PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1979 - JUNE
Saturday 2 June, Peñiscula
My weakness shines through now, these days alone. I am incapable, it seems, of travel, starting fresh in every place, new efforts, new faces. I feel a sort of lethargy, a meandering from place to place. I resort to words. To writing, trying to create. There's nothing solid of course. I am still preambling my life away. I think about what work I should do. All this hesitation and half a year has gone by, unestablished, disestablished. No steeplechase begun. Decidedly alone. I am here or there. Madrid, Barcelona, Peñiscula. It's not much fun. I dream on trains of dreams I've had: in Chile, in New Zealand, in Greece; and of littler dreams: gardens, villages, beaches, encounters and falling in love. But there's not much to keep me revelling in the present. Even Elliot's 'Dry Salvages' doesn't help me keep things relevant. By the sea. So what? The sun is out. So what etc. etc? I trail from one bar to another, a little concerned about where I might sleep tonight. I watch the waves lap over an old tyre, the fishermen each with half a dozen rods stuck in the rocks, waiting for a bell to ring when something bites. I hop through the castle's protected walls, and skip through the tiny streets spilling over with knick-knacks of many colours for the tourist to buy. I hope to meet someone I might know, but perhaps I try too hard.
Sunday 3 June, Peñiscula
How important should I rate statisticians in this world. Is their function absolutely necessary. What would happen if they all died tomorrow of some disease related to an overdose of numbers. Would pay cheques not be delivered, forecasts not be delivered, opinion polls crack up? Would their wives sob? Would anybody ever know that there were no statisticians left in the world? I met some this morning, and they seemed little men (but not so little as me) full of pride. They were entwined in their own world and seemingly unaware of any other world. They talked of a conference in Valencia where all the world's top statisticians had gathered; and they talked of how they fought and drunk and played the fool. They reminded my of the doctors on Stewart Island, New Zealand, with whom I got drunk and played fool.
In Bracelona. A stench I can't describe fills the air. I wait only to see if Rosa will come. Hundreds of young people are running in the street and bouncing locked cars to block the passage behind them. In the distance, I can see dozens of police with machine guns and tear bombs. I'm not sure if I should run or not. I slide up a side street and ask a girl what is happening: 'Habia una demonstracion anti-nuclear and assassinaron a una chica.' There was an anti-nuclear demonstration, and they killed a girl. Goose pimples cover my body. I am cold and transported back to Argentina. Young and foolish youth, completely unaware of anything but their cause and the seeming injustice of it all. I cannot stand the stench. I must leave. Rosa doesn't come. And Nuria doesn't come either, so I have to break into her flat to get my cases.
4 June, Barcelona Airport
I haven't slept in a bed for ten days. I can't even remember the name of the only person I said goodbye to in Barcelona. Yesterday I was driving south along the coast of Spain. Last night I slept on a beach that was as fine as a peach.
THE SILENT COMRADE
What was prepared to be my silent comrade's arms
Death of a huntsman, distant wintered there, wooded there
Was still the final pain to come, and come like that
Withered after all. Clumsy friend who knew his part.
Trifling dazzle of the encounter, countered by a passionate embrace
Rewarded in a half moon smile, gracious gesture of the day
And still he dared to dance, to dance in brave detail
With liquid knowledge of the past thrown lightly on the floor
And the pattern of his feet marking out some esoteric trail
Kiss me quickly
Gingerly on your toes
Manic man you've chequered out of war this time round
Your comfort and my pleasure bridled on a stringent rigid path
Secure in bondage tested, structured, overdrawn and proud
And now we come, now we come from behind with wrath
Full moon tides of ire revealed each by each in secret sequence
Pretence of death, dark illness resurgent plague as if on heat
The midnight scorn, re-issuing of issues issued long before
The puckered snarl brimming on the edge of spit
And the frothing of words, ideals sucked under and into the foam
Paint red your face
Before it flows by there
7 June, Downton
My eyes are now settled in a country landscape to work, to eat, to sleep, to walk, to read, to write.
This is the country house of Lady O. It is decorated in dull pastel colours and white. Gadgets abound, as do books on vegetarian cooking. The garden is looked after by Bel and Valerie who live in a cottage by the side of the back entrance of the house. Bel is the more introverted, timid. She is pretty with short cut ginger hair and freckles to match. She is given to hysterical giggling. Valerie is shorter, less naturally attractive, but more dominating and less dedicated to horticulture. She is prone to tiredness and moods, and is the more changeable. They both work two days in the garden and two days at the local nursery.
I steal somebody's bag from a bar and take it to our car. I seem to leave my bag there too. There are people by the car. Later sitting in the bar I get worried about my own bag. I return to the car and see it lying on the pavement. Everything is still inside including the camera. Later I return to the car again and it is full of people. Somebody finds a bag that doesn't belong to any of us. I say I stole it. It is a canvas shoulder bag and contains a cubic box. We go home and at the entrance to my flat, the box is opened and a plant grows from it. It has a long tall stem and a very black flower that is the size of a rose but is made up of very soft cotton-type petals.
Bel says she decided to take up gardening to get close to the earth, to the source of things, because she wanted to become an enlightened zen master. She studied karate and tai chi chuan, but is now scared to mention these things for fear of being thought trendy. She has a child's enthusiasm and fear of large, strange and complicated things. Valerie went to stage school at the age of 11 for two years. They have both been through an EST weekend.
Marielle wrote me, I wrote her. Lynn and Manzi wrote. Colin visited and put his arm around me.
24 June, Totnes
is it 24 June? Noeline says it is. She joins me by the bonfire at this midsummer festival, Hood Fair.
WHAT DID MY CLOWN, PICI, DO TODAY?
Starting slowly he found plastic spoons - knives or forks wouldn't do. He visited every bin on the site. He stole some too. He collected them and cleaned them impeccably with a cloth, and put them in his cloth bag. He found some string. He went everywhere cleaning his spoons, hoping that everyone would see him. He stopped sometimes to count them. Then he chose his spot and emptied the bag of its spoons and string. Placing the bag in the middle, he formed a fence of the large spoons, an outer circle, and with the little spoons an inner circle. People started to watch. He wanted them to watch. But then he got scared. He paced around the outer circle. He should have made it into a full blown ritual but didn't. He should have been one spoon short and got someone to fetch one for him. He should have waited until the sun was about to break through the clouds, so as to pretend his ritual was working. He should have got some of the spectators to dance around and shout a little. It was all an anticlimax. He slowly revealed the sun object hidden in the cloth bag. Did the crowd realise it was a sun? He did keep looking up at the sky. He did try to pull the sky apart. But embarrassment got the better of him.
Harold came and Rosina came and M came. How priceless these few people are, my closest and dearest in all the world. Two arrived on one train and then one on the next. M my lover, my sister, my friend. It's an endless romance that continues to surprise. We are kissing, holding, loving all the time. Can there still be passion there as well? So it seems.
You don't remember do you
You don't remember do you
You don't remember do you why you came
Colin read my Crowley play. Jenny Topper at the Bush read it, and now there is nothing left of it. A dead play. No-one wants it. The characters are unshaped, there is no theatrical development etc etc yawn yawn. Colin thinks I should go on writing stories. Ha ha, did you hear the one about the man called Frederic who wanted to be a writer. And the man called Harold who was so busy making sure people liked him.
Who else? Dominique, Manzi don't write. M flew, carrying tons of presents home. Dany faded away, Rosy disappeared. Harvey works on a sculpture for a Camden Arts Exhibition. Noeline travels in Manzi's country. Who else? What else? Graeme split up with his partner and now does exercises in front of the bathroom mirror and makes beelines, buzz buzz, for my nipples. He had an affair with Adam Darius. The latter's seduction, Graeme reported, was professional and totally narcissistic. He sat Graeme down and performed for an hour in front of him. He then invited Graeme to dance and use the space. The next step was to bath and then to take him to the bedroom.
Life has been occupied by The Train.
Paul K Lyons
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