Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December 29, 2009

Two incidents in Sav-More grocery. A, my student long ago-- and marginally insane then-- passing, as always, arm in arm with his barking mad mother, sneaks a bottle of hair product into my shopping cart. I watch him and wonder why. A sort of greeting? He knew it was my cart and wanted to send a message? He had no idea whose cart it was and was playing a random trick, or picked up the wrong bottle, or had filled the bottle with acid and was willing for fate to set the course-–what? Last night as I watched in fascination, a big handsome young man in a pale fleece coat scanned the front of the store, and ran out the doors with a full basked of unpaid-for groceries on his arm. I watched as he ran to his car and sped off, tires squealing. He looked too prosperous for it to be a needful act. A prank? A dare? A forgotten wallet? My mistake was to tell the clerk. It made her very sad. I had actually gotten the license plate, but I think that would just have made her sadder.

Poem for the Ensuing Year


A decade shyly ending, an age beginning–
one is meant, I think, to scribble bravely on,
struck dumb again by the howls of Hecuba,
and yet, simultaneously, stung to singing
by the rough-hewn, fire-crowned tarantara
of half-onsetting, half-retreating dawn.

Hymn we the nuptials of Natural and Artificial:
the silk-shot trappings on the sweating stallion.
Any bard with half a heart now, furtive, broods
half on the coy, the metaphysical interstices,
half on the hurt dog howling in the woods.
The magician’s toy is from his both hands gone.

I have loved you madly, but exactly why?
I have aspired, and hung my manly hopes upon
a vision both secret and insanely bright.
I read our names writ somewhere in the sky.
All was gathering to a head. And then came night,
a vampire standing on the toy-strewn lawn.

The diary page is white. The virgins are in red.
One soldier whets his blade; the others yawn.
The room still titters, remembering when I said
“Love and poetry will set things right.”
Except for the vampire who on the starlit lawn
smiles and licks her lips and whispers, “Oh, they might.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 28, 2009

Spent yesterday afternoon with Brad Roth, whom I hadn’t, we decided, seen in thirty years. He brought his painter friend James along with him, as well as photos of three charming daughters, who were at a safari park outside Charlotte. Brad remembers a whole lot more about me and my life then than I would have expected. He choreographed a dance for “Sestina Altaforte” inspired by my dissertation, which I was writing when we were housemates. The afternoon was better and easier than I’d anticipated. They almost always are. He was very much more precise about date and occasion than I. He was a better friend than I gave him credit for. Then, I kept wishing he would go away, so my sexual escapades, approaching fullness, would not be curtailed by the ordinary business of life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

December 27, 2009

Yellow-gray morning for the third day of Christmas. Drove from Atlanta last night under a sky of the most vivid and tasteless sunset orange-pink, backed by a base of lilac. This morning’s peony silk is restrained, Puritan by comparison. I ate the wrong snack, and Christmas Eve service became something to get through without running out to be sick, and I succeeded, but the wonder and the mystery were mitigated. The terrible weather that night made me fearful, and I slept badly before I drove to see my sister and the kids. They are well. The boys are giants. Jonathan and Daniel and I went to see Avatar Christmas night, which they had already seen multiple times. My sister and I talked about out father until the subject began to wither and dry in my head. I think I am done with that for a while. Ate lunch at a fine pub in Alpharetta, and it crossed my mind to drive down and visit it from time to time, until the drive home into the mountains reminded me just what that would entail. Here there is still snow. It must have been hardened rather than disintegrated by the colossal rain.

Much laundry to be done. Much trash to gather and evict. Floors to be swept.

The Worst Weather in the World

December 25, 2009

Christmas morning, the worst weather in the world, rain in a gale from the south, like someone aiming a fire hose at the windows unceasingly. In moments, the flooded road and the blacked-out windshield Sigh. What happened to a slow morning with cocoa in your pj’s, and opening almost more presents than you have the energy for?
December 24, 2009

Off and on since returning last from Ireland, I have been dipping into Michael MacLiammoir’s All for Hecuba, as one sips now and then from a complicated, expensive brandy. I’ve been often enough where he has been for there to be the frisson of recognition: he stayed in the Hotel Russell in London eighty years before I did; I know the theaters he talks about in Dublin, and can follow his characters down the short Dublin streets. Most of the people he talks about I don’t know. Some of them are names now unrecoverable from the dust of time. But they were brilliant in their day, I do not doubt, and the abundance of them reminds me that I know nobody, really, of moment in my chosen arts, and have guarded and protected my obscurity in those times when I was not lamenting. It. All for Hecuba is the best of all the actors’ books and is dear to me because I actually met and heard MacLiammoir, doing Yeats at the Corn Market in Cambridge forty years ago.

My idea of the perfect Christmas is one where I don’t have to go anywhere.

Joyfully reunited with Marco yesterday. He has a little goatee almost as laced with gray as my own. We stopped trying to remember when last we saw each other, because it was clear it was going to be rather more than a year. I assumed he simply wasn’t that pleased by my company, but it is, I think now, something less personal, an obsessiveness in him that resents intrusion, even if the intruder himself is welcome. I should understand that. He showed me his paintings, and some are very good and others are not, and their excellence is in direct proportion to the degree they distance themselves from his fetishes and obsessions. His commissions are masterworks; what he does for himself. . . well, are not. I wonder if it’s a truism that an artist is at his best when he is the greatest distance from self-indulgence? I wonder if that’s true of me? Would we even know when we are indulging ourselves if there weren’t somebody to tell us? We might imagine that we were born to do the very thing that keeps us from greatness.

Facebook contact from Brad Roth. I complain about the people who undervalue me; he is one I rudely undervalued when we were roommates, and maybe I have been given, by this estimable invention, another chance.

Afternoon: Fell asleep in the midst of the cats, and woke in the middle of a radio program about Christmas music on the radio in the 40's. Woke also with a spirit of jollity in me, a perfect holiday spirit, ready for whatever comes in the next score or so of hours.

Tomorrow night commemorates one of two great Mysteries of the West. With the first Mystery, man shares his state with God; with the second, God shares His with man, that both may be full. At the Nativity, God is received into the world, protected and nurtured as fathers and mothers and friends protect and nurture. For a while He is subject to our sorrows, and though I don’t know why, I guess that without it His perfection may not have known compassion. That God should be a child in my own arms is a concept profound beyond my grasp, but also tender and immediate– a profundity which need not be grasped at all, but only performed. Protecting a baby against the cold is the first great Test, and one so simple and plain and human that almost nobody could ever fail. At the Resurrection, man is received into Eternity. As we have welcomed God among us, He opens the door of Himself at Easter. This too need not be understood, only performed, only that we welcome death and push on it as upon an unlocked door. It is a reciprocity flawless and immense. Ever since I was able to think about it at all, I have believed this was the truth of it, Time folding into Eternity at Easter, Eternity giving itself to the sorrows of Time at Christmas, and all the talk of sin and atonement a theft and a lie, the attempt of evil (or perhaps fearful) men to bind us to by the chains of human ignorance forever. Christ no more came into the world to save me from my sins than the rose blooms to give itself to the worm. The worm comes, but it is an incident, part of the payment for life, and forgotten at the doors of Resurrection. Christ is no more a sacrifice than any one of us, born into a dangerous world. He presented Himself as an example. That we have made of him an exception is the great fault of the faith I call my own. By the example of Christ we are made free; by his Church we are enslaved to sin it has, for the most part, imagined. There are sins and there are sinful men and sinful impulses in good men, but they are irrelevant to the Mysteries at both ends. God does not come because of them, nor will he leave anybody marooned in time to punish them. The Judge is a fable to justify the wicked judges of the earth. The Babe and the Risen One are truth, and one of them is born this night.
December 22, 2009

Thaw continues. Most of the city has clawed its way out of the drifts and is back in business.

Went to the Y to give blood, and was tossed out by the question, “Have you had sex with a man since 1977?” I asked the technician with the gold-furred, heroic forearms, “Who hasn’t?” and he laughed. Then I asked, “Do they ask that question of women?” He shrugged and said. “No.” I think it is possible to be recklessly cautious. In any event, all my blood is yet my own.

Walked into the Woodfin ABC store at exactly the right time, and took the right bottle (Bushmill’s Black Bush) off the shelf, and ended up getting about $60 worth of free liquor from the distributor who happened to be standing there with an armload of coupons, samples, two-for-ones, discontinued items, rebates, freebies. Christmas.
December 21, 2009

Tried moments ago to move my car on the ice. It didn’t budge. Not an inch. It didn’t even bother to spin its wheels. Must be some sort of Prius thing not to try too hard. I was frantic to keep a date with J, but when I called to make my excuses, he was asleep, so nothing was lost.

Moments ago finished End Time. By my calculation The Falls of the Wyona, End Time, Earthly Power, The Stolen Child, and Michael Furey are all products of 2009, among major pieces. God knows how many poems, occasional pieces. Those Brilliant Creatures, Coyote, Speaking of Merle Oberon, Gatwick and probably others among one-acts. Some guy (whose blog also appears in Hindi) blogs that he read The Handsomest Man in the World. I wonder how?

The dark solstice. Moon a bent blade in flat blue.

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 20, 2009

Light snow drifting through black air. The land is, paradoxically, darker now that the city lights are back on. I will not know until full light if I can move my car. My complaints about the power being off were, of course, selfish. The radio says this morning that 37,000 in Buncombe County alone are without power, and some may not have it until Wednesday.

The “Arbeit macht Frei” sign has been stolen from Auschwitz. One can only imagine the motive.

A feeder and an open platter of seeds have made my porch a resort of winter birds: finches and three kinds of sparrows, juncos, wrens, cardinals. The male towhee comes, but I have not seen the female in a while, and that worries me. All their little bodies are puffed and round with insulating feathers. A wren got his foot stuck in the feeder. I got to hold him in my hand for a moment, whole the other hand bend the metal enough for him to extract his foot. I expected him to peck me, but he didn’t. As far as mass, he was practically nothing, but such heat and vitality in the little ball of fluff.

Afternoon. I was caught in a round of drowsiness followed by sleep, followed by drowsiness, a sort of cabin fever brought on by a mere two days of entrapment by the snow. So I rose up and dug out DJ’s car, and my own, and tried to move mine, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if Caroline’s burly four-wheel-drive-driving male relatives had not been there to rescue me. Seeing that I couldn’t get back up the alley once I was down it, I parked the Prius on Caroline’s pavement and took out on foot, to the grocery and the video store and Mountain Java. Ice water applied to the toes every few feet is a marvelous quickener, and now am I wide awake and ready for what comes. The nap dreams were interesting, though. I was employed by Dick Hueber, the owner of Westcott Cordial long ago, to sell concessions at a gigantic concrete amphitheater. Not only was I in charge of concessions, but of a large tank of beautiful tropical fish.
December 19, 2009

The snowfall remained gentle, but quite thick, and by eight twenty last night the power was off for the duration. It came back on about twenty minutes ago. Twelve hours. I slept as much as the intervening time as I could, rolled up in the comforter with the cats about me and candles flickering at strategic points in the house. I was morose and fatalistic. I do not handle such things well. The house is incredibly, disturbingly still without its hum of electronics. Rose long before dawn–after three it was-- put on all the clothing I thought I’d need, and headed out into the night. It was very beautiful, the streets aglow with the natural radiance of the snow, and absolutely, wondrously silent. Part of the silence was the recognition that no utility crews were at work, nor would they be until I saw them drive past me up Merrimon at about 8 this morning. Through the night the air had been filled periodically with green flashes, which one assumed were transformers here and there expiring in fire. I knocked the snow off my trees with a broom, then headed out to see if anything or anybody was astir. My swollen legs make boots impossible, so I must slog through all depths of snow and slush in my sneakers. Amazing how quickly freezing water warms up once it’s inside the shoe. The houses east of Merrimon had power, Christmas trees flickering insolently in windows. I walked from Mountain Java to the Shell Station at the expressway bridge looking for coffee, and there was none. Met figures moving like I was through the night street, figures trying to dig out their cars or assess the extent of the blackout or looking for sustenance, like refugees after some whitening holocaust. Two guys did a triple donut on Merrimon and then called to me “The Interstates are closed! We just made it in from Tennessee.” Dawn–visible mostly in the south as the east was clouded over-- came in delicate pinks and lavenders, like a great wall of spring flowers. I have shoveled DJ’s walk until my belly aches. I am going to sit a moment in the rooms where the heat’s turned up to high.
December 18, 2009

Warmish, heavy snow falling on the world. The neighborhood crows fly through it as though deliberately creating Zen paintings.

Last night’s Cantaria concert was a crowd pleaser (and the crowd was about all All Souls could hold) whatever was going on musically. I think my Christmas poem was received well. Barry, who’s been engaged in reading TS Eliot, as part of his program to read something from all the Nobel Prize winners, said, “At least I understood that.” We went to the Usual afterwards, where Kathy provided her now customary lavish free repast, from which we rose groaning and reeling.

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 17, 2009

Sitting in my tux, waiting to go sing the Cantaria Christmas concert. The evening has been kidnaped by people with deep belief in funny hats and costumes, and I wearily hang them by the door so I don’t, by will or accident, forget. I’ll be reading a new Christmas poem, which will no doubt seem to some as the Grinch dolls and purple Christmas trees do to me. It is possible that we are not practiced enough this time to let the music stand by itself. Two hours from now, we’ll know.

Phone call from Marco, after I suppose at least a year. Joyful. He says we’ll meet, but whether we will or not, it was good hearing the sound of his voice. His brief account of the past year was mostly disaster. He has the worst luck--

Met with Marty for the last time yesterday. Off to Rochester in the dead of winter to re-enter a life he left behind. Why, I don’t know, but I wish him well. It was a brief, rewarding friendship.

Strange day. I was the kind of sick where nothing really hurts, but you can barely rise up out of bed. I slept much of it away, bit worked the rest of the time on a frozen play which had suddenly thawed.

A Christmas Poem

A Christmas Poem

Maybe they shouldn’t have asked for a Christmas poem from me,
unless what they wanted was some ditty, knowing and ironic,
on the theme of “disappointment,” or some discourse on the
unbridgeable gulf between reality and desire. My mama’s creche
is in some box in the closet, under some other box with all the
streamers and bulbs and precious baby animals which hung
upon I’ve lost count now of how many trees.
I swear to God, somewhere in tissue is the first candy cane
my chubby baby fingers hung on a low-hanging branch,
saved and preserved, I suppose, against the awful
mutability of the world, shattered, inedible, hardened and embittered
wherever it was soft and sweet before, held together
by packaging, exactly like the rest of us.

I don’t put a tree up
anymore. I say it’s because of the cats, because I travel so much.
It’s really because I sit in the twinkling light of it and sob,
and I don’t know why.

If you want THAT kind of poem, I’m your man. Believe me,
I know what people mean when they say that Christmas is
the worst time of year, what with the stores playing fifteen carols
we hate for every one we kind of can endure, what with
plastic poinsettias in aisles at Halloween and the churches
hoping for a windfall from parishioners who come with
liquid checkbook and guilty heart on Christmas Eve,
baby Jesus freezing on the porch amid the unresponsive animals,
the likes of us going about with hands jammed in our pockets
and eyes glued down against the panhandlers and well wishers
whom we would with equal fervor strike from our sight above the dirty snow.

If that’s what you want to hear, all right.
Or that the guns of war have not ceased tonight, and will not,
Prince of Peace or no. The Little Match Girl will die in the cold
and Tiny Tim will be blocked by his HMO from getting the operation.

When I set up a creche of my own someday,
the Child will have as his attendants rhino and buffalo
whuffing in the stalls, the rafters heavy with tiger and panther,
their lantern eyes bright in the firelight.
The time is done
when shepherds could come out of the fields
and leave their sheep alone even for an hour.
Whatever is encamped in the nearby hills
you don’t want to know about.
Sirens wail. Sad boys stand guard with rifles loaded.

I will remember Herod’s children tonight,
the Innocents that the world was not content
to slaughter only once.
I will remember Matthew Shepard crucified
under the plate-sized western stars.
I will remember the armed children with their sorrows,
boys and girls led astray to a country from which
there is no road back.

I will remember wild souls, bewildered, raging in the broken streets,
to whom no moderating angel came.
I will remember those sleeping their Christmas sleep,
inches from where shadows cross at midnight,
white teeth, white blades glittering.
I will, finally, aim my song at those battalions in the middle of the air,
the choiring angels who seem so silly at a time like this,
their good news quaint with many thoughtless repetitions,
their hosannas so far off
we no longer remember how terrible they were,
their listeners, as the text says, sore afraid: those beings
blazing in the midnight air, wings unfurled
like hawks above the plain,
covering as the falcon covers, sharp, mysterious.
I will stand tonight on the front lawn. I will whisper, O,
Come again. Come Down. Hover and cry out. Come to me.
I promise to be sore afraid.
I promise to drop whatever I am doing and find the star you mean,
and follow it. I will leave the lights on. I will leave the doors unlocked.

And then I will keep such silence. Listening.

Come into my garden
The Christ Child said to me,
Here is the lily for what’s past,
the rose for what’s to be.

Here is the emerald mound
where love lies till the day
all sleeping souls must rise and do
what the waking trumpets say.

Here is the sapphire pool
from which the laughing river ran
all through Paradise, and by
the melancholy carnivals of man.

For every poison on the earth
here grows the remedy,
For every cross and arrow shaft,
a purple-flowered tree.

Here I will croon your sleep awhile,
then teach you how to make
a firebrand for the warfare’s,
a gold bird for the music’s, sake.

Sleep my child while I’m a child
and all wonder yet may be.
Dream of the morning, dream of the light.
My darling, dream of me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 14, 2009

Oddly bright at 4 AM, with the city lights diffused by thick mist. Every detail of my yard is visible and obscure at once.

So, Mr Treadway is indeed a scam artist. He was the one who robbed all of us at church, and kept my wallet to see how far he could take the grift. The answer is, considerably far. Nor is that his name. When he called to say his daughter had died this morning, I commiserated, but when he began whining that he would never be able to pay for the funeral, I finally smelled the rat. No one named Scott Treadway is registered at the Howard Johnson’s. No one named Treadway died at the hospital, adoring indigent rednecks gathered round. There were several tells which I ignored, in the name of human trust. One was that when I offered to drive him to the hospital to see his daughter, he didn’t seem interested. I knew. I just wanted the world to be superior to my suspicions. It isn’t.

Brilliant afternoon, spent at Warren Wilson revising the FOL by-laws. Sweet children in the sweet brief sun.

Cecilia Bartoli on the CD.
December 12, 2009

I went, after long absence, to the studio, where there was a sort of flea market. Vendors had set up tables and were selling soaps and pottery and tarot readings. I had gone to work, so it was a little annoying, but I warmed to it, and ate the vendors’ pot luck and bought a pretty green goblet from a blond dredlocked Warren Wilson boy, from which I am drinking right now. One of the visitors bought a painting right off my wall, Christ in the Wilderness, which he seemed to love. I asked what I had lost in my wallet, and he thought it was a deal. A former student walked in with four lovely children. Marty came in dressed in black. I spent most of the time with Richmond, who brought his work upstairs to be with me. He is the handsomest man I know. That he should be kind and thoughtful at the same time is almost too much. I had such pleasure in his company that I had to remind myself of the rest of it when I sat down to write. The whole day was, now that I think of it, social, convivial, rewarding. Got some canvases prepared, but did no actual work. Came home numbed with the cold of the cold studio.

Yesterday the phone rang and it was a man named Scott Treadway, who said he had found my wallet in the New Morning parking lot. I had replaced everything by then, so I almost said “forget about it,” but he told me what effort he had gone through to find me, so I thought that, at least, should be rewarded by my coming to get it. Treadway grew up in Marion, but lives now in Cincinnati, where he works at a country club. He and his wife are separated, and she moved back down here. He is in town because his daughter is in Memorial Mission Hospital. “Oh, how is she doing?” says I. “Not so good,”says he. The fact is, she is dying from congenital heart disease, at the age of eight, and Scott is holding off taking her from life support until he can get his mama and little sister to Asheville to see her before she dies. We met at Hardee’s It did cross my mind that he had been the one who took the wallet, and was adding daring to larceny by returning it face to face. How does one guard against superior guile? Not by becoming hard-hearted, so I decided to see it through as if no suspicion had crossed my mind. There was a 50/50 chance that his story was genuine. He said he had been starving himself to build money for his mother and sister to get here before his daughter died. “How much do you need? “ I asked. He needed $160. Sometimes it is astounding what small thing will change a life. I took a deep breath and steeled my resolve to stand apart from cynicism, We went to the bank, and though all my ID was either invalid or still coming through the mail, I managed to get out $300 and give it to him, so he could both eat and send for his family. He kept saying that everything was all right and that God would take care. When I handed him the money he said, “I guess I was right about God having it all in his hands.” Being the Instrument is a satisfying thing. I would do it every day if I were needed. I hope it was needed, if it was a scam, he went to a lot of effort for comparatively little.

The final thing to be said about this event is that I KNEW my cards, and the wallet itself, would be returned. I went, nevertheless, through the effort of replacing them. This is a triumph of prudence over faith, and I am ashamed.

In the dark dark evening, off to Waynesville to see Barbara Bates Smith in her one woman show The Christmas Letters. Steve gave me a HAMLET T-shirt.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


December 8, 2009

That my wallet has been stolen I knew as soon as I reached into the empty pocket. And stolen, on top of it, from the choir robing room at church. It’s funny how much time I used looking for it anyway, not wanting the worst to be the truth. Have been spending the time you spend after such a thing phoning banks and credit card companies and sitting in the soul-destroying DOT office waiting to get a new driver’s license. Any idiot can see the ways in which the DOT can be run more efficiently (don’t have 3 of 5 employees troop off to lunch together when the number of customers waiting has backed up beyond forty; hire a secretary; don’t have the same people answering phones as taking the license info, etc) so it seems clear that it is deliberately and intentionally agonizing, maybe to instill correct fear of state government. There was about $70 in cash in it, and the replacements fees have come to $33, so the cost inches up beyond $100. Not to mention the wallet, which I got in Limerick, and I liked. Against some things there is no protection, except mindfulness and vigilance which, in their way, subtract from the quality of life.

The cassoulet was a success, and I served it last night at first read-through of The Beautiful Johanna, which was also a success. The play is funnier than I thought it was.

All Crawford’s posters and handouts have the wrong dates. That’s $300 down the drain, except I decided to ignore it and use them anyway. The wrong dates are a week too early, which means no one will miss the show by believing them.

It crossed my mind that if I live as long as my dad, I still have thirty years ahead of me. That’s a solid portion of lifetime, a whole lifetime for the righteous few. It was a good thought, for it lead me into the mind of deriving ways of making those quite sufficient years abundant. I will be at the Y first thing in them morning, begging a new membership card because of the thieving of the last one.

Have been buying those 1950's brightly colored Pyrex nesting bowls on Ebay, as part of my program to gain back lost images of my childhood, a quest which the Internet has made almost easy. The little blue one and the big yellow one–the popcorn bowl, back in the day–have arrived. The yellow arrived from Mississippi and the box was infested with bugs.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 6, 2009

Later night than I am used to since returning from London. I finished Michael Furey, the first draft, anyway. My wallet is lost or stolen. Made the necessary phone calls today, which can yet be unmade if, against hope, it is locked in the Y safe for safekeeping, and I will find it tomorrow. I think it was stolen from the robing room at church. That would be very sad, so I have not said it to more than one or two.

I was thinking of the places where I’ve been, London, Dublin, New York, and the fact that knowing them, how their streets lie, how they look in the morning or the evening light, is a little scandalous–the scandal of particularity. Before I knew them they could be any way at all. Now, they are but the way they are. How Dame Street turns just so. The grubbiness in front of the Bank of Ireland. The ugly modern building at the end of O’Connell Bridge. All this should be better, different. It should be able to grow and change as my knowledge of them changes. Imagination should be able to make real change in the things imagined.

As I was talking on the phone (to one of the credit card operators) I was watching out the window, and a turkey vulture flew very low over the house, south to north. Maybe I’m the only person in the world who would have taken this as a very good omen.
December 5, 2009

Bought a little electric Christmas tree that sheds a blue lunar light from its clusters of bulbs. It’s not very Christmas-y, but it is wintery, and I have burned it all the night since I set it up.

Trying my first Julia Child recipe, cassoulet, for the read-through Monday night. It is stupendously complicated, yet I chose it because it was relatively uncomplicated, compared to the rest of the book. Those French peasants had time on their hands.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 4, 2009

Cardinal Javier Lazano Barragan assures the world that gays are not going to heaven. I assure the world that A) his satanic eminence has no idea who's going to heaven and not, and B) it is Cardinal Barragan who is destined for the hell of his own creation, by reason of arrogance, malice, and blasphemy, blasphemy being the assigning of one’s own hatefulness and corruption to God. When will we have done with this? Does the Catholic Church have to be pulled down stone by stone before Christ can reign? One would have been content to let it die its long-delayed death in some suffocating scarlet corner of the Vatican, but perhaps in this patience is not called for.

Read Byron on the crosstrainer.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December 3, 2009

And when I rose this morning and went to the Y, the moon was round and huge, set in a sky momentarily flawless.

It looks like I’ll be summering in Cambridge this year.

Critcher sends me the annual Christmas toy. What a sweet touch from the past!

The school day and finals and reading papers and the unfolding of Michael Furey take up almost all my energy. I can barely press the keys. I’m due to see a vampire film with friends in a few minutes. . .
December 2, 2009

Miserable weather, a sort of underwater gale.

By night, though, flotillas of cloud torn over the full moon.
December 1, 2009

The moon last night was far in the north. When it came through my bedroom window–whether it was an optical illusion or not–its light was emerald green. When I rose in the dark to go to the Y, it was dented a little, but white and tremendous.
November 30, 2009

Four in the morning. Very detailed dream. I was at a camp, a huge camp with hundreds of people in adjoining tents in long rows. There were vast common areas, like the covered pavilion at Covent Gardens. I was unfamiliar with everything in the camp, as though I had come late. Even the contents of my own tent had to be investigated with some surprise. If I had packed, I had thought of everything. I recognized nothing of my own. There was an elite group in the camp, like Order of the Arrow or Special Forces. Everyone wanted to be in it. I discovered that I was in the group, but I had no idea why, since I had spent most of my time trying to get oriented. But, there was my name, on the slowly turning silver sphere engraved with the list of the chosen. Then I went about trying to discover why I was on the list, so I could guess also what I was supposed to be doing. Was it scientific? Paramilitary? What duties were connected? I visited one of the few friends I had made, a heavy girl with glasses. On her table were laid out the fronds of ferns, which she was going to preserve and identify for a private herbarium. “Do I have to make a collection?” I was thinking, identifying ferns–real ones that I could identify now–at the end of the dream.

Began a play about Joyce’s Michael Furey. The badness of The Habit of Art mingled with the greatness of Othello to send me back to the keyboard in some fury. Yesterday I counted four projects that were trying to rush simultaneously out of the narrow portal of my time.