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Vertical Prose


April 20th, 2006

20.4. Thursday. Moving to Venice @ 11:23 pm


it felt very late
but it was earlier than yesterday

and jeff was gone.

i knew we were leaving today
so i just threw myself into getting out the door
down to have breakfast

but i looked at everything
and didn't want it
and Jeff wasn't there.

i had orange juice
and cocoa with grain-coffee...

jeff showed up for the room key

and off he went.

the morning
what to say?

it was beautifully sunny
warm

nice
looking out the terrace

but not really great.

Jeff and i talked about yesterday
about how pressured he felt
and now what should we do?
where should we go?
what do we want?

i expressed how i didn't understand how he wanted anything
much less
even believed hew knew what he wanted
but instead
was making emotional choices
that changed every hour
and how were we to make plans on that?

we have to be what we are
where we are
it's good to say how you feel

and i have to understand
this is not to make a future out of
just stay in the present.

Right.

so Jeff went off to try and contact the apartment lady to sort out the meeting her
and the water taxi

and i listened to some stereolab (music therapy)
while sorting through some things that could be thrown away
maps and other un-needed things gathered on the trip
put my clean laundry away
packed my bags

it was time to go
eManual drove us to the dock
where we needed wait only five minutes for the boat into Venice.

got there early
so our taxi wasn't there

we sat at a little restaurant
and ordered Calzoni de casa
ham and brie, egg and tomato sauce... and mushrooms
damn...
the taxi pulled up before it was ready
so jeff paid and rushed them
then the taxi said he'd run off to Morano
he'd be right back

so we sat to eat

when the calzoni came out
they were HUGE!
with big gobs of tomato sauce on top

we were shocked!
having just discussed how all the portions were much smaller than we're used to so far
this was a shock..

of course
it was mostly air
but they were still great
we finished them just in time for the taxi

and it was a nice ride
under some bridges
see Venice from the water

i wonder what it would be like to move around this town mostly on water?
a totally different city.

the invisible city inside the venice that i'm in
how do i get there?

i keep noticing
when i wander the town
with no goal in mind
or very little
not looking at the map
just walking
i turn down streets that attract me
and they end at water: no where to go on these feet..

when i walk along side the canals
i want my feet to move like roller-blading
but i want to be on the water
i want to walk on the water
pushing myself through it...

grace and ease
gliding over the blue..

but back to the taxi:
we arrived just outside the Santa Marina square
and it was only a minute or so before the woman met us
what'd she say? i forgot
she led us around the palazzo
into a street behind it
great: even quieter.

the other guest had just left

she left her russian cigarettes on the table
rotten stuff in the fridge
a whole bag of tampons!
thanks..

the place was a bit of a mess
but clean
clear lines
bright colours
looking nice/new/cheap

great

she gave us two sets of keys
saying we could stay til sunday or monday if we needed
though we suspect we'll be heading to Greece on a ferry by noon on sunday.

we opened all the windows
which look out on the street

sunlight
and warm clear air filled the rooms

we unwound a bit
and wondered what to do..

internet first
then the beach... the Lido..

but jeff had to lay down: he didn't sleep well last night
even i had very busy dreams
being hounded by X again
pushing me somehow about facing up to shit about my life that i don't want to agree upon
and my old friend Matt from Newcastle yelling at me about how i was a slut
and didn't make love with women the way they deserved:
Katie told him what sex was like with me
(she was my "girl friend" back in 1996)
i was shocked and pissed off he'd even bring that up
as if it had any bearing on who i was now
but how do we relate?

Martin was there... or he turned into Martin (from Bern)
but there was something about his dad
staying in his house
a basement
an attic
a house that flew apart
different worlds
it was tiring...

but i couldn't nap
i read chapter 4 of Death in Venice
which still drove me nuts and bored the hell out of me
but now i'm here
and
a few sentences jumped out at me as meaningful:

p.340
"He was more beautiful than any words could say, and Aschenbach painfully felt, as so often before, that language can only praise, but not reproduce, the beauty that appeals to the senses."

p.339
"For people love and honor someone so long as they cannot judge him, and yearning is a product of defective knowledge."

but i was dozing off while reading...
so i got up to roll a cigarette
and eat some chocolate.

shortly after this
Jeff was ready to go
so we headed out
just as the cleaning lady appeared.

i found a direct route to the internet place
by accident
but it was perfect: past the church we sat on the steps of yesterday
this is the way i tried to find yesterday..
found it now.

nothing back from the ferry people
nor the hotels
we put out notices to book two others
but now it looks like we're going to Patras
so we sent another letter to the Ferry people

we'll see how it all works out.

meanwhile

my friend from NYC told me to stay out of Mykonos all together
saying it was all expensive loud gay disco shit
and that i should go to Naxos

where as my friend from Amsterdam
told me lots of very remote nice places to stay on Mykonos...

umm

we went back out
thinking to find a place to rent DVDs from..
kinda on a lark: Jeff thought it would be nice to watch a movie

but we got lost
i kept thinking i knew where we were going:
that irish pub we had a drink at yesterday: there was one right by there..
but i couldn't find it
i just circled round and around...

dead ends
and tourist flocks
and construction
not where we wanted to go
and everything was closing for siesta anyway
and though we were hungry
everything looked gross and touristy..
so we headed back to the apartment
i let Jeff go up first
and i went to look for water..

the little grocery by our place wouldn't open for another 15 minutes
but i figured i'd rather shop from them
than take just as long to find another
and have to lug the water back...

so i walked down an alley i had made the mistake of going down earlier
dead end
but this time i wanted that:
road ending in water
a big boat was there now
a construction boat
filled with bricks and mortar
but this canal was a main intersection
back-canals
opening to a larger one
that led to the central Grand Canal

i stood there about twenty minutes
watching the various boats go by

mostly gondolas
and the beautiful gondoliers
the tourists
looking bored
vaguely confused
or just off in reveries
sometimes noticing me
in my stripped red shirt
smiling or laughing at me
the gondoliers
calling out to eachother around the corners
then singing little songs
making jokes
kicking off the walls
paddling through

some so hot...

and other boats
other construction boats
personal private boats
with out-board motors
loud and smells and spitting out water

taxis
fancy and fast
big waves
... try and keep it down in here..

the moss/algae on the steps
why does the water level fluctuate so much here?
is there a regular flood season?

about time
i walked back
and bought some water
yogurt
fresh ricotta
and butter

no bread right now...
but chocolate and beer
that's good for now.

back up at the apartment
the maid had just left
jeff was happy at my hunter/gather spoils
but he was staying to nap

we cuddled for a bit
but i felt like i really needed to be going if i wanted to go to the beach

and i did
i wanted to lay naked in the sun
i wanted to mold the sand under me
be hot and sweaty
jump in the cold ocean..

jeff reminded me how polluted the water was
and how it wouldn't be much different down there...
but the nude beach, so says spartacus, is at the bottom of the Lido
that's about 8kms away...
and cruising in the dunes, cruising in the forest...

jeff and i are monogamous for the next two weeks, right?
why even tempt myself?
why decide on something and not do it?
why even?

i didn't know
but i wanted to go..

but i felt i wanted him to have my cell phone number first
-- i spent about 15 minutes fucking with the phones
trying to figure out why i could call him
but he couldn't call me

i gave up
and went out.

walked to the rialto
and down the canal
to catch a #1
-- it took about 25 minutes to get around to Saint Mark's Square
the boat was packed
and looking at the city as we slowly gurrgled by
i was struck dumb with thoughts:
why was this city built?
it's like a dare..
how strange
how difficult
how amazing
the things humans do
can do
could do...

what are we doing now?

the white stone, with black out of the windows:
did that place burn?

what is all the history of this place?
what was it once like?
does anyone remember?
or has it all been lost in the fog of tourism?

amazing..

these museums
basilicas
churches..
even in this land of floating merchants: churches
keep it all afloat
this place is crazy..

and we headed away
and over to the Lido

it didn't take me long to figure out which bus to take
and i was on my way south
to Alberoni

this island is so different
it's suburban
lots of cars
straight streets that go on forever
gated little mansions
apartment houses
ugh.

i got off in the town
but i guess that was too early
i couldn't figure out how to walk to the beach..
i got lost in the golf course for a while
recalling child-hood traumas
i found my way out
and back over a canal
to wander down roads
smaller quieter roads
the opening to the beach and nature preserve..

i walked through the forest for a while
quiet
some trash
wads of tissue paper..

is that someone taking a shit in the forest
or wiping off cum?

it's hard to tell
i see no evidence
the brown lumps
or used condoms.

but when i break through the green into the dunes
i'm instantly reminded of Sauvie's Island in Oregon..
which i heard has been shut down... at least partially
but when i went there
such wonderful dune areas to walk through
and nice forests
it was perfect:
i was spoiled in my youth..
but weren't we all...?

is everything based on entropy?
things get shittier and shittier with each day
our happy memories nourish us through the dimming future
and we gain compassion with our years
and hone our ability to forgive
as we become softer?

will there come a generation where despondence is the norm
as nothing anymore will bring joy?
or will they just become more and more attuned to subtler joys?

this beach is sad, though
when i get there
it's dirty
it smells bad
it's mostly shells...
there's trash Everywhere

and no people.

aparently
they created a harbor area here
and
over time
the beach formed itself...

so it's not all that great
the dunes are wild and blowing into the trees
walking around..

i just wander along the water's edge
letting it lap up my legs
carrying my useless bag of towel and water bottle
sandals in the other hand

i take off my protection choker
just to feel the adriatic sea

i think about Robert
and how much he loved me...
to give me that rock he brought back
from the Adriatic sea...
Robert: my feet are in its waters now..
and i'm sorry..

i'm sorry i couldn't let you love me for no virtues of my own
i'm sorry i couldn't NOT assert myself
not make you have to respect me for who i was
or who i thought i was
or who i wanted to be
or who i desperately didn't want to be
and didn't know how to let go of
i'm sorry i couldn't just be a reflection of your love for me
and i'm sorry that wasn't the right answer
because when i tried it
the world took me away from you
and i love you
and i will always love you and always thank you for loving me
and i will always be sorry until you forgive me.
then maybe we can be friends again..

if i'm ever friends with anyone ever again.



this beach is depressing

and i'm getting far along it now
feeling like i might be heading back north now?
not sure
but it looks ugly up there
ugly here
but uglier there
construction..
and what are all these buildings?
they all look abandoned
terrible 1970's constructions
now empty and forgotten..

is it possible?

i walk up..
at least i could get to the road from here...
but no
no
locked gates
some church thing
and winding paths back into the dunes
the dunes
walking dunes
nothing to hold them together
they crash into the bamboo
and what are those trees?
tall trees
twice as tall as me
dunes up to the top of them
pressing into their branches..

in this crevice
beneath the bamboo
tons of mugwort growing
i pick some for smoking later
maybe tea
thanks guys...
i just happen to have a brown paper bag on me...

i walk along
looking for a way out
walking back from where i just came..

but i find a road
and by this time
i'm all turned around
a little panicked
sad
in all kindsa ways...

but then i find myself back on the west side of the island
oh
near where the busses come
Oh

the sun is setting over the Venician bay
that low orange
the calm water

how nice..

but i must run for the bus
(oh, it's out of service)
my legs hurt all over

i wait in front of the church thing
which was the farthest i walked up on the beach
-- i was all turned around.

the bus comes
and i'm glad to be heading back
some security
i felt so shifty and lost out there..

back in town
i wander around looking for some food: i'm famished
the only thing i've eaten today was that calzone...

so i get some gelato
tiramisu and chocolate
a kick to get me through the day

i take a boat going the opposite way
so i come round the other side of the island
near where i got off today with my luggage
but now i'm unencumbered.. mostly..
the sun has set
i'm singing "Shipbuilding" to myself
all these docks
old boats
it's easy to work my way through town
-- i think i'm getting the hang of this
back to the apartment
where jeff is waiting

right
time to go out to dinner

but i'm so tired!
one second

yes:
dinner.

good to check the internet first?

but it's closed...

so we wander around
aimlessly
hoping we'll find something nice

look at a few places
but what does Jeff decide on
a tourist trap pizza place run by Chinese..

and i'm not racist
don't mean to be
but i WAS brought up that way
but why eat
in venice
at a chinese-knock-off italian food restaurant?

do you get me?

the chinese can imitate everything
because they've had to
so they've learned how to
to survive

but it's never GOOD
it's usually OK
but actually not really
has no life:
just a pale imitation.

china's great.
china is interesting.
it's China.
great to be Chinese...
though it's not really as Chinese as it used to be
what
with that cultural revolution crap
that communist bleaching that has happened
but what needs to be said about that?

we're eating in a tourist trap.

i'm confused about this.

Jeff is a Chef.
i'm sure that he loves food
he's got a big round belly.
so i assumed he had great taste in food
but more and more
it seems he doesn't care what he puts in his mouth
like he has no taste at all
in typical american fashion
like it's not what the food is like at all
but more the presentation

he expresses that
basically
saying that
unless we're going to pay €30 a plate
he doesn't really expect it to be good
so may as well eat anywhere..

not having any concept that there are better and worse places to eat

well
whatever
the music is "take my breath away"
and "almost heaven"
and it's on a loop.

the food isn't great. it's OK
it's filling. but not satisfying.
the music is on a loop
once was OK
"but it isn't funny
when you say it again"

i get up from the table and leave
-- it's taking my breath away.

sucking the life out of me.


we get lost in the streets
i'm still vaguely looking for that DVD place

but we end up at St. Mark's
well
look at that.

no pigeons.

but chinese guys selling flowers

i grab jeff like we're tangoing
like we're slow dancing in love
-- they flower hawker might have just ignored us as two guys
but when he sees we're fags
there is a potential for romance

i tell him we're just kidding around
and don't want his flowers

Jeff laughs at something
what?
girls doing cartwheels

i tell him i can do that too
so i do!

it's fun
and we walk to the water

i read this was a cruising area
and i can see it...

the quiet furtive glances
plethora of dark corners
places to hide
right here
with all the tourists walking by
... yeah: not as many

Jeff takes my hand
wraps his arm around my shoulder
it's nice
it doesn't fit, though...

and across the water there is st. George's Basilica
beautiful
yeah
beautiful

there's tons of construction here
a big sign and chart showing what they're doing:
over 250 times a year
st. mark's square is invaded by water
really?
flooded?

because venice is sinking
and the tides are rising

Oh, yeah
Tides.

they're setting up pump systems to keep the water out...

"but when the levee breaks
mama you gotta leave..."

we walk
we walk
along
with all the people
and i see a small street
and run off into it

Calle Fresca...

but it's not about the heat
it's night now
about 22:30
what is it?

in the alley
i can feel my shoulders relaxing: so tense
my head-ache dissipating:
where'd that come from?

being among all the tourists makes me feel terrible
it always does
but i'm so thankful that Venice has done such a good job at retaining wholesome empty calm quiet streets
... for some reason the big tourist flows don't spill into them much.

we wander around
kinda lost
i pull out a map
and draw a line
oh yes
just straighten this one crick i've made
and... Ta-da.
we walk a straight line home
how funny is that?
so easy.

to be lost
and when i decide to be found
it's simple.
always is
(when i've got a map)

back at the apartment
i grab my computer
and leave instantly
telling Jeff i'll be back in a moment...
i'm just looking for a connection...

i find one signal
but it's locked

i go to the water side
where i would LIKE to sit and be on line for a while
right by the water..
but no signal..
i walk around
turn down a small street
no: but nice face on the wall..

down another
a little square
and
near that alley i watched the boats today
Boom: there's one
yeah
where exactly
... exactly..
i find the best place to sit
and have a signal

go through the pages i have left open
respond to messages
save and organize data

little things

no planning
just shuffling

some hellos..

hello hello

i sit there
and use up the battery

many people walking by
various states of competence and drunkery
down the wrong alley
back again
where to rialto?
answering directions
giving lights to cigarettes

when the battery has died
i've had some conversations
and seen some videos
i'm a little turned on
i get this idea

i walk down to where i watched the boats
now all dark
can see the lights of the grand canal down there
i pull out my cock
and want to do a little ritual
making love with the city
cuming in the canal
give so i can receive.

it takes a while

i'm nervous

gotta find the kink to turn myself on
i like the feeling
but i'm not hard
not gestating...

what is it?
it's the pumping
it's the flowing

oh yeah
i open my mobile phone
and watch the snippet i put on there of the turkish guy fucking
pumping pumping
a flow
a rocking
that's all it takes
that little minute of video
and i'm hard and ready
i put my hand on the old wall
and feel the city
become whole in it
of it
with it
thank it
and shoot quite a few big globs into the canal
disappearing into the dark night water...

look
the tide has risen
more steps are covered:
that's why the algae grows so well...


Thank you, city.


i walk home
just around the bend.

Jeff has left the lights on
turned down my bed
put an extra comforter on the bed
because i told him i slept in my long underwear last night
that i was cold last night

Jeff is so fucking sweet
he wants to be
i want to be with him
it feels all strange though
i mean not real
like that, yeah
i don't know what to do with it.

it's what i have all the time with it
the aries thing
"my fake plastic love
... it wears me out"

i just don't know how it's real
or how i'm real in it
and it would be great
except it's not it

and whenever it's just me alone
i can imagine it
and it all feels right and seems right
but whenever it's actually happening
it's obvious:
it's just not IT
it's not real
it's not really happening.

(you bet your life it is?)
[where is my life?]

so what do i want to do?
think about the future...

should i just go to turkey now?
just go now?
just go to greece with Jeff
leave him to be alone on the island himself for a week
go to Istanbul sooner
..

am i going to London for the Radiohead show?
am i going to Israel with Yacov?
am i going to see Nayland in London?

a whole month
elsewhere..

and then what?
Norway?

when germany?
when more prague?
why not more spain?
spain forever?

something to forget about
to move through so quickly..

"...a place to be..."

i don't know
at this hour
the only thing i can be sure of
is i need to sleep.
 
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