Wednesday, April 25, 2007

au revoir

Yesterday I looked forward to my walk home from school. The fog was blanketing everything. Rain fell and I wandered through the green of neighborhoods listening to My Bloody Valentine and feeling sad but okay. There were pear trees in blossom with white flowers. The rain fell softly from the green buds of the trees. I just kept walking and holding my umbrella. My hands were cold. I didn't care. None of it mattered, how I felt. I just felt like walking so I did.

Over the steel and wire bridge the cars were louder then my music. And I felt more lost. My trip to Amsterdam was beautiful. It was so different than my home here. My home all wrapped up in fog and darkness.

Amsterdam was brilliant. Lit by the sun. I could smile everywhere, and bleary eyed I remember watching a young boy's birthday party with an exotic mix of individuals. He received a viking ship from a man who had nothing but tattoos on his arms. He had a white pup that would leap and jump. It would bark and playfully bite the arms of people who pet her. The white pup was loud. I wanted to pet it but I couldn't move and just sat on the soft grass. The people behind me were playing hacky sack, and Europeans, the Dutch, they were all undressing and sun-bathing on that Sunday. I just sat there, lied down, sat back up. I ate some ham and bread and just kept watching while my two friends watched with me. The trees were so green, and their leaves were just new; opening one week earlier after Spring was on its last leg.

There was a crane in the park that kept moving side to side searching for fish. I don't know what I was thinking. All I could do was watch that crane. A young boy threw up near the lake and then his father, white shocks of hair, moved across and scooped him up. They left. The boy and his father with the rest of his family.

We watched the crane. I drank some cold beers on the park bench and kept watching that bird. It could never find a fish. I wanted it to catch a fish. I wanted something to eat something else alive. So I would know that I was just like all those animals. We are all hungry. I drank more beer. We all can't find anything. This is pointless. I felt like a lump on the bench but the crane was so graceful. I wanted to eat it, consume its grace. And then walk with such precise and quiet steps. Arching my neck back to the sunlight, flying away to more parks, more lakes, more green.

Bleary eyed we went to the Van Gogh museum and looked at all the paintings. The work of a man who wanted to go back to his childhood. I saw a painting of the bluest sky, and it was thunderous and loud. I stood there staring and felt peaceful. I wanted to take it. I had these desires to simply have whatever it was in front of me. And so I pictured myself taking it and looking at the painting over and over again in my room. In my room in Oslo. Where all the people were absent. The painting of such a blue sky was an antidote. For feeling lost. And I would uncover it. Remove the oil cloth that I kept it in and stare at the picture with the humming light behind me.

I saw almond trees and old faces. I saw his face! His face was stricken with age and sad. I don't want to get old; that is what I must have thought. It seems that that is what I thought. But I know it is a lie. I simply stared and saw nothing. His face had tufts of hair across his chin and cheeks. Red hair. I saw another painting. This one of a farmhouse. And another, darker, of people working on the land. I was here in this museum, staring intently, and there they were, a long time ago, working the land. I looked at my hands. I am nothing I thought. It seems that I thought that. It seems like so much happened, but nothing did.

At the Brewery I drank cold beers and listened to terrible music. The music everywhere is terrible, no one has any taste, and no one plays anything loud enough. I want my music to be loud. Like sunlight. So that when I listen there is nothing but me and the sound. I want it to cover my body.

Here, in this room, during the mornings it is the worst. I play music because the silence is so deadening. It feels like death crouching behind me. I want to hit someone so my knuckles bleed. I want to have a black eye and I want to hit a ball so hard it flies over a fence. But when I wake up the silence is persistent. I turn my music on. And I make it loud. I want it loud so that the blank space and all the fragments of me disappear and I don't have to think about it. Just the music.

In Amsterdam I remember sitting on a bench out back in the Red Light District. The hotel was in the middle and I sat out there watching young British men hold packets of cocaine. Holding it like it was the dearest thing in the world. I stared with my eyes wide open and just kept watching them.

'What were they saying to me?'

They went to their room in the basement and did lines of coke. Then they came back out and we chatted and they became crazy. They were fish in the sea I thought. The morning he had been smoking and his hands were shaking when I talked to him. His hands shook and he just kept opening and closing his eyes. His teeth were a dark yellow and the sides of his mouth were crusted. I shivered and zipped up my coat. I couldn't sleep. The walls in the 12 person room that we shared felt like they were shifting. And the beams of the ceiling were always pressing down on me. The chimney to the fireplace had been sealed. So now people wrote with marker on the inside:

'Best time in the DAM!'
'Welcome to Amsterdam cocksuckers.'
'Fuck me. I wanna fuck!'
'04 is the trip of my life.'

I wrote in my red book while I sat on the top bunk and the man beneath me would sleep for days. The girl across never moved, and when she did she was playing cards by herself on that picnic bench out back. She asked me to play cards once but I couldn't even look at her face. I felt too horrified at dealing with the situation of conversing, so I mumbled no. I couldn't look at her eyes without feeling like I was looking inside of her.

That has been happening more and more. I can't look at people when I am talking to them. Because I look in their eyes and I see too much. I see who they are, and what they want and think. And I don't want to consume that. I don't want it inside of 'me'. But I have to look at their eyes or they get uncomfortable. Wish I could just talk to people with sunglasses on. Hidden behind a screen, the barrier works just enough so that I can look but not feel.

I don't want to run my fingers down your hair, or listen to your voice unless I love you. Otherwise I get angry. And I hate, and I want to shove 'you' away. Sometimes my thoughts hurt. Sometimes I feel conflicted. I know that I wish I could look at their eyes, her eyes, but if I did I might see something so empty that I would never want to talk to them again. I just want them to talk to me as if I was a stone or a tree. Then they would go on and on and I would never have to say a thing. Just listen. The silence is easiest. Without word and sound, its empty, but at least it is the truth.

We roamed around like bandits. We had nothing but our clothes and we ate pastries at Dutch bakeries and walked by all the canals and the water shining. The people were thick. We walked through the red lit windows at night. Where only men in packs moved about. Reaching their heads in, 'How Much?'

The girl would pull him in by the pants and rub his crotch while they talked price. Then they would shut the curtains and would have sex right there. In that very window. And everyone knew and just walked by. How did they just walk by? No one put their ear against the window to listen. All it was was silence and red light coming out of thin alleyways. If I was a better painter I would paint those alleyways in their horror, mystery, and perversion. What went on with those men and women? In each of those rooms. The ideas poured forth. Walking in those parts with Tori and Alex made me fearful. As if those packs of men would simply remove themselves from being human and launch onto the two girls without the protection of the glass window and red light. They were bound free like nomads. 'We have to leave here,' was all I said. And we never went back to that place. Stayed on its border and edge. Went to the hotel.

I remember sitting in the lobby with the tv turned low and eating a bag of corn bugles and watching a blond woman dance in a window across the street, over the canal. She danced. I wondered how long it would be before someone came and knocked. Before she ran her hands down his chest and her lips touched his ear. It must feel like fire I thought. I would feel like the last person running a race. That is how it was, that is how the woman danced. No one went up to her and I retreated to bed and laid there until the beams crushed me and my eyes closed.

This room in Oslo is in the fog. I am in the fog. The walk home yesterday, it was walking through the shoe gaze music I was listening to it. Nothing moved, only cars and the rain dripping from trees. I am lost. Nothing ever changes. This can be the saddest place on the planet.

'I like listening to his voice. It is slow, plodding, precise. There is no doubt in my mind that he will finish his entire thought. That thought is going to be his whole life. It will be a marvelous collage; candy wrapped into his last words, and then he will die; in a hospital bed with white sheets, tulips and rain falling from the trees. Looking out from a hospital room window, with no hope. His gray hair on his cold forehead, his head on a pillow, and the nurse will not close his eyes. Someone who loves him will be there in the night to do that. They will be the only one to know his finished thought.'

au revoir

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