PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1977 - JUNE
Wednesday 1 June
The first of June. Days in themselves are not unuseful, are not unexciting, are not dead, but the whole is empty. The problem of what to do catches me all the time whenever I am alone - suddenly thousands of black spears appear to my mind all threatening to turn into satanic coal fires. A crisis must come, my mind will explode.
A silver apple has fallen from an unknown tree and begins to love me; I am happy to have such pretty hands caressing me again. But silver apples are always figments of imagination and I must beware of the iron core.
With M, Shea and Roger to Parliament Hill to watch the moon in a yellow spotty London sky.
Sabado 4 Junio
PHOTOS FROM PORTOBELLO ROAD
- The foreign tourist asking what the handles of a set of knives were made of, and the disinterested stall-lady saying 'bakelite', 'pardon', 'bak - e - lite', 'pardon'; bak ---- e ---- lite' and absolutely refusing to explain what bakelite is. - Crowds of people staring into the sky with clicking cameras as an air-ship (Goodyear) passes overhead. - An escape artist escaping from sacks and chains to appear suddenly as an old tired man, one who has to work so hard for his capful of geld. - An Indian sitting on a small car playing his steel pan sweetly and saying thank you to donors with cross-eyes through cross-glasses. - The 'Free Shop' which is the most boarded, barbed-wired and locked-up of all shops.
The pearl mornings disappear into confusion, confusion fades into tears which complicate the day completely. There is a boy who could build a pupper, a stage, a theatre. He would make the world a play and put colour everywhere, he would not ask reward just a summertime or two, just an act or two. And there is a boy who wears a suit and talks of market trends on Thursdays and butterflies to butterfly collectors, he would whistle to the bank. And there's a boy who would travel and a boy who would live on bread and honey and work for birds and trees. There's a boy who thinks of futures and there's a boy really couldn't care. There's a lizard without a clue and a hound without a trail. There's a hermit looking for a hermitage and a giant overflowing with love. There's a fox and a lion. There's a mouse and an eagle. There's a boy between the boards and a boy who climbs every fence to see. There's a boy in lemon and a boy in hell. There's a showman and a shyman. A lover, a lover, there's a lover. There's a fatalistic ostrich and an opportunist cat. There's a redman, blueman, a yellow man and a bright man. Sometimes the boy is a pearl and sometimes he finds all these creatures in his confusion, every one a tear misting his vision. And a pearl wonders here and there wondering how many tears make a crisis.
Today England is celebrating everywhere for it is the Queen's Silver Jubilee. In London there is a magnificent festival and procession with the Queen and all her offspring. And what am I doing? Sitting on the floor in the sitting room listening to Julie Felix. And yet, what is one of the most exciting things that can happen when one is travelling? To find a festival in process, to see the people celebrating - carnival in Brazil for instance. When travelling I enthuse to find a festival, a procession, and yet here I have a most English celebration, and I am completely disinterested.
I see 'Term of Trial' with Laurence Olivier on TV, and a contemporary Russian play 'Ascent of Mount Fuji' at the Hampstead Theatre. I am reading some Chekhov short stories right now.
I do not feel I can trust the silver apple fully, but she gives me silver dreams at the crossroads.
Such a homely cemetery, with engraved stones and short cropped grass, protected my soul for two nights in Brighton. I did not hear one cry, not one mutter from the dead. When the wind made no noise through the holes in my sleeping bag, I could not know if I was in my bed at home or in a guest's eiderdown. But there were many dreams between the waking squalls of rain. One of the mornings I woke to see the sun rising above a small hill and a gaelic cross - it was as though I was in the middle of the film 'Barry Lyndon'. I met a Dutch lady and her brother in Brighton, Arianne and Ari - a psychiatric nurse and a potter.
Poetry, theatre, dance and jazz were all part of the Brighton festival. The jazz was hyper-modern, full of screeches. There was one guy playing his cello as though he were in a frenzied 'It's a Knockout' race to destroy it. The theatre was full of surprises. I didn't like the poetry at all (Adrian Henri).
THE ORDER OF THE GOLDEN DAWN
This was a society that flourished in the 1890s and consisted of intelligent, high class people. W B Yeats was the most famous member. It functioned as an occult university, a man named Richard Cavendish says, and was very serious, even pre-empting later ideas on the collective unconscious. Members went through stages and had to pass exams. One of their first tasks was to make a black lotus wand (containing the 12 symbols of the zodiac and a lotus at the top), which was to be revered as a magic stick. Another task was to create a rose crucifix. The members took instruction in the tarot and in its relevance to the Hebrew alphabet, Egyptian mythology and ways of achieving the key of life.
I have started buying old nice books on fairy tales, myths, legends etc.
I write letters to Frank, Lizzie, N. M can act so selfishly without even knowing how to think in terms of another person, but sometimes I see all the armour protecting a little girl. The undulations of the day do not seem to affect her; she doesn't question why anybody else does what they do. Not like in me - things go around and around. We are at opposite poles, it is so strange. I feel my shell is thinner and my innards stronger. Sex is very important to her but not so much to me, especially when there are other stronger things in the relationship. As I write here, I find myself full of hypocrisy. Joni Mitchell's words: 'You don't like weak women 'cos you get bored so quick; and you don't like strong women 'cos they're hip to your tricks.'
Thursday 16 June
M left today in a cloud of independence (hers and mine) having snored her way through the night, consciously or subconsciously deliberately to hinder my sleep. That sounds stupid and ridiculous that's why I write it down. In the night she is an innocent child, in the morning she is a proud woman.
I decided not to take the survey job in Oxford, but to hope for the theatre job but that didn't come my way. I was not disappointed. Today, the sun is shining on the concrete walkway of the Camden Canal. Two jobs still pending: The Earth Exchange wants me, but they might not have any money. I could work there and set up a Learning Exchange; I have an interview for the Sandoz job next week in Oxford.
Sometimes I watch the giraffes at London Zoo. I have named the family Toddmorgan, Ralphine, No1 Sunflower, Saul and Groundnut. I believe there is a newborn but he/she is not yet on display.
At Tuesday's Chinese history class there was an Englishman who had lived the first twenty years of his life in China and yet, because of his English parents, he spoke perfect English. I asked him about the difference between the way Chinese and Western people think. He said that when he thinks in English he sometimes comes to a completely different conclusion than if he thinks through the same thing in Chinese. Fascinating.
It is written in the Mahavakyaratnamala: 'The Knower of Truth should go about the world, outwardly stupid like a child, a madman or a devil.' I read 'The Magic Revival' by Kenneth Grant, who studied under Crowley. The book is about Crowley's work with the Golden Dawn and others.
Monday 20 June
The weather is a portent. It is very cold for June. I think that we are completely fucking up the laws that govern the weather, the orbit, the existence of our planet. A foreseeable doom is in evidence. As long as nature and the evolutionary cycle were in control there were no problems. But now we have gone too far. Man has spiralled off from natural processes.
Wednesday 22 June
Another breakfast-and-lunch-day in Oxford. I was all dressed up for a Sandoz interview. The job was for an Information Executive, but this turned out to be just another name for sales rep. But Oxford was lovely. I was dreaming by the rivers, remembering old lovers and letting them drift gently away. I took lunch with sweet Clare who is finding her job rather difficult, having so many young kids coming into the office and not being able to help any of them, it must be very disheartening. Maybe she will become a medical rep. Talking of medical reps, it seems Judy Gardner got my Dunedin position and stayed 10 months and is now applying for other Sandoz jobs. And, I received a letter from Mike Garvey a week or so ago, saying exactly what I would expect him to say: praise be to Sandoz; but Sandoz are Wander as well, and Wander are going to specialise in headaches. It's all awonder, Sandoz an' all.
Surely one of the most beautiful feelings in the human repertoire is that of cleanliness. When the body is hot, bothered, dirty and is cleaned by a bath or shower - may be only for five minutes - the body is then dried and left nude, and the feeling is akin to peace. Personally, I get a lot of satisfaction just from taking my socks off.
Friday 24 June
This morning my mother told me that last night Francis had helped an Indian man, her neighbour, to her home. The man had been set upon by 21 youngsters with motorbikes. They had completely surrounded him, attacked him, and left him grovelling in the street where many people just passed him by. Francis told my mother she is now scared for her family.
'The Country Heir' by Marivaux; 'The Anniversary' by Chekhov; and 'The Beautiful Despot' by Nicholas Evrewoy.
There's a big problem building up because of the picket and strike laws - near pitched battles are being staged outside Grunswick's processing plant between police and picketers.
A rare moment one Sunday gone by: I was sitting in a noiseless, lightless lounge feeling all my connections to the world and realising how tenuous they were. It was as though the closest things to me were as nothing; in those minutes I was absolutely alone and all my friends, ideas, thoughts connections with the world were meaningless. And I was all and nothing else.
Sometimes I feel that there is nobody and nothing that could bring a glow to the day. And sometimes I am glowing so bright all my smiles are so free.
At the Tate Gallery: Alberto Giacometti - tall figures, two paintings; Sickert (1860-1942) - portraits, interested in city buildings, liberation of form and colour, impressionism found its focus in England; Bacon - figure in landscape, three figures; Freud - Francis Bacon, self-portrait, girl with white dog; Blake - illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy, and others beautiful (for Blake both poetry and writing were only justified as the expression of eternal truths, and both reflected his deeply thought out personal philosophy); Harold Gilman - Mrs Mounter at breakfast table; Spencer Gore; John William Waterhouse - The Lady of Shalott; John Martin - The Plains of Heaven, The Last Judgement, The great day of His wrath; Turner (1775-1851) - War: the exile and the rock limpet; Constable - some paintings of Hampstead Heath; Everett Milais (1829-1896) - Ophelia; David Jones; John Piper; Patrick Caulfield; William Coldstream.
Sabado 25 June
Reading Bertrand Russell - 'The Problems of Philosophy' which is too heavy and above my head; Oun J Li - 'The Ageless Chinese'; Chekhov - 'Select tales' such as 'The duel', 'The kiss'; 'The Bet'.
With Chris in Poole, Cobbs Quay, where, after all these years, I revenged myself on him vis-a-vis his water-skiing prowess at Butlins all those years ago. Fred farted sometimes and enjoyed his fish and chips sitting down, but couldn't change the propeller on Amepest; meanwhile Toto II was very comfortable even if M wasn't there. There was no time for thinking, it was all water in the face, and stuffing mouths. Chris tells me that most of the roughnecks who work on his oilrig and who earn £900 a week live in council houses with £9 a week rent. Bournemouth is a part of English I don't like; Swanage is very pretty.
Friday 30 June
The Earth Exchange idea has broken down. Hermione and Nigel are running the whole project on a 'we shouldn't kill animals' line and, quite honestly, I think that is a stupid philosophy, though I wouldn't say so. A whole evening's debate ensued on whether the proposed Learning Exchange in Earth Exchange should answer queries about a duck-shooting club! Any way, job creation money is not forthcoming. But it really raises the question should I go all out to start an L.E., researching the idea, and trying to find funds, or should I just forget it. Why is it so difficult to direct my energies? Why is it so difficult to find a cause? Am thinking of moving into a flat - but that creates a thousand difficulties.
Two interesting magazines: 'Index' - a writers' magazine centred on human rights around the world; and 'Ambit 70' - full of stories, poems and design.
Paul K Lyons
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