Monday 9 March 1987
written at Franklin Street Cafe
watching long-legged secretaries pass by my window table
Today I have not only Margaret’s reply to the last installment of proselytizing prose of a peripatetic pothead poet, but a lot of newsworthy events, as well. Although a phone call to Admissions Committee Chair Roger Hahn brought only the news that there is no news on the status of my graduate school application for readmission, my weekly private tutoring of four of the children of the assistant for the last year of old Mr. Cunningham’s used-bookstore in a dusty old two-storey building around the corner from Oakland City Hall has doubled in frequency (2 hrs/wk @ $7/hr) and my janitorial duties at the rather seedy rooming house where I am pleased to maintain lodgings have, since the departure of the downstairs cocaine smoker who shared his room with a pair of lawbreaking lesbians, the bull dyke of which was constantly in and out of jail, doubled in scope, with attendant reduction of rent, so that from April on Mother will only have to send the landlord Richard Burger $105 per month. On the other hand, don’t anyone try to call me at my home phone: it has been disconnected for about the last two weeks, since Girard found himself unable to continue paying the bill.
Let me analyze for you what Margaret had to say.
Dominic’s letter . . . is a fairly accurate picture of the main public events of your life. You must realize this underneath or why else would you make such a big deal out of it. Why do you think you would go to the trouble of sending to all those people[?]
In other words Margaret misidentifies Dominic’s letter and does just what I poked fun at in it: bases an argument on her perception of my motives.
You all have Dominic’s letter; my own vanity is assuredly a strong enough motive to circulate this colorful although inaccurate document. You can determine for yourself whether or not it is an illogical accusation, by one who had promised me financial support, that my failure to obtain what he calls “counciling” relieves him of his promise.
It is Dominic’s way of relieving his conscience for stabbing me in the back, just as Patty maintaining that altho on Christmas Day her sick, broke brother would be trespassing if he dared darken her door, nevertheless she “loved” me, and I was “hurting” her to ask permission in such a persistent manner to visit her on that Christian high holiday.The evident circularity of Dominic’s self-serving pseudo concern was my main motive, but — and I shall not miss this occasion to set Margaret (my sole contributing, or potentially contributing, sibling)’s teeth on edge by reiterating my oft-repeated observation on the paucity of the rational faculty among females — it is even more evident that this circularity is not obvious to at least one of its readers.
Dominic’s letter is highly inaccurate, Margaret — for only one example, flunking Quantum Mechanics in my senior year had little to do with some allegedly conscious decision to refuse to do homework and a lot to do with partial completion of the requirements of a doubler major, history and astronomy, a circumstance omitted because Dominic never spoke to me about it — but it is his absurd logic that rebounds most against him. Let us imagine for the sake of argument that all of his erroneous statements of fact (such as that MacLean Hospital diagnosed me as ‘manic-depressive’ when in reality it was ‘schizophrenia of the psychodynamic variety) are true; we are still left with a very large number of locutions such as the following (from p. 3):
Your decision to go to jail, in the face of an offer not to, is the product of an emotionally-disturbed mind. Quite frankly, I think you are a masochist.
All of the choices that I made for the sake of integrity to my personal ideals Brother Dominic interprets — there is no question of relating a matter of fact in the judgement just quoted — in the worst possible light, as a mysterious failure of sound judgement and explicable only pathologically, by the presence of a disease, and an incurable one at that.
Please explain to me what changed between November 1986 and Janujary 1987 that formed the basis for Dominic’s oh-so-agonizing decision to back out of his commitment? Was I not the same antiEstablishment rebel in November that I was in January, just as stubbornly refusing to take my lithium, just as willing to suffer for ideals he does not happen to share?
Did I promise, in return for financial support, never to be arrested? Realistically, Margaret, I can not make such a promise; notice that that is the reason Dominic won’t allow me to visit him (p.7). Yet that is why Dominic is “not convinced that [I] have the emotional maturity or stability to make it through graduate school, because I have been arrested.
My jury trial on misdemeanor trespassing charges was scheduled for Thursday last; it was rescheduled for today and this morning it was put off until tomorrow morning. Both you and Dominic are already persuaded I am guilty, and my habit of personally offending in advance anyone I am trying to persuade is proof to you of my pathological condition.
I patiently maintain that it is my idealistic faith in the power of reason.