Monday, September 1, 2014


September 1, 2014

Happy Birthday to me. I was going to say I didn’t sleep well, but I think I slept perfectly well and my body tried to get me up when it was rested. People note that fasting gives you energy, and, counter-intuitively, this is true. Sunday was day 3. Wonderful sermon in the morning, which, like a poem, was lovely without being perfectly comprehensible. We ended up blessing Glenda’s son, which was well even if I was not certain of the reason. Rehearsal in the evening was a horror, probably more because of my mood, or because of my expectation that it would be somehow joyful or surprising. I’m not interested in singing popular music; whether that’s the fact at the root of my dissatisfaction I don’t know. What we are singing is all crowd-pleasers, and nothing can be said against that. Given my feelings, the appropriate gesture is an exit. The expectation of birthday drinks afterwards did not materialize.

Greedily adding up the birthday greetings on Facebook. It’s pathetic.

So, it’s September and W’s solemn oath that our agreement would result in rent–or a mortgage payment, or whatever it is–in August is belied. Whether he is an oily player out to see how much advantage he can take, or an honest dad trying to make his way in a difficult world, the outcome is the same for me. I really have no way of knowing. My reflex to believe what people say, to take them at face value, is not useful here. Or ever, much, now that I think of it.

Circe crying piteously downstairs. I go to see what the problem is. She looks like she’s seen a ghost. I do not see it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


August 31, 2014

Lovely rain in the night. It batters the roses, but makes better roses behind.  Spread much mulch yesterday, seeing that much more mulch than I have acquired will be necessary.

I thought I might go without getting myself a birthday present this year, but not. Found myself at Biltmore Antiques, where I found a large old desk with a green top. It “finishes” the downstairs in a way I don’t really expect a piece of furniture to do. Happy. The lady at the shop called me by name and told me that I had created a sacred space at the healing mass a year or so ago. I was glad I had, and hoped that my sanctity would reduce the price of the desk.

Fast, 2nd day:  as I have noted in the past, without the extreme effects you expect, or read of in books.

Lady in Facebook singing “the Lady of Shalott.”

Saturday, August 30, 2014


August 30, 2014

Voices on the street woke me before 3 AM. I thought they were closer than they were. I had been dreaming of travel. I had to ride my bike to an office to get a certain document, and somehow I forgot it there, and my dilemma was whether to go back and retrieve the bike or to go on to Scotland, which was my destination. Awake in the now-silent darkness, I wandered about some. I took the last night light from 62, which somehow in the tangle of undergrowth I had over looked. It gleamed starlike, and to it moth-like I went. My back yard under the dim smear of the Pleiades. It seemed sacred.

Woke with a hangover from having eaten nothing yesterday and finishing the evening with a bottle of grapey Italian white. Now that water and walking have dissipated the hangover, I feel terrific, cleansed and light. The swelling in my leg is down, and the pain in my knee gone, though that may have been Zach as well as the fast. I’ll fast again today if I can. I have typically been sloppy in my war on God, thinking a few threats and a rattling of spears would do it.

Sylvia Plath in Gary’s class yesterday. We noted how, almost alone of all literary figures, she cannot be discussed without discussion of her illness. That must be a kind of hell, if she knows about it. This class was inclined to pity, telling each other that suicide is not selfish nor–as I suggested in this case–passive-aggressive, but rather universally pitiable. Maybe. They certainly had the psycho-jargon to back up their arguments. When I read “Lady Lazarus” aloud, though, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. If we knew nothing about her, we would think her a greater poet than we do now with full morbid knowledge.

Adapted Tom’s book for the stage. It’s not very stagey, but it is poetic, so maybe that will float it.  Woke today thinking of the ways I had left it wrong last night. Moments from now come the revisions.

Conviction that I am traveling somewhere very soon– though I am not, unless my nerves know something I don’t.

Friday, August 29, 2014


August 29, 2014

Blessed the drop of rain that fell last night. The garden had at least a sip.

Begin a fast this morning.

The mowers knock the air conditioning unit awry. I haven’t used it all summer, so my distress is cosmetic.

Considered– wish I hadn’t– that in the negotiations for 62, after all the reductions and postponements corner-cutting and forgiveness and concessions and eight months of lost income, the ONLY advantage I was going to get was to have it over and done with, and that is the precise and single thing which has not happened. Minute sleeplessness over that.

Yesterday a day of learning from my students. I was wrong about Nietzsche. I hadn’t told myself the whole story about Donne. You go into teaching not to teach, but to learn. Today is my day off, but I sub in Gary’s class, on Plath, which I agreed to do because I felt I have been, generally, so much less collegial than my colleagues.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


August 28, 2014

Woke unwell. The whole bottle of Chilean Merlot after rehearsal was not a good idea. Came home with a colossal birthday brownie. Still sagging a little over the house. I don’t see why something can’t be as it was decided, as it was agreed to, as it was expected, even one time. While claiming to have no money at all, W nevertheless ordered a $400 inspection (without my knowledge), and on the basis of that asks for a reduction in the price of the house. I don’t care about the price, so much. I’m just bewildered that, after all that, he would ask. Had I inspected his credit, as I suppose was my right, the deal would seem even more absurd. I’ve tried to do the right thing; that doesn’t work so well when you’re the only party doing so. Longest day today. Can barely imagine putting on my clothes and walking out the door.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


August 27, 2014

Slept late. The cats were standing accusingly over their bowl. Good classes yesterday, one on the Bhagavad Gita, the other on Blake’s paintings. Meeting in the evening with W. I was sick with rage. Turns out he was sick with apprehension. After long, detailed (and overdue) explanation of his situation, I realized that the one thing I was determined, dead-set, frantic would happen–the signing of a contract–would not happen. Of course. I should have seen that from the outset. Nevertheless, everything else proceeds well enough, and they begin moving in this weekend.  If I actually see a mortgage (or is it rent?) check in my hand this week I’ll know that it turned out the way I think it did. Because of his dire financial situation, he is considering bankruptcy and cannot afford to have a visible asset, so we will proceed as though he’s renting from me. He does all repairs and upkeep. He says he is solemnly serious about wanting to own 62, and his sweat equity supports that. Renting a house with the renter responsible for everything, with the renter fixing the floors, re-painting, landscaping, doing massive repairs on his own dime, seems to me ideal, and so my rage ebbed away. He told his wife he was afraid that I was going to end the deal and throw them out. It crossed my mind, A little information earlier on would have kept me even from the thought. He said he is one who keeps his troubles inside. Not the right tack, in this case. I wondered what bravado led him to ask for all this. I respond well to such things, but it seems bold, now, beyond reason, considering that no legitimate lender on planet Earth would  take him on in the foreseeable future. I guess he had the measure of me. It is conceivable that I am being monumentally had, but I would know that soon enough, and the property is not only still mine, but brought into marketable condition without my lifting a finger. If I am good at anything, it is in going the way the Lord seems to be pushing, and even when that has gone awry, I haven’t cared much.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


August 26, 2014

Woke without having slept long enough. I think the disturbing silence of the night woke me. Last night a frog of wondrous loudness called from the near trees. I thought at first it was a siren.

I see no way Will and I can close this week. He swore he would come to see me last night, bit of course he did not, nor does he answer his phone. In all the negotiations, with my letting him into my property to do whatever he wanted without a red cent changing hands, with my foregoing a down payment so he could do that, with my paying the utilities and receiving no income from the property for eight months, the one and only thing I asked is that it all be finished by August. I almost wish I were the kind of man who could say, “all right, deal’s off,” and change the locks.

Sending out checks in all direction, supporting this and that good work, money to friends getting married faraway: I think I am that agency which channels my resources to others. I think at the moment that’s my only function.

Screw up in the Humanities schedule, which necessitates the explanation of same to every single individual student, as no one is listening when you give the explanation the first half dozen times. They are so worried about asking the question they don’t perceive it’s being answered.

Watched the Emmys last night. Wanted to stab the people who were going on about dresses. Bet I wasn’t alone.

You, allow me to love you.