “I just ignore him,” said Barrett.
“I know – that’s what I should do – I should stop ragging on him,” Bard said, “but it’s gotten to be such a habit.”
“I should stop flirting with him,” I said.
“Why?” asked Barrett.
“It’s another bad habit, honestly just like Bard ragging on him,” I replied. Barrett looked at me like he was going to say something but then Bard said, “My job is to stop ragging on Gregski & to ignore him & let him go his merry way – & not be so uptight about the Bliss.” But I know how Bard feels. It’s hard not to be uptight – not to want the band to be the best it could be – not to want the gigs to be great always – not to want success now, not later – Gregski’s lackadasicalness is definitely in the way of getting to where I know Bard wants to be – where I want to be, too.
“My job – ” I faltered.
Barrett smiled at me. “You know what your job is.”
Yes, the hardest & most enjoyable job of all. Babysitting an 18-year-old brat & all I have to offer is sex & a similar love of the Beatles.
After Barrett left, mac wanted to know if I wanted to take another ride with him in his MG which of course I did. We cruised around town for a while, ending up at Shera’s. There were all kinds of people there – Teddy – who wasn’t anything like the monster Mac made him out to be – & Jesse & Doreen, who live in the garage apartment behind the house – & visiting friends Maryellen & her boyfriend Mike. All the guys had Harleys & they were all revving them up & talking bike talk – I felt bad for Mac, because only the girls wanted to see his car & I could tell he wanted the respect of the guys. Then Jesse walked over to Mac & clapped him on the back & asked him to pop the hood & let him see the engine. The other guys soon followed suit & Mac was soon happily showing off his car.
All the girls had long beautiful hair & they all had gorgeous figures. Doreen’s hair was the most gorgeous red I had ever seen & Maryellen had a figure to die for. I felt short & dumpy & stupid with my self-butched hair. But we all got totally stoned on several joints – Teddy rolled several, as soon as he rolled one & lit it, he rolled another one & lit it – & Jesse was filling his bowl & I don’t think I’ve been that wasted in a long time. When Mac & I got back to Bard’s, I fell asleep on the couch again. It seems like I’m doing a lot of sleeping on Bard’s couch lately.

***

I’m tired & hazy & dizzy. I was sick all day. I drank far too much last night & I don’t even know why. I usually have a reason for drinking heavily – I’m depressed or I’m out of weed – which usually ties in with being depressed – & I didn’t even know I was unhappy. There really was no reason to be. I actually felt really good. I’d felt good all day. We played the Masthead & there was a really good crowd. Roxanne, the blonde who goes out with the lead singer of the Killers, was cocktail waitress & we quickly became acquainted, much to my pleasure. I’ve been seeing her around since the Buffalo Music Awards back in February & she is so hip & so hot. She admired my dress – I was wearing a blue & white print mini-dress with sheer navy-blue panty-hose & my red Mary Jane flats – one of my favorite outfits. The bouncer told me I had great legs. I was having a great time within seconds of arriving there.
“I’m gonna get drunk tonight,” I told Gregski before the gig started.
“Why?” he asked.
“I don’t know, I just feel like it,” & I laughed.
I drank & drank & danced up a storm – it wasn’t until I started dancing that other people got off their asses & danced too – & did shots & laughed & flirted & smoked dope & had a great time until things started slipping away from me & I felt like throwing up – only I couldn’t because I hadn’t eaten all day.
I could barely stand during the load-out. I felt like I was outside of myself – watching myself being drunk. It was so weird. I stood next to Barrett’s car, holding myself up. “Hang in there, baby,” Barrett said gently & Bard added worriedly, “Are you gonna be alright?”
“I’m alright,” I said. Gregski & Frankie came up & attempted to help me walk around but I shook them off. “I’m alright, I’ll be alright.” I said it forcefully. As if saying it would make it so. I repeated to myself, I’m alright, I’m alright – the song played in my head long after it was evident even to me that I wasn’t.
The rest is a muddle. We had to take the P.A. out to Cheektowaga, where it’s stored – they have a storage unit in a warehouse – & I remember sitting there in the car as they moved the equipment – there was a train going by & it seemed so noisy – & then getting up & out of the car & walking maybe 10 steps toward the edge of the parking lot & falling on my knees on the gravel & puking – puking beer still fizzy from inside of me & tasting awful. Barrett came up from behind me & steadied me – his hands gentle & firm on my shoulders.
A sob rose up out of me. “Oh, Barrett, why am I so unhappy?”
That’s all I remember.

***

This afternoon, I was on campus, turning in my Women’s Studies paper – somehow I managed to write six pages about the “reality” of women in the “very patriarchal” system that is rock’n’roll today – using books that Barrett had loaned me & my own Rolling Stone magazines – & feminist tracts of course – I think it was pretty good. Anyway, I ran into Barrett – & of course we got to talking. He mentioned my drunkenness the other night & how I had clung to him. “Are you so very unhappy?” he asked gently.
“I don’t know,” I admitted. “I mean – sometimes I’m real happy & sometimes I’m not. It’s either one or the other.”
We walked along the tree-lined paths of the campus. Past Hayes Hall & the velvety green lawn stretching down to Main Street. I saw the tree where Jon & I had sat the first day we had met & I knew exactly why I was so unhappy. Suddenly I was talking – telling Barrett all about it – how we met the second day of my orientation – how I was so hungover from partying with Mark Miles the night before that I couldn’t register for classes & I had gone to the Spectrum office looking for Mark – to get him to register for me – & while he was gone doing that, I heard this voice talking – about music, about art, about writing the perfect article – & when I raised my aching head to see who it was who was talking – & saw him – for the first time – that long blonde hair & those big blue eyes & that slender yet muscled body – my hangover slipped away like a bad memory – like it never was. “It was love at first sight,” I told Barrett.
I told him everything. About how great it was at first & then how I got pregnant & Jon didn’t want the baby – how he convinced me to have an abortion – & I did – & I never regretted it – except that it didn’t do shit to keep Jon with me. “You sound bitter,” Barrett mentioned.
“I don’t know – how would you feel? I mean – I would be almost ready to be having a baby right now – & I guess that would mean that I wouldn’t be hanging out with you guys. & you know – I really love the Bliss!” I laughed. “But on the other hand – it was something I did for him – & he didn’t really appreciate it – not in the end. In fact, he blamed me for the whole thing.”
After that, I showed him some of the lyrics I had written – most of them more or less about or for Jon – but a few for Bard & one that I wrote after that night with Frankie – & he was really impressed. “You’re a really strong writer,” he told me. Then he made a suggestion that made me really happy. “Why don’t I take some of these & see if I can work up some melodies to go with them & maybe we can have you sing one or two of them with the band? You’re part of the band anyway – & a female voice is always an asset. & we already know you can sing.”
So now I feel really hopeful – hopeful for a better future. I’m so glad that Barrett is my friend.

***

Tonight was the top of the world & it was great!  Chaotic Bliss opened for the Jumpers for an orientation thing at Buff State & it was so much fun! I wore my old red-checked mini-dress – from 8th grade – the one with all the buttons down the front & the full skirt – with black tights & my red shoes. I was the only one who danced to Chaotic Bliss – I don’t think the kids knew what to think of them – it was almost like I was performing, too. When they played their new song, “Midnight Meditation”, I was totally in heaven – I love to dance to that song. It’s Barrett’s song & it totally rocks.
Roxanne was there & it was great to see her again. She was sitting with some other girls & they were passing around a vial of something – breathing it in deeply & then passing it to the next person. Roxanne handed it to me & I followed suit. It smelled somewhat like bleach. I handed it back to her & then – I was hot. My fingertips burned & I had a rush in my head. Everything looked the same but it was all different. It was melting. Everything around me was melting & my eyes were melting, dripping into my lap. Then I shivered & it was over.
Later I asked Barrett about it. He told me that it was amyl-nitrate – street name “snappers or poppers”. He said, “That’s really punk, that’s about as punk as it gets.”
We sat upstairs in the room designated as a dressing room & got high & talked about our apparent success & our new guitarist. We had been auditioning guitarists for the past few weeks & had heard plenty of really good guitarists – but there was only one that was perfect for the Bliss. That was Marc – a friend of Mac’s – they played together in a band when they were in high school.
This is the same Marc who was my therapist when I was in the hospital. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him.
For a while, Bard & Barrett wanted this guy named Kurt in the band – I didn’t like him & I didn’t want him. I wanted Marc from the first time I heard him play. We discussed it endlessly & by the end of the discussions, I had swung them over to my thinking.
Fred also wanted Kurt. He clearly dislikes me. It’s more than bad vibes now – it’s definite dislike. He resents me. Maybe it’s dangerous to say it but I think it’s because I have more influence than he does & he knows it. He had nothing to do with this whole finding a guitarist process – he doesn’t even receive a vote.
Later we all went down to catch the Jumpers’ set. I had been teasing Gregski relentlessly & Bard pulled me aside. “If you say one more nasty thing, I won’t let you hang out anymore.” Bard does not make idle threats – I was really bothered by this. I didn’t think I was being particularly mean to Gregski. “Am I very nasty?” I asked Barrett. “No, you are very cutting & witty,” Bruno answered. But of course, “cutting & witty” is just a sophisticated way of being “nasty”. & Gregski may be lots of things but he isn’t particularly sophisticated. Not yet, anyway.
“I can’t help it!” I burst out. “Greg is such a fucking disappointment & such a lazy fool – how can someone so talented & so ambitious be so irresponsible & dull? I can’t help it – things pop out of my mouth before I think & even if they are nasty – I can’t help but think he deserves it.”
“He does deserve it,” Barrett answered.
We stood, watching people dance. “C’mon.” I danced away, leading Barrett by the hand. We danced together several tunes & then I saw Gregski standing with Randy, his best friend, who used to play guitar in the Bliss but was kicked out because he was too irresponsible. Gregski has never forgiven Barrett & Bard for this. Also there was Randy’s girlfriend who used to be Gregski’s girlfriend. I can’t stand her. I don’t know her but I can’t stand her. It’s really just a gut feeling – I hate her smug smile – you can tell she doesn’t care about Randy except to use him to hurt Gregski. All this I know from what Gregski has told me & from instinct. I mean, I really don’t care, except how it affects Gregski – & Chaotic Bliss. It’s really all about Chaotic Bliss.
After dancing with Barrett, I danced with Gregski – he protested that he didn’t dance but of course I know better – & I danced with Roxanne & anyone who wanted to dance with me – but I really loved dancing with Barrett. There is something about his smile – the way he looks at me – so quietly reassuring –
Afterwards, waiting for everyone to show up & bring their things around, I helped Barrett shove amps – the big ones – into the car & then he & I hung out & talked. We wished we had some pot. Bard joined us – & the conversation – but it seemed like he was pissed off about something. “Are you mad at me?” I asked.
“No,” he replied sullenly. I didn’t believe him but then, with Bard, you can never tell.
We were driving away & I had already slid down into the seat between Barrett & Bard & put my feet up on the dashboard, when we passed some pretty boys walking home from the dance. I heard one of them yell: “Hey there goes the girl in the red-checkered dress!”
& Barrett yelled out his window: “You better believe it, baby!”

***

Tonight was Frankie’s last gig with us & probably Gregski’s too. We have had it with Gregski. His “I don’t care, do what you like” attitude has abdicated himself from the band. He has semi-announced that he is leaving after the demo is made. But who knows. Like Bard says, “Gregski is such a dildo-brain, you never know where he’s at.”
Marc, our new guitarist, has a friend, Joey Sinclair, who is one of the three best working drummers in the city – Gregski, believe it or not, is another – & he wants to play with us. He plays jazz but can really rock’n’roll – he’s already jammed with Bard, Marc & Barrett. Just fooling around – not even doing Bliss tunes – playing all kinds of stuff – I was singing too. Barrett’s all for the change. “If Greg doesn’t want to hang out & work hard & really give all for the band & if it’s such a painful ordeal just to play gigs, let alone rehearsals – ” Gregski has refused to come to the rehearsals for fitting in Marc & Horowitz – “then I say, he can split. Obviously he’s not into it.”
But Bard still wants Gregski around, although I think it’s more of a thing about Gregski rejecting the band – & Bard – rather than a true desire to have Gregski play with us. “At least now we have a weapon,” he said. “We can say, Greg, shape up or else. At least he’ll realize that he isn’t the only good drummer in Buffalo. Joey Sinclair can drum circles around Gregski. & he’s not too great to let us play his songs.” That was another thing. Gregski writes songs, but he won’t let Chaotic Bliss play them.
“When are you gonna tell Gregski?” I asked.
“We’re having a meeting tomorrow at one,” Bard answered.
“But he probably won’t show up until two,” Barrett added, laughing.
Gregski brought some of his friends along. RT & some other losers. They sat up front & neither smiled nor showed any emotion at all. Before we left for the gig, they were all listening to the White Album, just sitting there, staring into space, not moving nor talking. I thought, what a bunch of dead beats. If these are the friends Gregski has, it’s any wonder he finds it hard to be with guys like Bard & Barrett, who think & move & get things done. Unless Gregski can say fuck it & do something different than what his friends are doing – or not doing – he’ll never do anything.
Once Bard, Barrett & I were talking about Gregski’s attitude in relation to the Beatles – his idols – especially Paul McCartney – which says a lot right there. I mean, Paul’s great but he’s just Paul. Bard said, “He takes it all so seriously. He has no sense of humor. He doesn’t see the humor in their songs! He just worships them.”
I agreed, adding, “I think the worst injustice you can do to anyone is worship them cuz then you’re not being objective. It’s as bad as totally demolishing them. Either way, you’re unable to see who they are.”
“& this Paul McCartney thing,” said Barrett, sipping his bourbon out of the bottle cap. Bard take his in shots & I swig right out of the bottle. “I mean, really. Paul McCartney is good at what he does but he hasn’t done anything in 10 years.”
“Do you think Gregski is going to join Frankie’s new band?” Frankie is starting a band called “Frankie & the Fun Guys”. So much for speech therapy.
“I think,” Bard was getting drunk, so he was speaking very slowing, thinking it out before he said anything, “that Gregski plans to make demo tapes, playing all the instruments.”
“Like Paul McCartney,” I laughed.
“I think Cori has it,” Barrett said, nodding to Bard.
Anyway, the gig went quite well – although Frankie really played up the fact that it was his last gig with the Bliss & played his “best”. But Frankie’s best is always the same – his solos are always the same – week after week – the same rifs, the same licks – I could sing them note for note. He’s so boring. & he doesn’t even realize it. In fact, I’d say the attributes that make him boring are the ones he’s the most proud of.
A girl came in, half-way through the gig – short & thin with butched red hair & a cute vixen-type face. At first she obviously hated the music – she walked back & forth, shaking her head & frowning. But I think she must’ve talked herself into liking it – or it grew on her. Anyway, after a few of my solo dances, she same up to me & told me to let her know when I was going to dance again, because she wanted to dance too. A sneer rose in the back of my mind at anyone who wanted “really bad” to dance but only if someone else was dancing. But I smiled & said sure. After all, I can remember similar times in my life – when I was too shy to dance alone.
But when the time came, she barely danced – she moved her arms & legs in some sort of rhythm & barely moved from her post up in from of the band. I saw looks exchanged among the band & Barrett caught my eye & we both grinned. I stopped at the end of the dance & caught my breath. I drank a coke & watched her. She knew all the tricks, but not how to be subtle. It was so obvious that she wanted to get laid & she wanted someone in the band.
She asked me who I was & I said, “I’m with the band.” I saw the click in her brain & she smiled & said, “Will you sit with me? It’s so lonely up there all alone.” & I laughed under my breath.
Near the end of the set, we went to the ladies’ room, where I let her use my eyeliner, but she didn’t know how & got it way too thick on the upper lid. Her skin was too fair for black, anyway. A dark brown would have been fine for her. Anyway, she drilled me about the band, especially Gregski. “Oh, but he’s practically jailbait,” I said wickedly.
“How old is he?”
“Only eighteen.”
“Oh that’s a baby!”
“Why, how old are you?
“Er – twenty-five,” she faltered, which told me that she was probably at least a few years older than that.
She stuck to me like glue. She told me her name but I can’t remember it. After the set was over, I went to the stage to start helping take things down & she was right by my side. She wanted to know how I was going to get home. “Well, I’m with the band,” I told her, like I was explaining something to a child, “I go with them.”
“Oh…” she looked disappointed. “I hitched here & I would rather not hitch home.”
“Well, why don’t you ask Gregski for a ride? He has a car.”
Later, I saw her leave with Gregski & his friends. Barrett, bard & I laughed as we drove away. “I bet she sucks off every single one of them,” Bard commented.
“She was really looking to get laid,” Barrett said. “Man! She used every trick in the book.”
We stopped in an all-night deli to buy stuff to make pizza. We bought capicola instead of pepperoni or sausage – this was Bard’s idea. While he was paying for it all, Barrett & I looked over the magazines. I thumbed through the new Vogue, sighing over the new fashions. Then I complained: “But of course they’re designed for tall, thin women, not short dumpy babes like me. It’s not fair. These clothes are lovely & I can’t wear them.”
“Who needs fashion?” asked Barrett. “& who says you’re short & dumpy?”
At Bard’s, I whipped up the pizza & shoved it into the oven. Just then, Horowitz & his girlfriend Olive showed up. They have this endearing quality of showing up when there’s food to be had. My temper soured. I hadn’t eaten all day & now there wouldn’t be enough to go around. It was even worse when Frankie & Fred showed up. Of course they’d want some – Fred always helps himself. He’s the kind of guy who will take your last beer without even asking first. He once told me that he never buys pot – but he’ll smoke other people’s – which is why Barrett & I started keeping our weed for ourselves & those we choose to smoke with. Not leeches, like Fred.
We sat around, talking & Fred announced he was leaving August 10. “Buffalo is really hurting my head & my peace of mind,” he said. “I feel like the sooner I get out of Buffalo, the better my life will be. I’ll make sure you have a new manager. I’ll set everything up…” He went on to talk about lighting crews, roadies & future success. “I want to see this band go to the top.” Which is exactly the same thing Frankie said when he announced his departure. I love these people who care so much about the Bliss’s success that they do everything in their power to sabotage that success.  Or simply do nothing.  Walk away & work for some other band.
Then Fred started talking about money & closing the account, since Frankie was leaving & he was leaving. He was talking about what everyone was going to get, giving himself an equal amount! What manager gets an equal cut with the band?
I wanted to know what my cut was. I reminded him that when he hired me, he said that I would be paid & I would have a “permanent” position with the band. He acted like he had no memory of this at all. He said, “I’ve never heard of a paid groupie.”
Both Bard & Barrett defended me. They both said I was part of the band & worked as hard as anyone else. “We couldn’t do it without her,” Barrett said. “& she’s going to have a larger role – she writes songs – good songs – & she can sing. We think she would be a valuable addition to the band musically as well as everything else she does around here.”
“Well if you add her to the band, you’re truly whacked & I’m glad I’m leaving.” Fred then accused me of stealing the door money. He said it was always short. He said, “I don’t like you, I never have & I see no reason to. You’re irresponsible at the door, you turn people off with the way you treat them – I’ve seen people walk out after talking to you – ”
“Because I told them they had to pay to get in & they didn’t want to, so they walked out,” I explained tiredly.
“You’re lousy for the band. I don’t care what anyone says. Women are bad for bands.”
I glanced at Barrett. He shook his head, as if to say it wasn’t true.
He went on & on. I was too tired to argue with him. I didn’t know what to say anyway. What are you supposed to say when you are being attacked like this? Is there anything to say? Fred summed it up with a wild hand gesture toward Bard & Barrett – “But they love you! I’m leaving so I don’t matter. We’ll probably never see each other again.” The meeting broke up soon after that.

***

I am so depressed. I’ve been down a lot lately anyway & last night only shoved me down further. I feel so worthless. I wrote Bard & Barrett a letter, first to put down all the things I wish I’d said to Fred but didn’t – “You didn’t defend yourself too well,” said Barrett, driving me home at 5:30 this morning. “I know,” I replied, “he hit me where it hurts the most – my sense of worth, my sense of belonging & I was just too tired to fight back.” – then I got into my sense of self, my worth, the groupie question – “I don’t know why it bothers me but it does” – & then my loneliness, my insecurity & my want/need of a boyfriend/lover/companion – “I want to be someone’s old lady” – & Jon, of course. I poured out so much but I felt better afterward. I left it on Bard’s desk so I suppose he’ll read it & pass it on to Barrett – oh what if they think it’s dumb? Oh, they won’t I must be really insecure if I don’t even trust them – I just feel like maybe it was unnecessary – oh maybe they’ll feel like “What is she telling us all this for? What are we supposed to do about it?” Oh, I am so insecure, so scared. I even cried today – & I rarely cry – I just feel so awful.

***

At least I can laugh again. I have been everyday looking for work & in this humid heat I have to walk everywhere – or hitch. & I hitch a lot. I rather like it except I could scream every time a man stops for me. Why don’t women stop for women? I would stop for a woman if I had a car. If you care about stopping rape, women have to watch out for each other. I wonder why they don’t.
Since job hunting is so depressing & my spirits are pretty low anyway, I usually stop in at Bard’s for a dose of Chaotic Bliss. They’ve been practicing for hours every day to fit in Marc, Horowitz & Joey. I met Joey at Marc’s house – talked to him a while – & gave my ok to Bard. Marc told Joey: “If Cori didn’t like you, you just may not be here.” Which may or may not be true – after all, we need a drummer no matter what. Like I said to Bard, “Even if Joey is a complete asshole, we’d almost have to have him, cuz he is one excellent drummer.” Gregski is, of course, out.
I sat with them on Tuesday & Marc remarked that I looked better than I did on Monday – “a little less like a hunted animal.” Barrett put his arm around me & said, “I read your letter,” very quietly, adding, “Hang in there, baby. You’re doing alright.” Bard simply told me to get some sleep but he’s cool – & he gave me a hug, which is very unlike him. Bard’s not demonstrative. In fact, I’m the one who’s always hugging people & showing how I feel.
Today, though, I can laugh. It’s usually like that – I snap with the depression, then I can laugh. I’m still depressed but I can make fun of it & myself. I walked into Bard’s living room today, where they were all assembled & announced, “I’m fucking sick & tired of looking for work & I’m going on strike!” They all laughed & Marc handed me a beer. But the atmosphere was tense. I sat & listened.
Basically, it was about the difficulty of fitting Horowitz in. All the arrangement must be changed or altered – and nobody – except for Horowitz & Bard – feels like putting in all the extra hours. Barrett said he simply doesn’t have the time, with his job at the University & his dissertation & his marriage. On top of that, both Marc & Joey feel that this is not the band they thought they’d joined & wanted to join – this band with keyboards – implying of course that if Horowitz stays, they’re not going to. The discussion went back & forth & didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, so I went home. Later that night, I returned & Bard told me that Horowitz was out. He was very upset. “It was awful, it was awful,” he kept repeating. “But what could we do? We can’t afford to lose Marc & Joey.”
“Of course,” I soothed. “You’re a rock’n’roll band. Horowitz was taking you in another direction. There was nothing for you to do but kick him out. If he had been willing to compromise – ”
“Or if we had,” Bard put in bitterly.
“But then you would have lost your essential character. Marc & Joey are good rockers & they fit in. Horowitz didn’t.  You did the right thing.”
“Oh, I know we did the right thing!” Bard shook me off him. He didn’t want to be comforted. He never does. He never wants to get close to anyone – & I think that’s dangerous – we had those few times together – people need to be close to other people. I want him to be close to me! I don’t understand why he keeps me at arm’s length.
As I was leaving, he said, “I hope this isn’t going to be an issue with you.” I know he meant Barrett’s announcement the other night that I wrote good songs & I could sing & that “they” were going to work me into the band. I knew when Barrett said it, he hadn’t said anything to Bard about it – he was backing me up in front of Fred – he had a really good buzz on too. It didn’t occur to me at the time that Bard might have a problem with me singing with the band but now I am beginning to wonder. Maybe he thinks women are bad for bands, too.

***

Tonight’s gig was great. The new Bliss is the best Bliss! Wow, they burn like red hot iron! How could I think that Frankie & Gregski were irreplaceable? Now I see what an unimaginative drummer Gregski was.
Fred lurked around but basically left me alone. He bitched about the money, but I told him to fuck off. “The money is fine. Count it. Do a head count. Do some math. I don’t need your shit.” & I walked away. He leaves August 10.
With this new band, there’s almost no tension. None! They are all the same age – 28 or 29 – Marc’s the baby at age 26. They are all professional. There’s no ego hang-ups. We hung out & joked around – it was total comradeship & ease about their gig. They’re such a straight band – only Barrett & I smoke pot & they’re all light to moderate drinkers. I could easily drink all of them under the table. How did I get in with these mellowed-out hippie hangovers? They’re great rockers & that’s what I dig.
They’re not even punk. I don’t know what they are. They’re fucking great – that’s what they are.