In Winter Term I taught a class for free, “The Nature of Death”, under the auspices of the University Philosophy department. (Over 200 students tried to sign up for this 25-person class, the most ever.) I had been wanting to develop such a class, and, indeed, went on to teach “Death and Dying” as a philosophy class at SOU for many years. For this first class, I tried something I’ve never done again. In class, we each stuck a paper black dot on the back of our hand to remind us that we were pretending that the coming 24 hours was our last (living with a double consciousness as we did the things we had to do to prepare for the future, while at the same time thinking of this as our last day). I did it with them, and some of the notes in the first part of this journal are from that day. (I didn’t assign this again because I came to think it could be dangerous. What if a student committed suicide, or died some other way at the end of this exercise?)
- tangren alexander, PhD
jean tangren pearl Time’sChild, moonspeaker
Alternatively: an example of “mention”
complete in 25 words or less.
The Metaphysical Pornography of Philosophers.
“Philosophy began as the love of wisdom; } a quote from someone
it has become the hatred of stupidity.”
This is a) good b) bad c) other ______________________
The following are V are not important philosophical questions: …
Death related stuff.
What is an important philosophical question is basically a political question – what the powers that be say philosophy is, that it is.
TIMESCHILD’S LAST THEOREM
MAKING ABSOLUTELY SURE THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN BE MADE T O UNDERSTAND ~ TRYING TO UNDERSTAND
And I suppose there’s already a theory that Shakespeare was a woman, too.
Well, now, said the “friendlier” voice of the philosophy dept. Collective conscience, “You’ve got our interest mildly titillated,” (should be good for a laugh or a Freudian psychoanalysis, anyway.)
You’ve got our wryly grinning
Now, then, what have you got to say for yourself?
I rock back on my heels and reach for my natural guns with the calm and cocky control of a tai chi whiz kid. As my guns swing up into horizontal they turn into old, old silk, swelling and bursting softly in their direction
soft fall of feathers, flower feathers
funny, soft pop
- Did anyone win?
- Does someone have to?
- Do you remember the Caaucus race?
- [TFM] C does not belong with the others.
Will: Being of sounder mind than usual, thank you, I hereby amend my will as follows –
- Money from my estate is to be made available for the establishment of the jean tangren pearl Time’sChild tape library. Literary lesbianated metaphysical Trippist nun who likes Annie Dillard, Carl Sagan, etc. Etc., to be paid to edit if necessary, and send to whoever would be interested. This includes my friends, etc. concerned – but also anyone else who wants to know me better posthumously.
Also ditto my journals.
Who should decide? Do it?
Thyme? Carol D?
The feeling when I remember the black dot – fear – what awaits me? How can I keep forgetting that I am dying?
How is it comprehensible that I might Talk about unimaginable!
Quite a shock to think I don’t know with omniscient certainty
which reality this is ….
No, that spot on my had, this is just a game, isn’t it.
Then the actual fact, yes, yes, it will prove a game. You will probably live to do some of these plans if you stop procrastinating. Too good to be true! Perhaps I will indeed live to give proper gratitude to what is for another day.
Students: De brief with me, via tape recorder. If want to.
THE VIEW FROM THE MENTAL SCREEN
Dianne, I receive these
five ocean-smoothed stones
each its own perfection and history.
warm your hand, then
when we were love
John, I would give you again every tenderness
and seeing. Those times are real
Your body is the ancient home my body knows
it is not for me to be able top remember then now
But it’s OK
The end is not more important than the beginning or the middle.
Post Mortem Notes:
Socratic exchange with Pam about feet
Everything is OK the way it is –
because it has to be.
What is might as well be right
because it’s what is.
Eating itself is transubstantiation.
(So is eliminating.)
Take, eat, this is the body of “I am”.
Take, drink. This is your own blood. The blood of consciousness of the universe.
Never did sort out about the body.
Once I thought, in the old speech, “Why did God take on material form and separation?”
“So there could be touching.”
I never was at ease with this body. As Pam worked on me this morning, I felt her touch, and it was enough because it had to be, and it was a grace and ministration. And I thought about my body and knew one thing for sure: it didn’t get touched enough.
Why did God take on separation?
So there could be beholding.
- Were there things you would have like to have more protection from? Can you think of ways I might have given you this protection?
- What sort of death did you envision for yourself? Did it change? Did you leave it vague? How did you feel towards the moments of bodily dying?
Remember why Titania has the changeling.
Regretfully, though, truly, enough of this fruit for now, I tore off the black dot. Underneath the skin was smooth, the cells had no pattern. Some of the skin had come off with the dot. Some cells that had been me were me no longer.
Somehow, I suspect, the secret of death is as simple and as strange as that.
Ways of dying
In the book: The Wall
Laura Huxley: the Fire; Huxley’s death
Alan Watts – taboo book
The earth as home – even here in Eugene.
This house, this body, they are home. Usually we focus on the few things wrong.
- How did you “die”?
Mostly, I see here I have written from reality # a – that life goes on – plots and plans – But I spent most of my time in reality #b –
It’s just that I wasn’t so moved to write from there – I was too busy experiencing it.
Sure helps you know what you want – and how to be clear about getting what you can get – eg. – a walk
but what a relief to have no future.
So I didn’t become a famous writer – at least while I was alive. … I never knew if there was more. The princess and the tiger. I never got that relationship straightened out… hmm..
The immediate transition when I was no longer dead – the hardening of my heart, the closing of my eyes.
Watching the students … Don’t want to stay here … Seeing Ebersole in the hall for the last time. Watching the people outside… The men talking … Imagining a time I won’t see when all that is so much better…
The moon … the same moon … the sun. My last afternoon … wonderful weather … behind the sky behind the law school. The incredible freedom of no future.
Picked up by Trish. Home to get stoned, stopping at bank – the date: Jan 25, 1977, out to LCC – . The architecture – the abundance of space, planes, level – the fountains….
being cold … also a sensation
Trish makes connection – so do I.
The compromise one must make with the world in order to play this game …
Decision on house, over to 11 1st, meet women, Chris, Jean-Sage, there. Go for walk by river – running, skipping, shadow – the playground – the merry go round, like the sun a planet – the swing – my shadow little, rushes forward till seems we will impact each other, then suddenly away – and I am again suspended weightless for a second. Remembering really feeing that as a child … “Miracle” swing.
Back to house. Chris’s hostile reaction – “But you should live every day that way…”
“I think so – I want to find out how.”
Trish’s car – no use being upset or impatient. Over here in the 1950’s Desoto … Make tea, excuse myself to see the sunset.
Understanding why I’m not out there making connections like Trish – I have to seek my vision, stay true to myself…. I am not first of all a lesbian, but a moonspeaker – no – nothing with a short name – I am all I am and have been. This writing is part of my name.
Connie was probably right – this loneliness is necessary aloneness if one is to be true to oneself. I serve vision.
Didn’t write to anyone except Don –the only one I felt real unfinished/easily accomplished business with.
Marcella … Sweet one who has been such a good friend to me in this last dark time – when I remembered you I usually switched over to touch base with “reality”. I slept my hour holding you. Waking, the soft morning light on Mary’s and Raggedy Ann’s faces was like the morning light on Easter eggs. How can one say goodbyes but fondly, gratefully?
Trish is not who I’d ideally spend my last time of company with – but she’s who’s here, and I’m glad someone is. The moon and 2 planets – how real. The Excelsior Cafe – the food – eaten really slowly, with the fingers, enjoyed – the company – 4 sets of 2 women we are. (T. very observant.)
- to her new house. Me home – Meditate, eat mushrooms; have to get out into the country. Moon calendar gives moonset time – not spend much of it sleeping – fur rug, sleeping bag, warmup pants, 2 hats, etc. Out to Mu farm – the stars – so fine to have an opening on the cosmos tonight – for the last time to take a look around where we are. How friendly planets look – trees against stars.
Worries begin how things should be different – plots and plans.
Plans – yes – it would have been nice to have been able to do that – but what there has been is all there ever will be. So…
What’s to do but be glad for what has been. Much glad remembering of friends, lovers, touchings, meetings – And my self, my life? It seems to have been pretty right. When I come to the place of evaluating it here – “they” have no power. Growing up a shamana in 20th century America, … I don’t see how I could have done it much better.. I did the best I could by my own lights. If I didn’t get everything I might have, well, I didn’t.
Lots of light, feelings – is the last word tragic or comic? … When you really have to surrender – then things simply become what they are, and the obstacles to joy are removed.
Quite a lot of just being, serenity. Missed the moonset – well, that’s OK – I’ve seen the moon well before.
Still, whenever I go off into worries, plans, judgements – the black dot brings me back to notice what I’m sacrificing – not noticing the stars. Or the starlit frost on the grass.
One image that came near “death” – twice – a woman, suddenly looking directly to me, most friendly.
Did I find I was brave?
Driving along, seeing the black dot on my hand on the steering wheel. …In this my last afternoon. It becomes the center, the black hole from which all things radiate … The rest of the days are gifts – life after death – second chance –
Reviewing events that got me here – latihan, Chris saying the right things, etc. … looks suspiciously like the gardener’s work again. [Reference: John Wisdom’s essay on Is there a gardener? (God)]
Well, I’ll soon know. Or I won’t. I didn’t figure out anything. Too bad, but so it goes.
Sometimes I found myself puzzling, working out philosophical riddles instead of looking at the world. And sometimes I felt, well, I really wanted to do that. That was very much in character, too. No use beating myself now for having done it – only look again, now, at this last night.
Getting tireder – the standard reality takes over more – I write, plan, etc., etc. More, the other vision fades with fatigue. I drive home.
Miss the sunrise – It’s as if I’ve already had enough, learned the lesson, am happy – to bed, the last time of sleep in a bed – this bed so home. Think about masturbating – don’t really want to – I would much rather honor the times of meeting and touching and loving that have been – the sense that they have been is enough.
Do the following mean anything to you in terms of your experience
“To conquer death you only have to die” …
In a world where death is the hunter, there is no time for crappy moods.
I crawl into bed, embrace my dolls, remember sleeping with Marcella curled into me. Holding our dolls I am holding her. I never saw her past eight – but that’s alright – it is.
Up in time for appt. with Pam. Wear exactly what I feel like wearing –why not. $30 for Pam (a cock to Aeschepalus – I understand Socrates’ mind then) – Pam validates my reality – honors my quest. Works on my body as if I were going to die. Lots of peace, lots of presence to her touching. So nice to have a whole, vital body till the last –
My body, though, is frightened. Death will come soon. What will happen to me? I am cold with fear – My feet feel as if the hemlock is already in them. The room is white – the sunlight is yellow – how good that there is Pam and that she is touching me to bring my body some final ease.
Driving back – I still care that car doesn’t get hurt, etc. No deluge aprés moi – It is still important if not to me personally.
I eat my final meal – a muffin
To die – lie down, put on Mahler’s third – lie in chair, my hand on my purring cat – I am calm.
I really do feel suicidal as many days as not – maybe more days than not. Other days I look and see that that’s a nightmare and that this is one of the hard times in my life and that it’s going to get better. And I am even happy sometimes now.
But now I wonder, do I really know that? Or is that just a conspiracy of he consensus reality – like the myth that we’re not going to die? Do women just say that to me to cheer me up.
Nobody knows me well enough to know.
Today I suspect that that concert (Women on Wheels) [Bay Area, early 1976, Holly Near, Meg Christian, Margie Adams, Chris Williamson – a conversion experience for me.] came in and validated so much for me that I turned very yin – turned confidently to look at my own life with my own eyes
and have become so private that I cannot connect with anyone.
And have felt as much violated as comforted by any human contact –
my own hold in reality – who I am , what I think, what my values are – so easily trodden underfoot in the groping for a connecting reality so maybe there can be some connecting.
Knowing I’m not omniscient but knowing only that my path is the seeing of what I see.
– Or is this rationalization for not accepting reality?
Often I think that it’s the idea of the existence of an actual, public world that hangs us up. But of course solipsism couldn’t be true because it’s too lonely.
God objectifies. Self/other distinction
God is alone without self-deception?
The news is of basic cosmic loneliness?
No one else ever seemed to see that as the heart of the universe.
But then you’ve stopped going by what everyone else reports as the final word on the matter – and where may it end?
Did Dianne know what she did when she said “Why give them the power to define what can be?”
“You have the power, you always have the power; they have it because you give it to them.”
The deeper I think, the less I know if talking about it is possible at all ….
Stoned conversations are often terrifying to me. When someone says something, I can usually think of 3 or 4 things they might mean by what they said – things that define what we’re talking about –
So I wonder how often anyone hears anything like what I meant to say.
What if there were never anyone Tangren could really talk to about this? In that case, what would have happened to her – did she endure 58 years of this aloneness? How did she manage – she went downhill so fast in ‘76 – didn’t she just become a bumbling idiot.
Anyway, she didn’t last anything like 58 years. Of course her body couldn’t bear being that open and vulnerable and ready, it couldn’t bear the longing – an iron vise shut down around her pelvis – her hands lost their reach – before the year was out she got cancer, went through the disgusting trial of that disease and died and for her fortitude in not committing suicide was judged by herself, secretly frightened because she really believes that this material life is all there is –
… or, surprise, it was sooner! One day in March the self-hater piqued …. or … one day in May the sister-self appeared and said I will deliver you, too much pain too long is too much…
… hmm … Just thought of the way, the button I could push … The thing that won’t damage my body …. and would work …. the Auto-Guillo materializes! Nitrous oxide!!!! Of course. The hole to creep out of the world at.
One day, sooner than anyone expects, the suppressed wish became reality –
in spite of the overriding consideration of the good name of the family …
no … she could not leave Marcella –
she would not leave Marcella –
… but how to bear this much pain?
You have to stay for Marcella;
But Marcella isn’t enough for you.
You have to stay for Marcella
but what in a few more years?
Well, no one wants a mother to be dead
when she’s 14, …
but is it only my commitment to you, Marcella,
that keeps me here?
That and the grand prohibitions,
and the sharp warnings of Dr. Ross.
Note: Feelings of suicide associated with feelings of rage.
Cause? Effect? In here it’s hard to tell which existed earliest –
The logic of feelings is different than that for “public objects” – There is more evidence for feelings’ enduring when you are looking elsewhere. Material objects could, for all we can tell, disappear when we aren’t looking. But feelings, now … often it happens that you have just noticed a feeling, but you know it’s been there all along.
Examples supplied from one real life:
fascination with death, religion, enlightenment, madness, resentment
or almost anything you care to name, in fact.
… or she went on 36 more years till she rounded out her inadvertently-predicted 72-73 years. Life kept getting worse and she kept saying “Enough, already” and as she died it occurred to her “It would have been nice if we’d gotten to know each other.”
What am I doing, writing about suicide? Of course it’s axiomatic that I don’t mean it so of course I’m just doing it for attention. Well, I don’t intend to do it.
Still, I have the right to think about it, don’t I? I hate mind/police. Here, ie, with suicide, everyone is a mind-policeman – you can write about it, but you’d damn well better keep it to yourself.
There’s nothing like need for driving people away. It seems to be the vicious circle of your life…..
And as for giving, a) either you give from a place you aren’t, give what it costs you so much to give … or b) you give from the place you are/want to be, which you do, too, and others are sometimes pleased by this, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to make them love you.
Sunday Feb 6 
Well, I did make love with a woman
last night and it left me feeling good –
and guilty, for I feel no poetry will come from me
about this one –
and that it was because I was in such need that it happened –
Still, that being said,
and it also being said that we
acknowledged that need and helped each
other “make it through the night” –
said, that we leapfrogged convention to meet in a place of sensuality where we do touch without even having checked out those other levels – suspecting that in many ways our other selves may not/ do not mesh at all –
still, all that being said
it’s true that it was quite a fine night and that we both were made easier and gladder for it and that today we laughed more easily
and I even find bits of ‘50’s songs
bubbling sillily through me
and I did love gently pulling her long hair through my fingers
and she did keep saying “This doesn’t seem real, somehow” as I have said it before her …
And her pink nipples splayed
across her silicone-hard breasts
“What women haven’t done for men” she reflects
her poor pink nipple like mine, still, and still, whole enough to love whatever I find I want to do as much as I would love it
and she whispered in surprise what a good lover I am and how I knew her so amazingly well, and I am just doing what I am doing and being happy and no one’s ever told me before I’m an artful lover and I’m glad to hear it and somehow not surprised at all that all this is happening
and she cried, coming,
and I was glad to know that she understood, that she would understand when my tears came with my coming –
and that did not happen last night –
and when I opened my eyes I was surprised that her face was so much a stranger’s …
She made love to me, and I to her, and I was not shaken by any great coming and tears but I was made very soft and when I mentioned the sisters of mercy, she said “Let’s hear it for mercy!” .. And once we did a sensual floor ballet of bodies constantly stretching, shifting, changing positions around and on and through each other – a sustained dance – “who choreographed it?” she gasped afterward. …Somehow I wasn’t surprised enough to wonder –
Simply remembering – Oh, yes. That’s right. This is what that was all for! All that giving up and leaving and wrenching and pain coming out – here was why – what it was all for. .. There is something, after all. This is what happens when women love … And this morning I came awake, unsurprised, in her arms.
feeling truly rested, for the first time in so long – rested, and loose, and sleeping was easy –
we did several things I’ve never done before – I felt … accepted … Trish says … There’s the thing about the non-earth-shaking lovers – the casual and friendly things – there’s a fun, there’s’ a freedom … yes …
It is what it is, and not another thing.
It makes my body know it can touch and be touched.
I often think of Karen Drabek.
This one’s name was Karen
before she changed it to Butterfly.
She is who she is, and several others, too.
Dear Butterfly, You cannot be all of your selves with me, I cannot be all of my selves with you. We are much too different. But the selves we can be with each other are parts of us that need very badly to live and be.
This is what is, and not another thing.
I remember the weight of your hair on my face.
Today, today is being Monday,
the Monday in fact in which
I got the trip together
and was finally able to begin
to speak my speaking – and it
feels like my only chance, but it needn’t be … the only thing I have to fear is fear itself, so to speak – yes, and unhelpful when you’re in it.
And today is being the Monday
and missed preparations for tomorrow’s
lecture – good, that feels
and today was the day
of helping Trish – yes, truly at some cost to my time but also with a certain gladness to be of help not to speak of having an adventure in the middle of the day driving to Springfield – Springfield on my windshield on the windshield of my home –
maybe that’s why I travel so much – so I can spend some time at home in Deborah Carr – the car that is also a miracle –
Springfield on my windshield,
the car, the life, on my mental screen,
all of us in costumes –
and a stuffed chair,
its upholstery a fuzzy etching of edelweiss,
a woman chair I secretly named Amanda,
though Trish says her name is Mother,
and stopping by home for a second on this errand, I noticed a van in my driveway, a man on the step. (Grass covered? I check)
In his hand a single red rose in a rose-colored vase.
A rose? Who would have sent me a rose? The card read:
to a pearl
from a butterfly
There’s nothing quite like that for making you feel … Fourteen.
I feel fourteen.
And Thyme called and Greenbow called
and I wish to note here
that here and now at any rate
my life is not a void
that it is filled with real people,
friends, a lover,
a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, brothers, father, husband
(If you don’t look so hard at what they aren’t giving you, and you’ll see what they are.)
But be careful, don’t slip ….
Remember who you are. What you value; how responsible you are to the vision quest.
Remember who you are, Rilian. I know you.
Signed, your wife
love and kisses,
Since I’m not immortal sometimes I have better things to do than to prepare for this class – I hope that all of you can say the same – and yesterday I had better things to do than to prepare for this class in a standard way –
So, divide class up into two. Women who want to stay and listen to the tape I’m making – ones who just need to split – and for anyone who wants to, a tape recorder and an assignment –
to interview any philosopher in this building about death – see what his/her approach is to it – see how he would answer (or especially if he would answer) any questions you might want to put to him –
notice what goes on – report back to us – we’ll listen to the tapes – if they’ll consent about the taping, of course (and if not, why not?)
So, some of you who want to, go do that –
and report back to us – and I’ll do what I need to do, since I’m mortal and share who this mortal professor is being with some other mortal woman.
About the year, now, it can’t have been too bad if I’m here doing this at the end of it, beginning
Oh, am I crazy or am I just Cassandra?
Here’s one level at which you can interact with this class, if you want to.
Here, watch me …
Since I’m mortal and can’t afford to waste all my life, I’ve decided to do what I’d like to do with one class. If I were really a teacher, not just someone playing professor, if I thought I had something to teach, well, I’ll try teaching what I know. In the now, I say, of our mortality, I take this class to being in – and get serious. Anybody else, got everything they would like to do, or be, in the face of our oncoming mortality, here’s your chance.
Now, just suppose you were dying, now, and if you could have a class, if you could be a teacher – what would you like to tell them? If you had your chance to be listened to, what would you like to say? – not necessarily about death – but – in the face of your death, yours and mine and all of ours, … Here’s your chance! …
Grab the mike!
Is there anything you want to say before we all die?
Grab the mike, get on stage,
“sign up to take a class”
the mike is open,
suppose we were dying?
Is there anything you’d want tom share with us?
we were dying….
You can either carry out this assignment for real –
aw, take a class, why not?
It’s your movie, isn’t it?
Or if you’d like to do it but don’t want to do it with a tape recorder
Folks – I’d like to say
“We all get A’s –
for being mortal
you are mortal, by me you get an A
if that’s any help –
then, if you’re interested, and only then, well, I’ve got some interesting things to try – we could take this class and play –”
but you see, there’s this power structure that wouldn’t like it – those A’s all around, and there are some reasons, at some levels for this – So I buy into being that much a professor –
and I do a little balance of power
on your attention
because you’ve got a whole lot of other pressures on you but you signed up for a course on the nature of death and I warned you, you’d need time and energy here and space in your life.
Anybody that drops out now gets an honorable discharge or a guaranteed C –
I’d like to say “B”, but it wouldn’t do at all.
I’d like to say “A: because you’re mortal”
A for being mortal, A for we must die.
Other professors have many facts to teach you – I have only one. I have only one thing to teach you: We are going to die.
all men are mortal
all men are immortal
all women are mortal
all women are immortal
al of the above
All of thee
I have only one thing to teach you,
we have only one thing to learn: WE ARE GOING TO DIE
This lecture has been sponsored by the Anti Mahler [the composer, whose sweet/sour harmonies I loved] Defamation Society
Paper: Ostensive Definitions
audio-visual room –
Now if the university would only furnish some materials for our philosophical investigations –
Our philosophical investigations, for instance, on the question “Is the point of being philosophers – to know ourselves – and ought philosophers to prepare for death?
For research on such questions I hereby requisition one ounce Columbian flower tops, please.
I am pointing out to you a possible world.
Thyme, Meredith, Babs, Tangren,
of sylvan sensuality
and mushrooming innocence;
Thyme glithers up –
“The nude unclothed!”
She proclaims.[This must be about when we went to the hot springs in the woods]
Remember: how you danced this morning on the lawn from sheer energy and happiness (after running full tilt and skipping around the block and stumping enough kindling) (and it was not even the first time this week)
Remember: It was not breakfast at the Excelsior – over quiche and coffee you thanked her for coming to do this with you and she stopped you: “Tangren, you are my most cherished friend,” she said.
Connie, it was she.
Remember: At the last, reading your vision quest – conjuring it up for her, at times – you ended playing – you could not sing it for her – Lesbians practice agapé Feeling overexposed.
I knew that was what you were doing … she said – it’s hard to believe, or why isn’t she a lesbian?
No answer required,
but sudden loneliness
that had not been there before –
Can I hold you? I said – the second time. The timid “Is it all right?”
“Come sit on my lap”
She held you
and you let the lost longing in your chest
be the longing was for her,
but it asked for nothing, only to be
and she understood
and the longing was for her
and through her
the longing was not for her
your sobs rocked on a much more ancient sea
and around it all
this friend’s arms holding you
this friend’s head against your own
this friend’s sweatered back to hold to
and this became more and more reality
this Connie’s sweatered back to hold to
You are, I said, into her eyes,
you are a node of that
which has been denied to me for so long.
thing is that behind all that we are friends.
Remember: chanting by the candlelight in the pool last night
I Remember: when your Norwegian seriousness became a concept for me
Remember: How you suddenly handed her
your braid last night –
and she held it ceremonially a long, long, time
She said this:
“I knew you when this was you.”
“I helped, too, to cut it off”
And Kay Gardiner and I were singing
Oh, why wasn’t I taping all this? – Because, because at the time nothing could make now better – not even a better future. [Connie has this effect on you.]
“Oh, my beautiful, beautiful friend …
Sometimes being yourself is more than a full-time career.
Hey, this is your wife speaking – How about that Connie! Isn’t she something! And by the way so are you, you know. And she said this: “You are my most cherished friend.”
Connie: I think I’ve got it worked out; I think it reads” Connie and I practice agapé
a lot ourselves …
Needed in there, left out –
Thyme- women who cut their hair have
strong faces –
women who cut their hair have
strong faces –
women who make ritual have
women who make ritual have
strong faces –
Greenbo – naming each other
friend – sister
lover – she said.
Yes, I know –
It’s very hard to let her go
and stay with the ups
and stomp and wave your arms
in true brave enthusiasm and zest –
and then to hold her image in your heart, her just-presence
the teacup not unlike the eucalyptus leaves how, evidence, for, … for… the photographs you rush to develop
you etched upon yourself
yes, remember it has been all right
it has been enough
and full contentment
even as the ocean of loss rises, sucking, about you.
You must let her embrace hold you again in this
through this, till next time
and you are allowed to remember; you can replay Snow White as often as you want – it’s OK to take nourishment from her – yes, I think it’s really OK with her. But as for the fact that she is gone now, this here now, it’s nothing but the fierce grace of non-attachment. It tells you, if you listen, that you truly love.
And where there is one instance of truly loving there may be others
and you, yourself, may be
The evidence would indicate this is so.
It’s just a matter of becoming
to see what is sometimes before you.
See: Mu beach episode
Remember: it was you who said to her,
Well, Connie, you just may not be a lesbian, after all, you had a really terrible mother, and that’s very different from me.
[Then are there no values at all, but only causal antecedents? Or do causal antecedents
disclose values? Causal antecedents hide and disclose.]
“We see what is not there” said Sartre.
“Yes,” answered Spinoza, “we see what is not there,
the love not given
the need not met
the distance from the Platonic originals in our lives.
We see that the present is not the past.
We would miss what is altogether
if it were not for the fact that we will die.”
And what is the truth of Dianne?
Well. Tangren, what do you think?
I asked myself in hopes of centering …
“I think” she answered …
“I think that to think what I think instead
of thinking what “they” think
is to Rashamoniate realities frighteningly.[Rashamon: a movie/play about each person seeing an event differently]
Felt good yesterday:
Put new option on my office door:
Would also like to put
Also put up the Ozmazons add. What stood out in the poster that day is “Does the name ‘Cassandra’ mean anything to you?”
Some from my class
my interview my colleagues
on the question
“Do you believe in life after death?” And see if they get an answer that can understand.
Had a wonderful class meeting – turned positively subversive.
Two weeks ago I was already brave enough to add to my door
Dr. Tangren Alexander
Office hrs: 12:30-1:30 T. Th
Metaphysics, Theoretical & Applied
Frank Ebersole knocked on my door and informed me teasingly that I couldn’t
do that here.
Which on the one hand was a nice gesture saying he saw me –
And on the other, well. It’s true, I can’t. I can only because there’s a chance I may never need anything from them again. It’s hard to forego the backing of your graduate school. And I don’t need anything from them now – I’m not coming back, they can’t take my office away till the end of the term, they’re not paying me.
Connie, today I began talking to myself when the tape recorder was not on just so there’d be no record and thus no compromise of range of speaking to the possibility of trying to reach others – Because there is a difference between a thing’s being understandable to others and its being verbalizable. It was a great comfort to me to note that in these freeing circumstances I was actually able to verbalize a surprising amount of my thought – thus making me more certain of its probable logic – I can say to myself certain things I need to be saying to myself, and be making sense. Yes, they were not just evanescent impressions; they can actually be spoken of.
Re: Your writing: does any of this sound familiar?
Your life could be artfully analyzed, your ups and downs correlated interestingly with when you believe communication from the somewhere in the boundaries of your own world is possible and when you don’t believe it. Then’s the time to remember your wife.
It can all be said very simply and directly, too: It’s a matter of being present to one another. That’s all I ask of other people – that’s what we all have to do with one another, to be present to one another.
Connie lets me be present to her in certain ways no one else does –
As when I gave her my braid and looked to her, and sang with the song , “Oh, my beautiful, beautiful friend.”
Connie, I find I love the age in you. Partly because the more you age the more your face is like Pearl’s and Pearl’s face I loved early and well.[The rip off society is: To make us think people become uglier as they age – as if old faces could not be dear and loveable, as if no one will ever be present to them, cherish them.
Visualize you own good death –
be where you want to be
be with who you want to be
Children have no such prejudices, to begin with. They love the loveable faces.
Later they learn that in the official reality only youngish faces count. [The screen-stars who are the bearers of our myths are only one kind of beauty, one reality – the rest are excluded.]
Still, when I looked at you while you drifted, your face looked so young and I was still very glad to get to look at its young fine-ness.
If age doesn’t mean we cannot love youth then youth doesn’t mean we cannot love age – all we have to do is reclaim our platonic original of a loveable face and remove the barriers there then were (with Grandparents) to our being present to one another.
Connie, the truth is I do much more writing in the journal than reading it.
Thyme came over late afternoon-ish – we spent the evening writing and tripping – I was going to read and write on Life after Life – but there was no need – a spontaneous class was really better. Thyme doing a piece on “A Woman Appeared to Me” – by and about some turn-of-the-century “lesbian visionaries”
The Liebestode was mentioned – as “The Death of Isult” – Played it for Thyme – certainly was interesting hearing it as a lesbian piece – or, at any rate, a piece evoking woman’s passion. It was quite powerful. Thyme wanted to know what “the belle epoche” was – I didn’t know the name, but I knew the time – Wagner, Mahler, – then thoughts of art nouveau – We looked together through a book Mom had just given me on art nouveau.
I spent a good deal of the night conceiving the Come-As-Your-version-of-the-Statue-of-Liberty Party and making up guest list, invitations.
Also latihaning, eating, and doing my first creative fantasizing on what I’d like my home/place to be like: fireplace or pit, dancing space, freedom to make noises, japanese tub, etc.
Thyme read me her piece, we taped it and our conversation – then she went to work redoing it. It was too hot a lot – she was bare on top – I put her band on Grecian style, took to wearing a towel toga myself –
delighted by Thyme’s discoveries, my ability to envision greatly boosted by these Duncanesque lesbians. Deborah Kerr images a lot –
Couldn’t get sleepy.
Today after a good class I was talking to Jim McWilliams – he was turning me on to Findhorn – we were talking about altered states of consciousness – Frank Ebersole came by the open door – stopped – looked at my sign – it said:
He enacted a look of total disapproval at me, the changed the sign to IN
Fantasy: the erotic, healthful product
known as “tender buttons”
Beliefs – about
limits – to
what impossible thing do you believe?
The ultimate Vatican of matter: Cape Kennedy
Quote Ed Mitchell gave me:
God sleeps in the minerals,
awakens in plants
walks in the animals
thinks in man.
NASA publication – The mental Changes the Astronauts Went Through
and deMaterialization in the laboratory –
observing – fixing something in time and space –
look away – things dematerialize easier – corner of the eye – dematerialization has happened.
2 mos ago
Aunt Jean’s face
If the face had been a lion’s
handsome and commanding it would have been –
the great long high nose,
the eyes of compassion and mercilessness
and mostly – curiosity –
She would have made a fine Aslan
These same features, however,
come to rest in the face of a maiden
meant she had hardly any chance
at all of not becoming an old maid.
A fate she accepted with grace I
am still coming to understand.[Aunt Jean: my great aunt for whom I was named]
Weary notes on eclipse-night:
1) Selene book review
just be the full range of what you are –
the real hope some of us have that our daughters may be inheriting a society wherein there are these choices – where all these are possibilities –
healer, actress personifying great women, giving form, to visions of strong women, priestess –
and even ourselves and I am moonspeaker
and right now M didn’t
start leaping tables –
she takes her time
– but we did have a wonderful game to act out with the barbie dolls – and the growing-up-Skipper with the just-beginning breasts
perfect for Maya[The beginnings of the Selene slide show I made]
do record for Olivia of
lavender Jane, Lots of Ruth M.G., Margie, whoever!!!
Give yourself the time to eventually execute at least 1/10 of your ideas! –
Well, you do execute many – you gotta let yourself alone.
Write as long a piece as you want about Ruth and Jean, – and your reactions and feelings towards them. Give yourself time to remember and recollect on paper. Good luck to the new journal!
Any stone from their hill is a crystal ball –
minor key –
“Let me take a stone from your hill” –
“for a crystal ball”
Do I want them to know that or not – shyness–
Older women. “I like older women” button.
Used to mean:
“I like older women, they’re so grateful for it,”
“I like older women! It’s true, I do, and I’ll let the world know it” – But still – the left over
thought – well, could she mean … Well, “that” –
I guess I know a little myself about falling in love with teachers and the taboo on love across the ages, sex.
Forest – oldest daughter 21
MaRae, MacKey, Elsa Gidlow, These old faces, some of them, they know things –
Chanting to the eclipsed moon –
the celestial vision
and the magical one,
and the lesbian one
My voice, my voice is a very
old voice –
I am youngish seeming –
but my voice, unused to itself,
is an old, clacking voice
when I let it chant
Refuge for divine madness –
is it anywhere but on womensland?
(See David and Deena episode)
Women blessing trees,
Latihan at Cabbage Lane in garden [picture]
Singing here tonight to the moon in her Goddess aspect and to the equally beautiful equally a teacher moon
the moon of 2001
You are going to meet some women philosophers in 2 weeks – write what you need to for them, get together what you
written already they might like to hear. Do a tape of an imaginary talk to the philosophy club.
May 6 – morning Dream fragments
- Was with Connie. Told her I’d dreamed Mitch [her son] had bought a car with big muffle things on the side. She said her had and it worried her a lot. She was standing, crying. I put my arms around her – we held each other for along time. I felt our breasts against each other. It was wonderful to be holding each other. She was wearing a soft angora sweater.
- Was visiting in Eugene with Mom. We were in the midst of shopping or something when from away to the south (San Francisco?) the sky lit up – a bright yellow – bright even in the day – and then the thunder. (The moment comes when we least expect it, engaged in other matters.) There had been an atomic explosion. A woman near us dived under the magnolia bushes to get out of the radiation. Marcella was home in small tall building nearby. We started to dash off to find her – then I realized they were emptying the building. And here she came out the door, running, her long blonde hair bouncing and flying.
3) I was supposed to do something or other with an elephant – it was lying on the edge of the seashore partly buried in the sand. I tried to feed it or eat my food off one of its legs or whatever – but it got upset and jumped up and started to run. Then I saw that Marcella had tied some yarn which was round her neck around one of the elephant’s legs. She managed to run along beside it, but if the elephant really started running it would strangle her. I didn’t have anything to cut the yarn. I started calling for help, but nobody came. Finally I found I weak place in the yarn and pulled it apart with my hands.
So Marcella was saved twice.
4) Woke up with a refrain in my mind:
“Oh, the freedom from custom’s the freedom for me.”
Sent Marcella home evening before last – spent yesterday very lonely, missing her a lot. I really am closer to her than to anyone else: we really are one person in a lot of ways. It was scary to put her on the bus –
later I got stoned, went for a walk –
realized that I react to the fact of her preciousness with fear that anything this good will be taken from me. While walking I realized that a better response is to give thanks for what I have.
“Decorating the Mental Shelf”
1) Rag dolls and dolls and kachina dolls and positive imaging see magic and religion, etc.
2) Buy stereopticon now.
Save your polarized glasses, friends, 3-d will rise again.
Experiment with stereo pictures – slides on very slow film.
Variations on a Theme, or is it a many filtered filament of family likenesses.
[Typist’s Note: There are drawings here:
One shows a figure, “me”, with “Pearl’s blanket” on her head, holding Raggedy Ann
One shows a figure similar to the above, holding “me at 3 mos”
One shows raggedy Ann holding a smaller doll
One shows a figure; “Sappho Statue” , with a figure in front of it, with a smaller figure in front of that. “Da Vinci picture”
One shows two faces, and a third small figure, “Psapha”, arranged in a triangle.]
Lucy Seaweed Sapphofire’s Healthful Garlic Drink, (and mighty tasty, too)
1 cup H2O
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 lemon juice
1 t. Yarrow honey
Tamari & yeast in hot water
serve in wooden bowl