The (Early) Lisa Diaries

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The Lisa Diaries by Lisa Carver  

What the Postman Knew

Note: Good-looking young girls with alarming depressions have always been irresistible to crabby thirty-eight-year-old married men. He wants to help, by way of bullying her out of her personality (which, since she’s twenty, is brimming with melodrama). What’s in it for her? Well, she’s sane enough to know she’s crazy enough to blow it with her regular guy, were she to let him have her in concentrated form. She uses this second man as a paper towel to absorb her excess, and she throws him away once she gets a little bit better.


As this week in 1990 began, I was a little bit better, but I hadn’t figured out what to do with my soggy paper towel named Frankie.

June 17, 1990

Sometimes I think, Well maybe I’ll marry Frankie. But then I think, Oh yeah, Frankie’s married to Laura and . . . hey, I’m married, too! But Jean Louis is in France now. I won’t see him for at least another month. When my husband is with me, his face, his voice, his hands, his rapid movement — all this is a flapping curtain between my eyes and the halfway real thoughts coming out of the walls. When he’s gone, I’m thinking and thinking all alone in my apartment with no furniture until these things I almost know become three-dimensional. It’s as if my thoughts are going to follow their own paths, start making decisions without me, and maybe turn on me. But then sometimes it gets unnaturally good, and knowingness swells inside me. I feel power.


Frankie sees degeneracy everywhere. He said I’m degrading myself with my naked opera tours (which, by the way, is how he met me). I want to be bare like a shiny bone. If peeing in front of fifty people is one way of doing this, what business is it of his? He sees my abhorrence of commitment as a defect, something he can cure. But I don’t like commitment. People get in the way.

June 18

In two days, Frankie will be here. Last night he called to say Laura had torn out of the house threatening to call me. The phone rang again and it was her, screaming that she was going to kill herself right now. I told her that trick wouldn’t work on me. She said that I am destroying her life over a desire that is only casual. I said every action causes some destruction; if I concentrated on that thought, I’d be immobile. She said she doesn’t care what my values are, but that I am forcing her to live by mine. I said, “And you are trying to force me to live by yours.” At that, she squawked and slammed the phone into the glass booth a few times.


She wanted me to promise that I would not have sex with Frankie. If only she knew how undesirable to me the approaching coitus is. I told Laura that I feel like a dream, that all I want to be to people is a dream. She’s totally right, about values and all that. Why is it that I don’t seem to have any? Laura is by far the most exciting thing about Frankie.

June 19

Today I did nothing but stare out the window. The fan is rusty and slow. It sounds like a man breathing. At dusk I went out. A couple of nights ago there was a big storm. In the graveyard, broken branches, fallen stone angels and scattered flowers made it look like wartime.


A letter from Frankie: “You are one of those very unfortunate people who cannot experience any bit of life/sensation/moment without attempting to understand it completely, and in your thoroughness you make it complicated to the point where it becomes unfathomable.”


He makes me complicated until he can’t fathom anything. The answer is right there in his face: I don’t like him! I like tonight instead. He gets everything wrong. He writes that I dream of violations. Well, you can’t dream of violations, silly. To dream of something is to welcome it. You have to not want to be violated. Then you get broken into, broken open, get turned inside out so you see the world from the eyes that were trapped inside your body. I’m not saying I dream of violations or don’t. I wasn’t saying anything. I was just watching all day; he was the one doing all this convoluting.

June 21

Ew, he’s been in my house and on my body. He says Laura only has sex in the dark, with half her clothes still on. I, of course, am very naked. But I hide inside my well-lit nakedness. I burrow deeper and deeper under the skin his hands move over. I’m sure her half-clothed darkness is more welcoming. I moved my hips and sucked his cock and did all the things I remember wanting to do, back
when I felt more human. But I was just watching and waiting. I felt sorry for him. Laura called again, screaming that she wants him to bring home the bracelet he gave to me (an exact replica of the one he gave her on their anniversary). She doesn’t know he was trying to take the house away from her and give it to me. I turned him down.


“Your whole life is a flight,” Frankie snapped. Duh, I told him that a long time ago. “You can’t bear the thought of having to be real,” he went on. “You think you’re living a life of metaphors.” Even my postman knows that. “You don’t accept defeat, you welcome it. You chose art as a means of coping with your affliction, but you rationalize the cherishing of your neuroses by convincing yourself you can only be an artist if you are miserable.” And you, I was thinking, have hair like a clown. Frankie describes himself as patient and more giving than receiving, but he is the most demanding man I have ever been involved with. He keeps on crashing through the fences I put around my privacy, and I have to build new ones with increasing haste and decreasing dexterity. I run away, and one of these days when I spin around and he’s right there, fangs and claws are going to shoot out of my gums and fingertips and I’m going to rip that man to shreds.

2000 postscript: Well, that was embarrassing. Looking back on a time when not only was I a kept woman, but I was so pretentious about it! “The approaching coitus”? Self-centered people and fancy talk go hand in hand — the former think they’re fooling others with the latter. Instead what they’re doing is boring people while stabbing them in the back. I had no children, no husband present and no job. I was a bum, and bums and alkies and those who abandon their families are the deep thinkers. Deep thinking is not such a big deal, now that I look back at it. I don’t miss it. Shortly after these entries, I discovered that jogging was a much better cure for depression, and I never went out with a married man again.

Lisa Carver and, Inc.