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You’ve given me a heart attack! On my birthday (March 26, Aries, the Rites of Spring), I awaken to find my room transformed into a bower. Some secretly, some openly. He kept banging away at me like an ax murderer. This usually made me so hysterical with laughter that I lost interest in screwing. “If you’d stop being paranoid for a minute and use charm instead of main force, I’m sure nobody could resist you,” he said. Then I wanted to run to Bennett and plead forgiveness, throw myself at his feet, offer to bear him twelve children immediately (mainly to cement my bondage), promise to serve him like a good slave in exchange for any bargain as long as it included security. And guilt is the main weapon of self-torture. And she often succeeded. Christmas Eve in Paris. I used to search all the closets before I stayed alone at night. If only we could escape from always having to play ourselves! Any woman who can raise hell the way you did up at registration seems pretty promising.”. Had I no loyalty at all? It’s easy to be an intellectual with a mute wife.). But alas, so many of us do. “Never, never get involved with a man who wants to be an artist,” my mother used to say, who knew. German toilets observe class distinctions. Instead he was sweet. at Columbia. His face is blank. “They will! Was it better to acknowledge that than to keep on looking for false solutions? Dodgson and Alice. I doubled myself up in the midget-sized back seat. But Adrian? But he walked past me without acknowledging this. A spiked iron chandelier hangs dead center from a black chain. as anything. They were tea and twelve. We never saw each other. We came to know the humbler sort of campsite, with its pervasive sewer smell, long tin trough for face-washing and tooth-brushing, stagnant mosquito-breeding swimming hole (where Adrian invariably swam), and jolly German citizens who made brilliant conversation about Adrian’s English pup tent (in whose electric-blue nylon glow we slept) and interrogated us about our lives like horribly experienced spies. I think of them seeing each other less after marriage than before. Besides I really believed in pursuing a longstanding and deep relationship with one person. “Shut up, cunt-and let me finish about May…” and then, turning to me amid a screeching of brakes: “God-you’re beautiful…”. Astrology nuts try. “I lied to you last night,” Adrian said. She lives as if she were constantly on the brink of some great fulfillment. Don’t you ever have fun together?”, “Like when?” He sat up. I immersed myself in the work of other writers. A-Z of network learning A.I.D.S. Former Druid that I was, I knew to thank the gods for small favors. I fell in love with a pale WASP of a biochemist who took me to lunch at the Harvard Club and had been married to two other women writers-both of them nymphomaniacally inclined. “Ordinary” was the worst insult she could find for anything. The day has been white and gray. “Am I a bore? That’s not what I mean. We bent our heads forward in eager anticipation. And why does she make me feel that I am nothing but a blurred carbon copy of her? “Life as a fruitcake! My version, Brian’s, his parents’, my parents’, the doctors’, the nurses’, the social workers’… There were an infinite number of versions, an infinite number of realities. It would do him some good if you took off without him. The amphitheater itself was not, sinisterly enough, marked. Both of them are surreptitiously looking around to see who is looking at them-and for one moment, my eyes and Judy Rose’s meet. “Why do you have to start converting me before you’ve even fucked me?”. The husband was a chemistry professor. “Be kind to your behind.” “Blush like you mean it.” “Love your hair.” “Want a better body? “I’ve already made my decision,” I said. The bed was a single. I vowed to myself I would never see Adrian again. Also good for diamond miners trying to smuggle out gems by bowel. What can be funnier than a poetry reading on television? The dining room was practically empty at every sitting and the room-service bells kept ringing. I felt I was going to crack under the strain. Coated. The place was filled with shrinks and advertising people and social workers and NYU professors who looked like shrinks. Pulse rates and secretions have nothing to do with it. But right now I was happy. She looks at his sleeping face, the long mouth with its curled-up corners, the sketchy eyebrows like Chinese calligraphy, and she thinks that next year this time they will not be together or else they will have a baby who does not look like her. Well, there’s no such thing as security. Two beers each and we are kissing ostentatiously in public. My nose and cheeks were red. He wanted us both to close our eyes and cross streets against the lights (to prove we were gods). Then he began to tell me about what it was like to be a press correspondent under Hitler. Her real name is Judith. I sensed, despite her bohemian talk, that she disapproved of sex, that it was basically unmentionable. It began simply. An infinite number of Adrians in beige corduroy trousers and plum-colored turtlenecks and brown suede jackets. Despite her numerous pregnancies, Randy continued to act as if she were the first woman in history to have a uterus. He never believed in God. “Cherbourg. The airport looked scrubbed and gleaming. But his trying to hold me back only made me more furious. A few days later I’ll often find a tiny spot of blood in the rubber yarmulke of the diaphragm. “Bed first or booze?”. Kafkan? I remembered a story about Theodore Roethke alone in his big old house, dressing and undressing himself before the mirror, examining his nakedness in between bouts of composition. But he was also mute and at that point his silence was music to my ears. And yet… I also have another mother. She wears turtlenecks and ski pants just like us. What do you think that will solve?”, “It’s just that I want to really feel close to someone, united with someone, whole for once. Finally we rest on a bench near the Fontaine de l’Observatoire. Will Villon go vilely? Isadora Icarus, I ought to call myself. Vulgar was his ultimate word of scorn. We came to know the ugliest part of France, that badland near the German border where the roads are broken-surfaced meandering two-lane caravans and the French refuse to repair them, saying that the Germans get to Paris fast enough anyway. I couldn’t rebel against Judaism because I hadn’t any to rebel against. Then the fingers are sliding between her thighs and they are parting her thighs, and they are moving upward into the fleshy gap between her heavy black stockings and her garters, and they are sliding up under her garters into the damp unpantied place between her legs. “I was just writing you a letter but now I don’t need to.” I started tearing up the letter. “You keep running back and forth between the two of us,” he said. He was playing Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations, and he began turning the volume up loud and then suddenly turning it down soft, to create a sort of siren effect. It never comes. I felt strangely safe there, under my mother’s fur coat. Then he pulled up in front of the “ancestral home”-a small, white-washed adobe house with grapes growing on the roof and no windowpanes or screens but only small square windows with wrought-iron grills over them (and flies zooming freely in and out-but inevitably more in than out). Adrian loved to hear this. Schizophrenics were the true poets. And the borrowed wings never stayed on when I needed them. “You haven’t gone deep enough yet,” he said. The mayor of Vienna was going to greet them and a reception was to be held in Vienna’s pseudo-Gothic Rathaus. Poor Charlie had no charisma. And men, of course, compound the problem by mocking them for their indecisiveness and blaming it on biology, hormones, premenstrual tension. My shoulders and forearms were burnt to a crisp. But my mother, smoothing the real linen sheets between which I. trembled, insisted, that rainy night in London, on civilization. And I never need a real reason to panic. The gas lamps lit at his passing, chasing away the gloom and rev He pushes her away. Esther has bloody well pissed off with other blokes from time to time and left me holding the kids. “It’s the sunniest bloody day I’ve seen in weeks.” But he’s catching the giggles from me and even before we get to the café we’re both high. But all I felt was indifference. Perhaps I went on writing so as not to have to leave. “What happened? Brian was busy playing Florizel to my Perdita (“These your unusual weeds to each part of you/ Do give a life-no shepherdess, but Flora/ Peering in April’s front…”) when a whole tribe of urchins-black and Puerto Rican kids about eight or nine years old-were attracted by our reading and distributed themselves on the bench and the grass near us, seemingly entranced by our performance. After about ten minutes of this we were laughing and in high spirits again. “That’s already happened to some extent. It wasn’t as evilly planned as you seem to think.”, “Then what was it? If I learn to build the right vehicle, then I can discover even more territories. I’m planning to send it to The New York Times. Germany’s fruit markets fascinated me with their diabolical beauty. I could feel them evaporating when the sun came out and shone on our skin again. Was I doomed to be hungry for life? When I was sixteen and called myself a Fabian socialist, when I was sixteen and refused to pet with boys who liked Ike, when I was sixteen and cried into the Rubaiyat, when I was sixteen and cried into the sonnets of Edna St. Vincent Millay-I used to dream of a perfect man whose mind and body were equally fuckable. And there’s the rub! Only I was tracking down my own past, my own Jewishness in which I had never been able to believe before. My whole hysterical history of searching for the impossible man and finding myself always right back where I started: inside my own head. And who can explain the basis for selection? I’ve always set a high value on words and have often made the mistake of believing in words far more than in actions. Incredible as this inefficient itinerary may sound, it is still more incredible when you realize that the whole thing took only two and a half weeks. I don’t believe in dying for causes. The final solution promised by the Nazi dream: a Jewless world without men. “You’ve got to be an analyst,” I said, “nobody else would throw the word paranoid around so freely.”, He was wearing a very thin white cotton Indian kurtah and I could see his reddish-blond chest hair curling underneath it. Despite the seeming rebelliousness of a nice Jewish girl from Central Park West marrying an A-Rab, she led the most ordinary family life imaginable in Beirut. They appear to be mother and grandmother and granddaughter. You could never escape your femaleness. is printed with propaganda. I couldn’t be an artist on pain of being painted over. I couldn’t. And now that I can take it… now that I can finally do it… I’m realty raring to go. Sometimes one of the cats would leap on an overfull can of garbage and knock an empty beer can to the ground, and the sound of the hollow tin on the pavement would echo through the room. I looked at an advertising poster which read. I felt the explosions starting within me and my cunt juices began to flow down the length of my love passage, lubricating his hot pole and letting it slip more easily…. I didn’t care. Brian was psychotic, she said, and possibly dangerous. There was another reason for our heavy drinking: namely my depressions. I meet a guy any other self-respecting women would automatically run miles from, and I manage to find something endearing about all his questionable characteristics, something rivetingly attractive about his manias. I was nobody’s baby now. He looked at me with barely a glimmer of recognition. All my high-falutin’ rebelliousness is only a reaction to my deep-down servility. I had to participate in it by eliminating the possibilities. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. The contrast between my fantasies (Paul Newman, Laurence Olivier, Humphrey Bogart, Michelangelo’s David) and the pimply faced adolescent boys I knew was laughable. This is a still life her grandfather has set up. It was illuminating, I think.”. The umbilical cord which connects us has never been cut so it has sickened and rotted and turned black. Insanity was no one’s fault. Judy and Marty looked at each other. She thinks of the first two weeks of her broken leg. You’ve already given me a splitting headache!” Holding her temples, Randy ran into the bathroom. Adrian made the rules, but he also had a tendency to change them frequently to suit himself. It always did, unfortunately. Flashing white lights. I wanted to weep out of sheer exhaustion, but I knew I couldn’t make myself that conspicuous. All the potato-shaped ladies would stand around me, forming a gray wall of loden cloth. Because you insulted my friends. His nose was enormously long and hooked and had flaring nostrils, and his small down-turned mouth always wore a sour expression, somewhere between contempt and melancholy. You must have been terribly angry with me.”. I could take it. You encouraged me to shake up my life and go off with you and now you’re busy keeping your safe little household intact! I don’t know anymore. I insisted I wanted to go home, but Adrian tried to prevail on me to stay. “Pierre,” I said gently, “haven’t?you ever read Lolita?”. And who can convey an infatuation? They were-every one of them-unfinished symphonies. No fifty-piece orchestra was playing The Blue Danube Waltz for them then, or plying them with herzlichen Grüssen and free Schnaps. I had had the unutterably dismal experience of waking up in bed with a man I couldn’t bear to talk to-and that was certainly no liberation either. I feel glorious today, for example.”, “Why do I feel so lousy when you feel so glorious?”, “Because you’re bloody Jewish,” he laughed. They are both American. It may be condoned in a man-especially if he is a “glamorous bachelor” who “dates starlets” during a brief interval between marriages. You could get that out of a fortune cookie. He was thirty-one and never married. My father and I had an afternoon and evening left before our return flight to New York. Some of these were to be given to a literary agent in London. He’s a friend of mine from London and he ought to be here any minute so why don’t we walk across to the café, have a beer, and look for him?”. It seems to me like this. I was particularly entranced by Ludwig’s centrally heated plaster grotto between bedroom and study, his plaster stalactites and stalagmites illuminated with neon-green spotlights, his murals of Siegfried and Tannhäuser (featuring fat blond goddesses with breasts as smooth as epoxy resin and blond-bearded warriors reclining in leafy glens on mossy rocks). Wing. Like teetering on the edge of the Grand Canyon and hoping you’d learn to fly before you hit bottom. And my friends would laugh behind their false commiseration. Neither of us quite knew what we had gotten into, or why. His cough was his only protestation. He won’t commit himself to a statement unless he’s sure it’s definitive. Dante and Beatrice. That was the only heating facility. But what to wrap them in? “Where did you disappear to last night?” I say blithely. Whose? There’s something to be said for passion. We were merely going through the motions of something we had done in fantasy many times. We arrived at 9 a.m.-just as the airport was opening up. After the four of us got older, she and my father traveled a lot for business, and she picked up odd accessories everywhere. And Bennett Adrian’s. “Women cannot possibly do both,” she said, “you’ve got to choose. What was that other voice which kept calling me coward! Bennett’s child. He’s home in Washington Heights. I wasn’t sure whether the kids lifted it or whether I’d lost it earlier and not noticed. After all, I wasn’t entirely sure I had any other place to go. Brave! Throughout all of history, books were written with sperm, not menstrual blood. I had improvised another sanitary napkin with toilet paper and pinned it to my underpants. But it’s not a simple matter of the law of inversion. So I turned to D. H. Lawrence, and to Love Without Fear, and to Coming of Age in Samoa. The old dance. “Christ-it’s like ice,” he said. When was the last time you said “I don’t agree…” and said it so calmly? 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