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a novel in progress

Month: May, 2016

Excerpts from a Diary 13

[Late Winter – Early Spring, 1980]

Oh, I feel so much better now.  I just couldn’t take it anymore, I had to get stoned, really stoned.  I only used a little bit of pot – it’s funny how you can make a little bit of pot last & last, while when you have a large amount, it goes by so quickly – but I held it in so long, & believed so hard that I got stoned anyway.

I thought I was gonna go crazy.  I think I did go crazy.  Way crazier than I did last year – but it was a totally different craziness.  You wanna go completely nuts – get sober.  I am not joking.  Sobriety fucks you up in a way that nothing else does.  Well – it didn’t help that as soon as I was out of Buffalo & arrived in Cleveland that my mother packed me off to a hospital somewhere in Pennsylvania – in one of the National forests they have down there – all I remember is that the trip took forever – winding around on Route 6 for hours & hours.  & then stuck there for 28 days – group meetings, one-on-one counselling – & my counsellor was no mellow Marc – it was her was or no way – & she was all AA – I learned within 48 hours to keep my mouth shut & only share exactly what I had to & just get through it.  Which I did.  & I really did need the rest & time away from the booze.  I admit that.  But instead of feeling “sane” like they promised, I just felt crazier & crazier.  & so depressed.  Incredibly depressed.

I couldn’t wait to get home & roll a joint.  & then I had to face the reality of being in my mother’s house – & being in an urban area like Shaker Heights – a rich urban area – so I couldn’t just go outside & smoke – even if the winter weather wasn’t enough of a deterrent – even if I went over to Shaker Lakes park – which wasn’t exactly close to the house.  So it’s been just a few hits here & there – although on the bright side, it’s really stretched this bag much longer than usual – it’s hard to believe that I bought this bag two months ago.  It seems like a lifetime that I was at Falco’s waiting for Teddy.

With this depression lately – & these dreams of Jon & Barrett – & my delayed period – & the pain in my side & cramps – my loneliness & god, everything else, I’m getting more & more tense, & that scares me.  I miss Buffalo much more than I thought I was going to.  Well – it’s not so much that I miss it – at least not in the usual sense of homesickness – there’s no overwhelming desire to go back – but I was decidedly calmer.  When I was economically secure – well, at least the wolf from the door from the door for another month, I was relatively stable.  I mean – I had my ups & downs – but generally I was OK – or else I could keep myself stoned enough not to feel it so badly.  But now – being low on pot, no rock’n’roll, no Chaotic Bliss to dance to – oh, I haven’t danced, really danced, in so long!  It’s been hard.  It’s gonna be a while before I can get any pot – I don’t have any connections here – so I had better get used to it.  I hope I don’t have to wait a month.  Or longer.  That would be terrible.  God, who knows what craziness I might go through.

***

This lack of marijuana problem is really getting bad.  I can barely get to sleep at night although I’m so tired I’m falling over.  And that always happens when I’m not getting high.  In fact, it happened all those years before I started getting high!  I just don’t know what to do.

When I finally fall asleep, I dream vivid, true-to-life dreams, so that sleep is ultimately just cancelled out.  It’s so terrible to sleep all night but to have such brilliant & dramatic dreams that you don’t feel like you’ve ever slept at all.  I wake feeling like death.  Every morning.

I dream – I’m in a room with people I know from UB.  I’m talking to a guy I knew minimally – we are getting to know each other – I’m enjoying myself.  Then Mark Miles walks in & tells me to walk somewhere by myself.  I’m puzzled, but he taunts me: “Are you afraid?”  So I go.  As I walked out the door, I am seized by a sudden joy –  I run to my destination & it is Jon.  He reaches for my hand & leads me to him & we kiss.  A kiss that lasts forever – We walk & talk, holding hands & I feel complete, secure, cherished & desired.

Later, my dream changes.  It is chaotic.  Something terrible has happened & Jon is gone.  I wake & my pillow is wet underneath me & it is time to get up.  I am more exhausted than ever.

I know – I know –  that Jon was the one & maybe someday there will be someone else but it won’t be the ONE.  He was IT, & I can never get back to that.  I might as well forget –

But I can’t – I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

Another night, another dream.  Or maybe it’s the same night.  They all blend into one another.  I am sitting in the living room on LaSalle Avenue & the band is all there.  It is summer & the windows are open & there is a nice breeze – the curtains are moving just so – those Irish lace curtains Bard had hanging there – I don’t know why I can remember that – but I do.  It is the rehearsal before a gig & we are getting high & having drinks.  Barrett has the joint & smoke is swirling around him & he is reciting “Bold as Love” – “My yellow in this case in not so mellow, in fact I’m trying to say it’s frightened like me & all these emotions keep holding me from giving my life to a rainbow like you” – as he hands the joint to me – smiling into my eyes & then giving me a shotgun – blowing sweet ganja smoke into my mouth – but then it’s a different dream altogether –

If only I had a joint!  If only I could smoke these dreams away!

***

I hate sitting at the kitchen table, drinking tea, not quite tired but soon I will be – it’s after dinner & I want to smoke a joint – part of one or a bowl and catch a little buzz & take a nice bath & go to bed & read myself to sleep.  It’s almost as bad as taking a bath & getting all warm & soft & going to bed alone.

I want, I want, I want a lover.  I want a kindred spirit.  I want my own place & the freedom to be Cori.  & the luxury of sharing myself with someone who appreciates me.

***

I must strive to control my emotions.  I simply can’t go around uptight & angry because I want a lover!  I guess I mean control the emotions that are negative.  I guess I mean controlling them to a degree that I can be upset – no, you can’t be upset & not feel upset.  I guess I shouldn’t even try to talk myself out of it, they’re there, they’re not meaningless.  It’s just I hate feeling this way.  I wish I could take it, be content – at least, not unhappy – when I can’t take it.  But I don’t know how.  I just want so much.  I feel like my body is open wide, screaming.  I wanna be touched.  I could scream.  I don’t want to go to bed alone.

I’m so tired.  Now that I’m working I don’t have time for anything.  Once in a while I get together with M.  He’s working here in Cleveland now.  I take the bus downtown & meet him at the studio & we go out for a bite to eat or something.  I never drink but sometimes I do a small line of coke.  M always has the  best cocaine.  I love the way it feels but then I never sleep & the next day at work I am dead on my feet.

M gave me a book, The Sensuous Woman, for crissakes, which I’ve been reading, & it’s really boring – nothing new as far as I can see.  I’ve been reading erotic literature since I was seventeen & this is really lame compared to Anaïs Nin & Francine DuPlessis-Grey & some of the other women I’ve read.  But even more so, how the fuck am I supposed to be a sensuous woman if I’m never having sex?   Well – not exactly never – maybe twenty minutes a week if I’m lucky.  & it’s not like I’m having sex – I’m giving him blowjobs which is not the same thing at all.  He likes me to “talk dirty” to him – he likes me to call him up when he’s on the air & talk all kind of kinky stuff to him.  Which gets real boring real fast, let me tell ya.  I was better off before.  Now I’m wanting it all the time again, cuz god knows, if you have it once you gotta have it all the time – like dope.  You gotta have your fix.  I’m so keyed up – I’m like a junkie.  I just want it & want it.  I am becoming more & more aware of certain men – men at work & men on the street & men everywhere.  I am vibrating right now.  It reminds me of when I was sixteen & Paul & I had just broken up – for the third or fourth time – & I was standing against the lockers in the band hallway & John R. stood next to me & I was so aware of him – his muscular body – everything about him.  & god, the trouble I’ve been in – the hurt – just about every single major hurt in my life has been caused either directly or indirectly by sex.  Yeah – really.  The way everyone hated me when I was fourteen & going to Manchester Junior-Senior High School & that prick Cortney Adams said that he had sex with me – which was a lie – & then the entire football team was saying that they had me.  I denied it – of course I did – I couldn’t believe that anyone would even listen to anything so ridiculous.  But everyone did – even my teachers treated me differently – most of my friends dropped me – just a few loyal girlfriends stuck by me.  It was a terrible time.  I almost killed myself.  I was only fifteen years old.

& It was just sex – cuz I was sexual & they weren’t.  Not that I was having sex – because I wasn’t – although I had – but only with my boyfriend – but I suppose that was enough.  & who knows how much talking he did.  But – more than anything – it was my aura.  I have always had a very sexual aura – I never really thought about it until Shera told me about it – although on some level, I think I always knew.  But that was why she didn’t rent that room to me.  She didn’t want a woman with my “sexual aura”  in her house.  I guess she felt threatened – although she never said that.  But what other explanation is there? So once again – punished for something that I can’t really control or help.

& it was the same in Gates Mills – very relationship I had was characterized by sex.  This is probably I somewhat hate sex.  I love it & I hate it.  Cuz it has caused me so many problems.  Even with Jon – the sex was so fabulous – but there was the pregnancy & I depended on him sexually & emotionally.  I probably would have depended on him less emotionally if I hadn’t been so dependent on him sexually.  But it’s all bound up together – sex & love.  I don’t know how to do one without the other.  I really don’t.  I mean – I know how to do sex without love but I don’t know how to do love without sex.

I think that part – or all – of my problem is that I’m frustrated & stifled in this life.  It’s hard to believe that when I lived in Buffalo, I had the freedom & the facilities to have sex every night but there was no one – & now, there’s two dudes right off the bat & I’m “held prisoner” as M puts it, by the house rules & moralities of my mother.  The irony is incredible.  It really sucks.

***

My mother has changed in so many ways but in many other ways, she’s the same person she’s always been.  The biggest change – of course – is that she’s no longer drinking.  I can’t remember her without a glass of wine in her hand.  Every afternoon – as long as I can remember – as she made dinner, she had a glass of red wine.  Probably more than one but as a child, you aren’t counting.  & then she would have martinis ready for Dad when he got home from work – UB when we lived in Buffalo & Wellesley College before he died.  Always a pitcher of martinis in the fridge ready for him when he arrived.  It was always a party when he was there.  Of course, lots of times he never came home until very late & she drank the martinis herself.  He was always loaded in those days, too.  & after he died – when she married Dick – that was completely “Days of Wine & Roses”.  Only Dick was no loveable Jack Lemmon.  He was a complete Dick.  I never met a man so perfectly named.

So now she’s gotten rid of all the reminders of drinking that she had & she is working on a crewel piece of The Serenity Prayer – she was always good at needlework, even as a drunk – & she goes to a meeting almost every day.  I stopped going to meetings with her because it’s just too annoying – she’s becoming the Reigning Queen of Northeast Cleveland AA & combined with her status as Her Most Royal Catholic Majesty, it’s just too much.  I get really tired of hearing “You must be so proud of your mother,” like she really accomplished something.  I guess she did but it’s like an anti-accomplishment.  I mean – quitting something – whatever it is – isn’t doing anything.  It’s stopping.  It’s not like finishing college or doing a hundred gigs in a year to become the best band in the world or writing a best-selling novel.  Stopping drinking is stopping drinking.  & nobody who drinks can deny that when you stop, you feel better.  & you look better, too.  My mother is especially vain – she used to be a model – & looking 10 years younger than she did a year ago means more than anything to her.  She’s always been really superficial when it comes to how people look.  Always dieting & always bitching at me – especially – for being even a few pounds “overweight”.  That has not changed at all.  & she is still totally uptight about sex & morality & the rules of the Catholic Church.  at the same time, she is absolutely chomping at the bit to start dating again, although she would never admit that.  If it wasn’t for AA’s rule about not getting into new relationships until you have a year’s sobriety – & she’s not actually divorced yet – Dick is dragging it out – I am sure she would be seeing one of the guys she’s met in AA.  But she definitely is the belle of the AA ball here in Cleveland.  Which she is enjoying way too much.  So I stay away from any meeting where she’s holding court.

***

I went out walking during my lunch to get high, smoking my joint like a cigarette.  But the wind’s picked up, it’s chilly & kept putting out my joint.  I saw the flashing light of the store security & I thought, fuck this shit, I’m getting outta here!  I’m definitely more paranoid than I used to be & I don’t like it.  I guess it really is a necessary evil cuz I really don’t wanna go through all the bullshit I’ll go through if I’m caught.  I really take a risk by smoking in the john, but I gotta take that risk or else I’ll go crazy.

Walking back to the May Company, I thought –  it’s been a long time since I’ve sat in a room & calmly smoked a joint, right & proper.  I’m tired of all this waiting for the right moment, looking for the right place – running to the john every half hour to grab a few hits – putting on perfume to cover up the smell – & then spraying the entire bathroom – which is insane, let’s face it.  I have a small one-hitter which contains the smoke but I am still paranoid about getting caught – which takes away from my buzz, too.  I haven’t been stoned in so long.  I just keep this semi low buzz that’s barely there – just enough to fuck my sense of reality somewhat.

***

There’s a pile of hosiery in the corner that I really should get to washing – it’ll only take a few minutes, but I really don’t feel like it – I’ll wear a pair of socks & my boots to church tomorrow, I don’t care – that early in the morning I don’t really care what I look like – I don’t even bother to put on make-up.  Man, I hate getting up early – I just hate it & for something that’s as much as let-down as church is – I don’t know why I hate going to church here.  I loved it in Buffalo.  I remember going to noon Mass in Buffalo – just wake up, shower, catch a buzz, put something on & go – I loved it so much, just sitting there in church, listening to the text for the day & singing.  Now it’s a drag – it’s an effort, something I do – not because I want to – but because I have no choice in the matter.  It just isn’t right – things shouldn’t be this way.  No well – put up with it a bit longer – maybe by the end of the summer I’ll be able to move out – I hope so.  It’s nice here – the good points are very good indeed – but the bad points are so very bad.  I mean – I don’t understand why having a nice place to live means you have to give up all your freedoms.

Last night I went out with Pat O’Hara, from the 24-Hour Club – he’s known as “Patty O” in the rooms – he’s originally from Buffalo – his parents still live there – but he went to a private boarding school in Virginia & college in Colorado & then dropped out & hitch-hiked all over North America & is now here in Cleveland because he had nowhere to go after he got out of rehab.   His older brother lives here – he’s a doctor – Pat stayed with him for a short while but recently got his own place.  He had a lot of reefer & we cruised, just doing bowls – he had a full tank of gas – it was like the good old days before you had to worry about gas prices & shortages.  It felt so good to be STONED.  We had such a good conversation – I remember bits of it – other parts I don’t – basically it was Pat talking – he told some good stories that maybe I’ll remember later on – some time when I’m stoned & it’s easier to remember – I’ll write them down.  I do remember that he used to be an I.V. user – he said that he would shoot “anything”.  “I loved the rush,” he told me.  We stopped for coffee & I asked him about smoking weed & being in AA.  He told me that the most important thing was not drinking.  “There’s nothing wrong with marijuana,” he said.  “Marijuana will help you stay away from alcohol.  The main thing is don’t drink.”  Later on we went to his apartment on Superior Road in East Cleveland that he shares with two other guys from AA.  His room was tiny.  We turned off the lights – more cosmic – but lamented the lack of candles.  He gave me head until I thought I was going to die.  I came & came & he lapped it up.  We fucked, long & hard.   It was one-thirty & I said I had to get home.  It was way past my curfew but it was worth it.  “Thank you for a wonderful night,” he told me.  “Any time,” I replied.

***

Eating at a diner with M somewhere along Route 6 on the coast of Lake Erie.  Absolutely the best cheeseburger ever.  Charred outside, pink inside.   Cheese perfectly melted.  White American cheese, like they had in Massachusetts.  Covered with onions & a slice of tomato on a hard roll.  Fries fat & greasy but needing salt.  Fastest service I’ve ever experienced.

This is America, like Jack Kerouac said, the small diners and beach side hamburg stands that leave such a delicious aftertaste as you cruise along the water front smoking an after-dinner joint – man, I love to cruise – M has a brand-new Audi with a kick-ass stereo system – he obviously likes having me with him although I really don’t know a thing about him – but I never ask him any questions about his life because I figure what he does when he’s not with me is his business & none of mine – it really doesn’t matter to me at all.

What matters to me is –

I wanna write like Kerouac – I mean, I wanna be THE voice for my generation – like, with Kerouac, you hear strains of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker – the all-night joints in New York City before drugs became illegal & the talk all hype.  You hear the first tormented cry of rock’n’roll – whoever it was that picked up a guitar one night & plugged it in & blasted out his pain.  I want to be like that – I wanna write like a fast car with a six-pack on the floor, passing joints, tunes blaring on the radio.  I wanna write like it feels to dance all night to a good rock’n’roll band in some dive in Buffalo & then go for tacos at 5 in the morning.  I wanna write like a tight pair of jeans.  I wanna write like my first hit of marijuana in my lungs in the  morning.  I wanna write like the best rock’n’roll tune ever written.  I wanna write the best rock’n’roll tune ever.  I wanna write poetry that sings like music & prose that reads like poetry – that’s what I want -that’s really all I want.

***

I have been thinking of the house I should like to live in some day.  My dream home, I guess you would call it.  It is a house of many rooms – a tall city house.  Perhaps in Boston or San Francisco, or even a city in another country – I’ll know when I see it – if I ever do.  The cellar is strictly for storage – it would have to be a dry cellar, of course.  The first floor has the kitchen – large, airy – & the dining room & living room.  There are oriental carpets throughout the entire house – no shoes are to be worn inside.  There’s a fireplace in the living room.  There is also a piano in the living room – playing the piano daily is something I want to do the rest of my life.  There’s a large front porch off the living room.  Indoors, there’s lots of art & plants.  Comfortable furniture, dark wood.  Stained glass &/or cut glass designs in the windows so that when the sun shines through them, it makes beautiful designs on the floor & walls.  The back rooms are the laundry, sewing rooms & wardrobe.  I would like to have an entire room just for my clothes.  I would like to have that many clothes – to require an entire room as a closet.  One of the rooms opens out into a garden, where I grow herbs, vegetables, flowers.  It is surrounded by a fence & roses grow up & over the fence.  & lots of other flowers – I want to have a jungle of flowers.

On the second floor is the library.  The entire second floor.  Floor to ceiling bookcases & more comfortable furniture & oriental rugs.  Another fireplace.  More plants & art.  Also on this floor is the stereo system, although the entire house is wired for sound.  The back rooms are where the magazines & other collectables are kept.  There’s a small kitchen on this floor, too, so I don’t have to go running downstairs every time I want a cup of tea or an apple.

On the top floor – a remodeled attic – is my bedroom, which is just that – the room in which my bed is placed.  There’s a fireplace in here as well.  There’s another room up here where I can write in privacy – roomy & light, with a large skylight & the walls covered with a collage of my heroes & heras & other inspirational pictures – everything I need to be centered & productive.  Throughout this house there are plants, music, art, cats, a dog – perhaps a maid – someone who can help me with housework & sewing & errands.

There will not be a man in this house.  He will live a couple of blocks away & will visit.  When I ask him to.  & only then.

I think I have been thinking a lot about where I want to live because although I really like this house Mom has bought, I really don’t want to live here.  It is nice.  Shaker Heights is nice – I like Cleveland Heights better – but I don’t know if I want to stay here at all.  There’s something about Cleveland that just isn’t me.

Another problem with this house is that it’s crowded.  I know that Tish is going to college next year & Rocco wants to go to military school – he’s trying to get a music scholarship – so I am sure Mom bought this house with an eye to the future when she would not have a houseful of kids.  But still.  I really hate having to share a bedroom – share a bathroom – share everything.  So often when I’m playing the piano, I have to stop because Rocco needs to practice – & of course Rocco takes precedence over me – since he’s working toward a scholarship & I’m only playing the piano.  “Gregory’s needs are more important than your wants,” Mom is always saying to me lately – in that voice of hers – which is really quite insulting.  I know he’s her baby but I should count for something, too.

& soon, Helena will be home to prepare for her wedding.  Even though she & Geoffrey have been living together – although apparently not sleeping together so she be a virgin when she marries – really – she is coming “home” before her wedding.  I am not sure who is going to give her away.  Maybe Rocco.  This has been a topic of great discussion.  I think Mom should do it but she refuses to because she’s a woman.  Which is utter nonsense.  But of course the whole concept of being “given away” is utter nonsense anyway.

***

Something occurred to me while doing my exercises & listening to “Precious” by the Pretenders – my favorite album at the moment.  I’m precious.  I treat my body like I’m precious – bathing in sandlewood oil, dieting, exercising – I should treat my inner body like I treat my outer body – I mean, I’m precious & I am not to be given to just anybody.  Why not?  Sometimes it feels like I’m wasting time, especially in terms of the emotional risk I go through.  I would like to break my emotional dependence on sex.  Then perhaps I would be able to be fulfilled emotionally.

***

The Grateful Dead is on the radio.  “Truckin’.”  I haven’t heard the Dead in so long.  I used to hear them all the time – at Ellicott Complex.  What a long strange dream that was.

Been stoned these last few days.  Ya know – as much as I can be – which isn’t much – but it’s enough.  I bought reefer after a week’s abstinence & it feels nice.  AA’s a great place to buy weed.  You just have to watch out for the old-timers.  & zealous newcomers like my Mom.  Between work & AA, I’m pretty burned out by the time I get home & have a bite to eat & do my work-out.  I’m usually able to get in a couple hours of writing.  It’s hard – cuz after 9 or 9:30, this house must be silent – since everyone goes to bed!  & someone always complains about the typewriter & why can’t I just “write by hand”.  Also there’s always bullshit to do:  iron my clothes for tomorrow, write business letters  -always looking for a better job – take care of finances, etc.  Consequently, I get very little time to actually write.  It seems like I am always starting over.  Whatever it is.  & it’s not very much.  Trying to make the Chaotic Bliss experience into a novel but maybe I’m still too close to it – too many emotions.  But I do think it would make a great novel.  The great American rock’n’roll novel.

& I don’t have any place to work here.  I would like a corner desk, with cork lining the walls so I could pin up my notes & leave them there instead of having to carry everything around all the time.  I wish I had a desk.

See – Mom just told me to turn down the stereo.  & I have the headphones on!  I like my music loud!  I don’t care if it’s bad for me.  Some things I don’t care if they’re bad for me.  I mean, who cares.  I’m detached from soft music – I can’t experience it.  I want it there – in front of me – right now – so I can feel every beat – be every nuance – dance, sing, jump.  I wanna be possessed by it.  It’s my lifeline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Excerpts from a Diary 12

[January, 1980]

 

I’ve decided to leave Buffalo.  I’m going back to Cleveland.  It has a lot to do with economics.  I never should have quit my job at the UB English Department but I did & now I’m working – barely – at the slowest pizza place on Bailey Avenue – if people are ordering pizzas, they’re not getting them from Pizza Palata – that’s for damn sure.  & I’m so tired of looking for work – it seems like so much of depends on who you know – you have to be related to someone to get a job in this town – & I’m not related to anyone – we moved around too damn much!  People know who my father is – it’s amazing how many people say I look “just like him” – & even if they haven’t read his books, then they know about his lurid death – the Chappaquiddick of the literary world – & then they want to know why I’m looking for a job.  “Don’t you have money?”  I really don’t want to explain about trust funds & how I really don’t have access to any inheritance he may have left me.  Which honestly – he didn’t.  It was all tied up in the dream house in Manchester-by-the-Sea that Mom sold at a loss & apparently he was partying a lot in those days anyway – Mom & Dick certainly spent whatever was leftover these past few years.   It’s none of their business anyway.  I’m constantly amazed at how prospective employers want to know all kinds of private information.  All I can think is – I have no real skills – I’m gonna end up in another shit job at minimum wage & work my butt off & still be poor.  Worse than poor.  I just can’t stand the thought of it.  I have to get back into school & finish my degree & get a decent job.  It’s the only way.  As much as I love my rock’n’roll life – if the Bliss doesn’t hit it big, I’m really nowhere.  & they aren’t going anywhere any too fast.  Sometimes I think they don’t really want to go anywhere.  I mean, instead of trying to work every gig they can, Barrett’s out of town or Joey’s out of town & there’s missed opportunities & I just don’t get it – I think I’m more hungry for success than they are.  Even Bard – I swear, I’m hungrier than Bard is, too.  I can’t do it for them.  I can’t get on stage for them – ya know, I would if I could.  I’d be up there every damn night – if I could.  But they’re the guys in the band & if they don’t want to play, there’s nothing I can do about it.  Even if I was the only front man in the band – instead of a once in a while back-up singer – I couldn’t get up there & sing without them playing with me.  So it’s impossible.  Even Marc is too damn mellow – “We’ll play when we play,” he said when I complained about missing gigs.

& I need to leave – the whole scene has gotten oppressive.  I don’t want to be remembered as Chaotic Bliss’ groupie.  Last month – a few weeks ago – whenever it was – that night Barret hung around after the rehearsal & we sung together for over an hour – I thought of what it could be & what was never going to happen.  Bard has made that eminently clear.  Even though Tanner & Barret & Marc & even Joey has told him that I would be a great asset to the band – musically, visually & as far as sex appeal is concerned.  But Bard is never going to make me part of the band – even though whenever I have sung with the band, it has been electric.  There is no denying that.  Even Bard cannot deny that – as much as he has tried to deny it – & he certainly has tried.  But Bard is determined that Chaotic Bliss remains four nerdy guys & there’ll never be a babe in the band – not a sexy babe, not a smart babe, not a slapstick babe – not any kind of babe at all.

The thing is – I am part of the show – with my dancing – something that is acknowledged but not really celebrated.  I mean – if I am part of Chaotic Bliss – then why – why am I not included in the photo shoots?  Why not hand me a tambourine & give me something to do?  Ya know?  Lots of punk rock bands feature women in any number of roles.  Not just as singers – Talking Heads has Tina Weymouth on bass – & over in Britain, it’s common to see women playing bass or drums or rocking out in all kinds of ways.    & here in the States – there’s Blondie with Debbie Harry  & the Patti Smith Band – it’s her band.  & there’s Heart with the two Wilson sisters, Ann & Nancy – not exactly punk but they really rock.  That new band – The Pretenders – I’m hearing about from Britain – totally fronted by this tough-looking chick named Chrissie Hynde.  & locally, there’s Gloria DeNunzio in The Raptures.  Bard adores her & there’s dozens more that Bard says he “loves”.  Why not a girl singer for the Bliss?  Since I am “part” of the band anyway?  Or is that just talk?

Plus – Bard is becoming more intolerable every day.  He was really nice about taking me to Stage One on New Year’s Eve but he is generally a prick.  It’s like he blames me for the Bliss not gigging.  Believe me, I want them onstage as much as he does!  I want them opening for more popular bands – I want them playing their own gigs – I want them playing dances at the colleges & benefits & parties & whatever they can get.  & now that I’ve been talking about leaving, he’s even more pissed off at me.  I don’t get it!  I thought he would be happy I was leaving!  The vibe in this house is so oppressive that I can’t wait to move.

Partly it’s cuz I’m restless.  I’m so used to moving every year – every 6 months – whatever – that I almost have to go.  My gig is over here.  I know it – I can feel it.  I’ve been feeling trapped.  & I’m so incredibly lonely.  Marc, Joey & Barrett are my closest friends but they’ve all got old ladies – so where does that leave me?  All alone – that’s where that leaves me.  I know – I’ve been told – what part of my charm is my one-of-the-guys attitude – flavored with my earth-motherliness – or stoned childishness – depending on my mood & which Cori you get.  But although I’m a lot of fun, I’m a woman too & I’ve got a lot of needs & they aren’t getting fulfilled.  I love these guys & they love me – they’ve stood behind me when I needed it – put me to bed when I was sick from too much drinking – listened to me complain about Bard & other men.  They’ve been great & if it hadn’t been for them, I never would have made it through.  I was hitting rock bottom.  I still am.  I might not be here if not for them – anyway, they’re great & I’ll always love them.  But it’s like the Kozmic Blues here – they’ll never love me any better & they’ll never love me right.  So I’m gonna leave while I’m ahead.  Which – from where I’m sitting – is really behind the 8-ball.  I’m just trying to look at the bright side of things.

It’s hardest to leave Barrett, of course.  & naturally, he’s one of the reasons I have to leave – a big reason – as big as the economic reasons.  We can’t go on the way we are.  & we know it.  I can’t stand not having him.  I can’t stand being as close as we are & never touching our love.  & I can’t stand the lies – the secrecy – the façade – the games – I hate playing games – but that’s what we could have to do if we went forward into a full-tilt affair.  I’m upfront – I’m relatively honest – at least I know I can’t lie successfully so I stick to the truth.  & Barrett’s the same way – we’ve talked about it.  If I stayed, this situation would only get worse – I have troubling handling it now – I’m a wreck all the time. I remember telling Barrett, “It’s enough that you want me.”  But of course it isn’t.  I want him – all of him – to hear him speak – to touch him – to sleep with him.

***

I remember once having a conversation with Mark Miles – I don’t know maybe a few months ago – he stopped over to see me & we were in the living room here with all the band equipment & I was talking about the band & most especially about Barrett.  & he said that I was talking about Barrett like I used to talk about Jon & how they were really interchangeable – as far as the way I expressed my love for them was concerned – & he said that he thought that men were my drug – like that Roxy Music song “Love is the Drug” – that I always had to have a new lover – another lover – that I always had to score.  I don’t know if that’s true but it’s an interesting theory.  Love addiction.  Being addicted to love.

***

Barrett’s back!  I was walking up Main Street – putting in applications in at the bars & restaurants around Main & Fillmore – & I saw his car pull out of Amherst Street & go up Main Street.  Nobody else has an faded old electric blue Plymouth Roadrunner – only Barrett would drive something like that.  I’d know that car in hell!  It’d be a nice car if it wasn’t so beat up.  I caught the next bus going up Main Street but by the time I got home, he had gone.  It was obvious that he had been there.  There was a bottle of California Merlot on the table & Bard looked like someone had just shot his dog.

“What’s up?”  I asked.

“Barrett just left,” he said heavily.  “There’s going to be a band meeting later this evening.”

“What’s the matter?”

He waved his hand at me like he was trying to make me disappear.  “You’ll find out at the meeting.  I’m going to lie down.”

So now – what?  Although the way Bard looks – I don’t want to think it – let alone write it.

***

The meeting is over.  We were all there – Bard, Barrett, Marc, Joey, Tanner, Zu the soundman, & me – Barrett brought a few more bottles of Merlot & some really great weed he bought out there & ordered pizza & wings for everyone.  It was like a party.  Apparently it was.  A goodbye party.  He announced that he was leaving Buffalo for Palo Alto – he had secured a professorship at Stanford University – teaching a class on D.H. Lawrence – & other duties – so of course he would have to be leaving Chaotic Bliss, too.  Plus – Rina’s mother was in poor health & needed to be cared for more thoroughly so they were going to be taking her into their home – Rina wanted her to live in a more forgiving climate than the one that was here in Buffalo.  Or in Brooklyn.  Which everyone could understand.  Unfortunately.

Of course he apologized – for “leading us on” – gigging all summer & recording the demo & releasing the single – he said he would pay back the money that the band took out – the bank loan – so that Bard & Joey & Marc & Tanner weren’t left holding the entire note.  “But this has always been my dream,” he said – rather gushingly, I thought – “the academic life – & Stanford!  Who can argue with Stanford?  I know I’ll be playing music for the rest of my life, but I won’t be doing it in Buffalo.”

 

Tanner is going to get us a “farewell gig” at the Schuper Haus or the Masthead next Friday or Saturday night – whatever he can do at this late date.  Barrett is leaving on the nineteenth so there isn’t much time.  & a farewell gig isn’t something you want to do on a weeknight.   Apparently Rina stayed behind to find them a place to live but she’ll be returning before the weekend to start packing up their things.

 

It was first time I saw him since the Rocker’s party just before Christmas.  Before the meeting, we talked about my going away – going back to school – he agrees that’s what I should do – that I belong in school & I should be working on my writing in a focused manner – & about my being a groupie & Chaotic Bliss.  He insisted that I wasn’t a groupie but I said, “So what am I?  A part of the band?  What do I do?  Sing?  Play an instrument?  What do I do?”

“You mother us,” he replied, smiling.

“That’s just a nice way of saying I’m a groupie,” I complained.  I went on, “That’s another reason why I have to leave. I can’t be a groupie forever.  What’s going to happen to me after the Bliss?”

“You’re going to go with the Bliss,” he said softly.

“I am?  & where are you going?  You guys haven’t had a gig in over a month.”

“You’re impatient,” he observed.

“I am,” I agreed.

“Maybe you’re right,” he said.  “Only Bard wants it as much as you do.”

“I want it more than he does,” I argued.  “He only wants what he wants the way he wants it.  I want whatever what will make the band a better band.  Tanner, you, Marc, Joey – all agree that I should be an active part of the band – singing, writing, performing – but I guess that isn’t going to happen.”

“You never know,” he said.  “This band is really great.  You are going to make it better.  Believe me.”

So then – a mere half an hour later, he announced his departure from the band.  So like – I’m “going to go with the Bliss”? – really?  Which Bliss is this?  The Bliss that I’m “going to make” better?  Really?  How is that going to happen?  When Bard obviously hates my guts & blames me for what has now happened?

 

After the meeting, Barrett pulled me aside.  He said, “At the Rockers party, you said something very unfair – & definitely untrue.”

At first I couldn’t remember what he was talking about.  It took me a minute to bring it all back.  I had told him – something like this –  “You know, you dig it – the way our relationship is – I’m just a fantasy for you & you like it like that.  It’s safe for you that way – you can enjoy me in the safety of your mind & you never have to be unfaithful to Rina in real life.  Unfortunately, I’m a real person, not a fantasy.”

Now he was insisting, “You know that isn’t true.”

“Is isn’t?  Really?  It isn’t?”  I looked into his eyes & his eyes fell & he was silent.  So – it was exactly as I thought.  Finally, he said, “It’s true I have enjoyed it – I know I have led you on.  I told you I would.”

“I know – you led us all on, didn’t you.” But then I smiled at him.  It was getting way too heavy & I had to lighten the mood.  “Let me seduce you, man, & I’ll leave town & never bother you again!”  I laughed.  Then I said, “I mean, I’m leaving – partly – cuz of you – I always said that when it got to be too much I’d leave.  It’s too much – I can’t handle it.  It’s not you – it’s me, it’s inside of me.”

He touched my hand.  He said – so low I could barely hear him – so low that I had to bring my head right next to his – “Rina is out west until Thursday morning.  We have a few days.  Come over to my house early in the morning.  I can say that you’re helping me pack books or something.”  He looked at me – his eyes were so naked & pleading – I have never been so much in love with him as I was at that moment.  & I said yes.

***

Today –  the last Chaotic Bliss rehearsal before the farewell gig Friday night at The Masthead.  The first gig was at the Masthead & the last gig will be at the Masthead.  At least it’ll be on a Friday night.   There should be a decent crowd.  I called Jon to let him know & I said to be sure to bring Sara to take pictures.  I also let Mark Miles know & Harry G. & everyone else.  I even called Eddie in Brooklyn.  I said, “If you can get a flight in time, make this gig, man!”  I doubt I see him but you never know.

Barrett & I drank a bottle of champagne & smoked reefer & I flirted with my boys.  There was a definite vibe between Barrett & I & I didn’t care who knew it.

Just before he left, we stood in the kitchen & he said, “Is it alright if I come here Friday?”

“Bard will be here,” I answered.

“I don’t mind if you don’t.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I can be here by eleven – ten at the earliest.”

“OK…I’ll be waiting.”  Under his gaze I felt like melting but Bard walked in & we had to be normal people.  But I felt so warm & special –

***

I feel full.  I feel like I must’ve been poured to the brim with sunshine.  I feel fucked – I feel loved – I feel so good – I couldn’t feel any better if I tried –

I am ripe with love.  I am over-flowing with love.  All these Song of Songs phrases are going through my brain – along with hashish & a little wine & oh, so much love –

Today was love – lying on my bed on my quilts & sunshine through the window.  It was corny – it was great.  We kissed & giggled & rocked & rolled.  Oh, today is a day I never want to forget.  Every day this week.  Every day this week I do not want to forget.

Marc just walked in & asked me how I felt.  “Great,” I said.

“Are you relishing your last day with the Bliss?”  he wanted to know.

“Yeah – relishing it – & mustard & ketchup – ” I laughed.

Marc knows.  At least he feels – I can tell.  Joey is reading the paper – oblivious as usual.  Or simply minding his own business, which is what Joey does.  Bard is ignoring me.  He has been pissed off at me ever since Barrett announced that he is leaving – like it’s my fault.  My decision to go too only made things worse.  As if the band was going to stay together if I stayed?  I have to admit I loved it when Joey said, “Hey, Cori’s quitting the band too?  What are we going to do without her?”  Oh, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t want to go!  I don’t want Barrett to go either!  I want the Bliss to stay together & go to the very top like we’ve talked about a hundred times!

Barrett is talking to the photographer.  There is going to be pictures tonight – of all of us – including me – I am going to be part of the band tonight – Barrett insisted – I rehearsed with them all week – singing backup & singing a few songs of my own – songs that I wrote with Barrett – & of course dancing – I’m known for my dancing –

Love is sitting at a table with your beloved – not touching – not even looking at each other – sipping your tea – oh, how I long to touch him –

I keep thinking about Janis Joplin: “You can cry about the other 364 – but you had better make that one day your life, man – ”

Yeah – today – this day is my life.

***

At Falco’s.  Sitting at the bar with a small pitcher of Labatt’s Blue & my diary. I’m waiting for Teddy for show up – he’s got a bag of weed for me.  Tomorrow I leave.  On one hand, it’s really emotional & hard to leave – especially Barrett – but on the other hand, it’s a relief.  It sounds terrible but I can hardly wait to get out of the same house as Bard.  I haven’t felt this way in a long time – I don’t know if I’ve ever felt this way – hatred, loathing – I’m really not that kind of person.  I’m not the kind of person who hates people.  I really can’t think of anyone at all that I hate.  But I hate him & I hate what he’s done to me.  I can’t remember the last time I felt like this.  Perhaps I never have.  Maybe that’s why I’m so upset about it.  I hate it – it’s evil – it’s poisoning my good head & attitudes – not to mention my relationships with other people.  My attitude is that you treat people with courtesy & respect even if you hate their guts – but it’s so hard.  It’s hard to sit there placidly or to get up & leave when he makes a mockery of who I am & my plans & my dreams.  He does it so well too – he’s looking for a rise out of me & too often I give it to him.  But even if I don’t give him the fight he is always looking for – or at least the outward show of being upset with what he is saying – it’s still cruel & insidious in how well thought-out it is & how it always stabs me in my most vulnerable & painful areas.  He has succeeded in driving me away – he has succeeded masterfully.  He’s driven me out of his life – out of his band – out of his entire world.  & I’m glad to go.  Glad glad glad.

I’m glad because he’s driven me out of his band but he’s broken up his band in the process.  I mean – who knows.  Maybe if he hadn’t been such a prick about me & Barrett – about me singing in the band & singing the songs I was writing – maybe Barrett would have stayed here at UB.  Maybe he wouldn’t have given into Rina’s desire to go to California – an understandable desire, to be sure – but if Chaotic Bliss had gotten the success we were so sure we were going to get, moving to California could have been a few years away anyway.  But Bard being so stubborn & hard-set in his own ways – who wants to work with someone like that?  It doesn’t bode well for the future – with me or without me.  Bard can blame me all he wants for the steady exodus of musicians from Chaotic Bliss but he should be looking in the mirror.  He’s the one that nobody wants to work with.  Because it’s Bard’s way or no way.  Barrett was really good at handling Bard – but that gets old after a while – the constant negotiations.  & like I said – everyone wanted me on stage – everyone said I was great – everyone except Bard.  So I’m glad – glad that he’s losing what he was so eager to deny me.

Last night’s gig was one of the best nights of my life.  I have never had a high like that.  Singing – I don’t know if there’s really anything else I want to do.  I don’t care if I’m singing lead or singing back-up – I just want to be up there & filling my lungs with sound.  & when I’m not singing, I want to be dancing.

We had a terrific crowd – & they called for encores & we did all this spontaneous stuff – mostly because of all the stuff I’ve been doing with Barrett & Marc & Joey on the side – if it was up to Bard, there wouldn’t have been any extra material at all – at least nothing that I could have participated in.  The show was almost over when Bard’s guitar broke an A-string & while he was fixing it, Barrett borrowed Marc’s guitar & we sang “If I Fell” – wicked corny for the crowd that was there but it was a good way to kill time & it’s a short song anyway – & as soon as it was over & everyone had their own instruments again, they slammed into “Anal Breath” – which has to be the most perfect pairing of tunes I have ever heard – the sappy loveliness of “If I Fell” with the hard-rock almost metal-like grind of “Anal Breath”.  I was the first one out on the dance floor & within seconds, the entire floor was packed with bouncing bodies.  It was such a good time – it’s hard to believe that I won’t be doing it again.

After the gig, we had a party at the BonaVista on Hertel Avenue – just a final celebration of a glorious band.  Or what could have been a glorious band.  There were more bottles of champagne cracked – we toasted each other & the band – but it was bittersweet – made more bitter because Rina was there & she made it plain that she knew about Barrett & me.  I don’t know how she knew – unless he told her.  But I don’t know why he would do that.

It was almost 5 a.m. before we got home.  I collapsed on the couch.  I was really tired but too wound up to sleep.  I rolled myself a joint.  I was about to light it when Bard walked in.  “I hope you’re satisfied,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“You have succeeded in demolishing Chaotic Bliss.”

“I didn’t do that.  I didn’t tell Barrett to go out west & get a job at Stanford University.  If I had my way, he’d be teaching right here at UB & he’d be playing bass & singing with Chaotic Bliss & you know that.”

“It’s because he has to get away from you that he is going all the way to California to try to save his marriage!”

“Oh please.  He’s moving out there because his wife wants to & his mother-in-law needs to because of her health.  He’s fulfilling his filial obligations.  It has nothing to do with you or me or the band or Buffalo.  Find another bass player as soon as you can & keep going.”

“It won’t be the same without Barrett.  Chaotic Bliss was Barrett.  Barrett & me.  I might as well start over again.”  He laughed bitterly.  “But it’s all over now.  After Rina called here this morning looking for Barrett & I told her – ”

“You told her what?”

“I told her that Barrett was with you & had been with you every day this week.  I didn’t have to go into details.  She already knew.  You’re not the first one.  Believe me, Cori,” he said, almost triumphantly, “you’re not the first one.  But Rina is determined that you are going to be the last one.”

I didn’t know what to say.  I smoked my joint in silence.  I thought he was finished – in fact, I thought he had left the room – but then he burst out with – “Ya know, we could have had a demo & a recording contract months ago if you hadn’t driven Fred away like you did.  He had better connections than Tanner.  You really fucked that one up.”

“Barrett couldn’t stand Fred either,” I answered.

“Barrett would have said anything to get into your pants,” he said cruelly.  “Barrett should have known better.”

“Well, doesn’t that tell you something?  Maybe Barrett wasn’t into this band thing to begin with,” I argued, pissed off at his remark “Barrett would have said anything to get into your pants” – “Maybe Barrett was just playing around.  He played both of us,” I said on a sob.

“Oh don’t start crying, you pathetic drunk,” he snarled.

“What?”  I couldn’t believe my ears.

“You’re a drunk – a miserable drunk.  It’s amazing you can get on stage & sing the way you do – but that’s probably because you’re still young.  That won’t last.  It never does.  Barrett can tell all the stories he wants about Janis Joplin but the story he never tells you is that by the end of her career, she sucked! She was only twenty-seven years old & she was totally shot!  OK – that’s a long way from where you’re at – but you’re well on your way!  That’s why I don’t want you in the band!”  He left & I cried  until I had no more tears left.

***

At Falco’s.  We had another argument this morning which is why I got out of the house.  I walked around the neighborhood for a while & then I came here.  I always feel better sitting at the bar & listening to the tunes on the jukebox.  Catching snatches of other people’s conversations.  The warm & fuzzy way the beer feels in my belly.

I suppose I am a drunk but I didn’t think I was really that bad.  I mean, I haven’t gotten sick in a really long time.  But I guess it looks different from the other side.  Maybe if I was looking at someone  who was wasted all the time, I would have the same reaction.  But it’s not like I’m wasted all the time.  He’s really being an asshole.  & I really am trying to control my drinking.

It amazes me when he says I’m insensitive to other people’s feelings.  I suppose I am to a certain extent but I do think about how other people feel – I mean, I don’t do things to hurt people partly because I wouldn’t want that kind of pain myself.  But he tramples over my feelings all the time & I think he thinks it’s OK because I’m “insensitive” to other people’s feelings – like he has to punish me for that or something.  He says I’m not being true to my dreams – he says going home is cowardly & a cop-out.  Is realizing that I can’t meet my expenses a cowardly?  Is leaving a place where a guy is always on my ass about something a cop-out?  Honestly, if he wasn’t so much like that asshole Dick my mother married, maybe I wouldn’t be going back home.  But if I’m going to put up with all that bullshit, I might as well live in comfort.

I really hate it when he attacks my mother.  He says my mother hates me & that now I’m in her power & she’s won in the eternal power struggle.  He says it’s the way of all living things for the child to kill its parents – it’s the only way the child to become free.  Actually that’s not true – but I wasn’t going to argue with him.  I mean, there’s lots of animals who don’t kill their parents.  But whatever.  I love my mother & whatever problems I have with her, it can all be worked out & if it can’t – I’ll move out again.

I loved Bard – I really cared for him.  It really sucks that it all came to this.  But that’s life.  There’s nothing I can do about it now.

***

Night.  Teddy gave me a ride home.  “You’ll be back,” he told me.  “Nobody stays away from Buffalo for very long. & when they do, they cry about how much they miss it here.”

“Cleveland isn’t very far away & it isn’t very much different.”

“If that was true, people wouldn’t have such fierce loyalties to where they live.”

“I moved around a lot.”

He laughed.  “Well, I hope you come back because I am going to miss you.”

I went up into the apartment.  Bard was waiting for me.  “You had better sit down,” he said.

“What now,” I said.  I remained standing.

He handed me a telegram.  “This came for you.”

I opened it & read: “Sorry to inform you that Edward Marron died of an apparent heroin overdose 01/11/80.”  The paper fell from my hand.  I would never see Eddie again.  Those bright blue eyes.  Those angelic golden curls.

I looked up at Bard.  “You read this?”

“No, but telegrams are rarely good news.”

I went into my bedroom & put away the bag of weed I had gotten from Teddy.  Suddenly I had to see Barrett – I just had to.  I was leaving in the morning & I was never going to see him again either – I had to see him.

I ran out the door into the swirling snow.

I ran all the way up Main Street to Amherst Street to Barrett’s house.  A long run in the cold & the snow & the wind.

I banged on his door.  “Barrett!  Barrett!”

Rina came to the door.  “What do you want?”

“I need to see Barrett.”

“What if I tell you that you can’t see him?”

My jaw dropped.  I didn’t know what to say.  Then I saw him.  He was standing up on the landing behind her in the shadow of the hall light.  I called out, “Barrett!”  My voice cracked on a sob.  He came down the stairs.  “What is it, Cori?”  His voice was very gentle.

“My friend Eddie – I told you about him – I just got a telegram – he’s dead of an O.D. – I’m devastated – ”

He turned to Rina.  “Go back to your packing.  I need to deal with this for a moment.”  She started to argue but he said, “I have to do this.  Now go.”  & she did.  He brought me in & up to his study.  He didn’t close the door – I suppose not to piss her off any more than she already was – but he sat me down & gave me a few shots of bourbon & listened to me cry – & I sobbed – but meanwhile, she was in the kitchen, slamming pots & pans around – which I thought was rather immature – actually, it was really immature.  I can’t imagine acting like that.

“I’m never going to see you again,” I said, trying to hold back my tears.  “Eddie’s dead & the Bliss is broken up & Jon is gone & you are going.  & tomorrow I leave too.  Everything is changing.”

“Everything is constantly changing,” he told me.

“It’s not fair,” I complained like a child & then laughed.  Crying & laughing.

“You’re going to be OK,” he assured me.

“I already miss you,” I whispered.

“Hang in there, baby.” & he held me for the last time.  I never wanted to leave the comfort of his arms.

“You won’t forget me?” I asked as he walked me to the door.

“I’ll never forget you, baby,”  & he kissed me goodbye.

I walked away in the swirling snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpts from a Diary 11

[Holidays, 1979 – 1980]

 

Just got home from the Rockers party – the new rock’n’roll magazine that is hitting the streets – Jon & Sara & Harry G & a bunch of other Spectrum writers are in on it – all the Buffalo punksters were at the party.  & lots of other rockers & musicians – everyone who was anyone was there.  They played “Underground Radio” on the PA – Chaotic Bliss’s new single – although I thought that “Moonshine Meditation” should have been the single – it’s definitely their best song – but even I had to agree that the first single had to feature Bard on vocals.  Everyone was dancing – it’s a good tune.  It’s just not “Moonshine Meditation”.

I was depressed at the party – oh I appeared to be having a good time – but Barrett was there with Rina & Joey was there with Pam & Marc was there with Mary K. – honestly, I should have been there with Bard – on Bard’s arm – that would make sense – but I was alone.  Bard was noshing with everyone like he was the King of Buffalo Punk – even though Chaotic Bliss is really not a punk band – they’re more like an old-time rock’n’roll band – like Ten Years After or Spirit or something.  Or even The Mothers of Invention.  Or Captain Beefheart.  They’re that out there sometimes.  I mean – songs like “Love During the Sauron Invasion” & “Lick Me with Your Lizard Lips” – of course Bard wrote those – they’re just rock’n’roll craziness.  & like – none those bands didn’t really fit into their time, either.  Chaotic Bliss can’t be neatly fitted into one rock’n’roll category.  They’re too intelligent for that & that’s going to be their downfall.

I had a small moment alone with Barrett.  We were standing back to back.  Rina had gone to the bar for drinks or to the ladies’ room or something.  I was getting drunk & I was pissed off.  I know I had no right to be angry but the feeling was there & I wasn’t going to deny it.  I turned to him & said, “You know, you like this, don’t you.  Having your wife here & having me here.  It doesn’t even matter if you ever have me for real, does it.  It’s all about the fantasy.  Cuz you can go home & bring out your little fantasy of Cori & I’m right there for you.”  Then I saw Rina coming back so I moved away.

Later I went to McVan’s with David Kane of Electroman.  I didn’t even know he knew me – maybe he doesn’t know me – I was standing alone & maybe he just felt sorry for me.  On the way there, he had the radio on & “Rapper’s Delight” came on.  Everyone’s been making fun of this so-called tune but David said, “Mark my words.  This tune is going to revolutionize music.”

I didn’t stay at McVan’s very long.  Dave was on his way downtown & so I called a cab & came home – I usually don’t take cabs but I have extra money right now because it’s Christmas – it’s always nice to be able to take a cab home.

***

I’m really stoned.  I got home about a half-hour ago – the only place that was open today – it being Christmas – was China Dream all the way over on East Delavan Avenue – luckily they sell beer as well as Chinese food so I was able to get a 6-pack with my beef chop suey & egg rolls.  I was pretty bummed when I got here – the house was dark – no one was home – Mac is still out having dinner at his sister’s & Bard must be out too.

I wish we had a Christmas tree or something.  We don’t even have lights up around the windows.  Up & down the street, there’s houses all decorated up & it looks so nice.  Bard is atheist & Mac said he stopped celebrating the holidays when he broke up with Shera.  Of course breaking up with Shera doesn’t stop him from going over there with presents for her.  Nor does it stop him from going to his sister’s house for Christmas dinner.  Bard is out somewhere too, having Christmas dinner with friends of his – because being atheist doesn’t stop Bard from eating & drinking, especially if it’s someone else’s food.  Of course I could have gone back to Cleveland but I just didn’t want to.  So here I am – smoking weed & drinking beer – all alone on Christmas.

Over there is Barrett’s bass – just seeing it makes me want him.  He’s in San Francisco with Rina – they’re there for the holidays.  I miss him.  I miss the entire band.  I won’t see any of them for a while – except Bard & he doesn’t count.

We had gigs for the holidays – we could be gigging this weekend at the Masthead.  But Barrett is in San Francisco.  So there you go.  If Barrett was really into Chaotic Bliss, he would be here – he would be honoring his commitments.  Not going to the West Coast with his wife.

***

I can’t believe I’m not working at the English Department anymore, although it’s a relief – it really is.  I’m so happy to be able to sleep in again & not have the stress of having to get to work on time.

Today I cleaned house & applied for jobs all up & down Bailey Ave & paid the phone bill.  It would be nice to get a part-time waitress job – & a part time job doing something else – I’d like to spend my days at home, writing.  I like being at home, but at night, I want to be out.

I have to find a job fast.  The rent’s due the first & although I have a paycheck coming Friday, it’s only $56 & most of it will go to bills.  I don’t wanna worry – I don’t wanna worry – but we’re out of pot & it’s hard to push problems away when I’m straight.  I’m not a “if I don’t think about it, it’ll go away” kind of person cuz I know what has to be done & I’ll do it.  It’s just now – I don’t want to worry.

I called Jon but there wasn’t any answer.  I wonder if he’s moved in with Sara yet.

***

Tonight is Beatles night at Stage One with 50-cent drinks & I’d be almost tempted to go – if someone called me to go with them – which they won’t – since Bro got married, I don’t hear from him anymore & Crony went to Texas or someplace & I don’t hear from any of the Ellicott Complex group anymore.  But since I’m not going to school, it’s like I live in an entirely different universe.  I wish I could go back.

Once in a while I hear from Eddie.  He called me on Christmas Eve.  He was pretty wasted but of course so was I.  He said he was going to be coming for me in the spring, when he could ride his Harley out here.  I would really love to see him again & ride with him.

I’m so lonely.  I’m not as down as I was earlier.  I’m gonna remain firm in my resolution to stay off liquor & diet & exercise & work hard at writing & being a good mother to Chaotic Bliss – but I need someone – I need someone now – tonight – & there’s no one to call & even if there was, I’d be too proud to call anyway.  Oh why are all the guys in Chaotic Bliss married?  Or at least in a committed relationship?  Why is there no one for me?

Resentment – bitterness – tears – longing – desires – fears – loneliness –

Neil Young’s on the radio.  Play some Linda Ronstadt so I can sing!  Singing – like dancing – like doing drugs – just another way of forgetting –

Putting pain on hold, baby.

***

I got the waitressing job at Pizza Palata.  It’s only part time nights but it’s a start & it takes the edge off my anxiety somewhat.  I should go down & apply for food stamps but I’m a little reticent – too much pride, ya know.  Hopefully a job will come through – part time days at AM&A’s or Hengerer’s or some other store – or maybe even babysitting.  I should check out The Buffalo Rocket & some of the other little newspapers.

I haven’t lost any weight yet – of course it’s too soon to tell anyway – but with all the exercising I’ve been doing, my figure is getting redefined.  Dancing as much as I do really helps – my legs & ass are firm – not flab like they once were.  I want to start running.  Well, no I don’t – I hate running – but Jon runs & if I can get into it, maybe someday we can do a few miles together.  I know if I try to start now, the cold air will be too hard on my lungs.

But this is the first time in my life I have ever looked at my body in an athletic way.  In terms of muscles & making myself strong.  I feel good about myself & how my body is changing.

***

I’m stoned.  Mac & his new girlfriend Trish bought an ounce last night & I’ve been doing bong hits all morning.  Bard bought the cats some catnip so they’re stoned too.

I miss Barrett terribly.  I miss the Bliss.  I can hardly wait until Barrett comes home & they play again.  I’m such a groupie but so fucking what.  I miss my band.

Tonight I’ve got to work.  I hope it’s not too boring.

***

Trish & her man John were over just now – they were going to go to the Tralf with Mac but finally they decided not to go & we all sat around, smoking joints.  We talked & listened to music.  I was very opinionated – about the band “Battered Wives” – then I caught myself.  I listened to the music & watched John.

I wanted to say to him & Mac – but caught myself in time – I’m getting better at that – “How can you just sit there & talk so normally, so calmly, like you were just plain old friends?”   Because I can barely stand to talk to Rina.  & yet I am drawn to her – at the Rockers party I talked to her for quite a while.  Perhaps because she is part of Barrett – they’ve been married a long time – loving him means accepting her & treating her with respect.  She cannot be denied – as much as I try to ignore her – she is his wife & she has a greater claim on him than I can ever hope to have.

I wondered if Mac & John were uncomfortable – or if they were in pain.  Trish spends several nights a week here with Mac & every other night with John.  I heard that John really loves Trish & is really hurt by her taking Mac as a lover.  Mac says he doesn’t care what John thinks or feels but I wonder.  How can he not?  I’m not sure where Trish’s head is at.  She was clearly uncomfortable & I could feel guilt all through her.  There was a strange vibe in the room but I couldn’t analyze it because I had never felt it before.

John got up & said it was time to go.  Trish got up & followed him out.  I saw her coat on the sofa & thought:  she forgot her coat.  Then I realized:  “Oh!  She’s staying!”

“Yeah,” said Mac.

I blurted – “I wish someone would stay with me!”  I was thinking about it cuz it’s been a long long time  – I can’t help but wondering about it cuz I had so many boyfriends in high school & now there’s no one at all. Or – there’s shadows.  Shadow lovers.  Secret lovers.  I think – I’m at a point intellectually & emotionally where the only people I’m attracted to are already settled – people my own age don’t interest me – I’m beyond all that.  I’m ready for something that maybe isn’t ready for me yet.  I’m outside – alone – aloof – waiting – trying to find my own niche – & it isn’t working.  That is my pain – my cross – my curse.  The loneliness – the way I never fit in anywhere.  & somehow – even as I understand myself better – the pain doesn’t diminish.  It’s changed as I’ve changed – but it hasn’t diminished.  Cuz knowing what the pain is – knowing what causes it & how it works – all that doesn’t make it go away.  I’m beginning to lose hope.  I’m afraid.  I don’t want to get bitter & hard!  It’s a struggle & only helps the pain – aids & abets the pain – which makes it more hopeless.  It’s a large circle –

***

Last night I went out with Bard.  I wasn’t going to go anywhere.  Since Barrett’s been out of town & the Bliss isn’t playing,  Bard’s been hanging out with Billy Sheehan.  He got really drunk with him the other night.  I was really amazed – Bard’s not a drinker.  Anyway, Talas was playing Stage One last night – a big New Year’s Eve Party.  I didn’t have any plans – why would I?  Everyone I know has a mate.  I was sitting in the living room, sipping tea & reading when Bard burst in & told me I was going to Stage One with him.  I said, “Yeah, right.”

“You can’t sit here all alone all night, it’s New Year’s Eve.  I’m on the guest list & I can bring someone.  Get dressed, you’re going out with me.”

I’m not even into Talas!  But they were fun. & I got free drinks & champagne at midnight & Bard even kissed me.  I didn’t dress up – all I wore were jeans & my hot pink sweater.  Compared to the other girls, I was downright dowdy.  But I just didn’t care.

At home, I was hoping that Bard might kiss me again – might even want to start the new year together.  But he said “Good night” & went to bed alone.

So – in the end – I brought the New Year in all alone.

 

 

 

 

Excepts from a Diary 10

[November – December, 1979]

I was just leaving campus yesterday after work when I heard a car beeping at me & to my extreme happiness, it was Barrett.  He pulled over & I got in.  “Want to get high?”  he asked.  Of course I said yes.  He drove over to his place & for a moment I was afraid that we were going to be getting high with Rina.  But the house was empty & he told me that Rina was still in Brooklyn but “coming home tomorrow.”

He opened a bottle of German white wine & produced a joint that was perfectly rolled.  It almost looked like a cigarette.  “I’ve been saving this for a special occasion,” he told me & I felt so happy that being with me was a “special occasion”.  “It’s high-grade Hawaiian,” he told me, “sent to me by one of my grower friends who lives on Maui.”  It had a very sweet taste – like smoking tropical flowers.

He showed me a book he had just gotten back from Hammond.  “One of your father’s,” he said, as if I couldn’t see the name on the cover.  It was my father’s celebrated study of sexuality in Lawrence novels – an expansion & continuation of his doctoral dissertation – his first published book & while not a best-seller in the sense that his novels were, it made his reputation in the academic world.  Barrett opened the cover & there was my father’s famous florid autograph – with a charming little note to “Robert Barrett” – to “keep reading & writing & studying Lawrence” – apparently Barrett took my father’s advice.  “If you could have only seen me in 1968,” laughed Barrett, “when I asked him to sign the copy of my book – your father had every gorgeous co-ed at Columbia hanging all over him & here was I – dorky me – all covered in pimples – wanting some of his attention – he was nice enough to talk to me a little bit.”

I sipped the wine & took a long toke off the joint.  “I have never read any of his books.”

“You should,” he said.  “They’re really good.  A lot like John Gardner – his command of mythical & classical motif – but racier by far.  More like John Updike than John Gardner in that sense.”  He laughed.  “I never thought I would be getting high with the daughter of my idol that afternoon in 1968.”

“In 1968, I barely knew what marijuana was,” I laughed.  “I was only eight years old.”

He refilled our wine glasses.  I was beginning to get a major buzz on.

“So,” he said.  “What are we going to do about you & the band?”

“What do you mean?”

“Bard is adamant that you are not going to be singing anymore.”

I almost dropped my wine glass.  “Really?”

“He says that if he wanted a girl in the band from the very beginning, we would have had a girl in the band from the very beginning.”

“Nothing about this band is the same as it was at the very beginning except you & Bard,” I pointed out.

“Yes I know.  & even Bard’s & my partnership may not be remaining the same,” he said, “which you know is the basis of the entire band in all its incarnations.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, my dissertation is finished.  All I have to do are my orals – defend my written work – and then I receive my doctorate.  & then I have to find a job.  I could stay here – if the English Department offers me a job – & I have no reason to think that they will not – but Rina isn’t happy here.  She has never liked Buffalo.  & I have been getting offers from other schools.”

“Does Bard know this?”

“We haven’t talked about it but he knows how this all works – he’s involved in the same process, after all – I would hope that he isn’t just assuming my whole life is the band.”

“But Barrett.”  I held out my glass for more wine because I had sucked mine down listening to him talk.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  “Barrett.  We’re going into the studio to record a demo.   Next week!  Tanner has hired a photographer & we have gigs going into the new year.  After everything we went through when Frankie & Gregski quit the band – I mean, what the fuck – the band is Bard’s entire life – it’s my entire life! – after writing all those songs & working all those hours on them – how can you now be saying that you might not be here?”

He refilled our glasses & relit the joint.  “Don’t worry about it now.  I’m speaking entirely out of turn.  & don’t say anything to Bard about it.  I haven’t even done my oral defense yet.  I could completely fail.”

I took a long toke.  Blowing it out, I said, “You’re not going to fail.”  I felt completely deflated.  Depressed.   Instead of feeling high from the wine & the weed, I felt crushed.

He took my glass from my hand & set it on the table.  “Come here, baby.”  & I went into his arms & kissing him was so fine – soon the depressed feeling went away – the afternoon sun was streaming into the windows & I was glowing from the effects of the wine & the weed & his body pressed against me – his lips were caressing my ear & he was saying, “Let’s go to the bedroom, baby,” when the phone started ringing & I thought, oh no it’s Bard but it was Rina.  She was at the airport – she had gotten an earlier flight home & she wanted Barrett to come & get her.

I was like – fuck!  Barrett was quickly cleaning up the glasses & even drying them & putting them away – he really knows how to hide his tracks – & I put on my jacket & waited for him.  I didn’t want to go home.  I didn’t want to see Bard.  Hearing that he was adamant that I was not going to be singing anymore both pissed me off & made me depressed.  Since it was more or less on the way, I had Barrett drop me off at Falco’s on Bailey Ave, where I could have a few cheap beers & then walk home.

I sat at the bar with a small pitcher of Labatt’s Blue & a small glass & thought about the afternoon.  One pitcher turned into two & then three.  The more I drank, the more I thought & the more I thought, the more none of it made sense.   I thought back to this summer when Barrett told me about touring in the late 60’s & early 70’s & how exhausting it was & all the partying & drugs & the groupies & the VD & the O.D.’s  & how he just wanted a quiet academic life.  So why – why – why – did he join up with Bard to start a band?  & why start a band with the intent to “go all the way” as it was always being put?  Record a demo – try to get a recording contract – try & get the funds to do a whole album?  Play gigs every weekend & as many nights during the week & eventually try to get bigger bookings out of town?  & then do the really big shows – the stadiums & the arenas – make the big money – get on the cover of PUNK & Cream & Trouser Press.  If Barrett really wasn’t on board for all of this – then what was the point?  What was the point of the last five months?

I was pretty drunk when Mac & Teddy & Jesse came in.  “Hey!”  said Mac.  “Bard’s been looking for you.”

“Why?”  I asked.

“I don’t know.  But you had better hang out with us,” he said laughing.  “You’re obviously buzzed & he’s not in a very good mood.  I’ll say you were drinking with us.”  So I hung out with them for a while, playing pool & having a few more beers – not that I needed them.  Jesse bought me a roast beef sandwich – “To soak up the alcohol” – which was really nice of him because I was really getting hungry by that point.  & it must have helped.  I mean, I woke up this morning & I wasn’t hung over.

***

Mac was right when he said that Bard was looking for me.  He told me this morning that when we are at Tommy Calandra’s studio, recording the demo, I am not going to be participating at all other than as “a roadie”.  “We need you to help carry equipment & set things up,” he said, “write set lists & fetch & carry whatever we need – you’re so good at that.  But for the purposes of this demo, you’re not going to be part of this band at all.”  I thought about what Barrett said to me & I almost said, “What band?”  but I kept my mouth shut.  All I did was smile & say, “Sure Bard, whatever you say.” Then I went over to Teddy’s, where I picked up a half-ounce of weed.  I stayed over there for a while, getting high with him & Jesse, then I went to Falco’s & played pool.

***

I’m sitting at the kitchen table with Bard, eating beef-barley soup.  It’s not too good so I threw in a lot of pepper.  It was only 10 cents a can, so that explains why it sucks.  Bard’s eating cereal – his homemade granola – which is really good – he mixes shredded wheat, oatmeal, bran cereal & all kinds of nuts & dried fruits & berries – it’s really filling.  I wish I was eating it instead of this shitty soup I have.

I left work after an hour.  I felt OK when I got there but then I was really sick.  My supervisor was pissed off at me.  “Don’t you ever pull anything like this again,” she snapped.  I had to laugh.  “You think this is funny,” she said.  “But you’re going to get fired the way you’re going.”  Honestly I don’t care if I get fired.  I should just quit.  That would take care of that.  I mean, how I was to know I was going to get sick?  I hardly ever get sick drinking anymore.  Of course I have really cut back on the drinking – partly because I had to, being on the antibiotic – but also because I was simply drinking too much.  But last night I must have drunk a whole lot.  I don’t remember!  There are giant blanks in last night’s memory.  I wasn’t planning on going out – as usual – but I read that the BonaVista on Hertel Ave. was having a lady’s night – ladies drink free from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., which sounded really good to me.  But Mac was going out somewhere else & I didn’t really want to go alone.  Mac said, “Call Marc, he’ll go out.”  So I did.  Marc said, “Sounds great but I have a gig at Ryan’s downtown, with Joey, Lenny & Dan, we’re playing the blues.  Why don’t you come along with us?”  So that’s what I did… & it was great!  What great musicians!  Lenny – oh my god, can he play guitar!  & Dan’s bass was totally cool – fretless, very big & heavy – sounded almost like an upright bass.  Marc & Dan traded off on bass & guitar.  At one point, Joey said, “I wanna play ‘Chamelion’, man, let’s play ‘Chamelion’!”   Marc (on bass) replied, “I don’t know ‘Chamelion’.”  Joey started singing it: “Da-da-da-da-da-da! Da-da-da-da-da-da!” & they worked it out in two minutes & jammed on it for over fifteen.  That was just one of their fabulous jams. I mean – there were all these great spontaneous things going on.

I had a Canadian $5 which I spent on drinks & Marc bought me drinks & Joey bought me drinks & every guy I danced with bought me drinks.  Joey let me wear his hat – “Can you handle the power?” he joked.  “Am I Cori McBride or am I Elizabeth fucking Taylor?” I shot back.  “I guess you can handle it,” he laughed.  Near the end of the gig, they let me sing a few songs.  I was getting really wasted but I handled it.  I sang “Fine & Mellow” & “Am I Blue”.  Going home Marc, Joey  & I sang Beatles tunes.  It was so much fun.

We dropped Joey off at Kosta’s, where he was meeting Lenny & Dan & a few others for breakfast but neither Marc nor I had money, so he took me home.  At my house, Bard was just leaving for campus.  It was really early but he must have been meeting someone or something.  I really wasn’t thinking about it & I really didn’t care.  He said, “You’re drunk!” when he saw me – no hello, no nothing.  & then: “Button up your shirt!”  like he’s my dad or something!  I said, “I have a right to wear my clothes anyway I want!”  Who does he think he is?

Mac was just going to bed after being out all night.  There was still plenty of spaghetti from dinner, so I served up plates for Marc & me.  We played the new Chaotic Bliss tapes.  We’ve been recording here at home – getting ready to go into Tommy Calandra’s recording studio to make a demo to try to get a recording contract.  The tapes are great! Marc & I were bouncing up & down with excitement.  During “Moonshine Meditation” I was squirming.  Marc knows about Barrett & me – he guessed so I told him everything – what there was to tell – it’s not like Barrett & I have ever slept together or anything – but it felt so good to get it off my chest – confession is good for the soul – & Marc was so great about it.  He totally understands & sympathizes & is behind me 100%.

Of course he kissed me – of course it went farther than a kiss.  I was right when I said Marc was like a lion.  When he left, he swore me to silence: “None of your drunken slips,” he warned.  I promised I would never tell.  I mean, I know he has Mary K. – who’s in NYC this week – I don’t want to get in the way of that.  I’m just the other woman.  Doomed to be the other woman.  Maybe that’s why Jon & I didn’t work out – because I’m not supposed to be the one true woman – I’m the other woman.  It really sucks – but oh well, that’s rock’n’roll.

He gave me a ride to work.  I should have just called off but I thought I was OK.  Hey – what did I know – I was still drunk.  But I had eaten & taken a quick shower & I thought I was OK.

When I came home today, Bard asked, “What – are you fired – what are you doing home early?”

“I’m not feeling well, I finished up my work early & came home.”

“Oh, you’re hungover,” he sneered.

“Well, so fucking what?”  I can’t believe his attitude lately.

I have to go.  I have to clean up a cat turd in Bard’s room.  He is incapable of doing it himself.

***

I am so out of it.  I just feel so totally awful.  It is just so depressing.  I haven’t seen Barrett in a week.  I really miss him.  I’m so lonely.  Sure – everyone knows why I drink like I do.  I’m pretty moderate but then I go crazy like I did last night.  It’s incredible.  The blues, man.  I’m so burnt.  I’m sitting here – on my bed – just over a hangover – tired – smoking hash – writing my diary – there has got to be something better!  There has just got to be.  If life is going to be like this, I would rather not live.  It’s been like this for 5, 6 years now – for a long, long time – & I’m tired.  I don’t understand why happiness is so fleeting.  I’m tired of being the other woman – I want to be THE woman.  I want to be the one to someone who’s the one for me.  It doesn’t seem fair.  & then I catch myself being bitchy & I hate that even more.  I’m not a saint or a martyr or even a particularly patient person.  I’m a baby & a brat & I’m hungry – I want it now – & all these feelings just make me cry.  & right now I have to force myself to sit here – so I don’t take a swig out of the bottle of vodka – the Kahlua is long gone – I’ve been mixing the vodka with chocolate milk.

I’m really sick of Bard – he’s totally changed.  Every time I mispronounce a word, he says I’m being “cute” or using “feminine wiles” & I’m doing nothing of the sort.  I really don’t know how to pronounce many words, because I read more than I speak.  I’m tired of his parent trip!  Leave me alone!  I just want to be loved!  I just want something to look forward to!  More than stolen affection from married men or quick love from pretty boys in bars or any of that – I want the real thing.  All I have is the Bliss – & Barrett goes home to Rina & Marc to Mary K. & Joey to Pam & Bard to his fantasies or whatever it is & I’m all alone.

***

At this point, I don’t care if I get fired or not.  I don’t care about very much anymore.  I just wanna pay my bills & have a little left over for fun.  Whatever happens beyond that – it just doesn’t matter.

I am bored.  I am so bored.  I am so fucking bored I could scream.  After a week’s work – every damn day – early to bed – early to rise – stuck behind a desk all day – & I want to go out & have fun – I want to rock!  There is no rock’n’roll happening in this city tonight!  How can that be?  What happened to the punk scene here in Buffalo?

***

My mother called me.  She’s leaving Dick & getting a divorce & also an annulment through the Catholic Church so it’s like she was never married to him at all.  She is already gone, apparently.  She spent the last 28 days in a hospital, detoxing from the effects of too much alcohol & apparently too many tranquilizers & she is now going to AA.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when she was telling me all this.  She said that Dick was abusive – of course I already knew that.  & like, no wonder she drank – living with that asshole.  I think I would be wasted the entire fucking marriage if I was married to a jerk like that.

She says she is going to sell the house in Gates Mills & she has already rented a house in Shaker Heights & may buy it but maybe will buy another one – she wasn’t sure.  She wanted to know if I wanted to “come home” – I really wasn’t sure what she meant by that – I mean, Cleveland has never been home to me –  but she said that our “differences could be worked out” & I could go to school there & be part of the family again.  She said that Helena had met a nice young man & was going to get married in the new year – Helena!  She was going to become a nun!  Like forever! – & that Tish & Rocco missed me.  Which I rather doubted but who knows.  She didn’t mention Ross but he’s over in Germany anyway.

On one hand, it seems like admitting failure.  Like the “the hard cold world” has defeated Cori, or something like that.  It costs so much money to live!  Maybe not so much in terms of rent, but heating your place in the winter will put you in the poor house.  It seems like I’m always cold.  I don’t think this place is insulated & there’s no storm windows.  Whenever the wind blows, the windows rattle & you feel the cold air going through the house like a sharp knife.

We eat spaghetti endlessly.  I would love to have a steak.  Or a lobster quiche.  Or anything that isn’t cheap & filling.  I would love to look into the fridge & see loads of food.  & a stocked pantry.  Just too much of everything.  I would love to go to the supermarket & not have to add up in my head as I put things into my basket.

***

I went to lunch with Sara this afternoon.  I was surprised that she asked me but we met on campus & she said she had a gift certificate for The Library & invited me along.  I should have been suspicious but I was hungry & a free meal is a free meal.

She ordered a bottle of Rosé & we each got a crock of French Onion Soup & a Julienne salad.  “I’m so glad to have this time to talk with you,” she said.  “Especially after what you said at the B-52’s show.”

“What was that?”  I thought back to the show, but all I could remember was kissing Barrett in his car.

“How you still want Jon.”

“Oh.  Well.”  I wasn’t sure what to say so I fell back on my usual policy of saying nothing.

“You may be aware that Jon & I have been seeing each other,” she went on – rather smugly, I thought.

“I’m really busy with the Bliss,” I said.

“Well, we’re really getting serious,” she gushed.  “He’s taken me to meet his parents & this past weekend, he took me out to West Seneca to meet his older sister.”

I stopped eating.  “What older sister?”

“His older sister Diane?  She’s a teacher?  Second grade?” Sara didn’t even wait for me to answer her.  “She just got engaged.  Jon took me to the engagement party.”

“Oh,” I said finally.  “Oh yeah.”

I felt like bombs were going off in my head.  No – like loud bells – like church bells – like all the church bells in the world were ringing in my skull.  “I need to use the ladies’ room,” I told her & left the table.

In the ladies’ room, I lit up a joint & smoked about half of it before I was able to calm down.  Jon had an older sister.  Really.  In all the time we had known each other, he had never thought to mention her.  Nor had he ever introduced me to his parents – who were right downstairs every Friday night when he took me to his place to fuck me.  & I had to admit that that’s all it ever was – fucking – not making love – not love at all – I felt like my heart was breaking all over again.

I left the ladies’ room & walked to the bar.  I met Jon in August, 1978 & we fell in love immediately – oh, I will never forget that day – all sick & hungover from drinking with Mark Miles the night before – until I saw Jon – & then my hangover faded away like it never had been.  That first afternoon – hanging out under the trees in front of Hayes Hall – getting high – talking about poetry & punk rock & Shakespeare & sonnets – & where we were from & where we wanted to go – yes, it was love at first sight.  For me, absolutely & I thought it was for him too.  That’s what he told me.  I remember making love the first time in his little bed in his little room – his giant-sized cock – he told me that he had never been able to “get into a girl” before & I was “really” his first one – & he was so big that he hurt me & I left like a virgin again – we were like two virgins – like John & Yoko – I really felt that.  It was such a tremendous feeling.  It’s almost embarrassing to admit it now.  But I had never been in love like that before.

& then getting pregnant.

I did a shot of Old Grand Dad at the bar & returned to the table.

“Are you OK?” asked Sara.

“Yeah,” I answered & smiled.  The bourbon was kicking in & the weed was finally calming me.  I poured myself another glass of wine.  “I’m really happy for you two,” I purred.  “I really hope it all turns out.”  I sipped the wine.  It was a lousy Rosé – it had to be the cheapest wine on the menu – I was sure to have a headache later.  But whatever.  “I sure hope you don’t get pregnant like I did.  But at least Jon can’t use the same excuse with you as he did with me.”

“Whatever do you mean?”

“Oh!  That he was the first person in his family to go to college – that he really couldn’t support a child – he didn’t want to go into the steel mill like his father – so I had to have an abortion.”  I smiled & sipped my wine. “But his older sister is a teacher, huh?  So I guess he isn’t the first person in his family to go to college.”

“You must have misunderstood him.”

“Oh!  For sure!  Because I was so upset!  Being pregnant & all.  & being in love with Jon.  & wanting to have his baby – cuz that’s what silly women in love want to do.”  I laughed.  “But having an abortion was the right thing to do, wasn’t it?  Jon was right, wasn’t he?  & all’s well that ends well – I mean, you guys are getting together so obviously a baby would have gotten in the way of that.”

“Jon never told me any of that.”

I laughed.  “That doesn’t surprise me one bit.”  I looked at my watch & pretended to be surprised at the time.  “Hey – I’ve got an appointment downtown – I’ve got to catch a bus.  Thanks for the lunch.”

I went home & cried like I thought I would never stop.

***

I haven’t had any time to write this week because we have been in the studio every evening recording the demo.  Only four tunes – “Underground Radio” & “Forgettable You” – those are Bard’s – & “Walking Backwards” & “Moonshine Meditation” – Barrett’s tunes.  With all the work that has gone into making those tunes absolutely perfect, you would think that recording would have been perfectly smooth but it has been anything but.  Only “Moonshine Meditation” went off without a hitch & I think that’s really because it’s Barrett’s tune – it doesn’t require Bard at all – it really demonstrates that Barrett & Marc & Joey would be a fabulous power trio – personally I don’t think they need Bard at all.  Or me, honestly.  Just the three of them.

But it’s Bard’s band, really – Barrett may be the bass player but I know now that he’s not going to be around much longer – I can feel it.  & then what happens?  I wish I could play electric bass but even if I started learning today, I could never be the player Barrett is.  I mean, he’s been playing for at least 15 years – that’s a really long time.  I have a hard time making chords on a regular guitar – let alone the bigger, thicker strings on a bass.  & honestly – I don’t want to be behind a guitar.  I like being a front man.  I’m a singer – I’m a dancer – I’m the kind of person who’s right out there.

Even though Bard had said that I was not going to be singing “at all”, the chorus to “Underground Radio” – the “hey hey hey” part – was so weak that both Tommy Calandra & Tanner insisted that I be included to “pump up the sound” – so at least I’ll be included on that cut.  I think that everyone is so used to my voice back there that it’s just missing when it’s not there.  I should have also been singing backup on “Walking Backwards” but Joey took my part.  I was upset about that but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.  & he did sound really good.  I had to admit that.  During a break, Barrett & I were smoking a joint & he said that he thought that a three-part harmony would work really well on that tune & we should start working on that.  I agreed with him but I was thinking – really?  Bard doesn’t want me singing at all & you?  Are you even going to be here in another two months?

Anyway, the tapes will be ready in a week.  Bard’s going to start taking them around to all the radio stations & to all his friends in the record business.  Naturally he’s going to Gary Storm first – he’s got an interview on “Oil of Dog” tonight.  If this goes well, the entire band might get an invite to perform live on the show.  Of course that doesn’t include me.  But I do hope we get a recording contract out of this – of course it means nothing if Barrett gets a job somewhere outside of Buffalo.  I can’t believe he hasn’t said anything to Bard yet.  But maybe he thinks it isn’t worth talking about before he knows anything.

***

Today I woke up & there was snow on the ground & swirling in the air & since I was late I didn’t pay much attention to it but I have been happy all day & getting into the Christmas spirit.  On my way to work this morning, I stopped off at Teddy’s to pick up a bag of weed & he got me high so I was buzzed all morning which was nice.  Because of the election this place has been dry dry dry but now it’s getting better.

Mac is frying potatoes & onions.  Our diet consists of starch & more starch & maybe some tomato sauce & a few eggs thrown in for variety.  I’m drinking vodka & chocolate milk.  This is the poor man’s White Russian.  If there’s any coffee leftover from the morning, I mix that in too.

Lately I’ve been able to get speed – from Teddy, of course – White Crosses at 50 cents a hit or Black Beauties at a dollar a hit.  I would rather do the Black Beauties – they’re a better high & they last longer.  They’re easier on my system, too.  I’ve been getting whatever pot I can scrape up.  The other night I smoked a joint of “Himalayan Thunderfuck” – really! – & got totally wasted – everything was dream-like – it was the best high.

***

I have been very depressed lately but things seem to be looking up somewhat.  One thing I’ve noticed is that whenever I’m really down – as far down as I can go – there’s nowhere else to go but up & my mood does start to improve.

***

I had the most horrendous argument with Jon – about Sara – who has proved to be a back-stabbing bitch – she told him everything I said when we went to lunch at The Library – & he didn’t like it.  “You had no right,” he told me, “to tell anyone about that abortion.”

“Really,” I countered.  “I have no right to talk about something that happened to me, to my body, that affected me & really only me.”

“It affected me too,” he argued.

“Sure it did,” I laughed.

“Ya know, I don’t even know that it was my baby,” he went on.  “It could have been anyone’s.  You just said it was mine.”

At that point, I really lost it.  If we hadn’t been talking on the phone, I might have thrown something at him.  “IT WAS YOURS.  YOURS & NO ONE ELSE’S.”  I tried to calm down.  “I wasn’t fucking anyone else.  Just you.  Only you.”  I was starting to cry & I struggled for composure.

“You fucked Mark Miles the night before you met me.  He told me.  & if you do the math, it could be his.  Easily.”

“ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME?”  Again, I struggled for composure.  “Listen, you fucking dickhead asshole, maybe I fucked Mark that night – honestly I was so wasted I don’t remember.  But as far as I’m concerned, that baby – that FETUS – that mess of TISSUE WITH YOUR NAME ON IT – was YOURS & NO ONE ELSE’S. TAKE FUCKING RESPONSIBILITY ALREADY!”  I hung up on him.

But he surprised me today by calling me today & apologizing.  I was really surprised – Jon never apologizes.  But it doesn’t change anything – Jon & Sara are definitely together now.  He told me that when the semester is over & her roommate moves out, he’s moving in.  I was like, oh really.  I wasn’t going to argue with that either – I mean, all those arguments we had about moving in together & he had all these stupid reasons – how he couldn’t afford it & his job in Lackawanna & all that – it was all a bunch of bullshit.  He just didn’t want to.  Cuz I wasn’t that important.  Not like Sara is, evidently.  I was never even introduced to his family.  Like she already has been.  I suppose he’s going to marry her & have babies with her too.  He didn’t want my baby.  Denied that it was even his.

He actually told me that we would “always be friends.”  Oh – OK.  I can see where this is going.  So anything I have with Jon means that I’m the other woman there too now.

Last night Chaotic Bliss was practicing – they play in the living room all the time now – they played for several hours while I sat on the couch, writing.  I don’t even hum along anymore.  What’s the point?  I’m just the roadie.  Anyway, Rina came to pick up Barrett.  Usually she waits in the car for him, but last night she came up & waited in the dining room as they finished up their rehearsal.   It was the usual scene – talking about the tune, working a last few little licks out – I was a part of it, like I always am.  “You always know what we need to do!”  Barrett said to me, smiling.  I lit a joint & passed it to him.  Out of the corner of my eye – since I wasn’t actually looking at her – I saw Rina look at me & then at him.  But it doesn’t matter – because I’m just the other woman & I don’t matter.

***

I just told Mac to get up.  Bard’s up too, for some reason.  He doesn’t have a class today – usually he sleeps when he doesn’t have to go to campus.  I can’t stand it when we’re all up in the morning – it’s too hard with only one bathroom.  I’ve been up since 6:15 so my shower is out of the way – all I have to do is my make-up, which I can do with a hand mirror if I have to.  I don’t want to be late – although I have to admit I really don’t care anymore.

I was in Cleveland all weekend.  Mom’s new place in Shaker Heights is lovely & she looks better than she has in years.  She has a room all ready for me if I want to live there.  I just don’t know.  She talked AA the whole time & even offered to take me to a meeting.  I haven’t been to a meeting since I was in the hospital in April & I just don’t want to go to one right now.  Maybe Alcoholics Anonymous is the place for me.  Maybe someday.  I don’t really want to stop drinking so much as I want to stop getting sick & hungover.

My return home here was relatively undramatic.  Bard was up when I got home.  We talked a while.  When I hugged him, he hugged me back.  I hung out & read Gone With the Wind & got high all afternoon & washed my hair.  The more it grows in, the prettier it is.  I know that sounds really vain, but it’s true.  The super-short punk look really isn’t for me.  Maybe I need an entirely new look.  Anyway I fell asleep on the couch & woke up only when Barrett arrived at 6:45 for the Bliss rehearsal.  Joey & Marc were late, so Barrett & I talked – really about nothing.  The emotion was killing me.  I just wanted to touch him – to feel his lips on mine again.  Bard walked in & I know he felt the current between Barrett & me.  I could tell by the way he was looking at us & scowling at me.  I left the room when they started playing – I went into the kitchen & had a cup of tea & was reading.  Bard came in & I asked him about the demo tape, “Do I give Jon the copy of the tape I have or do you have another one for him?”  Jon wanted a copy to review for The Spectrum.

“Well – there aren’t very many copies.  Do you mind?”

“It doesn’t matter if I mind.”

“What do you mean, it doesn’t matter if you mind?”

“It just doesn’t matter. It’s not my place to mind.  I’m not really part of the band, am I.”  I gave him a really hard stare.

“Not your place – what is this shit – not part of the band – !”

I got up & went into my bedroom.  A little later he came in.  “What’s the matter with you?”  he asked.

“Nothing,” I answered.

“Well, you’re in such a bad mood.”

“Well, I thought you didn’t like me hanging out when you rehearse.  I get bad vibes.”

“Bad vibes!  Who’s giving you bad vibes?”  I glared at him.  He glared back.

I said, “Well, do you mind if I sit in there & embroider?”

“Of course you may!  You’re always welcome, you know that!”

So I sat there – where I wanted to be.  It was almost over anyway.  Barrett said he had to go, but then he hung out – long after Marc & Joey had left.  He told Marc, “I’ll have a beer but I really can’t stay long,” but he had several beers & smoked a bunch of joints.  First he & Bard played “Mariella” – Barrett playing Bard’s acoustic guitar – & then he turned to me & said, “Now I want to hear Cori sing.”  So I sang, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” – which I knew he knew – & it was exactly how I felt anyway – & then I sang “Crazy” & a few other Patsy Cline tunes – & he sang some 50’s ballads – to which I sang harmony – & then we sang “If I Fell”, trading off on lead & harmony vocals.  It was so much fun.  Barrett sings with his eyes closed but he’d look at me every so often.  I just couldn’t take my eyes off him.  I’d laugh when he’d lose his place in the corny ballads he was singing – oh I loved it.  After we sang “If I Fell,” he said he had to go.  I followed him out to the door but of course Bard hung out too & I couldn’t get a private word in.  The door was barely closed & I yelled, “Wait!” & bounded down the stairs.  He was between the first landing & the second one & I hung over the banister – just an inch or so from his face.  “Barrett!  Will I ever see you again?”

“You see me all the time.”

“You know what I mean.”

He said – so softly that I almost didn’t hear him – & even now I wonder if I really did – “Rina is going back down to Brooklyn to check on her mother.  We can meet in a few days.”

Oh – I could die!

***

Hey!  I’ve got the Christmas spirit!  It snowed today & on the radio I heard “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby.  When you hear Bing, you know it’s Christmas!

I quit my job.  It’s the end of the semester & I don’t care anyway.  I don’t know what I’m going to do & I don’t give a flying fuck.  It’s Christmas & it’s snowing & the whole world is beautiful.

Just hearing him call me “Baby” – even if I’m just another girl he calls “Baby” – oh I don’t care if I’m one of a hundred – I love the way his voice sounds when he calls me “Baby” –

I’m in a good mood!  I am really in love!  Maybe tomorrow I’ll be depressed about it – who knows – but now I’m so high on it – just flying away –

Walking home from Barrett’s in the snow – oh – I was so happy I could die.  I never knew making love could be so wonderful.   Gentle – sweet – kisses as soft as snow fluttering in the streetlight.

Oh I am so much in love.