PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1980 - SEPTEMBER
3 September 1980
Have I finally grown out of poetry and journal writing. Has this adolescent desire to splurge my self-indulgent pities and joys onto paper finally died. Evitably so, sir, it seems. The sorrows have been too deep to be dissipated by poetry, and besides I've become too aware of the processes involved. It seems childish and therefore it has become childish. The time has come for seriousness. Serious times with Harvey. Serious times with Peter. I can and do cry when I think of all the seriousness involved.
Mandy (the girl downstairs, and sound mixer on Sweeney Todd) had a little cry this morning too. She has problems with her boyfriend's wife. She talked to me of the time when she was lonely and resorted to sex in order to be able to wake up next to somebody in the morning. I wish I could resort to sex to wake up next to somebody in the morning.
Rosina has fled, my comforter, my sweet heart, my lover. She has fled to her country. I am left with her pots and the memory of how sensually she curled into my body, into my sleep.
There has been a general strike in Poland and workers have been given new liberties. The world is fearful that the Russians might march in and assert their authority again.
Unemployment rises above two million. Am I unemployed? Here I am, still at MORI, scraping a living together with clerical services and expenses.
OZYMANDIAS by Shelley (1817)
I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand Half sunk, a shuttered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold commands Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" Nothing besides remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Thursday x September
Definitely hitting old age when I find myself embarrassed to be going out alone at night - so embarrassed in fact that when I got to where I was going I turned tail and fled. I walked the streets of Covent Garden instead, sad once again.
I write letters to local newspapers looking for employment. This month I've decided to try journalism. Last month it was research, and next month? Really, I am a lost individual. I send off letters that will be laughed at, my naivety is rampant. I apply for jobs for which I am not qualified. I go on indefinitely indefinite and crying.
While the sun shone for a week, football started again, and the centenary test finished with jeers for the English.
Tuesday 23 September
My broken form hobbles through the days, quite incapable of true concentration. Autumn has begun with the smell of wet leaves on paving stones. The nights are still warm, continental and reminiscent of more remarkable times in my life. Did I make a decision to become a journalist?
The editor of the 'Ham & High' tells me difficult it will be; but a man called David Paul takes me on as his apprentice. Suddenly, my diary is full of meetings: meetings that I go to, half go to and don't go to. He shows me how to brave the committee rooms at County Hall in search of agendas and reports. Perhaps we sit and discuss the relevance of some finding - is it news or not news - and what David may or may not do with it. It's a sucking process I discover. Newsworthiness is an ephemeral concept that can be sucked out of any corner where decisions are made or plans planned. The knack is the twist, the angle or the aspect, or the slant on the slant.
I have been aware of my feelings, the usual ones which take the form, 'what's the point?'; but, surprisingly enough, occasionally in a meeting with David, there have been others, a kind of overpowering satisfaction at being a voyeur. I have seen vague possibilities of a future for me. It hangs in the balance. Will I have the discipline, the determination, the desperation. One route must get me in the end. Will I stick with journalism.
I find little pleasure in living with Peter. His cold exact Englishness is exactly what I have fled from since returning to England. Harvey remains a buddy. Rosina writes a letter that makes me cry. Harold came to stay. We were quiet and soft with one another. Certainly I am much better now than ever I was living in Leyton.
She stood there, in the queue, waiting for magic. So beautiful, her slim body dressed in a loose black dress, beads slung about her neck, and bright red lipstick shining on her lips. Her dark deep eyes looked as though they were ready to cascade with tears. She stared at the man, sat there signing books (his short squat body leaning over the table, his thick fingered hand holding a pen firmly), with immense love and understanding. He so old and she so young. The queue stretched far into the back of the shop, each person clasping books for him to scrawl inside their front covers, 'Lawrence Durrell'. And when she arrived at the front of the queue, he, with face determinedly set downturned, asked routinely if she/he wanted anything special signed. When he heard the name she spoke, he looked up. For a moment only, his leathery, wrinkled features revealed a terrible resignedness, but then, in an instant, as he saw her face, they gave way to a dazzling, magical smile. Who was she, the observer on the side wondered? His daughter, Sappho?
Paul K Lyons
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