June will go out as a lost month, one of these months whose labor wasn’t productive enough to deserve an eclogue and will drop right out of the calendar. Erschöpft, uncreated or created-out, as they might say: emptied of power. Around the twentieth day of boxing, unboxing, painting and scouring, hauling around odious heaps of trash, you contract a great envy for the donkey harnessed to the mill, who, to the extent it understands that its circle is always the same circle, doesn’t occupy itself in wondering where it will stop, and doesn’t torment itself by imagining a different journey that would move in a straight line. At moments you briefly become the envied donkey. At other moments you find the place where the ascetic impulse intersects Beckett’s love for Belacqua, disgust with life as the arena of motion and labor, all desire superseded by the wish for stasis and rest.
Some old sutra: was it wishing for the destruction of desire, or desiring the destruction of wishing...?
Or the story J. tells about her coworker who was a nun, passing her one day in the hall:
- How can I extinguish desire?
- You can’t! This is the realm of desire!
Drove the 880 two nights in a row, had taken care to avoid freeways at night for a long time and forgot how the pupils dilate as a stress response, creating ghostly cones around all the passing lights, white and red.... Fog above us on the last night, heraldic billows: you’re leaving, leaving. Next morning back up on the train to see if the city has finally taken away the 81 cubic feet of trash we’re permitted to shove at them: we had a fatally huge basement where all kinds of things got dumped, mattresses, styrofoam, broken appliances, the surplus inventory of records I’d made, in boxes that at some point became a giant nest for ants, though the ants have now vanished, leaving only dirt and empty tunnels honeycombing the cardboard. My Imamura moment for the year. But J. said it’s all right, it is nature after all. Everything has been on the curb for days and the citizens of Berkeley showed a lot of interest, dumping the bags all over the sidewalk, until J. wrote a long open letter asking them to stop. Two days after the city was supposed to collect it, it’s still out there: I get on the phone and yell at someone in customer service, which is a thing I do very rarely. I receive assurances. Whatever that means. So it’s not my problem now, I’ve repainted the rooms and give my keys back to the landlady, finis.
Getting to know my new material conditions, pacing out the new flat neighborhoods: brick houses, I think, looks like Reno, or else: wide bright street, like the dusty downtown end of Tucson. The new kitchen will be a delight, finally enough room to turn around in; already gotten used to the cozy small bedroom. It will take more time to tolerate the sound of people tramping around upstairs. Whatever, they’ll have to deal with my guitars, assuming I get to pick up my guitars again, assuming life resumes. On my way out from Berkeley I sold two last boxes of CDs at Amoeba and got just enough cash for a baker’s dozen of wine at Oddlots. As it ought to be: fuck the rhetoric of investment, let’s hear it for the ephemeral pleasures you don’t have to carry around your whole damn life.
For instance: the steering wheel bucks under your hand, refusing you, and the road starts to whip like a ribbon in the wind. The screaming animal in you looks out through the wide windscreen at a movie you’ve never seen, though you’ve been told about it since childhood: really, this? The steering wheel bucks under your hand. Like this? So strange to see the road whip, to feel the car’s new drift. But stranger than the new movie is that the old movie is over. The screaming animal looks out through the windscreen. You held a hundred threads in your hand, spring was wet and summer was to be dry, Friday was cruel and Saturday was to soothe you. The road starts to whip like a ribbon in the wind. The hundred threads are out of your hand. The staircase you half climbed spins into air above you; no one will ever know half of what was in your head. Really, like this? So strange to feel the new drift. All you lived was prologue, the curtain hadn’t lifted. The screaming animal looks out through the windscreen, dropped into a movie you’ve never seen. You held a hundred threads in your hand, and the road starts to whip like a ribbon in the wind. Really? Spring was wet, the staircase spins into air. The steering wheel bucks under your hand. You were told about it since childhood. Like this? The old movie? All you lived was prologue. Summer and Friday, the wide screen. Halves and threads. Threads.
working thu, god this stuff is comllicated
I know! I just drove a car back from Kansas. Weakness, garbage trucks going by, everything pushing its way through molasses
Dear diary, I can’t do anything but lie in bed and make phrases. What a donkey. At the bottom of the well there is nothing but the romance of being at the bottom of the well. That is, a stage costume you’ve put on too many times, all wisps and threads. Used to be sweeter.
But if it is the bottom of a well, there must be water; and if one waits, the water will rise, and up you go like a buoy.
get up, donkey, you know how to swim!