by Fielding Goodfellow
Janet Bolan always seemed to be one hallucination away from a padded room, but somewhere in the dark, melancholia that danced around her head like Fred and Ginger lived her muse. Or so she said. At the time I had no idea what the hell she was talking about but it didn’t really matter, I mean I was pretty fucked up back then. She said that she was a poet, carving images of human suffering out of the words and phrases she found hiding in her thoughts. She would sit cross legged on a table in the common room, dressed in cut off jeans and a sleeveless tee shirt, and seduce me with a reading, but all I was thinking about was how to get her clothes off. She had this way about her, a serene confidence that seemed to make her ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude tolerable. And while she may have been a little out there, I’m not so sure that it was such a bad place to be, I mean there was a lot of crazy shit going on right here back then.
Woodstock had come and gone and the promise of a better world seemed to have dissipated like the cloud of smoke that was left over upstate New York that weekend. It was a very confusing time, filled with anti communist rhetoric and the banning of books and music that questioned the establishment. After putting a man on the moon and tripping across the Isle of Wight, we were forced into hiding in campus coffee houses in order to continue our journey across space and time. Janet joined the Feminists for Freedom and published her politically charged ‘I Didn’t Burn My Bra Just To Show You My Tits’, which catapulted her into pseudo celebrity status. The truth is, we were so messed up back then feeding our heads with peyote and psilocybin, that we hardly even noticed when the mania set in. She said it wasn’t her, I mean she claimed it was her muse, but whatever it was, Janet said that she could see the truth like that.
The fact was that she just couldn’t be satisfied with just the truth. She was always looking for something better than that, and I don’t think that she was ever able to find it. It didn’t really matter though, I mean the truth is always completely subjective. Her truth though was born out of the same anxiety and fear that drove her to write about life rather than experience it. She had no choice really, I mean she was not only afraid to die, but she was also too scared to live. It was tragic really, and she probably should have been in some kind of therapy or something, but when her muse went manic, Janet simply disappeared. She spent days in hallucinogenic seclusion, giving life to her truth, usually reappearing three or four days later with some brilliantly executed, though completely misguided slice of humanity that she hoped would rival Ginsburg and Ferlinghetti,
Sometime in the early 1980s, after a particularly lengthy exodus from the here and now, Janet simply ran out of things to say. She said that her muse had simply packed up and moved out, leaving her dressed in cut off jeans and a sleeveless tee shirt, sitting cross legged on a bed on the third floor of Our Mother Of The Blessed Emptiness Center For The Recently Disillusioned. I was still thinking about how to get her clothes off when I visited her. but she was different, I mean she was completely lost in whatever had decided to hover over her head. Without her muse, she seemed empty. There was nothing left really, I mean the truth is only the truth for so long. We keep changing and every now and again we shed what no longer keeps us balanced and grounded. The truth is like that though, I mean sometimes it mutates and just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Janet knew that and I suppose that’s why she couldn’t find anything else to write about, I mean without the truth there’s really nothing left. I didn’t see her much after that, but a few years ago Tate ran into her at a downtown Taco Bell where she claimed to be staving off another alien invasion. As crazy as it sounded though, I knew it was true.