Wednesday, October 31, 2012


"A man stripped of his privacy may die of loneliness. . . . In order to be able to do anything one must relinquish control" (two unattributed quotations, copied by Diane Arbus in her 1964 appointment book; see Revelations, p. 171).

The stars were nightsongs.
Heaven fell out of the sky.
She had earth to hold her,
her body weighed down
by her restless fingers
entwining what she saw.
Carlotta in her slip, light
curtained, hand to throat,
peering into the open lens.
My, she is pretty, Diane writes.
Underwear for Harper’s Bazaar
unpublished. A call girl said,
I’m in love with love. I love
to please. I could smother
someone with love.
writes down what she said,
which takes care of control
and saves a man from death
by loneliness. Don’t you wish
heaven was still in the sky?

The pictures grow lifesize,
Diane tells Carlotta. Closeups
prevail. Like making people,
she adds. Carlotta gives birth
to a son in her husband’s arms
in Holland. The stars blink
the code meant for lullabies.
Carlotta’s brain surgery yields
two holes drilled in her head
in Holland. Diane’s photo
of four-year-olds, a black girl
and white boy holding hands,
goes unpublished in the Times
Children’s Fashions. The girl
and boy on the cover are white,
but it’s hers. Otherwise she’s free.

She is learning to live alone:
"Partly, it seems a matter of
severing connections in my head,"
she writes Carlotta after long silence.
"Like if I do this that will happen,
because sometimes it does
and sometimes it doesn’t
and I have spent a lot of energy
exercising non-existent magical
controls. . . . I have so much
to learn about how to live."
Six months twenty-six days left.
Carlotta is in New York, about
to go back to Holland. Diane
rides her bike over, ten days left.
Next day Carlotta returns to Holland.

Diane alone, home: "I used to think
consciousness itself was a virtue,
so I tried to keep it all in my head
at the same time, past, future etc.
tried even to feel the bad
when I felt good and vice versa
as if any awareness was
a marie-antoinette sort of sin.
its like throwing ballast overboard
to only do what there is to do NOW.
a kind of confidence that later
will bring its own now . . .
It makes Sunday more Sunday
and even Monday is better . . ."

(For references and quotations throughout the text, see, in the order they appear here, the following pages: 171, 170, 187, 194, 207, 206, 212, 214, and 224.)

(II: 31 October 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander, and 2003 by the Estate of Diane Arbus

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