Hul 29, 2007


Down to the cottage, housekeeperless, to a weekend of hard domestic work and cooking. No one has any idea of the problems of a woman Minister!

Barbara Castle
July 29, 1966
Diary entry

My dearest readers must have guessed the process. You read through a handful of diary entries written the same day, across the years since the press was invented. You choose one which resounds inside you for some reason. Then write your own.

You don’t need to explain the resonance. You need not even clarify it to yourself. Just snip and paste. Then hope that what you write will make some parallel sense.

Cross your fingers. Sometimes it does. But I have not given the full account of this inane method.

Anyway, I had read through some of my recent entries and noted my many mistakes with a dancing pair of dismay and a resolution to let the faults stand. But what I romanticize as resolution may in actuality be laziness. I must be startling my parents whenever I curse the monitor. Their weekend son who switches on the PC only to lacerate his eyes.

I sometimes wish I were more outgoing. Yesterday my brothers and sisters went out to take in the Saturday sun in their respective fashions. I asked none of them where they were headed. Meanwhile, I missed my afternoon meeting because of a toothache. Since my father has been having toothaches all week, I suspected the reality of mine. What if the pain was brought on by the power of suggestion coupled with some desire to stay home. How could that be when I wanted to attend the meeting? We were set to discuss extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances.

The razors between gum and tooth kept me from further thought. I resorted to my father’s meds and an insane PC aquarium game. Think like a fish. Think like a binary fish. And there goes what’s left of your pathetic social relevance, gargled out and down the drain.

Pain is a good thing because you’re assured that you don’t have to miss everything in the world that came and went. This is a better day because I woke with a cooperative mouth and a story in print. A pocket of reflection issues from this relief and the little sense of achievement. In this space, I wondered how much a person can take of other people’s thoughts and aches. How many pages of diaries must you read? How many pounds of pains and confidences must you hear?

So this bad feeling, for I recall encouraging and auditorium full of people to read and read. I used to level a pile of at least fifty books a year, a quota set by my friends. A different manner of teaching advises only five books for two years or longer, a prudent selection of the teacher. These the student would read over and over until he had thoroughly absorbed them. The next two years are then set to surpass the intelligence of the five books.

I find this method greener grass lovely because I realize what the numbers game generates: too many mirrors, too many selves.

For the sake of equilibrium, I recall why I promoted the race in the first place: there’s the faithful danger of narrowing men to a singular Word.

Hul 28, 2007


Gipsy Lizzie was at the School. Again I am under the influence of that child’s extraordinary beauty. When she is reading and her eyes are bent down upon her book her loveliness is indescribable.

Rep. Francis Kilvert
July 28, 1871
Diary entry

Why did the ancestors invent the hero? Hypothesis 155 reads: They were fed up with gazing. What they woke up to were long hours in the presence of dire beauty, eye-haunting specimens of the lovely near or far from the hearth. In the superhuman effort to preserve order and lock away the freedom of insanity, the ancestors invented the workweek and all the component workhours.

Long before fire, they had already invented the gaze. They patterned it from moonlight. Yet, nights without moon threatened them with dreams of even longer and madder bouts of gazing. They created fire and from that new quality of light created dance and from that dance they crafted the hero – the one among them who would take all their dreams out into seas and mountains.

They trained their sights on what the hero saw, for the hero looked and conquered and possessed, never needing the fantasy or time to gaze. At a glance, he decided on desire and leaped to the take. Sometimes this killed him.

Death does not make a language. It is not the only word the ancestors inflicted on the hero.

There was one hero they fashioned from youth-hair and god-eye. They drove him out to sea in the most glorious ship of his time. Out, to conquer women. Out, to win other heroes. Out, to the worthless fleece. Then they gifted him with their scornful life and feted him with tragedy. They crowned him with old age, with pained mobility, with the only remaining path leading down into the pits of memory, where he fell inward into the spell of his own story, falling until he perceived the handiwork of the ancients. Until he apprehended this very idea of his fall. Thus was he killed, trying to say something.

As the hero cast his ultimate gaze at the design of his life, the vast civilization of termites that thrived on his ship learned their singular name, achieved the end of their hunger, and weighed down on the mighty bones of the ship that crushed its captain.

Hul 21, 2007

The Get Well Soon

I hope she has a mother, a kind one.

Nella Last
July 21, 1943
Diary entry

The night swimming down deep, still yesterday night's unforgettable dream of kidneys and white cats. I work the weekend away, I need to anyway. I try to stir up other thoughts. Nothing works. I refuse to write a word more. Countless nights ahead - or so we never fail to tell ourselves - maybe later another dream. Maybe tomorrow night. I shall forget. Famous last words: I shall forget.

Hul 20, 2007

Street Crazy

An attack on Hitler's life, but unfortunately the bastard wasn't killed.

Joan Wyndham
July 20, 1944
Diary entry

It never fails: I see the man on my way to the grocer's. Whenever I look at him, I hope to God he never catches me staring. Because when I catch myself stare, I begin to hate myself for being ignorant and wide-eyed. Then I hate myself some more - the self's an all too convenient sissy to hate when there's nobody else of worth around - because I know my ignorance is the only strand that's keeping me tied to this world. So I begin to love my own stupidity. But I don't love the man. He's a common crazy, dirty in all the ways that a crazy is dirty, and always scratching away at some part or other of himself. This man though, he has the twin quiddities of wearing perfectly polished boots and sporting an anachronistic little moustache. Those boots are nothing like I've ever seen. And I've seen military quality, you know. I like looking at him and hate seeing myself look at him. In this manner and without the superfluity of either fingers or fraternity, I too scratch away at myself.

Hul 15, 2007

The Unseen Hand

Anniversary of the day on which I got married and on which, with one thrust which quite deprived me of breath, I lost my virginity.

Liane de Pougy
July 15, 1935
Diary entry

Noontime when I found preparations under way for another campaign to press for the resurfacing of the desaparecidos. I tell her I'm proud of her. Much more so because she presses against futility.

You know what they say about espousing the cause of the lost.

Of course, she's used to my tongue's resolutely worthless swagger. She loves bouncing her ideas off me exactly because I seem impervious to her cute idealism. So I shoot my mouth off while she's typing and texting away.

I tell her that the situation of desaparecidos hides one thing more than it does the victims. When somebody is caused to vanish, the hand that causes the disappearance itself disappears. Interesting how that happens too, the hands are prominent, in fact they hold the best seats in the national house, yet they disappear.

We aren't legally permitted to see what's obvious. In fact, the disavowals of the powerful hold more water. More than any of the signature campaigns, the rallies.

That's not new to me, she says. There are forces. Then there are market forces, she says. And we both know which discipline most invests itself in the idea of the unseen hand.

Are we talking theology? I ask.

We're talking economics, she says.

I offer my services, ask her what needs printing. No, I got it, she says, and waves me off to the night when I'll countenance some dark use.

Hul 14, 2007

You Have the Body

I was married - and how debonair and confident i was - 15 years ago today. I rose early, dressed slowly, went to Delhez, the fashionable Figaro, to be shaved and coiffed, and there my best man, Freddie Birkenhead, met me: I then entertained 15 ushers to luncheon at Buck's Club - I remember every detail. Today was different.

'Chips' Channon
July 14, 1948
Diary entry

What's this written over our heads? You say habeas corpus.

I say we care enough to be gentle with each other. You say more, many things like laws and news. Things that I understand without feeling.

I reply that we care - oh so sufficiently - to demand pleasure of each other.

You say we free ones shouldn't have monopoly of desire (I was about to say, care for a cartel?). You want those uniformed violators to fry too. You want them forced to drink the blood of their own families. Then you want to forgive them, set them loose again with the right to rifles and alligator clips. Restore to them their camouflage and keys. See if they'll pull the same stunts.

They will, of course they will, I say.

You say people are disappearing around us.

I'm glad you care. Then I tell you, what we really wish for them is not that they reappear; that would be cruel of us. But that they would be as invisible to themselves as they are to us. That they would not know the bone fact of their own detention. That there would be none of their hair left to pull, no more tissue subject to boot and voltage.

You say I talk too much. You say we're too solid to each other to understand.

This I recognize, yes. So I don't tell you that all I have's a wish to commiserate with their victims. None of the sympathy. Just the desire for sympathy. That's the extent of my truth. All I can in actuality do is hold your hand. You, of course, will not allow me this. So I speak none of it.

You say that I can't keep this up. I can't always just feel with my brain.

Voltage. I choke up the synapse: who said anything about brains? I feel through your skin. I say nothing, and I don't reach for you.

Hul 13, 2007


Mahlu's all heart, but the years wear people out. That's what they do, what they're here for. You could hear them years sing Hi-Ho as they chip off your body, your mind. Your heart. Particularly for Mahlu, the years set up camp on her eyes. So finally, she had to tell me, "these eyes were duty-bound to see, to look at you; as if tears weren't labor enough." In the singular breath of gratitude and impatience, I told her to stop staring, stop playing Monica to my Augustine. I told her to pack her eyes up, whistle to her years so they could gather the kettles and pickaxes. I whispered, "Mahlu, get sorrows of your own; all my sins come with mirrors." I whispered so things would be light for her as she packed. Then I whispered some more so the years would laugh in her wake.

The Blower's Daughter

(Damien Rice)

and so it is
just like you said it would be
life goes easy on me
most of the time
and so it is
the shorter story
no love, no glory
no hero in her skies

I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes...

and so it is
just like you said it should be
we'll both forget the breeze
most of the time
and so it is
the colder water
the blower's daughter
the pupil in denial

I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes...

did I say that I loathe you?
did I say that I want to
leave it all behind?

I can't take my mind off you
I can't take my mind off you
I can't take my mind off you
I can't take my mind off you
I can't take my mind off you
I can't take my mind...

my mind...
my mind...

til I find somebody new

Hul 8, 2007

Silence the Voices

(Chris Cornell)

There the soldiers, in the sunlight
Kill the center of a man in endless suicide
By the night light, in foreign sky
Is a holstered, bridled child spinning 'round the flame?
Each is loved now or remembered
By the mask they wore years before the future
And the horse falls in the smoke-filled riot
The center of a child grows in new disguise

Where are the songs from the sane minds?
And where are words from the sound mouths?
I can't understand how they silence the voices

It's a new day, in the old life
He looks healthy with a tan on the white sheath
Across the table, where the blood dries
Where infinity will greet these earthly confines

Where are the songs from the sane minds?
And where are words from the sound mouths?
I can't understand how they silence the voices

That say no
That say no

It's a new day, in the old life
In the silence of the absence

Where are the songs from the same minds?
And where are words from the sound mouths?
I can't understand how they silence the voices
That say no
I can't understand how they silence the voices

Hul 7, 2007

Nicey nice day.

Lev Nik went to see his idol today, despite the weather. I realise today that although his last diaries are very interesting, they have all been composed for Chertkov and those for whom it pleases Mr. Chertkov to show them! And now Lev Nikol. never dares to write a word of love for me in them, for they all go straight to Chertkov and he would not like this.

Sofia Tolstoy
July 7, 1910
Diary entry

Weary, and I hate that when I say that it sounds fashionable. I'm just tired. It's a weekend so "tired" ought be allowed. But I need to pull my act together before the days overtake me.

Here's to solipsism!

Hul 5, 2007


(Gary Granada)

Minsa'y nasanay na nang nasanay
Sa konting konswelong aliw
Sa dinamidaming pasikutsikot ng buhay
Napakadaling mabaliw

Kung ikaw ay nanlalamig
Ako ay nakikinig at nakakaintindi
At sa hibang na daigdig
Ay mayron kang kakampi

Ang pangarap mo'y pangarap ko
Ang pasanin mo'y pasanin ko
Ang damdamin mo'y damdamin ko sinta
Ang kalayaan mo'y kalayaan ko
Ang digmaan mo'y digmaan ko
Ang buhay mo at buhay ko'y iisa

At kung ang karamihan ng buhay
Nakataya ang pag-ibig kong tunay
Sa lahat ng labanan

Kahit ano'ng daratnan
Hindi pagsisisihan, ako ay naririto
Sa kadulu-duluhan
Handang sumama sa iyo

Ang pangarap mo'y pangarap ko
Ang pangarap mo'y pangarap ko

Buhay mo at buhay ko'y iisa