4 July

So strange to have a house full of bodies, lazing around, naked and starry-eyed. But it stings to find Marielle and Harold locked in an embrace of sexual laughter. Joseph beat me at chess last night because his laughter was louder than mine; and Jean held my hand because he is not eccentric enough; and Harold killed me with practical details; and Rosina was over-elated in her jubilation, and vulnerable with a white smile.

8 July

My poems are a fuzzle of words squeezed out of my head. Some wonderful moments with Marielle. The freedom of our sexuality - the touch of lips or a glance across the room, mounting desires, exploring the essence of poetry in our lovemaking, fantasising, fairy tales come true, beautiful whisperings. We took an acid trip, Marielle and I, and found ourselves in different worlds. There was such ecstasy of lovemaking, the joy of two bodies melted in each other was amazing. I don't know why we didn't stay like it forever. But then, slowly, I felt we lost control and relation to each other. Body movements were separated, the muscles felt isolated and mechanic. At one point, I felt Marielle drawing away, going off into a bad trip. I suggested a walk, but everything was difficult, dressing, tea-making. Marielle heard echoes in the porch, echoes in the porch, echoes in the portch, and asked for reassurance, but I was not there. We walked down the street. A woman on the other side made us feel obvious so we moved on until she disappeared. On the corner, we saw a man and converted him into a pig. I wanted to change everybody into ghastly things but it was not to be for I went into my head slowly and started thinking about Marielle, and how we were relating, and that confused me. There were flashes of amazing understanding and flashes of being totally lost. She called me to lead her into other worlds but I wasn't able to. We returned to the flat and and watched the ceiling work like a stomach in and out, a heart beating - we saw it together which was fine. As the effect of the acid wore off so we drew closer again. I wish I could write more about the relating difficulties.

Melancholia overtakes me, where is it from? I cannot examine this feeling in detail because it is not concrete or even an abstract presence. How wild I have lived this past quarter of a year. Should I carry a spear on my shoulder and wander into the depths of the African bush? What good the crackles between the guitar strings? How much of this burden is from the traveller's sack? I am blue at this moment; life never lives up to the expectations of the living (death, I would say, is probably far more honest). This blue is not depression but a metallic melancholia. Perhaps it is the colour of the wall in this room. My body is without flavour, no strawberry juice or banana ice-cream tingling out the pores. What words spew out. The question arises shall I make macaroni cheese? Shall I make the tastiest juiciest savouriest macaroni cheese that has ever been made on this earth? Shall I make it now before I spew more paradoxes onto the red carpet between the walls of metallic melancholic. Laugh once before the hour is over please. Do not disturb Marielle who will not sleep till sunset.

14 July

I notice myself very much today - I feel I have grown since knowing Marielle. Two things from today: 1) I was riding around on my bicycle and shouting out thoughts as they came, just saying them out loud instead of in my head; and 2) I was aware of the world coming at me like lightning striking but from every point of my eye's vision, every person, ever car, every brick, road, object etc was some sort of stimulus for my head and it was as though I was in a constantly moving kaleidoscope, never being able to focus on one pattern.

There is one cup in the office that is wider than all the others. It is the only one in which a digestive biscuit can be honestly dunked.

I was standing in the art gallery looking at a Henri Matisse painting on the wall. I then moved my head to look at another painting on another wall. Between the two painting, seated on a chair in the corner, sat a very ordinary young woman - but oh, how much more fascinating than all the Henri Matisses put together and cubed.

Marielle went - she was a beautiful month of my life. We loved intensely from the moment we met till the moment we parted, endlessly saying 'yes' to each other,

I lie on my bed in the sterile room, hardly without feeling, certainly without joy, and almost certainly without depression or sadness. I try to formulate discipline in my head, but before any discipline comes, I must be able to not smoke. Today this has entered my consciousness - the physical desire in my lungs twists my mental power.

While on the acid trip with Marielle, I saw this room so clearly: as a deserted lonely grey room, with things things stuck on the wall to make it pretty, to cover up the drabness, like one huge cover up, like the smiling masks we put on and show each other every day.

15 July

The world here and now seems to be far more exciting than some film I am supposed to be watching. There is a lady with ginger hair skipping; she wears a black t-shirt, and a light green long dress. A red bus flies by leaving wind behind. A plastic cup on the pavement holds just a tiny bit of orange in the bottom - will somebody tread on it? And now the police come. A girl with breasts swinging up and down hurries. The shutter on the ice-cream parlour shuts. The burglar alarm rings on. Two queens walk by, one tall and black, the other white and red and short. Another red bus. Another police cars. Some treads on the plastic cup. Americans with Texaco hats. A sweet black face, with strong eyes - what are you carrying in your bag. And you madam are past your prime, but your grey hair shines with contentment, the wrinkles on your face are soft and bland. Will another red bus pass soon? I feel at home on this bench. Now you sir, with the blonde cropped hair and light jacket swung over your shoulder, you passed by once already - what are you looking for, I wonder?

T.S. Elliot's poetry is excellent, I am alive when I read it to the walls.

18 July

It occurred to me yesterday or the day before that I don't my dreams because they're too dull to remember - that is a completely original thought. But a friend told me the way to remember dreams is to drink half a glass of water just before going to sleep and then drink the other half first thing in the morning. I did that last night and this is what I remembered. I am walking down the street and smiling at the most amazingly beautiful Japanese woman I've ever seen. She is smiling too. We cross and then, after a few feet, turn our heads smiling so much that we burst out laughing. There's a gap in the story, but I remember her asking me, 'Do you live down there?' and then disappearing into a house. I believe she disappeared because I broke the magic by asking such a mundane question. I wait around until finally a beautiful strong tall exquisitely-dressed man emerges to tell me the lady does not want to see me, but suggests I leave a message in the oil.

Twice yesterday I had overwhelming desire - it flashed through my body - to be travelling again. Once was when I saw two Arabs standing on a street corner, they were so out of place, I transported them to an Arab city where they would be drinking sweet tea and talking heatedly, and me watching them.

I am smoking less now. I should give up. It's hard.


1) I picked up the phone in the office this morning to talk with someone at NOP but there was no dialling tone. It sounded like I had picked up the phone at the moment someone had started to ring so I said 'hello', and it was the very person I wanted to speak to asking to speak to Paul Lyons. 2) I was riding along on my bike the other day reading out loud randomly from a brochure I had picked up at the City Lit. After a few moments I realised I was reading from a part of the prospectus dealing with public speaking classes. 3) I walked into the Roundhouse and there was Pierre. He was just about to ring me, to tell me about openings for clowning.

19 July

I saw some sadness in M last night, as though she were suddenly coming to terms with the real struggle for practicalities, for independence, for adulthood. I realised how hard it must have been for her to live with me, to be the woman that I semi-consciously demanded her to be, when she herself was someone very different. It seems I would not, could not dominate, and perhaps this is what she expected. I want my partner to be equal, and I punish for inadequacy, for an inability to be as strong/fast/clever as me etc.

27 July

Depression lingers. There are moments of intense realisation, of reality, of here and now, when it all seems ludicrous and any hint of struggle seems absurd. This moment is the reality. The sun scorches my clothes. There are people ambling by. I am writing on a piece of paper. Am I living? I see a woman in beauty pass, and it makes me think that living is, in fact, to be alone with her, naked and loving. I feel the loss of Marielle acutely in my chest, liver, kidneys, spleen, bowels, penis, eyes, mouth, hands and head. The summer pretends to be dry, pretends to crack the earth and brown the grass. How about those moments lying in bed, lying in grass, sitting at desk, trying to make sense out of existent time.

Paul K Lyons

August 1978



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