Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I-LOVE-YOU (Je-t'aime)

...

ONE BILLION AND ONE SPHERES OF COOL...LUST...ART...IDEAS...PROVOCATION...FOR/BY THEE (BIG CAPS PLUS “SEND US YOUR NAME”) FIRST OF ALL, SEVERAL FRIENDS AND FAMILY...THEN ME, DD, BEGINNING ON FATHER’S DAY, 2006 BY GETTING RID OF DEATH AND GRIEF (I want to start small.)

IMAGINED AND CREATED BY EXTREME SOLUTIONS, UNLTD., FOUNDED BY DOUGLAS DAVIS, CO-IMAGINED WITH JEREMY TURNER IN VANCOUVER, BARBAD GOLSHIRI AND NEDA RAZIVIPOUR IN TEHERAN, KATE BARKAUSKAS IN SAN DIEGO, KAREN WADE IN ROCKAWAY BEACH, AND (WHEN WE BEGAN) LEEZA AHMADY FROM NEW YORK VIA KABUL, with ideas/inspiration from AL GORE, JOHN BRADEMAS, REV/CANON JAMIE CALLAWAY, JOHN CARL WARNECKE, FRANK GEHRY, DIANE KEATON, GEORGE WATERMAN 3, RED HEATHER, MADONNA, AND MOHAMMED.....

MOVING US INTO A NEW CENTURY FORCING YOU AND ME TO CHANGE OUR MINDS, CLOTHES, GENITALS (up or down or sides), OUR SPIRITUAL YEARNING, EVEN OUR DIGITAL THINKING-INVENTING-WRITING-ARTMAKING-VIDEO-WEB-BLOG-FILMAKING-LOVEMAKING-SPEAKING OVER AND OVER AND OVER...and OVER...UNTIL DEATH IS EITHER FINISHED OR CONSUMED BY THE SPIRIT OF THE NEW, ANARCHIC, ADVENTUROUS, LOVING LIFE....



I-Love-You ( Je-t’aime) ( c.f. Roland Barthes, A Discourse on Love, 1978-9, and the recent death of the divine Jane Bell Davis, which I refuse to accept)


As we kissed good-bye, you made a little frown.
--Ann Sexton, “Eighteen Days Without You,” 1980

Grief must be externalized. Our pain and sadness can only be realized when we release them....

--Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss, 2005, gift of John Brademas

Thursday, June 08, 2006

FOR DEAR, DIVINE JANE...A NEW SONG

Saturday, January 28, 2006,
Trinity Church,
www.douglasdavis.blogspot.com
(now & forever?)

FOR DEAR, DIVINE JANE...
A NEW SONG

Certainly you, God, my friends expect me to declare what they know is here inside me--my undying, unending love for Jane, who just passed unexpectedly from us for reasons we still do not know. But I have a greater and finer I-Love-You in mind with specific dates, instincts, and causes. And it will tell you more about her, this great presence in our lives than some of you--and even I thought, until I sat down and bled this from my brain cells and pores last night.

I-Love-You goes back to the exhilarating dangers of Cold War Berlin and the Wall, to my decision--inspired by John F. Kennedy’s great speech on the wall, which I remember watching inside a Washington, D.C. bar long ago, to go to Berlin in 1977, mainly because I had Jane with me, managing me, the two daughters of my first marriage, my vision of a live satellite video performance at Documenta 6 with Nam June Paik and Joseph Beuys (who came to love Jane almost as much as I), and later Roland Barthes’ great book, A Lover’s Discourse, not published/translated here until 1978.

Those of you hearing this now, or later, on the Web, through the brilliant camera work of my friend John Long, the calming hands of Father Callaway, Heidi Koring (Jane’s closest friend), and the late Eugene Schwartz, whose fateful book, You Are Not Far From the Kingdom of Heaven, gave me a sprawling, horizontal view of religious thought ...i ask you to think, interact, speak, email or video us later on our new anti-Blog Blog... your thoughts about humble task: defeating death and grief, and probing (most of all) the great mystery known as I-Love-You.

On our way home from embattled Berlin (yes, Wir waren Berliner, as
Kennedy wished, for six months in that year, the four of us) in the
two daughters, DD, and beloved Jane in front of the infamous Reichstag in Berlin where Hitler once held sway in the early fall of 1977, when we had made satellite video sing for Documenta 6 and Newsweek Magazine, my dictator, fed up with my leave of absence to make art, insisted I stop off in Paris to meet Barthes, this great man, this linguist to end all linguists, primed (or so my editor thought) to write a daring, dashing book about love and sex, of all things, just the sort of topic a people’s magazine, reaching 30 million readers per week...wanted to know everything about.

Obedient servant, I went, thought I loathed the imperial structuralism with which Roland was associated. And I could only go because of Jane, whose elegant, lovely French, fashioned in Geneva, far from the Bronx tint to French spoken in Paris, even by Barthes...was by my side. Every word he spoke she repeated virtually as his lips moved. And he never once corrected her, for more than two hours, those his English was no better than my Frog, which I could read and write but not speak.

From now on you’ll be hearing his words on this subject, on the phrase I-love-you which he had chosen to tear asunder, then rebuild, to my great surprise and delight. You may hear other bits of biography, even a line or two from the Shakespearean sonnet both Jane and i loved--and have repeated over and over on my voicemail now since her death (Let me not....). But our central center here is...I-Love-You.

Listen to him now, through Jane’s divine lips. He stood in the center of his apartment, ringed around by his husky male graduate students, holding the book up high. Beneath him I sensed almost from the start a human presence rustling below. Divine Jane stood poised with a notebook I later learned to cherish when I made a performance out of it (Double Entendre), linking the Whitney and Centre Pompidou on a day in 1981 when the Socialists won their first election in France in 30 years...and the Pope was also shot in Rome!

“Je-t’aime,” he said, “I-Love-You.’ The figure refers not to the
declaration of love, but to the avowal, to the repeated utterance of the love cry.”
(Remember, you are really listening to Jane).

“Once the first avowal is made, “I-Love-You” has no meaning whatever. It merely repeats, in an enigmatic mode--so blank does it appear--the old message (which may or may not have been repeated in these words). I repeat it exclusive of any pertinence: it comes out of the language: it divagates--where?”



“To Love does not exist in the infinitive (except by...artifice): the subject and the object come to the word even as it is being uttered and I-love-you must be understood in the Hungarian fashion..for Hungarian uses a single word....This clump, is, so to speak, beyond syntax and yields itself to no structural transformation....I can say I-love-you for days on end without having to proceed tio “I-love-her...

I-love-you has no usages. Like a child’s word, it enters into no social constraint: it can be sublime, solemn, trivial...It can be erotic...pornographic. It is a socially irresponsible word....

I-love-you is without nuance...I-love-you has no “elsewhere”--it is the word of the dyad...it is a metaphor of nothing else.

Though spoken billions of times, I-love-you is extra-lexicographical; it is a figure whose definition cannot transcend the heading....”

(I was warming up: this wasn’t fascist, rule-bound structuralism at all. Jane was also smiling, shocked, surprised.0 Then he got better: “The word...has a meaning only at the moment I utter it: there is no other information in it but its immediate saying: no reservoir, no armory of meaning. Everything is in the speaking of it....The situations in which I say I-love-you cannot be classified. I-love-you is irrepressible and unforeseeable.”

I am ecstatic. Coiled inside the beginnings of video art, which was crackling with the “live” moment, as now. though it’s on the Web, where everyone, including my Iranian colleagues, was/is dependent always on what is happening at this moment, unlike scripted, prepared theater. X-maybe strange video image of either Barbad or my name on a white wall in Iran, which not even he can figure out. Is the great, hidebound Structuralist actually on our side?

“Everything,” he goes on, “ is in the speaking of it: it is a formula,” but this formula corresponds to no ritual: the situations in which I say I-love-you is irrepressible and unforeseeable. ... I-Love-You belongs neither in the realm of linguistics nor in that of semiology. Its occasion (the point of departure for speaking it, would be, rather, Music. ...In the proferring of I-love-you, desire is neither repressed ... nor recognized (where we did not expect it, as in the uttering itself) but simply: released, as an orgasm. Orgasm is not spoken, but it speaks and it says: I-love-you.”

Jane Bell Davis - 1949-2005



Jane Bell Davis, 27 June 1949-30 December 2005. a booklet published by Trinity Church/St. Paul’s Chapel, edited by the Liturgical Ministers for the event, who included The Rev. Canon James G. Callaway; the Lectors, who included Sister Emily Louise and Victoria Davis; the Memorial Meeting Clerk was Heidi Koring; the Vergers were Carlos Mateo and Alan Paddle; the music was by Owen Burdick, Ph.D., Organist and Director of Music;the designer of the catalogue cover--and speaker during the event--was Douglas Davis, who excerpted the lines on the cover from their late patron and friend, Eugene M. Schwartz, ed., You Are Not Far From the Kingdom of God, a compilation of Christian and ancient Judaic writings, with Islamic reminiscences in 1973.

JANE - IN FIRST YEAR OF MARRIAGE

I thought of Jane then and think of her now. How, given the responsibility of caring for two daughters, a bachelor father in the days when they did not exist (fumbling more over how to make coffee and dress the girls for school than Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer). Suddenlly I meet this incredible woman: we spend a summer together in Long Island, the kids there most of the time. Alone on the way home to Washington, D.C., she begins rhapsodizing about Bennington in the fall. Will I ever see her again? “PLEASE MARRY ME,” I blurt out. For a moment she freezes, worried. “Oh, God,” she says. But then...”All right.” Believe it or not--and please remember Mary Magdalene washing Christ’s feet with her hair...remember Mohammed’s five wives... before you condemn me--we get out of the car on the New Jersey Turnpike...and make love.

Back to Barthes, whose French Jane is improving: “ I hallucinate what is empirically impossible: that our two proferrings are made at the same time: that one does not follow the other. Proferring cannot be double (doubled)......A revolution, in short--not so far, perhaps, from the political kind: for in both cases what I hallucinate is the absolute New (“Sing for God a New Song,” we sing here in this church every Christmas eve). “Whence,” he goes on,a new view of I-love-you. Not as a symptom but as an action: I speak so that you may answer....I-love-you is active. It affirms itself as a force--against other forces. Which ones? The thousand forces of the world, which are, all of them, disparaging forces (science...reason, reality, etc.) Or again: against language....

...As a counter-sign, I-love-you is on the side of Dionysius: suffering
is not denied...As proferring, I-love-you is on the side of expenditure....Those who seek the proferring of the word (lyric poets, liars, wanderers) are subjects of Expenditure: they spend the word, as if it were impertinent...they are at the extreme limit of language...where language itself...recognizes that it is without backing or guarantee, working without a net.”

The heat, the power of this outburst is overwhelming. But there is a sudden break that I shall have to explain near the end--a thumping now under the rug on which the great man stands. “Excuse me,” he says, through Jane, who is more surprised than I (from the beginning I knew a human presence lurked there): Barthes unrolls the rug, opens a trapdoor, descends, returns after some muffled talk to say--hold on now for a bit--”Ma Mere” (“my mother”).
For a moment let me leave Paris and go to Kassel, to Documenta, and think now again of my two beloved, lost friends, most of all Joseph Beuys, as I end, how they tried to censor him off our global innovation: He is a “Communist”, said some of the right wing papers in Germany. Once a reporter asked me, as they asked Paik, if Joseph should be allowed to say on the satellite whatever he wished. Jane, beside me, was furious. “If you want to go back to Nazi germany,” I said, “shut him off the air. If you want to test democracy...Let Joseph speak.” I remember her stamping her foot, to push the point home.

They did leave him alone.. I’ll never forget his first words: Meine
Damen und Herrn and Liebe Kinder (“Ladies, Gentleman, small children”). Joseph loved Jane. He knew she was guiding my every step. He came to her birthday party that summer and gave her a huge life=sized portrait of himself--giving her Joseph--signed over to her.

JOSEPH, WHEN WILL YOU CALL?




Let me end. Let me not quote that lovely sonnet on the marriage of true minds unless you want it, later--I left it on my answering machine
one month ago and can’t give it up.* Let me end with what I told you in the beginning I would say. But now, don’t you see, you will hear it in an entirely extra-lexicographal way, like a roar, a heart beat, like the blood rushing through our veins. If I-Love-You has no canned, absolute meaning, if it only means what is in your mind at the moment you say it...then...it is always different, like the human race: I-Love-You Dear Jane means something totally unique and singular...as Ann Sexton’s departing kiss did for me, as Ma Mere might have meant had Barthes followed his own guidelines and declared his intense love for a mother whose death he later followed a few months later, in 1980, by walking straight into a roaring car.** It means I love you now Divine Jane, as I always have, with an intensity that knows no end, that mixes with it caring for you, your mind, your lovely face, your divine French, your ability to raise three daughters against all the odds, your unlimited skills in writing, editing, preparing food like no one ever has. It means... I know you want me to keep on going, getting better and better, making art, spiritual love, life. Yes, dear, Sweet Jane...you do.

And it not only means all these things: It means, thank you Roland Barthes, if not God, if not that ambitious Newsweek editor....I learned from that day in Paris long ago that what I say now rightly means...no man has ever said I-Love-You to any woman so completely, so totally...ever.

end...alas

*
**cf. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (1980), which graphically describes his love for his mother.
*Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ admit impediments/Love is not love which alters where it alternation finds/ Oh, no, it is an everlasting mark, whose worth’s unknown/ although its height is taken/Love's not time's fool, tho rosy lips and cheeks within its bending cycle's comes/ Love alters not in its brief hours and weeks/ but bears it out even to the edge of doom/ If this be error and upon me proved/ I never writ nor now man ever loved.

SPEAK, WRITE, CRY, FLY

Speak, write, Cry, Fly (it is better than holding grief or anger inside, say many who have suffered: As I faced the heart-rending
pleasure of talking about my other self, my wife of 35 years, who passed from us for reasons still unknown on the morning of January 30, one day before the newest of years. And then I remembered... the drive and courage that went with he rbrilliant sweetness, and drive ( Bill Downey
and Shirley Davisoon, my colleagues in the Fluxhouse co-op where we have lived and worked for more than 30 years (I sense she’s still there), wrote a tribute to her you'll shortly read that sums it up succinctly)...I can in truth not think of any idea, writing, artwork, traveling or teaching abroad...that wouldn't remind me of Jane, who was always there, always driving me (cf. Downey), always sweetening anythng difficult.. if not actually simplifying it (she had a taste for complexity, resolved, as her co-op mates, for whom she often served as President or Secretary, can tell you). And this remembrance of I-Love-You and its revolutionary reappraisal of Structuralism in the 70's...will tell you imore about her, will tell you why I cannot bear a minute without her...than any other. Cry, scream, shout for us on 1-212-414-8155 and we shall with your permission only offer it as an audio file to be heard here), Send us Images, Music (through the same means, though Mac owners can now use I-mikes that allows you to sing or curse directly to our Macs...FLY, as DD did once, in Denmark in 2001 (watch him darting right now!)...soon we’ll offer you software to use so we can watch you fly, too, as a female stockbroker friend just did --she’s coming along soon, you’ll see her; EXPRESS YOURSELF IN ANY WAY YOU WISH? UNBLOCK THE CONVENTIONAL BLOG! As time goes on we’ll offer you many means to do so, beginning soon with Digital Persona, which allows you to send us your signature--and soon after, your touch***). Tis obvious we believe Grief can be only turned back with imagination, with interactive incest with the audience, by using whatever means you prefer to express your grief, your suicidal longings, your GLEE over....J-t’aime!).

Tribute by Dr. John Brademas

Tribute by Dr. John Brademas, President Emeritus of New York University, at a service in memory of Jane Bell Davis.

Trinity Church, New York, NY, Saturday, January 28, 2006.

“I am John Brademas, President Emeritus of New York University.

I have known Douglas Davis for some forty years, since the time I was a Member of Congress with a particular interest in legislation to support education and the arts, and Douglas was already a prominent art critic.

I came in time to know Douglas’ wife, Jane Bell, and, I am proud to say, became godfather of their bright and beautiful daughter, Victoria.

In view of Douglas having cited Jane’s Quaker origins and her later having become an Episcopalian, I am reminded of the debate in the House of Representatives in Washington in April of 1965 on the legislation of which President Johnson was most proud, what became the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

I was on the Committee that drafted the measure as was the late Charles Goodell, a Republican from upstate New York, also on the Committee, and a very fine person.

Charlie attacked the bill on grounds that it did not permit Federal funds to go to religious schools--due to our Separation of Church and Stateî\.

Carl Perkins of Kentucky, Chairman of the Committee, managing the bill, turned to me and said, “John, answer him!”

I said, “Mr. Speaker, I am the best qualified member of this body to address this issue. My father is Greek Orthodox, my mother belongs to the Disciples of Christ Church, I’m a Methodist and before coming to Congress, I was a professor at a Roman Catholic college.

And as one of the remaining bachelors in this place (of which I then was a part) if I can just find myself a nice Jewish girl, Iíll be the finest flowering of the ecumenical movement!”

Well, the Members broke into laughter and the challenge to the bill failed.







But a week later I received a letter from New York City on Saks Fifth Avenue stationery, with these words: “Dear Congressman, I have read with interest your advertisement in the Congressional Record. I’m 5’4”, green-eyed, blonde, single and Jewish. Your attention would be appreciated.”

So I took her to dinner, she was very nice, and from that point on, I told that story whenever I addressed a Hadassah group!

But as Douglas, in his deeply moving tribute to Jane, spoke of ì-love-you, I recall one other incident.

Many years ago, as a young Congressman, I joined several prominent Greek-American business leaders--I must explain that my late father was born in Greece and that I am the first native-born American of Greek origin elected to Congress to visit Istanbul where we called on His All Holiness, Athenagoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, first among equals in the hierarchy of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

After receiving us in his office, the Patriarch invited us to lunch and although I was the youngest member of the group, because I was the only public official, His All Holiness seated me at his right hand.

During the course of our conversation, the Patriarch said, “Mr. Brademas, I tell you what we should do with all the theologians. We should put them all on an island and let them talk to one another. What Christianity is all about is love!”

I must tell you that immediately there swept through my mind the thought, “My heavens! The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is a Quaker!”

I shall always be grateful for having known Jane Bell Davis as a lovely and highly intelligent young woman even as I recall how she assisted me in a couple of my campaigns for reelection to Congress.

As we pay tribute to her memory today, I think of a prayer I used to hear in the chapel in Harvard Yard when I was a student:

Let the spirit that was in Jesus be in us also, enabling us to know Thy truth, to do Thy will and to enter into Thy peace.

May that spirit go with Jane Bell Davis.”

DIARY 1

DIARY 1 THE KEY TO THIS SOMETIMES ANGRY, SOMETIMES DELIRIOUS FORM IS THAT IT IS TOTALLY SPONTANEOUS AND CRAZY, PROMPTED BY GRIEF ATTACKS, BY SHOTS OF UNEXPECTED JOY AND EITHER WRITTEN OVERNIGHT OR PHONED INTO A KIND SCRIBE: THE OPPOSITE OF FORMAL WRIING:
Sometimes i won’t tell you the day in this Diary not because this horror--or occasional jo--can often run over several days: the point is more to tell you the truth, no matter how rough, of what is happening to me as I try to get over Jane's sudden, still unexplained death on Dec. 30.. Today in the New York Times I read about Joan Didion's magnificent book, The Miraculous Year, which sold half a million copies with its unflinching story of precisely what I am going through now: her beloved husband of 39 years had a heart attack in front of her at the dinner table and died immediately without warning. I can feel for her watching it but my agony is I wanted and could have insisted on Jane being beside me that last night before she died in the morning. The doctors wanted her uptown in her "Assisted Living" residence because she was writhing in pain over a flu shot given her only because her tests early that week
at the outpaitient St. Vincent’s Hospital she attended every day, in the Village, were good. The first night she slept with me, Monday night, then Tuesday night, too, she was in pain, with the real flu. I remember finding painkiller pads at a nearby Japanese store, "Sun Up," ironically. I put them on her and slept beside her. Now ...I long for the joy of putting those pads on her. The next day she went up to Broadway and 86th, in worse pain, on doctors' orders: I didn't want her to go. Sen. Eugene McCarthy, one of my heroes--tho he once broke my finger in the East Hampton Artists-Writers game by throwing a baseball at my lousy first baseman’s glove in the Hampton’s annual Artist-Writers Softball game in Long Island--died the week before at an "Assisted Living" residence in Washington, D.C. I hated Euclid Hall, Jane’s “Assisted” prison and so did she but Medicaid required it, and we couldn't afford all the care and drugs you need when you have emphesema and diabetes coming off a revived bipolar syndrome case going back 10 years. I went up there twice that week and put the pads on. When she called me Friday morning to give me her daily "I love you" wake-up call, she said, for the first time in a week, that she was feeling better (the night before I had brought her an herbal flu killer). The next day... no wake up call. So I slept. Around 11, a hospital emergency room, at St. Luke's Roosevelt, way uptown, who knew nothing about her or her medical history--and no staff members man Euclid on weekends (!), called: "You better come fast," the voice on the other end said (if she had slept me we could have gone five blocks away to St. V). I called our joint daughter, Victoria, who has not said a kind word to me since. She had a car and beat me to the hospital. When I walked in she said, petulantly, "She's dead. She never took care of herelf."

What happened from those words to this moment is the loneliness of overpowering Grief. For weeks all I could do is run over these mistakes--and my inability to get anyone to call me back or make an appointment to find out what happened. Joan Didion's lovely book, driven by the same agony that drives me, at least speaks of friends and doctors and family rallying around. But I was totally alone, without even the cremation ashes of my beloved angel of 35 years (I permitted our daughter to cremate her, after a complex talk at Trinity with Father Callaway, Heidi Koring, her best friend, up from Virginia, after we agreed how her remains would be divided and left in the several sites in the world she loved--she was from the earliest age living abroad with her diplomatic family; to this day I don’t know where her remains are; I have no death certificate, either, and no certainty as to why she died. Her loving doctor at St. Vincent's Hospital way downtown, has deduced from the autopsy reports Roosevelt denied me that Jane died from a blood clot in her lungs. "That means instant death," he reassured me. "She probably didn't suffer at all." But I find this kind reassurance almost impossible to believe. I know my beloved too well. Inside her sweet, soft, civility, she was a tough fighter. No, something happened up there far away from me: at first the people at Euclid told me she had a heart attack at "MacDonald's across the street." But I went up there to find NO MacDonald's “across the street.” No one in my family elsseems to care about this fuzzy reporting from both a hospital and an “Assised Living” staff. Her father, surely trying to calm me down, told me to forget the why of her death--and find a "new life." None of them know me. Jane knows me. When she talks to me at night she says, over and over, “Douglas, Go On.” What can this mean? (Beuys sometimes echoes it in German: yes, I know you think I’m mad). To me all this means I must solve this riddle of life and the death...of the most beloved person I have ever known.

And so I will, somehow, while you watch and hear me think it all through on this interactive Blog site, more truly interactive than any of them, as this particular story or accident is “open”: together perhaps we can solve something approaching either a crime or sloppy handling of a sick woman who deserved careful attention, given her recovering emphesema and diabetes, affected by a flu shot that...perhaps...killed her (if the dank air in my crippled studio, punctured by clumsy workers, still not repaired, after more than a year and many medical warners, by a negligent landlord... didn’t).. God bless you, divine Jane.

Since I am a man, a Superman, I receive little of the warmth Joan Didion deserved and got. Once while chairing a supper for the anniverary of that magazine I worked for long ago (Newsweek), Betty Friedan, rubbing my knee, told me "the Masculine Mystique is worse than The Feminine Mystique (the title of her socio-seminal work). “Why?” I asked, happy since Jane was there to protect me. "Because you are raised to be Superman, to never admit your weaknesses or fears, never to get into and indulge your children, never to cry. Can you Cry?" When I told her I could, when I told her my father died at four and I cried with my mother, she didn't believe it. "You're Superman, poor man."

Is she right? Will I ever cry again (Jane makes me cry inside so bad I can't cry outside)? Will the Masculine Mystique destroy me, lead me to kill myself or whomever treated her so stupidly, or clumsily? Let us wait, pray, and see.....It may be a miraculous year for me, too. Or..it may not. Those Americans out there who blame personal tragedy on the victim--we’re unique in this way--ought not give up. Another horror may be ahead...or...maybe...one tiny little miracle. I’m an optimist to the end, as is any Aries, any artist, any truly mad creator. Pray for me if you will....as I shall pray for you.

DIARY - April 09, 2006 2:24 AM

FROM “DMDavis212@aol.com” in haste and grieving to Jeremy...

Date: Apr 9, 2006 2:24 AM
(two days before my soul-starved birthday)

JE' T'AIME/AIME (I-Love-Love-Love-You)

In what I will call for a while Grief I, most of us cannot bear to even
touch the clothes worn by the beloved when she or he dies. For almost two months Iooked at Jane's clothes across the studio* and could not bring myself to move them. Every hour of every day and night I thought of her, often almost crying ("little boys don't cry" in this land****). I was afraid either that I would fall to the floor, grieving, if I touched anything, or virtually eat them out of repressed lust and need. Finally, time passed. The therapists, Recent Widower Grief Clubs I attended--meeting dozens of men and women who suffered equal bitterness and
loss--and the books I read (The Best of Awful and, sent by a friend and jus published, On Grief and Grieving by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross*****and David Kessler, a deeply humane pair of minds)...I began to recover. I began to believe Jane's voice, which still interrupts my sleep by calling out "Douglas...Go On!"

So one day I actually picked up the tee shirt you see here and held it in my shaking hands. After a while, I steadied, warmed by the wit, lively humor, and complexity of thought embodied in its words. Yes, it made me revere her even more...but what I revered was her quality of mind, the kind of mind that will not allow me to fold up or take my own life, as I often considred in the month that followed her still unex- plained (as I write this) death on Dec.30, 2005, and the deeply moving day devoted on Jan. 28, 2006, to her life by Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan, where she temporarily gave up her birthright Quakerism****** for the most compassionate and liberated form of Episcopalianism (my
birthright) I had ever discovered.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Why did God or Allah or Satan drape this lovely, enigmatic tee in front of me at this minute? Come to that, why and how did Jane die? For months I have been asking the hospitals and doctors and colleagues who lived with her at her “part-time” Assisted Living Residence uptown, a requirement imposed by Medicaid. Most of the info I get turns out to be either wrong, twisted, confusing, or downright lying. It was only the doctor she loved at St. Vincent’s, Robert Malcolm, who gave me an answer verging on the reasonable. DO YOU KNOW....WHY?....OR HOW?....ON THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 30 ... FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS....SHE DIDN’T WAKE ME UP WITH A FONE CALL OR A GENTLE SHOVE OF MY BACK WITH THE WORDS ““GOOD MORNING: I LOVE YOU” EVERYBODY SAYS I SHOULD FORGET THIS, SHE IS DEAD, ALAS, LEAVE IT AT THAT. BUT I CAN’T GIVE IT UP. YOU AND I MUST SOLVE THIS ENIGMA....FINALLY.

Jan. 28***** was a mixture of traditional Episcopalian singing, reciting,
andclerical address (by the Rev. James Callaway) mixed with speeches by our daughter, Charlotte Victoria, myself, and (the Quaker Wake custom) anyone who knew her in life who wished to rise and speak--among them John Brademas, lifelong friend, patron, collaborator in art and politics, and friends of all ages. Shortly you will read excerpts from some of these impass- ioned statements. Afterwards I saw my first two daughters--by my first wife--for the first time in more than a year. We were all in love with the moment, hugging, eating, drinking. I remember going out to the East River and staring at the Statue of Lib- erty, as I often had with Jane in the early years of our marriage.

What did some of the words on this shirt mean to her? Why did she buy andwear it? Why did life allow it to fall into my hands after months of avoiding touching her memory? Here are the words she is speaking to me from that shirt:SIMPLY...NARCISSUS POETICUS...S--U--R--T--I.

"Be simple," I tell mysekf she is saying. "Do one thing at a time" (I often heard this line from her. "Be Proud of Your Poetry (your work, in brief)...STAY MYSTIFIED BY LIFE."

Dear, divine Jane...I shall try.

April 9, 2006, 4:52 a.m.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

LETTER FROM CHRISTO ABOUT JANE

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Jane's Common Prayer '99

Monday, June 05, 2006

Jane Thinking....

JULY 01 - 2006 - PAGE 1

JULY 01 - 2006 - PAGE 2

JULY 01 - 2006 - PAGE 3