Here's the complicated equation: if there isn't much reality in human relationships, but you have to have them, you must embrace the responsibility of making them as realistic as possible. There can be no I am just this, you are just that: the realistic approach is one that fastens and binds to nothing. Jade will be over in a few hours and, as I prepare myself, I realize that to not-fasten leaves one perpetually unequipped. But somehow it doesn't matter- the clench of dissolution is so sweet that no one ever recovers from it. This clench has its own transcendental reality, and if what dissolution really is remains permanently out of our grasp, authoritative judgments must be suspended. Jade is smallish, about 5'2, with long, straight brown hair that falls down her back, delicate Virgo features, and a mien brought to level pitch by many wounds. When we make love, I am forced to be gentler- gone are the thrashings and poundings, and I find myself in a new position, playing a new role. Jade is an actress, and every gesture she makes is nuanced, deliberate, complex.
Jade keeps pulling surprises. I'm stunned because she does this with a certain amount of levity, as though anything that startles goes up. The drugs she ingests take her to a realm of crystallized perfection, in which she cuts through open spaces like a human blade. Because I am willing to follow her, she initiates me into the mysteries of this realm. I find that my edge is blunted, because in many ways it is a false edge- artificially produced, unstable, past any form of measurement. Nevertheless, when we meet in the middle our edges coalesce. Alright, so this is artificial, she says; what and who gets to define the natural? Can you even tell me what natural is? I admit that I can't, and this admission transpires at a moment of maximum vulnerability for both of us. Are we razors or mirrors? Jade inhabits a world of hollow forms, which she hovers above- my role in her life is to contradict her thesis, that we might create a dialectic. As we move towards synthesis, Jade places one of her hands on my face, puts her forehead to mine. She knows that there is a sting in her hollowness for me, who would prefer to see fullness. But we go on like this for hours without knowing what or who we are. The depth of this place eats into my eyes, but (as Jade is learning) I enjoy being eaten- chewed, swallowed, digested.
If you let your mind wander and hit a vertical patch, it becomes easy to see that solitude and sex presuppose each other's necessity in an examined life. I've just learned, from a reliable source, that a woman (many years back) was taken from me by slander and gossip. It was during one of my promiscuous periods; in the midst of such an epoch, one trots from flower to flower, trying to pick everything, place everyone in one's button-hole. This particular woman was forced by a social context to reject my advances. In my current solitude, I find some richness in having been deprived- it is a reminder that most social contexts are predicated upon fear, insecurity, desperation, desire, and treacherous self-interest. Now, my life has been reduced to Jade-and-I, or I alone. When I do these little phone dishes with figures from my past, I'm stunned to find how easily stung I am, how many situations I botched, people I misread. The verticality of all this is in the realization that it must happen again. No artist can afford to live for prolonged periods above the fray- there is too much in an individual consciousness that flattens out on vacuity if preserved in isolation.
The crux of the matter is this: it's time for me to jump into some fray again. I'm restless: I know that what you gain in solitude has to be pushed out into the open for there to be some truth consonance, and these peregrinations are not enough. Jade has been bolstering my confidence; but I'm too old to just hit the bars and the clubs like I used to. So I'm poised to do something, I just don't know what yet. Like mathematics, human life has distinct compensations: there is always another equation to be formulated and parsed, a new slant, novel ways of perceiving realities that are leveled and layered to begin with. And, somewhere in the distance, a miracle always hovers: the promise of a few truly lived moments, in which every narcissistic schema is transcended in the sense that something is being given and received on both sides. If I didn't believe this, there would be no reason not to commit suicide, because I already feel I've done enough work for one life-time, and the growth of my seeds has been more than adequate. But because the deepest truths are social, it cannot be my life-path to give up on my own humanity, and everyone else's. I have claimed that these miracles usually transpire in a sexual context, but I have learned in writing this book that this does not have to be the case. Our greatest consonance with reality and humanity is expressed any time something moves in an upwards direction between ourselves and someone else; any equation involving legitimate ascension is one worth investigating.
April cruelty of rain-chilly wind, six months
until harvest- Stacy stands on the verge of
a realm not tearless, but over tears, so that
tears themselves form a kind of second skin
around her, & the child to be born is cried
out- here, I notice, is a place where I could've
been no one, still have no substance, & what
pours out of me, as I absorb the Indiana
farm-land, is just refuse of what I've never had-
this is what she writes out of. The erstwhile female
is replaced by a raw-nerved, patterned, womanly
archetype, solid as a silo, to be picked at by the
little-minded for occupying space in a man's arid
world. Corn-rows tilt to be livid both ways.