Excerpts from a Diary 9

[October, 1979]

I’m more depressed than ever.  We’re gigging – I’m even singing a song or two & back-up on Barrett’s tunes – Bard is adamant that it isn’t any more than that.  Since we hired Tanner & he handles the door & the money now, there isn’t much for me to do unless I’m performing.  So now I’m dancing almost the entire night.  & when I’m not dancing, I’m drinking.  & I am drinking way too much.  I mean – there’s really nothing else to do.

Even Tanner argues with Bard that I should be singing more.  “She’s got a great voice – you should use her!”  Bard replied that I wasn’t part of the “original” vision of Chaotic Bliss.  I wasn’t part of this conversation – in fact, I was outside the door when I heard it so I was in essence eavesdropping – so I couldn’t debate the issue – but I wanted to say, “What original vision?  The vision that had Frankie & Gregski in it?  Didn’t that vision get blown to pieces?  & just what part of that original vision had Marc & Joey in it?  Why don’t you object to them being in the band?”  But I kept my cool & counted – almost to 80 – before I let myself in.

Still – I have to wonder – what’s Bard’s big deal about me.  Everyone in the band thinks I should be up onstage with them all the time.  Not for one or two songs a gig – usually late in the night.  I know the adage “girls fuck up bands” but it’s not like there’s not punk bands with girls fronting them – look at Patti Smith & Debby Harry.  & they’re just the most obvious two.  There’s dozens of them.  & it’s not like it’s a new thing anyway – I mean, Janis Joplin fronted Big Brother & Grace Slick fronted Jefferson Airplane.  There’s absolutely no reason for Bard to resist adding me to the band.  Especially since everyone else thinks I’m a positive addition.

***

I keep on thinking that maybe I’ll meet someone who’s right & I’ll be at peace.  But then I think of Jon & that was so right & it still fucked up.  I just don’t know what to do.  I did everything he wanted me to do.  I mean – every little thing he wanted – he got.  I changed the way I dressed – I acted – I spoke – everything.  & it still wasn’t enough.

Tonight’s the kind of night when I’ll read Janis – by David Dalton – & get into her raps on the Kosmic blues & love is a carrot – & it’s so true but I keep trying cuz it’s all I know how to do.  If I had any money, I’d go out & have a few but I don’t even have enough money to buy a quart of beer at the corner store.  I like going to bars because if I have at least enough money to buy myself one beer, usually some guy will buy me the next one & the one after that but I don’t even have a quarter for a cheapo draft beer.  Life can’t get any worse when you don’t even have a quarter for a cheap-ass draft beer.

I want to stop hurting!  I want to get rid of this pain!  I want to get rid of loneliness!

***

I dropped out of school.   I just couldn’t get into my classes this semester & I didn’t want a repeat of last spring.  Better to resign before I’m liable for classes I don’t care about & I have to finish somehow or another.  I’m still working part-time in the English department but honestly, I’m not sure how long that’s going to last either.  I just want to sing in the band & gig every night.  I don’t know why we aren’t getting more gigs.  Tanner is as into the band as the rest of us but it’s like pulling teeth to get a decent gig.  But oh well.  At least we’re still playing at least once a week.  & I still have a little money coming in from my job.  I am so happy!  I could just sigh with happiness when I come home from work & see my nice flat & my kitties & Bard & Mac.  I bought a bunch of plants & they look really nice in the front windows.  I love decorating.  I think I could be a really happy housewife to some good man.  Lately I’ve been sorta depressed but even when I’m depressed – the things in my life that makes me happy make me so happy!  Like books & plants & cats.

I’m at work now – the last half hour before I go home to my boys & my cats! I can hardly wait to get there!

***

I’m at home now & so is Chaotic Bliss.  Mac is sitting here with us.  Barrett, Mac & I are smoking reefer.  Soon they’ll play.  When I got home, Tanner & Zu were here, talking about taking out a loan & getting a better sound system – apparently that’s one of the problems with working certain clubs – the sound system that the Bliss has now isn’t good enough for most of the places that they want to play.  Zu says that if we can get this loan & get the sound system we need & deserve for the kind of music we’re doing – he’ll be our “exclusive” sound man & work only with us.  That’s an issue because sometimes we need him & he’s working some other gig.  I am so down with this.  I don’t want anything but the Bliss.  If rock’n’roll is an investment as much as any other art form, then I want to invest!  I can’t be a mail clerk in an University English department all my life.  Or a housewife – or anything.  Music is everything – I just love it – I am so exhilarated & awed & stoned by it – it’s my whole life – it’s all I want – it’s all I have ever wanted.  Every year, I’m a little more into it – I’m a little closer to my goal – whatever it is – I mean – I don’t know yet what I am specifically meant to do but I feel like I am getting closer – all I know that it is music.

At least I know something – Marc told me that when the Bliss hits it – when they start really going somewhere – I go with them.  Like, I’m not going to be set aside when they go number one with a bullet.  & last Saturday Joey told me, “Of course you go.  You’re part of the Bliss.”  At the bar, Barrett told the bartender that I get the half-price on drinks they offer to the band cuz “she’s part of the Bliss.”  It really raises my self-esteem cuz sometimes I get so insecure.  I’ve been kinda depressed lately – so what’s new – & hearing things like that really helps me feel better.  Cuz I really respect & admire these guys.  I listen to what they have to say.  The fact that they want me around – & that they watch out for my interests – means so much to me.

Of course – the part of me that has a full-time shit-detector up & running & working overtime – that part of me thinks – well why shouldn’t they watch out for me?  & why shouldn’t I get the same half-price drinks as the rest of the band?  Aren’t I in the band too?  Don’t I sing in the band too?  But I really try not to think too hard about those things.  I know it’ll just make me more depressed.

Even though I am still close to Barrett – & we are very close – I know that Bard somehow threw a wrench in there somehow – because Barrett isn’t around as much as he used to be – of course he’s got classes to teach & his dissertation to write – but he always did & he was always coming around to see how I was doing.  Now it’s so much more furtive – like we know we have to hide.  Bard almost always – not to mention insultingly – brings up Rina when I mention Barrett’s name or am talking to him – & the other day he told me that he’d “kill” me if I had an affair with Barrett.  Me!  He’d kill me!  Like I’m the only person involved!  What about Barrett?  But I guess he can’t kill Barrett – he plays bass!! Still, it’s a double standard & it sucks!

Last night I was talking to Marc about drinking & drugging.  In particular, my excessive use of alcohol & whatever drug is available.  He told me, “You’re sometimes so dumb.  I have to tell people, really she’s smart!  But while you’re so smart, you do the dumbest things!  You have the ability to make the most accurate observations – you’re so totally aware.  & then you go & get completely wasted – you just blot out all that awareness.  I don’t get it.”

Since I don’t have Barrett to talk to anymore, I talk to Marc & tell him my problems.  Marc is like talking to a comforting lion.  He’s like the guy who’s going to make everything alright but you have no idea how he’s gonna do it.  It’s just his presence – he’s so large & calm.  Like a bearded Buddha.  He worries about my recklessness.  I think it’s sweet that he worries.  He reminds me that he knew me before any of the “other guys” – “I knew you when you were almost dead”, he said the other day, “& the way you’re going, you might end up back in that same hospital ward.”

“I’m not going there,” I promised him.

“I’m afraid you’ll end up somewhere worse,” he worried.  I laughed.  But even as I was laughing, I knew that it really wasn’t something to be laughing about.  I spend way too much time being hungover.  & way too much time unable to remember what happened the night before.

***

Another boring Saturday.  I woke up around 10:30 – puttered around a little – Mac & I are going to the store later to buy things to make spaghetti – like real meat!  It’ll be so good.

I never told you about Thursday night’s gig.  It was really good but not many people came.  I’m beginning to think that Chaotic Bliss is not a McVan’s band.  Other bands play McVan’s & draw lots of people.  Bard is working on splitting the gig with Billy Pirhana & the Enemies.  But I’m afraid the Enemies won’t want to cuz the Jumpers are opening for the B-52’s at UB.  I don’t see anyone wanting to split that gig that particular night & I don’t see anyone coming out to see the Bliss when they could be seeing the Jumpers opening for the B-52’s.  I love the Bliss more than any band in the world but that’s just the truth of the matter.  & I would love to see the Jumpers opening for the B-52’s, too – what the hell – I’m not gonna lie!  This is the Jumper’s first gig in Buffalo since they left Buffalo months ago.  I’ve seen Terry Sullivan around but for the most part they’ve been on the road – at least they haven’t been gigging in Buffalo.  Anyway – Chaotic Bliss’s gig last Thursday – they were great – they really rocked – but there just wasn’t anyone out to hear them play.  I had lots of fun anyway – smoking pot with the waitresses – Callie & Deanna – then Deanna’s boyfriend came in with wings & we all munched.  By then it was obvious that no one was coming in & if they did, it was too late in the night to charge them cover, so I started dancing & had a really good time.  & then because it was obvious that no one was coming in, Bard “let” me sing a bunch of songs & the few people that were there – & Callie & Deanna – gave me a standing ovation – jumping up & down & cheering – which I could tell Bard didn’t like.  But it’s about time he woke up to the fact that I can sing & I’m an asset to the band.

Joey gave me a ride home since I had to get up in a few hours.  I crashed, got up, dressed & went to work.  Only 3 hours sleep – but sometimes it seems like I do better when I don’t have very much sleep.  I worked several hours – then went out to Amherst to my ob/gyn’s.  He told me that I have corrosion of the cervix & a left tubular infection.  So now I’m on medication – I can’t drink for a whole 12 days!! & he wants me to lose 15 pounds.  I weigh 130 – which doesn’t seem like too much to me.

I was glad to get home – it was raining & getting cold.  Today is overcast & cold.

***

The spaghetti was great!  I have never made a better sauce.  We listened to the White Album first, then to all of Elvis Costello’s.

Mac & I are smoking a joint.  I’m thinking about how much I still miss Jon.

***

After work today, I went to UB & over to the Spectrum Office.  I was arguing with myself the entire way.  I walked in & I felt like a fool immediately.  Jon was there & he looked at me & he knew why I was there.  He looked really busy.  John Frederic was there & Dave M. & I said, “I’ll come back at a better time,” and walked out.  I felt like crying as I walked home.

I’ve got this huge problem.  Like – I’m horny but I just can’t stand sex.  Well, not that but – like, David, my lover – I just can’t stand for him to touch me anymore.  I don’t really want anyone.  Well I do but I don’t want sex – I want something more.

I’m numb.  I don’t know what to do – except nothing!  I really want to be with Jon but I’m so proud – I won’t beg – he wouldn’t respect me if I did – & I wouldn’t respect him if he fell for begging.  So there’s nothing to be done.

***

Guess what?  Thursday night’s gig is off so I can go see the B-52’s!  Great!  I’m dying to go!  I don’t have a ticket but I’ll figure out some way to get in.

Work is terrible.  Work is really piling up & I could scream.  I’m so bored there.  It doesn’t help that everyone is so nice.  I wish they were jerks so I could feel justified in quitting.  I can hardly wait until the weekend.

***

I almost didn’t get to go to the B-52’s cuz it was sold out.  Bard was supposed to go with Barrett – but only because Barrett was supposed to be taking Rina but Rina’s mother in Brooklyn fell & broke her hip so Rina went to Brooklyn to take care of her mother.  On the day of the concert, Bard got sick with the flu – so sick that if we had been playing a gig, he never would have been able to perform.  I was really worried about him.  He had a temperature of 101.  But I got Bard’s ticket & I got to go to the show with Barrett.  I felt like Cinderella being told she could go to the ball!

I wore my blue & white mini dress – navy blue panty-hose – red shoes – red jacket.  Red nails & lips.  Dark eyes, as dark as I could make them.  Barrett came dressed in his black beret he bought in Vienna & his wool cape.  He’s so cool!  There is no one like Barrett!  Bard morosely said good night to us & went back to his sick bed.

It was sold out!  Everyone who was anyone was there.  Jon was there, looking more handsome than ever.  With Sara, of course.  With Spectrum people & Lackawanna people.  & Barrett & me.  Jon & I talked – I could have died to feel his breath against my neck as he spoke into my ear – & he talked to Barrett about the Bliss, of course – pumping him for a story.

Sara & I were talking – she was saying how much she hated the Spectrum gossips & I agreed – like I cared – then we were talking about clothes & other superficial things & I said that I wanted something – some article of clothing or something – some cool new jacket I saw in a thrift shop on Elmwood – & she said, “Well, you can’t always get what you want,” – I guess paraphrasing the Stones or something – & I replied with, “Yeah, I know, cuz I want Jon.”

She said, “Oh Cori,” real sympathetic but what the fuck – I didn’t believe her for a minute – I could see through her like an open window – I mean, what the fuck – she’s got him – & I don’t!  & it was so fucking obvious – Jon & I were looking at each other every few seconds – there was a real current going between us.  Even Barrett noticed it – he told me later, “Well, he was certainly aware of you.”

So then Sara asked about Barrett & we put our heads together & talked in low tones since he was right there & I bragged bragged bragged about Barrett.  Then I looked up & Barrett was looking at me & I just laughed & said, “Yeah, I’m talkin’ ’bout you!”  Then Sara moved away & I started talking to Barrett.  He looked at me & I felt somewhat shy.  It’s hard to say what happened next because I wasn’t quite sure what was going on at the time.  It was hard to hear, for one & I was somewhat stoned.  I had been smoking some killer hash oil & I had a flask of Grand-Dad.  But I think he said something like, “I can’t be around always, I have to be concerned with other things,” & I said, “I don’t want someone around all the time, I just want friends to be around some of the time & to be loyal.  I can’t handle a full-time relationship or a heavy affair.” & we talked about the concept of having many lovers & many friends.  polyamorous.  It is a concept that greatly appeals to me.

The B-52’s were great.  I mean totally fabulous!  The most original band I have ever seen or heard anywhere in my entire life!  Incredible lyrics – so full of humor!  & they rocked!  Everyone was dancing!  Barrett & I danced together – oh, it was so great!  & the Jumpers were fabulous too!  They had a bunch of new tunes & Terry strutted back & forth across the stage like he was a Buffalo-born punk rock version of Mick Jagger & they really got the crowd ready for the B-52’s.  The Jumpers can get a crowd ready for anyone.

It was over all too soon.  Barrett & I stood & watched the crowd depart – waiting for Hammond, this British guy Barrett knows from the English department, in case he needed a ride home – but he never showed so we left.  Barrett asked me if I wanted a beer & of course I said yes.  I was really happy because I had been hoping that he would ask me out after the show & I had really doubted the possibility of it happening & here it was happening!

We went to the Sign of the Steer.  Not my favorite place but oh well.  I ordered a  Grand-Dad & Coke & Barrett got a draft Blue.  We talked about Jon.  Barrett told me his observation about how “aware” Jon was of me.  “If he’s supposed to be in love with Sara, he’s not very exclusive,” he said dryly.  It made me wonder about what was really going on a year ago – when Jon & I were supposed to be so “in love”.  Was it really what I thought it was?  Maybe that’s why it fell apart so quickly?  Because Jon was never as “exclusive” as I was?

We also talked about Bard.  I asked him why he thought Bard was so against me being in the band.  “I think it goes back to his original vision of Chaotic Bliss & there was never a girl in the band,” Barrett said.  “It has really nothing to do with your talent & you are obviously a very talented performer in many ways – not just as a singer but your stage presence – the way you move – the way you dance – every eye is on you – ”

“He’s jealous,” I pointed out.

Barrett sipped his beer.  “Maybe,” he conceded.  “You could be right.  Bard could be very afraid of the Janis Joplin effect – the girl singer in the band who becomes the entire band.”

“I’m no Janis Joplin,” I laughed.  I gestured to the barmaid for another drink.

“No,” he agreed, “you’re much prettier than she ever was.”

We sat in silence for a while, sipping our drinks & listening to the music.  The bar was noisy & filled with college kids.

Barrett said, “We used to discuss your relationship & I told Bard that he was a fool,” adding, “you were there, ready & willing to love & be loved & he just wouldn’t allow himself to be loved.  You don’t have to feel bad about Bard.  You did everything you could.”

“But I fall in love so easily,” I answered.  “It makes the want that much more immediate.”

“Yeah,” Barrett said, “I fall in love easily too.”  & we just looked at each other.  It was just like that – that immediate – that real.  We talked some more & finished our drinks.  Barrett has this way of calling me “Baby”.  I know it doesn’t mean anything – he told me that he called all the girls on tour “Baby” because “that way you never have to remember any names & you don’t have any remembered names coming out at the wrong time.”  But I love hearing him call me “Baby”.  I’m sure he calls other women “Baby” – I don’t know – I don’t care – I just love it when he says it to me.  He says, “Hang in there, baby.”  I know he means it.

He drove me home & I said cya & opened the door & kissed his cheek.  He said, “Come here, baby,” so I closed the door & went into his arms – & he held me & kissed me – again & again – & he said, “I don’t want to ruin our friendship.  & I don’t want to ruin my marriage.  But I want both of you.  & Rina’s in Brooklyn – it would be so easy just to take you home but you gotta understand – & Bard – I can’t – ”

I said, “I’m cool.”

“If you need a friend, I’m around.”  He took my face into his hands, touching my cheeks my lips with his lips.  & then I left – I had to – it was too much – I ran into the house – up the stairs – to the living room where I smoked a joint – looking out the front windows at the rain – I was so glad that Mac was out & that Bard was sleeping –

& now I am more emotionally torn & battered & more in love than I have been – since I first went out with Bard.  Only this is different because Barrett wants me & lets me know that he wants me – I could never tell with Bard – Bard has always been an enigma.

I have not been able to concentrate all day.  I want him.  I want him.  I’ve been in love with him since he wrote “Moonshine Meditation” – my song.  It is my song!  When he screams, “Oh baby give yourself to me!” I could die.  I really could.

But he’s married!  To Rina – who doesn’t like the Bliss anyway – because it takes up so much of Barrett’s time – she wants him to be a straight academic – no rock’n’roll for Barrett – & I do understand why he’s faithful to her – but he did talk about being polyamorous & having many lovers & friends – which is not exactly the same as being faithful to your wife.  So yes, I guess I’m just a little confused.

***

I woke up & felt like I had been crying.  My eyes seem a little puffy.  I feel really numb.  Something’s the matter with me.  I’m sitting here – tears streaming down my cheeks.  I have a Billy Holiday album on.  I think I could be a blues singer.  I think I could really sing.  Really really sing.

I’m a mess.  A mess.  When I cry, I know something’s wrong.  I don’t usually cry.  I should listen to something to make me dance.   I wish Chaotic Bliss had a gig tonight.  I forget everything when I’m dancing to their tunes – especially “Moonshine Meditation”.  I only dance a few tunes – usually at the very end of the night – when getting cover at the door isn’t important anymore.  I’m known for my dancing.  The other night, a guy told me that he comes to see me dance as much as to hear the band play.  That made me feel really great.  If I’m not allowed to sing, at least I can dance – at least I have that.

I was thinking the other day that when I was with Jon, I lost my identity.  I wasn’t Cori anymore – I was Jon’s girl.  When we were out with others, I was fairly quiet – I never flirted, I never danced – Jon was really the only friend I had in those days – he was my whole life.  I mean – there was Mark Miles – of course – & there was Eddie & Bro & Crony – but Jon was my whole life.  When I lost Jon, I lost everything – or so I thought – but it was really a way to regain myself.  I started making other friends & doing other things.  Reclaiming parts of myself that I had suppressed & allowing myself to flourish again.  When Jon & I met, I was a very free, independent & probably the most together I’ve ever been – Jon took that from me & it’s been really hard getting it back – but I am getting it back.

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