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

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Be Honest

Just a note to the faithful that my man and good friend John Praxus has had a blog going called www.Praxus.blogspot.com. It's thoughtful and intimate aswell as filled with great winter photos of the promised land, VT. Check it out.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Mohawks y Corazons pt.1


A lot has been said and done since two years ago when I was just returning home from hundreds of miles south of the border. From crawling in the Andes and puking on the cobblestone. Two years and my shirt is still snagged on your barb wire fence.
We met at a tourist club in a tourist town in Peru. The club gave out free Cuba libres after ten pm in exchange for the promotional cards that they passed out around the city. I would collect these free drink cards during the day and then redeem them each night, making the rounds to every bar/club that offered to get me drunk at no cost.
The first time I saw you, your hair was dyed bright red like ribbon candy and your eyes stayed focused with a predatory tint. I was like a weeble wobble for ten minutes feeling like the fate of the world was resting on my next move and all I could come up with was to ask for dance. We went through two songs barely talking, just laughing while shaking our hips. I knew from jump, that I was totally and utterly in love but I kept it hidden as best I could, though I'm sure some leaked out through my smile. As we danced the company I kept grew antsy and wanted to roll out. You came along and I could barely walk I was so proud to have you by my side.
We talked till the morning and I asked if I could kiss you.
We began to build our kingdom on plans to meet and the torment of simple mistakes that can't be sorted out until after the damage is done.
We spent the next three days always planning to meet and almost always late, coming very close to missing eachother more then once. I swear I still have scars from all the anxiety beat-downs I suffered every time it seemed like you wouldn't show.
We laid upon each other in shitty rooms to cold for sleeping and kissed till we were sick. I fumbled with your antique bra hooks for minutes that felt like hours refusing to admit defeat.
For four days I expected an ambush from the other shoe. I waited for it to come crashing down, I scanned the night's sky for it but it didn't show. And then you left to return to your mother in Lima and I left for Macchu Picchu where my friend was waiting. I tried to call again and again but couldn't figure out how to use the pay phone calling cards. I returned to our city and felt so lonely that I didn't sleep. I started thinking this was it, a size 9 chuck taylor, it had floated down and the catch was that I'd probably never hear from you again. A week went by.
And then you wrote me and we began to crawl to the mountain tops and sing. I didn't think you'd write. I could've walked through walls the first time I read your words, I could've dunked on Shaq.
We kept talking as I continued to travel up to Columbia and we started calling each other once I returned home to the states. You were back in school in Germany and I was bracing against the frozen winds of Vermont, spending it all to hear you practice cursing in English and to get all lovey dovey in my broken Spanish.
I bought a Plane ticket before I could afford it. I worked two jobs and did some babysitting on the weekends. I had a hard time finding music I owned that actually talked about how kick ass it is to be in love. Most of the CD's I own are all about how kick ass it was, or how it kicked the singer's ass, or how the government sucks, or how thugs kill and get rich, or how lonely it all is. Very few CD's in my collection said "hey love is awesome and this time it'll probably all work out and there's no way it could crash and burn". Very few of my CD's said this because it's bullshit and I have a hard time singing along to bullshit.
Anyway I was a crack addict of love and spent my off time walking in the freezing cold down snowy dirt roads, improving my Spanish and struggling with the epic want of you. I'd lay in bed at night and repeat every kiss we had until I swore I could almost feel your lips. I'd call you every other day and though there'd be no new news to share the conversation never dulled. You believed in me and cared about me more openly and with more passion then anyone had in a long time. I wanted to fuck the world up every time I felt it'd done you wrong.
The holidays passed and the deadzone of winter went by with me always working and us running up phone bills as my departure date got closer and closer. I knew soon I'd be in Germany and we would see what we would see.
I headed down to Boston a few days before I was supposed to leave. The ground was thawing, my Mohawk was gone. I put on my Deadboys t-shirt and on the same day we invaded Iraq, I boarded the plain for Hamburg with your voice ricocheting off the walls of my heart and my head.
"You will sleep in my bed, of course you will sleep with me."