Panama Diaries, Part III

I take a bus alone from Panama City into the jungle. One one-way ticket. My friend Guadalupe, a retired Spanish journalist who has been my tropical partner-in-crime for three months has returned to Spain, leaving me with a kiss on each cheek and a warning to stay safe.

The crowded bus terminal across from Albrook, a famous mall on the outskirts of Panama City is a disorganized Port Authority on acid. The old bus I board looks like something out of a Bollywood movie meets a Grateful Dead tour van from the 1960’s revamped for everyday travelers. All brocaded curtains, paisley patterned seats, gold, red, and psychedelic purple swirling over the interior.

We drive five hours through small towns nestled in palm trees, a trek that oddly reminds me of when I was in love with a girl in Toronto and would regularly take the endless bus ride from NYC through Upstate New York and across the Canadian border to see her. Youthful amor knows no geographical boundaries.

Now, waiting for me is a cheerful older ex-pat named Kippy, with short cut blonde hair and a gap-toothed grin in her beat up old truck blasting jangling Motown.

“We’re going to a party.” She announces, as I climb in.

When Guadalupe was here, I was able to hang out with Panamanians, the feisty ninety-four year-old matriarch of the small town Pedasi, an owner of a hostel who called me “Mi Rei,” my king, a guy from Chile who strummed guitar while I belted live karaoke in his cantina, American songs like House of the Rising Sun, Proud Mary and Mack The Knife. It seems now that Guadalupe is gone, that world is inaccessible to me. So I fall in with the expats.

After the concrete condos of Panama City, rising by the Pacific like some Miami Vice throwback, the cracked sidewalks and salt stung air, window washers rushing out at streetlights with homemade squeegees and buckets of sudsy water like the crackheads on Houston Street did when I was a kid, the countryside feels even more surreal and tranquil. Kippy and I stop at a roadside stand to buy giant bunches of pinkly stained lychees, and semilla de coco a new delicacy for me, a round white orb of coconut seed with a spongy texture and pure subtly sweet flavor.

On the beach, under the portico of a local cantina, a group of expats have gathered to party, throwing back rum and $1 beers. I haven’t been around this many white people in months and it feels overwhelming and a bit embarrassing. They form their own cohort and even though many have lived in the country for years, they don’t speak Spanish. I wonder how they go grocery shopping.

All the expats in the jungle by the sea seem to have ended up here for some shady reason. So have I, I suppose. No one leaves everything they know behind unless they want to escape something.

At her seventy-first birthday party on the beach, I meet Corey, a “California girl” and old school lesbian who tells me she used to have a gambling problem.

“What made you stop?” I ask.

“I lost my job and my house.” She says frankly, in her nicotine growl, going off to chain smoke another menthol.

There is Sammy, who arrives at the beach and immediately announces he has just gotten a blood test for HIV and herpes.

“I met someone.” He says giddily. “I’m doing it for her.”

After our third round of cervezas, I find out he is a New York Jew, like me, though originally from Israel and three decades older.

He and his parents emigrated to the Bronx of the 1950’s when he was a kid, then moved to Canada when he turned eighteen, so he wouldn’t be drafted in Vietnam.

“When I was eight years-old I got held up by knifepoint for milk and eggs I was bringing home to my mom.” He says.

He notices me noticing his tattoos, numbers across his inner arm and a semi-colon at his hairy wrist.

“The numbers were my father’s when he was in a camp. The semi-colon you should know as a writer.” He says.

“I do.” I say. “But what does it mean to you?”

“My son committed suicide two years ago. It means continuation. Life continues.” He says.

The sun sets over the sea and the green hills of Isla Iguana in the distance. The island looks so close under the bronze, violet and blood red rays it seems you could swim there, though you would die trying.

 

Terrible news filters in from the States. There is a certain anarchy among the ex-pats, escapees who have given up their country for another. Some try their best to ignore all American news, some rage against it. But all seem to live in a sort of tropical Brigadoon, a valley the outside world can’t penetrate.

It reminds me of an ill-timed trip my grandparents took me and my brother on my senior year of high school in 2003. We ended up in the Galapagos Islands on a small nature cruise touring islands desolate except for teeming wildlife.

On one of the few inhabited spots in the archipelago in a small internet café, I found out through an email from my dad that the United States had declared war in Afghanistan. Only two years after 9/11 had changed my New York childhood and teenage world forever, I cried in a roughly paved town square thousands of miles from home feeling angry and helpless all over again. War was the last thing I wanted, but how could I stop it?

Fifteen years later, on a different beach, someone makes a crack about sexual assault on the darkened porch. An older gay man talking about the priests of his youth molesting fellow choir boys.

“The whole time, I was like pick me! Pick me! Is something wrong with me that they don’t want to fuck me?” He says and everyone laughs uproariously.

I don’t and get sideways glances like I’m being a party pooper.

“I think it’s normal for kids to feel chosen or made special by abusers.” I say. “That’s part of the abuser’s power over their victims. I’m sorry you felt that way.” I tell him.

And as the chuckles around us fade, he nods quietly and says, “Thank you.”

“When I was a teenager we fooled around, but we were just figuring out what we liked and what we didn’t.” Protests a grandmother from Colorado. “If a boy and I were heavy petting and he did something I didn’t like, I always told him ‘no,’”

Though unstated, it is clear we are now talking about the recent hearings around the latest Supreme Court nominee.

“There’s a difference between normal exploration and being forced into a situation.” I tell her. “Some people don’t have the ability to say no while it’s happening, that doesn’t make it okay.”

“What about innocent until proven guilty?” She jabs.

“What about believing victims?” I ask.

“I was never a victim.” She says so vehemently it makes me wonder, if like the joke about the priests, there is some pain behind her bluster.

“Bet you didn’t think hanging around with a bunch of old people, you’d be having conversations like this.” Kippy takes me aside to order us more drinks.

“I spoke to my dad on the phone the other day about his artwork and how he used to correspond with a guy who was into phallic piercings to do a portrait.” I shrug. “He’s older than all of you.”

But as the party dies down, I think about generational ideas of sex. How this older crew who grew up with so much normalized repression and sexism have all been touched by abuse in some way and see it as a hard knock reality rather than something that needs to change.

Kippy drives me back in the dark, past swooping bats and the crooning melodic croaking of frogs. Guadalupe always sang back to them “Sapo cancionero, de la noche cantas tu melancholia.” Singing frog, in the night you sing your melancholy.

 

I think of being five and forced into a bathroom by a girl in my class who demanded to see my penis, being ten at a Mets game at Shea Stadium and a fat old man saying to me, “Hey kid, cute ass.” when other adults were out of earshot, being twelve and the odd pitch of my babysitter’s panting as she pinned me down in a game of wrestling, being thirteen and a homeless guy following me down the street offering “I’ll suck your dick for a quarter.”, being eighteen and an older gay friend pawing me whenever he got drunk, being twenty-seven and doing a reading in Philadelphia where the hostess promised me I had a room for the night, which turned out to be her bedroom she wouldn’t let me leave when I tried. How through all of these experiences and more, I felt like I was the fucked up one because I was a guy and shouldn’t I just enjoy it?

We reach the rusted black metal gate of Guadalupe’s property and Kippy keeps her brights on me as I trip up the path lined with palmeras, their fronds glowing poison green in her headlamps. I am alone in Guadalupe’s small house now.

That first night in my friend’s borrowed casita on her vast stretch of land I have nightmares I am being robbed, like I was when I lived in Bushwick, Brooklyn in my early 20’s.

Maybe it is Guadalupe’s paranoia infecting me. Before she left me on my own she warned “Pueblo chico, infierno grande.” Small town, big fire. Her house has been knocked over three times before, so maybe I am just being realistic.

I wake up to glaring sunlight, safe for the moment in my sweaty nightmare tossed sheets. I wonder how many other of the revelers from last night went home and dreamt of a world where we were violated. And if the lush beauty of the tropics will ever be enough to quell those visions.

 

 

Show Other Posts Also Tagged With:

“This Night Has Opened My Eyes”

“The dream has gone
But the baby is real
Oh you did a good thing
She could have been a poet
Or, she could have been a fool
Oh you did a bad thing
And I’m not happy
And I’m not sad”

—-the Smiths, “This Night has Opened my Eyes”, from Hatful of Hollow, a compilation album released 12 November 1984, Rough Trade.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatful_of_Hollow

featuring Model: Liz Walz wearing a handmade dress by Susan Hickman for Crocker House FashionShow
Photograph by Michelle Gemma

Show Other Posts Also Tagged With:

lost in thought

sat down with the intention of writing something
anything
and that’s when the distractions of the day became the subject of the day
the smells –
are those my shorts?
my socks?
my shoes?

sat down with the intention of writing something
anything
and instead of the esoteric, what gets tapped into instead is just so common
so basic
the vagaries of effluent discharges brought about by the bodies that live on bodies
kinda smells like shoes
or bodies on a hot summer day
or the first few minutes of sex

sat down with the intention of writing something
anything
this isn’t to say that this “subject,” this “idea,” is not worthy
it just so happens
to have nothing to do with the thought that first sat me down to open this document
but here we are
a little lost
thinking about
something other
than that which was the thought
that originally sat me down
to start typing

Show Other Posts Also Tagged With:

33: THE MAGIC NUMBER

“Since the most ancient of times numbers and numerology have been believed to conceal secrets and messages. For some, numbers have very special significance, with the ability to conceal true meaning from all but the initiated. To some, certain numbers can convey that something of particular importance lies within the text under their study. Such numbers needn’t even be written to convey the presence of a hidden code within a sentence or paragraph, only that the sum of letters included adds up to a particular number.
No number holds more esoteric significance than “33.” The number three is significant in all major religions. There is a Trinity for Christians, and a Triple Goddess for the ancients.”

“In the written words attributed to Shakespeare, to Francis Bacon, to Spenser, Dante, and others we can find hidden code words and paragraphs that use this number to alert the initiated reader that something important is connected.
In the works attributed to Shakespeare there are many phrases and passages referencing the number 33. Julius Caesar is stabbed 33 times. The body of work shows a mastery of numerology. The number 33 reflects the interface of the familiar world with the higher spiritual realm. In Hamlet, the Ghost is represented in the first scene with an entrance described in a sentence with 33 characters. And Horatio addresses the ghost in 33 characters as he leaves. “Stay: Speake, speake, I charge thee, speake.” In Julius Caesar, the ghost of Caesar visits Brutus in a passage that starts with a 33-character sentence, “That shapes this monstrous apparition.” Brutus recovers from the shock and addresses the ghost in a 33-word sentence.”

“From Iraq through Phoenicia to Phoenix Arizona, whether by design or coincidence, the 33rd parallel passes through some very significant places.
The ancient city of Babylon was very near the 33rd-degree latitude line while modern Baghdad is on the 33rd parallel. This area was once thought to be the Garden of Eden. Heading west, the line passes through Damascus, Beirut, and onto two Templar castles one exactly on the 33rd latitude the other at 32.71. The light of the sky is embodied by the Sun with the solar year divided by the sun’s cycle of 11.06 years, equaling 33. The Sun, defined as a circumference of 360 degrees divided by 11, equals 32.72.”

Crossing the ocean, the 33rd parallel brings us to Charleston, South Carolina. This city is the original site of Scottish Rite masonry in U.S. Charleston’s Fort Sumter is the location of the first shot fired in the Civil War as that state succeeded from the Union.
Coincidence or not, Dallas, Texas, was of course where President Kennedy was assassinated. Not only is it on the 33rd parallel, but also the date of 11/22 adds up to 33. During Kennedy’s administration Papa Doc Duvalier of Haiti was upset because aid from the U.S. was cut off. He claimed to put a curse on JFK, which caused his death on the date of those powerful numbers.
While writers on this subject often include Roswell, New Mexico, we’ll go on to Phoenix, Arizona. This was once the center of the Hohokam culture. The largest site, known as Snaketown, was only five miles from the 33rd parallel and the observatory called Casa Grande is five miles from the line as well. Here this advanced ancient culture built 500 miles of canals irrigating 25,000 acres.”

“Despite the reputation given to such beliefs by organized religion, science in modern times has come to understand the concept of a body clock, the effect of the lunar cycle on animals, and most likely people, and the reality of circadian cycles. Ancients might have known this as well. There are 33 vertebrae in the spine. In India, it is believed a vital energy is needed to awaken the spiritual energy located at the base of the spine. This coiled-up energy is known as Kundalini, and through Yoga energy it ascends to the brain and beyond. Both Hindu and Tantric arts seek this awakening.”

“The spinal column is often referred to as Jacob’s ladder, or the Serpent. It is also compared to the caduceus symbol of Mercury, Thoth, and medicine. Did the ancients also know there were 33 turns in a complete sequence of DNA? Could the Caduceus symbolize the two intertwining snakes apparently reflected in the 33-sequence, double helix DNA ascending a vertical pole, which could be the 33-vertebrae spine?”

“When the two threes are put together facing each other they offer a design that is said to represent the ancient Hermetic maxim  ‘as above, so below.’ ”

 “The heavens mirror the earth; the spirit reflects humankind.”

Photo Narrative featuring Writer Royal Young on location in Great Neck, New York

Excerpts from the article, “33: The Magic Number, Why Is This Number So Important To So Many?” by Steven Sora, Atlantis Rising magazine, March/April 2015 Issue #110

https://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/article/33-the-magic-number/

Photographs by Michelle Gemma

 

 

Show Other Posts Also Tagged With:

12/11/1989

Off we go! All packed posting warrior travel madman to Portsmouth suburb Havant to see Alex and Graham T. {edit: Mystic/Noankers, yes, that is the one I am talking about}. Graham is traveling the Continent but should be back in a couple of days. Maura and Sarah buy me a pint of lager and a Guinness at the last resort pub and even a pack of Camels. Pictures taken outside Smoker’s Paradise and one even with a Bobby who couldn’t have been more than 19. Tube to Morden, last stop in London, very south, and walk 45 mins to Route A3 (oh A3!). The forecast from BBC2 is clear ‘til the weekend so everything should be fine.

A3 is like I-95 but everyone drives 80 MPH and the cops don’t bother “until you are over 90” the first of six drivers tells me. He was really cool and had traveled US, Australia, New Zealand. Says England is the toughest for hitching. Fifteen miles later, he drops me off at an exit and I walk with thumb out for easily five miles before a truck stops for me.

Two 22ish males, listening to house music and asking me about the States.

Seven miles with them and I walk, again, three miles, and a really nice sports car, like a Jag or something, stops for me with a tie behind the wheel. As I run to catch up to the car, my small pack pops open and spills its contents on the highway and grass. All I lost was my new cassette of Unknown Pleasures. I managed to recover two shooter bottles of vodka.

He drives about 20 miles and lets me off at a gas station where I get a cup of Java and put on my rain poncho as it is raining (Great! Thanks, BBC!). I then walk about three more miles when another car stops.

Young guy with a tie but not living that life as his car is full of shit, beer cans, sleeping bags, etc, and even “a cooker or two”. He drives about two miles to a pub where he is meeting his friends at now 10:30PM. He gives me a smoke and tells me how to get cheap reliable cars in Brixton and even in London.

Walking in the rain dark night on a Ledyard backroad that is still somehow the A3 but a far cry from the 90MPH I-95 section and I get about another mile when an old guy stops for me. He was fucking nice as shit, telling me about the dream house he is building and a story about a soldier he picked up once and how he was impressed with my canvas rucksack. He drives about five miles to the town that he lives in and apologizes for not being able to bring me further but he has to get up in the morning to work and he is beat tired. Tells me where to stand to get another ride and wishes me a Happy Christmas.

Short 300 yard walk when a car stops and the passenger gets out and yells “Do you want a ride?” Of course I do, you stupid sod! I get in and there is a guy in the back seat and the driver straight right off asks me if I have any hash or grass. No, do you? No, but we are going to get some, where are you going? They bring me almost to Alex’s door and all the while they are talking all paranoid of cops!

11:10PM and I knock the knocker on the door, #7 3rd Ave. Alex’s mom answers and invites me in and THEN realizes that I am the guest that Alex is expecting! She gives me a letter from my mom, talking of tragedies and all all all from home and I am glad that I am not there. Baked beans, toast, and tea comes in and is devoured by me like an animal while she tries to have a pleasant talk and calls Alex at his friend’s house. He shows up and actually gave me a hug and we sit around talking until almost 1:30AM.
{edit: scribbled numbers at the top of the page sum to 66 miles, so not a bad estimate for 1989!}

Show Other Posts Also Tagged With:

12/6/1989 to 12/10/1989

12/6/1989

Maura and I went to a place called “The Station” tonight to see a Blues band made up of two ex-Yardbirds and two other guys. Very good. Skinny blonde white guy belting out deep South accent of old black man.

Four pints drunk and out to find Taco Bell way on the other side of London before it closed. At first Tube stop, Maura tries to steal my beret, so I warn her not to by picking her up and putting her down, but no! She tries again, so I pick her up and slam her down and she hurt her left knee. I felt bad.

Man, these cigarettes are mean. My whole chest hurts and I can’t breathe deep at all…no laugh.

Taco Bell was great, so we went to Burger King to get soda. Maura is in line and this English fuck starts talking to me about her and he proves right off that he is a serious wanker and ugly to boot.

Back to the flat and the others are watching “The Shining”. Into bed and everyone is amazingly tired but restless, so we just keep talking and joking on each other. Maura starts threatening to tickle me and I spazz and jump onto her bed and we start wrestling and I slam her head into the wall, but she said it didn’t hurt. I felt bad again and when the light came on, I had knocked over a wet ashtray and it went all over her clothes pile, so now we have to do laundry tomorrow.

12/7/1989

Night brings Indian food bland bland tasteless. The Calsberg was warm and flat like leftover keg party beer, so we went to the Rodane (our last resort pub) for a single pint each, which soon ended when Samantha and Cute-Or-Not showed up and we got hammered. Julie and Jill talking about how horny they are and tattoos. Julie talking about her ladybug on her upper right thigh and how she is thinking about getting another one on the left, but much…further…up. Wow. Eventually, she finds a room full of toilet paper rolls while on her way to the bathroom. She comes back to the table insisting that we hit it on the way out and so we did, after four or five pints.

On the walk back to the flat, Julie and I start horsing around and she drops to the ground and I lean over to pick her up, but WHAM! Out of nowhere I am suddenly up against a car, being held down by a Bobby without a tit on his head and he’s talking about bringing me in and it is a £20,000 fine for leaning on cars (that he pushed me into!) and going on about rapists and murderers and how I fit in with them. Julie is too drunk to get up, so another Bobby helps her up and starts going off on me and I am almost pissing my pants in fear. Eventually, Julie and the others convince the Bobbies that I am not a rapist and that we are all friends, so they let me go with a stern warning. That pretty much killed the night, but we came away with about 15 rolls of toilet paper.

12/8/1989

During the day, I took Maura’s Walkman and Rich Martin and Michael’s tapes and went to the British Museum to see Lindow Man and the Rosetta Stone. James Brown blasting as I find Lindow Man with the cord still around his neck and it was amazing to see. All this old old older than old stuff everywhere and I cannot help but smile as I walk around aimlessly and thanked three Buddhas (one of which was two-stories high!), but never found the Rosetta Stone.

Night finds us going to see three horror flicks: “Basket Case”, “Motel Hell”, and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. This was no ordinary movie house. They served beers and it was full of punks and the walls were covered in pictures, painted on cartoon-like, about movies and movie stars and all all all nuts.

12/9/1989

Maura brings me to Camden Town to see this big street market for weirdos. Weirdos is right. All kinds of drug paraphernalia and items and weirdo clothing and Tarot card readings and it was like walking through some third world country.

Into, of course, a pub. The Camden Town Free House. Stella, free jukebox, friendly people and we have five pints each. 6 o’clock and we are back in the flat, Maura working on her journal.

About two hours later, she emerges from her room and says we are going to a transvestite bar. So off we go!

On the Tube to the place, a bum sits down next to me with a half-empty bottle of Strongbow cider and asks me for 10p. I have absolutely nothing, so I ask him for some money or some of his beer. He took two mighty hits off it. I thought he was going to empty it, but he saved some and handed the bottle to me, so I downed it as he starts asking everyone on the train for some change. He comes back with nothing as our stop is approaching and I thank him for the cider and wish him luck and shake his hand and gone. Fuckin’ bums.

The transvestite bar turned out to be an Irish pub with a shitty band, unfriendly people, and bad beer. Out we go back to Camden Town to check out a Blues bar we saw earlier, but this turned out to be a biker bar, so we went back to the Free House, which is right around the corner. It was packed! Every type of person was there, all grooving out to Bob Marley & The Wailers. Love that place.

Second “last call” bell in the Free House and I am almost done with my pint and there are assorted half-dead pints on the table in front of Maura and me. Another bum comes over and slams a plastic bag with “kippers” in it down on the table, asks me for a cigarette, sits down, and starts stealing “my” half-dead beers. So I tell him that I saw them first, but I’ll split them with him, so he agrees and the table soon goes dry.

In the street, Maura comments on how she can’t believe that I am stealing bum’s beers all night, and I tell her that wherever there are bums is my home.

At the Tube stop waiting for the train, I start going off on everything and everyone and start talking to “Spanish” man who claimed “No hablo” but really looked English and I scared this chick with pink hair and her boyfriend off a bench so that Maura and I can sit down.

Back in the flat, up ‘til 3:30AM with the girls going off with girl talk and I just wanting to die because it is so graphic and gross.

12/10/1989

Suddenly it is the tenth and I am supposed to be leaving London today! Tomorrow.

In the Free House last night, I saw my Moroccan friend from Ashe’s and he came over and got a big kick out of seeing me in Camden Town and we laugh and say good-bye again. Small small world.

The silence of a Sunday night, as papers take form and “I can’t do this” is mumbled and somehow it all gets done and earns a B. Every Sunday is the same and sometimes on Monday also.

Today I cashed another damn traveler’s check ($100 = £59) and the bastard money changer shorted me £5, so I went back to the booth expecting to hear “Well, you can’t prove I didn’t give it” but didn’t even get the chance, as “the shift has changed” and he was gone. Lesson: count your money.

I decided around noon that I would leave tomorrow, so I packed the pack and even put it on and it was very comfortable and even lighter as I removed the hard-covered journals that I stole from the Coast Guard Academy and it felt really nice and tomorrow I will hitchhike to Havant Hants, Portsmouth, wherever the fuck that is.

The day of the Museum, I received a letter from Rich Martin. That was really great. Someone misses me. All goes shitty for our group and I am glad not to be there.

I just realized that this is the first day in about a month and a half that I did not have any, not even one form of alcohol. No DTs. No worries. {edit: there was a day back in Ireland, I think, but still, that was several weeks ago at this point}

Maura and Samantha staying up late writing studying smoking talking. I go to 7-11 to get smokes. All night they kept talking about Hob Nobs and chocolate, so I pick up some and find a late night chip place. In 7-11 in front of me in line is a tie (1:30AM Sunday/Monday) buying two huge bottles of Perrier and some tuna fish sandwich thing and he looked like he had been thru Hell. Behind me was the scariest evil death chick that I have ever seen. She kept getting out of the queue to get something else and when we got to the front, she ran to put stuff back. It seemed as if she had to work to breathe in, and the scary part was that she had a cross carved into the middle of her face, like Manson’s swastika. Man, she was scary. Into the chip place and the three guys working there were just going completely nuts having fun. They gave me “a lot” of chips and they were really good. Night people, mostly, are more friendly than day people.

Earlier, down in Samantha’s, all work stopped as some Rolling Stones in Morocco for Christmas special, or some such crap, came on the telly. Samantha started dreading up my hair even more, so now I have like twelve of the bastards and still have space on the back of my head for more.

Show Other Posts Also Tagged With:

12/5/1989

Mudhoney last night. First band, The Dark Side, and then Mega City Four followed. First band was pretty lame. 2nd was OK, but not worth the Death Violence crush pit that went on. Mud Honey…

Andy, Maura, Samantha, Jill, Julie (crazy Julie), some other girl from downstairs, who is one of those girls that you can’t tell if they are cute or not, and me standing in front of the middle stage with barricade.

BOOM! Out of nowhere comes MCF and the crush just materialized with the first note and only got worse. Beer, just bought, flying everywhere and by the end of the first song only Samantha and I remained (I buffering her from a bruising, crushing wall of death-flesh) and stayed for the whole long, tiring show, getting stage dove upon and I almost in a fight with long-haired drunk who tried to use me to climb onto the stage and me elbowing him down “Fuck you” “FUCK YOU” the simultaneous grab and death stares his saying “I’m gonna hit you” and mine saying “That’ll be the last thing you do tonight” and really fucking meaning it and he backed down and every time he came near me I would punch him in the ribs.

Soon the stage diving got to be too much as Samantha went down once and me twice and both of us getting kicked in the head by combat boots and at the end I had a fat lip and bloody ears. So I would knock wannabe divers over the barricade slam on the floor and grab airbournes by the shirt and throw them honest to god down wham on the floor, more than a half dozen of these, and man was I fuckin’ pissed off and started yelling between songs that stagediving was for 15-year-olds and pussies. Show’s over. Julie at last report was piss drunk and no one knows where she is.

Home we go and within 20 mins Julie comes through the door with The Dark Side and their manager and sound guy and two girls, one very cute, and hash cigs blaze and cups of tea for everyone several times and even PB&J on peta bread. Very quiet fast (1 hour) post-gig party and to counteract the hash the manager blows a line and they are gone out the door into the night.

On the Tube coming home, it is me and four girls. Three drunk and high punks target the girls. No way, muthafucks, I’m still pissed off and pumped up and sober! Mild harassment as we four males sat facing they four females and not to claim to be a hero but just doing a saint’s job let the bastards know that they were going to do nothing. One did not get the clue and followed us off the train and claiming to be in love with Cute-Or-Not and I stop walking and wait for them to catch up with me and he sees me and knows now that I mean it and runs back towards the train. Not out of the station yet but up two long escalators and BOOM he is there bugging her again but soon leaves.

Today I found the spiciest pizza (Prima Pasta near Queensway Tube stop), Americana Hot. I looked for my next JK book as “Logic” blows but only found “On the Road”. Into Tower Records for a “Bible” tape of Faith, or 17 Seconds, or Joy or NO and came away with Closer and Unknown Pleasures. The full Bible.

Postcards wrote and off to see where Jack the Ripper ripped. What a poor depressing area. Death and murders going on to this day. Bums sleeping under parking garage lip and it would be very easy to “lose your shit” and go totally psychotically crazy living here…even today. Doomed out old abandoned school rising up out of junk field with light blue night sky and low white puffy clouds racing by…even the clouds did not want to be here…and the guide tells us that last month a bum was killed inside so I made Samantha take a picture of it because it was spookier than the spookiest thing Hollywood could ever dream up because this was real and Jack lived not three blocks from it and you could still feel the coldness loneliness mad craziness violence of his atrocities.

Show Other Posts Also Tagged With:

cockroach

one more time, his eyes all burned and
tweaked and cold and snuffed
he gripped the edges of the chair.

she had shifted across him again,
held the glass and smiled. his legs were
cumbersome. he was really nothing at all.

the ice in the drink was the only sound in the room.

‘look, up over there, there’s something moving…”

he looked up too and clutched her thigh, strained
to see above. she laughed and took out a
cigarette. he felt heavy and couldn’t see anything, just ceiling.

he looked down at the old carpet, and she handed him the glass.
she thought of stairways and automobile.
she thought of the cool night outside.

and the cockroach up on the wall behind him slid into a crevice.

reunion

Friendship may fade,
as the lives of people
we know create trajectories
that shape a present tense.

The reunion of my graduating class
is to set to commence
in two weeks, when i receive
a phone call
from my close friend Thomas.

“You need to go to the reunion.”

“No, actually you do. The Loner’s wife is on the committee and
you need to go.”

The Loner was a long time friend
of Thomas, but was only an acquaintance of mine.

“Ok, I’ll go. But if i have a bad night
it’s on you.”

“Hahahaha, Ok Kid. I’ll take that bet.
We got along with everyone at the time.”

“It’s about time you walked over here to talk to me…”

Caroline was way ahead of the curve in the 1980’s.
She held a multi-band concert
in her parents backyard
in late August 1985.
It was my first
proper gig as a musician.

At the reunion, Caroline asks me a question.

“Why are you not on Facebook?”

I reply, “I am. I use a fake name.”

“So, who are you?”

“It’s under Ellery Twining.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, you can’t search for my real name
on the platform for anything.”

“Do you have something to hide?” she asks,
simultaneously coy and probing.

“Of course not! But, someday, you will
regret using your real name
on social media.”

“oh, Ellery, some things don’t change…..”

A month later, i receive
an email from Caroline.

“Hey ELLERY! My friends and i think
it’s so funny
that you use a fake name
on Facebook!”

My reply was simple.

” I find it hard to believe
that you, and all of your friends
have three name profiles:

Joyce Burr Carpenter
Caroline Williams Smith
Sage Scott Anderson”

Our conversation eventually
led to a humorous
evaluation
of a shared morality.
Caroline invited me
to attend a dinner
at her summer rental~
a house at the end of
Cedar Point Road.

The evening immediately dissolves into
predictable tropes.
The women congregate on the patio.
The men gather on the
first floor deck.

“I have an incredible picture of this waitress from
my last business trip. Do you guys want to see it?”

He turns his phone to an angle
where we could all see the image.

“Will you look at that… hooo boy!”

Thomas and i I looked directly at each other.

I immediately knew
i had to suppress
this information,
as something i could not reveal.

I thought I was protecting Caroline.

I was not.

I was afraid.