Monday, August 31, 2009

Who am I really mad at?

A couple of days ago I posted an extremely vitriolic message to my father here. Saying, basically, "you were mean to me when I was a kid" and giving examples. True, he was very mean. But I've got to post an addendum: My father, after his 15-year marriage to my mother, went on to get sober and not be so mean. In my original message days ago, I asked him to apologize. Truthfully, I believe he needs to. But still... the man's nearly 70 now. He's a nicer person now, and he's been a nicer person for a long time. He should get a break.

After I posted my mean message days ago, I was embarrassed. I had been angry and drunk the night that I posted the message. I meant what I said, yes, but... does everything need to be said so publicly? to what purpose? to hurt someone circa 1976?

As I lay around in bed, depressed, after posting my anti-daddy message, I started to ponder: I may be angry at my parents and my childhood, but... I'm still darn angry at Sandra for HER rejection. Everything's not all about what you experienced when you were 5 or 10 or 15. Sometimes things are completely up to date.

Got this message from Sandra a day or so ago, after she'd read my anti-dad diatribe:
"finally the truth starts coming out, and the source of all the rage. LET IT FLOW.....on and on...till you get it all out."

I dunno that letting all of my childhood angst flow is the answer. Doesn't solve at all my anger at Sandra's sleeping with her maintenance man, or with an old guy in her building, for instance. Those things have nothing at all to do with my father, and everything to do with Sandra.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Predator Dream


I'd been raped. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mother and father, trying to explain what happened. At some point, I got up from the table and went and looked out the front door.

In the front yard, I saw my dachsund Fritz (I got him when he was a pup when I was 5 years old). And I saw a bunch of rabbits. At first I thought Fritz was going to attack them, but then I looked, and... Fritz was lying on his back, his legs up. And the rabbits were surrounding him. But they were being sweet. They were KISSING him, on his neck and hind-quarters. It was a real love-fest.

I ran and told my parents: "Come looks at the rabbits and Fritz!"

They didn't come, but I went back. Then, instead of a love-fest, I saw a fox attacking the rabbits. And an orange cat attacking a rabbit. I tried to chase the fox and cat off, but it was hard. Both were gnawing on their rabbits and wouldn't leave them... I was on the lawn stomping after them for a while... and moved down to the ditch... Where there was a crocodile... It reared up at me, and I thought, in the dream, "oh, this thing isn't going to get me"... and then it came after me, and I realized "Wow, I could really die..."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beatles on Ed Sullivan (2/9/64)

Saw the 2-hour Beatles Anthology program on VH1 tonight.

I first discovered the Beatles via the radio in 1979, when I was 14. They made me goose-bumpy and happy then, and, 30 years later, I still get goosebumps!

Supposedly, this Ed Sullivan audience of 70 million remains, to this day, the largest audience ever for a TV program.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Our Bach and Tchaikovsky is Haggard and Husky"

Sisters Photograph

Shot 1960s. Written Jan. '09.


How she meets the world: her pretty face, her shyest smile
Her sister mugs, so devil-may-care

The devil does just that, he cares so deeply
Carries off the fairest, doesn't let them sleep
Hangs their heads and pretty faces on his wall.

Never let them fall.

Little things

All through July and August, I've been especially depressed. Not just mentally, but at the cellular level, physically barely able to get out of bed some days. (Kinda helpfully, though, I'd read someone's message post on a site about depression, saying they were so depressed that they physically couldn't stand up in the shower... Since I AM still able to shower, that made me feel better: "OK, I'm not THAT bad off!") :)

One odd physical symptom: You know how after you've been crying and you take a deep breath, your chest/lungs kind of "stutter" when you breathe in? It's not one solid breath, but short staccato ones... I've been breathing like that since July. Not just after crying, but EVERY time I took a deep breath. (The "me," my mind, felt and feels bad for my body... it's going through its own pangs.)

Today, there was a bit of a break in the "fever." One immediate reason was the weather last night. It feels like it's been in the mid-80s/90s for weeks now, but last night the humidity lifted and when I went to bed, an actual cool breeze was blowing in... and the air smelled good! (When I was reading history books about this area, one thing that Henry Hudson's men commented on when they first discovered the Hudson River and island of Manhattan in the 1600s was how sweet the air here smelled. Last night, I understood what they were talking about.)

(A couple of other reasons: The nice e-mail from Donald Spoto a few days ago, which lifted my spirits greatly and made me feel appreciated. And...This sounds silly, but over the weekend I caught "Dirty Dancing" and "Good Will Hunting" and "Serendipity" and "The Harvey Girls" on TV... Talk about an uplifting bunch of movies! I needed something, anything to get me thinking about "the power and magic of love"... not "love" with a particular person, but just the SPIRIT of love... Those movies' spirits were incredibly warm and powerful. p.s. NO thanks to YOU, "Asphalt Jungle"!) :)

When I woke up today, I felt very clear-headed, despite drinking the night before. For the past months, that hasn't been the case, even when I'd had nothing to drink the night before. Even after days of not drinking, I'd still wake up all bleary and unable to do anything but lie there and watch TV in between naps.

AND... I took normal deep breaths today for the first time in ages! Still alternating with the "stuttering" breaths, but a positive sign nonetheless. My body's working on itself to get better.

And here's a nice little thing that made me feel good: I made a food and beer/cig run this evening, stopping at my usual corner store. My purchases totalled $18.75. When I presented my debit card to the woman who's always behind the counter, she told me that the card approval service was down. I felt, and must've looked, crestfallen: "I'm sorry -- I don't have any cash on me." And she said: "Just pay me tomorrow."

"Just pay me tomorrow"! How wonderful and trusting is that! I live in the biggest metropolitan area in America, where people are supposed to be guarded and suspicious... and she tells me I can pay her tomorrow! I'm part of the neighborhood! :)

And I'd almost forgotten something else nice: On Sunday, I was craving Taco Bell -- the nearest of which is about 2 miles away, so I wanted to catch a bus rather than walk. I thought the local fare was $1.15, so that's all the cash I put in my pocket. Turns out the actual fare was $1.35. I didn't have the extra 20 cents, but the driver just nodded and let me ride anyway! (That might sound minor, but many a time I've seen drivers refuse passengers who couldn't come up with the correct change. The drivers hear so much bullshit day in and day out that some of them turn, probably with reason, into rigid assholes.)

Little things mean a lot. (Thankyouthankyouthankyou, god. For nice store clerks and bus drivers and authors. For warm-spirited movies. For cool, fresh breezes.)

Devil Drives

We were just mentioning poetry on the Joan Crawford message board, and I remembered this poem I'd written for her, back in the mid-'80s. I believe it was THE first poem I turned in for my very first poetry workshop, with David Wevill at UT.

I remember being scared to death for people to see it. When I wrote it, I felt that I was channeling her, and it somehow seemed too intimate to share.

Re-reading it now: I was a BABY when I wrote this, 21 or 22... A kid writing like this! (From ages 11 to 22... a lot of misery, but also a lot of extreme heights and approbation... I feed off of that period of time to this day.)

(for Joan Crawford)

The darkness drives me far from where I must be
my knuckles bare in bone-white urgency
clutching the late-night moonlit wheel
that turns, without swerving toward mercy

the sweat-stained fools of late
sip their beer and bet on
who I might be

Such things I cannot flee:
the vortex forcing me
toward life without lights,
my name on each marquee...

This haunted sky, the moon
I will outlast

Just ask the garden that once bloomed upright
near my back door, cut by my cold hand
and carted away in night's deadness
by babies oblivious to the pain of thorns

Ask it what prevails, the bloom or bane
of shears and let the silence be your reply, something
to live with, or not.

Bloody, I await what budding may arise,
fulfilled by a fury purely mine.

That is enough.

There is no leaving me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Julie London - More

Yeah, yeah, AstroCenter

Your horoscope for August 22, 2009

Both you and a current or potential romantic partner may be in a strange space today, STEPHANIE. Intellectual awareness battles with emotional doubt and uncertainty. Communication between you and your friend could be vague and easily misinterpreted, so take sufficient time to choose your words, even though it may be difficult to find the right ones. Your relationship should survive the day - but if you aren't careful your understanding of each other could suffer.


How original to NOT have to "suffer" for once.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nice e-mail from biographer Donald Spoto

Author Donald Spoto has written 25 biographies since 1976, primarily of celebrities, but also including St. Francis of Assisi! He has a bio of Joan Crawford coming out in late 2010/early 2011. And he sent me a very nice e-mail today, telling me about the project, and including the very complimentary "you are one of the most important people in America regarding all things Crawford" and "I've been deeply impressed by the Website you've created, and I turn to it often to confirm facts and to read your incisive comments on her life and films." And then there's: "I hope we can meet in person some day, so I can detail the fine points of my admiration for your dedication and scholarship."

Wow!! How nice is that! It makes me feel GREAT! :) After all of the murky personal crap I've been through lately, it is so refreshing and, yes, "cleansing," to be acknowledged for my scholarship and work. Thank you, Mr. Spoto!

Read the full letter and visit the website.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Somebody loves us all"

Elizabeth Bishop's a Great in American poetry; I learned that in school. But I never REALLY learned that until I read THIS poem ("Why, oh why, the doily?" always cracks me up):


by Elizabeth Bishop

Oh, but it is dirty!
—this little filling station,
oil-soaked, oil-permeated
to a disturbing, over-all
black translucency.
Be careful with that match!

Father wears a dirty,
oil-soaked monkey suit
that cuts him under the arms,
and several quick and saucy
and greasy sons assist him
(it’s a family filling station),
all quite thoroughly dirty.

Do they live in the station?
It has a cement porch
behind the pumps, and on it
a set of crushed and grease-
impregnated wickerwork;
on the wicker sofa
a dirty dog, quite comfy.

Some comic books provide
the only note of color—
of certain color. They lie
upon a big dim doily
draping a taboret
(part of the set), beside
a big hirsute begonia.

Why the extraneous plant?
Why the taboret?
Why, oh why, the doily?
(Embroidered in daisy stitch
with marguerites, I think,
and heavy with gray crochet.)

Somebody embroidered the doily.
Somebody waters the plant,
or oils it, maybe. Somebody
arranges the rows of cans
so that they softly say:
to high-strung automobiles.
Somebody loves us all.

Happy Belated Birthday (August 17) ... Ted Hughes.

I've been thinking about him recently. Our similar birthdays, and my identification with Sylvia Plath (and S.'s identification with Assia Wevill).

The book "Her Husband," about Hughes, told a story about Hughes, as a teenager, coming home from the moors... His mother was on the step of their house, expecting Ted and his older brother Gerald. Hughes was quoted in the book as saying that he came home over a hill and saw his mother and moved toward her happily... He saw her face initially light up from afar... but then when he got closer and she realized he wasn't Gerald, her face unconsciously fell... And he caught it.

When I read that, I just thought, "Oh." That's it, right there. Why he didn't trust women, why he fooled around on them. Not his mother's fault, but one can never forget that kind of thing. Coming home with your heart wide open... and not being truly loved.

On the day after Ted's birthday, also thinking of his telling a friend, after Plath's and Wevill's suicides, something to the effect of: "Maybe my darkness made them kill themselves. I'm used to it, but perhaps they weren't."

While others in the media have mocked his hubris, I see what he's saying. Plath: I think she was into the darkness and got off on it. I think she killed herself specifically because Hughes told her that Assia Wevill was pregnant with his child. The heretofore state of "barrenness" of Wevill (after many abortions) was important to Plath, as was the fact that Wevill had already had 3 husbands. In Plath's mind, the woman was a "Lilith"... an immediate sexual threat, but not a long-term threat... Once Hughes told Plath that Wevill was pregnant with his child...the end.

As for Assia Wevill's later suicide: Unlike Plath, who was an achiever, Wevill was a constant hanger-on, always attaching herself to men, relying completely on them. Hughes had such guilt over his wife's death as a result of his fooling around with Wevill that he could never commit to her completely or agree to marry her. And good for him.

I'm a "Team Plath" member, and I think he SHOULD have felt extremely guilty. Yes, I'm sure his emotional evasiveness drove Wevill to suicide 6 years later. But, after hearing about Assia Wevill living in Plath's old apartment and presenting Plath's friend with the gas bill the month after Plath's suicide, saying, "She was YOUR friend, YOU pay the bill"... I have no sympathy for her whatsoever. Just as I have no sympathy for her for later intentionally gassing their daughter Shura while she simultaneously killed herself. (Plath, on the other hand, made absolute sure that her children would not be harmed.)

"Birthday Letters," Ted Hughes' 1998 homage to his wife, released shortly before his own death, fixed things spiritually... and mentally for me, and I'm sure almost all other women who ever related to Plath and once were angry at Hughes because of his infidelity. His last act before dying was to think about his wife and to explore their relationship. He honored her. I'm very grateful to him for that.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I hate summer. And one of the main reasons why is the creepy-crawly things invading my house.

In the first 3 places I lived in in NYC and Joisey, none of my places seemed to have any, even my first roommate's place, which was absolutely FILTHY (grease covering the kitchen).

At my apartment now, though, which I've been in for the past year-and-a-half, both of these past 2 summers have been way too roach-y for me. Last summer, I think I saw/killed a total of 4 of those big, nasty cockroaches, plus 6 or 8 or so of some sort of weird centipede-y things that get up to 4 inches long and run very fast! Ick. This year, there have been several centipedies; and I just saw my first cockroach a couple of nights ago in the kitchen (and couldn't kill it -- THAT is the worst. Knowing it's still out there!)

In the summer, these bugs ruin my apartment for me! Once it's nighttime, I can't do anything -- go to the bathroom, go to the kitchen, lie down on the couch -- without constantly thinking I'm seeing crawling things out of the corner of my eye! [shudder]

I just put out a box of roach traps. Let's hope they help. (They usually do.)

When I lived in Austin, the big roaches were ALWAYS a problem. Not because I'm filthy (I'm always really careful about not leaving food out and completely rinsing off dishes), but because I've always liked living in older houses...which have plenty of cracks and crevices for roaches to get in. Every summer was a paranoid bug nightmare! (What's even worse in Austin, though, is... the baby lizards -- geckos, I think they are -- that also invade the houses. It's one thing to squash a roach, but... the little lizards are pinkish and see-through and leave guts when you SPLAT them with your shoe! Pretty traumatic.)

San Fran, where I lived for 2 years, was the best as far as bugs go...The windows there didn't even have screens! Maybe an occasional fly would come in, but that was no big deal.

Growing up out in the country in Azle (near Fort Worth), the main problem every summer was... SCORPIONS! They would crawl into washcloths, up on the ceiling, and on the carpet... And our carpet was a mottled mix of browns/tans/blacks, so it was very hard to spot 'em! (We also had a ton of TARANTULAS hopping around outside! True! But they stayed outside, so that wasn't tooooo bad!)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

I'm So Tired

It's doing me harm.

Back in high school when I'd spend the night with Ginny and we listened to this song: I argued and argued and argued that the line was "and cursed the walls around me." Ginny insisted, correctly 'cause she'd read somewhere, that it was "and cursed Sir Walter Raleigh."

p.s. Do kids "spend the night" at friends' houses any more? I used to love that, so mysterious and fun, plus getting to stay up to watch "Midnight Special" or "Saturday Night Live"...

p.s.s. Ginny and I once saw the movie "Frances" together and afterwards had matching (hot pink) "Frances Lives" T-shirts made and wore them proudly around school. I don't know that there's anything better than that.


Two different Leo horoscopes for my b'day week

First the good news:

Leo Horoscope for week of August 6, 2009 (Free Will Astrology)

If you really knew how much you were loved, you would never cry again. A sublime relaxation would flood your nervous system, freeing you to see the beautiful secrets that your chronic fear has hidden from you. If you knew how much the world longs for your genius to bloom in its full glory, the peace that filled you would ensure you could not fail. You'd face every trial with eager equanimity. You would always know exactly what to do because your intuition would tell you in a myriad of subtle ways. And get this: A glimpse of this glory will soon be available to you.


And the bad:

Your horoscope - Week of August 10, 2009 (

You need to reassess your hopes and dreams this week, Leo. You have a tendency to view yourself as a dashing knight in shining armor in an adventure novel, or as the captivating heroine of a Hollywood movie. That's fine, but when it comes time to create a life plan, you need to be a bit more realistic about who you really are. On Monday ardent Mars in your sector of what you wish for squares stern Saturn and you might have to face the fact that one of your most cherished hopes isn't going to happen. It's possible that you were too impractical when you created your wish list and now you'll need to formulate more practical aspirations for yourself. Don't promise an associate more than you can deliver on Friday, as the Sun in extravagant Leo in your sector of self is opposite excessive Jupiter in Aquarius. You have a big heart and you love to help others, but you may not have all the resources you need to assist your friend in his or her current dilemma. Keep that in mind before you offer to solve your associate's problems.


As for the "good news" sector, I got a nice birthday card from my mother today. She enclosed a school picture of my beloved nephew (which I now have sitting by my desk) and wrote, in part: "...Remember that people care about you...Your family cares about you. Regardless of the tension that is between us... you must believe that I have always loved you and always will love you. So, there!" I'm crying now upon re-reading that. (So much for "never crying again"!) :) Now, eagerly awaiting the part about "the world longing for my genius"! (ha!) :)

And as for the bad news that " might have to face the fact that one of your most cherished hopes isn't going to happen. It's possible that you were too impractical when you created your wish list and now you'll need to formulate more practical aspirations for yourself": Yeah, I've already been thinking about the fact that I may not be able to stay in my beloved NYC. It pains me to no end that I may have to go back to Austin just because it's affordable. (I HATE even thinking of money as a consideration. Sounds silly, but I've always thought about my SOUL first.) My first job here in NYC paid $28 an hour and I was easily able to afford my $1500 a month apartment, with thousands to spare. But now that the economy's tanked, rents are still basically the same while jobs in my field are offering $10 - $15 an hour. It's a cold, hard fact: I can't live on that. Not unless I got a one-room hovel in Queens or got a roommate. And I'm too old for either of those options. I want my own place, and I want my own place in a non-slum environment. (Is that thinking "practical" enough for ya, mean horoscope?) :)

It's a hard reality for me to face. But, as the horoscope above accurately pointed out, I do think I've held a romantic, "dashing" view of myself that I may need to now readjust. With all of the above thoughts in mind, even before reading the horoscopes, I walked to the Hudson and looked at the Manhattan skyline for a while tonight...and asked if I could stay...pretty please. I have enough Unemployment pay to live here through November. After that, unless I've found a full-time job that pays over $20 an hour, I've got to go live somewhere where I can support myself.

I've got to "man up" and be an adult and stop thinking about my SOUL, I guess is what THAT lesson is going to be. Sigh. (No: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" the childish dreamer in me is actually protesting!)

Friday, August 07, 2009

My Brave Face (1989)

When I got my very first answering machine in 1989, this was the first clip that I put on. (Back then, you had to hold up the tiny holes of the answering machine right up next to the stereo speakers to record, and then quickly press "pause" on your stereo equipment when you wanted the clip to be done.)

Such an exuberantly happy alone-again song. I listened to the whole "Flowers in the Dirt" album constantly in the spring and summer of 1989. During the time when I first met Mollie. Whom this album had nothing at all to do with. (After I got into her, the only music we listened to was stuff that she deemed "cool" -- stupid, dark club stuff. Too bad. She, we, could have done with a little bit of what I liked -- some intelligently tuneful pop. Like this great song!)

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?

Don't turn around, your gypsy heart...
The doors you open
I just can't close...


You're dangerous 'cause you're honest
You're dangerous, you don't know what you want
Well you left my heart empty as a vacant lot
For any spirit to haunt

Hey hey sha la la
Hey hey

You're an accident waiting to happen
You're a piece of glass left there on a beach
Well, you tell me things I know you're not supposed to
Then you leave me just out of reach

Hey hey sha la la
Hey hey sha la la

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna fall at the foot of thee?

Well you stole it 'cause I needed the cash
And you killed it 'cause I wanted revenge
Well you lied to me 'cause I asked you to
Baby, can we still be friends?

Hey hey sha la la
Hey hey sha la la

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna fall at the foot of thee?

Oh, the deeper I spin
Oh, the hunter will sin for your ivory skin
Took a drive in the dirty rain
To a place where the wind calls your name
Under the trees the river laughing at you and me
Hallelujah, heaven's white rose
The doors you open
I just can't close

Don't turn around, don't turn around again
Don't turn around, your gypsy heart
Don't turn around, don't turn around again
Don't turn around, and don't look back
Come on now love, don't you look back!

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who's gonna taste your salt water kisses?
Who's gonna take the place of me?

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna tame the heart of thee?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Psycho Killer, qu'est-ce que c'est?

After reading the full text of "gym killer" George Sodini's blog, I was at first horrified at the similarities that I saw between us: lonely and blogging in an attempt to communicate; no sex for a long time (though, it's been less than 20 years for me!); griping about what hypocrites/idiots people were; saying we didn't get along with our parents...

And then, oh my god: Just days ago, I was writing about a shooting dream I'd had! And I mentioned the idea of suicide a couple of months ago! It creeped me out: "What if I'm psychotic like this guy???" (Julie, I do NOT want to hear any comment from you!) :)

I remember feeling the same way when I first saw the movie "Taxi Driver" years ago. The fictional Travis Bickle went way off the deep end, but I still had moments of sympathy for him, because his loneliness was so palpable, and because I'd felt that desperate at times... "What if I go crazy like that??"

The same with the real-life George Sodini. While his blog obsession with "20-year-old hoes" was decidedly UNsympathetic, I still could relate to his feelings of loneliness and isolation.

What ticked me off, though, was the last few blog entries: The fucker just got a raise and promotion on July 20! And he wrote, "Every person just wants to be fucking nice and say nice things to me." And then there was a day when he was feeling bad about himself, but "unfortunately, talked to a neighbor, who is always upbeat and positive." Unfortunately, that put him in a better mood!

Gee, wish that I had the "problems" of a raise and promotion, and people being too nice to me! ;p Cry me a river, pally.

Reading his blog reminded me of a sociology class that I took back at UT. (Oh geez. The class was called "Death and Dying." God, everything I write on this blog looks more and more psychotic!) :)

ANYWAY, one statistic I learned there about old-age depression I've always remembered: In old age, the MOST satisfied (least suicidal) socioeconomic group is poor black women. The LEAST satisfied (most suicidal) is middle-class white men. Why? Because poor black women were used to not ever getting anything, not having any status. So once they hit old age, it wasn't that big of a transition for them. Whereas with the well-off white guys, in their prime they had been used to being treated with respect and deference, and the status loss in retirement was a huge shock to their fragile little psyches.

Some of Sodini's blog writings reminded me of this phenomenon. He saw other middle-aged white guys (and young black guys) getting lots of young, attractive white college women. And he felt ENTITLED to what they had. He had a good job, he whitened his teeth, he worked out, he wasn't an asshole like his brother/father/the church guy... WHY wasn't he getting lucky???

Judging from the few seconds of his "house tour" video that I watched, the answer to that is probably: "You've got a weird, boring personality, Dude." I'm being too glib, but as one cable newswoman commented: "He probably could have gotten himself a nice, slightly overweight librarian in her 40s if he'd wanted to." That, too, is extremely glib, but it's nonetheless true: He was obsessed with college-aged girls, but couldn't get any as he aged because his personality sucked. Did he look elsewhere? Did he really want female companionship, someone he could talk to, or did he want the "status" of sleeping with hot college girls? Seems like only the latter...

As for his complaints of datelessness: Hey, even when I was 20, a "hot college girl" myself who could have been out partying, I could occupy myself for a full Saturday night going through my Norton Anthology of Poetry and figuring out stats for which astrology signs were best represented by the authors. And I had quite a fun time doing it! Because I grew up in the country, where I had to learn to amuse myself, even as a kid. (Call it the "poor black woman syndrome": I had very little and when I now get very little, it's disappointing... but not horribly shocking to my psyche.)

Sometimes, all you've got is your own odd little preoccupations. (Can anyone say "Joan Crawford website"?):) Which will stand you in good stead in the long-run. (Note I didn't say "SEXUAL preoccupations"!) Gotta have something mental or soul-inspiring: art, music, literature, travel, history, science, religion... Any sort of STUDY and recognition of other things beyond your self, to get you to move beyond your own very, very tiny significance in the grand scheme of things.

You're a part of the Universe, but the Universe could care less if you got fucked last night.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Help Me Make It Through The Night (1970)

by Sammi Smith

Sorry, Julie London, but I think this might be the sexiest song ever.

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights (1975)

p.s. Read this week's Sherman Alexie story in the New Yorker. ("I was hoping for George Jones or Loretta Lynn, or even some George Strait. Hell, I would've cried if they'd played Charley Pride or Freddy Fender.")

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

My Leo Men

Today (August 4) is President Obama's birthday. A Leo. My birthday is exactly a week later.

I don't know why I've never fallen in love with Obama. Sometimes, seeing his huge rallies during the campaign, I'd get goosebumps listening to him and seeing the crowds' reactions. Now, watching him as President, I still sometimes get goosebumps of happiness at the sane policies he's enacting, or just at how intelligent and calm and inspiring he sounds when speaking.

But I don't love him.

The last President I loved was Clinton. Also a Leo (August 19). Also brilliant and competent, with sane policies. Also a good speaker, though a little on the cheesy side: He never could quite pull off the gravitas, as Obama can. I think I loved Clinton because he was just a little "weird" and "goofy." A little "out of control" with his personal habits. And his love/hate interactions with Hillary somehow a turn-on.

Obama: Just too darn "cool" for me to "love." Though I admire and like him.

Of all the signs in the Zodiac, and of both sexes: I've always gotten along with Leo men the best.

Poet: Ted Hughes (August 17). The only poet who's ever made me cry. And the only poet to write me a letter saying he liked my poems!

Collaborator: My friend Brian (August 11). He and I had two poetry classes together, lived in the same apartment complex, were co-editors of our own poetry magazine in Austin for 2 years, attended the same writers' group (that he founded) for 2 years before I went off to grad school. A completely pleasant and unassuming person in real life, but on the page: A brilliant, interesting, deep poet. And a very good friend: He'd work to get "dark me" out of the house: Always inviting me to parties and hikes and, the best of all --- during the yearly Austin marathon, the runners ran by his apartment on Enfield. He'd get a group together to drink mimosas in their bathrobes and wave at the struggling athletes! (I once called the local news people, who went out to cover his group!) When I got back from grad school, he threw a party for me. When he got married, he asked me to write a poem for his wedding. He's now living on the East Coast and editing a magazine for a major Ivy League school, publishing articles. A real winner, not just career-wise, but in his talent and intelligence and kindness. And, get this: Despite our working together putting out our magazine and our close contact for years, he and I never argued ONCE. We always "discussed." And sometimes disagreed, but always discussed everything and came to a mutually agreeable, intelligent, satisfying conclusion.

Friend: Leon (August 14). The boyfriend of a close girlfriend of mine whom I'd once been in love with. You'd think there'd be some tension there, me being jealous of him, but there wasn't any at all. The three of us would hang out and watch movies and eat and get drunk together. Sometimes Leon and I would stay up for hours talking after K. had gotten bored with us and gone to bed. Once, we were all so drunk that we ended up sleeping in the same bed --- no sex, 'cause it just wasn't like that, plus we were all so drunk. And Leon, in the middle, ended up throwing up in my hair during the night. THAT is how you know you truly like someone: When they throw up in your hair and you just laugh about it! :) (He and K. are now married and have 2 girls.)

Only male lover: Bill (also August 14). While I've made out with dozens of guys, Bill's the only man I've ever slept with. We "dated" for 8 months before I went off to grad school. He was married, 25 years older than me, my boss. One of my favorite memories is of him having to stay up late doing his taxes on April 15, since he'd waited until the very last minute. That night, his wife was at their other house outside of town. I made him tuna sandwiches and went over to his townhouse and read magazines for hours while looking up every now and then to watch him work. (THAT is how you know you truly like someone: When you want to be around them while they do their taxes!) :) Another memory: Since I worked with him, I knew he was going out of town for the weekend to a West Texas town on company business. At home in Austin, sometime around midnight, I got antsy and just HAD to be with him. I called long-distance around the town until I found out what hotel he was staying in. Then drove more than 3 hours and showed up on his hotel-room doorstep. (I recommend this for great sex.) I spent the whole weekend there. Once, his wife called the room while he was in the shower. (THAT is how you know you truly like someone: When you have the chance to fuck up someone's marriage by answering the phone...but don't.)

I like all of my Leo men a lot. I loved working with Brian on our magazine, and his intellectual and personal understanding of me. I loved staying up late talking to Leon about movies and music and old girlfriends. I loved talking to Bill and having sex with him, loved his sexual understanding of me. I loved Ted Hughes' kind understanding of my poetry.

With women, whom I'm usually much more sexually attracted to, my Zodiac pattern of attraction has almost always turned out to be: Aquarius, Aquarius/Pisces cusp, Scorpio. But, while I've always been much more into these women sexually, none of them has EVER been as giving personally to me of their time and energy and ideas (and selves) as any of those Leo men.


A (Leo) Ted Hughes poem about his (Scorpio) wife Plath, not published in "Birthday Letters"

from "The City"

Your poems are like a dark city centre.
Your novel, your stories, your journals, your letters, are suburbs
Of this big city.
The hotels are lit like office blocks all night
With scholars, priests, pilgrims. It's at night
Sometimes I drive through. I just find
Myself driving through, going slow, simply
Roaming in my own darkness, pondering
What you did. Nearly always
I glimpse you - at some crossing,
Staring upwards, lost, sixty years old.

by Ted Hughes,
printed in The London Sunday Times (international edition), October 26, 1997, Book Section, Page 8-4.


A real Leo. He loved her truly.

Sweet Dreams and BBs

I was REALLY upset after arguing with someone last Sunday.

I finally went to bed at 6am and just lay there, running on the rims after too much beer and too many cigarettes and no food and being on the Internet writing angry things and feeling angry for 12 hours straight. Staring at the wall and asking god to "please help me" over and over and over and over again. I wasn't asking god to let me and the other person get along.(We simply DON'T get along. God gave us a shot 23 years ago; God gave us a second shot over the past 9 months. The answer to "us" is simply "no.") Just was begging for some peace of mind so I could possibly get to sleep and somehow, magically be granted a sense of how things might ever get back to normal for me emotionally.

I haven't been dreaming much recently, for months and months in fact, but that night had a series of 4 brief, very vivid, mainly HAPPY dreams.

Well, the first one started out "a bit" badly: I had a gun in my hand and it started going off rapidly. I ended up shooting myself 6 or 7 times! (By accident!) But they were little round pellets, like BBs, so they just lodged in my skin and I didn't feel they were in danger of killing me. One lodged on the inside of my right elbow (near a major artery! that one I was worried about!) One in my right hip. One or two in my right hand. Three in my right foot.

My mom happened to be in the house with me, so I went looking for her, showing her what had happened: "Mom, can you take me to the hospital?" Now, for the past few years, whenever I've dreamed about my mom, we've been screaming at each other, every time, and I'd wake up feeling extremely angry and tense. This time, though, everything was calm between us as she led me outside to the car. Turns out that paramedics, maybe 3 trucks, were already parked out in the driveway. They were chatting amongst themselves, and I asked them if they could help get the bullets out. They said sure, but weren't too quick about it! But I was still calm, asking them if they could please hurry. One woman saw a spot on my heel and sliced it: That wasn't a bullet! I asked her to be more careful and pointed out exactly where they all were.

I was at an outdoor stage where Sarah Palin was about to speak. She walked right by me in front of the stage, and I got up the nerve to go shake her hand and awkwardly tell her I admired her. She said a quick "thanks, thanks" and walked away. But later, she came and moved a folding chair right next to where I was sitting out in the audience and we started chatting and laughing. I remember how close she was sitting to me (I could see how her makeup was applied and smell her perfume and hair), and how physically comforting her presence was, and how I felt she liked me.

I was at someone's beach house, on a deck outdoors, with stairs leading down to the beach. And my cat Gracie appeared! I was calling to her, but she was just moseying around, doing her own thing, intentionally not paying attention to me. She walked up and down the deck stairs a few times. I finally followed her down to the beach and walked over to another deck right next door, asking her, "Are you coming?" And I heard her voice answer me, "No!" Not in a weird, sad, "I'm dead and can't come" way, but just in a normal, "No! Because I'm sassy" way. And then, half-dreaming, felt her jump on my bed with me.

I saw myself walking down a Manhattan street near Times Square. I was behind me, and I was getting off work and was dressed really nicely in a red-leather blazer and adjusting a wide black patent-leather belt.


Thanks, god! :)

Seriously, after all the bad emotional shit that had gone down just hours earlier, these dreams were really a blessing, a real healing treat! How many more nice things could have happened? (Well, aside from all the bullet-holes!) My mom and I were getting along, Sarah Palin wanted to sit close to me, I had my cat back, and I had a job in Manhattan and was wearing nice clothes!

Dang! :) Thankyouthankyouthankyou for watching out for me.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Thank you, Dr. Wayne Dwyer

"I'd rather be loathed for who I am
than loved for who I am not."

OK, on principle I hate the middle-class feel-good guru Wayne Dwyer (just as I on principle hate the similarly feel-good Joel Osteen)!

But I was trolling late-night TV a night or so ago, and came across Dwyer on a PBS station. His advice for living is mild and generic as a whole, but at the end of his lecture, he listed the above quote...

I feel like I've been living by that self-discovered important-to-me precept for the majority of my life, maybe starting at age 8 or so. And have gotten LOTS of shit for it over the decades: "You're always causing trouble. You're always the drama queen." When in fact, no, I had no particular desire for "trouble" or "drama." (Though I didn't give a shit if that was the result.) I was just being true to what I thought -- not randomly thought, but after consideration -- was the truth, as unpleasant as others might have found it, and as judgmental as they might have then been of me for speaking up.)

Gee, now that Dr. Dwyer has publicly told middle-class America that it's OK to think like that, might I have an easier time of it?? (Hah!) ;p

I finally got off my ass...

...and got myself to a hairdresser today.

There was a slight problem, though: After going to Chelsea Styles in Manhattan for almost 2 years since moving here, they closed down last May. After that, I had no idea where to go, so in June walked into some random place in Midtown. Where the woman gave me a haircut I did not ask for and didn't love afterward. So after THAT 6 weeks was up, I was discouraged about picking another random place so just didn't bother getting my hair cut at all...

During my former long bus rides to work in Jersey months ago, I'd spotted a salon on that never-ending street called Bergenline that I so hated to travel. And then just a couple of days ago on TV, saw a local ad for the very same salon, which gave the exact address. So, this morning, I hopped out of bed and, not having the energy to research any places in Manhattan and knowing exactly which Jersey bus to catch, just decided to give that Jersey place a try.

Yes, they took walk-ins. Could I wait 7 minutes? Yes, I could. I was kind of worried, though, when I asked the price of a wash/cut/blow-dry: $23!! In Manhattan, they charge for blow-drys, and everything usually turns out to be $70...$23 for the whole she-bang sounded insanely, suspiciously low, like a crappy Supercuts or something! I was mildly heartened, though, when I was first sent over to a hair-washer, rather than to my stylist. (In Austin, I would go to mid-level salons, and never had anyone other than the stylist wash my hair. Later I learned that it's common in nice salons in Manhattan to have a separate washer. Which makes sense, actually. Washing hair is shit work. Why not just have a low-paid kid do it?)

I got assigned to "Louis," a young Hispanic gay guy. Finally! A young gay hairdresser who spoke English! At Chelsea Styles, and at that one bad place, my hairdressers were both Russian women in their 50s who didn't always understand exactly what I was asking them to do! (Though, why am I always sticking out at whatever salon I go to? At Chelsea, it was because I was the only one there under the age of 70. Here, I was the only non-Hispanic person in the whole place--there were young people there, though!)

Louis was cool. I was explaining to him what I didn't like about the last haircut and begging him to fix it, and he explained back: "It's not a bad haircut, exactly. No, not bad. Just...kind of cut in a square in the back." (Oh, THAT's all!) :) And he was charming, and gentle, and took his time with me -- at that last one-time bad place, the mean Russian lady whipped out the haircut in about 15 minutes and pulled my hair in the meantime! I also liked Louis because he said he liked my "English accent"! I was laughing: "What? I'm from Texas! How do I sound British?" But what he meant was, the English language, as opposed to speaking Spanish. He thought my way of speaking English sounded nice: "People around here don't talk like you do." What a pleasant thing to say!

Long story short, his haircut turned out great. At only $23!! And then, having $100 in my pocket, I asked about highlights... Only $43! So I got those, too, which also turned out great! (Louis was new; it turned out that highlights actually cost $60-something at the salon. Still reasonable. But he said $43 was OK, since that's what he'd told me, but just remember for next time.) What was also cool about Louis was that, since he hadn't planned on doing any highlights, he had other customers showing up while he was in the middle of working on me... but he juggled all 3 of us admirably, paying attention to everybody, nobody having to wait too long.

A very pleasant experience. I'm back to looking blonde and tousled and lionessy again. I'm definitely going back in 6 weeks.

Now, to work on my tan. I look so pale and pasty, since not being able to swim every week in the summer, like back in Texas...