I wish I could find those cowboy boots. They were my favorite boots of all time. I wore them every day and they just got better and better, Spanish leather. Boots of Spanish Leather. What a great song. I’m sitting in front of a wild daisy patch and those are the Benimussa Hills and an olive tree. I can’t go back in time. Or can I? If I look at this picture long enough, I’m there with little Myshkin on that chair, rooted, planted, a transplanted soul. I can smell the rosemary and the wild sage on the hills, I can smell the earth and the sun and the sea, Memory! I am what I was, I’m what I was still, I’m still what I always have been.
Down at La Villa OlimpicaI never think twice about walking around Barcelona at night alone. But, as you can see, I really was alone. Ok, it’s November, it’s dark, it’s chilly. But where is everyone? Not here! This is not my favorite walk. Too much cement, but the perspective is so good you can see —no one at all! It’s eerie. It’s weird. It’s strange. It’s Thanksgiving. Where is everyone?
I can’t tweet. I’m not good at it. It doesn’t come naturally. That word tweet is for the birds!
It’s a luxury to live in Barcelona and have Greenfinches visit my Yankee Droll birdfeeder.
I imported my feeder from a big garden shop in a small village called Glenside in Pennsylvania. I love this place. The name sounds like a condom, but it’s a gardener’s dream.
Seems like pigeons pass on a parasite called Trichomonosis. Supposedly one in three Greenfinches die from this disease.
I’m advised to wash out the birdbath.
Those little grayish things on the right are little shells from the pipas (sunflower seeds) that pepper the colorful little seeds in the feeder. Greenfinches are crazy about pipas. Someone once told me: “Oh, no! Don’t give them pipas! It makes them fart!”
So, I really had to ask myself about this person’s advice. I mean…how did they know?
Off to work!
“I want to say without hesitation that the purpose of our life is happiness.”
I read the Dalai Lama’s words today before I left for the pool.
That’s my friend Helga, the lifeguard. She’s from Argentina, studying medicine here. She loves medicine, she thinks it’s “beautiful.” Helga and I schmooze after my swim. We agree that there are many problems in the world and that we all have problems, but that it’s better to cortar el rollo, move on, and be happy. Helga and I kiss goodbye.
I go take a very hot, very wonderful shower.
That’s my locker, the one on the end, on the bottom.
It’s quiet here on Sunday.
I went to hang up the wash tonight after my friend left. That job plus the helicopters droning, calmed me down. My friend came with bad news and it’s true, life is fragile, so I decided to post this story. I wish I had something really funny to post tonight, but this will have to do. I wouldn’t post it all because it was once rejected by a publisher here in Barcelona for being too racy, but of all the stories I’ve ever read to an audience, this is the one that got the biggest applause.
My son is standing in the kitchen on a wooden stool. He cuts a carrot for his hamster and in his high squeaky voice writes a Zenlike line in his bright blank book. “You don’t need to be tall to see things.”
I wrote poems long before my son was born. Now that I know him I realize he has always been my muse.
This is easy to understand.
His latest dream is about a world blanketed by snow. Snow on everything he says, trees, buildings, cars, streets, shops, buses, dogs, people—nothing moves, there is only silence, it’s a new planet, a new galuzy.
I tell him. You’re always having these New World dreams where some amazing and beautiful transformation takes place.
What do you dream, mommy?
At that particular moment, a frozen spitball was sitting in my gut.
I dream that I come back to life.
He gave me a look. Did you die?
When I stopped dreaming.
We are sitting side by side on the sofa facing the TV. I kiss the top of his head. I breathe the soapy smell in his soft hair. I close my eyes and make a wish: let time freeze this moment.
Mommy? Are you dreaming now?
That’s exactly what I’m doing. How did you know? Dreaming on the sofa. I open my eyes wide. It scares him.
Let’s make popcorn, mommy. And watch Roseanne in English. And stay up real late.
I look at him. He has grey shadows under his eyes. Too grey for a ten year old.
Nine o’clock lights out buddy.
That’s not fair.
What are you? An anarchist?
He has no idea what that word means. He inserts the videotape we have made of six Roseanne episodes. Darlene comes on the screen.
He wants to know what an ownarist is.
There’s one, I say, pointing to Darlene.
He returns gloomily to the sofa, I’m not a girl.
That night I smoked too many cigarettes and wrote a short story while my son dreamed he turned into a seal.
It’s obvious that this story was inspired by my son’s malapropisms and puns. “The Package” is about an absent-minded anarchist who gives up politics and gets a job as a motorcycle messenger. Everything is going along well until one day, someone steals the delivery box from the back of his bike. He curses in the street for a moment. “Me caigo en la leche, hijo de puta, cabron, gilipollas,” then he gets back on the bike and darts in and out of the heavy traffic going down Balmes. Before he crosses Pelayo, he stops off at the Heidelberg and has a beer at the bar. A few doors down, he picks up the two packages he has to deliver. He leaves one on the back of the bike while he makes his first stop. A foreign looking woman opens the door as an extraordinary, almost blinding attraction draws him to her. It’s not because this woman is beautiful, nor does she have supernatural powers, but he recognizes in her eyes the same wild lonely hunger that bores a hole in his chest every day. His ancient life looks back at him through the tunnels of her eyes. He doesn’t notice the aluminum crutch she leans on. For many years, this woman has been hoping some man would look at her like this and see her deep, powerful intelligence and true inner beauty. He is shorter than she is, but she believes in God. It is God who then sends her the thunderstorm. Rain is the perfect excuse to invite the man in. He accepts, ready for whatever will happen. They are both ready. They both want this other world, this fantasy, this dream, this eternal moment. They erase themselves in it. The woman erases her lame leg and the man erases his ridiculous job. The envelope he delivered to her remains unopened and the one he left on the back of his bike becomes splattered with rain. They begin on the floor and then they move to the bed. After the bed they try hanging off the edge of a table. Then they get up and sit in a chair and this is when the woman comes. Later, the man comes, standing up in the shower while guttural noises spit out of the woman’s throat and echo off the walls like goat noises. The rain, by now, has turned the package on the back of the bike into a soggy pulp. The illegible words running down the pages in the package were meant for the woman in the shower. It was a legal document informing her that the wealthy father she never knew she had, recently died and left her his money. The absent minded anarchist delivered the wrong package. However, a package in Spanish, a paquete, is also a man’s genitals. Considering the fact that the woman making goat noises in the shower is practically being consumed by the pleasure she is getting from the package she got, when seen in a broad, bi-lingual light, this story doesn’t necessarily end on an unhappy note.
Just to keep everything in perspective
on such a blue day…The Twin Towers
Hardly a soul
Back home from the port I smell winter.
Fertilizer blowing in the wind! Strong and sweet, earth’s dark chocolate, perfume trailing south. Gerona! The air’s coming from the north now. Down at the port I saw bare trees, felt peace. The city is full of change.
North air. Winter.Finally approaching. Almost here.
Does anyone know this man?
He was a friend in Ibiza in the seventies. I can’t find him anywhere on the internet. He inspired the character in my novel, Maggie Scratch, the man who washed his cup. He was from Madrid. His name was Javier de Muns and his sister was Sandra and she worked in TV. Below is the passage from the book… where he appears…and disappeared.
Before I started writing this book, a couple sat in my kitchen. The man was reading a National Geographic and the woman was drinking wine, they were in the process of separating. They are still in the process. Today, the man, tall, tan, and thinner than ever, came over for lunch. He says he can’t sleep, he can’t eat, he drank five cups of coffee and then he washed his cup. I ate his pâté. The woman who was drinking the wine is living with her children now. No, that’s not exactly true. She might be living with them, after she is released from the hospital. She ate forty Valium. The man who washed his cup says he loves this woman but he will not live with her children, he does not love her children, he does not even like them. From what I can gather, the feeling is mutual. But. He would like to have his own child someday. The father of the woman’s children never wanted to become a father, so, after their second child, he convinced the woman to have her tubes tied. This woman has to make a choice. It’s either her children or the man who washed his cup. If she leaves her children and lives with him, when he’s ready to have a child, he might leave her. The man who washed his cup says she ate the Valium because she can’t choose. She knows that if she chooses him, one day she might end up with nobody. The man who washed his cup has been traveling. He returned to the island to sell his car but he has no future plans other than to call the woman in the hospital tomorrow. Before he left, he picked up the cup he had washed and poured himself a beer. Before he drank it he said: “All the people I meet, everyone. We talk, we have a drink together. Nothing. I feel nothing from anyone. No one seems to know what they’re doing. They’re just doing it.”
Then he drank his beer and washed his cup.
Loop lives an unplugged life in the mountains. He’s at peace. He has peace. He has peace of mind. I think the whole world is Paris, but Loop doesn’t watch TV. Lucky for me, Maggie Scratch was on Amazon when Loop still had his computer plugged in.