Tag Archives: travel

Dear Donald, a letter from Madame X


Dear Donald,

You may not remember me, but I was at Le Cirque one night, that December, when you were having sex with Marla & trying to get rid of poor Ivana. Remember your ski trip? I was there for that too! Isn’t life funny? Anyway, Ivana was still running the Plaza. You hadn’t destroyed it yet. Of course you would be instrumental in that, letting that fabulous, fabulous hotel where Scott & Zelda frolicked in the fountain — and where I & my daughters enjoyed many a Sunday brunch — get turned into condos (using nonunion labor, of course). Even then we knew what you were made of, and it was ticky-tacky.

You were a prematurely balding joke, you were getting soft & going broke, and your lovely, long-legged girl spoke to me — at length — while we were in the ladies’ together. She asked to borrow my lipstick. I’m a nice Southern girl, too, so like sorority sisters we joshed about the men we were with that night. We joshed about stuff like sex, and how it was really funny how men were so simple, so easily fooled. Turns out my mother knew her mother from way back!

I actually asked poor Marla what she thought of Trump Tower. One of my friends had tried to get me to go inside but I refused. It was too ugly, and you’d torn down that beautiful Art Deco facade & not even given it to the Metropolitan like you promised! I wish I’d known that night what you’d be up to in 2016, because I would have spit on your plate on my way out the door. I have good aim. I was a tomboy.

Anyway, back in the Le Cirque ladies’, Marla giggled and said she didn’t really like it much herself, but that she’d never tell you because she knew how much building that brass & glass dick substitute (her words, not mine) meant to you. Apparently insecurity knows no bounds. Plus, she thought you were rich. She played that gig pretty well, I must say.

I myself was there with my then-husband, a man who is on one of the Nobel Prize nominating committees. I was there while my then-husband & his boss discussed you at table. You were too busy grabbing Marla’s sweet little pussy under the table over in the corner to notice much else. So, while you pussy-grabbed, my then-husband & his boss regaled me & my then-husband’s boss’ wife (a tall, blonde doctor whose Polish-born mother had survived Auschwitz) with the rumors (all true) of your imminent financial demise.

You were also a complete laughingstock down in Palm Beach. All of old Palm Beach hated you! I’d heard how you were ruining Mar-a-Lago — which I’d visited as a child, playing happily out in the garden whilst the grownups did boring things inside which didn’t involve roses, or butterflies, or dogs. You destroyed it, just like you destroyed that beautiful Art Deco facade. And, by the way, I know all about Jared’s brother. And your youngest kid.

So you thought being President of the United States would be easy? Cry me a fucking river, Herr Blotus. I know exactly who you are. You’re that pudgy asshole crybaby who got sent to military school for beating up the little kids. You’re that fat old man who cut off his nephew’s health insurance because he didn’t like the way his nephew refused to bow & scrape to him after he stole his nephew’s inheritance. Honestly, sir, you are nothing more than a piece of shit.

Madame X

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Giant Redwoods, a poem

illustration muir woods 2

Giant Redwoods

(Statements in italics taken from Ethics, by Baruch de Spinoza)

Look farther and farther toward thin blue sky, until the green feathery tops of the trees are like the northern pole on some dream planet.  Put the anger back in its bottle. These trees are generous.  Hatred can never be good.

Your carsickness from the ride up the mountain begins to fade, leaving behind a breathless, weepy echo not unlike your first religious fervor.  Hatred is increased through return of hatred, but may be destroyed by love.

When have you not been afraid?  The random can be scrutinized for meaning, the puzzle solved, when surveyed long & carefully enough.  Anything may be accidentally the cause of either hope or fear.

These trees have plenty of time.  As a child, you stared at Jesus’ sad face for hours, wishing you could marry him  — wondering what it was that made him love you.  Could you sacrifice yourself for the sins of the world, if it was that simple & necessary? Cathedrals turn us small and vulnerable again, for reasons both blessed & cursed.  Devotion is love towards an object which astonishes us.

Vague, starry eyes like yours feel at home here; the air is weighty, burdensome & solemn. You’ve loved trees before; this is different.  These trees have plenty of time – more time than you.  If we love a thing which is like ourselves, we endeavor as much as possible to make it love us in return.

Your nerves are suddenly frozen, by the unaccustomed richness of perfect light.  Your guide is tall & slender, hesitant to speak.  Her mother has the tattooed forearm of a Polish Jew of a certain age.  The knowledge of good and evil is nothing but an idea of joy or sorrow.  Sorrow is [a hu]man’s passage from a greater to a less perfection.

These trees have plenty of time.  She touches your wrist, and for a moment, you, too, want to grow taller, leaving the surface of the earth behind forever.  Shyly, she picks up a tiny pinecone, smaller than a toy.  You both laugh when she tells you this is their seed.  Joy is [a hu]man’s passage from a less to a greater perfection.

These trees have plenty of time.  And all around, their wise, fallen, hollow bodies litter the ground like the bones of saints.  Childlike, you understand a wish to die here, never to leave this hush.  They’re only trees – your neck bent back as far as it will go; only trees, yet wondering if the giants can hear your thoughts.  Love is joy, with the accompanying idea of an external cause.  Love and desire may be excessive.  When the mind imagines its own weakness, it necessarily sorrows.

Is there anything we have less power over than our own tongues?  These trees have plenty of time, growing wise as the Buddha, in their silence.

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he didn’t know he would die on december 19, 1979. a beautiful letter, regardless. my daddy. i loved him.


Thurs. 9-27 (1979)

Hello my beautiful daughter,

I haven’t checked my mail at Steve & Etta’s in a couple days, so I don’t know if you’ve written or not.  When I wrote you last and asked to hear whether you’d gotten it, that seemed important.  When I’ve thought about it since, it hasn’t.  That is, if you’re supposed to get my letters, you will; and if I’m supposed to/need to hear from you, I will.  I love you, and one of the things that means is that I enjoy expressing myself to you.  Don’t get me wrong:  I also really like hearing from you, hearing you/listening to you expressing yourself to me.  That’s what I want, and what I get will be what I need.

I hope you’re enjoying yourself and learning and growing.  I know you’re doing the latter two; the first is the only thing I’m unsure about.

Things are really interesting & exciting for me: seeing some patterns in my life, some big ones, for the first time ever.  They are really far out:  mostly they have to do with my history of relationships with women (including your mother & going back further than her) and how I use/have used those relationships to work out my feelings about my mother & her inability to give me love, affection, respect, hugs, kisses, TLC… that kind of stuff.  (I’m unclear about how much of this I “should” be sharing with you… when, if ever, should I relate to you like a peer?  Or:  when a father tells his child about his own emotional/psychological struggle/growth/insights/development, is that OK?  I guess I should go with my feelings and it feels OK to go this far; I’ll go as far as it feels OK to.  Part of my desire is for you to maybe learn a little something about your own psyche, and to know me as well as you can… given our… the way our relationship has gone (off the main point: I want you to know that I am not threatened or bothered at all, any more, by your relationship with your stepfather.  I accept that he was your father, is your father, in many ways.  And I think it’s beautiful that you have two of us.  How many young women have a straight dad and an unconventional dad?)  At any rate, the genesis of this recent big insight was George Oliver, from whose apartment I called you the other week.  I was talking to Geo. about my feelings of longing for Barbara & he told me that what I was saying sounded just like what I’d said & been feeling right after separating the last time from your mom.  That blew me away, because it was real true.  In essence, my largely unconscious/subconscious need/wanting to “get back at” my mother for what some part of me sees as her deliberate refusal to give me what I wanted, love, has led me over the years to play the game with women (who I’ve viewed as mother-surrogates) of “when I’ve got you, I don’t want you; when I haven’t got you, then I want you back.”

All this realization is so new I’m still trying to get my mind around it.  I’m pretty sure I want to stop playing it:  it sure doesn’t feel good for those involved, myself included.  (I realize that, at some level, it had to be satisfying some real deep need in me; otherwise why go on doing it for 30 plus years?)

Exciting and scary times.  The prospect of opting out of the game is exciting.  And scary:  the game-playing part of me says, “gee, what will I do if I don=t play that game?” or “But that’s all I know how to do!”

Incidentally, I have no regrets about having come down to Florida & having been there 3 & 1/2 months.  It all needed to happen, I’m sure of that.  And our time together was beautiful.

And something else that needs to happen is going to the first part of next week: I’m heading south again.  I’ll be driving in the van down Baja California to La Paz & taking the ferry across to mainland Mexico again.  I’m going to revisit some of the places I raced through (e.g. 3 hours in Oaxaca) and visit some of the places I chose not to make side trips to.  And drink in that delicious tropical sun & sea for a while.  I guess I’m feeling that I’d rather go to Europe in the spring, warmer weather.  (Sat.)  A feeling that’s really been reinforced by the last couple days in LA, real cool here, rainy & overcast on the beach today.

My current thinking about my travelling is that I’ll do Mexico again until Dec. or Jan. then go to the Caribbean.  I’d love to visit Jamaica, St. Martin, Puerto Rico, etc.  And then in summer go to Europe.  Rather than going to London now, then immediately to warm weather in Africa then going back to Europe next summer.  But, it’s real hard to stay definite..  I don’t know what this does to our talking about travelling together, but if we’re supposed to, we will.  And I would love to see the Caribbean with you.

I don’t know whether I’ve told you or not: when I came out here in Aug., my first stop was San Diego, where I talked to my Aunt Cecelia (who also was my godmother) & the lawyer that drew up my mother’s will.  Cecelia, after hearing that I felt humiliated, hurt and angry about Mom’s will, said that Mom had felt all those same things & ways about what I’d done in living my life.  Which is no doubt true.  And sad, that my efforts to live & be happy were taken so personally by her, and that she chose to be so upset about them.  There’s a lesson there, for sure.

I will write you from Mexico and I’ve decided to assume you will get my letters & stop worrying about whether Gail might intercept them.

My thoughts are with you a lot.  Know that I love you.  (The thunder outside seems to punctuate my writing with an exclamation point after that sentence!!)  Allow yourself to be who you are; remember that if you were supposed to be different, you would be.


Incidentally, I asked Sheila’s lawyer how long before I get my money from the estate & he said he couldn’t be definite (you know how lawyers are) but he thought it’s be sooner than 6 mos.!

(You can write me in Mexico if you want.  I’ll be stopping in La Paz, in the state of Baja Calif. Sur and mail will be held for me if you send it c/o Lista de Correos, for that city & state.  La Paz is 1000 miles or so south of San Diego so I shouldn’t be there until at least a week or so, more like 2 weeks, after you get this.)  I’ll let you know other cities later.  The next one after La Paz will be Puerto Vallarta, but I forget the state name, but you can just check an atlas.


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