you understand that pops as well as I do.”—In that way with a stud, in another way with polite dignified Sand a very interesting young fellow, like, “Sand, Mardou is my girl and I would prefer, etc.”—but he has eyes for her and the reason he stays with us and goes around the corner to 13 Pater, but it’s Yuri starts wrestling with her and goofing in the streets—so when we leave 13 Pater later on (a dike bar slummish now and nothing to it, where a year ago there were angels in red shirts straight out of Genet and Djuna Barnes) I get in the front seat of Sand’s old car, he’s going at least to drive us home, I sit next to him at the clutch in front for purposes of talking better and in drunkeness again avoiding Mardou’s womanness, leaving room for her to sit beside me at front window—instead of which, no sooner plops her ass behind me, jumps over seat and dives into backseat with Yuri who is alone back there, to wrestle again and goof with him and now with such intensity I’m afraid to look back and see with my own eyes what’s happening and how the dream (the dream I announced to everyone and made big issues of and told even Yuri about) is coming true.
We pull up at Mardou’s door at Heavnely Lane and drunkly now she says (Sand and I having decided drunkenly to drive down to Los Altos the lot of us and crash in on old Austin Bromberg and have big further parties) “If you’re going down to Bromberg’s in Los Altos you two go out, Yuri and I’ll stay here”—my heart sank deep—it sank so I gloated to hear it for the first time and the confirmation of it crowned me and blessed me.
And I thought, “Well boy here’s your chance to get rid of her” (which I’d plotted for three weeks now) but the sound of this in my own ears sounded awfully false, I didn’t believe it, myself, any more.
But on the sidewalk going in flushed Yuri takes my arm as Mardou and Sand go on ahead up the fish head stairs, “Lissen, Leo I don’t want to make Mardou at all, she’s all over me, I want you to know that I don’t want to make her, all I want to do if you’re going out there is go to sleep in your bed because I have an appointment tomorrow.”—But now I myself feel reluctant to stay in Heavenly Lane for the night because Yuri will be there, in fact now is already on the bed tacitly as if, one would have to say, “Get off the bed so we can get in, go to that uncomfortable chair for the night.”—So this more than anything else (in my tiredness and growing wisdom and patience) makes me agree with Sand (also reluctant) that we might as well drive down to Los Altos and wake up good old Bromberg, and I turn to Mardou with eyes saying or suggesting, “You can stay with Yuri you bitch” but she’s already got her little traveling basket or weekend bag and is putting my toothbrush hairbrush and her things in and the iead is we three drive out—which we do, leaving Yuri in the bed.—En route, at near Bayshore in the great highway roadlamp night, which is now nothing but a bleakness for me and the prospect of the “weekend” at Bromberg’s a horror of shame, I can’t stand it any more and look Mardou as soon as Sand gets out to buy hamburgs in the diner, “You jumped in the backseat with Yuri why’d you do that? and why’d you say you wanted to stay with him?”—”It was silly of me, I was just high baby.” But I don’t darkly any more now want to believe her—art is short, life is long—now I’ve got in full dragon bloom the monster of jealousy as green as in any cliche cartoon rising in my being, “You and Yuri play together all the time, it’s just like the dream I told you about, that’s what’s horrible—O I’ll never believe in dreams come true again.”—”But baby it isn’t anything like that” but I don’t believe her—I can tell by looking at her she’s got eyes for the youth—you can’t fool an old hand who at the age of sixteen before even the juice was wiped off his heart by the Great Imperial World Wiper with Sadcloth fell in love with an impossible flirt and cheater, this is a boast—I feel so sick I can’t stand it, curl up in the back seat, alone—they drive on, and Sand having anticipated a gay talkative weekend now finds himself with a couple of grum lover worriers, hears in fact the fragment “But I didn’t mean you to think that baby” so obviously harkening to his mind the Yuri incident—finds himself with this pair of bores and has to drive all the way down to Los Altos, and so with the same grit that made him write the half million words of his novel bends to it and pushes the car through the Peninsula night and on into the dawn.
Arriving at Bromberg’s house in Los Altos at gray dawn, parking and ringing the doorbell the three of us sheepishly I most sheepish of all—and Bromberg comes right down, at once, with great roars of approval cries “Leo I didn’t know you knew each other” (meaning Sand, whom Bromberg admired very much) and in we go to rum and coffee in the crazy famous Bromberg kitchen.—You might say, Bromberg the most amazing guy in the world with small dark curly hair like the hip girl Roxanne making little garter snakes over his brow and his great really angelic eyes shining, rolling, a big burbling baby, a great genius of talk really, wrote research and essays and has (and is famous for) the greatest possible private library in the world, right there in that house, library due to his erudition and this no reflection also on his big income—the house inherited from father— was also the sudden new bosom friend of Carmody and about to go to Peru with him, they’d go dig Indian boys and talk about it and discuss art and visit literaries and things of that nature, all matters so much had been dinning in Mardou’s ear (queer, cultured matters) in her love affair with me that by now she quite tired of cultured tones and fancy explicity, emphatic daintiness of expression, of which roll-eyed ecstatic almost spastic big Bromberg almost the pastmaster. “O my dear it’s such a charming thing and I think much MUCH better than the Gascoyne translation tho I do believe—” and Sand imitating him to a T, from some recent great meeting and mutual admiration—so the two of them there in the once-to-me adventurous gray dawn of the Metropolitan Great-Rome Frisco talking of literary and musical and artistic matters, the kitchen littered, Bromberg rushing up (in pajamas) to fetch three-inch thick French editions of Genet or old editions of Chaucer or whatever he and Sand’d come to, Mardou darklashed and still thinking of Yuri (as I’m thinking to myself) sitting at the corner of the kitchen table, with her getting-cold rum and coffee—O I on a stool, hurt, broken, injured, about to get worse, drinking cup after cup and loading up on the great heavy brew—the birds beginning to sing finally at about eight and Bromberg’s great voice, one of the mightiest you can hear, making the walls of the kitchen throw back great shudders of deep ecstatic sound—turning on the phonograph, an expensive well-furnished completely appointed house, with French wine, refrigerators, three-speed machines with speakers, cellar, etc.—I am afraid in fact to look only to find there the supplication in her eyes saying “Don’t worry baby, I told you, I confessed to you I was silly, I’m sorry sorry sorry—” that “I’m-sorry” look hurting me the most as I glance side eyes to see it…
It won’t do when the very bluebirds are bleak, which I mentioned to Bromberg, he asking, “Whatsamatter with you this morning Leo?” (with burbling peek under eyebrows to see me better and make me laugh).—”Nothing. Austin, just that when I look out the window this morning the birds are bleak.”—(And earlier when Mardou went upstairs to toilet I did mention,bearded, gaunt, foolish drunkard, to these erudite gentlemen, something about ‘inconstancy,’ which must have surprised them tho)—O inconstancy!
So they try to make the best of it in spite of my palpable unhappy brooding all over the place, while listening to Verdi and Puccini opera recordings in the greats upstairs library (four walls from rug to ceiling with things like The Explanation of the Apocalypse in three volumes, the complete works and poems of Chris Smart, the complete this and that, the apology of so-and-so written obscurely to you-know-who in `839, in 1638—). I jump at the chance to say, “I’m going to sleep,” its now Mardou with dame-like majesty all this time in the easy chair in the corner of the library (where once I’d seen the famous one-armed Nick Spain sit when Bromberg on a happier early time in year played for us the original recording of The Rake’s Progress) and looking so, herself, tragic, lost—hurt so much by my hurt—by my sorriness from her sorriness borrowing—
I think sensitive—that at one point in a burst of forgiveness, need, I run and sit at her feet and lean head on her knee in front of the others who by don’t care any more, that it Sand does not care about these things now, deeply engrossed in the music, the books, the brilliant conversation (the likes of which cannot be surpassed anywhere in the world, incidentally, and this too, tho now tiredly, crosses by my epic-wanting brain and I see the scheme of all my life, all acquaintances, loves, worries, travels rising again in a big symphonic mass but now I’m beginning not to care so much any more because of this 105 pounds of woman and brown at that whose little toenails, red in the thonged sandals, make my throat gulp)—”O dear Leo, you DO seem to be bored.”—”Not bored! how could I be bored
,and dull—this not a literary complaint, but something that must have pained Mardou, the lack of reciprocity and the stupidity regarding my attack at Adam—”Man, you had no right to yell at him, really, it’s his pad, his right”—but the letter a big defense of this “right to yell at Adam” and not at all response to her love notes—
The pushcart incident not important in itself, but what I saw, what my quick eye and hungry paranoia ate—a gesture of Mardou’s that made my heart sink even as I doubted maybe I wasn’t seeing, interpreting right, as so oft I do.—We’d come in and run upstairs and jumped on the big double bed waking Adam ip and yelling tousling and Carmody too sitting on the edge as if to say “No children now children,” just a lot of drunken lushes—at one time in the play back and forth between the rooms Mardou and Yuri ended on the couch together in front’ where i think all three of us had flopped—but I ran to the bedroom for further business, talking, coming back I saw Yuri who knew I was coming flop the couch onto the floor and as he did so Mardou (who probably didn’t know I was coming) shot out her hand at him as if to say OH YOU RASCAL as if almost he’d before rolling off the couch goosed her or done something playful—I saw for the first time their youthful playfulness which I in my scowlingness and writer-ness had not participated in and my old man-ness about which I kept telling myself “You’re old you sonofabitch you’re lucky to have such a young sweet thing” (while nevertheless at the same time plotting, as I’d been doing for about three weeks nows, to get rid of Mardou, without her being hurt, even if possible “without her noticing” so as to get back to more comfortable modes of life, like say, stay at home all week and come in to town only for good times if not to see Mardou then any other chick will do, this was my three week thought and really the energy behind or the surface one behind the creation of the Jealousy Phantasy in the Gray Guilt dream of the World Around Our Bed)—now I saw Mardou pushing Yuri with a O H Y O U and I shuddered to think something maybe was going on behind my back—felt warned and rolled off but as if guiltily as I say after some kind of goose or feel up some illegal touch of Mardou which made her purse little love loff lips at him and push him and like kids.—Mardou was just like a kid I remember the first night I met her when Julien, rolling joints on the floor, she behind him hunched, I’d explained to them why that week I wasn’t drinking at all (true at the time, and due to events on the ship in New York, scaring me, saying to myself “If you keep on drinking like that you’ll die you can’t even hold a simple job any more,” so returning to Frisco and not drinking at all and everybody exclaiming “O you look wonderful”), telling that first night almost heads together with Mardou and Julien, they so kidlike in their naive WHY when I told them I wasn’t drinking any more, so kidlike listening to my explanation about the one can of beer leading to the second, the sudden gut explosions and glitters, the third can, the fourth, “And then I go off and drink for days and I’m gone man, like, I’m afraid I’m an alcoholic” and they kidlike and othergnerationey making no comment, but awed, curious—in the same rapport with young Yuri here (her age_ pushing at him, Oh You, which in drunkenness I paid not too much attention to, and we slept, Mardou and I on the floor, Yuri on the couch (so kidlike, indulgent, funny of him, all that)—this first exposure of the realization of the mysteries of the guilt jealously dream leading, from the pushcart time, to the night we went to Bromberg’s, most awful of all.
Beginning as usual in the Mask.
Nights that begin so glitter clear with ope, let’s go see our friends, things, phones ring, people come and go, coats, hats, statements, bright reports, metropolitan excitements, a round of beers, another round of beers, the talk gets more beautiful, more excited, flushed happy faces are now wild and soon there’s the swaying buddy da day oobab bab smash smoke drunken latenight goof leading finally to the bartender, like a seer in Eliot, TIME TO CLOSE UP—in this manner more or less arriving at the Mask where a kid called Harold Sand came in, in a chance acquaintance of Mardou’s from a year ago, a young novelist looking like Leslie Howard who’d just had a manuscript accepted and so interested in him for same reasons as Lavalina, literary avidity, envy—as usual paying less attention therefore to Mardou (at table) than Yuri who continual presence with us now did not raise my suspicions, whose complaints “I don’t have a place to stay—do you realize Percepied what it is not to even have a place to write? I have not girls, nothing, Carmody and Moorad won’t let me stay up there any more, they’re a couple of old sisters,” not sinking in, and already the only comment I’d made to Mardou about Yuri had been, after his leaving, “He’s just like that Mexican stud comes up here and grabs up your last cigarettes,” both of us laughing because whenever she was at her lowest financial ebb, bang, somebody who needed a “mooch” was there—not that I would call Yuri a mooch in the least (I’ll tread lightly on him on this point, for obvious reasons).—(Yuri and I’d had a longtalk that week in a bar, over port wines, he claimed everything was poetry, I tried to make the common old do you believe in freedom?—then say what you want, it’s poetry, poetry all of it is poetry, great prose is poetry, great verse is poetry.”—”Yes” I said “but verse is verse and prose is prose.”—”No no” he yelled “it’s all poetry.”—”Okay,” I said “I believe in you believing in freedom and maybe you’re right, have another wine.” And he read me his “best line” which was something to do with “seldom nocturne” that I had said sounded like small magazine poetry by him concerning his tough boyhood, about cats, mothers in gutters, Jesus striding in the ashcan, appearing incarnate shining on the blowers of slum tenements or that is making great steps across the light—the sum of it something he could do, and did, well—”No, seldom nocturne isn’t your meat” but he claimed it was great, “I would say rather it was great if you’d written about it suddenly on the spur of the moment.”—”But I did—right out of my mind it flowed and I threw it down, it sounds like it’s been planned but it wasn’t, it was bang! just like you say, spontaneous vision!”— Which I now doubt tho saying “seldom nocturne” came to him spontaneously made me suddenly respect it more, some false-hood hiding beneath our wine yells in a saloon on Kearney.) Yuri hanging out with Mardou and me every night almost—like a shadow—and knowing Sand himself from before, so he, Sand walking into the Mask, flushed successful young author but “ironic” looking and with a big parkingticket sticking out of his coat lapel, was set upon by three of us with avidity, made to sit at our table—made to talk.—Around the corner from Mask to 13 Pater thence the lot of us going, and en route (reminiscent now more strongly and now with hints of pain of the pushcart night and Mardou’s OH YOU) Yuri and Mardou start racing, pushing, shoving, wrestling on the sidewalk and finally she lofts a big empty cardboard box and throws it at him and he throws it back, they’re like kids again—I walk on ahead in serious tone conversation with Sand tho—he too has eyes for Mardou—somehow I’m not able (at least haven’t tried) to communicate to him that she is my love and I would prefer if he didn’t have eyes for her so obviously, just as Jimmy Lowell, a colored seaman who’d suddenly phoned in the midst of an Adam party, and came, with a Scandinavian shipmate, looking at Mardou and me wondering, asking me “Do you make it with her sex?” and I saying yes and the night after the Red Drum session where Art blakely was whaling like mad and Thelonius Monk sweating leading the generation with his elbow chords, eying the band madly to lead them on, the monk and saint of bop I kept telling Yuri, smooth sharp hep Jimmy Lowell leans to me and says “I would like to make it with your chick,” (like in the old days Leroy and I always swapping so I’m not shocked), “would it be okay if I asked her?” and saying “She’s not that kind of girl, I’m sure she believes in one at a time, if you ask her that’s what she’ll tell you man” (at that time still feeling no pain or Jealousy Dream)—not able to communicate to Lowell that’s—that I wanted her—to stay—to be stammer stammer be mine—not being able to come right out and say, “listen this is my girl, what are you talking about, if you want to try to make her you’ll have to tangle with me,
At 3:44 live stream is back up! Knocked out without me noticing!
Mahatma Gandhi defense of some kind (which I’d suspected that first time he talked to me saying, “Are you a fag you talk like a fag” a remark coming from him so absurd because so inflammable and me 170 pounds to his 130 or 120 for God’s sake so I thought secretly “No you can’t fight this man he will only scream and yell and call cops and let you hit him again and haunt all your dreams, there is no way to put a subterranean down on the floor or for that matter put em down at all, they are the most unputdownable in this world and new culture”)—finally Wallenstein going to the head for a leak and Yuri says to me, Mardou being at the bar gathering three more wines, “Come one let’s go in the john and bust him up,” and I get up to go with Yuri but not to bust up Ross rather to stop anything might happen there—Yuri having been in his own in fact realer way than mine almost a hoodlum, imprisoned in Soledad for defending himself in some vicious fight in reform school—Mardou stopping us both as we head to the head, saying, “My God if I hadn’t stopped you” (laughing embarrassed little Mardou smile and shniffle) “you’d actually have gone in there”—a former love of Ross’s and now the bottomless toilet of Ross’s position in her affections I think probably equal to mine now, O damblast the thorny flaps of the pap time page—
Going thence to the Masks as usual, beers, get worse drunk, then out to walk home, Yuri having just arrived from Oregon having no place to sleep is asking it fit’s allright to sleep at our place, Iet Mardou speak for her own house, tho feebly say some “okay” in the middle of the confusion, and Yuri comes heading homeward with us—en route finds a pushcart, says “Get in, I’ll be a taxicab and push you both home up the hill.”—Okay we get in, and lie on our backs drunk as only you can get drunk red wine, and he pushes us from the Beach at that fateful park (where we’d sat first sad Sunday afternoon of my dream and premonitions) and we ride along in the pushcart of eternity, Angel Yuri pushing it, I can only see stars and occasional rooftops of blocks—no thought in any mind (except briefly in mine, possibly in others) of the sin, the loss entailed for the poor Italian beggar losing his cart there—on down Broadway clear to Mardou’s, in the pushcart, at one point I push and they ride, Mardou and I singing bop and also bop to the tune Are the Stars out Tonight and just drunk—parking it foolishly in front of Adam;s and rushing up, making noise.—Next day, after sleeping on floor with Yuri snoring on the couch, waiting up for Adam as if beaming to hear told about our exploit, Adam comes home blackfaced mad from work and says “really you have no idea the pain you’re causin’ some poor old Armenian peddler you never think that—but jeopardizing my pad with that thing in front, supposing the cops find it, and what’s the matter with you.” And Carmody saying to me “Leo I think you perpetrated this masterpiece” or “You masterminded this brilliant move” or such which I really didn’t—and all day we’ve been cutting up and down stairs looking at pushcart which far from being cop-discovered still sits there but with Adam’s landlord teetering in front of it, waiting to see who’s going to claim it, sensing something fishy, and of all things Mardou’s poor purse still in it where drunkenly we’d left it and the landlord finally confiscating IT and waiting for further development (she lost a few dollars and her only purse).—”Only thing that can happen, Adam is the cops’ll find the pushcart, they can very well see the purse, the address, and take it to Mardou’s but all she has to say is ‘O I found my purse,’ and that’s that, and nothing’ll happen.” But Adam cries, “O you even if nothing’ll happen you screw up the security of my pad, come in making noise, leave a licensed vehicle out front, and tell me nothing’ll happen.”—And I had sensed he’d be mad and am prepared and say, “To hell with that, you can give hell to these but you won’t give hell to me, I won’t take it from you—that was just a drunken prank,” I add, and Adam says, “This is my house and I can get mad when it’s—” so I up and throw his keys (the keys he’d had made for me to walk in and out at any time) at him but they’re entwined with the chain of my mother’s keys and for a moment we fumble seriously at the mixed keys and for a moment we fumble seriously at the mixed keys on the floor disengaging them and he gets his and I say “No that, that’s mine, there” and he puts it in his pocket and there we are.—I want to rush up and leave, like at Larry’s.—Mardou is there seeing me flip again—far from helping her from flips. (Once she’d asked me “If I ever flip what will you do, will you help me?—Supposing I think you’re trying to harm me?”—”Honey,” I said, “I’ll try in fact I’ll reassure you,” the confidence of the old man—but in reality himself flipping more often.)—I feel great waves of dark hostility, I mean hate, malice, destructiveness flowing out of Adam in his corner chair, I can hardly sit under the withering telepathetic blast and there’s all that yage of Carmody’s around the pad, in suitcases, it’s too much—(it’s a comedy tho, we agree it will be a comedy later)—we talk of other things—Adam suddenly flips the key back at me, it lands in my thighs, and instead of dangling it in my finger (as if considering, as if a wily Canuck calculating advantages) I boy-like jump up and throw the key back in my pocket with a little giggle, to make Adam feel better, also to impress Mardou with my “fairness”—but she never noticed, was watching something else—so now that peace is restored I say “And in any case it was Yuri’s fault it isn’t at all Frank says my unqualified masterminding”—(this pushcart, this darkness, the same as when Adam in the prophetic dream descended the wood steps to see the “Russian Patriarch”, there were pushcarts there)—So in the letter that I write to Mardou answering her beauty which I have paraphrased, I make stupid angry but “pretending to be fair,” “to be calm, deep, poetic” statements, like “Yes, I got mad and threw Adam’s keys back at him, because ‘friendship, admiration, poetry sleep in the respectful mystery’ and the invisible world is too beatific to have to be dragged before the court of social realities,” or some such twaddle that Mardou must have glanced at with one eye—the letter, which was supposed to match the warmth of hers, her cuddly-in-October masterpiece, beginning with the inane-if-at-all confession: “The last time I wrote a love note it turned out tobe boloney” (referring to an earlier in the year hal-romance with Arlene Wohlstetter) “and I am glad you are honest,” or “have honest eyes,” the next sentence said—the letter intended to arrive Saturday morning to make her feel my warm presence while I was out taking my hardworking and deserving mother to her bi-six-monthlial show and shopping on Market Street (old Canuck workingwoman completely ignorant of arrangement of mingled streets of San Francisco) but arriving long after I saw her and read while I was there
worried, then she takes me on her, on her arm, on mine—she services the mad unthinking beast—I spend long nights and many hours making her, finally I have her, I pray for it to come, I can hear her breathing harder, I hope against hope it’s time, a noise in the hall (or whoop of drunkards next door) takes her mind off and she can’t make it and laughs—but when she does make it I hear her crying, whimpering, the shuddering electrical female orgasm makes her sound like a little girl crying, moaning in the night, it lasts a good tweny seconds and when it’s over she moans, “O why can’t it last longer,” and, “O when will I when you do?”—”Soon now I bet,” I say, “you’re getting closer and closer”—sweating against her in the warm sad Frisco with is damn old scows mooing on the tide out there, voom, voooom, and stars flickering on the water even where it waves beneath the pierhead where you expect gangsters dropping encemented bodies, or rats, or The Shadow—my little Mardou whom I love, who’d never read my unpublished works but only the first novel, which has guts but has a dreary prose to it when all’s said and done and so now holding her and spent with sex I dream of the day she’ll read great works in a sudden strangeness in his kitchen, “Mardou what do you really think of Leo and myself as writers, our positions in the world, the rack of time,” asking her that, knowing that her thinking is in accord in some ways more or less with the subterraneans whom he admires and fears, whose opinions he values with wonder—Mardou not really replying but evading the issue, but old man me plots greatbooks for her amaze—all those good things, good times we had, others I am now in the heat of my frenzy forgetting but I must tell all, but angels know all and record it in books—
But think of all the bad times—I have a list of bad times to make the good times, the times I was good to her and like I should be, to make it sick—when early in our love I was three hours late which is a lot of hours of lateness for younglovers, and she so wigged, got frightened, walked around the church handsapockets brooding looking for me in the mist of dawn and I ran out (seeing her note saying “I am gone out to look for soulless loveless belak she’d seen from the fence, all the countless men hats going into buses and not caring about the countles men in hats going into buses and not caring about the naked girl on the fence, why)—when I saw her, I myself running out to find her, I opened my arms a halfmile away—
The worst almost worst time of all when a red flame crossed my brain, I was sitting with her and Larry O’Hara in his pad, we’d been drinking French Bordeaux and blasting, a subject was up, I had a hand on Larry’s knee shouting “But listen to me, but listen to me!” wanting to make my point so bad there was a big crazy plead in the tone and Larry deeply engrossed in what Mardou is saying simultaneously and feeding a few words to her dialog, in the emptiness after the red flame I suddenly leap up and rush to the door and tug at it, ugh, locked, the indoor chain lock, I slide and undo it and with another try I lunge out in the hall and down the stairs as fast as my thieves’ quick crepesoul shoes’ll take me, putt pitterpit, floor after floor reeling around me as I round the stairwell, leaving them agape up there—calling back in half hour, meeting her on the street three blocks away—there is no hope—
The time even when we’d agreed she needed money for food, that I’d go home and get it and just bring it back and stay a short while, but I’m at this time far from in love, but bugged, not only her pitiful demands for money but that doubt, that old Mardou-doubt, and so rush into her pad, Alice her friend is there, I use that as an excuse (because Alice dike-like silent unpleasant and strange and likes no one) to lay the two bills on Mardou’s dishes at sink, kiss a quick peck in the malt of her ear, say “I’ll be back tomorrow” and run right out again without even asking her opinion—as if the whored’d made me for two bucks and I was sore.
How clear the realization one is going mad—the mind has a silence, nothing happens in the physique, urine gathers in your loins, your ribs contract.
Bad time she asked me, “What does Adam really think of me, you never told me, I know he resents us together but—” and I told her substantially what Adam had told me, of which none should have been divulged to her for the sake of her peace of mind, “He said it was just a social question of his not now wanting to get hung-up with you likewise because you’re Negro”—feeling again her telepathic little shock cross the room to me it sunk deep, I question my motives for telling her this.
The time her cheerful little neighbor young writer John Golz came up (he dutifully eight hours a day types working on magazine stories, admirer of Hemingway, often feeds Mardou and is a nice Indiana boy and means no harm and certainly not a slinky snaky interesting subterranean but openface, jovial, plays Mardou, I was there alone (for some reason, Mardou at a bar Negro boy she didn’t like too much but just for fun and told Adam she was doing it because she wanted to make it with a Negro boy again, which made me jealous, but Adam said “If I should if she should hear that you went out with a white girl to see if you could make it again she’d sure be flattered, Leo”)—that night, I was at her place waiting, reading, young John Golz came in to borrow cigarettes and seeing I was alone wanted to talk literature—”Well I believe that the most important thing is selectivity,” and I blew up and said “Ah don’t give me all that high school stuff I’ve heard it and heard it long before you were born almost for krissakes and really now, say something interesting and new about writing”—putting him down, sullen, for reasons mainly of irritation and because he seemed harmless and therefore could be counted on to be safe to yell at, which he was—putting him down, her friend, was not nice—no, the world’s no fit place for this kind of activity, and what we gonna do, and where? when? wha wha wha, the baby bawls in the midnight boom.
Nor could it have been charming and helpful to her fears and anxieties to have me start out, at the outset of our romance, “kissing her down between the stems”—starting and then suddenly quitting so later in an unguarded drinkingmoment she said, “You suddenly stopped as tho I was—” and the reason I stopped being in itself not as significant as the reason I did it at all, to secure her greater sexual interest, which once tied on with a bow knot, I could dally out of—the warm lovemouth of the woman the womb, being the place for men who love, not… this immature drunkard and egomaniacal… this…knowing as I do from past experience and interior sense, you’ve got to fall down on your knees and beg the woman’s permission, beg the woman’s forgiveness for all your sins, protect her but for God’s sake lover her and lover her all the way in and every way you can—yes psychoanalysis, I hear (fearing secretly the few times I had come into contact with the rough stubble-like quality of the public, which was Negroid and therefore a little rougher, tho not enough to make any difference, and the insides itself I should say the best, the richest, most fecund moist warm and full of hidden soft slidy mountains, also the pull and force of the muscles being so powerful she unknowing often vice-like closes over and makes a damup and hurt, tho this I only realized the other night, too late—). And so the final lingering physiological doubt I have that this contraction and greatstrength of womb, responsible I thnk now in retrospect for the the time when Adam in his first encounter with her experienced piercing unsupportable screamingsudden pain, so had to go to the doctor and have himself bandaged and all (an even later when Carmody arrived and made a local orgone accumulator out of big old watercan and burlap and vegetative materials placing the nozzle of himself into the nozzle of the can to heal), I now wonder and suspect if our little chick didn’t really intend to bust in half, if Adam isn’t thinking it’s his own fault and doesn’t know, but she contracted mightily there (the lesbian!) (always knew it) and busted him and fixed hm and couldn’t do it to me but tried enough till she threw me over a dead hulk that now I am—psychoanalyst, I’m serious!
It’s too much. Beginning, as I say with the pushcart incident—the night we drank red wine at Dante’s and were in a drinking mood now both of us so disgusted—Yuri came with us, Ross Wallenstein was in there and maybe to show off to Mardou Yuri acted like a kid all night and kept hitting Wallenstein on the back of his head with little finger taps like goofing in a bar but Wallenstein (who’s always being beaten up by hoodlums because of this) turned around a stuff death’s-head gaze with big eyes glaring behind glasses, his Christlike blue unshaven cheeks, staring rigidly as tho the stare itself will floor Yuri, not speaking for a long time, finally saying, “Man, don’t bug me,” and turning back to his conversation with friends and Yuri does it again and Ross turns again the same pitiles awful subterranean sort of non-violent Indian
movie on Larkin, the Vogue, saw The Lower Depths, held hands, smoked, felt close—tho out on Market Street she would not have me hold her arm for fear people of the street would think her a hustler, which it would look like but I felt mad but let it go and we walked along, I wanted to go into a bar, now I saw her Negro fear of American society she was always talking about but palpably in the streets which never gave me any concern—tried to console her, show her she could do anything with me, “In fact baby I’ll be a famous man and you’ll be the dignified wife of a famous man so don’t worry” but she said “You don’t understand” but her little girl-like fear so cute, so edible, I let it go, we went home, to tender love scenes together in our own and secret dark—
Fact, the time, one of those fine times when we, or that is, I didn’t drink and we spent the whole night together in bed, this time telling ghost stories, the tales of Poe I could remember, then we made some up, and finally we were making madhouse eyes at each other and trying to frighten with round stares, she showed me how one of her Market Street reveries had been that she was a catatonic (“Tho then I didn’t know what the word meant, but like, I walked stiffly hang arming arms hanging and man not a soul dared to speak to me and some were afraid to look, there I was was walking along zombie-like and just thirteen.”) (Oh gleeful shnuff-fleeflue in fluffle in her little lips, I see the outthrust teeth, I say sternly, “Mardou you must get your teeth cleaned at once, at that hospital there, the therapist, get a dentist too—it’s all free so do it—” because I see beginnings of bad congestion at the corners of her pearlies which would lead to decay)—and she makes the madwoman face at me, the face rigid, the eyes shining shining shining like the stars of heaven of her and I say “And I also see the earth in your eyes madness but glee glee—it’s like the ragamuffin dusts in the little kid’s corner and he’s asleep in his crib now and I love you, rain’ll fall on our eaves some day sweetheart”—and we have just candlelight so the mad acts are funnier and the ghost stories more chilling—the one about the—but a lack, a lark, I go larking in the good things and don’t and do forget my pain—
Extending the eye business, the time we closed our eyes (again not drinking because of broke, poverty would have saved this romance) and I sent her messages, “Are yu ready,” and I see amazing how we came to the same thing, it was some rapport, I saw crystal chandeliers and she saw white petals in a black bog just after some melding of images as amazing as the accurate images I’d exchange with Carmody in Mexico—Mardou and I both seeing the same thing, some madness shape, some fountain, now by me forgotten and really not important yet, come together in mutual descriptions of it and joy and glee in this telepathetic triumph of ours, ending where our thoughts meet at the crystal white and petals, the mystery—I see the gleeful hunger of her face devouring the sight of mine, I could die, don’t break my heart radio with beautiful music, O world—the candlelight again, flickering, I’d bought a slue of candles in the store, the corners of our room in darkness, her shadow naked brown as she hurries to the sink—our use of the sink—my fear of communicating WHITE images to her in our telepathies for for fear she’ll be (in her fun) reminded of our social difference, at that time making me feel guilty, now I realize it was one love’s gentility on my part—Lord.
The good ones—going up on the top of Nob Hill at night with a fifth of Royal Chalic Tokay, sweet, rich, potent, the lights of the city and of bay beneath us, the sad mystery—sitting on a bench there, lovers, loners pass, we pass the bottle, talk—she tells all her little girlhood in Oakland.—It’s like Paris—it’s soft, the breeze blows, the city may swelter but the hillers do fly—and over the bay is Oakland (ah me Hart Crane Melville and all ye assorted brother poets of American night that once I thought would be my sacrificial altar and now it is but who’s to care, know. and I lost love because of it—drunkard, dullard, poet)—returning via Van Ness to Aquatic Park beach, sitting in the sand, as I pass Mexicans I feel that great hepness I’d been having a summer on the street with Mardou my old dream of wanting to be vital, alive like a Negro or an Indian or a Denver Jap or a New York Puerto Rican come true, with her by my side so young, sexy; slender, strange, hip, myself in jeans and casual and both of us to leave the beach, a lonely Negro passing us twice and staring—we walk along the waterslap, she laughs to see the crazy figures of reflected light of the moon dancing so bug-like in the ululating cool smooth water of the night—we smell harbors, we dance—
The time I walked in her broad sweet dry Mexico plateau-like or Arizona-like morning to her appointment with therapist at the hospital, along the Embarcadero, denying the bus, hand in hand—I proud, thinking, “In Mexico she’ll look just like this and not a soul’ll know I’m not an Indian by God and we’ll go along”—and I point out the purity and clarity of the clouds, “Just like Mexico honey, O you’ll love it” and we go up the busy street to the big grimbrick hospital and I’m supposed to be going home from there but she lingers, sad smile, love smile, when I give in and agree to wait for her 20-minute interview and her coming out she radiantly breaks out glad and rushes to the gate which we’ve already passed in her almost therapy-giving-up-strolling-with-me meandering, men—love—not for sale—my prize—possession—nobody gets it but gets a Sicilian line down his middle—a German boot in the kisser, an axe Canuck—I’ll pin them wriggling poets to some London wall right here, explained.—And as I wait for her to come out, I sit on side of water, in Mexico-like gravel and grass and concrete blocks and take out sketchbooks and draw big word pictures of the skyline and of the bay, putting in a little mention of the great fact of the uge all-world with its infinite levels, from Standard Oil top down to waterslap at barges where old bargemen dream, the difference between men, the difference so vast between concerns executives in skyscrapers and seadogs on harbor and psychoanalysts in stuffy offices in great grim buildings full of dead bodies in the morgue below and madwomen at windows, hoping thereby to instill in Mardou recognition of fact it’s a big world and psychoanaysis is a small way to explain it since it only scratches the surface, which is, analysis, cause and effect, why instead of what—when she comes out I read it to her, not impressing her too much but she loves me, holds my hand as we cut down along Embarcadero towards her place and when I leave her at Third and Townsend train in warm clear afternoon she says “O I hate to see you go, I really miss you now.”—”But I gotta be home in time to make the supper—and write—so honey I’ll be back, tomorrow remember promptly at ten.”—An tomorrow I arrive at midnight instead.
The time we had a shuddering come together and she said “I was lost suddenly” and she was lost with me tho not coming herself but frantic in my franticness (Reich’s beclouding of the senses) and how she loved it—all our teachings in bed, I explain me to her, she explains her to me, we work, we wail, we bop—we throw clothes off and jump at each other (after always her little trip to the diaphragm sink and I have to wait holding softer and making goofy remarks and she laughs and trickles water) then here she comes padding to me across the Garden of Eden, and I reach up and help her down to my side on the soft bed, I pull her little body to me and it is warm, her warm spot is hot, I kiss her brown breasts both of them, I kiss her loveshoulders—she keeps with her lips going “ps ps ps” little kiss sounds where actually no contact is made with my face except when haphazardly while doing something else I do move it against her and her little ps ps kisses connect and are as sad and soft as when they don’t—it’s her little litany of night—and when she’s sick and we’re
I want Mardou because she has begun to reject me—BECAUSE—”But baby that was a mad dream.”—”I was so jealous—I was sick.”—I harkened suddenly now to what Mardou’d said the first week of our relationship, when, I thought secretly, in my mind I had privately superseded her importance with the importance of my writing work, as, in every romance, the first week is so intense all previous worlds are eligible for throwover, but when the energy (of mystery, pride) begins to wane, elder worlds of sanity, well-being, common sense, etc., return, so I had secretly told myself: “My work’s more important than Mardou.”—Nevertheless she’d sensed it, that first week, and now said, “Leo there’s something different now—in you—I feel it in me—I don’t know what it is.” I knew very well what i was and pretended not to be able to articulate with myself and least of all with her anyway—I remembered now, in the waking from the jealousy nightmare, where she necks with Yuri, something had changed, I could sense it, something in me was cracked, there was new loss, a new Mardou even—and, again, the difference was not isolated in myself who had dreamed it, but participated somehow in the general rueful mixed up dream, but in she, the subject, who’d not dreamed it, but participated somehow in the general rueful mixed up dream of all this life with me—so I felt she could now this morning look at me and tell that something had died—not due to the balloon and “You can go now”—but the dream—and so the dream, the dream, I kept harping on it, desperately I kept chewing and telling about it, over coffee, to her finally when Carmody and Adam and Yuri came (in themselves lonely and looking to come get juices from that great current between Mardou and me running, a current everybody I found later wanted to get in on, the act) I began telling them about the dream, stressing, stressing, stressing, the Yuri part, where Yuri “every time I turn my back” is kissing her—naturally the others wanting to know their parts which I told with less vigor—a sad Sunday afternoon, Yuri going out to get beer, a spread, bread—eating a little—and in fact a few wrestling matches that broke my heart. For when I saw Mardou for fun wrestling with Adam (who was not the villain of the dream tho now I figured I must have switched persons) I was pierced with that pain that’s now all over me, that firstpain, how cute she looked in her jeans wrestling and struggling (I’d said “She’s strong as hell, d’jever hear of of her fight with Jack Steen? try her Adam”)—Adam having already started to wrestle with Frank on some impetus from some talk about holds, now Adam had her pinned in the coitus position on the floor (which in itself didn’t hurt me)—it was her beautifulness, her game guts wrestling, I felt proud, I wanted to know how Carmody felt NOW (feeling he must have been at the outset critical of her for being a Negro, he being a Texan and a Texas gentleman-type at that) to see her be so great, buddy like, joining, humble and meek too and a real woman. Even somehow the presence of Yuri, whose personality was energized already in my mind from the energy of the dream, added to my love of Mardou—I suddenly loved her. —They wanted me to go with them, sit in the park—as agreed in solemn sober conclaves Mardou said “But I’ll stay here and read and do things, Leo, you go with them like we said”—as they left and trooped down the stairs I stayed behind to tell her I left and trooped down the stairs I stayed behind to tell her I loved her now—she was not as surprised, or pleased, as I wished—she had looked at Yuro now already with the point of view eyes not only of my dream but had seen him in a new light as a possible successor to me because of my continual betrayal and getting drunk.
Yuri Gligoric: a young pet, 22, had just come down from apple-picking Oregon, before that a waiter in a big dude ranch apple-picking Oregon, before that a waiter in a big dude ranch dininghall—tall thin blond Yugoslavian, good-looking, very brash and above all trying to cut Adam and myself and Carmody, all the time knowing us as an old revered trinity, wanting, naturally, as a young unpublished unknown but very genius poet to destroy the big established gods and raise himself—wanting therefore their women too, being uninhibited, or unsaddened, yet, at least.—I liked him, considered him another new “young brother” (as Leroy and Adam before, whom I’d “shown” writing tricks) and now I would show Yuri and he would be a buddy with me and walk around with me and Mardou—his own lover, June, had left him, he’d treated her badly, he wanted her back, she was with another life in Compton, I sympathized with him and asked about the progress of his letters and phonecalls to Compton, and, most important, as I say, he was now for the first time suddenly looking at me and saying “Percepied I want to talk to you—suddenly I want to really know you.”—In a joke at the Sunday wine in Dante’s I’d said “Frank’s leching after Adam, Adam’s leching after Yuri” and Yuri’d thrown in “And I’m leching after you.”
Indeed he was indeed. On this mournful Sunday of my first pained love of Mardou after sitting in the park with the boys as agreed, I dragged myself again home, to work, to Sunday dinner, guiltily, arriving late, finding my mother glum and all-weekend-alone in a chair with her shawl.. and my thoughts rich on Mardou now—not thinking it of any importance whatever that I told young Yuri not only “I dreamed you were necking with Mardou” but also, at a soda fountain en route to the park when Adam wanted to call Sam and we all sat a counter waiting, with limeades, “Since I saw you last I’ve fallen in love with that girl,” information which he received without comment and which I hope he still remembers, and of course does.
And so now brooding over her, valuing the precious good moments we’d had that heretofore I’d avoided thinking of, came the fact, ballooning in importance, the amazing fact she is the only girl I’ve ever known who could really understand bop and sing it, she’d said that first cuddly day of the redbulb at Adam’s Drum and wherever I was happening to hear it, with an entirely new and different sense, which tho, I really can’t describe.”— “But what was it like?”—
“But I can’t describe it, it not only sent waves—went through me—I can’t, like, make it, in telling it in words, you know? OO dee bee dee dee” singing in a few past the Blackhawk with Adam actually but he was following and listening, close head to head, singing wild choruses of jazz and bop, at times I’d phrase and she did perfect in fact interesting modern and advancement chords (like I’d never heard anywhere and which bore resemblance to Bartok modern chords but were hep wise to bop) and at other times she just did her chords as I did the bass fiddle, in the old great legend (again of the roaring high davenport amazing smash-afternoon which I expect no one to understand) before, I’d with Ossip Popper sung bop, made records, always taking the part of the bass fiddle thum thum to his phrasing (so much I see now like Billy Eckstine’s bop phrasing)—the two of us arm in arm rushing longstrides down Market the hip old apple of the California Apple singing bop and well too—the glee of it, and coming after an awful party at Roger Walker’s where (Adam’s arrangement and my acquiescence) instead of a regular party where just boys and all queer including one Mexican younghustler and Mardou far from being nonplussed enjoyed herself and talked—nevertheless of it all, rushing home to the Third Street bus singing gleeful—
The time we read Faulkner together, I read her Spotted Horses, out loud—when Mike Murphy came in she told him to sit and listen as I’d go on but then I was different and I couldn’t read the same and stopped—but next day in her gloomy solitude Mardou sat down and read the entire Faulkner portable.
The time we went to a French
and beauty of it, recognition of which facts I shouldn’t even deserve, treating Mardou as I have done) (O forgive me angels of the heaven and of the earth—even Ross Wallenstein will go to heaven)—
Forgive the conjunctions and double infinitives and the not said
—again I’m impressed and I think, she too there, for the first time self-conscious of writing to an author—
I don’t know really what I wanted to say but want you to have a few words from me this Wednesday morning
and the mail only carried it in much later, after I saw her, the letter losing therefore its hopeful impactedness
We are like two animals escaping to dark warm holes and live our pains alone
—at this time my dumb phantasy of two us (after all the drunks making me drunksick city sick) was, a shack in the middle of Mississippi woods, Mardou with me, damn the lynchers, the not-likings, so I wrote back: “I hope you meant by that line (animals to dark warm holes) you’ll turn out to be the woman who can really live with me in profound solitude of woods finally and at same time make the glittering Parises (there it is) and grow old with me in my cottage of peace” (suddenly seeing myself as William Blake with the meek wife in the middle of London early dewy morning, Crabbe Robinson is coming with some more etching work but Blake is lost in the vision of the Lamb at breakfast leavings table).—Ah regrettable Mardou, and never a thought of that thing beats in your brow, that I should kiss, the pain of your own pride, enough 19th-century romantic general talk—the details are the life it of it—(a man may act stupid and top tippiyu and bugtime 19th-century boss type dominant with a woman but it won’t make it back, it’s hidden in her eyes, her future triumph and strength—on his lips we hear nothing but “of course love”).—Her closing words a beautiful pastichepattisee, or pie, of—
Write to me anything Please Stay Well Your Freind [ misspelled ] And my love And Oh [ over some kind of hiddenfroever erasures ] [ and many X’s for of course kisses ] And Love for Your MARDOU [ underlined ]
and weirdest, most strange, central of all—ringed by itself, the word, PLEASE—her lastplea neither one of us knowing—Answering this letter myself with a dull boloney bullshit rising out of my anger with the incident of the pushcart.
(And tonight this letter is my last hope)
The incident of the pushcart began, again as usual, in the Mask and Dante’s, drinking, I’d come in to see Mardou from my work, we were in a drinking mood, for some reason suddenly I wanted to drink red Burgundy wine which I’d tasted with Frank and Adam and Yuri the Sunday before—another, and first, worthy of mention incident, being—but that’s the crux of it all—THE DREAM. Oh the bloody dream! In which there was a pushcart, and everything else prophesied. This too after a night of severe drinking, the night of the redshirt faun a fool of yourself, Leo, you’re making yourself a reputation on the Beach as a big fag tugging at the shirts of well-known punks.”—”But I only wanted him for you to dig.”—”Nevertheless” (Adam) “really,”—And Frank: “You really makin a horrible reputation.”—Me: “ I don’t care, your emember 1948 when Sylvester Strauss that fag composer got sore at me because I wouldn’t go to bed with because he’d read my novel and submitted it, yelled at me ‘I know all about you and your awful reputation.’—’What?’—’You and that there Sam Vedder go around the Beach picking up sailors and giving them dope and he makes them only so he can bite, I’ve heard about you.’—’Where do you hear this fantastic tale?’—you know what story, Frank.”—”I should imagine” (Frank laughing) “what with all the things you right there in the Mask, drunk, in front of everybody, if I didn’t know you I’d swear you were the craziest piece of rough trade that ever walked” (a typical Carmodian pithy statement) and Adam “Really that’s true.”—After the night of the reshirt boy, drunk, I’d slept with Mardou and had the worst nightmare of all, which was, everybody, the whole world was around our bed, we lay there and everything was happening. Dead Jane was there, had a big bottle of Tokay wine hidden in Mardou’s dresser for me and got it out and poured me a big slug and spilled a lot of the waterglass on the bed (a symbol of even further drinking, more wine, to come)—and Frank with her—and Adam, who went out the door to the dark tragic Italian pushcart Telegraph Hill street, going down the rickety wooden Shatov stairs where the subterraneans were “digging an old Jewish patriarch just arrived from Russia” who is holding some ritual by the barrels of the fish head cats (the fish heads, in the height of the hot days Mardou had a fish head for our crazy little visiting cat who was almost human in his insistence to be loved his scrolling of neck and purring to be against you, for him she had a fish head which smelled so horrible in the almost airless night I threw part of it out in the barrel downstairs after first throwing a piece of slimy gut unbeknownst I’d put my hands against in the dark icebox where was a small piece of ice I wanted to chill my sauterne with, smack against a great soft mass, the guts or mouth of a fish, this being left in the icebox after disposal of fish I threw it out, the piece draped over fire escape and was there all hotnight and so in the morning when waking I was being bitten by gigantic big blue flies that had been attracted by the fish, I was naked and they were biting like mad, which annoyed me, as the pieces of pillow had annoyed me and somehow I tied it up with Mardou’s Indianness, the fish heads the awful sloppy way to dispose of fish, she sensing my annoyance but laughing, ah bird)— that alley, out there, in the dream, Adam, and in the house, the actual room and bed of Mardou and I the whole world roaring around us, back ass flat—Yuri also there, and when I turned my head (after nameless events of the millionfold mothswarms) suddenly he’s got Mardou on the bed laid out and wiggling and is necking furiously with her—at first I say nothing—when I look again, again they’re at it, I get mad—I’m beginning to wake up, just as I give Mardou a rabbit punch in the back of her neck, which causes Yuri to reach a hand for me—I wake up I’m swinging Yuri by the hells against the brick fireplace wall.—On waking from this dream I told all to Mardou except the part where I hit her or Yuri—and she too (in tying in with our telepathies already experienced that sad summer season now autumn mooned to death, we’d communicated many feelings of empathy and I’d come running to see her on nights when she sensed it) had been dreaming like me of the whole world around our bed, of Frank, Adam, others, her recurrent dream of her father rushing off, in a train, the spasm of almost orgasm.—”Ah honey I want to stop all this drinking these nightmares’ll kill me—you don’t know how jealous I was in that dream” (a feeling I’d not yet had about Mardou)—the energy behind this anxious dream had not obtained from her reaction to my foolishness with the redshirt boy (Absolutely insufferable type anyway” Carmody had commented “tho obviously good-looking, really Leo you were funny” and Mardou: “Acting like a little boy but I like it.”)—Her reaction had of course been violent, on arriving home after, she’d tugged me in the Mask in front of everyone including her Berkeley friends who saw her and probably even heard “It’s me or him!” and the madness humor of futility of that—arriving in Heavenly Lane she’d found a balloon in the hall, nice young writer John Golz who lived downstairs had been playing balloons with the kinds of the Lane all day and some were in the hall, with the balloon Mardou had (drunk) dance around the floor, puffing and pooshing and flupping it up with dance interpretive gestures and said something that not only made me fear her madness, her hospital type insanity, but cut my heart deeply, and so deeply that she could not therefore have been insane, in communicating something so exactly, with precise—whatever—”You can go now I have this ballon.”—”What do you mean?” (I, drunk, on floor blearing).—”I have this balloon now—I don’t need you any more—goodbye—goo away—leave me alone”—a statement that even in my drunkenness made me heavy as lead and I lay there, on the floor, where I slept an hour while she played with the balloon and finally went to bed, waking me up at dawn to undress and get in—both of us dreaming the nightmare of the world around our bed—and that GUILT-Jealousy entering into my mind for the first time—the crux of this entire tale being:
as we’d been complaining so much about heat and now the heat was ended, a coolness came into the air, you could feel it in the draining gray airshaft of Heavenly Lane and in the look of the sky and nights with a greater wavy glitter in streetlights—
—and that life will be a little more quiet—and you will be home writing and eating well and we will be spending pleasant nights wrapped around one another—and you are home now, rested and eating well because you should not become too sad—
written after, one night, in the Mask with her and newly arrived and future enemy Yuri erstwhile close lil brother I’d suddenly said “I feel impossibly sad and like I’ll die, what can we do?” and Yuri’d suggested “Call Sam,” which, in my sadness, I did, and so earnestly, as otherwise he’d pay no attention being a newspaper man and new father and no time to goof, but so earnestly he accepted us, the three, to come at once, from the Mask, to his apartment on Russian Hill, where we went, I getting drunker than ever, Sam as ever punching me and saying “THe trouble with you, Percepied,” and, “You’ve got rotten bags in the bottom of your store,” and, “You Canucks are really all alike and I don’t even believe you’ll admit it when you die”—Mardou watching amused, drinking a little, Sam finally, as always falling over drunk, but not really, drunk-desiring, over a little lowtable covered a foot high with ashtrays piled three inches high and drinks and doodads, crash, his wife, with baby just from crib, sighing—Yuri, who didn’t drink but only watched bead-eyed, after having said to me the first day of his arrival, “You know Percepied I really like you now, I really feel like communicating with you now,” which I should have suspected, in him, as constituting a new kind of sinister interest in the innocence of my activites, that being by the name of, Mardou—
—because you should not become too sad
was only sweet comment heartbreakable Mardou made about that disastrous awful night—similar to example 2, one following the one with Lavalina, the night of the beautiful faun boy who’d been in bed with Micky two years before at a great depraved wildparty I’d myself arranged in days when living with Micky the great doll of the roaring legend night, seeing him in the Mask, and being with Frank Carmody and everybody, tugging at his shirt, insisting he follow us to other bars, follows us around, Mardou finally in the blur and roar of the night yelling at me “It’s him or me goddamnit,” but not really serious (herself usually not a drink because a subterranean but in her affair with Percepied a big drinker now)—she left, I heard her say “we’re through” but never for a moment believed it and it was not so, she came back later, I saw her again, we swayed together, once more I’d been a bad boy and again ludicrously like a fag, this distressing me again in waking in gray Heavenly Lane in the morning beer roared.—This is the confession of a man who can’t drink.—And so her letter saying:
because you should not become too sad—and I feel better when you are well—
forgiving, forgetting all this sad folly when all she wants to do, “I don’t want to go out drinking and getting drunk with all your friends and keep going to Dante’s and see all those Juliens and everybody again, I want us to stay quiet at home, listen to and everybody again, I want us to stay quiet at home, listen to KPFA and read or something, or go to a show, baby I like shows, movies on Market Street, I really do.”—”But I hate movies, life’s more interesting!” (another putdown)—her sweet letter continuing:
I am full of strange feelings, reliving and refashioning many old things
—when she was 14 or 13 maybe she’d play hookey from school in Oakland and take the ferry to Market Street and spend all day in one movie, wandering around having hallucinated phantasies, looking at all the eyes, a little Negro girl roaming the shuffle restless street of winos, hoodlums, sams, cops, paper peddlers, the mad mixup there the crowd eying looking everywhere the sexfiend crowd and all of it in the gray rain of hookey days—poor Mardou—”I’d get sexual phantasies the strangest kind, not with like sext acts with people but strange situations that I’d spend all day working out as I walked, and my orgasms the few I had only came, because I never masturbated or even knew how, when I dreamed that my father or somebody was leaving me, running away from me, I’d wake up with a funny convulsion and wetness in my self, in my thighs, and on Market Street the same way but different and anxiety dreams woven out of the movies I saw.”—Me thinking O grayscreen gangster cocktail rainyday roaring gunshot spectral immortality B movie tire pile black-in-the-mist Wildamerica but it’s a crazy world!—”Honey” (out loud) “wished I could have seen you walking around Market like that—I bet I DID see you—I bet I did—you were thirteen and I was twenty-two—1944, yeah I bet I saw you, I was a seaman, I was always there, I knew the gangs around the bars—” So in her letter saying:
reliving and refashioning many old things
probably reliving those days and phantasies, and earlier cruder horrors of home in Oakland where her aunt hysterically beat her or hysterically tried and her sisters (tho occasional littler-sister tenderness like dutiful kisses before bed and writing on one another’s backs) giving her a bad time, she roaming the street late, deep in broodthoughts and men trying to make her, the dark men of dark colored-district doors—so going on,
and feeling the cold and the quietude even in the midst of my forebodings and fears—which clear nights soothe and make more sharp and real—tangible and easier to cope with
—said indeed with a nice rhythm, too, so I remember admiring her intelligence even then—but at the same time darkening at home there at my desk of well-being and think, “But cope that old psychoanalytic cope, she talks like all of em, the city decadent dead-ended in cause-and-effect analysis and solution of so-called problems instead of the great JOY of being and will and fearlessness—rupture’s their rapture—that’s her trouble, she;s just like Adam, like Julien, the lot, afraid of madness, the fear of madness haunts her—not Me Not Me by God”—
But why am I writing to say these things to you. But all feelings are real and you probably discern or feel too what I am saying and why I need to to write it—
—a sentiment of mystery and charm—but, as I told her often, not enough detail, the details are the life of it, I insist, say everything on your mind, don’t hold it back, don’t analyze or anything as you go along, say it out, “That’s” (I now say in reading letter) “a typical example—but no mind, she’s just a girl—humph”—
My Image of you now is strange
—I see the bough of that last statement, it waves on the tree—
I feel a distance from which you might feel too which gives me a picture of you that is warm and friendly
and then inserts, in smaller writing,
to obviate my feeling depressed probably over seeing in a letter from lover only word “friendly”—but that whole complicated phrase further complicated by the fact is its presented in originally written form under the marks and additions of a rewrite, which is not as interesting to me, naturally—the rewrite being
I feel a distance from you which you might feel too with pictures of you that are warm and friendly (and loving)
—and because of the anxieties we are experiencing but never speak of really, and are similar too—
a piece of communication making me suddenly by some majesty of her pen feel sorry for myself, seeing myself like her lost in the suffering ignorant sea of human life feeling distant from she who should be closet and not knowing (not not under the sun) why the distance instead is the feeling, the both of us entwined and lost in that, as under the sea—
I am going to sleep to dream, to wake
—hints of our business of writing down dreams or telling dreams on waking, all the strange dreams indeed and (later will show) the further brain communicating we did, telepathizing images together with eyes closed, where it will be shown, all thoughts meet in the crystal chandelier of eternity—Jim—yet I also like the rhythmic girl in any case, at my metaphysical homedesk—
You have very beautiful face and I like to see it as I do now—
—echoes of that New York girl’s statement and now coming from humble meek Mardou not so unbelievable and I actually begin to preen and believe in this (O humble paper of letters, O the time I sat on a log near Idlewild airport in New York and watched the helicopter flying in with the mail and as I looked I saw the smile of all the angels of earth who’d written the letters which were packed in its hold, the smiles of them, specifically of my mother, bending over sweet paper and pen to communicate by mail with her daughter, the angelical smile like the smiles of workingwomen in factories, the world-wide bliss of it and the courage
it, Mardou becoming the big buck nigger Turkish bath attendant, and I the little fag who’s broken to bits in the love affair and carried to the bay in a burlap bag, there to be distributed piece by piece and broken bone by bone to fish if there are still fish in that sad water)—so she’d thieve my soul and eat it—so told me a thousand times, “I did not steal that picture and I’m sure Aylward whatshisname didn’t and you didn’t it’s just Bernard, he’s got some kind of fetish there”— But it never impressed and stayed till the last, only the other night, time—that deepest doubt about her arising too from the time, (which she’d told me about) she was living in Jack Steen’s pad in a crazy loft down on Commercial Street near the seamen’s union halls, in the glooms, had sat in front of his suitcase an hour thinking whether she ought to look in it to see what he had there, then Jack came home and rummaged in it and thought or saw something was missing and said, sinister, sullen, “Have you been going thru my bag?” and she almost leaped up and cried YES because she HAD—”Man I had, in MInd, been going thru that bag all day and suddenly he was looking at me, with that look—I almost flipped”—that story also not impressing into my rigid paranoia-ridden brain, so for two months I went around thinking she’d told me. “Yes, I did go thru his bag but of course took nothing,” but so I saw she’d lied to Jack Steen in reality—but in reality now, the facts, she had only thought to do so, and so on—my doubts all of them hastily ably assisted by a driving paranoia, which is really my confession—doubts, then, all gone.
For now I want Mardou—she just told me that six months ago a disease took root deeply in her soul, and forever now—doesn’t this make her more beautiful?—But I want Mardou—because I see her standing, with her black velvet slacks, handsapockets, thin, slouched, cig hanging from lips, the smoke itself curling up, her little black back hairs of short haircut combed down fine and sleek, her lipstick, pale brown skin, dark eyes, the way shadows play on her high cheekbones, the nose, the little soft shape of chin to neck, the little Adam’s apple, so hip, so cool, so beautiful, so modern, so new, so unattainable to sad bagpants me in my shack in the middle of the woods—I want her because of the way she imitated Jack Steen that time on the street and it amazed me so much but Adam Moorad was solemn watching the imitation as if perhaps engrossed in the thing itself, or just skeptical, but she disengaged herself from the two men she was walking with and went ahead of them showing the walk (among crowds) the soft swing of arms, the long cool strides, the stop on the corner to hang and softly face up to birds with like as I say Viennese philosopher—but to see her do it, and to a T, (as I’d seen his walk indeed across the park), the fact of her—I love her but this song is…broken—but in French now… in French I can sing her on and on…
Our little pleasures at home at night, she eats an orange, she makes a lot of noise sucking it—
When I laugh she looks at me with little round black eyes that hide themselves in her lids because she laughs hard (contorting all her face, showing the little teeth, making lights everywhere) (the first time I saw her, at Larry O’Hara’s, in the corner, I remember, I’d put my face close to hers to talk about books, she’d turn her face to me close, it was an ocean of melting things and drowning, I could have swimmed in it, I was afraid of that richness and looked away)—
With her rose bandana she always put on for the pleasures of the bed, like a gypsy, rose, and then later the purple one, and the little hairs falling black from the phosphorescent purple in her brow as brown as wood—
Her little eyes moving like cats—
We play Gerry Mulligan loud when he arrives in the night, she listens and chews her fingernails, her head moves slowly side to side like a nun in profound prayer—
When she smokes she raises the cigarette to her mouth and slits her eyes—
She reads till gray dawn, head on one arm, Don Quixote, Proust, anything—
We lie down, look at each other seriously saying nothing, head to head on the pillow—
Sometimes when she speaks and I have my head under hers on the pillow and I see her jaw the dimple the woman in her neck, I see her deeply, richly, the neck, the deep chin, I know she’s one of the most enwomaned women I’ve ever seen, a brunette of eternity incomprehensibly beautiful and for always sad, profound, calm—
When I catch her in the house, small, squeeze her, she yells out, tickles me furiously, I laugh, she laughs, her eyes shine, she punches me, she wants to beat me with a switch, she says she likes me—
I’m hiding with her in the secret house of the night—
Dawn finds us mystical in our shrouds, heart to heart—
‘My sister!’ I’d thought suddenly the first time I saw her—
The light is out.
Daydreams of she and I bowing at big fellaheen cocktails parties somehow with glittering Parises in the horizon and in the forefront—she’s crossing the long planks of my floor with a smile.
Always putting her to test, which goes with “doubts”—doubts indeed—and I would like to accuse myself of bastardization—such tests—briefly I can name two, the night Arial Lavalina the famous young writer suddenly was standing in the Mask and I was sitting with Carmody also now famous writer in a way who’d just arrived from North Africa, Mardou around the corner in Dante’s cutting back and forth as was our wont all around, from bar to bar, and sometimes she’d cut unescorted there to see the Juliens and others—I saw Lavalina and called his name and he came over.—When Mardou came to get me to go home I wouldn’t go, I kept insisting it was an important literary moment, the meeting of those two (Carmody having plotted with me a year earlier in dark Mexico when we’d lived poor and beat and he’s a junkey, “Write a letter to Ralph Lowry find out how I can get to meet this here good-looking Arial Lavalina, man, look at that picture on the back of Recognition of Rome, ain’t that something?” my sympathies with him in the matter being personal and again like Bernard also queer he was connected with the legend of the bigbrain of myself which was my WORK, that all consuming work, so wrote the letter and all that) but now suddenly (after of course no reply from the Ischia and otherwise grapevines and certainly just as well for me at least) he was standing there and I recognized him from the night I’d met him at the Met ballet when in New York in tux I’d cut out with tuxed editor to see glitter nightworld New York of letters and wit, and Leon Danillian, so I yelled “Arial Lavalina! come here!” which he did.—When Mardou came I said whispering gleefully “This is Arial Lavalina ain’t that made!”—”Yeh man but I want to go home.”—And in those days her love meaning no more to me that that I had a nice convenient dog chasing after me (much like in my real secretive Mexican vision of he foll wing me down dark dobe streets of slums of Mexico City not walking with me but following, like Indian woman) I just goofed and said “But wait, you go home and wait for me, I want to dig Arial and then I’ll be home.”—”But baby you said that the other night and you were two hours late and you don’t know what pain it caused me to wait.” (Pain!)—”I know but look,” and so I took her around the block to persuade her, and drunk as usual at one point to prove something I stood on my head in the pavement of Montgomery or CLay Street and some hoodlums passed by, saw this, saying “That’s right”—finally (she laughing) depositing her in a cab, to get home, wait for me—going back to Lavalina and Carmody whom gleefully and now alone back in my big world night adolescent literary vision of the world, with nose pressed to window glass, “Will you look at that, Carmody and Lavalina, the great Arial Lavalina tho not a great writer like me nevertheless so famous and glamorous etc. together in the Mask and I arranged it and everything ties together, the myth of the rainy night, Master Mad, Raw Road, going back to 1949 and 1950 and things grand great the Mask of old history crusts”—(this my feeling and I go in) and sit with them and drink further—repairing the three of us to 13 Pater a lesbian joint down Columbus, Carmody, high leaving us to go enjoy it, and we sitting in there, further beers, the horror the unspeakable horror of myself suddenly finding in myself a kind of perhaps William Blake or Crazy Jane or really Christopher Smart alcoholic humility grabbing and kissing Arial’s hand exclaiming “Oh Arial you dear—you are going to be—you are so famous—you wrote so well— I remember you— what—” whatever and now unrememberable and drunkenness, and there he is a well-known and perfectly obvious homosexual of the first water, my roaring brain—we got to his suite in some hotel—I wake up in the morning on the couch, filled with the first horrible recognition, “I didn’t go back to Mardou’s at all” so in the cab he gives me—I ask for fifty cents but he gives me a dollar saying “You owe me a dollar” and I rush out and walk fast in the hot sun face all broken from drinking and chagrin to her place down in Heavenly Lane arriving just as she’s dressing up to go to the therapist.—Ah sad Mardou with little dark eyes looking up to go the therapist.—Ah sad Mardou with little dark bed and the drunken man leering in and I rushed down in fact at once to get two cans of beer to straighten up (“To curb the fearful hounds of hair” Old Bull Balloon would say), so as she ablated to go out I yelled and cavorted—went to sleep, to wait for her return, which was in the late afternoon, waking to hear the cry of pure children in the alleyways down there—the horror the horror, and deciding, “I’ll write a letter at once to Lavalina,” enclosing a dollar and apologizing for getting so drunk and acting in such a way as to mislead him—Mardou returning, no complaints, only a few little later, and the days rolling passing and still she forgives me enough or is humble enough in the wake of my crashing star in fact to write me, a few nights later, this letter:
Isn’t it good to know winter is coming—