The Diary of Me: Manhattan, 1976

APRIL

7-Looked out my window and saw the midday sun slanting through the branches of a tree that is soughing. The foliage is deep, lacquered, surcharged with sap. almost chromish. The leaves are very long, as if they have no need of sleep.

9-Today!

10—Claims adjuster Morris Bateman and his wife dropped by for drinks. They are both small, quick, intuitive, seminal, prickly, fin de siècle, impish, tousled, flute-like. I love them. I commented that one must live one’s life on the level of human gravity, and we quarreled.

12-This is my story.

14-I know what the word for the feeling I want to express is, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it. I had the word on the tip of my tongue, but it appears to be out of sight out of mind. All but filed and forgotten, yes?

24—Here, only the present matters, but the past and future matter too. The day is febrile and Dufy. The sun wears a necklace of moonbeams. I climb Annapurna. Pigeons stand like sentinels, guarding my sill. They make an eerie gurgling, hooting, whistling, squawking, honking, caw-cawing, pee-peeing loonlike sound. They can pass through walls.

26—Letter front my brother, congratulating me on the latest story. “It is intelligible and desperately good.”he writes. “I especially liked the sex parts. Am I correct in seeing part of myself in Yves? I am much the better for having read the story. You owe me some money, by the way.”

27-Bought a doojigger today.

30—From the diary, describing myself in the third person. “He (me) assists at the birth of recognizable forms. He is a tremulous ingot. He extirpates his ego. He annihilates each moment. The theme of music has traditionally been jealousy. He is tied to the jetty of himself. His pangs show their naked roots. He is a kinkajou. I am trying to capture him in words.”

MAY

5-Oh. look at that!

6-Tried a skateboard today. I was inept. It was a nightmare. I want to be one of Brancusi’s birds. The board shot out from under my feet every time I tried to move. My balance was horrendous. I could only teeter and fall.

9—Mother called. Says she’s knitting a jacket for the diary.

11-Stopped by a peepshow on 42nd St. It was the day’s first act. My eyes got big as saucers. I crept to the bus and slunk in my seat, wearing a false face. I read Artaud, but my mind wasn’t on it.

I felt a shrill animal contentment, without reason.

14—I am releasing an image that resides, asleep, in a block of thoughts I am having. No, it is untractable.

15—The Con Ed man checked the meter this morning. I pleaded with him that I am living on the fine edge of restlessness and that I want surcease from it.

18 — Décolles toi, moi!

26—Lunched with inventory control manager Kenneth Parker and his new girlfriend, Gwen. We became fast friends immediately. Hers is a warm, annealing, irenic nature, fluctuating constantly between two automatic pilots. She hides her artistic side. I pointed out that she could change the established order of her day by setting aside an hour for painting, if she chose to. She allowed as how she could. Life is very difficult for Gwen, which I envy.

28-The subway train is a beautiful bolt of silk that rustles very wonderfully.

JUNE

4—Spoke at length today of a brickcolored chilled soup made from fermented corn which is served with sweet-and-sour vol-au-vents and aged custard apples, to my analyst, Dr.

Borkin, trying to figure out what it means to me.

6-Tare an’ ouns!

7—Went to a disco last night. Danced one slow one with a woman wearing a long crazy-quilt cotton print, jewelry inspired by themes, and nude stockings. Her thick, black, flaxen, spun-silver hair was aureoled around her head, unruly in the style of Utrillo women, and under this her fine head sloped into a slender neck poised on a voluptuous body. Her name is Dot. Her dream is to marry a powerful industrialist and go to Teachers’ College.

10-Cast off cast-offs today. Found some found objects.

14—As I sip on a martini, I am getting the buzz going. Playing possum this afternoon. My spiritual son is a buried, inner fire whom I don’t want to wake. I call on altered consciousness.

17-Broke with Lincoln Center last night.

25-Dog staring up at me with worshipping eyes. Salon.

29-Finished a story based on Julio, the elevator operator, who is studying to be a dentist. I showed it to him. Employing surrealism, I portray the elevator as a loose tooth that he is trapped inside. He was shocked. Read Farda,

I said.

JULY

4—Terrible thing happened. At the end of our session today Dr. Borkin said come back in a year or so when you’re further along.

7-Have thrown myself into writing a symphony. My divinations of chords that please come to nothing. I am trying desperately to liberate my aesthetic. I put notes down splashdash, without knowing their values. Something so simple as the awakening of dawn, heard in a bird’s mournful song, reproaches me, measure after measure, for not even knowing what key I’m in. I am an ignoramus.

11-Bought a tape recorder. Am logging, logging, logging!

16-Feeling spooky-wooky today.

18-The only writer who knows how to write is a writer named Guy de Writer.

26—Surprise costume party for Neil Evans. The prize of the evening went to Joanne and Curtis McClain who came as that well-known character Casper the Ghost. They achieved the effect by arranging themselves under a sheet they own. I went as someone hiding behind a waterfall, represented by a glittering white eye-mask. Lloyd Rigner’s joke, and its effect on the listener. Tried some of Vivian Hayward’s honey bread, that she’d cooked in the humorous shape of a loaf. My work suggests dreams, patinas, blue calcite, uncut hay. Told p/t roofing supvr Victor Peters that I think I’m probably going to be in the mainstream of diary-writers. He agreed.

I thanked him, saying “intime.”I felt myself wanting to return to a simpler place and time. Someone rapped with a spoon for attention, suggesting we all go for a joyride on the #104 bus to the end of the line, but it was vetoed. “The Chicago you knew is dead,”I remarked to Peggy Smithers who had everyone in stitches pretending to pass out the chips very fast. Everywhere empty faces.

Weak chins. Very drunk, I found myself undressing Rudi Boyers with my eyes. It was quite a bash.

AUGUST

4-Scat!

8-This is the church, this is the steeple, this is the door, these are the people.

23—’Sdeynes! ‘Sdiggers! Yungas-yanos (wool-gatherer)! ‘Pon my sam! Waly waly. To be continued.

SEPTEMBER

8—Today I wandered around and finally found the somebody who could make me feel blue, who could make me be true.

WHO IS THE SOMEBODY?

You, diary.

YOU ARE SOMETHING ELSE AGAIN YOURSELF.

Thank you. Thank you.

DON’T MENTION IT.

My diary.

THE END.