Thursday, July 30, 2015


July 30, 2015

Watched the sunrise from the whirlpool at the Racquet Club. It was very purple.
   
After work-out went to the Charlotte Street Starbuck’s and wrote. Starbuck’s ruins what is potentially the best writing venue in town by blasting bad music so loud outside that the speakers distort. I suppose they do this on purpose, to discourage loiterers, but it makes all other pursuits impossible as well. You have to creep around to the front, the soundwaves being thwarted by having to go around the corner. The morning seems so long ago that I forget I had written well until I sat down (just now) to look. Painting afterward, in the studio where the last flood pool had finally dried.  Happy for a whole morning. Not sure whether the housecleaner was finished yet, I drove to Jesse Israel and bought ferns and an anemone and oregano to set down in the garden. Did so with a maximum of sweat.
   
Waste time looking at videos of police brutality on the Internet. There is no end of them. New ones every day. The fact that so many are revealed by the ubiquitous cellphone camera implies that there were thousands and thousands before, and the cops never– as in never, ever– being called to account gave them a sense of impunity. The last one today was SEVEN grossly overweight cops beating and tazing one skinny black man, whom they grabbed from a room in a hospital (it seemed to me) while he was getting prepared to come with them peaceably. They beat and tazed him unremittingly, adding to their number as time went on, because he wouldn’t put his arms behind his back. He didn’t put his arms behind his back because he was trying to fend off blows of fists and batons aimed at his face. At one point the fat cops had to stop and catch their breaths, and THEN returned to beating on him. People were watching through a glass partition, doing–what? The little man kept crying “sir! Sir!” and begging for his life.  There must be something better to do about this than shed tears of rage.
   
Went into a trance watering the back garden. It was sweet.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


July 29, 2015

I smile when I see the tiny yellow lanterns of the climbing dicentria weaving in among the other flowers. I thought a late freeze killed it, but there it is, humble and secret and lovely. Beside the stump of the great fallen swamp hibiscus a new shoot feathers out. Will it have time to bloom? Perhaps not, but I applaud its pluck. Bought a table for the deck, then went to buy a chair for it at a junk store on Riverside, where I interrupted five women in the midst of bible study.  Wrote well, painted most well, and 1/3 of the day still remains.

Have taken up the Koran again. It is more argumentative than one wishes. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


July 28, 2015

Mr Gullet, accent on the second syllable, arrived yesterday afternoon and the refinance papers were finally signed. He was a big jolly guy, whose cordiality erased some of the bad feeling. Many signatures on many pages, the one sticking out being the fact that, if I pay the minimum every month on time, I will own this house outright when I am 94. Something to aim for.
  
Writing poems, or at least a poem, based on 11th century mystics of Baghdad.

Pavel writes from LA that Edward the King is again on the schedule.

Monday, July 27, 2015


July 27, 2015

Hosting is hard work. But amiable work in the proportions I have accepted for myself. Huge happy party for the Ps last night. I think nearly everyone they invited came. Guinness cake and cauliflower casserole were hits; the eggplant Parmesan less so because the sauce was not right. Too thin. Cheesy eggplant floating in tomato juice. You catch bits of conversation, bits of unfamiliar lives forming into something ponderable for a moment, dissolving again. You’d say right off that a primary component of M’s nature is exuberance, but it turns out to be exuberance over one thing, the greatness of the production he was just in, and the even greater greatness of the one he’s in now. His wife is one of the great beauties of Asheville and his son is an angel of light. Some men have all the luck.
  
Ps are gone to their next visitation. Quiet house, a little sad. The cats walk around looking for the company they liked.
  
Will replenish my liquor cabinet, drained by the party, before, at long last, signing the refinance papers. The last business was done by email because I refused to talk to the Boy Brian. Rather amusing, actually. I am amazed by my fury sometimes–fury that is almost always in response to rules that are at once inflexible and idiotic.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


July 26, 2015

    M and A and I had some time together after they came back from dinner at Table. We watched an old Ginger Rogers vehicle, or rather that’s how it started. I looked around after a few minutes and they were both, independently, thumbing through items on their cell phones. I was effectively, if not quite actually, alone. But so were they. Company is disruptive, but it’s also good to make me vary my routine. I guess at the time when they will wake and rise, so I’ll be away and they can wind up and shower and explore their environment and plan their day without worrying about me. One such ploy got me to Starbuck’s before full light, where I wrote and watched the remarkable abundance of dogs. Instead of going home then–it was not time for them to leave for church-- I walked downtown, having it for a time practically to myself in the clearing gray light. Strolled to places that used to mean something to me, and to places that I didn’t recognize from any portion of my past. Found a place in the labyrinth of the Pack Place Parking Deck to urinate unseen. . . being, for that moment, homeless, and endowed with their resourcefulness. The crash of glass from Pack Place was a hobo upending trash cans to pick through and see what was salvageable. The smell of downtown Asheville on a Sunday morning is the sharp taint of old beer. That’s all right, for it means that people were having fun there a few hours before. A private garbage service (manned by handsome youths) came a little behind me, clearing and cleaning as they went. Bearded geezers walked in the parks. Everyone was walking a dog. Peered at my old gallery. That was a good thing, my gallery. The community should have supported me more, or at all. Many people would say I never appear to need help, and I suppose that, anyway, is my fault. If I knew once how to correct it, I don’t anymore. Big party for the travelers tonight. I have made eggplant Parmesan, a casserole, and cake. Have addressed my bills and correspondence, so to get them off the downstairs desk. Looking forward and wishing it were over simultaneously.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


July 25, 2015

Mother’s birthday. Fair, calm morning. The Porters not yet awake downstairs.
   
Worked in the studio, slopping around in water from the last flood, kept being distracted by a gleam that was, when I looked, the great floor puddle rippling in wind from the window. I have found my style and my subject matter in painting. To continue in that vein, I have found (or been given) alacrity and spontaneity in poetry that I have not had since I was a youth. Poems came through the years, but they were made. These of the last weeks have been begotten.
   
Drove to Cashiers through hell’s own traffic– stopped dead three times on 26; started out at 4:29, arrived at 6:45. You want to blame cops or a wreck, but there was no visible cause of the backups. In time did arrive at the public library, where there was nowhere to park. This was good, in a way, because it meant a capacity crowd for the one-act festival, which I did not expect at all. The room was indeed full. I seem to have been the only playwright who has ever attended the festival, so I was honored somewhat beyond my appetite for being honored. The remarkable thing was that the evening was good, competent, spirited, entertaining. One has such bad experiences with one-act festivals in library auditoria that even adequate is excellent. None of the plays was flat-out bad. Most of them were too long, structured like full-lengths condensed rather than organically like ten minute plays. Mine was By Far the Shortest. It was also the worst acted, for which the director apologized at the interval. “They were REALLY FANTASTIC at dress rehearsal–.” I think I may have received a commission from the Highland Theater– let’s wait for the e-mail.  But what a success for a tiny little town and a brave clutch of actors. After an excruciating talk-back– where I had to carry the banner for all playwrights at all times everywhere–I drove through intermittent rain and fog the weary miles back to Asheville. But every so often I’d pass a bog or a lake, when around me the crying of frogs would be wild and paradisial. Remind me not to drive 64 east from Cashiers at night ever again.

Friday, July 24, 2015


July 24, 2015

Michael and Amanda arrived last evening, Amanda heavily and gracefully pregnant. They seem happy to be back “home,” and reasonably happy with their new lives in Idaho. I tried to catch them up on local gossip, but am horrible at that, hearing little and retaining little of what I hear. We bellowed at each other through a late supper at Asheville Pizza & Brewing, which was loud and happy and loud and congenial and loud. I spent most of yesterday cooking for them– let me say now that eggplant Parmesan is incredibly messy and labor-intensive–to find that part of their plan is a reminiscent visit to all their favorite restaurants. So, no home meals. OK, we have a potluck Sunday. Here’s hoping people come hungry. They seem exactly as they were when they left, which is well. They gratifyingly exhibited shock at the numeral of my upcoming birthday. What sheer success their partnership is! Glad to have been there at the beginning.
  
Up early to meet Bill P at the Racquet Club for a work out. I attach myself to him for his normal straight guy bloke-iness, something rare and needful in my life. All the men's toilets were clogged at the gym, looking as if a herd of dinosaurs had arrived there expressly to take gargantuan dumps.