Wanda Phipps



Two sections from a journal of emotional sensation

Monday, January 7 

Sex when I'm sick is like fucking in another language—familiar act made unfamiliar. Last night Rebecca Moore and her monster band—"Trumpets of your soul will sound, even though you're in the ground." J.B.'s sensitive Piaf coming through in her simple peace song—the merry-go-round-carnival sound—"If a song was meant to be, it will come again someday. Like you." I guess I have very little faith in continuity. In a "post-modern pillow book" consistency drinks up moment after moment of impermanence—wet boots—sore shoulder—kiss the new year—marimba positioned—hides the pianist—kinnari in my head—keep surprising me—I'm ready.

Look for me number 41 under "honey"—hot hot cinnamon apple spice—make me a list of happinesses—wet snow—draft—jotting down the hours—resting my raw throat—reading through the shaman ritual—breaths are slow—my soul not quite "knocked out of my body"—kept by a delicate thread through Astral Weeks and sounds of Fatback Taffy—eyes following the shadow of the steam from my teacup as it floats across the lines on the empty page.

Wednesday, January 9 

"This is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is not the mind that moves." Myoshin

Thursday, January 10 

Fighting cold—hot—rushing to get there—but body moving slowly—what is it I miss? Why not home—safe—warm? Tiny little dancers in my head—rather attractive—some on point—some engaged in some kind of Ukrainian folk extravaganza—others do a slow striptease to "You Do Something to Me." Time for low voices, low light, sweet words and thick dreams. I have too many clothes on—ache on the right side of my neck—behind the ear—maybe chocolate strawberries or hot sake—no cameras tonight.

Dazed—brain frozen—thoughts—a dull whisper—impossible desire possible.

Friday, January 11 

As the shamans say "Now everything is suspended between heaven and earth."

Monday, January 14 

The other night wandering through a huge building being renovated—wandering from floor to floor—lots of huge empty space—high ceilings—on one floor a space seems occupied—someone's living there—even though the building's not finished—I'm walking around one small room and a man comes in behind me—surprising me—he's an old friend—we'd had sex, only once—mostly friends—we start talking and he's obviously flirting—then out-right propositioning me—I ask if he has a girlfriend and he says no but he was looking—but since I had a boyfriend wouldn't it be okay for him to see me until he found someone too? I woke up thinking that it didn't sound like such a wonderful offer, so why was I considering it?

Next night: I'm visiting some kind of spiritual community (maybe on retreat) with an ex-lover of mine (from years and years ago). The main red brick building is surrounded by grass in every direction and in the far distance, the edge of a forest. We take a walk and my companion finds a large inviting stream just beyond the trees that are closer to the main building—in plain view of it. He takes off his clothes and jumps in. I see his head bobbing in and out of the water. I enjoy watching him totally disappearing beneath the surface of the water and then suddenly reappearing again and again with a huge grin on his face. He asks me to come on in and I tell him "I'd love to, but I don't know how to swim."

Then he steps out of the stream and a huge bed appears with a canopy which actually conceals the whole bed. We jump on the bed and stretch out, practically on the front lawn of this spiritual community but we don't seem concerned about it. In fact, we are as relaxed and blissful as I could ever imagine being.

I feel completely blessed and broken all at the same time—powerful and helpless—ingenious and idiotic—a wise old woman and a clueless infant—hot/cold—overflowing yet fully contained, hidden—I'm lying in a rose garden poked by thorns and brambles—thoroughly intoxicated.

Makyo: "deep-dream dimensions—visionary and other altered states occurring during zazen"—Robert Aitken

Now I have a name for it—but what do you call it outside of zazen?

Wednesday, January 16 

The strength of this is overpowering. I try to hold onto my senses but it's impossible—try to keep my thoughts moving in logical steps—impossible—lying in a field of lilies—no on a steamy beach—so much blue—clear.

Thursday, January 17 

Air walking—untangled—lifted—a full breath—developing my vocabulary of joy—so grand.



Thursday, June 27 

Marjoram joy—heat fog blanket—sage long life—slo-mo awakening—lots to tell you—lots—sweet woodruff health—scenes of lust and flowers—lavender deep devotion—red full moon and kisses—rosemary affection and remembrance—summer again.

Afraid but not too afraid of what we might say—of finality—of ending—of what happens after today—neck a little tight—on the way to the subway guy says to me, "You look so sad." Didn't feel sad—more calm—resigned—not ecstatic as before—head a little preoccupied—around new faces from the weekend and the sounds of their voices—clear and confident laughter—girl giggles—guy bravado—now back to my real life and what in the world is that?

Am I beautiful today? I hope so—J. said "You look nice." Reading piece on Intuition in Service—what does my intuition tell me now? Can't trust it—often dread things that turn out to be amazingly wonderful—little miracles.

Friday, June 28 

Blood red moon—Barry White on the radio—ending not quite—ending as another beginning.

Letting go—letting go—heat after the thunderstorms—shiny forehead—garlic peels on the kitchen floor—back a bit achy—push to make the body stronger.

Saturday, June 29 

St. John's Wort tea and evening primrose oil—counting the breaths and letting the tears roll—no more Philip Whalen—no more June Jordan—how selfish is my little world? Last night head full of Prevention of Blindness and Barbez—Russian folksongs over rock—all the strings and then the theramin—sound in and out—don't forget to unlock my knees—remember balance weight—unconsciously measuring myself against others as I watch them measuring themselves against me—how do we all measure up? How do we all measure loss, joy, pain, peace, love, consciousness—oh yes the man with the eggs—measuring global consciousness with graphs and charts and a million calculations, analyzing data on the unseen—the unknown—I miss you M.R., Ceci, Jo Jo and yes you too—send you love—send you warm thoughts from my occasionally warm heart.

News flash—wondering all this time why your voice has that affect on me—instant calm loving blanket of comfort flowing—now I hear it clearly in my head—your voice is so similar to his voice you might as well be brothers—the one who thinks I'm the one that got away—the one he should have married—could have had a family with—could have been happy with—squirrel hopping from the fence to the tree—shaky footing—twin voice of my one that got away—two squirrels dancing round a tree—body calm, finally heart/head calm after morning struggle—internal—then afternoon tiff—two sparrows hopping on bricks—my heart falls "It's difficult to talk to you"—air-conditioner hum—drip—hum.

Poem for voices—a play—a play—let's play—wanted so much to ease your suffering, ease your pain that I forgot about my own—all gone—anger gone—outrage—frustration gone—waiting somehow only to help heal you—make you whole again and to feel myself whole again with you—both of us strong and sure and close—tight—slick—hard—soft—safe—on the edge again—I'm glad—against every sane argument against it—I'm glad—back to the beginning and now I sleep with poetry and politics—a long tall man and many secrets—a purring black cat and the memory of the sounds of birds.