Thursday, May 8, 2008
The Aqua Mustang 15 - CLICK FORWARD
I am on a verge. Verge of what? I have not crossed over to the White Mountains yet. In fact when I am with people here I am talking about making Vermont, which is the anti-New Hampshire, my base – staying in countryside, even staying in this country, taking up painting, improving my horseback riding. Though I cannot shake the near certainty that I have crucial unfinished business already unfolding in the city. A new life in art, perhaps. And I carry this mental picture of blonde Gillian, who had returned in early spring from Dharmasala to join these meetings I had been going to in the city.
The meetings in this search for the past, and my dreams too, in this time that the visual has taken over from the literary. Dark woods in Hobbema, Gorky’s knife edge passage into suicide, light and hope in Deibenkorn and Matisse.
The songs in the car:
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
Gillian back from India. We had begun to date, or was it dating? She said she was drawn to me because we were the travelers. We are going mostly to inexpensive outdoor places in the East Village, a little like a couple of buddies getting together. Neither has seen the other’s apartment.
I had been watching her when she was sitting a few places away from me in these circles of people probing the past. She had seemed to me like a model for a Matisse bronze.
What she says in the circle shows she’s been around, must be older than she looks. But she seems pure girl, soft, a heart-breaker. She sits there attentive, so pretty when she concentrates on what is being said, sometimes with a mysterious knowing smile that I think speaks of sex, sometimes raising fine arms to pull up and back strands of long blonde hair, then letting the strands fall down, playing with them. Serious. Then that smile. Eyes laughing at something secret. And that is my main picture of her still when we are sort of dating.
Lets the river answer
That you’ve always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
On Vermont roads with these songs playing, the parade of women, who were meant to be left before they left me, is passing through the car again but this time in reverse order, starting now almost at the beginning, not my mother but chubby, eager Sandie from our sister boarding school, kissing with tongues when we were 15, Sandie whom I betrayed, click, then click click click Kitty, then click Alma,then Alice, click Dina and Tina and Ina, click Cindy, click Jeannie, click Irma, click click Bonnie and the other Bonnie too. Click Gillian and then back a step, Jocelyn.
On Vermont roads with these songs in the car, I go from the just past memory of Gillian playing with her blond strands to the not long past memory of Jocelyn, when she and I watched Traufaut’s Small Change while in her bed. She had the video long before it was available in America, just before most people had VCRs, had it because she had connections with celebrated figures who were connected to everything.
Watching the scene where the schoolmaster explains to his class in Lyon that a mysteriously missing boy was abused at home, I have to check myself from starting to cry – the schoolmaster’s kindness, the almost forgotten boy.
“Were you an abused child?” Jocelyn asks, and I do not answer. And she tells me how her grandmother in Algiers used to set upon her in the shower, beat her black and blue. But I cannot tell her anything about myself, not then and not when she talks of what she for the moment seems to take to be our star-crossed love, me lying on my back on New Year’s Eve, she talking while sitting up above me in gleaming nakedness. Like what was in dreams in lonely times, but I have no words in this non-dream time, no words to even say I have no love to give her. Though I feel on a verge.
There are heroes in the seaweed,
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love now
And they will lean that way forever.
Driving through green Vermont, a stone’s throw from granite New Hampshire. My head filled with music and these women.