PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1979 - MARCH
Tuesday 6 March
The bitch finally arrived and demanded to know where the magic had gone - demanded that I fascinate her. Marielle take a trip along the mountain ranges of body and mind. Talk to me with your eyes and write odes, endless odes of love and eternal devotion. Explore my little world, study the corners, sniff the edges, clean my fingernails, watch me dust, see the patterns on the walls, and the intricate detail around my balls. Listen to my poems, scratch my eyes out, turn them into yous and use me, abuse me, stutter my name, cast your randiness across my dreams, and give me the cream. It's the cream I want. I'm a ferocious cat, tamed and tanned by the volatile weather of your candy strips. Sipping tea. Puffing fags. Perhaps I've got mixamatosis.
Two lovers, two in-loves (like in-laws) in the same room without too much time for each other, the irony of a bed-sitting room, the irony of passing too many years in the lean countries, dining on bachelor soups and broths. R got shifted, sifted to another colder room, further away from his, and certainly from my heart. M got bored and went away, leaving me cold in the evenings, and as far distant from the long white nights of love that we've ever been. As usual she talked of here, and wallowed in there. I wished to be in a hundred places, to be crossing a hundred borders, to be loved by a hundred hearts, to be starting a hundred adventures.
I bought 200 books today for £5. My Tuesday afternoon of burning fun and desire.
Manzi is in bed with another guy trying to make me jealous. I am watching someone on top of a (very high) bunk who is finding a cigarette for me. Then Marielle and I are in a refectory, queuing up along the tray sliding counter. We are wearing gowns. She pushes one leg over me, and inserts my penis into her, just for a second before we have to move along. The refectory is crowded, but we find a small corner. Almost immediately we are confronted and asked to show what we are wearing underneath our gowns. I am fully dressed, but Marielle is wearing only a brief black bra and pants under her gown. We sit down. I ask the person who has confronted us who he is. He says, very majestically, that he is the High Archbishop of somewhere. Marielle and I contemplate making love in front of him, but she gets into an argument while I have a small exchange with a black boy.
Marielle tiptoes across the room in search of pen and paper and then some soft ground. There she peruses her thoughts. She has decided to write to one lover or another, perhaps me, but I fade a little, I am too near. She hears my whistle echo and come bubbling out somewhere else. My faces hold too many mirrors of words, so she finds a hollow jar to put them in, but they rattle. I am not jade, I do fade, do tarnish, I do need a rub with Brasso from time to time. Harold bursts into the room saying: 'I've got a homeopathic doctor now.' Lovely Harold, I've got a star for you, you know, the red and silver one, Marielle gave me in Greece for being such a good boy.
Now, after hail and thunder, lightning, the sun comes out before evening time. Mozart plays. Terry took Marielle to the station. She has gone up to Scotland. A lot of thoughts zip around in my head about our relationship. I feel clean, about it, I wonder if she does.
For over two weeks I've done very little work on the play. I've done more on 'The Borderlands' which is becoming a mudpool of ideas. Like a magnet, the word borderland attracts anything and everything from a thousand different sources. But, at least, it is being written.
We went to clown, two old women, two clowns, and a conductor. It was a good afternoon's entertainment until the rain came. My cigarette went out. I feel very sensitive. The sun peaks out and I am the sun; the clouds come again, and I am grey. The Mozart music is soft and I am soft; the violins become sharp, and my teeth are clenched. The air is cool, and I am refined; the air is warm or too cold and I am irritable. The slightest pressure on my bladder sphincter and I go to take a piss.
As the evening becomes blacker, I remember a walk we took through a graveyard. We passed a grave covered in flowers, thousands of flowers. It was sad. A dad had died. H said: 'I bet he didn't get so many flowers when he was alive'. The walk took us past the police station where I reported another robbery. Oh yes we were robbed again. British summer time is upon us. We lost that hour in the night - and I didn't even fight it.
At the weekend, when Manzi was here, Marielle proclaimed she couldn't act naturally. For example, she said, normally when I arrived home, she would jump on me, but with Manzi here she can't. However, she tried to act impeccably. Subsequently, though, our sexual relations died away almost completely (she finding all kinds of excuses to excuse herself) - which was strange. I felt Marielle was behaving like a typical 'girlfriend', and yet she claims to be free of all that petty kind of prejudice, and to not play the normal kind of possessive games. Although it was difficult to believe that the change in our relationship was anything to do with Manzi, it was hard to find any other explanation. And I remember with what gay abandon, almost pride, and with trust, I had told her how Manzi and I had made love, as if I was telling her about lunch with Jean-Christophe. And then Terry came, and she deliberately began to 'meet' with him. She has often explained about 'meeting' and the dynamics of same that operats within her commune group. I listened carefully trying to understand. And, to some extent, I agreed with her philosophies, her way of being. It's fine. But it's not fine to say one thing and do another. And even worse is to admit nothing, and to fight anything that might not be praise. I did make a comparison to the time when Claudia, another of the group members, was here, on the evening of the party when Anne came. I ignored Claudia most of the night, feeling her eyes pierce my back, feeling her eyes question my sympathies. Then, when brought to task at dawn, I had to say, yes, I behaved badly and that a more honest way to have behaved would have been to have gone to Claudia early in the evening, to have been gentle and loving but to explain that I wanted to spend time with Anne. I expect more honesty from Marielle (who I think of as so much more advanced in this sort of thing than I), not a sort of whingeing around the matter with Terry: 'he came to see me, and we met with music and my time is therefore more divided' etc.
I am aware suddenly that Marielle is sure to read this little monologue of self-justification and pass it off as ridiculous. So, let me assure her that my love is constant and that in odd moments she still fascinates me; and, even in odder moments, she arouses me to a bluish passion (be careful with my words, I disguise them well). But I wrote down thoughts, unsure of their basis and truth, but certain that no conversation could clarify them further. Now for the good part. R writes you a love letter, and I am jealouser than I have been of Thomas or Hans or Terry. She is grateful that you kept your hands off Harold.
The avocados I planted last year are ready for a spring run to summer. The one in front of me now captures the sun on its overgrown leaves. Half way up the stem is a tiny leaf just grown, just started its existence. I meditate on from whence it came, this leaf, what ordained its growth [pen changes to pencil] (and what, I could ask ordains the malfunction of my pen), from some gene, from some tiny nucleus hidden in a seed. Then what multitudes of information are hidden there. The secrets of seasons, the fine etchings of veins, the dozens, scores of grosses of shapes and form. What multitudes of information does a tiny speck of a woman's egg or man's sperm contain, not thousands, not millions, not billions, not williams of bits of information. How remarkable. Is more information needed to create a man than to create a plant? Does more information need more room to store it? Does the cell reproducing a plant have a smaller size to that of a man, or is space not the relevant medium? When we imagine the amount of information stored in so tiny a space, it seems a good possibility that area is not important and that information from a thousand universes could be stored in the same human egg or sperm. And, how do we know that this earth isn't some nucleus of a solar atom?
I wore green yesterday, green trousers, jumper, cardigan and jacket, different coloured green socks, and a green scarf. To celebrate spring of course. The first day of spring and yet it felt like the first night of winter. That's not true, Manzi was here. And, suddenly, I am caught in a trap. I remember that she too, as well as Marielle, reads about herself here in the diary. Maybe I should keep another book, not because I don't want my most inner thoughts revealed but because knowing others read what I write can alter the very process of writing, of what I write. This pen is playing up. The weather has become morose and hangs over me with threatening gestures giving a heavy dull pain to my head. My throat has been sore for a week. Manzi played cool on her return from Brighton. Of course she wants to get her own back just a little, but her efforts are too obvious and not effective. She delights me. Her coyness, the way she pulls tight her lips to draw on a cigarette, and the way her eyes go downwards. She wants to fall over me and smother me with kisses, but that would be indulgent; she wants to run her hands through my hair and over the curve of my ass, but that would be indulgent. She draws on her cigarette stealing glances at me, when my eyes are distant. She says, distractedly: 'I feel like the epitome of all women.' And so you are, my love; if that's what you feel, then that's what you are. And all the while she is waiting for me to take her in my arms; but when I do, she doesn't trust me, and yet she does, and yet she doesn't; and all the turmoil is hers for I have felt it. If I'm here with you, I say, I'm here with you. If tomorrow I'm not then I'm not; and if tomorrow you find a husband or another lover then you are not. I do not waste my time. If I am passionately in love with you, then believe my eyes (there you find no lies). I do not, cannot, play with passion (though I would like to) (and there you must see my own insecurity about the passion of others). So smother me with kisses, run your hands through my hair, over the curves of my ass, and enjoy me now, here and now. And she does, and my body fires, fires with love.
The room has been whitened with paint, white tiles, and white plastic floor tiles, curved mirrors and white coats hang around, and a very ominous wheel chair is attached to various coloured wires. Two and a half couples just come in, and now snippets of conversation reach my ear. 'The climate of California appeals but the lifestyle of New York is more attractive. You've been to both haven't you.' etc. Sasha snarled at me with scorn: what happened to his respect of me that I respected so much, or was he just paying me back for my abrupt manner on the phone, and me saying I found his telephone conversation boring, keeping me waiting an hour. More gaggling voices enter the theatre, foreign ones now. I notice the ceiling swarms with bright white lights and it's German on all sides of each ear now. Or perhaps that ol' feeling of my son's a bum was getting to him. Him, who now has his office house, another one in Blenheim Terrace, and a flat in California, two or three cars, and the record player he gave me once for my birthday is bust - always second hand goodies. Thanks Dad.
I'm never let down by the dear old Bush Theatre, for ever burning with its desire to change Northern Ireland into Golden Ireland. I saw two sketches, one about interrogation of a political terrorist, which didn't quite come off, and another about exploring the limits of human behaviour when inflicting pain on other humans. In this latter there were some excellent performances from the actors, and the material, which was based on real research, was interesting.
The petals that fell out of the tulip are deep dark red; but at their base they are yellow. The petals haven't yet fallen off the daffodils but I know they don't have deep dark red bases. If only we could be sure that the jagged frosty man won't come again.
Why did I come here? To Greenwich? Forced to take refuge in a coffee bar because my lips and throat were parched and in need of a pot. The tea has come. I drink the first cut before it has time to brew, that's how thirsty I am. Rainwater. Now its browner, has more taste I suppose. I'm glad it's not very hot, I can swallow it quickly to take up the thirst. So, why did I come here? To Greenwich? To trample between the lines of cars and deep red tourist signs. Cutty Sark here. Front of Cutty Sark here. Back of Cutty Sark here. Photographs of Cutty Sark here. Plastic models of Cutty Sark this way. Cutty Sark rock etc. The journey here was long enough, although I was entertained by two women critiquing the local bingo halls, like I would a theatre performance. Perhaps I came to whet my appetite for travel again: I was reading stories about South America to R last night. Or perhaps I just came to see if I could find a story among a vacant afternoon. I think for a moment of Marielle's endless conversations about Meeting, really Meeting, and I remember the dozens and dozens of people I really Met when I was travelling. The meeting with Didier, with Annabelle and Jim, the beautiful meeting with N, and the meeting with the friend of Christian, with the girl in Montevideo, and the photographer there, with Amalia in Puerto Montt, with the Englishman in Potosi, with the journalist in Buenas Aires in the post office, with M on the boat, with Edgar on another boat, with Lizzie, and Lynn on Stewart Island and so on; lovely chords once played on this bellowing trumpet of mine, this whistling, piccolo of mine. I found some quiet spots in Greenwich village, and a riverside walk that led past mechanics' garages to a scrap iron and metal dump and one corner of a power house. Greenwich Park was green and as everywhere with crocuses spewing colour. On the return bus, I listened to two Australian girls' conversation but became bored and retreated into Durrell's world, far more to my liking than the current one.
Many things are typed in this day and age, here in this refuge; I can scribble a little bit about my dreams, or the way I stand and hover in my room in the mornings, drawing hard on the first cigarette while Radio Three is melancholy, as melancholy as I am stale this morning.
'The Deerhunter' disturbed me. I was drawn to thinking about the trivia of our lives, the bland nourishment by which we exist. It is about some very ordinary men who get sent to Vietnam. In one scene, the men play Russian Roulette, and it makes everything else seem trivial. Here I am lying with beautiful maidens in comfort and peace, while men in war fight for their country or for their lives out of cowardice or bravery and then spend their money and their pride on whoring in the rubbish piles of rat-infested streets. Here we are sitting around, worrying about the weather, or who will do the shopping, blandly passing from day to day without hardship. And what is it we do with this INCREDIBLE freedom we have been lucky enough to grasp for ourselves - abuse IT with idleness.
I wonder what to write. Marielle isn't home and who is Marielle anyway: an April shower of love or an April fool; and Mitzi spits at me, although I'm not sure why. At least, in these three months, I've written a play. And what about the next three and the next three. Shall I become a poet or a historian, or a professional Lawrence Durrell novel reader. Where is he now? Should I go and visit him. No, I sigh, I have nothing to give him. I can only go where I know I have something to give.
The weather has changed. Have I felt the sun on my face this day and worked in the garden on my clickety clack machine. I could tell stories of the fairy queen with her subtle tones of revenge shimmering between the blue of her eyes and the ginger of her hair. I have written a letter, a spiteful letter, I found it among my papers this morning. I saw her after she had read it. She was lying on a wooden bench, her eyes, her lips tensed into a growl, the corners down, and the tension running up the sides of her nose. She seemed to be saying, you're ugly, I'm ugly, what a dirty piece of paper. It wasn't a pretty letter. After she had left, I went to walk with an old lover in the zoo, but I thought of Marielle between the lions and the polar bears, and in the moonlight world. And I thought of her as the condor cleaned its neck, and as the leopard licked its spots.
Paul K Lyons
Copyright © PiKLe PuBLiSHiNG