Monday, January 04, 2010

The Muir Test

I was up in the mountains visiting the fam over the weekend and a big winter storm trailed in, swallowing roads, trees and houses. I ended up driving back in it and it was awesome to see the surrounding hills and farms just lost in a some hazy winter vision, it makes me think of the old days when shit like a winter storm effected every aspect of your life and had to be me met with stamina and determination. It also reminded me of how much I like to be out in a winter storm. Not just a simple snowfall, but when the snow's slamming against you due to powerful winds and the outside just seems uninhabitable. Back on Christmas day in 2001 I was in Vermont when the area got nailed with such a storm. Around 7pm at night I threw on some wool pants, scarf, jacket, hat and gloves and hiked the mountain behind my house with my dog and real motherfucking OG, Cody. There was a bright enough moon that it lit the whole forest with that surreal underwater light. The snow had a frozen layer on top but was thick and fluffy beneath, making hiking kinda strenuous. All of the birch, maples, and pine swayed and creaked in the frozen wind and it sound like the whole forest was at war. I kept expecting branches to come down around me like I was running through the streets London during the blitz. Despite the ferocity of the storm and its effect on the forest I saw alot of animals out that night and had an amazing time. It reminded me of the story of how John Muir would climb to the top of some of the tallest peaks in the forest and belt himself to their trunks during a storm so that he could experience it right up close. Nuts, but also makes complete and total sense to me. Something about the biological animal experience of the wilderness, when it surpasses the rational mind's panic and preference for caution, and takes over your senses that makes me feel more alive then any other experiences I've ever had. Tell that anecdote to others and gauge their reaction, that's th Muir test, the line between the wild and society, it varies greatly depending on the person, I hope for me it's one day non-existent. Here's my journal entry from that night:

December 25th ’01

Hiking Bear Mountain. The Snow in the air light and delicate
like a lullaby still being sung long after the babies have slept and grown.
Razor thin sheet of ice glazed the the bog water.
The top layer of the fallen snow rests softly on a brittle shelf,
smashing through with my fists, crawling like an ape.
A doe bounds across the upper slope
dancing over frozen debris,
trees cut her movements
like flashes in a kinetescope.
The air is sharp and chill,
I only leave the hat off for fifteen minutes at the most.
I study the land from above, leaping down from a jutting
boulder, plunged into motion. I run without thinking, steering
by gripping at saplings, dogs chase the deer. My feet move
absent from my mind.
I have everything to prove.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Welts develop quickly
overlapping the battered skin-
glistening antibiotic sheen.
Wearing the last battle like an accepted shame
clipping on the tie.

Cold New England winter,
if you ain’t comfort in isolation
Wearing the last battle like a pardon
the autistic scrawl of the Ice Queen.

Her soft Christian hands
fall upon my shoelaces and begin to
aid my escape.
Wearing the last battle like a return to breathlessness,
the old pulmonary shackles.

Falling breathless night,
we are the only ones out not engaged
in seedy business.
No longer contained by legitimate force
the dried corn scaffold to the on-ramp.



ou old fucking dog,

caught yerself up onto something laughable,

perhaps there’s a fortune in jubilation

if there’s none in the forseeable future.

Anarchy is all melodrama

just a staged performance of a teenager’s diary,

woe to the individual’s attention.

You’ll be lost, wading in testimonials

of the lightweight and delusional.

Now that everyone’s a comedian

it means that tragedy has gotta be that much more


You old fucking vet,
crawling through a damp jungle
into an open vial
of regret.



Shattered bottles cast
on stone and trail overgrown.
Where did your ghost go?
The Sun light that falls
upon my wife's shoulder blades
kills all arguments.
This stretch of river,
you can't go there beside me.
Too many memories.
We leave the rule of law
to those on the paved roads
and ravage the county.
What can you say to
those you never speak to?
The years fall upon us.
Waiting for the dog to shit
here under God's 3am sky,
a lonely master still calling.
Old friends of mine
it is when I am close to our history
that the known heart aches..
Sun lights the rising pines,
needles stretch over an inset's path,
good coffee.
Light this morning
though I face a mount of demons,
writing poems again.
Junkies busted in
to the neighbors car last night.
Credit cards like scattered petals
on the morning road.
Eating Krishna's food.
Settled into municipality.
The country's gone broke.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Eulogy for Ingwe

I first met Ingwe in Lincoln Vermont when I was fifteen years old. His stories and his presence brought out the life in the natural world around me. Whether I'm climbing a tree in a city park, walking in the African bush, or camping in the Adirondacks, I could always feel Ingwe's teachings and his love for the wild, present in me. I visited Ingwe once in New Jersey and would write to him occasionally about the experiences I had abroad. He was a powerful teacher, a huge influence and a compassionate man.

These days I don't have to get in too thick to feel the city start to weigh me down. It's isolating existing in a habitat only fit for your own species. It crumbles slowly, and new faces cycle in to replace the old. I can't always put a positive spin on the strength of the human spirit, I don't always want to recognize my face in theirs

The orange pine needles that blanket the forest floor and pile up as we push the back to form a circle of brown earth, moist and cool. The tiniest twigs leaning precariously in a tepee form, the thicker branches mimicking them above, we crack the deadwood off and patiently construct a fire. The tinder bundle burning in the cupped hands, before it is gently eased within the dry structure.

Steaming cups of chamomile tea in gloved hands as bodies rest on a ground preparing for sleep, beginning to freeze. The sky grows a darker shade of blue until you begin to feel like you could fall into it. The stars glow whiter and looking up makes your breath come softly from you lungs into the air.

The coyotes call in the distance it makes you feel like a teenager, over confident and knowingly reckless. They run through your inner ear canal and down the back of your spine, burying their kill along you lower rib, storage for the long winter ahead.

We would leave parties, girlfriends, drugs and status just to walk into the woods. We would listen to the highway miles off and wait for it to gently rock itself to sleep. We'd come crawling from human tragedy's infected or scarred and lie broken in hidden fields, while the wind cleaned our wounds and the chickadees stitched us up.

We'd challenge Spirits of Thunder and Lightening, Frozen ponds, Rockfaces, Gravity, Snowstorms, Moose and Bear, Crocodile and Lion, Rapids and waterfalls, and the natural unknown, just to prove to whoever was watching devil or angel, ghost or god, that there are a few mortals left on this Earth that still remember where they came from and enjoy the challenge of returning home.

Of all the senses we lived in smell, sight, sound, touch, the sense of humor was always the most prevalent. No other group of folks I've ever known could switch from sex jokes to solemn thought and prayer so naturally.

In the rivers, under the summer sun and the blue sky. Swimming among the rocks carved by the winter runoff of thousands of years. The sweat from climbing, body over rock, body over root and soil to the Adirondack peaks washed into the water and rushing away.

Walking home today,
stopping at a track,
set in dry mud,
barely recognizable in the frozen ground
the sky is grey and everyone civilized is inside their house,
I ignore the cars moving nearby,
I hear the dogs barking in the twilight,
my toes are numb and ache in my shoes,
I have places I should be
as I bend down until I'm eye level with the print
and begin to try and uncover

Dedicated to the memory of Ingwe and the memory of Chris Gelineau, Jim Dobkowski and all those that walked in the bush with me.

Monday, January 24, 2005


It Reminds Me of The Pain I Might Leave Behind

The High Atlas mountains seemed to hover in the western sky, overseeing the streets of Marrakesh and the surrounding landscape from dusty to lush and green. They're like a great council of elders staring down on the frantic circles and songs of it's congregation, unmoved witnesses. I'd sit on the roof of the Hotel Ali most nights as the sun was setting, smoking cigarettes and bearing witness to the night's blanket as it was draped over the jagged peaks and amiable valleys. If I turned completely around I could look down on Djemma el-fna where the grills were lit and expelling the smoke of frying lambs and fish to frolic with the tiny lights of an old world. Lanterns were lit, baskets were set at the feet of performers, sellers barked their wares to fat German tourists and the game of getting by resumed with every player scrambling to keep score.
Marrkesh got me back on my feet. Spurred on by countless cups of Arabic coffee and mint tea I conquered the physical and mental ailments that had slowed me to the point of rust. I explored the streets and the people, walking down every street that looked like it would get me lost or away from the spectacle and into the day to day life. I spent hours in the parks and garden just observing and talking with the Morracans that would come and go making the basic inquiries. "
"Where are you from?"
"Who you like, George Bush or Al Gore?"
And occasionally talk my way out of a sales pitch (I learned to get good at that in a place where 'no' means 'yes but cheaper'.It's a philosophy most frat boys have adopted when dealing with sex) .
I practiced my Arabic and blushed at my French. I ate my meals for cheap from the food sellers in the square and slept for 2 bucks a night in the dorm of the hotel Ali. Most nights I was violently awakened by the fighting of a family of cats that shared the 3rd floor.
The dorm room was set up like a WW2 field hospital with a whole bunch of bunks in a row and usually just me sleeping there, save for when the night desk clerk would crash out on one of the beds.
After a week and half in Morocco my dreams had taken on a very erotic tone, there was always sex going on in my sleeping head. I had a recurring dream of fucking this dark queen in the forest, removing her veil and coverings until she lay naked on the pine needles. After sex her husband would always catch us, tired and sticky, and chase me around the palace yard with a machete, spitting and screaming. Even in the dream I knew that it was worth it. I was in a country where custom dictated that you don't really speak to young, single women, especially being a young unmarried man. Most of the girls wear at least a veil over their hair and many cover their face and bodies in the traditional garb. I was also living in a dorm situation which didn't really provide me with the privacy to take advantage of myself and the result was a subconscious that resembled Friday night Skin-a-max.
My own ghosts of solitude raised their heads and began to howl as the so often do whenever I'm traveling alone. On the bad days I would feel almost crippled by a thick loneliness. Like all my muscles have been cut from my skin and my bones, hollowed, sometime it was all I could do to keep myself together. I began to take things to seriously and feel like I didn't belong anywhere, that I'm not wanted by this world. These days I rarely get as broken up while out there alone, but at nineteen it was almost overwhelming how far down I'd go some days.
I stayed in Marakesh till the third day of Eid ul-Adha , which was a holiday devoted to that moment when Abraham almost sacrificed his kid to prove his faith. The streets were stained with the blood of sheep,that were bought, killed, cooked and shared with family and friends. I decided to head to the mountains that I'd already spent so many sunsets with, I was homesick and I needed some company, Mountain kings would do.
Early that morning I threw on my rucksack and walked outside of the medina walls to Bab el-rab. Where vans that had seen their day in 1985 were held together and kept running by faithful mechanics and all kinds of imagination. I found the Van heading to Asni by approaching some white folks with backpacks the size of eight year old children on their backs and inquiring as to whether they were heading to the High Atlas. Indeed they were and that was that.
I rode standing on the steps by the folding door holding on to rail, wickedly mortal. It required three men to operate the beast. The first man operated the gas and clutch while steering. The second operating only the stick and chatting with the driver thereby keeping him awake and not letting us plunge to our certain doom. The third was a human windshield wiper (as the van had non) reaching out the window with a rag and clearing off the windshield. It was the Marx brothers movie that never was.
The landscape was flat as we left the city and rolled down the tar trail. Tiny villages clung like moss to the sides of the highway, all the buildings were the same color as the ground. Only the schools stood out, being concrete with goofy murals of Mickey mouse and friends to cloak the penitentiary look. Dark clouds raced toward us in a futile game of chicken , and soon the rain was hitting me in the face through the open window. A box filled with human cargo, held together by faith and coat-hangers, moving because motion was a living and the faster you got there the faster you were able to load up and go again.
We pulled into the village of Asni, which was quiet, with only a few people out and about do to the feast. I tagged along with the climbers and we managed to rustle up some grub and smoke a cigarette before the lorry arrived that would make the ascent to Imilil, a Berber town in the heart of the atlas. There were five climbers, four of them were dudes, from England and the fifth was a woman from Australia. They were planning to climb Jeb Toubkal which is the highest peak in North Africa at 13,365 feet. Rob and Lisa were friends who had bumped into Greg, Nigel, Pip
hit it off and decided to make the climb together. I had no intention of climbing the Mountain and was only heading to Imilil to get out into the country and explore the mountain halls. I hit it off with them right away as Greg, Pip and Nigel had wicked senses of humor and were very engaging and it wasn't hard for me to enjoy joking and talking after weeks of silence.
We caught the lorry (which was a large flatbed military truck with wooden benches in the cab. ) and rolled out of Asni to begin climbing into Imilil.
Back in 95, a flash flood had severely fucked up the valleys and foothills of the High Atlas, and the ferocity was still visible from the thin mountain roads 5 years after. Monsterous boulders perched on precarious nests and looked like some natural joke or a crude acme trap. The hills were torn and shredded high above the river bed, it was a violent symphony that had been recorded in the grooves of the mountain side, put a needle to it and listen to the roar.
It was a two lane road but was only wide enough to be a one lane, that didn't stop our driver from passing slower moving vehicles blindly. Death will come when it comes I guess, but after that ride I've never felt like a chicken for not getting on a rollercoaster, rollercoasters are for pussies, ramshackle lorries on suicide missions make men out of boys.
The land became greener as we continued to climbed higher and the air got cooler. A gray sky held steady above the sloping land, we were surrounded on all sides and I had to stretch my neck to see the where walls of land peaked.
Imilil was a ghost town when we arrived. All the shops were boarded up and there was nary a soul to be seen except for the two men that greeted the lorry. One of them was approached us and offered room and board in his house. His name was Aswell and he also ran a guide company that lead trips up Jeb Toubkal. I'd been absorbed into the group and we all agreed to roll with Aswell.
It turns out that where we pulled in was just the main street of Imilil, put up for the tourist with crafts and food and guide services. The real village was quiet a trek up a road that became a foot path. It was spring in the mountains and the walnut trees wore their whit blossoms like young women, and the scents of grass and flowers were intoxicating to me. I closed my eyes as we walked past the stone walls and under the an angled house holding the government's boys.
Imilil was built into the mountain side, like a staircase. Roofs of one house became the patio of another. Berbers in the mountains often practiced a more mystical brand of Islam and up here the Feast of Eid ul-Adha lasted for five days. So that was why the streets were quiet and the village was rocking. We walked through the dusty streets and could hear the celebrations in the distance the voices of children were singing. I could look down on the main street I could look at the towering peaks, I was at their feet and climbing. I was a happy child.
Around the corner and up the hill a creature appeared. It walked on two feet, it was covered head to toe in fur an was goat faced with horns coming out of it's head, in it's right hand it wielded a stick and when it saw us it wailed. Somewhere out in the world Slayer's ears were burning.
It ran down the hill towards us and as I steeled myself to begin this holy war I noticed the tips of a pair of Nikes sticking out from under it's hooves. As part of the festivities the men took turns dressing up in the goat costumes and chasing the children with the intention to thrash the demons out of any child that was quick enough on their feet. For the whole time I was in the village their was always a goatman roaming the hills and groups of children laughing and running from it.
As we arrived at Aswells house we discovered where the singing was coming from. On his balcony was a group of 12 girls doing a call and response thing with a group of boys further down the hill. There dresses were bright and full of strips of color, they were bouncy happy children and I fell in love with the planet earth intensely at that moment.
Later that evening after we'd eaten dinner we all sat out under the stars and listened to the mystical chanting of the men farther over in the mountains. It sounded like the Dervish ceremonies as they banged steadily on drums and kept up a never ending song that had echoed off these mountain walls for hundreds of years. Nigel, Pip, Greg, Rob and Lisa had invited me to join them on their trek up Jeb Toubkal. Aswell rented me a pair of boots although I wouldn't have thought twice about doing it in my Vans. He also rented me a jacket and gloves. I accepted and we sat out under the swaying hips of the filling moon smoking some of the Hashish I'd bought in Casablanca earlier on.
The voices in the distance rushed over me, through my hair and down my throat. They filled my stomach and soul. I felt akin to the stars that had become such company, that danced and shifted with the simple placing of one foot in front of the other. I remembered purgatory, when I would stare at the pictures of far off places. Places that looked exactly like Imilil. I remembered feeling hopeless and lost in such a large lake of world, I'd never thought I would feel the sliding pebbles of those mountain paths shift under the soles of my feet, couldn't see that I'd ever breath the air that slid down from the heavens like melting ice cream.
And there I was, looking down on the valley, looking down on my trail, from 19 to the womb, looking down on my faith, and watching it lead to me, the imagination and strength that'd brought me this far. I saw the kid that hadn't believed he'd ever rest in the arms of where the Earth had tried to bite the sky.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"What's a matter McFly, you yellow?"

The world that unwinds from the tarmac seems to enter me through my eyes and nose and pulse along my veins. Motion's become a drug to me, I crave it more and more as years go by, it's become my response to sorrow, my way of acting out joy. Maybe part of it is running away not dealing, I know it's great liberation to cut the strings of domestic bullshit and live on your feet. Sometimes I think I just deal better with my problems when I'm traveling/exploring. I get a better view and I weed shit out with a keener eye and a fresh take.
I think I just like the world a lot better when shit is immediate, when priorities are priorities, the real ones, food, shelter, safety. Even getting on a skateboard is extremely therapeutic. It forces you to explore and pay attention to the immediate, otherwise you'll be left counting your teeth or under someone's front tire.
I'll find myself in the midst of a forty hour work week and daydreaming about being in World war 2. A naive dream I'll admit but I won't totally right it off as all ignorance. I think the attraction in the immediacy. That closeness to life and death, walking side by side instead of the pastuerised kiddy gloved versions we accept in the back of our domestic fuck fest. "I'll live then." "I don't want to think about death." This skewed relationship where life and death are like illegitimate children we send a birthday card to once a year. Then one day they show up when your old, useless and lonely just to say "fuck you Dad" and it's curtains.
I feel the things in me responding to the earth and all the matter I thought lifeless, the same makeup. My insides jiggle and chatter with everything around me, that feeling of synchronicty I've found is best expierienced through motion, through travel. Outside events start to coincide with inside events. As you open up to the universe it turns and opens back up to you. Like we learned in the Back to the Future trilogy, the future hasn't been written, it's a moving thing that is constantly being alterted. When Death come it'll come but the beauty is you'll keep moving, motion will continue.
Whether on a tin can death trap struggling up a one lane mountain road, a descending aircraft heard from an open field, a rattling board on a wet street. I am glad to be in motion and thankful that I'm such a lucky Junkie.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Mohawks y Corazons pt.3


You were touched that I passed her by, that I chose you. I felt I'd done something right and maybe gained some ground but I knew deep down that I was choosing to only see the monument not the corpses it was built to honor. Then the day that it all shattered came and snuck up beside me asking for cigarettes.
We spent the day together and you were so soft and tasted of denim. You held my hand as we walked through the streets and kissed me in crowds. We talked about everything before and to follow. I thought we might make it if we pushed hard through the storm.
You worked nights at a club with 3 levels. A basement/goth club, the main dance floor at ground level, and then the quiet swanky upstairs. You bartended and the night I visited, you were working in the goth club. To anyone who's never been to a German goth club, fuck dude... fuck.
We planned to meet up in the early morning at this tiny pub after you got off work.
At around midnight I rolled out of your club and walked up to the gutter punk bar, that's hidden on a side street. A brick building covered with ivy and with tons of bikes stacked outside and in. Dingy and dim inside with punks and skins playing fooseball while hardcore bands like FEAR or X, blast through the shitty speakers.
I sat at the bar drinking shots of Jim Beam and cheap beer while writing and rolling cigarettes. I scribbled tons of tiny poems on the backs of scraps of paper I'd collected all day. I listened to the music and I watched the people. Being around the kids in that bar took the edge off all the isolation and loneliness that was hatching within me.
I was just finishing a new cig, when two guys entered the bar and sat down beside me. One was white with somewhat graying sideburns and an old baseball hat on,. He looked like a biker, a greaser in a former life. The other had a darker complexion and off the top I'd have to guess Pakistani. They both looked about early/mid thirties. They sat down beside me and started talking. The language was English! The humor was heavy with cynicism and sarcasm!
There's only one group of people I know that distrust their fellow man and the idea that things will get better that much! Americans! (Don't get me wrong though a lot of Yankee doodles are Yankee douches too).
I bummed a light and they both perked up.
"You American man?"
"Yeah, from Boston, what about you guys."
"I'm from California and he's from Rhode Island."
Turns out they'd both done some time in Boston and had come of age inthe eighties hardcore scene, now older and a smidge wiser they both lived in Hamburg and came to that bar to drink and hangout in a familiar environment.
Many times while traveling by myself, when I seem to be at my most isolated and plagued with doubt someone will appear in my path and re-enforce the lessons of beauty and liberation that life is continuously teaching. Different educators sitting in tiny towns or roaring cities, in parks and bars, by the road and on the roofs. Supporting and lecturing on the idea that this life is your own all you have to do is accept the responsibility and rescue it from other's limits and designs. Find the courage to save yourself.
Chris was the biker looking dude. He worked at a club downtown doing sound and lighting. He'd come over to Europe years ago, he'd seen the fucking Dead Kennedy's in Spain. Dude! I told him what I was doing in Hamburg and the fucked up rack I'd laid myself on. His friend had to leave and go home to his wife (married punks, wow). Chris brought me to another bar like five blocks over. We walked along the street discussing music and how fucked up the Germans and women could be, my cup of self confidence no longer dry. Here was a dude who's past (in many ways) mirrored my present and he was cool! All of a sudden I had a friend and it was like being able to set down your weapons and relax after weeks of being in battle.
We roamed the city flirting with women and fucking with drunks. We ended up at a very white, (literally, the walls and lights) quiet pub. As we sat drinking and discussing family and life he extended an invitation to me to come to his loft for a huge Easter party in like a week or something. I was touched and said I'd make it if I could. And after shaking hands and bowing to the teacher in my own way while saying a silent thanks, I jetted out the door to go meet you when got off work, in a matter of minutes.
I ran up the side streets, passed empty playgrounds and sleeping bodies. It was close to 5 am and still dark, there was no one moving on the residential sidewalks. I ran in the middle of the street, stopping occasionally to catch my breath and walk. I was suddenly filled with this feeling/fantasy of being a ghost on these streets. Of not really being there at all, like time was passing rapidly through the bodies of the living that filled these houses, that lifetimes were started and exterminated in the time it took my to walk one step. I felt like I was losing it, like maybe I wasn't here at all. Maybe I was reliving some past life, a ghost wandering through the places and times it'd lived in as a mortal being. Like some version of Scrooge, except I was more generous and definitely got more poon.
I saw the whole club district up ahead and was shaken from my fantasy. I was a little disappointed to be honest, I didn't want to have no business with the living, they'd worn me out.
I waited outside of your club. Forty five minutes passed. I filled with venom and sorrow, anxiety over having missed you turned to resentment of the whole fucking show. I watched two dudes get in a fist fight over a hat. I just laughed in their faces as they grappled near my feet. Fuck people! Let them all go die. With their stupid outfits and bullshit ideas! Fuck this city! Fuck the monkey bouncers that guard the doors! And fuck us for falling in love!
I left the street and walked to an after hours spot crowded with the recently closed clubs runoff. Wall to wall with people. I sat at the bar taking shots and drinking more beer. I have a card in my wallet with the phrase "Missing the Ramones" written on the back. I wrote it that morning, waiting for you, knowing you wouldn't come. What it basically meant to me at the time of writing was that longing for something familiar and beautiful. Some melody, some attitude, something to believe in.
I was jolted awake when two dudes behind me started choking each other. It was almost comical, they were dressed all nice, and Sunday morning often shines on all our failures. I grabbed the bigger one and pulled him off the other one using a restraint technique I'd been taught at a former job.
In minutes the warring parties were hugging and singing together. The bartender gave me a free beer for doing my part. I should've let them murder each other I thought as I drained it quickly and stumbled to the door.
I sat out on a doorstep rolling a cigarette and poking my open wounds with fascination and malice. A group of Spanish dudes walked by all drunk and stoned out. They started to fuck with me and after one touched my hat I shoved him into the wall and began threatening his life in near perfect Spanish. I remember repeating the phrase "I want to fight you maggot bastard"
again and again. They pulled me off and murmured something about a knife before going into an apartment. I stood there wishing they would, praying they'd come back down. Then I kinda broke, I realized how far down I was. I felt like crying.
I stumbled back to your apartment to find you asleep in your bed. You hadn't even waited for me after work. You hadn't even looked for my face in the crowds that you passed through. I laid down by the foot of your bed and with tears in my eyes gave into sleep.
The next morning we started yelling and accusing the other of pointless crimes, but in the middle of it I just stopped. I was too tired, I was too hungover, I was just too done. I went and called my friend who lives in Denmark to ask if I could come up there and crash. He was psyched and was totally down with my visiting.
I returned and started to pack my stuff. We both seemed to lighten up a little now that we were walking away from the car crash. The weights were still on my back, but it was like I got some extra padding under them.
My last glance of you is still vibrant and very alive in my head. It's Sunday, late morning. The sun pours down through the grey sky into your room. You lay on your bed completely naked. A sheet covers you from the waist down, you look soft, like cathedral lighting. Your red hair partially covers your eyes as you glance at me still with affection. It's not your fault that you push away everyone that cares and it's not such a bad thing that I tried to love you inspite of it.
I kissed you and softly ran my hand over your bare chest down to your golden belly and gently though the brittle hair above your cunt. My knees cracked as I stood and my balance wasn't at it's peak as I threw my pack on and quietly closed your door behind me, deafened by whispers and longing.

The unfortunate gets preyed on by vulture's eyes
Eighty six cents in these pockets of mine
You can take my wallet you can take my time
but you can't take my heart, it's in the city behind.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Mohawks y Corazons pt.2


So a few days before leaving I hear almost nothing and when we do talk there are suddenly things that need to be said but that you promise will be ok and you'll say them when I arrive. And I begin to grow suspicious that there's more going on then just the sun and the moon. That the boyfriend you had before we met might be a boyfriend you still have. You assure me it ain't like that and I've got to pick a path, to the airport or defeat. I'm stuck with my imagination creating scenarios that feel like Chinese water torture.
I almost don't go.
I want it up front, I want to know if your playing me. Like Lou Reed said "I'm a New York city man, you just say go and I'll be gone." You convinced me to come and I boarded the plane, sensing the shadow of a falling shoe.
After changes and no sleep I touch down in Hamburg. I get into the country and go to the lobby. I don't see you at first, I stand around and watch everyone leave, I start to feel like I could give into panic. Like I'm on the edge of the dock, balancing on the balls of my feet and all I have to do is lean forward and fall in. That it's all a fucked up mistake and that I'm a fucking chump who just crossed the ocean to get played for a fool. I want to go back. The only brakes I have to stop this freak out train is music. I get a good song going in my cranium, usually something about "kicking ass and walking on" something that gets you on your feet and sticks your middle fingers up.
Then you come through.
Everything slows down when I see you. Four and half months of waiting and suddenly there you are, in the lobby right by the flight schedules. Your wearing a tiny black parka with fur trim, the heels on your boots are obscenely tall and thin, like on a dominatrix tip. Your hair is still bright red and your eyes are dark and ringed with mascara. Your skin is soft and tan, you stand out from all this skyway architecture. I'm almost out of my body, I almost lose track of the earth.
We embrace, but the intimacy that's existed through the wires is now a whimper in all the self consciousness and awkward fear of the face to face.
Ride through Hamburg in your friends car, thinking too much.
The first day there we go to your ex boyfriends house. This is very fucked up I'm thinking the whole time. You don't admit it's his apartment, but I can tell and I call you on it. You tell me that you'd broken up with him a few months earlier, but that you still get along. That it's hard to trust such a long distance relationship. It's sloppy dealing with distance and hearts. I can't act all self-righteous, I fooled around twice while we were apart. Still it's twisted and I go to sleep in his bed feeling slightly hollow.
I spent the next few days getting to know the streets of the Reeperbahn better. I started to become friends with the punk rocker chicks that worked at the coffee shop a few blocks over and even bought a skateboard for 10 euros at this flea market.
Your flat-mates were a weird bunch. One was this really cute French girl who always had her German boyfriend over and the only time they weren't laughing was when they were sleeping. Good folks. The other was this ball of stress in an intensive Law program at some university named Ben. Ben was scared of people with dreadlocks, Ben was paranoid about losing control over his world, Ben was 100 % focused on his career path, Ben and I did our best to pretend we didn't freak each other out. We actually got along some of the times. I made him a grilled cheese because he'd never had one and I tried to actively engage in conversations about his studies and his future since those seemed to be his main interests and you know, to each his own I'm not gonna hate on people that are doing what they want to do. He did turn out to have somewhat of a strong passive aggressive streak in him though most of it wasn't aimed at me but at you because of me and other things. Fuck it though.
The Reeperbahn is basically the debauchery district, filled with sex shops, peep shows, pissy hallways and prostitutes. I was surrounded by sex and barely getting any. It was like the hot and cold knobs of a facet, you'd pull me close and get intensely affectionate then you'd be 10,000 miles away staring right through me. There was no pleasing and whatever I did it was never enough. I couldn't save you from disasters that had already transpired, nor could I oversee their healing. All I could do was love you and offer my compassion and support. Not that I didn't try to fix it though, I drove myself nuts trying to crack you, trying to explain myself. Some nights I slept beside you blanketed in intimacy, others I curled up at the foot of your bed like a beaten hound, my nerves raw from emotional combat.
Some days I'd ride the train out to the university and read emails and lyrics while you worked or went to classes. One day I bought a bunch of beers and walked through the urban Forest to this deserted playground. It started to rain so I went into a crumbling dugout where I stayed for a few hours drinking and listening to the Clash on my walkmen while thumbing through a well read copy of Cometbus. I started to head back and caught the train into the Reeper.
The way the trains work in Germany is by buying a ticket and boarding. There's no turn-still and no conductor, just stings set up at certain stations at certain times, basically a bunch of metro cops standing at the exits checking each passenger for their ticket. If you don't have a ticket they fine you 40 euros. Obviously I never bought a ticket because the honor system to an American is just another opportunity to get by and take advantage of a some sucker's system. So that day on my way back I was leaving the train and climbing the stairs, when I saw everyone stopping up ahead and saw the boys in blue. I tried to turn and sneak back down but I heard a shout from up the stairs "Hey! Excuse me! Halt!" I took off running back down to the plat form hoping there'd be a train just about to pull out and I'd hop on just as the doors closed, like in the movies. No such luck both tracks were empty. I cut between the pillars and around the little stalls set up, but to no avail. Cops had been called down from the other exit and they had me surrounded. I stopped and smiled, throwing up my hands in defeat. I couldn't play dumb tourist cause I'd just tried to flee so they knew I knew the scoop. All I had on me was 20 euros so I gave it to em and was handed a ticket for the remaining 20. Seems like we Grays will always be in conflict with the Germans, from the days of the celts to W.W.2 to the great chase of the Hamburg metro.
Some days were fun, some sucked dick. I was drunk most every night regardless. I was drunk alot of the days too. After 3 days of a cold cold shoulder from you my darling, I went out with the punker coffee girls to a bar by the docks. I drank Jager and beer, I drained the bottles steadily. I walked off with this cutie, she was studying theater fashion and she liked the American punk rock hero (me). We wandered around the city streets till the early hours of the morning. We made out aggressively in a closed construction site, hanging from the scaffolding and rubbing parts both wet and hard.
I stumbled home and got in right before you returned from work. I felt good, I felt conflicted.
I told you the next morning and to my disappointment you didn't get angry or seem jealous but were actually supportive and said I should go out with her again. It hurt like hell and increased my suspicions that this love was becoming my undoing.
I went with her (fashion girl) to the punk Olympics the next day, which is basically a whole bunch of kids getting wasted and racing shopping carts, it was a blast. On the way back home I explained to her my situation with you and why, even though I was really attracted to her I couldn't start anything because I was still in purgatory at your 4th floor flat. In hindsight it was a real idiotic decision and if I could go back in time, I'd run off with the fashion student who really did like me and showed it through affection and attention, but who can say why we make the choices we make when we're suffering, when we're wanting. So I chose to crawl back to your floor and scream at your walls until my throat was raw in the hopes that they'd eventually fall.

"Both were so glad to watch me destroy what I had,
Pain sure brings out the best in people doesn't it ?"
-Bob Dylan