Norman Allan
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Norman Allan : the story
for Ezra...                                  
book two: secrets                
chapter one: maybe cynthia

Chapter 1: Maybe Cynthia
                       Chapter 6: the substance of life and painting the city
Chapter 2: Past Lifes                                    Chapter 7: Three Portraits of Lucky
Chapter 3: Stoner                                          Chapter 8: Creep
Chapter:4: the Sacred                                   Chapter 9:The Psychic Lover
Chapter 5: Spring 2015                                Chapter: 10: the Devil's Story
  Chapter 1: Maybe Cynthia  



There are some secrets I want to tell around or about Joan and Cynthia.
      Joan was a woman of my age. She was another of the ex-lovers that Ted pushed in my direction to try and tease me away from my second wife, Teresa.*  Joan and I, though, simply developed a close professional interaction. Joan was a psychotherapist. She started coming to see me as a patient and brought her whole family, and she referred many of her friends and clients to me. She herself came regularly as a patient primarily to do deep psychological work. For a while I was her primary therapist. (a patient whom you counsell deeply is like a sister brother son daughter)
     The story I want to tell concerns a patient of hers whom she referred to me, an artist called Cynthia who was deeply disturbed and very ill. We managed to produce an effing "miracle" the day before her scheduled surgery.

Cynthia had a "contracture" in her gut, (in the later third of her ileum), five centimeters long on the barium swallow. She had not eaten, or passed stool, for eight days and was scheduled for surgery (on the morrow's dawning). I was asked to visited her in hospital on the eve of her operation.
     We talked, some about white flowers, her mother and white funereal flowers. We also did some CranioSacral hands on "unwinding" over and under that contractured spot in her gut along with "visualizing". Cyn saw a prawn-like pink embryo, in her gut.
     Did it have a name? I asked.
     "Maybe Cynthia." (The patient's name was not Cynthia.)
     Did Maybe Cynthia have a message?
     "Yes. The message is "No"."
     "No, I don't have to die." And with this ideation, realization, there was a "release" and my hands seemed to move three inches laterally (back towards me) and, after a pause, a second "release". My hands followed the tissue and now they seemed to travel three inches superior (cephalad). And Cynthia and I "knew" that the problem had resolved, that the constricture had released.
     She was radiant.
     In the morning Cynthia passed stool and she was hungry, so instead of surgery, she had breakfast. The hospital served her bacon and eggs!

Ah! concerning the moving of my hands the "three inches" that appeared to accompany the "unwinding", the release of the constriction? It had to be in some sense (in large part) symbolic - a ritual that I had unconsciously devised - or at the very least it was a gross amplification. And the vectors, the direction was "wrong". (The release, very likely, was radial, of sphincter-like muscles, not lateral.) but but who knows

Naturally I became very excited about the work I was doing with Cynthia. I became fascinated. She was intelligent, vivacious... And I found myself telling her that I found her attractive. "That's not a problem if it's only a little bit, is it?" Cynthia speculated. I was silent. And of course it was a problem. And the shit hit the fan when Cynthia discussed this transgression of professional boundaries with Joan, her therapist. . Joan was outraged. I had betrayed her, Joan, and she told the world. (more or less)   I was devastated.    
     Oh, and I said she sounded like her mother (ten minutes into her strident denunciation, I needed her to take a breathe, and that blew her away, for years… )

It was immediately after this phone conversation that I wrote Maybe Cynthia…   (the poem)  in the very first of my sketch books, woven there in with pictures… Oh, I must send this to Joan… she was almost like a sister, well, a cousin…

A few weeks later, Ted returned to Toronto from wintering in LA. I picked him up from the airport. Had I seen Joan? Ted asked. "Not lately," I answered. "I'll tell you about it tomorrow."
     The next day, round at his flat I told Ted the story in detail. I was rather defensive about the incident and when Ted questioned me about several aspects, my response was a little defensive, even belligerent in a general way?. I felt a embarrassed, then, not just about the incident itself, but more so about the awkwardness     unpleasantness I had brought, fleeting, into the conversation. When I finished relating the story     and having discussed it in some depth - "My therapist says (this and that) (** what did your therapist say?**)" -    we reached a still point. The other side of that still point I went over to Ted and sat beside him. I lay down and rested my head in my father's lap. Bosom of Abraham.
     After some moments Ted said, "I have something to tell you."   Another pause, and he said,    "I find you attractive."

     I rolled out of his lap, off the couch, to the floor.

LOL holy LOL

and that's so Ted-like like      love       I really have to tell your story

My sister's telling of the last time she saw Ted, as I recall, correct me if I'm wrong,

My father used to tell a story about how, on the several occasions when he was close to death, his Grandfather would appear at the foot of his bed and say, "Not yet, Alan," which was very reassuring. Though Ted's Grandfather had died when Ted (Alan) was only four years old, Ted credited his Zedda's love, care and attention with his own emotional survival. His Zedda was the most important positive influence in his young life. (1)
      When we were children, Ted was not particularly nurturing: but later he became a good friend, my best friend, and he was even closer to Julie. (They'd generally spend a half hour every day on the phone together (their professions overlapped and they talked about their work, and stuff, and they sometimes worked together)).

Now, some years after Ted's death (1a), Julie was on an airplane that ran into really serious turbulence. The plane fell a thousand, two thousand feet. The oxygen masks tumbled down out of there holders. Everyone thought they were going to die. Julie recalled Ted's story about his Grandfather's reassuring 'not-yets'. "I wonder if Ted will appear for me?" she thought and looked up the aisle in the panic stricken airplane and, sure enough, there he was standing by the bulkhead. Only he didn't say, "Not yet." He stood there and he beckoned - he gestured "come," it was fine on the other side, that there was nothing to fear.

As Julie told the story to me over the phone she spoke with some chagrin. I burst out laughing and she followed into laughter, remembering she had laughed at the time. Ted was not going to miss an opportunity where a jest might teach a deep lesson..

Tell the story of Ted and Lea and the vodka?
     I was pissed with Ted over his coming on to Lea. I'd introduced her (before hand) as a hoped for romance. "Look at her as a daughter-in-law," I said. 'Course, we it never happened (Lea and me). So, I guess, he thought she was fair game - she'd passed on me. She liked Ted, worked as his secretary several years. Massaged him.
     Of course he fantasized. Do I tell the wanker's story? Later. "It was the whisky kiss," he confessed.
     "Whisky kiss?" I asked Lea.
     "Well, he wasn't allowed to drink," she explained.
     Did he draft a romantic farce where she came on to him? (1b)
     I was bitching to Julie about Ted coming on to Lea. around this time, and Julie exclaimed, explained  "Oh, it's like putting a bottle of whisky on the table of an alcoholic and saying, 'I'm going to step out of the room for a while, but remember, that's my bottle. Don't touch it.' "

Me, I was in therapy half my life and after Maybe Cynthia I did some training, in councelling: I need better boundaries, I thought.     And I got bounced out two courses (on Bioenergetic) by Big Mommas (that's worth telling, perhaps, as a footnote).
     So, I was studying psychotherapy with a group that had been the "Toronto School of Bioenergetics", but then fell out with Lowen and devolved through several other names. Much of the falling out was over "drives" and "developmental stages"(1c), the new school didn't believe in them as such. I wrote a poem for Carl Moore (the other instructor: co-coordinator with the Big Momma) a rant about drives and stages, that needs a little bit of further explanation : "hydrogical" pertaining to a model of drives as cisterns filling and discharging (from early ethology), and "etholged" is neologism pertaining to ethology, the science of animals behaviour. you'll remember, and, "the return of the repressed" is a key Freudian phrase/concept.
    Here we go then… in a cockney accent    for the first stanza

The Baby with the Bath Water

what I think is that
when you was born
you was pushed
and out of a narrow passage

your skull bones was squished
and shifted like
tectal plates
pin head you burst
neath your mother's tail

at first
you were a scream
a face
a mouth
and hunger
and mother was all

or that bottle

then you had another end
and consequence
cramps in the gut
and bupps
and little squeezy tease'ems
life was not all ups

and then there was mother
and the wide world
there was war
beyond the window
and rumours of war
there was love
and anger and aloneness
in this twentieth century
tottering on the brink

I had an oral phase
from the first
and a phase I got into "agency"
with my face
from the first
to my mother

I discovered my hands
and played with them
a lot
ever since

I had a stage
a step
of denial
and a lot of this was around gut
and bum
and learning to say no

and I had attachments
to mum

and there were hungers and fears
urges and
some of them built!
and your hy.drol.ical model
e.thol'ged them just fine

and there was terror
terror drives

there is all sorts of drives
both in and out of relationship

skewed about
down into the unconscious belly

and then
there was
the return

I brought the Baby with the Bath Water to the year's end party, Big Momma had decided that I wasn't to be invited back (to a second year)(2) and read it, and handed it to Carl.
     Carl said, "I don't know what to do with this."
     "Keep it, or throw it away," I'd like to think I said.

Later, the class was saying good-bye, and hugging one another: and Louise said, "You should give Carl a hug. You'll regret it, if you don't."
     I went to hug Carl Moore. "Not the pelvis!" he shrieked. Swear to God.

Are we weird, as a species? You bet. ..

        and that will do for a chapter

though you might want to read     Maybe Cynthia (the poem….


chapter two: past lifes



Maybe Cynthia (the poem…. I wrote this in my very first sketch book (3) and perhaps this psychic shock   ignited     propelled    my painting.

Maybe Cynthia

(The "incident",
for those who are privy,
concerned Hyacinthus' underwear.

was a friend who Apollo
accidently slew...
so He made him into a flower.

So here's a poem for
Maybe Cynthia.)


We met with your pants down
and your guts blocked
through mourning bleak hours
with and without the white flowers weeping
we found a way to unwind your anger
and your sorrow
save you from the surgeon gamble

we shared such intimacies
all this is sacred

I'm glad we contrived
that I should never enter your house




in my house
in the heart of my sacred space
I have your "sample"
bottled clouds and innards
and beside it
I have your two faces
on the wall

so many layers

you said intensely
your said three times a week

the issues were:
what to let in
and what to let out

your inner doctor
a cartoon duck
said smoking was the big issue
that's grief in the lungs
was choking you

my needles
just made them taste better

this piece was a
collaberation with Teresa Allan


I said I have a problem
I find you attractive
(I just loved her
I could just... shi )

you said
is that a problem
I mean
that's only natural
it isn't a problem
unless it's intense
is it intense

well it was intense
just at that moment

but I never wanted
to get in your panties

I tried to make sure
you felt safe
that's why I spoke of my stuff
around placing my hands
in intimate places
there's stuff in bellies
and mouths

I told you I'd had Bertold Brecht's
four simultaneous mistresses
held before me as the ultra Byron
the beyond Bethune
or words to that effect
"My father was a fucker."
My therapist pointed out
that when we speak
our words command an image,
and that this image may attach to us,
be careful!
I said my father was a fucker
(I did not say
that "my head being
therefore sometimes cuntstruck/cockstruck:)
I distrusted the impulse
to put ands on breast
or belly on intimate parts

in the sanctity
of my honouring you
you vomited up your secret
you felt safe
the pain receded




hugging would been too intimate

then doctor duck got weary
damp in the dripping
under your diaphragm
he suggested a vacuum cleaner
to suck it out
and my thoughts and my mouth
ran away with me


having blown spirits away
I fell into a contusion...
a confusion
of suck and blow
(what was my grin
you probably didn't even notice
emotional exhaustion
my only excuse.
my Naturopath said
I'd "ebullated".)
the thought of sucking
below your diaphragm
it might give you hickies
I said
and yes that's an impropriety
"Bad fantasy
bad boy!"
said my notes to you
in my record of that last encounter
which you complained
was impersonal




it was
we had tried to jolly the duck
a dumb idea

hey don't I get a hearing
isn't there a "Herb"
on my side team

one bad day
and you're out
no second chance

did I betray your trust
I was certainly clumsy

Cynthia walked away
but I can hope
she now has my gift
resources to heal herself


but she who brought me Cynthia
is building walls
she's sets her heart against me
raging like her mother
digging pits
how's she gonna heal?

and all this is intimate
and sacred
and private
and hurts




  see book one: beyond substance
oh, and do visit : the website