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Vertical Prose


March 23rd, 2006

train to Burgos @ 11:57 pm

for every morning we can
we sleep late

last night was the first night in a while
we drank a lot
so we rolled around in bed a while

this is the first night in a while we've shared the same bed that had no division as well
the beds in germany and czech were two separate mattresses put together
so i woke many times this morning
as Leo would wake
pull me to him
or pet me
or cuddle me
and wake me
and the fits and spurts of snoring
i was awake
despite closing the curtains

around 9
but it was a while to get us really up and going
groggy

we hadn't made any plans for today
and today is the day we intended to leave Barcelona...
where to?

we thought Santiago de Compostela
but it's all the way across the country
certainly we couldn't make that in one day unless we left earlier than... now
... and we didn't even know where the train station was
because we came in on ferry

so the groggy
drinking water
gradually crescendoed into frantic packing and planning

more frantic on my part than his
but i was on line
posting the journal entries i'd written but not transfered
and looking at schedules and layouts
we got out of the hostal by 11:30
after i'd run down the block
and grabbed four sandwiches from the little café we'd enjoyed so much
and two bottles of water from a little grocery

it took a while to get a cab
and i was worried
but we got our cab
the driver seeming annoyed and taciturn
he just gave us a €1.80 surcharge just because

it didn't take long at all to get to the Estacion Sants
and it wasn't too confusing
we got our reservations
figuring out where we were gonna
go
- ' Leo... where are we gonna go? '
i pointed to the half-way point on the map and told him to pick a city
he picked Burgos... coz he'd heard it was interesting

train leaving at 12:30.. arriving at 21:04
oh boy
a full day on the train
... through Spain...

he got some coffee
i changed some money
$ is 1.29 for a €
ugh

and we went down to get on the train

the train was about 23 cars long
maybe longer
we were in car 22
there's a dining car after
then another tourist class car

our reservations put us side by side in the aisle
a balding woman on my left by the window
she kept the curtains closed

most of the car was empty
so i got up to sit by a window on the right side of the train (north)
Leo was sitting next to a cute bearish gay boy
so he chatted and got to look through a National Geographic... with pictures of Burgos!

the city passed by
and i got out my iPod and played the little playlist i had created on the Ferry

namely
Barcelona - Rufus Wainwright
Song for Lorca - Apostle of Hustle
Jane Says - Jane's Addiction (nothing's shocking, xxx, and kettle whistle versions)

it was a meditation on my past:

in indiana
in my desperation
i would say
"let's go to spain"
when asked what to do with the day

the idea of
kicking a habit
(that would never be kicked)
saving money to go live in your dreams
always starting to live your dreams tomorrow

that's what indiana felt like..

i swore i'd never come to spain for a small trip
so i'm here with Leo and month
two weeks on my own
then another week with Joshua

i'm finally in spain

spain rolls by

Barcelona rolls by
the different layers of the city
Rufus Wainwright says
"even if that straw
i pull
and i have to fight
that bull
Nothing really does Compare
to...
Barcelona.."

here i am
fighting that bull
and what does it matter?


a city so easy to be in love with
so beautiful
so many beautiful people
pleasant to walk around
sit around
do whatever

i'm happy i will come back and spend another week here.

out in the country side
the mountains
the landscape
everything's so green

spring here
green
the red dirt
the sharp mountains

and i notice out of my eye
the ocean on the left
yeah
we're going along the ocean!
so i switch to the left side of the train
and watch the forever liquid diamonds

the train rolls on

we wind up through old towns
i can't fotograph it all
and i'm tired
moon in last quarter
mercury almost stationary
i should be in bed for a few days

where are we going?

around 16:00
Leo and i go to the dining cart to get some sandwiches; red wine
a boy is in there
with long shaggy hair
a broken arm
full cast, even finger splint
other arm all bruised
his big doey eyes...

back pack made of cheap nylon, bright yellow and gray
he pulls out his wallet
same material
bright blue

he's wearing a black t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off
and worn jeans

he's trailer trash
he's an american youth!
but he's not..
he's spanish
he's looking at me
and i would walk over to that trailer park
Horseshoe Drive
just like i did to see Jason when i was 11
take off our clothes
sit naked under the blanket together
playing Nintendo in his closet
grabbing eachother, fondling eachother, smelling eachother
cuddling in bed
not talking about it
nothing's happening
here's that trailer trash kid
honey
what happened to you?
did you crash your bike?
did you get in a fight with your drunk dad again?
run away from home
sitting in the dining cart?

he buys a bottle of some conspicuous red drink
pours it in a glass with ice
sniffs the empty bottle
then puts it in his bag
holding the fabric with his teeth to zip the zipper

what are you going to do?

Leo and i chat
eat our crispy bred sandwiches of egg and potato
variations on ham

then sit back down
watch Spain roll by

i say it
"España"
just to hear it
to mean it
to be it

here i am

going through

we stop in a small town
Castejón
and the train separates
the front half pulls off
leaving for San Sebastian
and France
we two will go on
breaking once again later
our half to Salamanca, the other to Bilbao

i walk around taking pictures of the other passengers
the light of the setting sun
the wires in the sky
the bull-dog businessmen and security guards
who tell me i have to put my camera away

and now the sun is setting
so i get out my computer
and write about what's happened.

------------------------------/

standing on the platform at Logroño
a stocky man with a thick dark mustache watches the train
he's got those crutches that have supports at the elbows
he stands akimbo
breathing heavily
his chest heaving
the sky nearly darkened to black behind him

------------------------/

we arrived into Burgos a half hour behind schedule
and knew absolutely nothing of the town
so
got our reservations for tomorrow's train (leave at 12:13)
and asked where the hotels were

[in spanish]
walk out front, take a right, there are many.

so we did

the rain had stopped
but the late spring had regressed back to early spring
up in these mountains
where ever we were
it was cold!

we walked along a boulevard
many cars still out
the bright lights of expensive hotels
-- this is a stop along the Camino Real to Compostela
= Tourism.

i get a gut feeling
and suggest we turn down a sleepy street

there are some bars
and lots of nothing
one block
and Leo thinks we may have hit a dead end
i cross the street
and see a Hostal on the next block
so on we walk
.. it looks like it's in a combination office/residential building
door's open
but the elevator is too small for both of us to fit with all of our stuff
so i ride up first
and knock on the door labeled "Hostal"

a nice woman answers the door
could be my mother...
she's someone's mother
yes
there is one of her kids
-- she speaks no english
but welcomes me in
gives me the keys
shows me the room
€33 for both of us for one night.

Alright.

i go back out and let Leo in
he pays; gives her his passport
her children think he is Papa Noel
indeed.

we unload our stuff
and head out into the city to find food

it's cold

it's 22hrs
we're tired
and
under dressed

the city is under construction
where do we go?

i suggest we walk towards the cathedral
figuring there will be some tourist restaurant still open

and i'm right
there's one
and some pub food.

we walk through the midaevil gate
beautiful
opening into the court yard with the dominating cathedral and palace
cloister?
what is this?
i'm very excited
this place is beautiful...
but we're hungry
we look at a tourist restaurant
but it's empty..
though it looks like it's still open
... Leo wanted to check out another one we saw around the corner walking up
so we walk back around
and it's actually the same place
odd..

the woman welcome's us
then ushers us down stairs
through a hall
another room
table strewn with old wine
through another small hallway
a few more stairs
into the empty room we saw from the other side a few minutes ago.

OK.

we order the Meat Tourist Menu

though they advertise that they speak english and german
neither the hostess nor our waiter speaks english

he shows us the menu
and we pretty much pick things arbitrarily
though Leo is pretty sure that "Cordero" is some sort of lamb..

the other option
we got from comparing menus
was actually "baby suckling pig"
-- we've had enough pork.

so the first course is chorizo and some blood sausage stuffed with rice

interesting.

some wine.

then bread/sausage/egg soup
soft boiled egg, poached in the soup

very good

then the meal comes out
and it looks to me like poultry
turkey?
duck?

hard crispy skin
Leo is sure it's some sort of lamb
but the meat is white
and it could be turkey..
but has a gamey end-taste

what is Cordero?

is it duck?
look at all the fat?

but it's strange

i eat
laughing..

What is this?

" it's good: eat it "
Leo says

we ask the waiter
but he cannot explain

so he sends out the owner
who
to me
looks Mafioso
slicked back hair
glasses
suit and tie
short and stocky
big smile
patient manner

he explains it's a regional dish
: baby milk-fed lamb

wow.

the meat is still white coz it's never eaten anything.

good.

then they finish the meal with fresh cheese.

though the place was empty when we got there
two more tables fill up as we're eating
.. i guess we were just early

but it makes it annoying
we have that typical american trouble of wanting to leave when we're done eating
which in europe and Latin countries
just doesn't happen

... you just sit there a long time chatting
Leo and i are tired
and want to see a bit of the city...

impatient
but we get the bill eventually
pay it
and walk

the cathedral formidable
what is/was this place?

it's cold
it's too cold
so we head back along the opposite side of the river
(river running through town, we're staying on the other side of it.. there are grassy banks along side of it accessible occasionally through the rock walls:
cruising heaven in warm weather... even Spartacus says so... but it's obvious to our eyes )
along the walk
i notice the one bar listed as gay friendly
and we walk in

a local band has just finished
this place is the hipster hang out
everyone's wearing horizontal stripes
and a few queers are apparent
the owner?

he's a small framed guy
with a big belly

men who look like that
wear their bellies like an accessory
it doesn't blend into their visage
it's something that sticks out
makes you have to notice their body
their sensuality
like a fucking codpiece...

Leo gets a wine
i get some herbal liquor i've never tried before

we sit and drink and talk and watch and listen
but yes
we're tired
so we walk home

Leo opens the box of wine he bought earlier today
(eesh)
and drinks

i plug all my things in
charge my lap top
ipod
camera

cuddle with Leo for a while
burn one of my bees wax candles that i made in NYC

this place is so homey

we fall asleep sometime after 1.
 
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