Monday, July 25, 2016

July 24, 2016

Best performance yet last night, to a big crowd, including David and his girlfriend, who are asleep in the guest room as I write. Youthful eagerness. . . I had almost forgotten. . .

Why is this election season different from all other election seasons?  I have given this thought, and believe it is because there are not, this time, two different, slightly modulated versions of reality bidding for the attention of the electorate. There is one vision of reality and another that is pure delusion, a world made from scraps of demagoguery, general fears inserted wherever they may do the worst harm, legislative bullies and executive vandals, liars in public places so blatant as not to be concerned when they are caught in the lie, for how is fact better than conviction? How is truth more powerful than the desire for power over others? Donald Trump’s–and now the Republican Party’s– proposed world is a kind of Mordor, where light must be shut out in order for darkness not to be shown for what it is, a world of deliberate misrepresentation, of paranoia lifted to the level of religion, where the worst are honored for their vehemence in a bad cause. Trump himself is clearly without conscience and will do whatever gratifies him at a particular moment, and his rhetoric appeals to those who are exhausted by the world’s resistance to their ignorance. Don’t worry about what is good and true, I’ll give you what you think you want. I have not lived through former times, but this is the worst choice presented in my lifetime. Trump offers the opportunity, in every spiritual or intellectual way, to recede to the Dark Ages, superstitious, prizing ignorance as a virtue, squalid, war-like, clannish, hopeless because the implicit power structure depends upon hopelessness.  Though there are aspects of Hillary’s policies with which one might disagree, what is actually used against her by the Republicans are blatant and infantile lies, which are breathed back into life by Trump’s dementors no matter how often they’re laid to rest by those who actually know (often embarrassed Republicans). Trump calls–listen to what he says and then dispute with me–for the end of humane civilization. Listen to him. Really. Now, checks and balances built into the government may keep him from achieving this, but the fact that some of us are happy to let him have a try is appalling. The some of us are willing to risk this holocaust because our favorite was defeated is infantile naivete bordering on crime. In a perfect world I would probably be a Green. There is not time for the  luxury of that now. That one faction is a little greener than the other must, in ths instance, suffice. No one who supports Trump can be my friend. It is hard to imagine how a personal both moral and sane could do so. Even to fail to give aid to his enemies is, in a time like this, lamentable.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


July 23, 2016

Blessings for last night’s rain. It made the drive to Waynesville interesting– more feeling the way than driving–but I was comforted by the thought of the dry roots of my garden drinking it in. Everything looked better this morning.
   
Harry arrived for an impromptu visit, and almost immediately the exterminator arrived (he with glittering blue eyes) to deal with my yellow jackets. Almost immediately after that I sunk into regret. When he found the nest, I realized I had been spading away almost on top of them, and what I had interpreted as nasty imperialism on their part was a last-ditch effort to keep their home from being spaded up. He poisoned them, and then we dug out their pale combs writhing with their pale grubs, dying in the poison and the sunlight. I did not feel triumphant. I felt impatient and wasteful, driven by fear. For their sake I didn’t touch the garden this whole day.
   
Minos showed himself to Harry, almost as a blessing.
   
The latest thing in the pond is a shoal of tiny fry. Evidently the minnows are breeding successfully. The big fish do not seem to be eating them, or eating them very fast, or maybe their arrival was timed to take advantage of a bloom of green algae covering the sunlit portions of the bottom and allowing them places to hide. Bought a couple of placostomas (placostomaii?) to eat the algae. The man who sold them to me was a happy and fulfilled man, loving animals and working in a pet store.
   
Baked red velvet cookies for the cast tonight. Frosted. Last night I was slightly off vocally, and of course it was the night immortalized by videotape. Getting just the littlest bit tired of Jesus Christ Superstar. 
   
Have spent some portion of many recent days in a state of anger, sometimes volcanic red spikes, sometimes a gray bitter simmer. Of course I know why, and of course one or two things (long overdue already) would end it, but those things do not happen and I must find a way to proceed. The anger is a sort of fuel. It does get me through the thick days, but it is wasteful, exhausting, and wrong when it reaches out–like my frightened yellow jackets–and stings the world around. I’m almost always working at the limits of my abilities, so when I am stymied, I am truly stymied. Not angry once today, though, so I try to beat out the mood like a lump of gold and see how much it can cover.

July 22, 2016

Waiting for a call from Delta, to explain to me why the ticket I bought for multiple thousands does not appear on their website, and was never confirmed, but for which I was fully charged. They allow you to be on hold for an hour, or trust them to call you back. My hatred is like some great octopus, with red tentacles stretching in all directions.
   
Good performance last night, in front of an indifferent audience. People who worry more about that sort of thing than I were aggrieved.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 21, 2016

Semi-annual Black Mountain visitation, where I, not having planned to do any such thing, bought a musical instrument, a plucked psaltery. The ladies at the store overwhelmed me with advice and chit-chat. We sang together selections from Jesus Christ, Superstar after I told them I was in it tonight. The drive to Black Mountain was inexplicably black and despairing. The blackness and despair aren’t inexplicable, but rather why they should erupt on a bright road in a bright morning heading to frivolity. Had a salad and cocktails and the morning was barely over.

Thought of Indian Guides. At the beginning of a meeting you had to stand with you hand on your father’s shoulder and sing “Pals Forever” to the tune of “Darling Clementine.” At the age of– what? 6? 7?– I was almost too mortified to go through with it. It was hard for me even to touch my father long enough to get the song out. Even then something had come between us, something cold and unnatural. I’m always stopped from going back far enough to discover what it was. Did he feel the same? I assume he did. I assume that whatever it was arose from him, as I was too young to have formed desires and aversions of that strength on my own. I do not remember either of my parents hugging or caressing me. Once. Ever. There must have been a reason–

I am going to write these things down as they arise. Dreamed during a nap of my father’s mother, so vividly that when I awoke I went into the living room to see if she wanted anything.

Rainish sky with no rain. I am not going into the yard until the yellow jackets are dealt with. My anger is still a pale coal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


July 20, 2016

Made progress connecting two of the back gardens into one, until being attacked by yellow jackets, the living creature I hate most. Sustained four stings. My left arm throbs and stings even now, at least five hours afterwards. It makes me angry. Have noted in the past that the yellow jacket’s sting is counter-adaptive, because my reaction to it is to destroy them all. The exterminator arrives Friday. The issue is, they’re selfish. As far as I was concerned, there was room for all of us in the garden. Not any more. I may be safe again at twilight, or I may be too cautious even then.
   
More idiocy at the Republican convention than I remember from any other public gathering in my lifetime. Not one nano-second of sanity; not one scintilla of dignity. They’re hyenas squabbling over a carcass, and the carcass is their own party.
   
Gigantic moon last night: sharp shadows and faintly glowing golden radiance.
   

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


July 19, 2016

Woke wondrous early, went to the Racquet Club where I worked out memorably. Happened to think of the first time I ever played baseball. It was on the great diamond in GHMP, and when I came up to bat, some kid (I was not playing with familiar people; I don’t remember the situation) hollered, “move in!” and everyone came in toward home base, sure that I was going to hit the ball feebly or not at all. One kid hollered to another, “Easy out! Easy out!”  This insured that was exactly what happened, and my relationship with baseball never recovered. What I wondered then was how I had provoked this reaction, for I had never been at bat before and I remember distinctly not knowing a single person in the park, except my father, who must have brought me there for one reason or another. How could they possibly assume I would be an “easy out”? Must still be wondering about that, for it came to mind as I deliberately refrained from adjusting the weights (which should have been too heavy for me) because I wanted to do just as well as the youthful bruiser who had just vacated the seat. Maybe the gods sent this memory to me to explain a whole lot of what has gone on since. Continued to Starbucks, where I watched the firemen come in amidst their shift for coffee, and longed for them. Whatever gods there may be should take this bit of human wisdom: To deny is to necessitate.

Will, thinking he was doing me a favor, was whacking weeds on my west lawn. I stopped him just before he annihilated the green dragons, which are our only hope of covering that infertile dirt. I swear to God the sound of a weed-whacker sets my teeth on edge. What innocent greenery will be next?

Booked flights and hotel to Budapest. Succeeded in by-passing Charles DeGaulle (Amsterdam instead) and will be staying at the K + K, not a block from the opera house. I go blithely along as though I could afford all this--

July 18, 2016

Recorded “The Walrus and the Carpenter” for later broadcast on WSFM-LP, I think it was. A, the radio jock, was doing a show on “oysters” and had consulted a list of “Asheville poets” to find me. I would like to see that list. He was a very tall, lanky, cheerful young man, and I enjoyed meting him, whatever comes of “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” He’d just returned to the US from a long stay in Istanbul. Why he had been in Istanbul he didn’t say. Took the opportunity of being in West Asheville to slouch around Haywood Road, looking into corners I almost never look into. Grubby and lively there. I regretted not being hungry or thirsty and having no excuse to stop in very many of the seemingly endless succession of cafes and specialty restaurants. Did stop in one–all airy in the heat, with big garage doors open at each end and serious women bent over their laptops–where I ordered a vanilla frappe. When it came it tasted most peculiar, but it was cold and wet and I needed it. A few seconds later the barista came and admitted she had poured lavender into the coffee instead of vanilla and would I like another? Explained the very peculiar taste, and, no, did not want another. I think Haywood Road crosses the line past which I find casualness and oh-what-the-hell-ness a little off-putting. Maybe it was just the heat. Baked ferociously for the JCS cast. Found a “plain” cookie recipe, into which one’s imagination might pour. Made coconut cream cookies and maple walnut cookies, making things up as I went.