Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 31, 2015
A Facebook friend posted a horrible video of a child being brutally beaten by its mother. The video spoke for itself, but my friend added a comment about how it was never right and always assault to strike a child, etc. I disagreed with her in my mind, thinking of untempered brats I have known, and  remembering how we had been brutalized by our father from time to time and came out all right. But then I thought again. I can’t speak for my sister, but I’m not at all sure I “came out all right,” nor that our father’s brutality wasn’t the cause of it if I didn’t. I‘ve never struck anybody, so the purely social part of the equation balances. On a few occasions I’ve come very close, but deep-seated aversion kept me from it. I’m counting that as good. I have, however, defended myself, and am able at that. The problem is that when I think of my father, in those first seconds of remembrance before I am able to guide my thoughts, I think of the times he struck me or my sister (did he strike mother? Not in front of us), and of the thought that went through my head each time when I was big enough to make good on it: wondering whether I should fight back and knock him to the ground, as I knew I could, and end the reign of terror. Each time I hesitated, not because I was afraid of him, but because I couldn’t anticipate how the world would change in the moment after. I actually pitied him a little, for his brutality was never associated with correction or passion or drunkenness or the things you read of in novels, but always with our “getting smart,” with our contradicting him or failing to obey or to act in a way that was, he imagined, respectful. Someone should have told him that was the thing most counterproductive to respect. I must force myself past that ugly remembrance to get to any other memory, happy or dull. One time in particular: a high school boy by then, I was standing at the head of the basement stairs and had said, I suppose, something that irritated him. He came wheeling from behind the refrigerator and punched me in the face. I thought, “I can pull you down the basement steps and make sure you never walk again.” But I didn’t. The cold, cruel thing is that the moment keeps boiling up in my mind because something inside me is not sure I made the right choice. Into death he took the idea that he was an excellent father. In fairness, sometimes he was. Writing those words made me think of a time when I had pneumonia, and he was told to fill the bathroom with steam and make me sit in it, to clear my lungs. He sat with me, holding me from behind on the toilet seat. I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4, but I remember distinctly, clearly, indelibly his kindness and solicitude at that moment, the touch that almost never came unless it was a fist, and my wondering if I had two fathers, one of whom I had never seen before, who was kind and sweet and cared for me, and held me in the steam while I got better, who now had come to take the place of the other one, and all would be beautiful forever.

In Z’s waiting room a radiant 4 or 5 year old moved over beside me to show me the games he was playing on his father’s I-pad. His social skills were perfect, confiding and gracious, making sure I understood what was going on with the Roadrunner and the Monster Trucks. We had our time together, then his father came out of his appointment and beheld us, shoulder to shoulder, peering into the screen. Dad’s face was perfectly torn between panic and the desire not to panic lest his son be warped in some way by it. I decided not to help him. In other ages I would have been thanked for keeping his son–whom he had left alone–amused and safe. I am not sure we have the right to all our paranoia.

Sleeping without medication now, but there are still spasms of coughing during which I must lean against something to keep from falling down.

Ordered giant horsetails. In one sentence the lady told me they wouldn’t be hardy in my area and that I should not put them directly in the ground lest they take over everything.

Friday, January 30, 2015

January 30, 2015

Woke grumpy. Tired of coughing, of the stuffy head, of the bad dragging on and the imagined good delaying. Plenty to do in the small hours of the morning, little will, today, to do it. Early morning BBC droning on about fridges in India.
Spoke too soon, tired of Neil Gaiman.
Go back to bed and start again?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January 29, 2015

Going on a liquid fast to address multiple digestive problems, Give the system time to reboot.

Trembling day after day with a kind of controllable mania.

Reading Neil Gaiman, one of the few contemporary fiction writers I can read for pleasure, it turns out.

S visits once since the New Year. Everything he does is clean and right. To leave then behind and move forward into now is clean and right.

My sister writes that when my uncle was dying he woke up and said, “I saw Marion.” Sobbed for a time.

The yard is a speckle of pale purple crocus, the first fruits of my fall plantings.

Let me find the treasure that is hidden.

Let me go in dark places unharmed.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January 28, 2015

Bitter cold, hard stars low in the sky. I was on my way to the gym but the bitterness turned me back. Later.

Instant coffee with evaporated milk, what I had for my mornings all through graduate school. I liked it. Why did I abandon it?

Class on The Duchess of Malfi, that cruel, brilliant diamond of a play. On that day I thought it was the single greatest play ever written, and the class agreed with me. I had them wrong on the first day. They are engaged 95%. One boy pounded his desk and thanked me for saying things like, “This is the greatest thing in the world.” I’m a better teacher now than ever before. I have not yet thought of retirement. When do I get tired and forgetful?


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 27, 2015

Sidney posts photos of Broadway and 85th buried under snow. Dark and dry here, though plenty cold enough.

Woke an hour into sleep with tremendous cramps, leg and chest. Crashed through the house like a screaming cripple, unable to stand up, unable to breathe properly, trying to get to a water source. Then it was over. I react to hiccoughs and cramps with blind rage, thinking of them as wholly gratuitous. But I don’t listen to my body, to know if it is thirsty or tired.

Thoughts would not come into my head yesterday.

Judging new plays and productions for AABF. One of our number likes anything that’s by or about women, regardless of actual quality. At the last meeting she suggested that our contest be open only to women, and not to men. I said. “No.” Later on she asked me, with what I thought was sincerity, “why?” She’s maybe just anxious that women get their fair share, with “fair share” having nothing to do with present achievement. If we get a hundred submissions from men and thirty from women– though we specifically solicit on women’s and lesbians’ noticeboards–she assumes it’s because we’ve discriminated in some ultra-subtle way. It never crosses her mind that but thirty women felt like submitting. If we have ten prizes to give, six should be to women, five because they’re half the race, the extra one to make up for evil treatment throughout the centuries.

Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015

Complete rewrite of See Where Capella with Her Golden Kids. Someone might actually want to do it now. I opened it looking for something else, but clearly its moment had come.

Taking care of DJ’s fish I returned to 62. Will has replaced gutters and downspouts that I never replaced, dug trenches that I neglected to dig. His having the house it better. I think it is happier with a family in it. This house likes me as that one never did. I came to it in too bad a time, and our relationship never recovered.

Panic at receiving a new schedule for Amadeus. The old schedule was so wonderfully without conflicts that I should have suspected it from the first. The new is– undoable, but the stage manager says it’s not a problem and it will all work out. I say praise.

Monday morning with hours yet before I need to be at school. Again, praise.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 24, 2015

Strode out on the porch at 4 AM. The water was dripping and splashing in the downspouts like living things.

My time with Z was the highlight of Friday. I did practically nothing else, now that I think of it. The awful shadow of futility kept me from working, though it seems to have lifted this morning, so here I am. The things I hoped for have not come. The things I dreaded have not come.

Chit chat among my long-ago classmates reminded me that Pretty Boy Floyd had a hideout on the corner of Crystal and Income, which I passed every day of sixth grade. Very cool. He was arrested in Akron for killing a policeman. This was years before I was born, but the glamor lingered.

Friday, January 23, 2015

January 23, 2015

Winter rain.

Dream that I had discovered some descendants of Caesar, and was trying to be their agent, thinking they must have great potential for leadership. Others were trying to kill them and so we kept having to escape in a subway train without side panels. One woman in particular, who always dressed in purple, seemed to possess great potential, as a spy or as an opera singer.

Woke in the middle of this because Circe clawed my arm; I startled her somehow and she was curled against me and launched away in a panic, back claws slashing. I heard myself, half-asleep, bellowing in rage and sadness. I’d seldom felt such betrayal. Remembered it when the scratch stung again in the shower.

Discussion of “The Rape of the Lock.” I was presenting it as a mock-heroic deflating the pettiness of the leisure class, when one serious young woman raised her hand and said she hated Pope and the poem because Belinda had been objectified and violated and nobody was taking her outrage seriously. I’d never considered such a reading, and now that I have, I don’t know what response to give. How to say, “You’re exactly the sort of person that this poem ridicules”? I can’t say that, partially because I don’t think my student is wrong, exactly; rather that she illustrates the urge to make a moment judgmental and tragic, whereas Pope illustrates the urge to make it forgiving and comic, and individuals who lie at the extremes of that division will probably never understand one another. I don’t know what to say to a person who insists that everyone regard her emotions with the same sanctity and tone as she does herself. How can you insist that one laugh at–or even tolerate laughter at-- what she holds sacred? I have never been good at accepting “because that’s the way I feel” as justification for an action or a viewpoint. I have certainly never used, “because that’s the way I feel” in an argument. I would laugh myself out of the room. But is this a male or an Ohio or a personal prejudice? It does keep things from hanging up on un-investigated, too-sacred-to-discuss  personal convictions every two seconds.

Feeling better every day. Two nights now without medication.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 22, 2015

Woke with Hayden’s “The Heaven’s Are Telling” in my ears. Pretty great.

Innocent hind end of a raccoon disappearing under the truck as I stuck my head out the door before dawn.

T at choir rehearsal, taking everything in dignified and practical stride.

Funny handsome boys with bedhead at the Woodfin Y.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 21, 2015

Morning, afternoon, and evening TV news led off with pictures of Ted’s house going up in flames. It was not a polite little kitchen fire, but engulfed the house and shot many feet above the roof. Horrified neighbors were interviewed. Sharp memories of the house and the wonderful things Ted had collected through the years, pianos and silver and glassware and the art of his dead lover. A horrible thing. I think his things were more than usually precious to him.

The Spanish Tragedy in drama class. You forget how good those things are in the forty years between readings. An online discussion made my buy on Ebay the Alice & Jerry books by which I learned to read. They were still present in my mind, and didn’t seem foreign at all. The first story I ever read by myself was about David and his three pairs of shoes and their various mishaps. It must have affected me in some way. I remember wondering if David was the character in all the books in my classmates’ hands, or if each one had a story with someone with his or her name as hero.

Anger before sleep at the iron bars, at the changelessness of all unbearable things.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 20, 2015

Amazing dreams, which continued even after I got up to go to the bathroom and lay down again. I was supposed to read the scripture at church, but nobody had given me a copy of it, and nobody had a bible, and nobody could find it, so finally the stylish girl who married Ted Esker in high school–Joyce Cerneva–how did I remember that?-- gave me a sheet of paper on which was a cryptic message, and not scripture at all. It was a single line of a piece meant to explain how I had lost all I lost (I don’t remember what all that was) and most especially why Ellen abandoned me. Ellen was waiting for me in the street to confirm that the information I needed would be mine if I found the rest of the passage. She seemed angry that I asked her directly what the matter was rather than trying to find the mysterious excerpt. Off I went. The final adventure (some has faded since waking) was at a huge open air theater, where a sort of gay Native American celebration was going on. People did Eagle Dances and made magic potions, and we had sing-alongs, and I encouraged the man next to me in his hard-to-explain now visual experiments, and on a wall where I had gone to find a bathroom (the first indication that I needed to do that in real life) I found the passage. It did, indeed, answer my questions. I don’t remember what it said now, but the number 24 was extremely important, and was the last revelation or the last clue. When I started quoting it to people, they realized it was the answer to their perplexities as well.

My dreams are oddly rich in lesbians.

Made pea soup for invalid J and overworked L. I didn’t taste it. Hope it wasn’t nasty.

January 19, 2015

Susan B’s birthday. We used to talk of going to one of my plays in a limousine, but each time we could have, she didn’t respond to my message.

Clement day, wherein I dedicated my powers to painting, and the results delighted me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 18, 2015

Birthday party for Kyle downtown. Lovely time. Returned and was no sooner out of DJ’s car when I vomited $80 worth of food and drink onto the oak leaves. Incontinence punishes itself. Even as I completed doing that, J drove up. He wondered what I was doing over in the shadows. We spent the night without knowing at first we were going to do so. He showered before coming to bed, and was shivering when he lay down.

Crocus blooms in my yard, white starbursts streaked with purple.

T sends a message to me in his message Sunday, which I hear and honor.

Cough through Cantaria rehearsal.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

January 17, 2015

Revised Bathory and the sun is not yet up.

Closed on this house one year ago today.

Went to the studio. First I had to put it back into order after another user (MY order: he’d actually left it just fine.) Then I had to gag back my breakfast (if I’d had one) sweeping stink bugs and spider webs and substantial live spiders off canvases I wanted to work on. Worried that there was too much vermin and too much dust for a serious studio. Finally got to painting, and I was happy. Revised two. Began one.  Repaired one that the borrower had accidentally damaged. The morning flew. I was happy. Ate crackers and cheese until the sky turned a color that is the shadow of aqua, as it is now.

Friday, January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015

Nearly nine hours of sleep. I am getting over this. . . ague, whatever it is, so perhaps I need it, but it is also an indulgence, me waving about in vast and complicated oceans of dreams. Wednesday night ended in my showing Dick Salzer my new house, which was this one at the front but ended in a gigantic space like a mall, in which there was a camera shop, where we were pricing expensive lenses. Just before waking this AM it was a show business theme, but I have forgotten what. Excellent classes yesterday, none today, so that will go unblemished for a time.
Frantic to publish something.
Frantic for t to be spring and I able again to address my garden.
Well, not actually frantic, but something to spark my energy for the weekend.

January 15, 2015

I was wrong about the drama class Today they were committed, engaged, magnificent. Zaju and Noh. New worlds open. I began the class by telling them that I had learned something new, and we were in an exploration together. They were wonderful.

Unexpected crisis of conscience. The church reacts to an adult choir member’s Facebooking mash notes to a high school girl by insisting we all must sign pledges not to commit morally repugnant acts. One’s never having committed such acts, nor showing no signs of wanting to, will not be enough. Aside from being offensive, it’s ludicrous on the face, like suffering a robbery and then making everyone who did NOT rob you sign a document against robbery. Deep forgetfulness of the church’s long, sad history with mandatory official documents. As appalled by abuse as anyone else, I should just sign the damn thing and be done, but I can’t stop weighing the relative weight of the wrongs. Hysterical enforced unanimity has caused far more grief in this world than inappropriate Facebook messages. I did protest, and I was told that Church has decided what it has decided, and if I don’t like it, there’s the door. That, of course, is a very good sign. . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January 14, 2015

Spent the afternoon with S. He showed me the beautiful places he and his mother found in France this summer. He is far more cosmopolitan and knowing than I, as well as 40 years younger. It is a gift to make him laugh. I realize I’m woefully deficient in the skills associated with “hanging out. “ I always look for the purpose of a meeting. That someone might just want to be with me is way down the list of things I think of.

I can tell now that the Lit class will be fast and joyful, the drama class like a root canal. Why do some students come resistant?
The catarrh seems to be ebbing, taking its own sweet time in doing so. Maybe part of the reason the drama class was so difficult is that I coughed  through it.
One thing I cannot think about is how much time I’ve spent on ultimately unprofitable relationships. Even when you don’t know exactly what I hoped for, you  know eventually when the right thing has not happened.
You can’t count the expenditure or you’d go mad. I would, however, like SOMETHING to happen for which I don’t have to be stoical or make excuses. I look back into personal history, futilely trying to find one moment in which I could not have been absurd or crude or exhausting, in which I must somehow have been wonderful. Can’t be sure of a single one. You’d think giving people a wad of money would be sure-fire, but what if they’re folding the check into their pocket thinking, “You ass-hole.”
Dark and cold outside. Magnificent, heroic dreams.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January 13, 2015

Psalm 29 lifted me up at church Sunday, and for a while the Voice divided the flames. I was joyful. Inside me I was David dancing before the lord. Zach’s daughter was baptized.    

First day of class went well. Gave a bit of the Humanities lecture (the boy I sat down beside after said “You did very well.”) and met the senior seminar, but all the syllabi, all the busywork is done.
Epic dreams through the night, I think because this cough has exhausted me and I retire early. The fullness of dream life is always an astonishment to me. It is not made of bits and pieces of waking life, but is its own country.

All your temples are crying "Glory!"

Sunday, January 11, 2015

January 11, 2015

Sang and read for the funeral of an old time parishioner, nearing a century old, accomplished and beloved, one of those men with a huge family and many friends, who fill the church for his memorial, whose sons tell rambling reminiscences the very pointlessness of which testify to the loss. We all think we are going to be that man.

Lupe gave me a beautiful photograph for the use of my studio. Even the wreck of a studio looks good in it.

Brief stop at T’s birthday football watching. Delivered the crack-of-dawn cupcakes. Though I like his sister-in-law, the rest of his friends are inaccessible (to me). Six men staring at a football game on TV while six women gossip in the kitchen– I know it’s America, but it’s not me.    

Full of some emotion about school’s starting tomorrow. It’s not dread, so I’ll assume it’s something wonderful.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

January 10, 2015

Rose early and baked, ostensibly for Tom’s party, but also because I wanted to, and had the materials at hand.

Went to the studio for a gift for Mark on his birthday, found it in shambles. Another flood? I’m not even going to ask. I think not, though, for paintings were removed from the wall, where flood was not likely to affect them. Turned on the heaters to prepare for my return.

Went to Mark’s birthday party in a dive down on Fairview, stayed long enough for Cantaria to sing, and for everybody to reveal the surprise. The Cantaria tenors sounded fine; the basses were not to be heard.  I gave Mark my painting of Pan dancing for the lion.

After our session, Z sang me a song of friendship the likes of which I may not have heard before, but certainly not in a long time. It was touching and beautiful, and of course I had to make a joke at the end of it, but the sweetness stands on both sides. I feel the same about him, but would never have said it, not first, anyway, my history being one of having such declarations fall like lead. But my blessing on the world for that, wherever it leads.

Friday, January 9, 2015

January 9, 2015

Dreams now vanished in detail, but they were all about discerning, between two things or individuals that seemed very much alike, which was evil and which was good.

Sudden sharp memory of first grade. I get “poor” written on a homework paper, which I, through careful manipulation of a pen, change convincingly to “good.” Father and I are in Indian Guides at the time, and he takes the paper to the meeting to brag on me. The other fathers show him where I have altered the actual text. The result of that was–nothing. Did he admire my ingenuity? Was he too mortified to say or do anything? Had he recognized the caper from the first, and decided to humiliate me in public? Oddly, if I rightly remember the moment, now more than 50 years in the past, I felt nothing but small pride that cleverness had carried me that far. I never took it as a judgment on me, assuming “poor” reflected Mrs Rock’s faults more than my own.
    I had great teachers. Impossible to test what difference that made, but I assume it was tremendous.

Slept last night under a comforter that Dale Allemand knitted for me. The idea of a man in new Orleans knitting a comforter struck me funny then. I don’t know whether AIDS or leukemia took him first. The ardor on that first night--

January 8, 2015

Brilliant hard moon in the western windows. Dreadful cold last night; the only habitable place in the upstairs study is within reaching distance of the ceramic heater.  The house is snake-shaped, and only the center of it is warm– or else the rest is warm and the center is an inferno.
Agitation of cleaning day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January 7, 2015

L hears me wheezing on the table and, after hearing of my soul-coughing, diagnoses me with pneumonia. He’s probably right.

Redemptive dreams through the night. Sons were afflicted with some madness, and the medical world despaired of treatment, but their fathers gathered them and each other and founded communes– perhaps I should say monasteries–where father and son lived together and helped each other and slept in each other’s arms, and miraculous cures came to them all, and they were not only healthily, but sanctified in ways that cannot be expressed outside of the dream. I had something to do with this– maybe something from my writing inspired them–and when I came to visit I was admitted without the password. I’d take a couple of them to lunch in town, and they would be strong and happy as gods. I think I was a sort of reporter or medical examiner– or maybe the rhapsode, which is what I am.

Went to the Epiphany Pageant and Burning of the Greens at All Souls last night. It probably wasn’t meant for me, and I felt a little like an intruder, but there were corners for me to creep into. The lawn was covered with boys tossing the football and smaller kids racing around, and I thought that was paradise. The Epiphany pageant was what other places call a Christmas Pageant–we are far too stringent and self-delighted on that point–and there were Magi and angels and what not in excellent costumes. Most of the room was parents with their cell phones out recording what couldn’t quite happen, because of their recording, but the world is at it as. The cute cup ranneth over. Then Todd set fire to a Christmas tree in the yard, and it burned with frightening vigor. A forest fire must be hell indeed.

Felt posthumous yesterday. Feeling redeemed this morning, as though I had just arisen from one of those healing communes– which, by the power of dream, perhaps I have.

A yellow pansy, seeded from the yellow pansies of the summer, is blooming in the flowerbox.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


January 6, 2015

Epiphany Christmas is over. I took down the tree and the decorations.

Constant rumble of machinery, the constant disturbance as the remarkably slow process of installing sidewalks continues. I may be the only person on the street who never bitched about not having sidewalks. Yesterday drained me of all must everything that belongs to a living being except the brute fact of life.

Went to see The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turning, and found it unexpectedly disturbing. Dear God, one must pray, let nothing important depend on me.

Man on the radio, BBC I think, saying, “It’s a golden age of surveillance.” I regret the sound of excitement in his voice.

Offer of cash for 62 Lakeshore. I need it. I want it. Only loyalty to an agreement– unsigned, unofficial, unnoted except for the mind, not even a handshake, as I recall– keeps me from snapping it up. I know the same courtesy would not be afforded me if things were reversed. My folly has benefited many others. I suppose that’s a form of virtue.

A woman drags her 2 year old and a baby in a carrier into the cafe. She says to the little boy, "You can have anything you want."
"I want that, mama."
"Oh, no, that's not good for you."
"OK, mama, that."
"I wish you would pick something with not so much sugar."
"I want that."
"No..  no. . ."
"Can I have that?"
" No, sweetie, that's just not a good choice."
"What CAN I have?"
"Sweetheart, you can have anything you want--"

The arctic rolling across the lakes and the plains toward us.

Monday, January 5, 2015

January 5, 2015

Work continues on the Lakeshore sidewalks. One of the guys is posted by my driveway with a SLOW/STOP sign for traffic, and it is bitterly cold, and the wind is a gale. I wish I had a booth there to shield him. I don’t even have coffee to make him hot coffee. None of the men has work strenuous enough to keep them warm on a day like today.

Purposed to take down the Christmas tree, but was struck by such a wave of– well, I have to call it grief– that I decide to put it off until Epiphany. What if I take down the tree and Santa finally comes? How will he find me? I’m an old man weeping over a Christmas tree. It’s pathetic. But it is also so keen and real I cannot quite explain it.

Rehearsal last night good– new faces, new voices, one a recent high school graduate, which pulls down our average age about 40 points.

D changes the date of The Mermaid, bless him.

The day has turned brilliant, if still murdering cold.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 4, 2015

Deep rain on the roof. Odd feeling– as though I were out of breath, though I’m not actually out of breath, as though I were tired, but I’m not actually tired. I thought I was ill yesterday, but I had forgotten the Nyquil the night before, which always makes me draggy and sleepy the next day. Tremendous amount of writing, which still unfolds before me without a visible breach of imagination approaching. I have written more and published less than anyone in history. Checked to see that Amadeus conflicts with The Mermaid in Carrboro, of course.

Near the end of Christmas--

January 3, 2015

An organization sponsoring “artistic” responses to all the chapters of the bible had given me Philemon.  What a thankless assignment. I suppose it’s in the bible only because nobody challenges its authenticity. Never heard a morning scripture read from it– and what would you read? I know you and this guy don’t get along, and yes, he’s a bit of an ass, but give him another chance for my sake. I could order you to, so don’t make me. They first promised me Lamentations.

Friday, January 2, 2015

January 2, 2015

I’m walking the streets of Black Mountain and a woman says to me, “Why, you’re Santa Claus’s brother.”

Me: “What makes you think I’m not the man himself?”
Her: “Because I met the REAL Santa last year.”
I turn to her. She’s seventy if she’s a day.
Bought a reminiscence of Tennyson by Hallam Tennyson, the collected poems of Oliver St. John Gogarty, and a biography of Tennessee Williams in the second-hand store.
Late Christmas greetings sent to Germany, Kansas, Turkey.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


January 1, 2015

Dinner with DJ and S and T at J and L’s. They played a boring gay movie, which allowed me to sleep on the couch until 11:30, wake just in time to celebrate. Left a half-full glass of prosecco on the coffee table. That is the last meaningful gesture of the last year, or the first of this one. Fireworks downtown, a big party across the street where there used to be big parties when all the theater people lived there. Walked around my property by first light. How clear, I kept thinking, how clear!