Trish: A Romance Parts 5 & 6

Still: fertilized, loved, I began
to write songs again. Yet
I remembered what came
to seem like a curse: the
feeling that I would not be
heard. I was in the wrong
place at the wrong time.
So I spiraled into depression,
even as songs tumbled out.
"Midnight Blues," a dirge
in A minor, was the best,
written during witching
hour, snow coming down,
Trish dead asleep in bed.

At one point I even began
to consider suicide: I had
given so much time to my
art, why was I being
held back? How could I
live under a confining
curse? Trish is my lover
but not very good at
comforting me: she is too
lost in her own blues. Too
many colors swirl around
her head, she is lost to
images, tints, hues, shades.
Wood creaks beneath us.

By X-Mas our mood lifts.
My folks take us to dinner
at a Vietnamese restaurant,
and we order pad thai for
the first time. Trish for me
means new tastes and the
color of these noodles is
matched to her hair that is
grown out, no longer
bunned. We are near
home in West Philly
and West Philly does
begin to feel like home.
No sharp pangs linger.

New Years there's a party:
Tobi giggles over Indian
food that we have delivered,
everything is voluptuous
luxury. I jam with Matt from
Eris in the music room (Josh's
bedroom) on Velvets tunes,
play the new songs for Jackie
who says "groovy." Trish is a
bright fish swimming in a
school, green waters around
us. We are two fish together
and we are ripped to the gills
and the floor is soft coral.

Trish is unhappy: parties are
starting to wear on her. By
February she moves into a
new pad in a rugged old
brown brick building, also
in West Philly, with Tobi.
The doors to Trish's bed-
room are glass, not very
substantial, so Tobi has
to listen to us make love
all the time (a night with no
love would be unworthy of
us). I love the view from
Trish's windows: placid

looking 42nd Street, trees,
large houses, it could pass
for suburbia. It reminded
me, also, of the England I
have always imagined, the
ideal England which gave
rise to so many early heroes
of mine, and which once
produced giants of the written
word. I would look out the
window, pretend we were
in England after Trish had
gone to sleep, and if Tobi
were out or in her room.

Tobi begins to reveal her character. Her
painting style is not unlike Mary's- she's
a formalist. But Tobi has no taste for
mythology and loves quotidian objects,
dyke scenes. She paints with absolute
precision and commitment. Her personality
in life belies this- she has two frequent
faces, both of which are constantly bubbling
over onto the surface (Trish is reserved
in comparison, and a secret voluptuary).
Her moods dictate either kitchen-sink
humor or paranoid rage. Her tininess
often necessitates loudness. By this time
she has put on a good amount of

weight as well, so that her exquisite
cheekbones and startling eyes are offset
in a fulsome way. As is visible, Tobi
is jealous of Trish on a number of levels-
Trish has looks, academic distinction, and
me, while Tobi scurries among potential
lovers, never able to appease her conscience
and settle on anyone. Between that and
our amatory antics, Tobi becomes unsettled
with us. When Tobi throws little parties,
I act bullish- partly because I'm stoned,
partly because I feel a manly sense
of owning Trish and Tob. But when
I leave, Trish and Tob get in big fights.

Happier now are times when Trish
stays with me. Trish still enjoys
experimenting with chemicals, and when
she does, I oversee her. But our routines
are not that different than anyone else's.
We make plans to visit Montreal at the end
of the summer. By the time we get to
Montreal, I realize that letting Trish
plan the whole thing herself was a bad
idea. We're trapped in a closet on Saint
Catherine Street. It's hot. But I put on
a game face and we see the sights. Trish's
tremendous breakdown has been documented
elsewhere. Suffice it to say it was a tense

time. Something began to break between
us. Trish's freak-outs were spaced about
a week apart, and were regular. It became
more and more difficult to find energy with
which to cope. I was burned out on her
sexually as well. I dreaded having to
make love to her. I was repulsed. After a
certain point, I couldn't take the strain of
dealing with her any longer. In late
November, I broke off with her in such
a way as to suggest that I needed to
be harsh. I did. Her fits had taken
something from me that would take some
time to repair. They imposed soul damage.

I had learned that Tobi liked to
bounce around. About a year after I
split with Trish for the first time, I
had occasion (finally) to know Tob the
way I'd always wanted to. I was
upstairs at the Khyber, doing my rounds
(I was in charge of an arts collective, the
Philly Free School, at the time), and Tob
was there with her girl posse. Me and Tob
were dancing and we started grinding. It
was intense and pleasurable and it had
been building for a long time. I took
her home and knew a few things at once-
this wouldn't last, wouldn't be a

marriage, and it might not even
be pretty (Tobi's paranoia never being
far beneath the surface). We had traveled
the length of Center City and were cold, so
I drew a bath. What happened in the
bath and afterwards in bed was
half-terrible, half-great. It was done, for
both of us, just to have done it. I couldn't
say, then or now, that I regretted it.
But Trish was still around, had taken
up with a new guy, and though I wasn't
jealous (I had many lovers at the time)
I still loved her. I didn't know if the
story was over or not- turns out it wasn't.