Reading this all that time without my knowledge wasn't kind. It was the opposite of kind. He should never have shared this with you.

Thankfully I met someone who never would have.

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~*~

day51.....fri.sept.28,2001

i wanted to print something funny today, but i just can't bring myself to do it. things are too weird. this is just a weird time.....the other day, they shut down the red line after several people said they felt dizzy.....then, yesterday, the air canada jet came roaring back into lax flanked by f-16 fighters after a guy was caught smoking out in the plane's lavatory....this, after the military's been given the green light to shoot down planes. here's a quote from edwards air force base's media guy: 'just because you've got fighters escorting you doesn't mean they're getting ready to blow you out of the sky....there's nothing to be afraid of. they're your friends.' (!!!) a passenger on the plane described the scene when the plane landed: 'after a moment of quiet, armed airport police dashed in through a rear entrance to the plane. "they said, Get your heads down! Get your heads down!"' (la times) meanwhile, governor davis was ---right at that moment!!!!!!!!! giving a press conference at the airport, saying, 'i want to stress that flying is safer today than on sept. 10. ..the best way to respond to terrorists is not to get in a hole and hide. ...if flying is part of your business, come back and fly. if you're going to go on a vacation, come, get on a plane and enjoy yourself.' ...i like the way the times piece ends with that quote from the gov'ner.

.....a piece on the op ed page by mark c. taylor (religion prof at williams univ. in chicago) describes visiting ground zero, with his son, who was in the trade center at the time of the attack...
'....with dusk falling, bright lights illuminated a scene that was both profoundly unsettling and disturbingly sublime, like an otherworldly sculpture by some unknown artist. a small crowd had gathered and was gazing at the ruins in stunned silence.

we have repeatedly heard that tv cannot do jutice to the scene, and that is right. it is not merely that our screens are too small and camera angles too limited; rather, the reality confronting us is not only visual but, more important, visceral. there is only one word to describe the response to what we saw: awe.

a strange religious atmposphere pervades ground zero. there has been much talk about the role of religion in this conflict but very little understanding of what religion--either our own or the religions of others--involves. there are, of course, many gods and many faces of gods believed to be one. while religion often gives people a sense of meaning and purpose in times of personal and social crisis, its symbols, stories and rituals also carry people to the edge of life where unmasterable power always threatens to erupt.

religion is associated as much with terror and anxiety as with love and peace. for a few brief moments on sept. 11, the veneer of security was torn to reveal a primordial vulnerability that neither defense departments nor advanced technologies can overcome.
the encounter with this awesome power is a religious experience that leaves nothing unchanged.

....with information and money racing around the world at the speed of light, we are no longer sure who--if anyone--is in control. ....the terrorists...have been more effective in turning our technologies against us than we have been in using ours against them. the boundary between us and them, inside and outside, for and against, is neither fixed nor secure but remains fluid, mobile and shifty.

our military and economic superiority also renders us vulnerable. our strength has become our weakness. can we now humbly accept our vulnerability by opening ourselves to help from others--both within and beyond the borders that we now know are insecure--without whom we cannot survive? if so, our weakness might become our strength.

...in this difficult time, we must not seek premature closure but should linger with the wound to learn the profound lessons it harbors.

more: www.williams.edu/mtaylor

~*~

day50.....thu.sept.27,2001

the ways in which we are vulnerable are shown to be more numerous with each day that goes by, they were here all along......knowledge and technology giving us greater comforts, deeper thrills, more profound risks.....the faster we accelerate the harder we can slam into the wall.....we've heard the sound of a man walking on the moon; the sound of ashes hitting the moon is a sound we wouldn't hear.......with every news report it seems more serious, and less real.

~*~

~*~

~*~

she'll be terrified when she wakes up.

the year is 1977. i'm standing with my sister, the sweet blond angel with the chubby face. we're looking on as my mother's casket is prepared to be lowered into the ground. i squeeze melissa's hand too tightly; she grunts complainingly and squirms, tugging her hand away. i clench it harder. 'shut up, you baby,' i say under my breath. she starts crying. i loosen my grip and she leaves her hand in mine.

---what if the doctors were wrong, and mom wasn't dead? what if she were asleep? --a very deep sleep? hadn't it happened before, people being buried by mistake?
she would wake up, and see a darkness thicker than she had ever seen, hear a silence more dense and complete than she had ever heard before. and the panic would begin. she would reach up to feel the gauzy upholstery above her. then she would try to shift, turn over, sit up; all the while she would realize what was happening, and my poor mother would be panicked---and so alone. she would try to scream, and pound at the ceiling, knowing no one could possibly hear her. then she would begin to tear at the frilly padding surrounding her. she would tear, pound, struggle; but that awesome burnished-metal casket looked solid and strong. she could grind her hands away to the bone, work her fingers at the crevasses, mash herself into a bloody pulp while she tried to escape, all in that dead airless darkness; but she would never make it. the casket was sealed, and it would be inside of a concrete box, covered with six feet of packed soil. she would die a horrible death, crying, alone, with no one to hear her.

and we would never know.

~*~

the particulars don't matter. i only know a little, but it's enough.
he was emotionally intimate with her, naked. he found a new lover. even if only for one night. (unlikely) ..it was a night he could have been with me. but he wanted someone else's skin next to his. beside this fact, all else fails; all qualifications fail. there's nothing else i need to know. when he told me, and i started crying, he said, painfully, 'i'm sorry.' all i know is i must not hear any more about this. i still feel nothing.

~*~

imagine a long hallway in a huge, silent building. --a factory, maybe, one of those sprawling buildings larger than a football field, to be found in every industrial district; a factory that's closing down. the machines are stilled, the generators mothballed; in the offices, the computers have been removed, and the furniture is draped in plastic. the maintenance man is the very last one out.
--he goes along this long hallway and shuts off the breaker switches in groups, one after another. with every group of switches he throws, a click echoes loudly, resonating, and the juice stops flowing to a certain section of the building. section by section, the building goes dark.

at the end of the hallway, he pauses for a moment, listens, and is satisfied that no more electricity is flowing in the building. there is only an empty silence, an occasional creak. he steps out the end of the hallway, slams the door, locks it, and walks across the dimly lit parking lot to his pickup truck.
--i feel nothing. i felt nothing that day, standing with melissa; and i feel nothing now. the day i spent in the chair crying was punctuated by the resounding slam of one breaker after another shutting off.

~*~

until a few years ago, there was this recurring fear of going to sleep at night. i was afraid someone would come in when i was in the deepest part of sleep, at my most vulnerable and trusting of the night. someone violent, who would attack me.
one night as i lay awake with this fantasy, i realized maybe i could imagine it too vividly. my imaginings didn't have the rhythm or choreography of past movie scenes; the rhythm seemed true and known and more sour-stomached frighteningly real. the acceleration from deep sleep to complete terror seemed known. not only that, but i could almost hear the sounds of the violence.

then, i remembered.

after mom died, dad remarried.
chris was her name. we were told to call her 'mom.' i refused, and a huge struggle ensued. i put up the best fight i could, and lost. by imperial decree i called her 'mom.'

she was a friendly, funny person in public, affectionate and attentive. and, in private, she was violent.
i dreaded coming home. when i came in the front door after a day at school, i never knew what i would face that afternoon. sometimes she was nice; she could be helpful, and often kind.
when she was angry, the house vibrated with her mood; little things revealed whether there was a threat; still, the beatings often came by surprise. i responded to the attacks by curling up and shielding myself with my arms, and refusing to make a sound. i didn't want her to have the satisfaction of thinking she could break me or hurt me.
melissa responded differently. she cried. she apologized whether or not she knew what offense she'd committed. she stammered, babbled incoherently, tried to crawl away, pleaded with her to stop. 'please, please, please,' i would hear her sobbing.
the worst of it all was that i did nothing to protect her. i would hear the blows and the violence in the other room, and hear her, poor melissa, crying. and i would do nothing. i would simply sit with my face in my hands trying not to hear. why didn't i fight back? why didn't i throw myself at this woman and sink my teeth into her hand? i was ten, a full 3 and a half years older than melissa; she really was a baby, and i was the only one who could have defended her, or myself. i did neither.

dad never knew.
the beatings were less frequent in high school, but they took on a deeper, more sly, insidious mental tone. there was the light, ever so light slap on the cheek while i was backed against the wall, the staring green eyes right up in my face, the murmured 'you little bitch.'

any response would have brought more down on me, so i continued to meet the assaults with silence and a poker face. this infuriated her, but it was the safest thing anyway. she would sometimes desist sooner if i refused to react, and would not be able to mockingly repeat anything i said.

i had forgotten. melissa forgot completely; wiped it out of her mind; and only remembered gradually over the years. 'remember the black eye she gave me?' she asked me recently. i didn't remember. 'when we lived in houston, in the house on seven pines,' she said. then i remembered. she was about eleven then; her hair was in a bowl cut.

the little details surface, a memory swirls out of the mist. i try to grasp it by the corner and can just get the edge before it slips away and disappears.

why didn't we tell someone what was going on?
i can't answer that question. was it because she presented such a devoted, engaging face to the world that no one would have believed us? was it because our extended 'family' life revolved around her family, who liked me and melissa about as much as she did, and we began to believe we were, in fact, the bad kids she said we were? dad was drinking most of the time; he was nowhere. and maybe we were so befuddled, at some level, by mom's death, that we just never even thought of telling anyone.
in any case, we never told.

a few years ago, i told dad. he was surprised and contrite. he looked with interest at this new piece of information, and never referred to it again. he has been dry for 14 years, and now goes out of his way to do little things for me, and melissa; he says he wants to make up for his mistakes, if he can. he is there for us. but, i doubt he will ever be able to really talk about what happened, or think about it.

~*~

this magical life, these dear friends. this foggy night is exhilarating, the air is like white wine, the season is shutting down once again, fall is coming. soon we will sit inside and hold hot cups of tea and talk to each other about our lives, our days, our own loves and struggles. every day is a miracle, and mine. and if someone hurts me, i can say goodbye.
god help me to cherish these days, and the people who love me. god help me if i hurt anyone. god help me if i hurt anyone through cowardice, avoidance, unavailability, selfishness. god help me get out of the hall of mirrors, to be there for what really matters, fully in it.

there are reports now on biological terrorism. threats springing from every crack, bomb threats, subway closings; fear is everywhere. where the evil comes from, i don't know.

let's sleep tonight in a state of grace. let's cherish these days. let's hold and touch the ones we love. and when the morning comes, let's look at that clear, clean diamond light and feel grateful, and feel hope.

~*~

day49.....wed.sept.26,2001

operation smoke 'em out. please tell me they are not going to bomb mud huts. please.please. please.

can't stop thinking about it, but can't feel anything, either. a vague alarm maybe. the rest of life is....chores. spanky and i are not getting along. he starts fussing and won't shut up, i try to get him on my finger so i can let him out to run around, he hops off and climbs up onto the bars of his cage to get away from me. i let him be for awhile and then he starts flapping and screeching again. so i have to chase him down and get him in my fist to get him out, which he hates. then, when he's out, he's nice as pie and mutters under his breath to whatever music is playing, and acts just as happy as a clam. but he stays mad at ME.

marie writes,
on 9/11 i was at the ft. lauderdale airport waiting to catch the 10 am AA flight back into Boston when i started seeing all these people walking like wide eyed-zombies towards the booze bar at the gate. i thought it to be way too early for free cocktails. it all just happened right on the screen and not to mention the fear i had
that it would just keep happening ...if they have two planes, they can have ten.
i should talk to you about it. i am still flipping. then i hear the idiots on
tv saying this was an attack on "freedom"...do they have to oversimplify/chew
everything so that the average american can sleep comfy at night...
why don't they explain why these people really hate us.
oh well, i just feel so much safer since
they took my tweezers away at the airport. i sleep better too.

~*~

this day.....
can't talk properly on the air, sound like an idiot, computers are slow, last night's macaroni and cheese is bungling around in my intestines.
but he does, he does have really wonderful eyes.
praise god. i'm not dead inside. somewhere, someone,
it's going to be great to fall in love again......it's going to be great to sit on the floor and hold hands, under silver stars, and gentle lamps.
until then, it's just me and spanky.

~*~

~*~

~*~

~*~

day48.....tues.sept.25,2001

you can slice it, and dice it, and roll it and break it/it can last through the ages like museum rocks/but it stays where it belongs, in kindergarten songs, in innocent hearts with plastic locks. --1987 journal

pakistan observer reports 'well informed foreign observers in the capitol(quetta)say us airstrikes could begin today.'......?credible? who knows?

right after the attacks, the whole atmosphere seemed altered. driving down the road seemed different. the light seemed different. small gestures took on something beyond themselves...some sort of grace, or significance.
but that atmosphere seems to have evaporated. everyone is still thinking and talking about it, it's plastered all over the news, but the rhythms of everyday life don't seem to carry the same tension.....the sudden stillness, uncertainty that set in after things went down back east.

the morning of sept. 11, the phone rang at 6:15; i reached over and pulled the handset down to me on the pillow. melissa said, without a preamble, 'i know it's early there, but i thought you'd want to know. two jet planes just flew into each one of the world trade center towers in new york.'

----the strangest wakeup call ever. after asking 'what?' several times, and 'are you kidding?' several times, i hung up and turned on the radio by the bed. sat in the covers, in the grey light, bleary-eyed&fogged. then came a report of a plane crashing in pennsylvania, a seemingly unrelated incident; then, 'we have a report that an airplane has crashed into the pentagon.' a few minutes later the report was confirmed.

i got up and moved about the semi-dark apartment. sat in the dark and listened more, to the radio. (non-tv household by choice)
finally got up, showered, dressed, opened the blinds, looking out at the grey morning. everything was still. i stood there looking at the parakeet in his cage, looking out at the treetops and the grey sky, feeling how the whole world had changed. feeling how the whole world, at this moment, was finding out what was happening. a wave of information was passing from country to country via satellite and telephone, modem and radio wave, cell phone and television, from the street to the skies with each new broadcast report. word traveling from person to person, galvanizing the attention of everyone who heard, sweeping the earth, a wave of information, a wave of shock.

for the first time in my life i felt the whole world around me. that all of us at once were staring at the very same breathtaking spectacle of evil; that we were somehow together. that a line was being set in place, right at that moment, that would divide time into two parts: the moments before this period in this grey morning, and the time after. alone in my apartment, in this morning, i could feel that line falling into place. it made a resounding, continual boom, rolling across the planet, as the newsradio brought update after update.

~*~

day47.....mon,sept.24,2001

....'to him the wire is a metaphor for life: a journey that begins with that first step, that has a beginning and an end. he never uses a safety net, relying instead on his faith. " whoever doesn't walk the wire is not living," he says.' ---on philippe petit, who walked a high wire between the two world trade centers in 1974.

'there are intervals, but they are between dreams, and there is no consciousness of them left. the world around me is dissolving, leaving here and there spots of time. ..... i am thinking that when the great silence descends upon all and everywhere music will at last triumph. when into the womb of time everything is again withdrawn chaos will be restored and chaos is the score upon which reality is written.' ---henry miller, 'the tropic of cancer'

everything seems important today. even the things that once didn't seem to be.

forgot the meds yesterday, which i hear can be disastrous with these meds. it's true. my head is spinning. hate it. just looked up and saw the headline on msnbc 'osama bin laden declares the us is on a crusade against islam' or something to that effect. ......today the whole world feels like a david lynch movie (even moreso than usual).

~*~

day 46.....sun,sept.23,2001

'abstinence does not necessarily cure an addiction.' --stanton peele

'romantic people are often selfish.' --tommy g.

'no strings.....no people.'

'love is a pain in the ass, but ya'll
haven't found anything better, have you?' --bruce dern in 'middle age crazy'

'ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-i'm the man who
murdered love. yeah! what do you think to that? --andy partridge/xtc

'oh love and the reason i do not fall into the street is love' --e.e. cummings

6:41 am. oh sleep and the reason i do not fall into the street is sleep

when i wiped out 24 days' worth of work with a single keystroke two weeks ago today, i hosed some good text. anyway, don't be surprised if it shows up again, for those of you who were here in the first days of this page....i didn't back it up and can't remember it, but certain phrases will probably work their way in here again.

sept.9, glitchy computer here in the traffic center ate my web page.
drunken rampage. found he's found someone the right age.
sept.10, breakdown.

sept.11....and days following....silence, after the world's gestalt is wrenched into an opposing universe.
i deserted the page for a week, and will probably do so again at some point. but it will be here. count on it. for the next 654 days. until...
july 9, 2003.

a bunch of you went away for that week....hope you come back and trip my counter again.

sleep.
lit the candles last night and curled up at the table with the lovely sabina, talking until late. eating orange sections and pistachios. she is as enchanting to me as she was the first time i saw her across a ballroom at a christmas party in dallas nearly 10 years ago.

what's so great: no saturday blues. good god: no saturday blues. so amazing to have no saturday blues. fuck him for giving me the saturday blues, fuck him and all his women, fuck him and his 'i'm lonely and sensitive and i want to get close to you.' it's all bullshit because for every night of passion....there were...let's say.....ten saturdays with the deep dark paralyzing dread-soaked head-banging goshblamed dadburned saturday beyond-personality-disorder end-of-the-world BLUES.

he had his physical orgasms with me, emotional orgasms with the other women. but after the shy courting, the buildup, the orgasm and the subsequent, less exciting orgasms, BUH-BYE...we all get our hearts left in the laundry basket. so he gave me the physical rapture cloaked in darkness and mystery: and he gave them his heart to grasp in their tight little fists, until he had to wiggle out. gasping in terror all the time. to freedom, desolation, loneliness. and then, in time, the promise of rebirth by way of new love. the excitement of being stroked by new skin, a new soul, a new mindset, new hope of redemption, yielding tremendous orgasms every time.

god help me for loving a man who dangled before my eyes the glittering images of other women and leaving me with the saturday blues.
no more lovemaking.
no more blues.
no more wondering about those glamorous women with intense wounded eyes and lives, no more wondering why not just go love them and let me just fucking be. no more wondering why those extravagantly passionate relationships weren't enough, but he had to know he had my love and longing as well.....
no more bottomless pit of a man filling himself with the souls of women, never enough, always collecting, stuffing them down one on top of another on top of another in suffocating closeness.

no more filling the bottomless pit of my soul with longing for a bottomless pit of a man. no more filling myself with nothing more substantial than the howling winds of chaos. no more staying occupied with a whirlwind that goes nowhere but back on itself. all that activity....that ravaging wind, those blustering storms, tearing across the landscape, but when it all dies down, all that activity has led to nothing...it was only wind....ripping the trees and the land from their foundations, leaving derbris and bleak sunlight .no more banging drunkenly against selfmade walls, no more staggering through this hall of mirrors inside looking for him, he's not here. only reflections and madness, each reflection more murky, more intensely hazy, unreachable, a pathway deep into my own bottomless pit of haunted yesterdays and imagined futures,
let me out. let me out of here.

he never wanted to hurt me. but his unconscious came roaring out and....
and....
and what about MY unconscious? what about it? flying full-on into the face of it all with absolute joy? didn't i tag along on the wings of the same ecstatic magic-carpet-ride-to-hell-by-way-of-heaven?
uh....yeah, i did. absolutely. i did it, i went there, i rode that roller coaster all the way dooooooooooooooooown. screaming with delight all the way. and i still want on it. just the sight of him makes me want that swan-dive into deep space like a flying fuck at the moon. god i love him god i love him god.....i want it, i want it, no. no, no, no. fuck this. fuck this, and i mean it. now, forever, and ever, amen, ave maria. i'd rather be in a relationship with someone who beats me.
psychological punishment is just as savage. if someone comes after you with with a knife, sure, they can kill you. plunge it right beneath your ribs and work it back and forth until there's nothing left. you can get the full force of their hatred and anger and it can kill you.....all in one fateful moment. all true. but try this: try loving somone who kills you slowly from the inside out, with tender touches and yearning, soulful looks and words: someone who comes at you with a blazing need like a thousand suns to your antimatter, then whips out a ten-foot razor blade and slashes it wildly back and forth through your mind. until you're a lunatic, slobbering and gibbering your way down a long, slow slide into dissolution, drunkenness, despair, disease, decay, and death. a slow sensuous waltz into fury, impotence, corruption, hate. why? why? why?

fuck why, fuck him. fuck me for loving him. fuck it all. fuck off and goodbye.

somebody said...who? somebody said, 'be careful not to mistake the laughter for happiness.'