Thursday, June 22, 2017


June 22, 2017

Maud the cat rubbing her face against my toes as if she wanted to start a fire. Trying to remember what I did today. Wrote a poem to welcome Maria and Russell’s baby, to be born tomorrow. The 23rd of every month seems lucky to me. Rain, I guess from the tropical storm that came ashore in Louisiana. Drove to the studio but didn’t go in. Haven’t seen my bunny in days. Forlorn. It’s hard to know how to go forward. In private life, quality simply does not matter. In public life, lies do not bother to disguise themselves; if we want to hear it, then it must be true. I possess no powers to overcome either of these things, and unless they are overcome, all stops. Given this, life is very much too long. C posted pictures of the Hiram reunion, and I recognized two souls, she being one of the, They were so old. . . .

June 21, 2017

Much sleeping on the first day of summer. Painting. A poem in the cafĂ©. Little fires on the edge of the green margin which are my flowers. Moving paintings around in the studio– too many big spiders behind them. Windhover takes a poem.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


June 20, 2017

Night coming on, a sort of pale Prussian blue silvered in some inexplicable way.  Weeded for an hour, came in to itch for an hour from the mosquito bites. Some plants planted last year and which I thought were no-shows bloom this year, Patience, patience. A red bloom appears above my waterlilies. Alex alerted me to the existence of Richmond Hill Park. I sought it our this morning on my way to the studio. I got out of the car and had walked three or four minutes, and reached the border between sun and shadow-- the open, almost wild meadow, where the thistle and the ragweed still gleamed with dew– when I felt my chest unclenching as though I had been administered some honeyed opiate. The blood ran cool in my limbs. . . I felt relaxed maybe for the first time since returning from Venice. I realized what was happening. I continued into the woods– a beautiful young woods, even if overgrown with poison ivy– and said to the spirits there, “Come into me. Come in. Come. Possess me. Leave no space for anything else. Fill me.” And they did.  I could not make the demon depart by wishing it, by willing it, by praying for it, by concentrating on fierce opposition, but I thought if I invited light to crowd out the uninvited shadow, that it may work. Small light drives away vast shadow. It did work. It has worked. The evil visions the demon imposed are replaced by a tulip tree standing in pure light, by a field of flowers, by the tangle of deep trees, by blue sky paled with morning cloud. Possession confounded by possession. Even the way my skin feels is different, not prickled constantly from the inside by the half-formed but ever-present sensations of horrible shapes and deformities. I feel as a man; I feel the way I look for the first time in months. If I can keep this up, if I can attend to the blessed spirits and starve the demon of all attention, I may crawl forever back among the living. For this day I have been blessed. Watched a man practicing Extreme Frisbee, then a young father bring his son to watch him practice. He was the most excellent father, caressing his child with his voice, never letting a teaching opportunity go by. I thought blessed. Sat at a picnic table and wrote a poem. Continued to the studio and painted well. Going to try to get to bed tonight sober and before 3 AM.

Monday, June 19, 2017


June 18, 2017

Turbulent Day. Good day. Both at the same time. Coffee with A, at which time we noticed the perfection of the day and of the atmosphere. A day, weather-wise, anyhow, of Paradise. Deep hatred of the shape of crabgrass led to and orgy and pulling and digging. Paradoxically enraged at not knowing about a rehearsal I wouldn’t have attended had I known about it. Made stupid and repeated mistakes in rehearsal, hobbled, I think, by anger. After a long phone call on the All Souls lawn with the publisher, it looks like Peniel is a go. Not what I had hoped for. Cause for a smile and then a sigh. But good enough. Ten times better than not.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


June 17, 2017

Came out of dreams into a space haunted by the demon, so the first of day was sadness and defeat. I will say it has not gotten worse.

Exceptional writing at the High Five. I may have brought the Poets play near to its end.

I think I made progress at the studio, but left things in places with which I am not pleased, and the roughness stays with me. Cute high school kids from Hendersonville chatted with me a long while, eager and open, and I was grateful. Later a family from Xenia, where they still talk about the tornado.

No call, but an email from SJ Press. We are to talk tomorrow-- just as I am in rehearsal, of course. He is serious about “working with me,” so the worst of the worst is avoided. I look online for evidence that the Press is a vanity press or odd in some way, and nothing comes up. Rather the opposite. Even evidence does not fully allay my misgivings after the experiences I’ve had. I look for rejoicing in my heart, but it is still cowering many rooms and corridors back in the Mansion of Dread.

Theater last night, C triumphant in speeches that challenged him and seemed made for him at the same time. I think a playwright’s paradise is knowing whom he is writing for, and knowing they can go wherever he leads. The question came up of audience, and how to get more without doing crap all the time, which is what “saved” ACT.  I want to say “I’ve seen no more than this in the audience for supreme productions in London and New York,” but though that may soothe the hurt artist nerve, it doesn’t help the bank balance. I need a couple of billion a year so I can finance people to do the work that needs to be done without all the time worrying about the rent.

The burnt orange of my inherited daylilies lines the drive and the back of the yard.

Friday, June 16, 2017


June 16, 2017

Bloom’s Day.

Belatedly read my faculty evaluation. Carbon copy of the last twenty years. But then, maybe I’m a carbon copy of the last 20 years. And I have dated myself using “carbon copy.” I long ago left off reading student evaluations, but some leak through into the faculty eval, reminding me of why I stopped looking at them in the first place. The “negative” comments are most often factually in error– such as “We didn’t have a syllabus. . . we never knew when exams were going to be. . .he made up the readings as we went. . “ when I can produce syllabi for every course, with every exam and assignment noted. What can be done about that, but to slap the forehead and move on?
 
Good work in the studio. Sold my blue-throated hummingbird to a couple from Tennessee who received, as they were standing beside my easel, word that his brother had a heart attack and was dying, in Willoughby, Ohio.

Kept phone in hand all day to receive a call from R which he had pledged for today and which, of course, never came. This leads me to assume the news is bad.

Phone call from C, who is reading Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. It took her two minutes to remind me fully of herself, though we have not met since 1983.

Dreamed that I was at a banquet receiving a prize for starring in the play Casey at the Bat., which even in the dream I didn’t remember doing.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


June 15, 2017

Dark outside of approaching storm. Blessed. The storm outside balances the storm inside, and one is for an hour at peace.

DJ and I saw Wonder Woman last night. It’s not the movie I would have made given the same material, but I liked it. Talked with a young couple in the lobby afterward. She was outraged because WW required a man’s love to complete and fully motivate her, while was hoping for a totally self-begotten, self propelled Woman Hero. He didn’t like the dialogue because– well, he was less articulate than his girlfriend, but it seemed that the men didn’t exclaim enough at the wonders Diana was performing. I found no sympathy in myself for either perspective, but nevertheless admit the two were visibly and honestly shaken by what they had seen. I think this is what an artist wants, even if the tone is antipathy.

Dinner afterward. Our waitress was one of those people who manages to enrage without ever doing anything wrong. Just the manner of the doing. Must be a pheromone.

Excellent progress at the studio, the complete resurrection of an old and important painting. Visitors from Dallas and Alpharetta, the later who knew my sister’s street. Progress on the play about poets.