PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1978 - JANUARY
2 January 1978
Turiya - in Hinduism the state of pure consciousness where waking and dreaming and sleeping merge. Let 1978 be a year in which I learn about turiya and a lot of other things. I have a lot of things to learn this year. I have a lot of things to do, I have a long way to go.
I sit cross-legged on a cushion by my stove, one elbow on the table drinking lemon verbena and rose-hips listening to some music. I have been saying that 1977 was not such a good year for me; but what am I comparing it to? Let me go back. 1976 by all my accounts must have been fantastic. There was the New Zealand summer just before I left, the amazing boat ride to Panama, the indians on St Blas islands, Colombian robbers, Ecuador gentleness, the Galapagos Islands, Louis and Frank, Cuenca, Lima, hepatitis, Didier, Peru, Andes, Annabelle, Jim, Cuzco, lorries, white blue and cold, Bolivian weavings, Chile beaches, N, Christian, Renaca, Bariloche, Valparaiso, apples and bread and cheese, Horcon. Yes, 1976 was one hell of a year. And in 1977? There was Brazil and strange travelling laziness with N and Christian, a bad boat ride back to Europe, family disorders, M, the curse and sweet odour of my room, flat-hunting blues, job-hunting blues, Chinese history and acting classes, Jean, Trevor, Judy, Roger and old friends on sky-lines, Phil, Colin, Chris, Annabelle. But the year finished OK with relative calm and peace with M, a good flat and a job. Is it valid to say 1977 was not a very good year, especially when 1976 may have been the very best year of my life?
You see, they do exist, parties where people aren't stoned or drunk, where hardly anybody is smoking, and where dancing (to drum beats and flute tunes) is important; where there aren't hoards and where people aren't tied together in pairs. Howard, a doctor in Adelaide Rd, and Helen in the secret garden. Jean is in love with Flow. Flow is accomplished, Jean is trying to accomplish, and appears like a child at Flow's side.
Aleister Crowley talks about life energy in everything. Jean talks about life energy. Colin talks about life energy. A large percentage of the alternative society, of the new wave living, talk about a life energy. People were talking about this a thousand years ago, in the days of alchemists, and I cannot remember the name of it - some elixir that was thought to leave on burning. The similarity in idea is too close for comfort. I am in complete disagreement to this idea that there is some connecting life force between all living things. I am an animal with head, body, limbs, heart etc and nothing else - there is no energy within me trying to be released to contact its mother and/or other energies - it is all symbolism to help us understand that we are educated and brought up in a socially, morally and mentally inhibited world.
Geraldine enters my office life, curving spines of green and yellow, sturdy, live, interesting. Geraldine the photocopier.
I made love with Anne last night after talking for hours and hours. Short, crisp lovemaking, with possibilities. Joseph came home after 21 hours journeying from Paris. He wasn't quite sure what Anne was doing in the bed. It is going to be the year of the lemon, sour but exhilarating, exciting, sharp.
Friday 6 January
This morning I thought about Didier. I am worried about him. This morning I thought about N. I read about the plebiscite in Chile, it seems that 75% voted in favour of Pinochet. Last night M and I talked a million hours about everything. We fought, we tried to shout, we interrupted each other, we walked away, we closed our ears, we made love, we cried, we slept. M is so afraid of giving herself, of letting go. She went with another man to make love and felt bad about it.
Yesterday, at my father's office I developed a stomach ache that got worse and worse. I thought it was just wind but soon I was sweating and writhing with the pain. I was whisked to a hospital where a stuttering doctor felt my body for signs of damage (thank heavens I was wearing underpants). The pains came and went but there were no clues from me or the doctor or the x-rays. I even undertook a special test - IVP - which involved being injected with a dye to show up on x-ray photos. The dye sent me into a super-hot flush for about a minute; it felt like I was going into outer space. And, a bit later with the main pain gone, I was lying on a table and this amazing impatience took me over, like a tiredness combined with a restlessness and I felt so bad I thought it would be better to die. It was no concrete pain or anything I could say was molesting, I just felt totally helpless, tied to the x-ray table. It was a very strange feeling. Hospitals, though, are marvellous places: the engineering feats, the human dedication, the injured people, the routines, the ugly, the ignorant, the pure and the dirty, the hospital porters who know every twist in the corridors and apologise when a trolley is banged (oh yes, I was wheeled on a trolley through the halls of St Mary's - I couldn't stop laughing); and there was the doctor talking with the nurses about her geraniums whilst looking for kidney stones in my kidneys. How life runs along in a hospital, it's unbelievable.
Monday 9 January
How long can I stay in this relationship with M. Ever since it began it has been half good and half sour, and it seems the only fun we have is with sex. Such a negative weekend. M became disturbed because of my attention to everything she does, to my comments here and there - and she has some reason. Also I am always wanting explanations for everything: why she is late, who is that letter to etc. And what a boring weekend it was too, except for Jango Edwards. He is described as a rock clown, and formed part of the Friends Roadshow in Amsterdam. His comedy is guttural, scatological, idiotic; and he does lovely mime too.
I thought I should get myself involved with theatre people NOW.
I just saw a telephone engineer's maps and was very impressed.
Julian was here, talking, but my ears were only listening for the door to open, for M to come home.
Sunday 15 January
My eyes are shady and heavy. The room is not very warm but it is a little stuffy. I feel my pen brimming with a desire to write.
I've gotta stop talking . . . or that could mean I've gotta stop thinking. All the time I spend thinking about life and its problems and its possession of me is absurd. I know it is all purposeless, that we must just go on, and that doing things is the point and not talking about them. I am very melancholy in this time, due to the constant questioning of myself by myself.
There is the final realisation that I have nothing with M at all, and that I must stop trying or it will drive me crazy. I feel like a sinking ship with M, and I have to keep looking at myself to see who I am, what I am, where I am going, and have to keep proving reason to myself. I must stop talking about it, thinking about it. Everything is. M and I went to the house of a friend of hers and got stoned. It felt like I wasn't really there at all. I see M a lot clearer now - she is an actress playing to people and feeding on attention. M too had a moment of reason, a very high moment, she said as we were walking home, she saw me in a new way, but couldn't tell me about it. How can two people so different be living together. It is absurd. Two ways of living, such a clash of reason. Any how we seem to be at a new level of understanding that involves no relation or compromise or love. M just happens to sleep in my bed during the week and share a few hours with me at the weekend. I feel melancholy with the understanding that it is finished or passed, that neither of us want to try any more.
Sometimes at work, during these days, I feel like I am in a swimming pool made up of words such as 'perceived', 'expressed the opinion', 'mentioned', 'believed', 'thought', 'said', etc, and I am drowning, drowning in these words unable to reach the surface to breathe pure air. Meanwhile, I am starting a refuge for dying plants in my office. There is an azalea, a spider plant, and a mother-in-law's tongue which isn't dying at all.
Sunday 21 January
M is going to leave, it is all too difficult. This hurts me, but it doesn't seem to worry M at all. We tried so hard and got nowhere, which is very worrying. Well, I shall be living here alone (I don't know how long Jose will stay). M and I are both very alone people, she with her show to the world, and me with my conceit and pride. Now - it is the middle of the day - I feel free, empty, sad. I feel like a child and weak. 'Heart and humour and humility will lighten up your heavy load' - lovely words of J.M. I expect I shall always - throughout my life in different times - be challenged by the lives of people like M.
I shall try to make the front room interesting, I shall do things with it, just for the sake of doing things with it.
Monday-what-am-I-doing-in-this-office 23 January
On Saturday night I was a bright star, but I'd put on a silver twinkling mask. I fluctuate in my head between the jealous lover and the worshipping fool, between the proud sage and the indifferent king, between the man of words and the man on the moon. The curse and sweet odour of my room fills her carrier bags with jumble. Today I am sad for her. I am thinking that I was a chance she had. I am sad for me too, alone, afraid in my search of a thousand faces, my copious longings.
I did see the moon and the stars last night and I tried to put myself in perspective. And in beautiful frosty St James's Park last week, I saw an uprooted tree, which brought to mind an analogy: all the branches of a tree as a person's exterior, all its twists and turns with knots and twigs and leaves, and then under the earth, the maze, the compacted hidden twists and turns, a person's intricate inner development, totally hidden.
Impermanence: I am totally rootless, my future is a complete blank.
We are cold strangers. M came in last night briefly and went out. I was half a sleep, but she woke me and it hurt seeing her coming and going.
Monday 30 January
M finally leaves this morning. I am very sad. I am trying to think about the good things, about how we could talk sensibly and we didn't shout, about how M has a lot of reason in her mind, about her beautiful body, about her complete independence. I am crying, but they are the best tears. I am crying because it is finished, because today M is leaving. Before I was down and depressed, now I am just sad. I just looked at a diary I wrote about our day-to-day relationship. I can burn it now. It shows me my own inadequacy, my own downfallings even though it is all about M. The truth is M never tried to change me. I tried to change her. 'I'm selfish and I'm proud and I've gone and lost the best baby I ever had' - J.M. again. And, from Evita, 'Oh, it's sad when a love affair dies.' Adios M. Adios. I am very sad, in a good way. It's just another end, just another beginning.
It is difficult to decide what is actually living. It is very hard to accept living as being what I do when I am sitting in an office. I go home alone to the flat, I read, I play music, I print, I go to a class, not very much of this feels like being alive, not like my dreams wound me with excitement. Don't blink once, don't blink twice, it's alright to die. I was living in South America, Asia, I am not really living now, I am only learning to try and stuff up the cracks.
Another new year's day in the Southern Hemisphere.
Paul K Lyons
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