The (Early) Lisa Diaries

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The Lisa Diaries by Lisa Carver  

Bully of the Town


Note: There was death all over my life in 1997. I had just gotten my baby boy through open-heart surgery and then they found cancer in my mom’s stomach, lungs, everywhere. I was the only child of an unmarried, unfriended woman — and the only parent of my own baby. You get tired and confused, you start
thinking you alone stand between the dying person and death, and if you sit down or drop your concentration for a minute, that’s when death will come in and get them. I kept forgetting to eat. I needed a big distraction. Carl, the construction worker with the temper, seemed a reasonable choice.

October 4, 1997

I pulled over and suggested Carl get out of my car. He did, and kicked the door, and said I would never see him again. Then he said, “Do you need money for gas?” I said yes, and he threw forty dollars through the window and stormed off. It took me about three minutes of driving to realize I’d kicked my love interest out on the highway with less than ten dollars and no jacket. So I turned around and looked for him. “Hey Stranger, wanna ride?” I called when I spotted him, but he wouldn’t answer. He was standing at the driver’s side door, so I scooted
over and let him drive.


He was going fast and switching lanes every two seconds, and I was in a curious calm state, fantasizing about various car wreck configurations. Classical music was on the radio, so loud and good. It felt like falling at great speed into a lush, deep, thoughtless place. Maybe into a sea monster’s throat. Carl swore and pulled over and we had sex in a field twice. It was barely icy. Not quite ice, but fake, crackly ice-stuff between blades of grass.


I love how he never asks permission. If he politely said, “Would you mind if I slapped you around and belted you and could I please inflict welts and bruises all up and down your legs?” it just wouldn’t be the same. Sometimes I make him be soft and loving to me, and I’m just as forceful in making him do that as he is in roughing me up. I hold him down and only let my lips touch his softly. I was doing that to him on the fake ice field when I had what I believe is called a spinal orgasm: it went on and on and on and on. It felt like it could have lasted forever if Carl hadn’t changed what he was doing.


Carl got married at nineteen just like I did. On his wedding night his bride threw a beer in his face so he assaulted her, then she and her friend tried to kill him. Carl said he “can’t have his wife embarrassing him.” People shouldn’t enter into an institution and then change the rules around as they please, he says, and in marriage, the husband is head of the household. “It’s just the way I am,” he said. It’s sexually thrilling, that he’s so unevolved, but it’s not very practical. There’s no time left for anything but fighting and fucking, because we spend so much time doing both.


I think this peculiar relationship with someone I have nothing in common with has been very good for me! If I wanted to go out and play as a child, my mother would sob and say I’d be sorry when she was dead . In order to have any life at all, I had to shut off my emotions, and have my mother’s tears mean nothing to me. It’s hard to turn emotions back on once you’ve flipped the switch, but Carl gets me so mad I unbottle everything. We never exchange notes or write mean songs
about each other when we fight. We never sulk. We swear at each other and hit each other. Carl shines the hot sun of fury on me, and it is good. He’s got a little bit of Southern accent, he talks too loud and his voice still breaks even though he’s twenty-four.


Sometimes it’s not enough for him to scratch and hit me — he tells me to scratch my own thighs until I make marks, or pull my own hair. Did I ever write about the rugburns on my cheeks and nose?

October 5

Today Carl proclaimed that the “I before E except after C” rule was “shit.” I said, “It is not shit!” He said, “Science?!?” like he was so brilliant, like he showed me, like he was putting his man-foot down. I was so furious at his renunciation of the rule I was seriously questioning my relationship with this person. I’m still mad now when I think about it. He’s belligerent and capricious and puerile. My horoscope today said loving an Aries is like raising a child for thirty years.

Other things we fought about:

  • Whether or not meat can be left out for over an hour. Him: “Stop with all
    your meat rules.”

  • Whether or not Luke Skywalker would’ve gone to the dark side if the escape
    ship hadn’t gone into lightspeed when it did.

  • Whether or not beauty can exist without ugliness.

    I was determined to not have sex, thinking, “He thinks he can just get me all mad then I’ll be passionate. Well, I’ll show him.”

    He showed me.

    2000 postscript: I was turned on by Carl’s bullying when I met him, oh it was so cute! But then of course it got really boring, and then one day he emasculated a movie attendant. Those people make about seven dollars an hour, they don’t need to get emasculated by my boyfriend! All my desire for him drained out at that moment and lay in a swampy puddle on the worn theater carpet. The next day, I met The Serious German, Alec Empire, and my swampy puddle flew off the Somersworth Theater carpet and straight back into my body. We didn’t do anything, as Carl was there, but when I got home I called Alec’s hotel and said, “I gotta have you.” I broke up with Carl, and Alec went home, and sent me a letter in German, which I don’t know a word of. So I bought a German dictionary and this is what I came up with: “I left my skin with you. I am in Berlin but will come back to get it.” I couldn’t wait! He never came.

  • ©2000
    Lisa Carver and, Inc.