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.