“Mu” in the tongue of the motherland
means mother, land, country, field, mouth
[Typist’s note: There is a column of symbols/drawings with their definitions. The individual symbols/drawings are all parts of a composite. The renderings here are approximate. The composite cannot be duplicated here.]
µ M = mu
9 land of …
9(within a circle) the sun
U 8 rays, the 8 cardinal points
m in the universe
Table of Contents
All Hallows Day letter to Dianne
Meditation on Deborah Kerr.
Fantasy on 2001
Notes on Zen cooking
Letter to Bill Stafford
Variations on Highway Five
Latihan, the harder lessons of trust
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross fiasco
Letter to Paid My Dues
Dreams of Ashland & Pearl
Transcriptions of Vision Quest stuff
An Analysis of Ashland Pain
letter to Mom
‘Pain’ and Academic Philosophy
The day of the Black Dot
Teaching Notes for Death Class “Am I Crazy or Am I Just Cassandra”
Aunt Jean’s Face
Partial Eclipse Notes
3 Dream Fragments
by Mary Warnoch Austin = alias, alice, aliace: jean tangren pearl Time’s Child
* I should explain about this title; there was, of course, Jane Austin’s treatise on Sense and Sensibility //then there was a philosopher named
and he hated sense data
and “sensibilia” was the name for
a quantum of sense data
and he ridiculed it all elegantly
and erased the last known trace of yin
from the philosophical field.
So here’s my wrinkle … In time, after all, Sense, and Sinsemilla, (and Lesbian Sensibilities, too) (It all comes to much the same.)
For DIANNE ROCHELLE
All Hallows Day
All hallowed by Thy name, day
all hallowed be Thy nameday
Lady Moon rock, chaste Dianna
arcing whitely over me
the eternally denied
come to me after all …
with the restoration of the sacred world
as a fringe benefit.
Greetings from Mu farm
(Oh, Singer, I have the photographs my eyes took of you in states of grace.)
And now Mu Farm is called into being
and she is accomplished
and last night we had the Halloween party
you’ve always wanted to go to.
We held a
We changed costumes. First I wore my Faust coat (they knew what it was, to me,)
My Faust coat
made because I wanted to be Faust –
searching out the mysteries
(when I was twenty one
and fancied I was Faust.)
Sue and I made her one, too.
We were trippist nuns –
as was our habit
First for costume wore my Faust coat
Then wore nothing at all
wore my naked body
for my costume
It was OK with them. In the great hall of celebration. It was OK with them.
When the evening was dissolving into a body pile
I donned a third –
a Tudor dress it was,
burgundy, black fur,
white soft ruff and wrists rufflets.
I arced my back over Seaweed’s legs,
touched a thigh, touched Thyme’s head,
looked up into Greenbow’s eyes
and felt so – pretty.
“Here,” I meant, “what women have we loved?”
be them all.”
That was my dance; there were many others.
Once in the chanting circle Greenbow said she had had a vision of me in a past life. I was, she said, a witch and there had been a terrible witch hunt, and I had escaped but many of my sisters were burned.
(Sue? Were you one of those?)
Seaweed read a passage she’s found
in The Tao of Physics
as it arises in the Zen Koan,
and we all seemed to understand it
and it seemed to be about us –
But why not, after all?
Now in the great hall of celebration
(formerly the work shed)
Greenbo sits across from me, writing.
Someone is singing in the meadow
I am not as peaceful as this may sound.
Many conflicts, fears, paranoias
arising with the adjustment to a family of seven
Much paranoia to work through
I am tired.
[Would Gertrude Stein be entitled to take privilege? Distress at my failure to love more, my confusion.]
But I am becoming well again. Sometimes last night our eyes met
as I passed around the sacred joint
and for an instant pure open love passed from
eye to eye before it became too much
And I took off my clothes
to show that I as not afraid
that we were not afraid
to show ourselves to each other
And I was often then being the incarnation of myself
Kau has named
“mad Laughing Hello Woman.”
So that’s here. And today on all hallows day we have begun to hallow all the hollows of this now land
wet with autumn fire
wet with autumn fire
as she quickens
to the flicking of the Sappho fire
in all her hollows
in all her hollows.
So sometimes I think I’m fine
and sometimes I think I’m terrified
and I do a lot of battles with the self-hater.
And today I did a latihan – I guess that’s what you’d call it – though I’m mixing as much as possible these days and trying not to be limited by the definition of any of my acts –
or, what is the same thing, to give them new and more correct definitions – today I did a latihan and in it finally let myself remember you.
Waiting to meditate –
Here in the hall, one hums peacefully in the candlelight, one sighs much, one breathes softly;
Thru the open doorway
one of us vomits her crying out over the meadows.
It is the cave of the heart
making room to be.
It’s not as if I haven’t remembered you before, Singer, and with much happiness.
But now it was with much sadness. For hiding the sadness from myself is getting in the way of my going on. With other women.
I suppose it was because on Holloween night in the first hour of the witch’s new year amidst a sea of dreaming lesbians Thyme and I smoked a pipe and finally finally made love a lot. And I woke her up in the morning of the witch’s new year with my hand gently nuzzling her Osheshoni, and we made love even while others woke up and meditated and did yoga and touched and made love – and this was all a first for all of us – and yet a part of me is not glad enough of this yet because Thyme is not glad enough of this yet and because – because it was not you. And for a number of extraneous reasons.
Still it is true I am sad because it was not you. Though not terribly, to tell the truth, sitting here in this November foggy morning Zen kitchen, warmed by the flame of a candle
Still, I wanted to tell you about yesterday when I was terribly sad.
Because I want to remember it
because my heart was coming open
I want my heart to come open again: I have to remember you.
Oh Dianna of the Rashamons
Oh eternal puzzle of another person
Oh Diannas resonating through the halls of
mirrors of my separate selves.
Kai Cha (Chai Ka) has come into the kitchen. Doffs rainy poncho, whispers about lighting a fire, her feet are bare, save for a green wrist bracelet with 3 small bells. (With so many of us, we naturally speak in whispers, and less often.)
Myth upon myth, and robber of myths you are,
oh how are we other and not other?
Waiting for Treelight to come work on our tent
I make some needed changes in the hallows poem.
As it takes on the form of a chant
Sapphofire appears in brown bathrobe costume
I bound over, sing her my song, standing in the wet grass – feeling like an angel myself on Herod’s hallowed hills.
Hmm… In Quo Vadis was where I first loved Deborah Kerr – and it was the first time I’d ever heard of a persecuted religion. Afterwards I went to Sunday School saying “Why didn’t you tell us about this?” (“The catacombs and the martyrs and the lions and the singing? Why didn’t you tell me about all that?”) and Rome became holy forever though somewhat tarnished by the real thing.
Deborah Kerr became holy forever.
Though it was not till you had the shipboards, as Catherine Parr, the gentle, kind wife of henry the VIII (the one who outlived him) that I knew I loved you. And your gentleness and goodness being allowed to be by this Catherine Parr, Deborah Kerr, and your’s too, Jeanne Fitch, twelve, twelve I was, and pealing eternal love for Tudor
and you, my lady.
In my small green bedroom, I began to make ceremonies. [At first you were framed by Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger. Entering the room to bowed to each of them, then most deeply to you, then to each of them again. Same procedure upon leaving.
Have I been oppressed much or not?
Well, to the degree that
they tried to tell me that I should be like Miss America
when I was really a moon speaker ….
And I believed that I believed them, and I never understood then that I just didn’t believe them – to that degree was I oppressed.
To the degree that I was allowed to know so little of who I was, I was oppressed. But in that part of me who knew it all along
I was free.
James Whitcomb (John Whitcomb?) used to draw quite nice portraits of women, my mother said. He drew you once, Deborah, and he noticed the fall of your eyelashes at the corners and I cut the picture out and out it in the altar in my – oh, no!, My closet! A walk-in closet it was, at the end of my green and pink room. The clothes hung on one side; the other was a bureau, on the top, the altar to you: the blue pen with which you’d written
“to Jean from Deborah Kerr”
“to make it more personal,” you said,
the blue pen on gold-spun angel hair
in a gold filigree box with a cut crystal top
and the eucalyptus leaves from a certain address on Corona Del Mar, actual evidence
of the existence of
I talked to you all the time, and put glass over the second picture so that my chaste kisses should not stain you and searched into your eyes for the subtle shifts of expression that were answers – yes
– even in the desolation of being
teenage in the fifties –
I could practice looking into your eyes,
oh, Deborah Kerr.
This second [icon] picture was better and worse than the first – the traces of compassion were sometimes glimpsable – but the red lips in the retouch job were jabbing and there was a certain defendedness to the camera, a certain closedness in this situation
when you were playing
a certain defendedness Deborah Kerr needed, but not the nun.
Acting gave you a way to remember the place where we are all compassion for the characters,
acting was your way, oh, you who haunted once Oahu’s beaches –
you were grace, incarnating – and all the while thinking She was a movie star.
A broad-minded woman. (She’s no prig?) A sexy movie star –
Wonder really why they did that to you, Deborah,
lady in the torn dress tied to a pole
somehow you were coming through
all the time anyway.
How may of us were there, I wonder,
who saw your compassion writ unmistakable
and knew that you might
hear of our love
with some compassion.
Late full moon late night
night full of light,
candlelight swimming in windows
mist swimming in moonlight,
glowing with the yin-light
Went to town to vote, stayed up all night writing this [above] other stuff, got a little sleep – tried to do Mu’s errands next day to get back, got sick, ended up staying in town 9at my house there] 5 days. Friday 1st poetry reading I heard O. Do – first contact since I sent her so much energy – she seemed rejecting, I felt I was being a bother, felt humiliated, apologetic – slept literally with Carol she said “You feel this a lot. When you put out more energy to people than they do back to you, you tend to feel you’ve committed a faux pax.” (Yes, or to be anguished about not having done right action, after all.)
Ominous stirrings from Mu form – circle when I got back about peoples’ feelings that I was gone so long. We all somehow turned it into a witch trial, our excommunication ritual – it was very violent feeling – very traumatic for me. At many levels still having trouble recovering trust in my path now at the end of cherishing Mu, [Typist’s note: illegible word here] 14. That was some resolution. Escaped to town next night with Kai Cha – went to gay poets reading at U of O – O. 2 men, open mike – I read vision quest stuff – returned to write this.
WHAT DOES A FREAK SHOW? A FREEK SHOW? OH WHAT DOES A FREAK SHOW, CAN YOU ANSWER THAT?
What was the Graeco-Roman
worship of the hermaphrodite all about?
No sooner asked than a promising hypothesis appears:
The hermaphrodite is neither male nor female
The hermaphrodite is both male and female
The hermaphrodite is a living paradox for our own common sense –
is it???” Mocking us from the far side of the categories,
It is the hermaphrodite, then, who is made in the image of God.
Dear Amy, and Holly, too,
I have a thanksgiving present
a thanksgiving present for you –
a slice of my semi-current life
while I work on
my proper introduction thru chronologically
earlier works just in shape.
What I wrote the night we telephoned,
and changes Holly out me through.
My Christmas present suddenly solved?
Work on my work
my private radio program
and give it to whoever can hear it –
for these are my family now.
Going thru and listening to my tapes is like gold mining
Note: many yoga positions possible in the back of
D.K. – converted-into-a-study –
could do many hours in the rain
tonight it rains starlight
from Dianne, the huntress of the moon, and her faith-ful companion Bhodi
from Meg and her Nipper
for the seven Pleiades and Kuneigonde[Are you Serius?]
Note: In 2001
the astronaut dismantled the computer
brain until it began to go mad and
finally gave out; then the
piloted it into being
another story altogether
a story of a different genre
a horse of a different color,
a quest of a different order.
“An odd sense of the movie’s having been switched ‘in the Middle’ as Tangren-Pearl said of Pt Reyes. Oh, my gosh, it’s not really that story after all, that scientific material world of walls and sand, that was only the beginning word, and not even the beginning for all we remember further back – [Typist’s note: The next four words are written upside down] [LOOK AT LEBOYER BABIES] – the beginning word is alpha. Wordsworth had a word for it. [LOOK THIS UP] [signed The Antidefamation League for Romantic Poets]
Anyway, the astronaut who dismantled the IBM – HAL and steered the ship herself? Remember her? Hopscotching most peculiarly down time’s corridors, one self glimpsing another, momentarily juxtaposed [This is one of the interesting things about making such a big change as becoming a lesbian. Cf. “Margie Adam, Lost in the 20th Century.”
Remember the astronaut – the mission succeeded the fade through the fall through to the other movie the falling and falling through worlds upon worlds until in a strangely cold palace –
the lesbian version doesn’t go that way, perhaps, instead, we are in a harem …
Yes, now consider a harem, now did we
servily serve the man
or is he unknowingly supporting a sisterhood
of many beautiful ones
and no one else to notice but –finally –
Like that, perhaps, our selves notice each other,
finally, across time,
speaking through our journals and our art
and our documenting.
In a lesbianated salón
we meet, all my selves,
we look to one another,
curiously, and we remember
how to see with compassion
(We can love each other
if the row of nuns that haunts my kitchen
is us and good and kind)
For all our selves, we have compassion
That’s the way the meeting of the selves
through time goes in the lesbian version
And in the end of course
she is reborn and looks at the
dancing in the amniotic fluid
of the galaxies,
she turns her attention
as in a dream
to the world
(oh smaller than her head it is –
the material world)
with a look of unutterable compassion.
IN DEBORAH CARR
My study swims in candlelight
I have spent the evening
mining gold, listening to some of my radio programs to myself and various others – the black ink leaving a green tinsel –
across the morning sky
the mist is lightening, quickening,
from star? Moon? Coming day?
The black trees are discovered lurking again
on the edges of the meadow …
Who knows what time it is?
Swimming in mushroom light[Tonight I think I became a Zen cook – I prepared rice and three basic kinds of wild mushroom cooked in separate butter – there was a shaggy mane (Chester-collected also) and meadow mushroom (agaricus campistu) and then there was lipiota
practically indistinguishable from the death angel, yin energy, yin focused, I asked for “mostly silence”
The acorn squash halves baked and filled with very local honey and liquid butter, and sprinkled floating on top of this marbleizing mixture nougats of bee pollen
soft-hard pollen balls
in four Autumn colors
soft pearls of gold … and yellow …
and orange … and brown, and brown.
I always thought I couldn’t cook, But KaiCha recently insisted that I could turn on a whole bake off with my sacramental gingersnaps.
It’s nice to cook for other women
and know you don’t need to do it
again for about a week.
Anyway, pursuing my own interest in food can be incorporated into my cooking….
Nov 20, 1976
Star Rt. Box 39 – 3
BEING ONE IN WHAT IS NOW UNDERSTOOD TO BE AN ONGOING SERIES OF ATTEMPTS AT WHAT COULD BE DESCRIBED AS “FAN LIBERATION”, a kind which hopefully (and by design) does not mean the oppression of those the fans are fans of.
DEAR BILL STAFFORD
Actually, I’m writing this in my journal for lack of paper and for serendipity and with a special thanx to Xerox.
I didn’t really expect to be writing you a letter especially since there’s no possible way to explain tonight who I am being these days (signed “Justine”
signed: The Living Goddess
[Typist’s Note: there is a drawing here of a circle with a profiled face within it. ] [TheMoonSpeaker sign I received on my vision quest. Tangren]
Still, as Alice noticed you
get past introducing yourself without actually going through it; though things can become a bit awkward if you should stop dancing.
Actually, I am writing this by merest candlelight with my hand making a shadow – what my writing thus loses in legibility and coherence I find is often compensated for by increase in veracity. In the liquid air of candlelight and shadow – veritas. Or so I sometimes hope though sometimes I fear I grow so entish that any normally-busy human being will find tedious these long names of things.[One thing I’d like your opinion about: would it be undignified for someone to annotate herself, given that she writes like that? Or do real writers present the cypher and let others have the fun of working out the key? Well, I could be the first, but is it dignified, I wonder.]
Anyway, I write by candlelight, by moonlight – probably working up to starlight.
Compensated I say, by increase in
and polymorphous perversity of meanings – when it goes well.
And tonight I have the cabin all to myself – and though I am so tired it may not work still I plan to keep a wake here, of course.
Lewis & Clark was where I first discovered what I just realized is sleep-fasting. Having learned it at the age of nine that I did have a justification for my existing and even for deserving to be loved, that I had a mental age of 15 and that meant a genius IQ, I was anxious to be among the brightest. “Doing well in college” thus provided the moral justification for coffee and then the minty bitterness of No Doze and staying up all night even if it was wrecking my skin.)
But, truly, my spirit was also touched
oh college professors, oh Doctors
Stafford and Anderson,
straight from Ashland High I came
to hear of The Iliad and Theodicy
of the problem of evil
and the paradox of free will
(perplexedly pausing between gym-class shelves of metal baskets
I raised my arm
very arbitrarily, because I willed to do it, just to show myself this familiar act of willing, freely,
then laughed through the locker-room quietly, as of course the whole action revealed itself as totally predictable.)
High on no-doze and metaphysics
on knowledge and wonder
I knew I had been right to decide to
marry a college professor.
Possessors of these gifts
of scale and sweep
of subtleties of minds scratching minds,
of “hello”s flashed from intellect to intellect.
So of course I wanted to marry a college professor and I did and it was the right thing to do, and then, by accident, almost, as it were, without really noticing I was doing it, I became one myself.
Anyway, it was Western Civilization
all the inside scoop,
the panoramic sweep,
the happy meeting of minds across the
centuries (as with Descartes)
and wonder at the miracle of writing
and it was the inside scoop on society, in sociology – getting a new vocabulary with which to achieve distance from being the thing itself – “socialization”, “mores”, “internalization”, “peer group”, “middle class”; psychology was more cautious working, really, more to close off concepts such as “invention” (so that in the context of “learning theory” [LEARNING THEORY … FORGOTTEN FACT] it was strange to learn that the ape made a plan and “figured out” how to get the banana.)
Note: Perhaps one of the reasons I am writing to you is that I know if I write well enough you will listen to what you won’t let me say to you, so that I can think what I want to say to you. You are, in a nutshell, a concretized version of my general dilemma but a concretization also of the hope that if I write well enough, someomes will indeed hear me some of the time.