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Vertical Prose


April 25th, 2006

25.4. Tuesaday. Onward to Zakynthos. @ 11:23 pm


strange dream
what was it?
the house was burning down
i was trying to collect all the pieces of my computer
and all my other stuff
all the stuff i'd need...
i didn't want to carry it all
why wasn't anyone else freaking out about this?
Arthur walks into the room
and he's got a split in his nose
the same place i did last year, right on the bridge: bleeding
he's very groggy
like he's very drunk
but i think it's pills
he's taken a lot of drugs or something
and i've got to get him and my stuff out of the house before it burns down
there's an earthquake

i don't know what happens
i wake up
uneasy

shortly after
Jeff wakes
and i tell him the dream
"oh, that's very positive: transformation..."
yeah
transformation
very positive
hmmm

we pull ourselves together
he gets up first
i try to hide in bed
but don't want to fall asleep again
don't want to go back into that dream
and dreams linger in beds...

but Jeff is ready to go
so i throw my clothes on
and we head downstairs for breakfast

a selection of meats, cheese
breads, croissants
coffee?
jams and yogurt
hmm
greek yogurt!
i love it: so THICK

but the bread is stale
it's the off season
they have to use up what they have...

Jeff brings up his time in Thailand, in Phuket
he went there soon after the Tsunami hit
and the main town was wiped out
but just down the beach the other towns were fine
he stayed in a beautiful big hotel
they gave him the presidential suite... for something like $80 a night
but all the food at the hotel was stale..
many of the people working there weren't getting paid at ALL
but they could eat the stale food
and so could he: coz that's all they had...

ugh
so we leave breakfast
and i head back to the room to... drop something off

then we head out to the travel agent
-- we're both expecting the travel agent to be able to answer all of our questions
line up a perfect place to stay on an island near here
book us our travel back to Athens
and get us a room there too
we've researched a few things on the the internet
but didn't really find what we wanted
at this point
we'd be fine on Zante or Ithaca
a small quiet island
pretty
a small house on the beach, you know?

it'll be so easy:
we'll just have them do it for us
and they must know everything, right?

there a thousand travel agents in this town
and we've been recommended to this one..

but we walk in
and there are only two ladies
one is busy
the other just hangs out in the back..
hello?

we walk up to the silent one
she asks if she can be of help

it because quickly clear that she can't.

she doesn't really know anything
and what she does know
she doesn't really offer to do anything about
book us rooms or anything
she'd give us numbers
but says we should do it ourselves

What?

says she can't help us with the island
but tells us how to get there, we have to walk to another agent down the road to get tickets
and when we get to the island there will be a tourist info booth there that can arrange for a place for us to stay

well. Ok.

we walk down there
the busses leave frequently
about an hour and a half to a Ferry
then an hour to Zakinthos
ok.
€11 each.
wow. ok.

the next bus leaves too quickly for us to catch it
the one after is 13:45
cool

we head back to the room
and buy time for the internet there to research places we might like to stay on the island
book a room for ourselves in Athens

we just want a little bungalow on the island
down by the beach
out of the tourist fray

Jeff wants to check some stuff
so i decide to go out to walk through Patras
might as well see it, right?
and i want to buy more psyllium from a farmacy
and i want to take a picture of the door where that man took me last night

so i head out walking
and am surprised at how far away that door was
but it's not really a long walk
not pretty..

i remember there was a church-thing i saw at night
so i continue in that direction to go find it

and see a girl with bright red hair and skirt
on a bike nearly 3 meters high.
hmmm

behind her
a boy in a three-wheel bike-mobile smiles at me; he's trailing a cello on a trailer

and just down the street
is the Church

hmmm
a Greek church
all icons everywhere
a beautiful wooden carved chandelier thing hanging in the middle
the paintings everywhere
beautiful...

people stare at me in an odd way
not just looking like a Jesus here
but like a Monk
my long hair and beard
i brush through things
photographing a bit
and stepping out of there quick
heading back down one of the deeper-streets of the town
looking for farmacies...

and i'm not seeing them

i'm shocked
they're usually everywhere..

i walk and walk
large mountain behind the town
what a mess...
why is this big city such a mess?
did it get too big for its britches?
cracked at the seams?

there are a million auto-parts stores
everything smells like cars

i walk back, further in
often having to walk in the street: no sidewalk

but i come to a more commercial friendly place
stupid any-where shops
and
yes
eventually
farmacies
a few

the same green cross as in spain
but here
with a snake in a cup in the middle
Hermes?

i walk in and show them the bag with the psyllium
"sorry, we don't have that... we used to... but we don't anymore"

ok.

i walk out of there
and am striding along side a greek fisherman..
he's wearing one of those hats!
his face is deep lined
he's dressed all in blue
and walks with a cane

why can't we all be in love?
i would like to know everything..

i walk slowly
looking around
kinda following him
-- he leads me to a town-square
nice little fountain-y thing with lions and girls and stuff

another farmacie

and still no psyllium
but a strange compound of another variety of pantago mixed with senna leaf and other plant oils
ummmm
this is a scrubber and cleanser
but OK
hopefully it will work

i get that
and some eye-drops
as my eyes have been itchy and filled with crust for the last few mornings
using my own piss hasn't cleared them up
so i'll try to soothe and clean them ...

i walk from there
heading back to the hotel
now only needing water..

there's a park
beautiful green
fountains
nice men to look at everywhere

and past it
ruins of some older town
scaffolding
maybe they'll restore it?
though most everything here looks very new
what's the story?

unfortunately
i'm not interested enough to stay and find out

i buy big bottles of water from a newspaper stand...
this whole time i was looking for grocery stores and not finding them
i realized the news paper guys have little drink coolers
cool.

not far from the hotel
back there
Jeff is excited
he's found what he wants on line
but it's about €1600 a night
What?
WHAT?
he can get a deep discount from some company in pakistan
so i let him use Skype to call them
but they only do business over the email
Oh, of course.
(what?)

we email them
and i sit to sort through some shit..
post five days that i had finished polishing off (well, hacking out)
the first five days of April
and by this time
Jeff has left
checked out
walked to the bus station
worried he'll be late

so i throw my things together
and go to meet him there
arriving just after he's bought the tickets.

we put our stuff on/in the buss
and walk around looking for food

mmmmmmmmediocre

back on the buss
we eat our turkey sandwiches
on stale bread
as the bus pulls out of the city
along some beautiful coast
beautiful green hills
and mountains
and wild flowers
and small towns
and winding roads
beautiful sunny day
yes

i put my iPod on Jeff
let him listen to the playlist i made
and using the shuffle for myself
i listen to the Broken Social Scene album
i've not heard it in a while
and love it so...
while i listen
i'm reading emails
and writing..

then i get to my friend Sarah's email..

Jeff and Leaf both sent me forwards of some lady's statement as to why she'd quit HIV
-- she'd studied it for over 10 years
and came to believe that it just wasn't the True cause of AIDS... and wasn't even sure what AIDS was at this point
mwa mwa mwa
so i emailed Sarah
because i know she spent a few years actually working with the virus

she responded today
i got it before i left the hotel
reading it
i had to turn the shuffle off

her style of writing is so dense
yet playful
her life
a different caliber than mine..

when i would complain about american culture being empty and shallow
she would point out all the richness
when i would talk about having no ties to anywhere in America
she would tell me her family had been here for 300 years or something
-- a different world
a different blood
i often envied and pitied her
-- she's much more empirical than i, a taurus
works with reason mostly
but is intelligent enough to know it's not the only way
i loved her so...
i still love her
but didn't contact her the whole year i was in NYC
even though i knew she lived in Boston
because i was afraid
... our last few meetings she was so disdainful of me
so judgmental
like i was a dumb hick
and indeed
i feel like i am with her, now
reverted to the boy who came from a working-class family with pretensions of Class
who let them go
for exploring a life of attentive sensuality
a sensuality that can be communicated
intelligent sensuality!
faith-based.

i feel silly.
she's been hanging out with famous authors, politicians, theorists, composers.
helping arrange anti-war rallies
writings
research

... i've been seeing the world. giving massage. touching beautiful and being touched.

but such is life
we are who we are
or who we fight like hell to become

i'm not fighting so much right now.

-- in trying to respond to her letter
we arrived at the Ferry to Zakinthos

so i had to pause my writing
but continued in the lounge
while Jeff went walking about

buying icecream for both of us
obliviously choosing a non-sugar one
which he hates
and only notices
after he's opened it
and i point it out to him
so he throws it away

i sit and write as we move across the waters
looking at the greeks
the priest with his mother?
the friends
the big oily chubby guys

grease..

when Jeff comes back
i take a turn walking around the decks
which are mostly empty

but you know
it's all beautiful
the deep rich blue waters
the mountains everywhere
the sun

i lay in the sun
the wind and the sun
it feels good.

but we're almost there
so i go back down and watch as we pull into port

everyone else prepares to disembarque
we're looking at the town.

look at the town:
it spreads around this cove
it looks nice
put together
not all falling apart and dirty like where we just left

nice.

when we get off the boat
we wonder if we should walk to town (it's off a very long dock)
or take a taxi
Jeff stops and talks with police men
and frowns

what?

-- he says all the tourist offices are closed until May 1st.
says all the hotels are closed. says everything is closed.
we can go talk to the tourist police
but everything is closed.

oh?
hmmmm.

we get a taxi
a young whippersnapper who speaks pretty good english
he says
he knows places that are open
but he'll take us to the tourist police anyway
we get there
and the police say
"no, everything is closed, it's all closed until next week"

well thanks

the boy says
"what do you want?

i saw a travel agent down the road: let's go there

but they're closed...

it's 16:30!
it's not late
why is everything closed?

what the fuck?

he says
don't worry
what do you want
-- we'll just spend the night in town here
and try and find what we want tomorrow
OK

he takes us to his friend's hotel
the Hotel Phoenix.

fine.

we book in
€65 a night

but they don't have internet

so we look out our terrace
looking at a building, over the corner we can see the sea

we're a little deflated

we go out walking
walking through the town
along the shore-street
asking people where the internet cafe is
they all encourage us to keep walking.

we find one
but they will not allow me to plug my computer in
fine.
fine.

we pull up my email
and pakistan has not replied.

we look up the places jeff was interested in
they are very expensive
we look at a tourist map:
it looks like there are other options
but are any of them open yet?

i pull up a site on Zakinthos
it talks about how it was the Jewel of the East!
Venician Aristocrats would come live here
beautiful homes!
all so gorgeous!
the only out-post of western europe down here
-- and it was all destroyed in a series of huge earthquakes in 1053
only three buildings left standing
with no money
the aristocrats left
and the towns were rebuilt pragmatically: not beautifully

now we're feeling totally sad and hopeless

what more can we do?

maybe we could head to athens tomorrow?
or delphi?
i try and encourage Istanbul
thinking i've had just about enough of this...

but we go to get dinner.

we stop at the first tourist restaurant we come to
the owner walks up and reels us in

we sit
and get an assorted platter for two
cars rushing by..

but the owner is a sweet man
he speaks good english
he's talking about the island
assures us there is plenty open
and yes
what we want
should be no problem

he recommends a few places
and even offers to call them for us

the food is good
very good
we drink wine
i have ouzo

we're happier
it's alright.

we walk back to the hotel
and as jeff makes some calls
i plug in my computer to watch a DVD we bought in venice

but jeff can make the call
the phone is broken
or something

and the DVD won't play on my lap top because of the regional encoding
even my other players won't play it
and we find an ethernet plug
but we can't get online through it
just some corporate advertisement web page
and jeff is freaking out

yes
the sky is falling in...

he takes two clonipins
maybe he'll call me in the morning?

no no no

i offer an idea:
when i was in spain and everything was going wrong
just a few weeks ago!
i did sex rituals to open my heart
and with an open heart

everything i needed came to me

i suggest a ritual
but not sex
meditation

so we sit facing eachother on the bed
and i walk us through..:

inspired by writing my friend Mike in Columbus Ohio
and his response, longing for eye gazing with me
-- a little meditation/play i did with him while i visited last year
a remembrance of something i fell into quite a few times with Robert
and developed with Trevis
(ah, legacy)

we looked into eachother's eyes
and not just the eyes
but behind the eyes
inside the eyes
then we looked like that
not only with our eyes
but with our hearts
with our bellies
our root
projecting our perception INTO eachother
-- jeff's face quickly disappeared
all but his eyes
lost in a haze of colors

then open to the earth
feel it flow up
up into everything
then open to the sky
what you imagine
a god, or stars, or endless infinity through the galaxies forever
let it flow through

let the water flow through
the rain or the river or the waterfall
the lapping of the sea

let your heart spin
like a gyroscope
let it expand outward with light
flinging off that which is keeping it stuck
brightening
ligthening
let that happen in the root
in the head
let it all balance

share it with me

yes
we did that
for a while

then withdrew
"come back into yourself"

we lay next to eachother
holding eachother

he sayd
"let's research those hot springs tomorrow"
i said
"let's just be in our bodies right now
not just in our heads
and not in the future
and not in the past
let's be in our bodies

and so we were
like that
so in ourselves
and falling into sleep.
.
.
.


i woke in the night
he had taken my covers
as so often has happened with leo
and other creatures
i was cold
-- he had kicked his off to the floor
so i collected them for him
angry
but then remembered compassion
yes
again

and slept.
 
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