chasing one little baby tick of unblackened weed around the rim of the pipe, warm in my bone-cold fingers: cold white light and me here on this dingy old velvet couch listening to the boys in AIDS’s bedroom pretending it’s a real gym. they listen to eminem a little too much, but i won’t givem shit for it.
genezareth and hannah are considering busking on a corner on weekends; seabass was turned down for a resto job due to his lack of a work visa; bethany was selling Christmas cards for a euro apiece; i was considering selling knit caps, AIDS and I have discussed becoming regional camgirls.
we are sort of brutally poor, but we do our bestish. combat creeping depression with routines and rituals: open the shutters every morning and close them up every night, go for hikes, go for runs, do pullups and pushups and abs, chat together in the sparsely-furnished kitchen all squattin on buckets and low stools on the ground. we are all in balls deep for bernie sanders.
written fall-winter 2015. entry 1 of a series.
A bus ride in Spain is just a bus ride. It’s not one of those hard throttling things barely keeping tires to the tracks through some muggy snake-infested jungle. You’re not fearing for your life every second. You know how the other worries tend to slip away when you’re afraid for your life? I find that soothing. Let’s do more of that.
Because a bus ride in Spain rolls from prim little pueblo to industrial complex-lookin little pueblo past little dump camp to same little pueblo again — and you’re panicked because you must have missed your stop and stayed on the bus all the way through its route but then you realize oh, no,
these towns are just one and the same.
The same baked brown and mucusy white like sins of the internal body smeared out on burning pavement. The whole place is a goddamn effigy in creamy neutrals, you can taste the virgin blood in the air but you musn’t speak of it. The grizzled little brown man that hangs out in the park speaks of it, y con ese no se habla.
Vaya, España: so much sun like a torch up my asshole. Searing. Such brutal and determined gazing: the blunt-eyed glare of a true and thorough Spaniard. The look of the town might once have been lovely but the dictator snuck in and graffitied the place with his budget cuts. you know what they say, no peace beneath the pomegranates.
Spain is the place the tourists come to hack off their jeans and undo their shirts another button. Spain is the last place you will ever be late. Spain is the sun when you really don’t want it though the natives are all walking round in scarves and jackets. Spain is dry sugar cane stock and agave and olive trees. The raw olives bleed red like cherries. Do not eat raw.
then the city oranges — at best those are naranjas pa’zumo, at worst they’re solid blocks of dry rancid sour mesh, thickly diseased. we no eat that. learned the hard way, as children and outsiders do.
rather eat the prickly pears. the kakis (a ripe kaki is like a swollen alien breast, savor the meat.) got lots o’ juniper, you like gin? well let’s make some. that’s why I’m here, anyway. a proper guiri is always wasted, and just look at me wasting away.
face streaked with black and the bus people are
either fearful or concerned. nothing
about you is what they would call normal. though at
home you’re just another bland fat kid in a
jersey sweater, here you are something exotic (if
by exotic you mean to imply an irksome foreign
terror threat in flannel visibly stoned at seven-thirty
in the morning unable to keep its paint-stained fingers
off a pen.) ‘You do it well,’ they tell you, and you say
oh! it’s a compulsion!
but it’s eight and you’re late again and you’re wondering
why this goddamned bus is so
painfully slow, time is a physical pressure on your
spinal column that gets worse in the cold, the bus
folks likely can’t relate. it’s almost their naptime already.
(a leer con accento de guiri)
cuántos agujeros hacen falta para llenar a una persona?
hay que hacer un solicitud formal?
se necesita DNI?
si no tiene corazón, todavía está aplicable?
y si tiene dos?
cuál es el dosis correcta de sufrimiento?
hay que tomarlo dos veces por día, o solo una?
y si no lo puedo tomar cada 12 horas exactamente
(es que tengo muchas quehaceres)
cuáles pasos puedo seguir para asegurar
que no sobrevivo?
me puedes pegar?
me puedes cagar encima?
no tengo DNI pero tengo NIE.
cuanto tiempo hace falta el procedimiento del solicitud?
se puede hacer dos a la vez?
necesito mi certificado de nacimiento original
o sólo una copia?
es una problema si quiero quedarme?
ya lo sé. eventualmente sería.
picture it: this inconveniently-placed manhole
in an alleyway crisscrossed with
stringings of laundry. it’s an okay city
with good folks and bad folks,
old men grunting, old women
slinging wet clothes, kind of bored, but
their gripes are more barks than complaints.
the young ones are out
uncertain and strutting, fumbling with
their phones and their unanswered
garbage and urine and
stray cats here and there
and stray people. in the end you see
it’s all the same.