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Tag: The Beatles

Excerpts From a Diary 43

[Summer, 1990]

[June]

Yesterday Teddy called me & told me that when he got home from work on Wednesday, there was a note on the door from a lawyer representing Del-Van Motors.  Teddy went over there & talked to D.J. – according to Teddy, they’re looking for Pat & wanted to know if he knew Pat’s address or any information as to his whereabouts.  I told Teddy I didn’t know where Pat was – which is true.  But I thought that something was wrong with that story – why would a lawyer leave a note on the door?  Why wouldn’t he just call Teddy & leave a message on the machine?  So I called D.J. myself.  It turns out that Teddy went over to Del-Van Motors himself – he was looking for Pat.  There’s no lawyer – nobody put a note on Teddy’s door.  But it is true that D.J. & Del-Van Motors are looking for Pat.  It seems that Pat owes them several hundred dollars – not $37 – like he told me – a while ago – I always thought $37 was a stupid amount of money & that there was something wrong with that story – but whatever.  Talking to D.J. filled in some of the blanks & untangled some of the crossed tales that Pat has been telling me.  Neither of them – Pat & Teddy – are telling me the truth – or the whole truth – just telling me what they want me to know & embroidering the rest as they see fit.  I’m not mad – I’m too exhausted to be mad – I’m just disappointed – honestly – I’m not even particularly surprised.

In their scramble to hold on to me & keep me from the other, both of them are losing me.

***

I just talked to Jesse.  It was wonderful to talk to him.  He’s in Atlanta.  I was like – Atlanta!  Bob sent him there.  He’s detoxing – coming off a 10-year addiction to painkillers – but also coke & booze – we connected on so many levels.  A sober Jesse would be a mighty friend to have.  Better than a lover.  Much better than a lover.

***

I got a letter from Pat today.  It was very short.  Apparently, he’s in Cleveland.  He’s staying with his brother.  “This is going to be a short letter, because at this point you certainly don’t need me.  You need space.  Your world is crowded enough…My dream showed me the motivation, the karma of us…We will be together again, if not in this world, later on.  We were together before this world & we will meet again…I love you completely…enough to perform the ultimate act of love, to let you go.  It’s already happened & I didn’t do it…I’ve loved you forever & I will continue to do so; there is no choice in this matter…I feel a universe of gratitude toward you.”

At first I felt sad.  I even had tears in my eyes.  Then I saw the envelope.  It was addressed to “Cori McBride Mitchell”.  I thought, what the fuck – I have never used the name “Mitchell” – ever.  I have always been “Cori McBride”.  Then I reread the letter & I got mad.  It was like my eyes were opened.  Or unclouded.  I wanted to talk to Lance but he wasn’t in so I talked to Angie.  She was really glad I saw it – really glad I saw through the words of love to the manipulation beneath it all.  I still feel sad – a little – I hate the end of any love affair – especially one that felt as good as that one did.  I also feel really stupid.

***

I started working on my Fourth Step.  Lance says that this is one of the most important steps.  “Most people never get beyond this point,” he told me.  “They start doing their inventory & get depressed about themselves & go back out again.  But you’re not going to do that, are you?”

“No,” I said.  “I’m not going back out.”  But I’m not going to do a crazy-ass inventory, either.  I can do one now & I can do another one next year & I can keep doing them.  It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time.  People go out because they want to do the perfect inventory – so they don’t have to redo it – as a housewife, I know that houses need to be cleaned on a daily basis – some things are weekly or monthly or seasonal – but it’s ongoing.  An inventory is no different.  I don’t know where people get the idea that you do one inventory & you’re done.  In the Big Book, Bill Wilson clearly lays out the whole concept of doing “fearless & moral inventory” of your “character defects” in business terms & I don’t know any business that does one inventory & that’s the end of it.  You do yearly inventories – monthly inventories – you keep a close eye on your assets & deficits.  Or else you’d be out of business right quick.

***

Yesterday Teddy drove the motorcycle from Buffalo & met with Lance & Angie & me, of course.  I felt it was a very good meeting – a good beginning.  After the meeting, Teddy & I went out for a bite to eat.  It was so nice riding the bike again!  I took him to a Greek place that was nearby – I know he hates seafood.  His idea of a fish dinner are fish sticks & French fries that you heat up in the oven.  As we were leaving the restaurant, I said, “Maybe we should try again?”  The look on his face – well, that’s what he wants – but not the old marriage – a newer better one – well, we’ll have to see.  I’m not in any hurry.

I wanted to take him to Manchester-by-the-Sea & show him where I used to live but there wasn’t enough time.  I can’t believe I’ve been here over two months & haven’t gotten there once.  But I’m not allowed to go that far on my own & it’s not exactly close by.

***

I know it seems like I hardly ever write anymore.  Basically I have to write so much for group that I don’t have time for the diary – or it seems redundant – it’s all about my feelings & my thoughts – just like a diary.  But all based around the Twelve Steps & other basic concepts of recovery.

***

I got a letter from Pat.  He’s in a rehab program – in AA – he’s got a sponsor – he’s feeling better.  He thanks me.  I’m not sure why he was thanking me but whatever.

My heart felt so strange.  I had just finished writing about my relationship with Jon.  Pat made me feel like I felt with Jon – for good & for bad.  When it was good, it was insanely good & when it was bad, it was devastatingly bad.  Soon I’ll be getting help from Dr. Barb – a sex therapist – & all these unresolved relationship & feelings & emotions will be resolved – over & done with – put to rest.  Hopefully, anyway.

I wrote 3 poems.

***

[July]

I am allowed out more now.  I walk all over Lowell & I am getting really strong.  I even run a little!  I found a great little bookstore & bought The Women’s Spirituality Book, by Diane Stein.  I have been reading it all afternoon.  It’s really nice to read something that isn’t recovery.  But it is – it’s all goddess – you can’t separate spirituality & recovery.  & the goddess wants me to be healthy & whole.

I don’t know what to do about Teddy.  He writes me these long rambling letters – all in pencil – I really believe he loves me but I don’t know what to do about it.  Part of me wishes that he hadn’t come here & met with my counsellors but it’s part of the program & he wanted to do the right thing.  He really is trying so hard.  I shouldn’t expect perfection – sexual or otherwise – at least not right away!   I have dozens of erotic books, novels, poetry, manuals – maybe after we have been together for a while, we can work at synchronizing our sexual patterns – he can become more intuitive, more imaginative & I can become less demanding.  There are also other ways to feel like the Goddess.  I have come to rely on sex – & performance, dancing & singing – to feel that way – but there are others.  It is a matter of imagination, creativity, desire, execution, change.  “She changes all she touches & all she touches, changes”.  I prayed for change.  My affair with Pat was the key – the beginning – the ace.  Now am working through the rest of the pack.  It all takes time.  A never-ending journey.

***

I tested negative for HIV.

***

A tough day.  I feel so tired out lately – like the flu without the symptoms.  I started seeing Dr.Barb – the sex therapist – & I don’t like her.  I thought I would but I don’t.  I’m not sure why I don’t.  There’s something about her – she’s disingenuous.  Like she’s not really a woman or something.  Maybe she’s not.  You never know with some of these women.  I feel like she’s a peeping tom – looking through the eyes of a beautifully dressed woman.  & she’s really interested in my father.  Way more than she is in me.  Her first question to me was, “What does it feel like to be the daughter of a famous author?”  Like – how do you answer that?  I never thought of my father as a famous author.  He was just my Daddy.  & he wasn’t a famous author until 1970 – he really wasn’t really famous until just before he died – & his death is really what made him a household name.  Mom told me that he had to borrow the money to get the dream home in Manchester & he was still in debt when he died – which is why Mom had to sell it off – she said that his fame didn’t do any of us any good at all.

So how does it feel to be the daughter of a famous author?  It doesn’t really feel like anything at all.  Especially fourteen years after his death – I can barely remember the sound of his voice – only sometimes – like how he said “Low-ell”.  If it wasn’t for photographs, I probably would have forgotten what his face looked like long ago.   Sometimes I’ll see one of his books & I’ll turn it over to see his face on the back of the dust jacket & it’s always a kind of shock – the 70’s haircut, the tweed jacket – I wonder what he would look like now.  Would he have lost his hair or would he have a silver mane?  Would his eyes still be even more crinkled along the sides from laughter & time spent in the sun?  Would he still be attractive to women of all ages?  Would he still have that famous McBride charm?

She wanted to know if I was angry at him for dying drunk behind the wheel & was that why I started drinking.  I hear this question all the time, so I was ready for it.  “I was drinking long before he died,” I answered.  Which isn’t exactly true – it isn’t a lie – but it’s not like I was getting drunk at age fourteen, either – I had some beers now & again.  Like all suburban teens.  But it shuts them up.  All of them – Dr. Barb, Lance, Angie – they all want easy answers.  Like I became a drunk & a druggie cuz my dad died drunk behind the wheel with a young woman not his wife when I was sixteen years old.  Like it was some kind of abandonment that I can never get over.  The truth is – I felt abandoned long before that.

***

I finished my Fourth Step – it’s a fucking novel – I tried to keep it a short story but it was very tough.  I also tried to keep it in outline form – like Bill Wilson says in the Big Book – but once I got writing, I just kept going.

I presented it to Lance & we went over it.  He wanted to know how I wanted to “do” my Fifth Step – he asked if I had a sponsor to talk it over with.  I have a “temporary sponsor” here in Lowell – a woman named Sharon – but I don’t really want to read my Fourth Step to her.  I mean – she’s nice – but I only got her because it was required – not because I felt like we were AA soul mates.  Besides – it’s not like I’m staying here – I know that eventually I’m going back to either Buffalo or Cleveland.  So there’s no use in getting really close to anyone.

I said I would feel better just doing it with him.  So tomorrow, I “take the Fifth” as the saying goes.

***

Working with Dr. Barb brings up all the old stuff with my stepfather & his ever-present hands.  & the Brady Devine & his friends raping me that night in Gates Mills.  A lot of this stuff I have pushed so far down into my consciousness that I barely remember any of it & I don’t like remembering it at all.  Dr. Barb says that most women alcoholics are victims of sexual abuse & the earlier that we deal with the pain & we start to heal from it, the easier our recovery will be.  But most of us want to run from the pain.  Well – why the hell not?  Once you start remember this stuff – without any drugs to moderate the pain – all you do is think about it – over & over & over again.

I don’t like talking to her about this stuff.  She seems like a voyeur.

***

I want to go home.  Even though I am still in love with Pat – I know I am – but there’s no future in that – & I still love Jesse – I always will but there’s even less future there – Teddy still loves me – & I do love him – & I am so homesick – for my kitties & my books – & there’s plenty of AA meetings in Buffalo – I want my own house, my own kitchen, food I can eat – not to have to go to group everyday & meetings everyday & think about nothing but recovery, recovery, recovery!  I want to have some fun!

***

I took off today – without permission – we’re supposed to sign out but I just left.  I took the train to Boston & then up the coast to Manchester-by-the Sea.  I walked around for a while – I found our house – of course there’s another family living there now, so I didn’t want to hang out – but I wanted to see it.  & then I went to the beach.  I wore a bikini under my sundress so it would be easy to strip down & lay out in the sun & swim in the ocean.  Which is what I did.  It was like heaven.

But I CAUGHT HELL when I got back to Blue Star Rehab.  Leaving without permission – being gone all day – it was like I had done the worst thing imaginable – even though I have done everything else they have asked me to do & never fucked up once.  I had to do a breathalyzer when I came in – even though a fucking moron could have seen that I hadn’t been drinking – & I had to do a urine too & I’ll have to do another one in a few days as well.  I just wanted to go see my old home!  & go to the beach!  & I was never allowed to – I’m 30 fucking years old! – so I thought, fuck it, I’m leaving.  I don’t see what the big deal is – I’m fine, everyone can see I’m fine.

***

They are making a big deal out of me being gone all day yesterday.  Both Lance & Angie are on my side but it’s coming from higher up than them.  I’ve been here four – almost five – months & you’d think I’d be able to do things on my own – like an adult, not a child.  The outpatient clients get to come & go as they please.  But those of us who live here – for whatever reasons – we’re treated like we’re mentally ill & can’t be trusted.  We have to sign out when we leave & sign back in – there’s a curfew – I’m so tired of this.  I wanted to get sober & that’s what I did.  I want to go home now.

***

It is settled.  I am going home Friday morning.   Nobody is happy about this but I was almost out of insurance anyway so I was going to have to start paying out of pocket or leave – & I don’t have to money to pay out of my own pocket!  So now it’s AA all the way!

***

It’s incredibly hot & humid.  Nonetheless, I am packing – I can hardly wait.  I’ve been so homesick.  Teddy is coming to get me – I don’t know what to think about that.  I will try again.  But if it doesn’t work, I’m going to leave – I told him this.  I am not going to be unhappy & start using again.

I am going to miss it here.  I really am.  I never thought I would come to love Lowell – such a funny little city – with all the little canals – “Low-ell”.  I wonder if I will ever return here.

***

(Buffalo, NY)

Four months without a drink – except for those few joints with Jesse when I first left Buffalo in March, I haven’t had any kind of drugs, either.  I expected Teddy to have a joint ready for me when I got home, but he said he didn’t have anything & wasn’t I supposed to be sober now?  I didn’t know what to think.  I am sure he has weed somewhere around here.  I never expected to stop smoking weed – not forever – not for the rest of my life.

“The End of the Innocence” is playing – I feel very emotional.  I should feel serene & secure in my sobriety but I feel shaky & insecure.  Pat’s spirit is with me no less than a dead man.  What do I feel?  Really?  Like I let myself down again.  I just wish chemical dependency hadn’t gotten mixed up into it all.  How could I remain true to my emotions when I had to dissect every feeling & express it & explain it & put it into its proper little box?  Don Henley is mocking me: “How bad do you want it?  Not bad enough.”  I thought I did.  I really did.  I still do.  Part of me hopes that things don’t work out with Teddy so I’m free – free – free for what? – Pat?  I have no real reason to think that we would have a good life together – a happy life – a life filled with motorcycles & camping & joints & shopping like I have with Teddy.  No real reason – except love that made me into the Goddess & he into a god – oh here I go again – homesick or not, I have to ask myself – what the hell am I doing here?

The other reason I hope it doesn’t work out with Teddy is so that maybe I can go back to Massachusetts.  Not to Lowell but to the coast.  I so long to live on the ocean.

***

Drinking coffee.  Thinking about projects – editing & revamping “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Seductress” – maybe change the title – thinking about what poems to send the Buffalo News – making a novel out of the Chaotic Bliss diary – what names for what people & why – how to tell it – diary or third person – plans for a quilt – plans for a recovery sampler – using one of the AA slogans.

Thinking about Pat & trying not to.  Maybe this house is charged.  Maybe I wove a stronger spell than I ever imagined.  Maybe it’s just my addictive/addicted personality coming back.  Maybe it never really left.

Last night I was on fire.  I could not stop thinking about him.  It was like we were together – in the dream realm – floating above consciousness.  Teddy was out cold next to me.  I moaned – lost in my reverie.  Then I sneezed & Teddy woke up.  I reached over & touched his cock.  Even hard, it seemed small compared to what I was remembering – I told myself to shut up – Teddy ate me out & then fucked me – I was gritting my teeth – I couldn’t believe I had come to this – Oh Pat – I can’t believe this – Me! – merely enduring sex! – after all the crazy kinky sex I’ve had! – what’s the matter with me? – or is it Teddy?  Everything he does seems like – textbook –

My heart hurts so intensely I can scarcely believe it.

***

Yesterday Teddy received a letter from Pat stating that he was not sorry he had an affair with me & that he had never considered Teddy a friend, only a business connection & that Teddy had deep-seated problems that needed attention –  especially sexual.

Needless to say, Teddy had a fit.  He wrote a letter back to Pat which I had to admit is a really good letter & really to the point – not Teddy’s usual meanderings.  Personally – I think Pat is really being an asshole in this case.  I mean – what kind of ninth step is that?  Who makes an amend & tells the other person that they have “deep-seated problems”?  I mean, really?

***

A hot day.  Sunny.  Blue skies.  A day that demands a beach, cool water & waves.  Orange crush & hot dogs.

***

[August]

Money woes mount.  Bills that need to be paid before any paychecks arrive – plus money that ought to be in the bank is not there – I have all the deposit slips & returned checks & I can’t figure out that happened – just shit I don’t need to deal with – I mean, who does?  But where does the money go to?  Is Teddy taking out money I don’t know about?  Are there bank withdrawal slips I’m not seeing?  He always handled all the money but now we’re supposed to be doing it together.  He always did fancy footwork when it came to finances & I’m much more conservative.  Maybe not in the way I’ve made my money but in the sense that I got out there & actually made it.  & used it to pay bills & buy groceries & then play with it.  Teddy plays first & then pays the bills.

Daily headaches & sleepless nights.  Ridiculous dreams when I do sleep.  Unable to wake up.

Feeling more & more unbalanced.  Realizing that drugs & alcohol – especially marijuana – were used to even the scales.   I’m wildly up or wildly down.

***

Reading rituals for Lammas.  Thinking of a solitary ritual.

***

What do I fear most?  Impotence – artistic, literary weakness – being a mediocre poet instead of a great one.  Unhappiness.  My unhappiness in the face of Teddy’s great joy that I have returned.  Fear.  Fear.  Fear.  Time to do a Step 6 – yet the words in the book just swim in front of me.

Loneliness.  Longing.  Want.  Want.  Overwhelming emotional fatigue.

***

Last night I had a terrible fight with Teddy about Pat.  He simply will not believe that it is over – completely.  I admitted that Pat calls the house but I did say that I no longer talk to him.  & not because of him – although I didn’t say that – but because of me.  Because I want it over.  I’m tired of the drama – tired of the soap opera of my marriage.  Today – calm discussions.  An empty feeling I am trying not to feel.  But also the realization that to live with Teddy means no secrets.  & I have always had secrets – even when I was a child, I had my secret life. I don’t know if I can be totally open with another person – it’s not the way I am.  Another thing – even if it means I never have sex again – no outside lovers.  Being married to Teddy means that I have sex only with him – whether or not he wants it – & only when he wants it – the way he wants it.  I do not know if I can do that.  I just don’t know.  I think it’s an awful lot to ask.  I mean –  if Teddy only wants sex once a month or twice a year or whatever it is – that’s ok for him – but why does that have to be ok for me?

On the other hand, I know where Teddy is coming from because it’s not like Pat is “being a gentleman about it” as Teddy put it – he’s been trying to break up our marriage from the very beginning.  I do have to be honest about that – even if Pat isn’t.  The thing is – I don’t think Pat even really wants me.  He just wants me because Teddy has me.  If I left Teddy & went to Pat, then Pat wouldn’t want me anymore.

It’s all so horribly depressing.

***

I couldn’t wake up this morning.  After Teddy left, I went back to bed & had all sorts of dreams – I was at a Grateful Dead concert in Cleveland with Pat – then flying over Lake Erie – I woke up bleeding.  I thought – oh, so no wonder I’m so whacked out lately & then I cried for over an hour.

I’m not falling apart – I’m not!  I’m keeping it together – barely.

***

I called Mark Miles this morning.  We’re getting together for lunch next week.

***

Sitting on the porch.  A warm, breezy, sunny day.  Ribs on the grill.  Just out of the shower – clean, smooth, sweet-smelling.  I have to continually shoo bees away.  Teddy’s in the shower.  I’m reading Anaïs Nin.

Almost uncontrollably moody.  Suicidal, almost.  Wanting to stick a needle into my arm.  Thinking – continually – of walking into a bar & ordering a shot & a beer.  Feeling hopeless – hopeless.

Teddy’s love debilitates me.  He is so happy I have returned.  I shrink from causing him pain.  Meanwhile I am in so much pain myself I can barely stand it.  All I do is think of suicide.  I don’t really want to get drunk.  It’s too slow.  I think of heroin – of faster, more sure ways to waste myself.  I just want to end this turmoil.

Evening.  Reading Anaïs Nin.  Her experiences with Drs. Allendy & Rank are helping me articulate what it is I want out of therapy.  She writes, “I felt torn apart by my multiple relationships, & I would have been able to live fully in each one, had enough love & devotion for all of them, but they conflicted with each other.”  Also: “I had no in-between existence:  only flights, mobility, euphoria; and despair, depression, disillusion, paralysis, shock & a shattering of the mirror.”

I need to learn to live with all this feeling.  How to reconcile myself with my various loves & lovers.  Deal with the feelings associated with the rape.  What to do about Teddy.  How to achieve union – or end it.

& then – how to live alone – if need be.  How to be happy.

No small order.

***

Meanwhile – Teddy wants to make love.  I honestly don’t think he really wants to make love –  he just thinks that I want to so he’s trying to do it for me.  & I honestly don’t want to.  I have been terribly horny – but I don’t want Teddy – what can I say!  It’s not going to work like that!

So last night – Teddy made love to me.  Or he tried.  It was a horrible mistake.  I had to grit my teeth – Teddy was eating me & running his hand up & down my body & I wanted to push him away – I had to involve myself in an elaborate rape fantasy just to cum – because he wasn’t going to stop until I did & I couldn’t cum any other way – I felt so shitty.  Then he fucked me & the tears were rolling down my face & as soon as he finished, I was sobbing – !  I want to feel like the Goddess again!  I want that fire – that finesse – that excellence again!  Oh fuck – what am I going to do?

I’d rather have no sex than bad sex.

I haven’t been this depressed in a long time.  And I have a terrible headache.

***

Spent all day at the Erie County Fair.  We had a wonderful time.  The only time I was upset & frustrated was when Teddy refused to go to on the Sky Ride with me – it’s a double Ferris Wheel – because of his fear of heights – a fear I admit I totally do not understand – especially sitting  in a steel bench with a bar across you lap isn’t exactly unsafe – not like scaling the side of a mountain or even climbing a ladder – but whatever.

I saw Bard Ellison there.  He was selling Encyclopedia Brittanicas.  We talked a few minutes.  He’s going to law school.

***

Writing poetry.  Joni Mitchell on the stereo.

***

I cannot sleep.  I just finished watching a documentary about the Beatles.  I am reading Anaïs Nin & having a glass of milk.  It has been pouring.  Now the rain falls lightly, almost a drizzle.  It’s getting windy.  Across the street, my neighbor’s wind chimes ring hauntingly.

***

Something happened to me.  Changed in me.  In my mind I am moving out.  I have been dreaming & in all my dreams, I am leaving.  When I am awake, I am making a mental inventory – what I will take & what I will leave behind.

***

Pat called this morning.  He got on my nerves – telling me that I should just turn my back on Teddy & my life here – “Just do it,” he said, like it wasn’t going to cause Teddy or even me any pain to leave – & to leave my books & my things behind – “they’re really not important” – funny how my things aren’t important – that I should just buy a bus ticket & go to Cleveland with just a backpack of clothing & live with him.  Yeah, right!  That’s a good one!  I can see how that will turn out!

Besides, I just can’t do that.  I’m not ready.  I want to leave Teddy but I’m just not ready yet.  Maybe I’ll go to Cleveland but maybe I’ll stay right here.  My vision of the future shows a small apartment of my own – maybe on the West Side – or maybe Central Park area – with my books & my plants & my cats – alone.  No man in the house.  AA – a coven for spiritual work – & therapy so I get better.  Working on my poems & my novel.

A nice quiet change – just enough to make my life better – slow change – sober change.  Not a revolution – which is what Pat wants.  I don’t want revolution – I want evolution.  I know it won’t be painless either way but I think my way is the better way.  It’s the right way.  Pat wants what he wants when he wants it – which is right now.

***

I went over to Shera’s the other night.  It was nice – sitting in the semi-darkness on the porch – sipping herbal tea & talking.  I told her all about my troubles with Teddy & how I still longed for Pat & even Jesse.  “Have any of these men asked you what it is you want, what is good for you, what your needs are?”  she asked.  & of course the answer is no.  From Teddy, all I hear about are his needs, his wants, his hurt feelings. From Pat, all I hear about is what he thinks is good for me & how I should go about doing that & how soon I should be doing it.  Both of them are selfish as toddlers.

I haven’t heard from Jesse at all.  Maybe that hurts most of all.  I know he’s back from Atlanta.   He must be really working a good program – he hasn’t called Teddy for weed & he hasn’t called me at all.

It was wonderful over at Shera’s.  A feminine/feminist household.  A beautiful altar, right out in the open, no need to hide it or camouflage it as something else.  Artwork everywhere.  Calm, peace, serenity.  Exactly what I need.

Another thing she said that struck a deep chord: “If Pat can tell you to just run off & leave Teddy & your home without a second glance, that doesn’t say much about his ethics.  You can’t run away from your responsibilities.”

“Pat did,” I said, laughing – but it really isn’t a laughing matter – & really, he left a trail of creditors behind him – lots of people wanting to find him for various reasons.  Another thing – he keeps telling me that he’s going to find a good job selling cars but he’s never made money selling cars before.  I know that all the money he did make went to drugs but he wasn’t selling many cars – who the hell is?  I was feeding him before we became lovers – he was over all the time, wanting meals.  & now he says he’s going to make a load of money & support me?  He says he going to make a grand next year.  I would just like to see that before I go down there.  I’ve had enough of nickel & diming in my life.

& when you think about it – a grand isn’t that much money.  I was making that in one week when I was dancing.

***

How I hate Sundays.  Too long – too boring.  No money.  No joints.  A big breakfast & a lot of dishes.  Feeling fat & ugly.

Later on, we’ll go to Doug & Danielle – they’ve moved – & swim a little.  Until then – reading & more reading.

Newspaper full of Persian Gulf crisis.  Already bored with it.  Tired of hearing about it.

Evening.  We went to Doug & Danielle’s.  I had a nice swim but I really wanted a beer – really pissed & depressed that I can’t even have one.  I really want to blow off the entire program.  Actually I want it both ways.  I want my 6-month pin but I want a beer too.  I don’t want to get drunk – just a beer!  Just enjoy a little buzz.

***

In tears all day.  I’ve been really struggling lately.  It feels awful to be so depressed.  I have to get to more meetings – I need friends in the program – a local sponsor.  I can’t go on fighting like this.  Wanting a drink & unable to have one.  Unhappy with life.

***

I’ve been to meetings every day.  Monday night – a woman’s meeting – only four blocks away!  Tuesday – a meeting at UB.  Wednesday – my home group.  I may or may not go to one tonight but I am going to one tomorrow night with  Marie J., the secretary of Achievement Group.  She said she’d give me rides to other meetings too.  Things are looking up.

Excerpts From a Diary 35

[Winter, 1989]

[January]

I’ve got stomach flu.

I’m depressed – we both are.  No weed – no money.  I’m so tired of this feast & famine business.  I swear – my whole life has been feast & famine.  I want to think about New Year’s Resolutions but who the fuck cares.  I just feel so exhausted.  I supposed I could list what I want to do – write more – do my mending promptly – complain less – but what it comes down to is that I’ve got to get my shit together – work harder – write more – no, not just write more – write with purpose – finish a goddam story & get it published.  Oh shit – I hate feeling like this.

Later. Paulie came upstairs with a joint.  It went fast – ha!  Don’t they all!  Oh well!  Now we’re munching on cheese & crackers.

***

I feel much better today.  I must’ve had a 24-hour bug – so many viruses are floating around.

We got 4 inches of snow last night – it looks so pretty.  The sky is deep blue right now – but big clouds are rising up over the lake.  We’re supposed to get more snow.  I guess it’s really cold out – the radio says so – sitting in my toasty office – looking out the window – I can see people walking by totally bundled up – it’s a beautiful – sunny – cold winter day.  The kind of day that makes you think of skiing down a mountain – through virgin powder – well!  Back to my typewriter!

***

We’re out of oil – the last few days have been really cold & it got used up faster than we anticipated.  It doesn’t matter anyway – there’s more debts than money – I’m so tired of this song & dance!  I’m so bummed out – I’m so tired of feeling like this.  I can say & I will say that I’m not gonna worry anymore cuz worrying does no good & I’m gonna be cheerful no matter what & be thankful 10 times more for what we have & I can do it – put on a good attitude like a pair of new stockings & I will do it – but it doesn’t change the feeling – just covers it up & makes it look good.  “Casey Jones” is on the radio – the same train that Teddy & I have ridden on too many times – “The trouble with you is the trouble with me” –

***

Felix was over today – the first time in over a week – he’s had bronchitis – aggravated by smoking & his allergy to cats.  I missed him more than I thought I would.

Before he left, I asked him to give me a ride to UB – to pick up a schedule of classes – which he was happy to do – he waited while I ran over to Hayes A to get it.  Of course there was a line – nothing changes!  Felix gave me a ride home too – now I have a hot cup of tea & some cookies & the schedule spread out in front of me – maybe I’m going back to college.

Evening.  & then again – maybe I’m not.  I called to make an appointment to see an advisor & was told it was too late to apply for classes – I don’t remember having to re-apply the last I time I re-entered school.  Oh well.  That’s life.  So I’m gonna apply – get all the paperwork in order – get financial aid – get everything ready to go totally – money – make the money –

***

A bright sunny day.  I’ve just finish straightening up the house – doing dishes – putting things away.  The kitty-cats are being really bad this morning – into everything – into places they know very well not to go!  It’s so hard disciplining them!

I have the electric heater on in my office – it takes about a half hour to get warm in there.  I’ll smoke some bowls – drink a cup of coffee – & read in the meanwhile.

***

11:10 a.m.  Hard at work.  It’s been a really nice day so far – although I had trouble waking up this morning – a large glass of Pepsi fixed me up – then a cup of coffee – & then another glass of Pepsi with breakfast – 2 poached eggs on toast – & then a cup of tea.  After my bath, I laid down & cat-napped for 15 minutes, then got up & washed my washed my hair.  Now I’m in my office – pounding the keys of my typewriter – while the kitty-cats explore my desk.  They’re my buddies – they hang out with me most of the day.  I have to cut their claws today – they’re really long & really sharp!  I have to wait until they’re sleeping.  They’ve been running around all morning so soon they should be settling down for a snooze.

Time for another cup of tea.

***

Yesterday when Teddy got out of work, we went over to Northtown to look at new trucks – we ended up test-driving & then signing papers for a 1988 Mazda 5-speed King Cab truck – this morning I took all the paperwork down to the credit union – hopefully by Thursday, we’ll know if the loan’s been approved or not – I hope so!  We need a new truck so badly & this one is so very nice!

Naturally, when I was down at the library, I got out 8 books.  Of course – half the books I was looking for weren’t on the shelves or weren’t owned by the library.  I also stopped in at the law office & said hello to Anna & Evelyn.  I really miss working there.  It was the perfect balance to my dancing life.

Time to eat lunch – leftover chicken wings & julienne potatoes.  Then a short nap – then work in my office.  At least I have the time to write now.  I am getting more done than I ever have.  What a nice life I have!

***

Today we took Shadow & Missy to the vet’s.  We should have taken them a long time ago but oh well – anyway – they got their shots & were checked for worms – which they have – we had to give them pills when we got home.  Shadow got sick about an hour later – the poor baby – he puked in the living room.  After that, he crawled behind the gas burner in the fireplace & fell asleep.  He seems better now – he’s up & he’s playing with a rubber ball.  Missy’s curled up next to me – I’m sitting in the gold easy chair.  They’re both kinda zonked though.  We found out how much they weighed too – Shadow’s 4.5 pounds & Missy’s 3 pounds 12 ounces.  On the subject of weight – I went to the doctor’s on Wednesday & I weigh 137 pounds!  Time to go on a diet –

***

Yesterday I inventories my books – I have 1557.  When I was counting the books on what I call “Living Room Bookcase #1” I decided to rearrange them a little – which turned into a much bigger job – what I ended up doing was removing the Panasonic blaster from the middle of the shelf & putting on the back of my desk.  My AM/FM radio died a few weeks ago & I’ve been getting by with a junky AM transistor radio.  It’s so nice to have tunes again – with a bass & treble & equalizer!  & a tape deck!  Now my office is complete!

It looks like we may not get the new truck.  The loan was approved but we need a co-signer.  Teddy bullied me into calling Mom & Bob which of course I did not want to do.  I knew they’d say no & of course they did.  & not only did Bob say no – he was a real dick about it too.  I wish I hadn’t asked – I really do.  I wish Teddy hadn’t made me do it.  I am so sick of tired of this kind of shit.  I know the outcome before it happens & I don’t want to go there.

***

Once again – madness descends – it’s pouring rain – Missy’s in heat – she’s not the only one – I want to work but I can’t do it – I am walking around the house – can’t concentrate – can’t do anything at all –

I’m dying for a shot & a beer.  My tits ache – I’m so close to my period – how I wish it would start & be done!  Oh well – I have no ambition – just staring at the rain pounding the windows – thinking about past lovers – hard fat cocks – I’m wet but it’s not blood – not yet –

I have $1.35 in change.  Enough for a beer at Falco’s – ’course it’s pouring & I should wait for Felix’s call – if he calls – so I can hustle some weed out of him – we’re out again – maybe if he calls soon I can hustle a few dollars & a ride to Falco’s as well – just wanna sit at the bar & listen to sad tunes & think – & drink & think –

The tea-kettle’s whistling.  Oh well –

***

I’m in such pain – 3 parties Friday night – 3 parties Saturday night – plus my period – I was totally wiped out Friday – I slept all day – partied all night – I felt even worse on Saturday – slept all day – partied hearty – danced wonderfully – how can I not? – it’s impossible not to put everything into performance – of course I was well-fueled.  But today I’m really hurting.  I twisted my bad knee – I also bruised it – I bruised my other knee – I pulled muscles in my left thigh – I hurt so – my knee is absolutely killing me.  I’m going to have to take the last painkiller before I go to bed.  I can’t get comfortable – my knee is throbbing – oh boo hoo hoo!

Just thinking about last Thursday – wondering if I’ll be with him again – or if it was all a dream – Jesse!  Jesse!  Jesse! – oh insane desires – wants – needs – I’m so frightened sometimes – but the ecstasy – the ecstasy –

***

[February]

Around 3 a.m. Monday I woke up completely sick – cough/nasal congestion – body aches – hyperventilating – completely miserably.  I remained in bed all day.  Monday night – Teddy came down with it.  He didn’t go to work yesterday nor today but he’s going to go tomorrow – he’s getting on my nerves!  Oh – that’s heartless – I know – it’s just – it’s bad enough being sick without having to nurse-maid someone else.  I feel lots better today although I’ve lost my voice.

The answering machine has been on all week – Jesse’s called a few times & left stupid messages about buying or selling bags – not actually saying anything of course – he never talks on the phone – which is pissing Teddy off to no end since there isn’t anything happening & there’s isn’t any reason for Jesse to be calling – I know why he’s doing this of course.  It’s the beginning of the month & he’s in town, collecting rents.  On Monday he played “Lo Siento Mi Vida” on it – luckily Teddy wasn’t around to hear it & hasn’t rewound the tape back far enough to hear it.  I should erase it but I want to hear it again.  We’ll be back to normal again soon.  Jesse will be back to work soon & he’ll be too busy to be chasing me – whether or not he wants me or not.

***

Teddy went to work this morning – he’ll be home soon – he said he was going in & doing the “bare minimum” & coming back home.  Today is pay day – he was going to work from 8 to 10 then grab his paycheck – cash it – go to K-Mart – the grocery story – stop at Danielle’s – I told him to blow off all those errands but naturally he feel he has to – he’ll be grouchy as a bear when he gets home.  I had to call him at work – I just left a message for him to call me before he left – he was pretty pissed when he called – like I was bothering him or something – well, gee, I’m sorry but I need a new wash basket since one of the cats pissed my nice old cardboard one last night.  I was pretty upset to discover that – I asked Teddy to empty the cat box when he was doing the garbage but I guess he didn’t want to – well, that’s life, I guess.  I cleaned it today, of course.  I’ve straightened up the house & am doing laundry.  I still have no voice & I feel exhausted after only a small effort but other than that I’m feeling much better.

I was also able to make contact with Jesse this morning.  Of course – now I have to wait for next week – but at least he’s got to come back in next week to get money from tenants that didn’t have it this week.  & I thank the Goddess for all Her help.

***

It’s really cold.  It’s winter again.  Being out of oil wasn’t bad when the temperatures were in the 40s & 50s – most of January – but now it’s cold cold cold!  Plus – having three broken windows – two in the kitchen – one in the bathroom – which has been broken two years – it kills me because they get upset downstairs if the rent is late even one day – Paulie will be up here pressuring me for sex – but not once have they repaired anything here – I have been trying to get those windows fixed since they broke!

I think I am having a relapse today – I feel dizzy & disoriented – I slept until 10:45 this morning – I would have slept longer except I thought Teddy would be home – he just called & said he was gonna work until noon – well that’s commendable working – working while you’re sick – talk about building up brownie points – but boo hoo!  I want him here!

We’re not going down to Lackawanna anymore.  Number 117 Wilkebarre Street was busted the other day.  That’s not Darryl’s house – he’s 127 or something – but definitely, things are heating up down there & who needs that?  Teddy owes Darryl $80 but we haven’t heard from him all week.  Either his brother Julius paid him off – Julius owes us $95 – or they’re all laying low – or both.  It’s just as well.  With so few jobs we can’t afford coke anyway – might as well quit – get my health back – start living like real people again.

***

Still cold.  I’m wearing all these clothes – a t-shirt, thick ankle socks, a flannel shirt & my old green bathrobe.  & of course my sneakers – the floor’s incredibly cold.  I sit or lie on 2 sleeping bags – covered by my old stag blanket, my current stag blanket & an afghan.  We red, watch TV & sleep.  Even if we weren’t sick, we probably wouldn’t be much more active – it’s too cold.  Oh, for a tank of oil!

***

“Old Yeller” is on TV.  We’ve had another monotonous day – rise late – eat a bit – take a nap – wake up – Teddy’s just out of the tub.  I’ll go in for my bath in a bit.  I feel better than I’ve felt all week.  I know I’m feeling better – I’ve started noticing the dust that’s built up.  Tomorrow I’ll clean the house – not heavy duty cleaning but dusting & vacuuming – straightening things up – then I’ll write.  I’ve missed a whole week of work.

It’s getting dark.  A few snowflakes float out of the sky.  This is the time of year you start longing for spring – want to open the windows – wear shorts – go barefoot.  It can’t come too soon for me!

Later.  It’s been snowing for several hours now.  It looks so pretty – falling in the street-light.  I guess it’s still gonna be winter for awhile.  Oh well.  It’s really coming down – maybe we’ll get a blizzard!  We haven’t had a whole bunch of snow all at once in a long time.  Not for several years.  If it’s gonna be winter, it might as well be snowy as well as cold.  Of course my days go by the same way no matter what the weather does.  Just different pictures outside the window.

***

It snowed all day yesterday & all last night – about 9 inches – schools are closed – Minnesota Ave is just two ruts.  I had to push Teddy’s truck to get it off a patch of ice under the snow – the roads are really slippery – it was freezing rain before it was snow.  It’s not snowing now – although I guess we’re gonna get more snow later.  The boughs of the trees outside my windows are bowed way down with snow.  It looks so pretty.  When I was outside this morning, I thought it was really nice – everything covered with snow – a light breeze off the lake – ya know, it’s only really cold when the wind’s blowing – & it’s pretty calm right now.

I got figure out what to do today – I’m out of cartridge – I called John Grady yesterday & he said he’d be out today but with the snow who knows.  I supposed I could attack that basket of mending – yuck! – but I think I’ll look around for something else first.

***

At 9:30 this morning the phone rang – the answering machine picked it up – I heard what I thought was Jackson Browne – it was pretty tinny – singing, “She stands in the window of the house where no one lives & I sit in the car across the way” – I was wondering when Jesse was going to call – I waited a moment or two, then called back.  It was good to hear his voice – but given the weather, who knows when I’ll see him.

I just watched the weather report – it’s getting cold – colder!  The wind gusts are going to be 30 to 40 miles per hour – with a wind chill of minus 10.  Tonight the wind chill will be minus 30 to 40.  I just made the bed with clean sheets – maybe I should have used flannel sheets!  Tomorrow will be really cold – only a high of 13.  & I wanted to go to the library?  Maybe I should rethink my plans.  I would hate to leave the kitty-cats in a cold apartment all day.  Well – we’ll see.

Missy’s looking out the window.  She loves to watch everything that goes on.  She’s such a little cat.  Shadow’s getting big – he’ll be a bruiser, for sure!  He’s always into something he shouldn’t be – Missy’s never in trouble.  I have to spank him this morning – he was on the dining room table – chewing a plant!  Every time I open a door – especially the refrigerator – or I’m doing something in the kitchen – he’s right there – underfoot – trying to steal whatever he can.  Oh, I love him!  I love both of them so!  I pick each of them up & hug & kiss them a thousand times a day.

Well – time to get back to work.  Work on my story – then lunch – then a nap – then bake cookies.  I want to be taking them out of the oven when Teddy is getting home.  Fresh-baked cookies are always great on a cold day.

Afternoon.  I just looked outside – it’s a fucking blizzard!  Snowing – blowing snow – you can barely see across the street!  The few people – students, mostly – who are out walking around – are totally bowed down – what a drag to be out on such a day!

Later.  The phone woke me up – it was Teddy – his truck won’t start – he can’t find anyone to give him a ride & he’s hasn’t had lunch yet.  I suggested walking to the plaza next door & then trying the truck again.  John Grady called soon after that – he won’t be able to get out here before tomorrow.  Oh well – I guess I won’t be going anywhere tomorrow.  I wonder what will happen with Teddy’s truck.  I can’t help but think that if Mom & Bob – especially Bob – hadn’t been such jerks about co-signing that loan Teddy’d be driving his new truck now.

I’m baking him cookies.  No matter what happens – if he finally starts the truck – or it won’t start & he has to get a ride home – he’ll be crosses than a bear – so maybe these little jewels will cheer him up.

Evening.  Teddy just got home – he’s in the grouchiest mood known to man!  Luckily, I just spent the last hour with Paulie – doing bowls & beers & reminiscing about old stoned days – marijuana brownies & high school & getting wasted in various parks.  All druggies have the same memories – only the names & the locations differ.

I got a joint out of Paulie to share with Teddy, so that will cheer him up.  My cookies won’t – they’re a mess!  An experiment that did not work!  Oh well – they’ll still taste good – even if they look like lumps of jelly & mud.

***

Cold, cold, cold!  The thermometer in the living room read 55 this morning – that’s as low as it goes, so who knows how cold it really was!  It reads 59 now & the heater’s been on for over an hour.  It was windy all night but now it’s died down & the sun is shining – if it remains like that, the room will warm up nicely – but the weather has been anything but calm lately!  Seems every hour the picture outside my window changes.

It’s cold in my office – I put the heater in there for an hour this morning but it barely touched the chilly air – moved it around a little – but I’m warmly dressed & have on my gloves with the finger-tips cut off – drinking the last cup of coffee.

I hope John Grady shows up early with my cartridges.  I have so much work to do & I’m dying to start.  I’ve done prep work & busy work for two days now & I’m getting tired of it.  I found a notebook filled with poems I’d forgotten about – letters – copies of things I’ve had published – I want to rework some of these gems.  I want to work!  I want to buy a case of cartridges cuz I’m sick of running out – a case costs $60 – so obviously I’m not doing it soon – but I’m going to!

It’s beginning to snow again.

Later.  I know what to do – I’ll take a nap.  I feel so tired out anyway – it must be the cold.  I had really lousy dreams last night too – I had to keep waking up to get myself out of them.  Maybe after a little refresher I’ll feel like doing something – or maybe John will have arrived.

***

Jesse just called.  I was sleeping on the couch in my office & I almost missed his call & I was half asleep when I answered – “I can just go back to Middleport if you’re too tired to see me,” he said  – but how could I ever say no to that bedroom voice?  He’s on his way over – joy, joy –

***

All the radio stations have been playing lots of Beatles music all week cuz it was 25 years ago that they came to America – I remember it well – even though I was only 4 years old.  But you don’t forget something like that.  The Beatles colored my entire childhood.  I wouldn’t be who I am today without the Beatles – especially John Lennon.  It’s so wonderful to be hearing all this great music!

***

After a few days of thaw, it’s snowing again.  I’ve had a headache every day for days & days – I can’t remember not having one.  It’s the usual pain – pressure behind my eyes – sinuses – left temple – my left side in general – but recently, I’ve been suffering a new one – behind my right ear.  It doesn’t throb – it burns – I’m not describing it very well – but it’s an intense pain.

I have no energy.  I sit at my desk – working – & end up with my head in my hands.  So many things to do – oh well, get back to work.  Maybe I’ll feel better later on.

***

I went to the library yesterday – I got out 11 books – I met up with Jesse & got really wasted.  He was in town to fix tenant’s house – we met up at the Colmore Lounge.  I had never been there before but it’s a nice place.  I was doing shots with the boys & generally entertaining everyone – I hate to admit it but I don’t remember coming home.  I remember waking up on the couch when Teddy came home.  I’m bruised – a giant bruise is appearing on the right cheek of my ass – I vaguely remember falling off a bar stool somewhere & laughing about it – & I scraped my knees – I must have been totally gone.  I do remember Jesse had some painkillers & he shared them with me & that’s probably why I got so wasted so fast.  Booze & pills – what a combination.  It’s gonna be murder dancing tonight but it’s my own fault so I can’t complain.  I wish there was a way I could cover up these scrapes & bruises.  It looks like Teddy beat me up.  It looks like someone beat me up.  I honestly don’t remember what happened.  Of course Teddy was pissed off at me & I don’t blame him.

I was hungover & sick all night.  I spent it on the couch – throwing up into the waste basket.  I am totally ashamed – I don’t remember ever feeling like this before.  & the questions I have to ask myself & can no longer ignore are – why am I so stupid?  What is the matter with me?

***

Andy from the Colmore Lounge just called – I must have made quite an impression on him!  If I remember correctly, he’s quite a cutie-pie.  I don’t remember giving him my number but maybe I gave him my card.  Always doing business.

My left knee’s infected.  I just took a long soaky bath & let it pus up real good & then cleaned it well.  I have a giant bruise on my ass too – Teddy told me that it was barely noticeable & then at the first party Saturday night, the guy who hired us said, “Hey, ya know you got a bruise on your butt?”  I had to laugh.  By the time we got to Sorrentino’s, I was feeling no pain – it was the joke of the evening – me going to the library & getting bombed!  Oh well – I won’t repeat that trick too soon!

Well – today’s the full moon.  I’m gonna meditate & recite poetry to the Goddess & then bake cookies.  Tomorrow I’ll write – tomorrow & the rest of the week.  & read the books I got from the library – I got some really good ones!  Right now I’m reading The Spiral Path – really good essays on women’s spirituality, Goddess-worship & witchcraft.  I’m learning so much!

***

I just put Teddy to bed.  I had to clean up my mess – I’ve been going through newspapers & magazines – clipping articles & recipes – then get his lunch ready for tomorrow & prep the coffee.  I just sat down with my book & realized how tired I am – it’s been another busy day.

The answering machine had music on it this morning – too garbled to tell what it was – I returned the call with “Love is a Rose”.  A later call filled in the blanks from Friday.  Boy, did I have a party or what!  I guess the sex was good, too.

***

A quiet afternoon.  Paulie must have passed out – I hear no music.  Teddy’s doing the taxes on the coffee table – boy, the common people are getting fucked!  Sometimes I think it’s better not to make a lot of money – not to own anything – house, property, car, business, etc.  All the family-type deductions are gone.

It’s snowing.  The kitty-cats are sleeping.  Today I hung their catnip mouse from the ceiling with a piece of yarn & they’ve been playing hard!  So hard they fell asleep!

I’m reading & taking notes & trying to decide if I really want to go back to college.  I mean – I really do – but what do I ultimately want to do?  I have to admit that I have no real idea.

***

I woke up with the worst headache – another migraine – I stayed in bed until 10 a.m. – felt awful until Teddy got home around noon – & it hung in there most of the afternoon – I took a nap from 4 to 5 & it was finally gone.  These headaches are getting worse – I have to see a chiropractor – the pain in my back is one thing – my hip & my knees – but I can’t deal with a headache.

I’ve been arranging my poems into a book – I’ve got more than one book – it’s all I’ve been doing lately – I was up until almost midnight working on it – I didn’t want to go to bed – but I was falling asleep sitting up.  I worked all this afternoon & this evening – I’ll probably work until bedtime this evening too.  No parties tonight – although I wish someone would call – we could certainly use the money.

***

Another quiet day.  I worked on the poetry book – I still have no title – & arranged 3 copies.  I want to give one to Mark Miles – I also thought Harry G. & maybe Anna.  Or maybe Jon.  I’m not sure – besides – I just want to get it done.  It was such a chore just picking the poems – arranging them by type & deciding how many & which ones – a most enjoying chore – but a chore nonetheless.   I’m not gonna try to publish this book or anything – most of the poems are pretty old – it’s a childhood/early loves collection of stuff – but it was a good exercise putting it together – mixing it up chronologically – using the best poems for what I wanted to say.  I’m already planning the next one – to tell the truth, I can hardly wait until this one is done – so I can start the next one.  The next one’s about dancing & dancers – the men in the strip joints – the hustlers, the players – the life.  I’ve been writing poems about dancers for years – going through the poems – again & again, I’d look at a poem & think – hey, this would be good – a lot of the sad songs – the angry poems.

I’m just afraid I’ll run out of cartridge.  I have to pay John off – the check I wrote him bounced – & I have to get more corrector too.  Boo hoo!  Oh well.

I want to work on it more – I’m doing re-writes – but I have to dance tonight & I should really rest my eyes.  So what am I doing to relax?  I’m reading!

***

I’ve been working on “the girlhood of anna brangwen” all morning – well, since my bath & breakfast – I’m not getting anywhere.  I printed out what I wrote & put it away.  Sometimes that’s the best way – let it sit – let it ferment.  Besides, I have others to work out – “tina” – “appleton” – “the knight of cups”.  I dreamed about Jon last night – I dreamed I was watching a video of his band playing.  The Knight of Cups.  Maybe I’ll work on that one next.

At 9 a.m. the phone rang & the machine picked it up – whoever it was hung up but I knew who it was Jesse anyway.  I called back & left a section of “Fast Car” on his machine – he called right back.  Will I see him today?  Do I really want to?  I don’t know.  But these feelings inside of me – I can’t control them – nor I want to, really.  I think of Teddy & I feel so sad – I love him so much – so much!  I know he’s the only husband for me.  But I can’t let my body die either.

***

[March]

It’s snowing.  It’s been cold & windy all day – March certainly came in like a lion!  I went downtown today – to drop off papers at the loan office for a new truck for Teddy – it was freezing downtown!  Ya know – that ice cold blast off the lake!  Oh, I am more than ready for spring!  Maybe if March goes out like a lamb, it’ll be warm, too!

***

It’s cold – cold!  Winter is really hanging on this year!  That January thaw seems like years ago!  Plus – the sky is completely clouded over – no sunshine at all – the sunshine coming through the windows makes a big difference on how warm it gets in here & how fast.  Whoa!  What a sentence!  Oh well – you know what I mean!  Back to the subject of weather – it’s also windy – it’s just plain cold!  Oh, spring!  Hurry the fuck up!

I’m out of cartridge again – seems like I’m always out nowadays.  I’m almost done with my book, too!  I might call it “Jacob’s Ladder”.  I’m not sure.  I have only one more poem to write – I’ve been writing it – “the girlhood of anna brangwen” – yesterday I wrote “the knight of cups” – about Jon.  Anyway, I’m not happy about being out of cartridge again – another detour!  Another flat tire! – but I’m gonna start work on the next book – about dancing – I’ll be reading poems & taking notes all day.  I’m in the living room which is the warmest room in the house.  I’ll read poems – take notes – smoke joints – drink cups of tea – watch TV – do some yoga.  My back really hurts today.  I took a 222 about a half-hour ago – it’s just kicking in.  I wish I had some of the good PK’s that Jesse has!  But oh well!  Even though I feel bad, I made myself look pretty – that always makes me feel better.  I’m wearing a pink turtleneck, jeans, blue socks, white high-tops & I did my hair in a French braid with blue combs & a pink ribbon.  I did my make-up in pink & blue, too.  I put on little pink hoops as well!

Missy’s in heat again.  She’s crying – walking around the house – climbing the bookcase – she’s been presenting herself to Shadow but he could care less.  Actually – he looks confused – like, why is she doing this?  He started licking her cunt & she went nuts!  He looked more confused than ever!  Oh well – in two weeks they’re getting spayed & neutered.  Then there’ll be no more confused, horny, upset kitties at this address.  Except me.

***

Yesterday was so warm & spring-like – well actually, yesterday started out as an ice storm – everything was completely covered in ice.  But after the ice melted, the temperature soared!  It stayed warm into the evening – even into this morning, when it was raining – but it got colder as the day progressed & now everything’s covered in ice again.  The cars approach the red light so cautiously!  There’s really very little traffic.  It’s supposed to get really cold tonight & tomorrow – but by the end of the week, it should be close to 50.  Could it be spring?  I was down cellar on Friday, checking on my bike – last year the tires were flat but this year they seem fine!  Maybe by Friday it’ll be warm enough to ride!  Maybe there’ll be an early spring!  Typical thoughts for March.

Tomorrow I’m gonna do laundry & clean out closets & drawers.  Whatever I don’t wear or doesn’t have sentimental value is going to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.  I have clothes I haven’t worn in years – they don’t fit anymore or I don’t really like them – so why am I hanging onto them?  I’m also – finally – gonna mend the clothes that need mending – some of those have been sitting in the “mending basket” for almost a year!

I was upset because I didn’t make enough money last night to pay off my bill with John Grady so I won’t be getting new cartridge any too soon – so I won’t be able to write – but maybe it’s just as well – I do have lots of sewing to do.  It’s just I’d rather be writing!

***

Tired & achy.  I got up & made Teddy his coffee & lunch & then took a bath.  I was going to wash my hair & then eat but I laid down on the couch for “just a minute” & then I was waking up & it was 11 a.m.!  I got up & dressed & ate but I just wasn’t with it – I just kind of puttered around. I feel – I don’t know – mildly depressed – sad – detached – incomplete.  Melancholy.  There’s any number of reasons for this malaise – the continuing cold weather – being broke – burn-out from the weekend – my bad knee – my bad back – my migraines – my emotional turmoil – there wasn’t a tune on the answering machine this morning – I know it’s just as well – the whole thing was going too fast.  Just like before.  Spinning out of control.

***

Cold!  The thermometer says 8 but the wind chill is minus 25.  & the wind is really blowing!  You can’t see out of any of the windows – they’re all iced up – it’s freezing in this apartment!  My hands & fingers are so cold I can barely hold this pen.  I’m depressed.  I’m supposed to clean the house today – that means doing the hardwood floors & vacuuming the walls, etc. – but I don’t feel like it.  Today’s garbage day but I’m gonna wait until noon to put it out – the wind’s supposed to die down by then.

I just left “I’m Leavin’ It All Up To You” on his answering machine.  I felt like leaving “You’re No Good”.  Maybe tomorrow.

Late morning.  He just called.  I vented about my misery & woe & depression.  “Get it off your chest, I’ll listen.”  He wants me to go to Florida with him.   Yeah, right.  I could really use a Florida vacation but certainly not with Jesse.  As much as I would love to go to Florida – or anywhere – with Jesse.  I would go to the end of the world with him – “in a white petticoat” – as Mary, Queen of Scots famously said – but let’s face it — it would be the kiss of death to everything I know & love.  & what about Doreen?  & it the kids?  I know he didn’t mean a word of what he was saying.  I wonder how many of those PK’s he’s chewing.  He said he would bring me some the next time he comes over.

A few minutes after I hung up with him, Teddy called.  He’s gotta work until 4 today.  I told him it’s only 55 in the back of the house.  I feel better though – Teddy always cheers me up.  & I know I’ll be seeing Jesse soon.

I might as well sit in the living room – where it’s warm – with the gas burner – & the sun shining in the windows – & read.  I wish I could go to Falco’s & have a drink but it’s too cold to walk & it’s too cold to leave the kitty-cats shut up in the back of the house with no heat.  Even I’m not that selfish.

It’s just – end of the winter blues.

Evening.  Teddy called me at 2:30 & told me that the loan for the truck has been approved!  He got home at 4:30 & has been walking a foot off the floor all evening.  We just finished dinner – time for the after-dinner joint.

***

Lots warmer today.  Everything is melting.  I’m in a much better mood today – although rather bored.  Not that I don’t have plenty to do – cleaning closets – the ever-present mending – I just don’t feel like doing any of it.  I did dust & vacuum, straighten up & house & put in a load of wash.  But basically – I’m very lazy today.

“Part-Time Lover” was on the answering machine this morning – I was in the tub when it came on – it annoyed me – what the fuck does he want?  I’m married for heaven’s sake!  & so is he!  But I called him back after I dried off & put on my body lotion & baby powder & my bathrobe.  He’s in the same mood – lazy – wants to blow off the day.  I told him to stop by if he’s in the neighborhood – but somehow I doubt I see him.

***

I went for a walk today.  It’s still chilly – 30’s-ish – overcast & sunny – typical Buffalo sky – a little bit of everything – but nice.  The air is cold but it smells like spring.

Naptime.  The kitty-cats are settling down in their little “house” – an overturned box – with holes cut out on the top & sides.  I’m curled up on the couch with a cup of tea & a book.  I’ll probably snooze too.

***

It’s already 30 & sunny – not a cloud in the sky.  It’s supposed to be a gorgeous weekend.  I’m gonna take a walk later on.  I wish Teddy was picking up his truck today – instead of next week – such lovely weather in which to take a drive!  Oh well – next week’s weather might be just as nice.  I hope so!

I should really dust & vacuum the house – it’s kinda a mess – but I’m so lazy today.  Who cares?  There are books to be read – poems to be written!  Actually – I’ve got a lot of reading to do – if I want to return my books to the library on time.  So I’ll read – plus there’s a Myrna Loy movie on at 9:00 a.m. on TNT.  Or maybe I’ll do what the kitty-cats are doing – sit in the front windows & watch the traffic go by – watch the birds & the squirrels.  Such a nice day – I think I’ll get myself another cup of coffee & roll a joint.

Afternoon  Took a lovely nap with the kitty-cats – floating in & out of consciousness – listening to birds chirping & the sounds of the traffic – motorcycles – dreaming a lush fantasy – waking wet –

The phone woke me up.  A job for tonight!  I am so happy!  We had no jobs booked before next Saturday night & we’re broke – this’ll get us a bag of weed & some groceries for next week – I hope the tips are good!

I just cut the kitty-cats’ claws.  They struggle so much!  It would go a lot faster if they wouldn’t fight.  It’s not like I’m hurting them – I only snip off the sharp tip of each claw.  I gave them a few cat treats afterward.

***

A lovely spring morning.  It snowed early this morning but then it warmed up.  Everything’s melting.  It’s chilly but sunny – clear blue sky & no clouds.

Afternoon.  Teddy’s out going to Wilson Farms for pop & ChicknRoost for wings.  We didn’t work last night so it’s been a long, leisurely day.

We did work Friday night – a last-minute gig – for a bunch of assholes!  It was the most hostile crowed I’ve had to deal with in a very long time.  After the party was much more fun.   Curtis – from The Canteen – stopped over – I haven’t seen him in two years or more.  He had some really good coke & he was in a sharing mood.  He wanted us to go to this bar – Marchi’s – on East Delavan Ave – & ya know, we don’t do that sort of thing much anymore but I guess the moon & the stars were in the right alignment or something – anyway – we went & we got blasted!  I mean, really!  After the bar closed, we went to a party at this guy’s house – actually his garage – there were loads of people & everyone was doing lines & smoking joints.  I’m not sure when we left – of course, yesterday was quite hungover.  But what a good time!

***

Just back from a 40-minute walk.  I walked over to UB – then to Main Street – Main to Highgate – Highgate to Parkridge – then home.  It’s a lovely day – still cool, but sunny & oh! the air smells so good!  I breathed in giant lungfuls.  It made me feel better – I have so much on my mind – even though I’m in a good mood – I feel pensive – sad.

***

I went over to the Amherst Campus today – I took one of the UB busses.  They’re a lot nicer than when I went!  Lots have changed over there – lots of new buildings – gaps filled in – although there’s still stuff that need to be built – but it looks like a campus now – not a bunch of buildings stuck in a field.  I spent 2 hours in Lockwood Library.  I was able to locate some of the books that the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library doesn’t have – although I was trying to locate too many – since I can’t take them out – not being a matriculated student – I have to read them there.  Not thoroughly of course – but I’m looking for certain things – I have questions all ready to be answered – I took a million notes!  I want to go back on Thursday, if it’s not raining.  Tomorrow’s supposed to rain.  Today was gorgeous – sunny & upper 50s.  I’m thinking of finishing my English degree & then getting a Masters in Women’s studies – I want to study Women’s Spirituality more thoroughly.  I was thinking Divinity School but I would have to study Patriarchal religions & I think that might piss me off too much!

***

A very windy morning.  Very warm – but soon to drop in temp – a cold front is moving through.  Perhaps some soon tonight.

Sad today.  I dreamed of Jesse last night.  Standing in the hallway – a hallway somewhere – it was dark – nighttime – I had slipped out of bed to meet him – we stood in the darkness – our hands & lips lightly touching – he ran his fingers over my bare shoulders – we made love – standing there – my back flat against the wall – kisses that lasted until I woke up – I laid in the darkness – petting Shadow – who was wedged in between Teddy & me.

Then I was asleep again & I was at Gramma Mac’s – eating dinner with the family.  PapaMac was there – not eating – not saying much – but smiling a lot.  He was seated next to Rocco – at the end of the table.  I was next to Rocco.  We were eating tiny meatballs & fat noodles in a cheese sauce.  There were other dishes too – I can’t remember what now.  After dinner I was looking at some books – deciding which ones I wanted – when Helena burst in, saying they were all hers – then Mom started in on me too.  I remember screaming at Mom, “You’ve always taken her side!”  I ran out & jumped on my bike & rode away but I had only gotten as far as the church when I realized that my tires were flat.  Rocco rode up behind me & I woke up –

Teddy’s getting out of work at 11 a.m. – we have to run downtown to the Credit Union to pick up the loan papers – then to the insurance office – then to Northtown – Teddy’s beside himself – he’s so happy.  I really ought to get to work – although I’ve been a busy girl already this morning – the second load of wash is in – the refrigerator just finished defrosting – but I’ve got lots to do yet so I’d better go.

***

We got the truck!  It is so nice – drives so smoothly – so quiet – Teddy is beside himself – he’s so excited – like a little boy on Christmas with his brand new bike.  He’s been on the phone all evening.  He wants to party!

***

I’m at my office desk – listening to The Who on the radio.  The kitty-cats are sitting in the right-hand window looking at birds – looking for birds, actually – it’s a very still morning.  Last night, we had a wild storm – thunder, lightning, rain, snow, sleet – right now everything outside is covered with ice.  If it was sunny, it’d look like fairy-land, but it’s completely overcast.  It’s quite dark – it’s supposed to rain & snow some more.  Winter’s hanging on!  Oh well – it’s only March, after all.

***

A lazy day – I slept until 11 a.m.  It was so nice to wake up slowly – silently – no Danny Nevereath silliness on the radio – just the kitty-cats purring.  There were two tunes on the answering machine – “Heart of Gold” & “Missing You” – or parts of songs, I should say.  Anyway – I waited awhile & then called – knowing I shouldn’t but oh well.  After Thursday – oh – I forgot to write about Thursday – it’s just as well – it’s not safe to write about stuff like that – especially if he’s going to start giving me money.  I do need the money – it’s just  – well – I know I am mad.  I have to laugh – I never know if he’s telling the truth – he’s just – oh, the phone’s ringing –

***

It got really cold again last night.  Spring is taking forever this year!  The high today isn’t supposed to be any higher than 20.  Oh well – I’m pretty immobile anyway.  I’ve a cold, my period & my back is really bad – I’ve been getting sharp pains at the base of my spine for several days now.  The pain is intense.  I’m out of painkillers – I’m just doing ibuprofen – I wish I had some codeine, at least!  Danielle gave me one the other day – maybe she’s got another one – I’m gonna call her in a minute.  We’ve got to go to Canada & buy some 222’s.  Maybe if Saturday is nice we can take a ride up there – along the Niagara Parkway – oh no – I’m working Saturday night – but oh well.  I’m going to Dr. West’s tomorrow – I’d go today but the office is closed today – Dr. West & the girls are attending some seminar or something.  I can’t get a break!  To make things worse – John Grady came by & gave me a couple of cartridges – he told me not to worry about the bill & I told him I’d dedicate a book to him – but I’m in such pain – I can’t sit & type!  Besides – Dr. West told me – no work-outs, no housework, no shopping, no walking – stay immobile, take lots of hot baths – so here I am, on the couch, lots of blankets, lots of pillows, books, notebooks, pens, cups of tea, kleenixes, two sleeping kitty-cats, “Hogan’s Heroes” on the TV – plus I’ve got joints so I’m not in a bad mood at all – I’m just hurting!  Life’s so tough –

***

5:30 p.m.  Yesterday I finally got to Dr. West’s.  I was in such pain – plus I was supposed to meet Jesse at noon – but it took so long – by the time Danielle picked me up – 45 minutes late – dropped Deano & her mom’s – got gas – then waited forever at Dr. West’s – oh well.  It was almost 1 before I got home.  I saw him drive around the block & then park on Parkridge.  I put on my jacket & went out.  He was surprised to see me – he was trying to figure out how to leave a note without it being obvious.  “Well, let’s have a drink,” I said & away we went.  I’m drinking too much – this has got to stop.  All of it – the façade is just too hard to maintain.

***

A long tough weekend.  Tears on Sunday – I called home & there was no answer – they were up here – but no one ever told me – oh well – but around 6 p.m. – Tish, Brad, little Brad – whom they are now calling “Junior” – & Rocco stopped by.  Rocco says he’s not becoming a priest.

Monday was gorgeous – in the 70s.  Yesterday it rained – I went out with Jesse & got drunk.  Heavy conversations – I don’t seem to be able to fight the feeling – knowing I should stop – but unable to – madness – total madness – oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

***

Snowing & cold.  You’d never know Monday broke heat records.  It’s just not a few spring-like snow flurries – it’s beginning to pile up!  What a drag!

Emotions still in a turmoil.  I was with Jesse yesterday.  He was in town, doing work on his houses & selling weed & pills.  He’s really into those pills.  Lortabs.  I like them too but you have to be real careful how you drink on them.  He’s so much bigger than I am that I don’t think it’s a problem for him.  He said he’s going back to work soon & we won’t be able to see each other much anymore.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

He drinks his Jack Daniels & Labatt’s Blue & gets drunk & talks.  He goes on & on.  “I love you, I want you – you’re the only woman for me – you are the only one.”  But I can’t believe him – even if I did believe him – I really don’t want to believe.  How can I believe him?  He’s married to Doreen – he has a son & two daughters now – he’s never going to leave them!  I know this!  & even if he’s telling me the truth – that when the kids are “older” – which means out of school – I am assuming high school – so eighteen years from now! – am I supposed to wait around for him?  Wait – eighteen years?  For happiness? & what am I supposed to do in the meantime?  Just be with him when it’s convenient for him?  & besides – even though I love Jesse – & I really do – he’s not the man for me.   If he was the man for me, he’d leave Doreen & be with me.  He’d stop all these silly excuses about the kids & he’d work things out so I could be their part-time mother – I’d be good at it, too!  Kids love anyone who loves them!  But Jesse is never going to make that break.  He wants me just where I am. & the thing is – I really do love Teddy!  I really do.    Teddy’s my husband & I’m happy this way.  I suppose some people might not agree that I’m happy – with my drinking, my affairs, my tears, my confusion – but I am.  The question is not – am I happy – but would I be happier?  Jesse – of course – says I would be happier on my own – but I have my doubts – serious doubts.  I don’t want to break up my happy home – I don’t want to break Teddy’s heart.  Jesse says to stop thinking of everyone else first & think about me – make myself happy.  But how can I be happy if I make Teddy unhappy?  I can handle heartbreak & unhappiness – I can handle pain.  But I’d never be happy again – knowing that I walked all over Teddy’s love.  Jesse says that’s just guilt feelings.  Well – so be it!  Ya know – I may not be a Catholic anymore but I have not forgotten the teachings of my childhood – feeling guilt may be comfortable – even silly – but it’s there for a reason.  I can’t ignore that little voice inside of me – I won’t.  Sitting at the bar yesterday – doing shots & beers & listening to Patsy Cline on the jukebox – Jesse was giving me every argument in the book – telling me I had to make a decision – I had to start thinking of my own happiness, etc.  I turned to him & said, “Listen, Jesse –  I’m not ready to make any decisions & you can’t make me!”  I think I surprised him with my vehemence.  But I’m sick of this!  Good sex is not worth this!

Besides all that, I just haven’t gotten any work done at all.  Not beyond first drafts – how can you work when you’re sitting in a bar?  Or when you’re home & drunk & upset after being begged to leave your home & family?  Or sick & hungover & tired from drinking the day before?  Or just so distracted you can’t concentrate?  March has been one hell of a waste.  Today is going much better – although instead of working, I’m staring out at the falling snow.  Seems I’ve had a stomach ache all month long.  Seems like this month will never end – I hate March!  April will be better – I’m gonna work hard – finish my book – start a new one.  No more drinking!

Excerpts From a Diary 34

[Holidays, 1988]

[November]

I feel much better today.  I slept most of yesterday – slept & read – but no sleeping today – well not right now – I’m gonna get the laundry done & finish cleaning the side room – I really want to get the whole house clean this week – I got get back to work next week – October was such a waste – between me feeling low & Teddy’s teeth – seems like we were always sleeping!  Of course we only got our oil last Friday – this October was cold & rainy – so lying down covered up was the best way to be anyway – but oh well.  It’s a new year – spiritually – organically – time to gather strength – the winter solstice will be here soon – like cold & dormant plants waiting for warmth & spring, I will wait – in six months, I wanna be shifting into high gear – sorry for the mix-up in metaphors – but I’ve smoked 3 bowls & I’ve caught a buzz – time to get to work.

***

I went downtown today – to the library – to get a check from the Credit Union for Teddy & to get books for me.  Always need new books to read!

I’m still bleeding – sporadically – but I feel so much better.  A new woman – really!  I mustn’t do too much too fast, though.  I set up my office – with Teddy’s help – clean out the side bedroom & set up the desk – made book cases out of spare boards & cinder blocks – put pale blue drapes in the windows – after 7 years of this room being no more than a glorified closet – a dumping ground for all the books, magazines & artwork I couldn’t fit in to the other rooms – space being so dear even in an apartment as large as this one – after 7 years, it’s finally a real room!  It’s so very cozy, too.

***

In my office.  I brought out my old radio – the GE AM/FM cheapo radio I took to college & Teddy had in his office at work until last Christmas.  I wasn’t sure it was going to work – it’s been in the sunroom for over a year – but hey!  I turned it on & tuned it in & the Beatles are on – a good omen – a very good omen.

I’m still putting pictures on the walls.  My Mike Ramsey poster fell off the wall the other night & was injured beyond repair – it was injured when I put it up.  That took up half the opposite wall so now I have that space to fill – I may do a bit of drawing this afternoon – unpacking my art supplies has regenerated the artist in me.  Should I draw or should I write?  Or should I bake those cookies I have been thinking about?  Oh, I have so much to do!  Well, they say it’s gonna be a long, cold winter – I have lots of time!

***

I woke up last night – around 5 a.m. – in the worst agony – another yeast infection – seems I can’t get a break – my poor cunt – I was reading Our Bodies, Ourselves & it was saying that being on the pill, consuming lots of sugar & cuts & abrasions all contribute to yeast infections – so I guess I could make some improvements in my life!  Cuts – of course – come from those stupid dollar bills at stag parties – I knew from the start that there would be problems with that – but once you start how do you stop?  I really only did it the first time to be a good sport – because Dick Bell – the first guy to put a dollar bill in his mouth – was a good guy & he wouldn’t take no for an answer anyway – & all the guys were cheering me on – & you know how quickly & easily cheers turn to jeers if you don’t play along & be a good sport about it.   But sometimes it seems like that’s all I do – deep knee bends grabbing dollars.  I mean – I’m a fucking dancer – let me dance!  Oh well – that’s life – I’m just glad I have an understanding gynecologist, a prescription plan & a nearby pharmacy.

***

Paulie’s home – man, can you ever tell!  It’s like living on top of a disco – at least it’ll be quieter in my office.  It’s windy & pouring rain – a good day for immobility – bowls of weed – cups of tea – a good book – a murder mystery on TV – sleep –

***

I slept until 11:30 a.m. today – it was so excellent to luxuriate in bed – thinking about my dreams – I had thousands of dreams last night & this morning – I almost wrote last night & tomorrow – perhaps that’s a prophecy – of course I dream every night – I almost wrote almost all the time – also true –

***

They’re arguing downstairs.  It’s been loud since they all got home – not their usual loudness – there’s a difference – the way the doors get slammed – it’s not the usual slamming a door because they don’t know how to close a door properly – it’s slamming a door to make a point –

An hour later.  They’re still at it.  When I started writing at 9:30, I was going to write about something else, but their arguing sidetracked me & now I can’t remember.  Same story this time!

Oh – Jimmy stopped by & turned us on & now I want another line – ten more lines – I’m on my second last beer – oh boo hoo hoo –

The wind is howling.  The draft coming in the front windows & doors is incredible.  Tomorrow I suppose I’ll duct tape the cracks –

I want another line!

***

Lazy morning – reading & dozing – I busted ass all day yesterday – cleaning out the closet in my dressing room & then of course my dressing room – it was a really big chore.  I have been cleaning this apartment like a madwoman all month long – this place looks great.  But I’ve really been neglecting my reading & writing.  I’m gonna sit & read – & watch “Perry Mason” at noon – then at 1 p.m. – clean my office – it’s a mess with all my new books piled everywhere.  Next week I’m going to scrub the kitchen & bathroom & then I’ll be done until New Year’s – except for the everyday dusting & vacuuming – of course – housework never goes away!  I need an angel in the house!

Oh well – I’m gonna read until noon & then duct tape the front windows & door & the dining room windows – it’s so windy & so drafty – the furnace is working overtime.

Noon.  Watching “Perry Mason”.  I cleaned the kitchen this morning – washed the walled & mopped the floor – after “Perry Mason”, I’m gonna clean the bathroom.  I am getting sick of housework.  It’s all I’ve done lately.  I mean – my house is immaculate – but I’m sick of being domestic!  No – that’s not true – actually – I can hardly wait until we go to Wegman’s tomorrow & shop, shop, shop, shop – & then come home & I’ll bake pies – stuff & roast my turkey – & everything else I do for Thanksgiving – yum!

I’m hungry.  I wonder if the kitchen floor is dry enough to walk on – I’ll open a can of soup.  I practically live on soup.  I don’t mind – I love soup!

***

Thanksgiving Day.  My pies are baked – my turkey is in the oven – smelling heavenly – we just ate ham & swiss sandwiches – I’m drinking beer – for breakfast we had a walnut kuchen & numerous cups of coffee – the only problem is that we have no weed – I was really depressed about that earlier – depressed & pissed off –

Teddy almost sliced my fingers off helping me in the kitchen – he was cutting the acorn squash in half – the cut on my middle finger in really deep.  I almost got sick when I was holding it under the cold water.  It hurts to hold a pen so I have to stop writing.  Besides – looking at the Band-aid – I’ve realize it’s started bleeding again – probably from the pressure of holding a pen –

***

Oh day of days!  We finally got our kitty-cats – a sweet little black one with tiny white paws & a white “bib” under her chin – & a lovely grey ball of fur – Missy & Shadow.  I’ve waited so long & now I have kitty-cats – my “babies,” I shamelessly call them.  We brought then home in Danielle’s cat carrier – we took them back to my dressing room – where Teddy set up the litter box & then we set them in the box so they had a clear idea of where & what it is!  They’ve been in the dressing room for the last hour.  We’ve taken some pictures of them – when we could coax them out from under the bed – they’re very naturally still afraid of us.  Plus – they’re babies!  But when we retreat – they come out, wrestle with each other, climb on the bed, jump off, ambush each other.  They’re so adorable!  I hope they lose their fear of us quickly!

Later.  Teddy just reported that they’re sleeping in the chair between the stuffed toy animals – Shadow’s stretched out along one side & Missy’s next to him, her head on his shoulder.  They’re out cold.  Maybe when they wake up, they’ll be hungry – I have food ready for them in the kitchen.

The Bills are losing.

Afternoon.  They woke up so we grabbed them & brought them out to the living room.  I held Missy & Teddy held Shadow – then we let them go.  Shadow ran back to the dressing room but Missy’s still here.

Evening. They spent most of the day in the dressing room – & now they’ve come out & eaten – they must have been starving – & now they’re exploring the dining room.  They still run away whenever either Teddy or I approach them – but they’re becoming bolder.

***

They definitely feel more at home today.  They’re still mostly hanging out in my dressing room – but they come out to the kitchen to eat.  Shadow does anyway.  Missy’s a lot shyer.  I have then two balls of yarn & there was yarn all over the floor – around the legs of the chair – the bed – books pushed off the bookcase – it’s a glorious mess!  I rolled the yarn back up & natural they were chasing the ends – oh, I was dying!  Then I rolled the purple ball of yarn to Missy – who attacked it – she picked it up in her mouth – & disappeared under the bed – leaving a trail of yarn – which, of course, was immediately attacked by Shadow.  They play so rough – attaching each other – wrestling – swatting at each others tails – oh they’re so lovable.  I sit in the doorway & watch.  They’re stopped running away from me but they’re still cautious.

Now it’s sleepy time.  Missy’s under the chair & Shadow’s under the bed near the bookcase.  Both raise their heads & blink their eyes sleepily when I approach.

Night.  Oh, they are totally ours.  When Teddy came home – after his bath & a few bowls – we went back & picked them up & brought them out to the living room & petted them until they fell asleep again.  When they woke up, they started exploring in earnest.  All evening long, they’ve been with us – playing, hiding, ambushing us or each other, eating kitten chow, falling asleep, waking up, exploring – they’ve just been sleeping on the chair next to me – now Shadow’s awake – barely.  He’s trying to pay attention to Teddy scratching his leg – but his eyes keep closing & he’s leaning over.  Nope!  Now he’s stretching & yawning & wants my lap.

***

Teddy brought home a large box with hole cut out – one on top, two on either side – for the kitty-cats to play in.  I gave them a ball of yarn – actually two balls of yarn tied together – it’s all over my dressing room – they’re such playful kittens!

***

Watching “Perry Mason”.  I have an awful headache – must be a migraine – I took a Contac this morning & 4 aspirin at 10:30 – it’s a doozy – will not go away.  After “Perry Mason”, I’m gonna have a cup of soup & lie down in my dressing room where the kitty-cats are already asleep.  They were wild Indians this morning.  They played all morning in the living room.  They are definitely feeling more & more at home here.  They’re eating more too – another sign that they’re feeling at home.  I love them so!

***

[December]

10 a.m.  I felt like shit yesterday.  A terrible headache – all day long.  Today’s the first day I’ve woken up without a headache for a long time.  Either I need an adjustment or I need glasses.  I should call Felix’s friend Alan, who works at Council Opticians.  I bet I need glasses – no one can argue that my eyes don’t work overtime!

I called Tish this morning & found out that I sent her Christmas present to the wrong address!  She assures me that it’ll be forwarded.  She’s dying to see our kitty-cats.  I mean – why not – they’re the finest cats in the world.

Shadow has tackled Missy & is licking her ear.  They’re so fierce with one another – they chase each other – tackle each other – scratch each other – Shadow bites Missy until she cries – Missy asks for it, though!  & then they are so affectionate with each other – Shadow always licks Missy after he bites her! – they sleep intertwined – hugging each other almost passionately.  The last two nights they’ve slept with us – at least part of the night.  They wake me up when they wrestle – Shadow jumping on Missy – Missy crying & fighting back.

I covered the couch completely with blankets & the green chair also.  The green chair is their favorite chair – it’s right next to a radiator – it’s now covered with an old lime green blanket – used to cover coolers at Sherkston – & the old gold afghan.  That’s where they are now – asleep.

***

The hockey game is on – I’m reading a new cookbook from the library – I should be basting black lace on my red plaid dress.  Teddy & I are camped out on the couch – the kitties are playing chase, catch & wrestle.  This is the first Saturday night I’ve had off in months & months.  Darryl has called several times & begged & pleaded for us to invest $25 – $35 – $50 – in whatever deal he has pending – but we went to the store & got groceries & cat food.  I wouldn’t feel like going anywhere – least of all an unheated, dirty, dreary little room in a Lackawanna drug house.  I’m perfectly happy in my warm, clean, cozy, little homey apartment.  With the finest little kitties in the world.

***

It’s snowing – the first real snow of the season, at least around here – upstate had snow way back in October – & the southerntier of course had snow.  It’s gotten really cold – the days are so short – soon is the winter solstice.  The snow looks so pretty.  We’re supposed to get a ton.  I hope so.  I love it cold – I love it snowy – especially in the twilight – the Christmas lights glowing in the windows – the radiators softly hissing – two little kitty-cats purring at my feet.  Cozy – homey – quiet – peaceful.  I think I’ll take a nap before I start having to get ready for tonight’s job.  I hate to admit it but I have absolutely no interest in working – it’s so comfy here – I hate to leave.  I don’t feel like doing coke & I don’t feel like drinking.  Oh well – that’s life.

***

It’s cold, snowy & wintry.  It’s supposed to get really cold tonight – record cold – 0 to minus 5.  We’ve done nothing but smoke joints & pig out!  I feel so fat!  Who cares!  Not me – at least not at the moment.

“No” seems to be the word most said around here lately – the cats are getting into everything!  We have a squirt bottle with which to discipline them – but it’s so hard!  They have the most adorable faces – they’re so sweet – oh, we love our kitties so much!

Last night’s party was really weird – it was held at Light’s Out, a bar one block from The Pipka Palace & a lot of their regulars were there.  So many guys told Teddy or me, “That guy is an asshole” or “The groom is an asshole” – I don’t think anyone liked anyone else.  I ran into Dorrie, who used to barmaid at The Pipka Palace – & Arista, one of the dancers – who looked more emaciated than ever.  She complained that she couldn’t watch – or steal – the show – “I’m used to being invited in, not kept out” – oh well, that’s life.  Everything changes.

When we got home, we ordered wings for me & a sub for Teddy.  We went to bed around 10:30 or 11 – I can’t remember.  It was so great to sleep well & wake up feeling rested & not hung over.  Real good!  & it was even better to count my money this morning!  Not to feel all depressed because we had spent it all partying out in Lackawanna!  I prefer our nights when we’re not doing coke!

***

In a good mood!  It’s cold, cold, cold – but sunny – a beautiful winter day.  The windows have ice patterns all over them.  It looks really cold out – people walking by all bundled up – puffs of steam coming out of their mouths – you can almost hear the snow crunching as they walk along – it’s nice & warm in here.  The kitty-cats have been running around like wild Indians but now they’re falling asleep next to me on the couch here.  I have lots to do today – clean the house – clip article from the newspapers – laundry – & then write, write, write.  Tonight when Teddy gets home, I’m gonna knit my scarf & make Christmas ornaments – I’ve got a whole bunch of junk I’ve saving all year with which to make ornaments.  Oh well – better get going –

***

Never got around to writing yesterday – too many visitors & phone calls!  It was almost supper time before I got the vacuuming done!  I did make some ornaments last night.  Boy – do I ever save everything or what!  I have enough stuff that I could make ornaments all day – everyday – for a week – a month – & open a shop & sell them –

I’m typing up my notes on The Spiral Dance.  I had them stretched over two diaries & you know how messy my diaries are.  This way I can put them into a notebook & make that the start of my very own Book of Shadows.

Missy & Shadow are in here with me.  They were in the living room cuz of the big windows.  I put my dancing blankets on the couch in here, then fetched them from the living room.  I petted them for a while – quite a while – I love to hear them purr!  Now they’ve settled in & their eyes are closed.  The rock’n’roll radio doesn’t seem to bother them.  Now it’s time to find out if the typewriter bothers them.

They don’t even notice.  Well – they looked up a little at first but now they’re out cold.  They’re so adorable!  I love them so much!  Well – back to work.

Teddy’s home.  He brought me half a pound of burger & a large potato, which will be transformed into Salisbury steaks & home fries.  He also brought a 20 lb. bag of cat litter that had been broken into – he got it for $1.10.  What a great deal!

He’s in the tub now.  I’ve put away my notes – although I could type more.  My back is really killing me, though.

Shadow’s trying to jumps into Teddy’s tub – well, if he does, I’m sure he won’t do it twice!  Now he’s on the end table by one of the two windows, looking outside.  It’s twilight – the snow is falling.

***

Just reading over the notes I transcribed yesterday.  All summer long – as I was transcribing poetry & notes out of my diaries – I left these alone – I’m not sure why – so I could do them all at once, I suppose.  I read The Spiral Dance twice in November 1987 – the first time in awe – the second time, taking notes – & then again in February – just before I had to give it back to Ginny P. – to whom the book belonged.  All summer long – I have read all the books I could get my hands on – all the books about the Goddess I could find – & books about women’s spirituality & the history of women in religion & the tarot.  Now I want to start practical adoration – I have started collecting the necessary tools – I have been meditating – I have been praying to the Goddess in my own inept way.  I think – in the early mornings – after Teddy goes to work – before I eat – before I dress & get going on the day’s work – I think that’s a good time to meditate – to think – to work – to learn about the Goddess – within me & without me.

***

I had lots of fun yesterday.  It was cold, though!  I walked up to the subway & by the time I got to Main Street I was so cold I felt like going home.  I told myself not to be such a sissy.  I thawed out on the train.  I got off at Allen-Hospital & walked up Allen Street.  The wind was in my face & it was cold!  Actually – my face was the only part of me that was cold – I was very warmly dressed – thick tights under my jeans – a pink turtleneck – my tan wool sweater – very warm – & my old-lady overcoat.  I tied my bandana on my head – tying it like a scarf under my chin like an old Polish lady.  It looks funny but it’s the best way to tie a scarf – I look good that way too!  I miss my black babushka – that was the warmest scarf – it was stolen at a stag – the sad fate of so many favorite items!

Anyway – after thoroughly exploring Allen Street, I walked up Elmwood Ave to the store called Emma.  It was quite warm in there – I stayed & looked at everything.  Oh, I wished I had lots of money – so many books I wanted – I could have spent a couple hundred dollars easily.  I only had $6!  I bought a couple of cards – I wanted to buy something.  They had jewelry too – silver, beadwork – handmade stuff.  I saw a beautiful pentagram – set in a circle made of silver – with a white stone in the middle – on a silver chain.

Then I walked up North Street to Delaware – Delaware to Chippewa – Chippewa to Main – Main Street to Main Place Mall.  Checking out different shops as I walked.

At the Mall, I checked everything out – buying a bookmark for Teddy at Walden books.  It has a cow on it – that’s why I bought it.  Leaving the Mall, I saw a guy walk out ahead of me.  That looks like Paulie, I thought but a guy in a coat, hat, dark glasses & a thick mustache could be anyone.  I tailed him for a while & decided that it was Paulie.  “Hey Paulie!”  He didn’t recognize me at first in my old Polish lady disguise.  We walked down Church Street – past Police Headquarters – past Saint Joe’s Cathedral – all cleaned up – I hardly recognized it – down to where Paulie parks when he’s working.  It was cold down there!  Jumped into the truck & thawed out smoking a fat joint & drinking beers.  He dropped me at the library 45 minutes later & I was tuned!  I immediately went to the ladies’ room where I took a long pee, fixed my make-up, put on perfume & freshened my breath.  I used the card catalog – looking for specific books – but the books weren’t on the shelves, of course.  I got out 8 books anyway – sometimes the book I want isn’t on the shelf but another one is that’s every bit as good.  I have no problem finding something to read!

After that – I went home – it was already past 2 p.m. & I had been out since 10 a.m.  I was tired – I almost fell asleep on the subway.  You know how that is – go go go all day & the first time you sit down – it’s sleepy time.  Anyway – I didn’t go to sleep – I didn’t read, either.  I watched these two old ladies – they were identical twins – they were dressed identically – down to their winter boots – hair done exactly the same.  They talked a great deal – their mouths moved the same way & their hand gestured the same way too.

It seemed to take hours to walk up Minnesota Ave.  School was letting out – there were children everywhere.  The crossing guard was perched on the far corner as I crossed Parkridge Ave.  I was so glad to get home.  I was so glad to see my kitties.  I ate lunch – then curled up on the couch – the kitties curled up with me – & slept until almost 5 p.m. – which is when Teddy got home.

***

I feel so tired.  Everything I eat makes my stomach ache unbearably & then turns to diarrhea.  I wanted to do so much today – make cookies – type recipes – clean the house.  I really wanted to finish When God Was A Woman – what a great book that is!  A great piece of scholarship!  I would love to meet Merlin Stone & ask her – I don’t know – dozens of questions.  But it makes me look at the Bible totally differently – even the Greek & Roman myths.  Everything I’ve ever learned.

All I’ve done is straighten up a little bit & take out the garbage.  I laid down on my office couch & went right out.  I vaguely remember Shadow & Missy jumping up & settling in.  I missed Teddy’s 11:30 call.  I guess people came to the door – I was out.  It was Paulie’s stereo that woke me up – & even then – it seemed to come from a long ways away – not just from downstairs.

Even now I’m having trouble getting going.  Naturally – I have “Perry Mason” on – & I’m getting hungry, so I must be feeling better.  I was going reheat some chicken wings – maybe I should stick to chicken soup.

***

Winter Solstice – Yule – the shortest day of the year.  I was up early this morning – reading – & finishing –  When God Was A Woman.   It’s grey today – a uniform blanket of clouds covering the entire sky.  I’m warm in the kitchen – baking cookies – Christmas Cut-outs – Chocolate Snowflakes.  After I bake, I’m gonna take a bath & do my hair – we’re going to Teddy’s cousin Rob’s in Conesus Lake to pick up the killer weed this afternoon.  On the way home, we’re going to get a Christmas tree.  I can hardly wait – it’s gonna be a nice trip.  Tonight we’ll decorate the tree & smoke killer joints & eat cookies!

***

We never got to Conesus Lake on Wednesday.  We ended up in Lackawanna – partying with Darryl & his brothers.  We went to Conesus Lake on Thursday.  It was the nicest trip – on the way home, we rated houses by their Christmas displays.  It was so much fun!

I did a Christmas party today at Bonnie’s Lounge– Sheridan Dr. near Kenmore Ave. – at 4 p.m. – I have another one to do at 1 a.m. Chevy workers with their Christmas bonuses!  Always a good time!  Everyone is in a good mood & everyone is generous!  Tomorrow we can go to Radio Shack & K-Mart & Wegman’s.  I can hardly wait.  I love Christmas & Christmas parties & Christmas tips.

***

Christmas Day.  The sun is just peeking through.  It’s been cloudy – sunny – windy – snowy – clear – this – that – the other thing – all day.  Changeable weather – moody like me.  We’ve been having the nicest Christmas – I woke very early this morning – maybe 6 or 6:30 – I could hear Paulie waking his kids by booming out – “HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas!” – I know he had to work today – he must have wanted to see them open their presents before he had to go in.  I could hear their excited voices – “Has Santa been here?” – & their footsteps running from the back of the house to the front before I fell asleep again.  Teddy & I got up around 9 a.m.

We’ve been watching movies – “The Glenn Miller Story” & “Angel in My Pocket” – & now a program about the blizzard of 1888.  We got great presents as usual – new sneakers & new notebooks for me.  An ice cream maker from Mom & Bob – I’m so excited!  We love ice cream!

***

A grey cloudy day.  New snow on the tree limbs & roof tops.  Teddy had to go back to work today – poor dear!  We both agreed that this holiday was one of the nicest we’ve ever had.

The only bad news is that on Friday, Danielle’s cat Saranac was hit by a car & killed.  He was twelve years old.  She’d had him longer than Doug.  She’s nearly inconsolable – & no wonder – cats make the best friends.  Saranac was one of the nicest cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

***

Arghhhh – I’ve got a cold – a real bad head cold – I’ve been blowing my nose non-stop.  I slept for a while this morning – I felt good when I got up but now I’m feeling lousy again.  I’m watching “Perry Mason” & sipping chicken soup.  My stomach is mildly upset – I think it’s from sniffing so much.  I ran out of kleenix long ago.  The only roll of toilet paper is in the bathroom so I’m using a rag to blow my nose with – I’m on my second rag.  I feel pretty miserable.  It’s been a tough week!  Got my period – got a cold – 1988’s going out with a vengeance!  There’s so many things I want to get done – maybe I can stand a few hours behind my typewriter – I can barely hold up my head.  Teddy’s bringing me Contac when he’s coming home but that’s not until 4 p.m.  Oh well – guess I’ll have to hang in there.

***

Still hanging in there.  The Contacs are doing a lot of good but I feel so delirious.  I walked into my office & looked at my work – all nicely laid out & arranged from yesterday – but I couldn’t get into it.  I’m watching “The Price is Right” & reading Hedy Lamarr’s autobiography.  The cats are playing with their Christmas toys.  They are really wild this morning.  Into everything!

***

New Year’s Eve.  Still feeling like shit but getting ready to go over to Doug & Danielle’s for the evening.  It’s just going to be the four of us tonight.  It seems really strange – just a few years ago, we were having major-sized parties – either at our place or over at Wayne Johnson’s – but now everyone has kids – except Teddy & me – & everyone wants to stay at home.  The main thing I hear is that it’s “too hard” or “too expensive” to get a sitter.  Which really means that everyone is getting too damn old to party.

I guess I shouldn’t complain – we’re going to have some coke – Jesse came by yesterday with a couple of 8-balls & we managed to save some for tonight – & we have weed & lots to eat.  But I miss how it used to be – the crowd of friends – everyone getting together – I can tell everything is changing.

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.

Excerpts From a Diary 8

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

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

***

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

Excerpts From a Diary 7

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

Excerpts From a Diary 6

[June, 1979]
Man, I don’t even know what day it is & I just realized it’s June. I don’t know why I bother to have a calendar – I rarely look at it & I never change it until 4 or 5 days into the new month cuz I just don’t realize – I’m too busy partying.

***
I talked to Mom today. She & Dick are very upset about my grades but they’re sending me money to get me through the next month, by which time I have to have a job or I have to go back to Gates Mills. But I’m never going back there. Crony told me today that he might be going to California at the end of the month & I don’t have a job by then, maybe I’ll go with him. Of course Eddie told me he was coming back for me at the end of the summer. So I want to be here for that. I would hate to miss Eddie. But – California! I have always wanted to go out there. Of course Crony might not go there, either. He was pretty wasted when he was talking about it.
I visited Bard Ellison tonight. It was our best visit yet. I think it’s going slow but that’s alright. Better slow & steady than fast & fucked up. & I think he needs a long time to make up his mind. & it gives me time to hang out – feel my oats a bit – I need a little freedom but I need a little hope too.

***

Oh man, I’m so excited. I was hanging out at Bard’s yesterday afternoon, listening to his band – Chaotic Bliss – tune up & practice a little before their gig & Bard said that they needed to find someone big & tough to take money at the door & make sure no one got in without paying. They talked a while about various guys & I said, “Well, I’m not big but I’m tough – I’ll do it.” & I talked them into it. So I went to McVan’s with them for the 7:00 sound check & hung out until opening. People didn’t show up for the longest time – it’s slow on Sunday nights – so the drummer – Greg Bodinski – “Gregski” – & I hung out together & talked. Once we found out we’re both into the Beatles, we traded acquired knowledge. He’s just a senior in high school. He’s kinda plump but real cute.
When people started coming, I was tough. I was amazed at all the excuses people will use to try to get in for free. “I’m with sound.” There is no sound man. “I know Bard Ellison.” Everyone knows Bard! Or they said they knew Barrett. A few said they knew Frankie or Gregski but not by name – they said they knew “the guitarist” or “the drummer” which is a dead giveaway that they really don’t know anyone at all.
Late into the second set, this humpty-dumpty dude came up. “I’m the band’s manager,” he said.
“That’s nice,” I replied. “It’s a dollar-fifty cover.”
“Listen, you don’t understand, I’m the band’s manager.” He put his hands on my shoulders & I shook him off. “Got any i.d.?” I was smiling but I wasn’t letting him in.
Well, he really was the band’s manager – Fred Fuller, his name is – & he was impressed with me, so he took my name & phone number – & I have a permanent job. “This band is going places,” he told me, “& you’ll go too.”
This is so great! This band is musically & lyrically the best band in Buffalo. The Jumpers are great but they aren’t intellectual like Chaotic Bliss. & I’m a part of it now! This is what I’ve always wanted! I belong!

***

Last night we played a private party at the Belle Starr out in Colden & everything was fucked up. We thought there was gonna be a P.A. system but there wasn’t one. Fred called around & got a sound man but then there weren’t any microphones. Honestly I don’t know why they don’t bring their own stuff just to be on the safe side. I know I would. You’d think Fred would be on top of this stuff. Then they found a mike – just one – but no stands. The band was supposed to go on at 10 but it was past 12:30 before they did. Gregski & I hung out together most of the time – he borrowed money from his sister so he could buy beer. He’s so sweet, so nice, so pretty – I want him. I was so high all night – dancing, cruising around, laughing, making other people laugh. “You’re always smiling,” said Frankie, the guitarist, who is obviously hot for me. “Cori’s very happy lately,” remarked Fred to Bard. “I think it might be Gregski,” said Bard.
“He’s so pretty!” I gushed to Bard. “& he’s younger than I am! Like everyone I know is older than I am!”
Writing up set lists, I talked to myself. “He’s cute, but he’s so young. You know he’s too young for you. Don’t get involved!”
Finally, they had to go on. I was the human mike-stand, holding the mike for Bard – or Barrett – whoever was singing at the time. They did a lot of jamming, so they didn’t have to sing too much. & then when they did sing, Barrett insisted that I get up there & sing with them – they were doing Beatles tunes & I belted out harmony – totally impressing everyone. “Wow, a rock’n’roll Ethel Merman,” said Bard. It was really fun. & I got paid, too – when they divided up the money, I got an equal share – only $2 – but I told Fred, “It’s just so much fun. I mean, I want to make money, too, but I’m here for the fun. It’s just so much fun.”

***

Chaotic Bliss has four members. Bard Ellison does lead vocals, plays viola & writes most of the songs, especially the lyrics. He commands most of the attention because he dances, he beams – he is so joyously high on rock’n’roll. You watch him & you can’t help but feel great, cuz you know he’s having the best time of his life. Plus he looks so bizarre – his shoulder-length frizzy hair – his tall thin body – his little kid grin – he might talk a good line about “punk rock” but there’s really nothing punk about Bard. He’s an old-time hippie who is rocking out with the kids. & he’s loving every minute of it. & he brings out the most bizarre instruments to rock out with – an autoharp – an ukulele – things you never see in a rock’n’roll band, let alone a punk band. He is supposed to be spending the summer writing his dissertation but he admits that he doesn’t give a damn about anything but rock’n’roll. I totally understand where he is coming from.
Robert Barrett – just known as Barrett – plays bass & also sings & writes songs. Like Bard, he is writing his dissertation but he is much more serious about his work. He’s been playing in rock’n’roll bands since he was a young teenager & has never been out of a job. He’s played some really big gigs – some of the big music festivals – & he’s seen or partied with everyone. It was the daily grind of the rock’n’roll life that made him want to become a scholar – he’s really an intellectual. But he’s a really good bass player. He’s solid, ya know what I mean? Never loses the beat – always right there with the firm bottom. Also – I think he exercises the most power in the band. If I had to say which guy was the leader of the band, I’d have to say it was Barrett. Which is funny, cuz it’s Bard’s band.
My feelings about Frankie Marone are ambiguous. He’s a good guitarist – good, not great. He’s a better rhythm guitarist than lead. He really drops the ball whenever he has to fill eight bars in the middle of a song. But he’s a good driving rhythm guitarist. He’s good-looking is a suave macho cool way – blonde, well-built – & he’s certainly very nice to me – but there’s something there I don’t like. Maybe cuz he isn’t quite natural. I don’t know if I would go so far as to call him a total phony but – maybe half a phony. I don’t know – I could be way off here. But that’s what my instincts are telling me & my instincts are rarely off. He’s very pleasant though – I like him – on a very superficial level.
& then there’s the pretty drummer – Gregski – from Cheektowaga. I call him “Wonder Boy” cuz he’s such a fantastic drummer. & he’s such a sweet kid – he really is. Bright – enthusiastic – loves to party.
They are so tight – such a tight, tight band. They haven’t even been together all that long, but they are really great. They are all excellent musicians. Musically, they have everything they need to be a great band, all they need is a following. & of course – lots of practice. I really believe in this band. I really do – they’re great.
Tonight they were working on new tunes, so there were some personality clashes. Barrett was clearly in charge & he tends to treat Bard – especially – like a child. Sometimes they would be squabbling & I would think – what a bunch of silly children. I can also see where Gregski may rebel in a while. I mean, he’s 10 years younger than the rest of them. Bard & Barrett, anyway. He told me how they often treat him like a “total kid.” In the next couple years, he’s going to really change. I think of the changes I’ve gone through in the past twelve months – they’ve been monumental. He’s still in high school & lives with his parents – he’s still a little kid in so many ways.
As I was sitting listening to them practice, I was humming harmonies & wondering if they will let me sing again.

***

Yesterday & today – yuck. It’s been terrible. First of all, it’s been so steamy hot that tempers are short & I can’t sleep at night – I’m never good when I can’t sleep – plus I still haven’t found a job – the phone company wants $100 deposit – a fucking $100! That’s ridiculous! – & I’m tired of my housemates. Mark Miles has been one of my very best friends since I first met him at Mayfield High School – he was really the first friend I made there. I understand he’s hurt & confused about Sara breaking up with him but it’s all part of Jon breaking up with me. I mean – that’s obvious. & it’s obvious that it’s been going on for a while. But I don’t get why Mark is taking it out on me. Like I’m the one who screwed it up with Jon & that’s why Jon is dogging Sara & that’s why Sara doesn’t want Mark anymore or some such shit. I was over at Bard’s, blowing off steam & when I got home again, I was locked out – this house is never locked! It’s a good thing it’s real easy to break into. I have to start remembering to carry my key.
I went out last night with John & his two friends C & D. What a waste of time that was. We went over to the Elmwood Strip. First we went to No Name’s, which wasn’t half bad, because the baseball game was on. I love baseball – I don’t care who’s playing. After the game, we went down the street to Mr. Goodbar, a disco. I hate discos, but I felt like dancing. However, it didn’t take long to become thoroughly depressed from the music & the people. I left for C’s place – John said he’d follow me later.
He showed up a little while later. He said he was almost sure of a ride home. “Great,” I said, “I’ll wait here.” I fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up, I figured that John was still at the bar, so I got up to walk down there. I saw a guy in a car & I asked him what time it was. “Four-thirty,” he answered. “Four-thirty!” I exclaimed. I wondered how I was going to get home from Elmwood Avenue at four-thirty in the morning. “Do you need a ride?” he asked. “Where are you going?” I asked.
“Winspear,” he answered.
“Oh great,” I said & got in. We talked as he drove & he asked me if I wanted to get high. “Sure,” I answered. He parked at Medaille College – nobody was around & I wasn’t happy – & he rolled a joint. We smoked it & as I expected, he put the moves on me. I said, no way. He got aggressive & I kicked him in the balls with my wooden clogs. “You fucking bitch!” He yelled. “I was just trying to be nice to you!” I thought, I’m out of here & jumped out of the car & ran away. I could hear him trying to start his car but the battery was dead. He was yelling at me to come back, but I wouldn’t.
So I walked all the way from Medaille College – not a bad walk, actually – but I was wearing my high-heeled clogs, not shoes you want to be walking in. But it was warm & the sun was coming up – the sky was pale blue & pink, changing as I watched it. I would have enjoyed myself if I hadn’t been scared shitless. Black dudes in long cars would stop & offer me rides & they don’t take no very easily. I was so scared.
I was getting blisters from my clogs so I took them off & walked barefoot. I felt a sharp pain – I had walked through broken glass. I limped down Main Street, getting more & more tired. My foot, which was bleeding, was becoming swollen.
Then I stubbed my toe. I was right around Hertel Avenue. The impact didn’t even hit me – I just stood there – numb – watching my big toe turn red – the skin pushed back & the nail broken. Then there was pain & I felt like puking. But I brushed away tears & started moving again – just slower & lop-sided.
Finally I was home. I hopped up the stairs & down the hall to John’s room. He was in his bed, sleeping. “John,” I said, “you fucking asshole.”
“Cori,” he said, waking, “you’re home. How’d you get home? I was so worried when I got in & saw you weren’t around.”
“You were worried? You fucking left me stranded, you asshole! Look at my foot, I can barely walk!”
“Wow, how’dja do that?”
I went to bed. I didn’t even bother to clean it off. There’s blood all over the hallway & bathroom floors but I haven’t cleaned that either. I’ve been soaking this foot all day – at Bard’s – & my toe is lots better. He has Epson salts & he keeps changing the water. But the glass is really wedged into my heel. For a long time, I thought it was out, because it wasn’t hurting, but now it hurts more than ever. I stuck a needle in the hole to see if I can pry it out & it’s definitely in there & very well lodged. I’m just too tired to do anything about it now. I was at a party tonight but I had to leave cuz I couldn’t walk & I was in so much pain I wasn’t enjoying myself. I’m so pissed. I can’t believe I’m hurt like this.

Today I soaked my foot almost all day. At intervals, I’d pull back the softened skin & enlarge the hole – then I’d let it soak again. Just a minute ago, I pulled back more skin & saw the piece of glass, shining in the light – I squeezed my heel & it came out, with blood & pus. I cleaned my foot & dressed it & bandaged it. Now I’m gonna wrap a plastic bag around it so I can take a shower. I’m meeting Chaotic Bliss at Bard’s, before we go to the gig at McVan’s tonight.

***

Wow, what a gig. We got there & our sound man didn’t. There was some fuck-up – some total lack of communication. We couldn’t get another one, either – although Bard deserves a gold medal for trying. Barrett & I are really pissed off at Fred – he couldn’t be found & this is definitely his fuck-up. Bard is much more forgiving.
So I went around, giving people’s money back & telling them that there was no P.A. but the band was gonna jam anyway. I think giving the money back to the people impressed them, because they all stayed.
The band was never better. What they lacked in vocals, they made up for in excellent solos, tight back-up & Bard’s incredible mime act. He is one out-there dude! & people were really into it! & the band was really into it, too, they were obviously enjoying themselves – I don’t think I’ve ever seen Frankie smile as much – not while he’s playing anyway. They did all their tunes, except the ones that had to have vocals. They were great!
Fred showed up late in the second set & wanted to know why was there no P.A. & where was the sound man? Barrett wouldn’t talk to him.
Going home, we stopped at Mighty Taco & munched. We were all so high & giggly – we just talked about the gig constantly. I’m writing it up for the new newspaper in town, “Rockers”. Fred was going to, but I was so exuberant & talking so excitedly about the band that he told me to. Barrett agreed that I should, since I was there for the entire show. Plus, I’m really into this band. They’re great, that’s why! They really are.

***

I have a job – I’m 90% sure of it! It’s a typing job at a credit bureau – minimum wage to start, then a raise after 30 days & benefits – Blue Cross/Blue Shield, life insurance, disability, sick days – everything. I can type 53 words a minute – I had never known that before. I can actually type faster than that, but not accurately. I told John – the guy who interviewed me – that with practice, I can & will get better. I want that job.
The reason I’m 90% sure of the job is that this guy always hires from Ruth – my employment agent – they’re personal friends – & I’m the only girl she sent to him. I think I made a good impression – I hope so!

***

Oh wow – I just woke up. I was pretty sick all day but I just realized it would be from lack of sleep as much as too much beer. Oh – last night was fun fun fun – I can barely remember it but that’s cool too – that’s how I know it was fun.
Around 3 in the afternoon I went over to Bard’s – the band was hanging out – they were gonna practice, then go to a gig at McVan’s with 8 other bands. It was another one of Mark Freeland’s extravaganzas to promote his bands.
We got there at 9 p.m. & didn’t go on until 3 a.m. In between, we drank several pitchers of beer, smoked a handful of joints & I myself had at least 4 bottles of beer on top of that. Plus, we had been doing shots of bourbon before we even left Bard’s house. So we were all quite wasted. Bard wasn’t – he never joins in with the drinking & the smoking. But the rest of us were partying hearty.
I wore a blue & white mini-dress, navy blue tights & my red mary-jane flats. I had on lots of eye make-up & all of my silver jewelry. I got asked to dance a lot. When I was asked whom I was with, I said, “Chaotic Bliss.” They’re my boys.
I was standing at the side of the stage, listening to Davy & the Crocketts with Gregski. We sauntered back through the dark hallway backstage to the dressing room. I don’t know what we were talking about – I can’t remember – but in the noise & darkness our heads were close together to hear what we were saying to each other & I’m not sure if he kissed me first or if I kiss him first – only that we stayed in the darkness a long time – a very long time.
& then, after the load-out, I was beating up on Frankie, to prove that I was tough in retaliation to his accusation that I wasn’t tough at all – & his kisses were deft & practiced – & his tongue wound around mine like a snake wound around a mouse. “Would you like company tonight?” he asked. “Sure,” I answered, without really thinking about it. In bed, I pulled myself together enough to fuck reasonably well, but in all actuality, I was too drunk & tired to be any good at all. We slept, our bodies entwined, which was nice – but as it got lighter out – it was 5:30 when we went to bed – the heat & the humidity increased & so did my headache. He left me in the early afternoon & I was glad to be alone. I don’t like being sick around other people. But I regretted that sleeping with Frankie hadn’t turned out entirely great. I mean, it doesn’t matter to me – but maybe it doesn’t fit into his macho image. Which won’t bode well for me.
I just got rid of my headache & I’ve finally woken up. I have to shower & then get over to Bard’s cuz we have a gig tonight.

***

Wow! I’m stoned, man! I’ve been stoned &/or drunk like all the time lately. I can barely write. Last night I bought half an ounce. I just couldn’t stand being without weed. I thought: fuck the bills, I’m gonna get me some marijuana. Went to bed stoned – woke up stoned – smoked some more. I can’t even write – I can barely hold a pen. I wanna dance – I wish it were night & I was out dancing – yeah.

That job fell through & I’m so depressed I could cry but I refuse to let myself cry over something so silly. I have to call the employment agency cuz they have another interview for me – but I just don’t want to. I’m so tired of this dress-up play-act game – especially since I don’t know how to play & I seem to be losing. I’m so sick of this!

I went out job hunting today but not much luck. I miss the band. I saw Bard yesterday which was nice – our band’s the best! Sunday’s gig was great – people were up & dancing – me too! I was bouncing in my seat & Fred said, “Go on, dance. I’ll watch the door.” We’re getting a following. At last!
However, there are major problems brewing. Gregski doesn’t like Fred at all, nor do I, really. & now Barrett says he’s picking up “bad vibes” too. Fred says money was stolen from the door – which is impossible – because I’m always there – I don’t even take a piss – so in essence, he’s accusing me of stealing. & why would I steal from my band? The band I love? Plus I get paid out of the money from the door, too. Stealing from the door is stealing from myself.
But there’s always problems, right? I guess that’s normal.

***

I have a job! Really! I went out this morning & went all over Buffalo, applying everywhere & finally was trudging up Main Street from Hertel, depressed as hell. I was passing Broadway Joe’s, a bar run by this disco wimp who picked me up hitch-hiking one night. It doesn’t get much business. Anyway, there was a Help Wanted sign in the window, so I went in. & walked out a half-hour later buzzed with beer & employed.
I went right over to Bard’s house. “I have a job!” They were all happy & even happier when I delivered an ounce of weed to Mac – Bard’s roommate – but there was definite tension. They were in no hurry to start the rehearsal. Bard told me this morning, “Frankie got a lot of hassle from his family because of the lyrics of ‘Son of Man’ & he’s redefining his priorities. He says he wants to go to school.”
When they finally went down to the basement & started the rehearsal, they worked on “Dog Breath”. Fred was there – more bad vibes. Bard disappeared upstairs for a while & returned with a bunch of disco albums. Without any forewarning or any words at all, he started smashing them – throwing them against the basement walls & on the floor – until there was nothing but a pile of black plastic. When he was done, he went back to playing his autoharp like nothing had happened. The room was a total mess of broken vinyl.
The rehearsal slowed down & stopped. Then the fireworks started.
Frankie said that, as a Christian, the lyrics of ‘Son of Man’ offended him & he wanted them changed – “Just three little words” – or he wouldn’t play the song. Then he changed it to – change the lyrics or he’d quit the band.
Bard said that the three words weren’t important in & of themselves, but the song as a whole was important & changing any part of the whole would be artistically & morally wrong. If you changed the words, then you change the song & then it wouldn’t say what he wanted it to say.
Frankie’s rebuttal was that Chaotic Bliss is not Bard Ellison – Chaotic Bliss is the entire band – Bard, Barrett, Frankie & Gregski. Something clicked in my brain that this may be the real problem. This & Frankie’s family hassling him – if they are, indeed, hassling him.
Fred was trying to be the father figure – Barrett & I got the giggles because he was so ridiculous at it. So Fred tossed Barrett & me out. We went upstairs & watched TV for a while, then Barrett went back down & I sat on the stairs, listening. Basically, it was more of the same. Barrett made a beautiful speech defending Bard’s rights & feelings as a artist. It was great – I wish I could remember it cuz I’d write it down here.
Frankie left after that. Bard, Gregski, Barrett, Fred, Mac & I sat in Bard’s kitchen, smoking pot & discussing the situation. Bard read his poem “The Pope on Christmas Day”. It was beautifully offensive. I left after that.
We’re meeting tomorrow at 11 a.m. I’ll be there earlier, of course. But now I need to sleep.

***

I walked into the house yesterday at 11:45 – way later than I had wanted to arrive – but I overslept. I listened at the cellar door, but there was absolutely no sound at all – a bad sign – when all is well, they can’t wait to play – so I dashed upstairs. I walked into the kitchen & they were all sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. We all said hi, then Bard said, “Frankie’s just announced he’s leaving the band.”
“Oh,” I said & sat down.
Frankie said, “It’s just that…with you, the Bliss is your primary interest, your primary goal. But it isn’t mine. I should have said so from the start & I’m sincerely sorry that I didn’t, because I did you a great disservice. But I’d be doing a greater disservice if I kept on playing & later quit.”
There were the same questions over & over again – why did it take so long to realize this? How much of this is family pressure? How can he cut off a possibility for the future? Etc. Frankie replied, “I want to be a speech pathologist.” He left soon after.
Barrett, Bard, Gregski & I hung out all afternoon, talking about the situation. “Anyway,” said Bard, “we should not settle for any guitarist until we find the best one in the world.”
“That’s a good idea,” I agreed. How I wished at that moment I played guitar! Gregski fired up a joint & passed it to me. Bard suggested that they write a song, “so that today isn’t a complete waste.” For about an hour, Barrett pounded on a guitar with only 5 strings & Bard & I traded lyrics, while Gregski thumped & pounded an accompanying rhythm & finally we got it finished. Barrett left soon after that & Bard, Gregski & I walked to Might Taco to get burritos. Talking – of course – about Frankie’s decision to leave. We all think there’s more to it than the lyrics of a song or wanting to be a speech pathologist. But if Frankie doesn’t want to talk about what’s really going on, there’s nothing any one of us can do about it.

***

Last night’s gig was terrible. We had the worst competition – 999 was playing Stage One. I would have loved to have seen 999 – I don’t want to be disloyal to the Bliss but still. & there was almost nobody at McVan’s at all. & then, Gary’s A-string broke on his ukulele & he didn’t have another one – or the one he had didn’t fit – so those songs were shot – then Frankie’s amp broke & then Barrett’s did. I mean, it was one thing after another.
& I was depressed because Frankie now treats me like I don’t exist. I should have known, right? I poured out my troubled to Barrett on the way to McVan’s – “He doesn’t flirt with me anymore,” I complained, hurt but not exactly caring. “If he had never flirted with me, I wouldn’t care. But he was only flirting with me to get me in bed & now that he’s had me, it’s like I don’t exist.”
Barrett said, “It seems to me that you’re taking life by the horns, which is admirable & takes a lot of courage. But you’re gonna meet people who are gonna take advantage of that quality of yours & put you down, or at least try to put you down. They’ll use your independence for their own ends & then revile you for that independence.”
“I don’t get that. I’m not that kind of person.”
“You gotta toughen up, baby,” he smiled at me. I smiled back. “Bard & I were wondering,” he mentioned, “how much you taking Frankie home that night had to do with him quitting.”
“Yeah, I was wondering, too.” I sighed. “But that’s not my fault, Barrett. Him quitting the band.”
“I know that, baby,” he answered.
& then Fred was down on me, but he always is lately – it occurred to me that maybe he blames me for Frankie quitting the band, too. It bothers me that Bard might blame me. If Fred blames me, so be it but I don’t want Bard blaming me. It’s not my fault. If that’s the way Frankie is, that’s the way he is. Anyway, the night sucked. The few people who came in were hecklers. The band quit the stage without finishing the set & we packed & left without smoking a joint & hanging out in the back room like we always do – talking about the set & congratulating each other about a great show.
The only good thing was that Frankie – supposedly unhindered by whatever his hang-up is – played better than ever. “I feel so relaxed, now that it’s all out,” he said. What an asshole.
(Later). Saturday night was far better. The Jumpers were opening for Alex Chilton at McVan’s. I wasn’t going to go but after I caught a buzz in the early evening I decided to get out of the house & party. I wore a black velveteen mini dress I found in a thrift shop – black tights & my red mary-janes. I did my eyes up in black & I looked fabulous. It was cold out – for a coat, I wore a man’s maroon smoking jacket – also found in a thrift shop. It has plaid lapels & cuffs & large pockets. It goes down to my knees & looks like a coat. I love it.
I got a ride to Hertel & Elmwood, then I was on my own. I hate thumbing there – it’s too dark, too unpopulated – there’s a corner bar & that’s about all there is. I really hadn’t been out there very long before someone stopped. A guy on a motorcycle! He was Latino, very handsome. I strapped on the helmet & got on behind him. Oh, I love motorcycles! I have always wanted a boyfriend with a motorcycle. I loved riding with Eddie, the few times he’s had his bike running. He took me right to McVan’s – I was so very thankful. He wanted me to party with him all night – he was going to some bar downtown – but I said no. Maybe I should have said yes?
At McVan’s, I sat with Gregski & his friends, all of whom were charmed by me – I was in a very good mood – laughing & making fun of them. & then I felt it – I turned & there stood Jon. & of course, that was the reason I said no to the guy on the motorcycle – I was hoping to see Jon – I’m always hoping to see Jon. I wanted to go talk to him but then the Jumpers came on & took the stage & started to play & I was right up & dancing because there is no keeping still to rock’n’roll. I danced every tune – I danced with everyone who asked me – & then I danced back to where Jon was standing. “Dance with me,” I said. We danced several tunes, actually talking a little bit as we danced. “I’ll see you later on,” he said to me, moving away. I smiled at him – I felt like I owned the world.
I sat & drank some beers & caught my breath. I saw Sean standing across the dance floor, by a speaker & I went over to him. “Cori!” he said & kissed me. I was so very surprised & so very pleased. We danced until the end of the set. I said, “Come smoke a joint with me.”
He said, “Well, Jon’s with me, do you mind if he comes along?”
“Shit, I don’t care, the more the merrier!”
We went & found Jon, then went out to Sean’s car & smoked. Jon & I argued lightly, like we always do. He questions every little thing I say – jumps on my statements – points out all my inconsistencies – & demands total accuracy. Since I was buzzed on beer, I had quick witty retorts. It’s only when I’m straight that words come slower than I want them to. Around Jon, anyway.
After a while we went in & stood in the back. Jon went to take a piss & Sean asked me, “Are you going out with anyone? Cuz I’d like to see you.”
“Sure,” I said & touched his hand.
“At the rate we’re going, it’ll be another month before we ‘just happen’ to see each other again,” he laughed.
“I know,” I agreed. Which is really OK with me. I like Sean – but I’m still in love with Jon.
Jon came back. We started talking about the new Joni Mitchell album & he told me about a collage of photos he was putting together. “You should come over & see it,” he said. “We can get a pizza or something.” & fuck our brains out, I added silently.
Alex Chilton came on & we made a dash for the stage. He was alright – not great. The bass & the drummer were rarely together – like they had never played the tunes before. The rhythm guitarist was really good, though. Jon said, “I think the back-up band is the Philly Nuggets.”
We were dancing – I wanted to die. His hand on my thigh – then my ass – then my back – my shoulder – I was dying. He brushed up against me & I could feel his hard-on & I could have screamed – I could have fainted. Instead I clapped with the rest of the crowd & flashed a smile to Sean.
That night – in bed – I sank into sleep & wished I was with Jon.

***

I went over to Bard’s this afternoon & Barrett was there. They were talking about last night’s gig & had decided to quit gigging for a while until we had a new guitarist & could really burn ass. “I just can’t stand another night like last night,” said Bard. It’s true. I think with another gig like that, Bard would have a nervous breakdown or something. I worry so much about him.
Anyway, Bard was going over to Barrett’s for dinner & he invited me too. He had to take a nap first & I hung out with Barrett while Bard slept.
Barrett is truly amazing. He talked for so long today – out on the porch, while Bard slept – he taught me how to roll joints – the right way, he said – he said that when he was at Columbia University, he had a physics professor who taught him how to roll joints – the right way – along the laws of physics, of course – so that they burn properly – not too thin & not too fat!  I had difficulties in getting them exactly right so he had me rolling one after another & we smoked every single one of them – I had a half an ounce & we smoked the whole thing! I asked him about gigging in the late 60’s & early 70’s & he said, “I really don’t like to talk about it.” & then went on to tell me all about it. Meeting Janis Joplin & Jimi Hendrix & the Grateful Dead & the Jefferson Airplane.  & everyone else you can think of!  All the drugs & the drinking & seeing the world. “Were you one of Janis’ ‘pretty young boys’?” I teased him. “One night & one night only,” he admitted. “She was something else. I could never drink enough to keep up with her, that’s for sure.” He told me how she would be onstage, a bottle in each hand & never miss a beat. “But she was totally wasted the entire time.” I asked him if her death made him want to leave the scene. “Not her death per se, but the death of other people much closer to me – too many O.D.s & car wrecks when people were trashed behind the wheel.” I could identify with that – my father dying drunk behind the wheel – as he well knew.  It seemed like we had a lot in common. “So I left the life,” he told me. “I went back to school, got married, started work on my Ph.D. & I’m much happier than I used to be.” We laughed a lot in the warm gold sunshine & by the time Bard woke up & joined us in the late afternoon sun, I felt that I had gained an ally.
Supper was good. Rina, Barrett’s wife, made chicken wings, broiled in lemon & soy sauce – there was rice, corn on the cob & a salad. I couldn’t decide if I liked the chicken or not, but I ate a lot anyway. I mean wings – they’re supposed to be deep-fried & smothered in a mixture of hot sauce & melted butter, right? These even had the tips still on them. But they were alright. Rina’s from Brooklyn – she doesn’t know about real chicken wings. But she had a library to die for – one room with bookshelves from ceiling to floor – I was so envious – & all the Anaïs Nin diaries – & she let me borrow some books – although none of the diaries, which are signed copies. Signed copies! I wouldn’t let those out of the house either! Barrett loaned me some D.H. Lawrence novels – Lady Chatterley’s Lover & Women in Love.  He had every copy of my father’s novels – which pleased me to no end.
Bard talked to Fred on the phone about quitting gigs for a while. Shameless me, I sat & pretended to read about the Rolling Stones while listening to Bard’s side of the conversation. It was easy to tell what Fred was saying, even without hearing what he was actually saying. Fred thought that Chaotic Bliss should finish out the contract at McVan’s. He thinks we should go right on gigging regardless, but Bard vehemently – as vehement as Bard gets – disagreed. Although the gig for next Sunday is definitely on.

Excerpts From a Diary 5

[May, 1979]
End of the semester. I managed to finish my Mina Loy paper on time & I gave it to Mr. Barrett. He was impressed that I was able to get it done on time & that it was longer than the required pages. “I look forward to reading it,” he told me. “I hope you like it,” I answered.
We stood talking for a few minutes – he asked me what I was going to be reading this summer & I replied “Anaïs Nin” off the top of my head – although I have lots of other books to read – & while he was telling me about D.H. Lawrence, who walks in but Bard Ellison! It turns out they’re really good friends & they’re in a band together! Or they’re trying to get one going or something. They have a drummer but they’re still auditioning guitarists. They have a gig next week at the Masthead, over by Buff State. Bard had a stack of flyers he was putting up everywhere. I thought it was impressive that they already had a gig but not even really a band. The name of the band is “Chaotic Bliss”.
Bard wanted to see me this Friday night but I’m going to the Cheap Trick concert with M. I’m kinda sad, actually – I think I would rather hang out with Bard & hear about this new band.

I failed my Women’s Poetry Class because I never showed up for the poetry reading at the women studies college on Winspear Avenue – I knew where it was – I’d been there before – but I had been partying with Bro & Crony earlier in the day because Crony was leaving for his home in the Adirondacks – “But I’ll be back,” he said. “It’s gorgeous up there but there’s nothing there! I’d rather be here. You can do anything here.” I thought I would be able to party with them & then take a short nap & make it to the reading OK but I never woke up. So I really fucked that one up. The thing is, if I had just taken an incomplete & left it at that, I would have been OK – I was the one who insisted that I was fine & I could make it to the reading. So yeah – I really fucked up.
My other class I have to finish by the end of July. I have to write a paper on how the capitalist patriarchal culture screws over women & keeps them from being able to fully participate in society or become the person she can become – or something like that – I’m not even sure yet. I have two months to flesh it out & get it to my professor. But I’m just so happy about having to finish up that one class because that gives me a reason to stay in Buffalo – & stay close to Jon. You never know – I might be able to get him back.

May 4 was the Cheap Trick concert in Rochester. I went with M. from the Q station. M. & the Q station is everything Jon hates & used to rant about all the time – the slick corporate element taking over radio stations & squashing out all creativity & spontaneity & true musicianship – the AOR-set lists & “classic rock” hits which are crowding out all the new music – the bloated budgets of some bands, while others starve as they roadie their own gigs & sleep in their vans to save money.
But I wasn’t thinking about that when I was going to Rochester with M. He had some killer cocaine & I was already half-blitzed out of my mind & feeling fine. I was thinking that maybe tonight was the night I would start my career as a groupie – although at almost age 19, I was a little old for that. Most girls start way younger than that.
Backstage wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. The concert was at the Dome & it was shabby, to say the least. There was a spread of various cold cuts & cheeses & stuff like that but no shrimp & caviar & champagne. Not like you read about in magazines. & it wasn’t any wild party. It was really quite subdued. & I was the youngest girl there. I mean – if those other girls were younger than me, then they must have spent years partying. They looked like that anyway. Rail thin & wearing cheap silk-like dresses – although it was way too cold for anything like that – & none of them looking any too healthy.
& Cheap Trick themselves! I mean – they rocked – it was a good show – but they were so old! & so tired looking. Even before the show, they looked like they hadn’t slept in – I dunno – weeks, months, even. A good long time. Rick Neilson looked really bad – big dark circles under his eyes – but he was really nice to me. He gave me a bunch of guitar picks & a Cheap Trick button.
After the show, we partied with them on their tour bus – both Robin Zander & Tom Petersson chided me for drinking Rolling Rock beer when I could have had Heineken – but I hate Heineken & I don’t drink beer that I hate. They were both paired up with the skinny chicks that were backstage. M. pulled out his vial of coke & one of the girls had opium, which we smoked in a glass pipe – I have never smoked opium before – it was really cool – real dreamy & slow & soft – it’s hard to explain – but I really loved it – especially paired with the coke.
I spent the night in the motel – in M.’s room – I wish I could say that I had an orgy or something with them but the truth is, I passed out as soon as I hit the bed & the next thing I know, M. was waking me up & it was morning – I couldn’t tell if he was pissed off about how I didn’t even give him a blowjob – but I was too out of it & I really didn’t care. I wasn’t hung over – I was just – kind of sick. & really tired.
I was glad to get home. Even if “home” was the dorms & I had to start packing to move out. I’m moving in with Mark Miles & John Frederics. But I have a few days to get my shit together.

***

Eddie’s going back to Brooklyn for the summer. He says he has a job with his cousin & he can make some real big money before the fall. He doesn’t know if he’s coming back to school but he said that no matter what, he is going to come back for me. That made me feel really good.
He gave me a ride on his Ducati, finally put back together & running smoothly. It was in pieces most of the semester. Eddie’s room looked more like a repair shop than a college dorm. His roommate complained to the R.A. but there was nowhere else for Eddie to work on his bike or even to store it. The R.A. & the roommate both were customers of Eddie’s so the problem was easily solved. Marijuana always makes friends.
It was thrilling – flying around campus on the back of his bike – holding on as tightly as I could – since there was no backrest to keep me on. When he cornered – we were almost parallel with the road – my knee was an inch from the pavement – it was terrifying & electrifying at the same time – it took my breath away –
He dropped me off at my dorm. “I’ll be back,” he said. “You have my phone number, call me, don’t disappear on me.”
As he drove off, I thought about his promise to return. & that he has never kissed me.

***

I moved into my new house yesterday. It’s on Heath Street. I share it with Mark Miles & John Frederic. John has the bedroom across from mine. Mark sleeps in the downstairs bedroom. The house was so dirty – it still needs a lot of work, but at least it’s livable. I am so glad to be moved in – I can hardly wait for the rest of my stuff to come.
This house is large. The front room is Mark’s – it must have been a porch at one time, but is closed in now. Then there’s a large living room with a lovely but extremely worn rug on the floor. There are several easy chairs that are also quite worn. We have the walls decorated with posters – when we get a stereo, it’ll be really nice. The kitchen is large, but oh – what a mess. It’s gonna be a long time before I have that room in order. The dining room is nondescript – just another room, really. The stairs going up are in the corner of the dining room & they are very steep & winding & have old, hand-braided rugs on each step that will trip you when you’re drunk. Upstairs is the bath – very dirty – maybe I’ll get to it later this week. There are two rear bedrooms yet unclaimed by tenants – John & I have the front bedrooms. My room isn’t large but it isn’t small, either. The walls are painted pale blue & I’ve got them covered up with my pictures. Of course I put up my Janis Joplin poster immediately & the Beatles poster from the White Album. There’s no curtains on the windows but a large tree covers up the view. I love having a tree outside – I feel very secure around trees. It’s a maple tree.
My bed is a big double bed & it sags in the middle but it’s alright. I have to get used to sleeping in it – I’m so used to single beds. There’s boards I can use for shelves if I can find bricks or some other base to set them on.
My room is the best room in the house.

A new notebook for my birthday. A new notebook for a new diary.
Never again will I listen to anyone tell me that my diary is worthless, stupid or a waste of time.
Never again will I kill my diary like a symbolic suicide. If I want to die, I kill me – not the diary.

***

Today was hungover & tired-out but I dutifully went downtown to find a job. I went to an employment agency – I heard it’s the easiest way to find work. I only wish I had a phone. Using the pay phone on the corner of Main & Winspear doesn’t cut it. I had an interview at Victor’s department store at Genesee & Pearl at 2 p.m. – I hope I get it, although I doubt I made a very good impression. The whole time I was wishing I could throw up. I should stop drinking. I should really stop drinking. Going downtown on the bus I was even thinking that maybe I should find a meeting. That’s how bad I felt. The thing is, I didn’t think I drank all that much last night. In fact, when I woke up, I felt fine. The hangover grew on me. Now I feel alright but I slept all evening. I should eat but I’m not hungry. That’s the problem, I never eat.
Last night I went to see Joe Jackson at Stage One with Bard Ellison. Actually, I was on the guest list, but I was with Bard – I’ve been seeing him for a few weeks. I can’t believe it, actually. It happened so suddenly – right after Eddie left – & I’ve been so busy moving into my new place I haven’t had time to think about it, let alone write about it. The first time we went to the Tralf to see a friend of his play radical jazz & then we ended up spending the night together – it was the first time I had made love with anyone since Jon – & it was so wonderful – strange, though – because it wasn’t Jon. It was almost a relief to have finally made love to someone else – & someone as seemingly as sweet as Bard – because he was so very sweet as he made love to me. I spent the night with him last night. We didn’t make love but that’s ok. Just being together is fine with me. & honestly – I don’t know if I’m ready for all that – anyway.

***

Bro is marrying Deanna at the end of the month & they’re honeymooning in Paris. Bro came by & picked me up to take me to the beach. We went to Canada – he said the best beaches were in Canada. I remember going to my grandparent’s cottage in Long Beach when I was a little girl. We went to Pleasant Beach after going to the brewery & getting a case of Brador Beer. We had subs too from Boulevard Sub shop & of course Bro had a bunch of joints rolled. It doesn’t seem to bother him – crossing the border with weed.
It was a really hot day – one of the first really hot days of the season. But the lake was still shockingly cold. There were ice burgs in the middle of the lake & where the water hit the shore, there was a line of fog that was waist high. We were the only people on the beach.

Bro has always wanted me. Even though he has always been going out with Deanna & she is one jealous babe. But she doesn’t live on campus & he considers himself a ladies’ man. We have partied together a hundred times & almost every single time, he has made a pass at me. He almost always got out a Playboy or a Penthouse magazine to show me the newest poses of the models & he was the one who advised me to start modeling because I had the perfect figure for it. More than once, he has pulled out his dick & stroked it in front of me.
But I have never wanted him.  I’m glad he’s getting married.

***

3:00 a.m. “Oil of Dog” is just starting. I love the way Gary says, “I’m Gary Storm & I’m here to bring you nothing – nothing – nothing but love.”
It’s Jon’s birthday. I hope I get to see him today so I can wish him a happy birthday. How I wish we were still together.
Mark left for New York City this morning. Oh wait, that was yesterday. Thursday morning doesn’t start until I wake up & it’s daylight.

***
Tonight John & I got dressed up & went to Mulligan’s on Hertel, a well-known disco. It was their “rock’n’roll” night – what a joke. It was full of disco queens & macho men on the make. John & I danced & stole other people’s drinks but it was really a drag. I can’t stand that plastic pick-up disco scene. I was glad when we left.
John is crashed on the sofa. I’m still wide awake. But then, I slept most of today. I’m gonna go out & call Bard from the corner phone. I so wish we had a phone! Having to go out to make phone calls is a drag. I know he’s awake because he told me he always listens to Gary’s show.
(morning) I called Bard & went over to his place & hung out all night. I just don’t know – I kept thinking, do you like me? Do you want me? Please want me – I want you to want me – can you feel me wanting you – I wrote a poem & stuck in the back pocket of my jeans. He looked at me & smiled but did not ask. He’s a writer too – a poet – a rock’n’roller. & I’m screaming silently – screaming screaming screaming – because I’m sitting in my bed, lonelier than hell – thinking about Bard – feeling so uncomfortably horny & wishing that John in the next room would wake up so I could seduce him.
He did kiss me goodbye. But maybe he does that to all his girlfriends. I hate feeling like this – never knowing what’s going on –

***

Oh, it’s another lonely night. John is out somewhere. I’m alone here with the radio. Alone with the radio & my diary like a hundred nights before.

***

I am not going to call Bard today. I am going to stay away. I am not going to ruin this relationship before it’s even got a chance to get going by being clingy & insecure. I am going to stay home & write.
(night) I did call Jon. We finally talked about our relationship – without arguing about it – where we saw things differently & what problems we had & why. For the first time, I was able to say, this is how I felt & why I couldn’t tell you & this is what I was trying to tell you & why it wasn’t coming out the way I wanted it to. I said, “You must understand that a lot of the things I thought you were saying or doing may not have been happening in actuality – ” – again, letting him off the hook. But it’s better than perpetuating the same old patterns of accusation & denial.
I did accuse him of playing a “yo-yo game” with me, because what the fuck, that’s exactly what he was doing – Mark & John & Eddie & even Bard says that’s what he was doing. He protested, “But that wasn’t what I was doing!” Once again, I let him off the hook – “Yes, but that’s what it seemed like to me & that’s what you have to take into account.” So I let him think that it was just my emotional problems that created the “yo-yo game”, not anything he actually did. But I know & everyone else knows that’s not the truth. & he’s got to know the truth too, if he’s honest with himself.
I told him about falling in love with Bard Ellison. “That’s good,” he said. I’m sure he thinks it’s good – it means I’m not in love with him anymore. It frees him. But I wailed, “It’s terrible! I don’t want to fall in love! I hate falling in love. I always get hurt.”
“Well, you let yourself get hurt,” he told me. So it’s all my fault.
“I can’t help it,” I said. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Stop feeling?
But it was so good to talk to him. I didn’t realize how much I had missed him. He said he thought that the abortion had fucked us up. I don’t agree, but if that’s what he thinks, that’s what he thinks. “That was the problem,” he insisted. “After that, we weren’t the same anymore.” If he wants to have regrets, he can – I don’t – I can’t – it’s over & done with & I am not going to cry over something that I no longer have any control over. Besides, it was all him anyway. I’d be having a baby now, if not for him.
So now that we’ve talked – now that things are settled between us – maybe we can be friends. But I’ll always want him – always love him – always – till the day I die – & beyond that. & I’ll always hurt because I can’t have him.

***

I was at The Spectrum office today, making telephone calls – looking for work – & I hung out because there was going to be a meeting & there was food – I’m not one to pass up a free meal. Jon was there – looking more desirable than ever.  His hair is blonder than ever & he looks like John Lennon in his new wire-rim glasses. He was as animated as ever – going on about how heavy metal is going to make a comeback – I don’t know about that – while Mark Miles made me the butt of his very bad jokes. I don’t know what’s up with Mark lately.
After the meeting, I hung around as long as I could without looking as if I was waiting for Jon – finally I just left but he soon followed. We walked together & talked – naturally, a continuation & elaboration of our talk the other day. Of course. Jon always has to talk everything to death. & sometimes he was really hard on me & I felt miserable. It was really much better the other day & I wished he had just left it alone. He said that I had “refused” to see that the relationship had “ended”. I was really confused – as far as I could see, there was no real ending until I ended it in March. & even then, all through April, he was still acting like he wanted me. I mean, how was I supposed to know when it was really ending? How can a person refuse to see the ending of something that has no real ending? I wasn’t going to argue this with him – I know better than to argue with Jon.
“It was the best relationship,” he said, as we shared a joint, “are you kidding? Man, at times, it was downright brilliant.” So fucking brilliant you had to end it, I though bitterly but I kept my mouth shut. We talked of the possibility of having “another” relationship. He was leery, of course. “But we aren’t the same people,” I said. “We’re older, we see things differently. We came through all that drama from before, we’ve learned what not to do.”
We talked of relationships with other people – Bard Ellison, of course – & his interest in other women – I didn’t bring up Sara but that’s obvious – & music – all the concerts I’ve been going to – more than he’s been to lately. He seemed jealous that I am getting out so much. I thought that was petty. I mean – he broke up with me.  & now he’e resentful because I’m going to more cool shows than he is?  Really?
Finally, he asked, “Do think that we will ever have sex again?”
“I should hope so!” I burst out, almost indignantly. “You were the best lay I ever had!” I laughed. Then more seriously & quietly, I said, “I would really like to. I think I could handle it. I don’t hurt anymore – it would just be friends having sex. Nothing heavy.”
“I would like to have recreational sex with you again,” he said & I smiled, although inside I was thinking – you couldn’t call it “making love”? “Recreational sex” sounds so – like tennis or golf or something. Like it really doesn’t mean anything. Or you get a prize at the end of it. Blue ribbon for the best fuck.
Since it was beginning to rain, he offered to drive me home. We went a roundabout way since Main Street is a construction mess – because of the new subway – talking the whole way – about doing interviews – he wanted to know how Gary Storm does them – he seemed jealous that I was around when Gary was interviewing Joe Jackson & Tom Robinson. I just happened to be there – because of Bard – I really wasn’t part of the story. We stopped in front of my house. “You have the whole thing?” he asked. “You want to come in?” He grinned.
I showed him around the house, downstairs & up. “This is my room,” I said, leading him in. “It looks like your room,” he said, closing the door. He sat down on my bed & stretched out, watching me. I sat down next to him, prattling on about Cheap Trick – “I don’t even listen to their songs anymore. If one comes on the radio, I turn it. It was fun partying with them but I’m really not that kind of girl.” I was very nervous.
“What kind of girl are you?” He asked.
“I’m just an ordinary girl,” I replied. “Not a groupie – not a music journalist – just a girl – ” I bent down & kissed him & he kissed me back.
He asked, “Are you sure you can handle this?” “I’m sure,” I answered. Inside, I was thinking, I’m dying, I’m dying, I’m dying –
It was so wonderful – Jon is the only one who knows how to touch me.
We were in the middle of it when John thumped up the stairs & went into his room. “I can’t do this,” Jon whispered. “But you are doing it,” I whispered back. John then knocked on my door. Jon & I hastily put our clothes on. I went out to talk to John but it was too funny & I nearly collapsed laughing. “What’s the matter?” demanded John. “Oh – nothing.” I went back into my room. “Lock the door,” hissed Jon. I did, trying to do it quietly. I almost died laughing. Jon laughed too, loud & full. We sat on the bed & I gave him head. John finally went downstairs & Jon & I resumed making love. I have not felt that good in a long time – a very long time. Not since the last time I made love with Jon. & it’s “making love” – not “recreational sex” – I don’t care what he says.
We sauntered downstairs. “Don’t you dare flip out,” he warned. “I won’t,” I promised. He left & I hugged myself & danced in the kitchen. I was so happy!
Then I went upstairs & looked at my double bed & I never felt so lonely in my entire life.