Mussolini, Nostalgia, And Vallejo
I was going to tell you part of the story that goes along with the picture of this old townhouse. It took place in the first phase of what I would consider my adulthood, although I still lacked the maturity to maneuver through anything other than trivial matters. This wasn’t due to any lack of personal depth or consciousness; I had just simply spent most of my life living up inside my own head, stowed safely away from the monsters under the bed. I lacked experience in certain matters. At any rate, the story I was going to tell you will have to wait, because I am feeling much too positive about the world and am munching on guacamole tortilla chips. Who could write seriously with all this green guacamole powder on their fingers?
Instead of the serious part of the story of this house, I will tell you some of the much less plot oriented incidental matters that get me to waxing nostalgic and taking photographs of the place. It may be the only place I ever lived that I bother to get misty over.
1. It is the only place I’ve lived in that was truly an open house. There were people coming and going constantly: friends from the area, people traveling through from one province to another, the occasional fugitive, dealers of finer chemicals, folk festival vendors, people in between homes, etc. When the house would fill to near capacity, a party would ensue. The musicians would all bring their instruments, cooks cooked, drinkers drank wine, and teetotalers had their tea. There was always at least one completely insane guest who ended up being the best conversationalist of the bunch. It was kind of like having all kinds of family around that you’ve just met.
2. There was this little cat that hung around out back. She was completely black, and she wore a red collar studded with small pearls. Most cats do not respond well to wind, because it gets in their ears and throws them off balance, and Pearl had a particularly difficult time of it. We always knew when it was windy, because she would be yowling pitifully and literally clinging to the ground with her claws behind the house. Richard and I weren’t supposed to let the cat in as per his roommate’s instructions, but Pearl seriously needed saving on those days, because we doubted that she could make it home in her condition. She would make her customary round of the first floor, and then I would cuddle up with her on the couch while I read, and she would lick each of her four paws in order before dozing off, never minding that I plucked at her pearls with my fingers.
3. When I lost it and a psychiatrist put me on a medication that left me in a drooling stupor, people in that house made sure I drank water and went to the bathroom sat in the sun sometimes and ate food. They told me there were alternatives to living in a grayscaled fog. They played music and took me outside for walks. There’s no medicine like good people.
4. The refrigerator in the kitchen was ancient, and someone had tried to rescue its appearance by painting it black, but its old white self kept peaking out through chips. The latch and the handle had long since broken off and been lost, so the door was held shut with a black rubber bungee cord that hooked around from the back to a hole in the left side. Knowing for sure what was inside it wasn’t possible, because people who had been staying at the house or passing through often left gifts of food when they parted, so making supper was often a creative effort orchestrated by a handful of people both actively helping out and sitting back offering advice. The food that came out of that fridge was always good.
Of course, I’m only choosing to remember the good bits right now. Even I know that nostalgia has its limits even as it tries to sell me a past that never was. There were a lot of good bits. The bad bits were very, very bad, but the good ones still remind me that “hell is other people” doesn’t always hold true. It was at that time in my life that I also met both Starcat and the Fiery One for the first time, and oh the rawkingness that has ensued in my life as a result. So, you see, I do have reason to remember that period with a certain fondness. It was the beginning where love took root.
Paris, October 1936
– César Vallejo
From all of this I am the only one who leaves.
From this bench I go away, from my pants,
from my great situation, from my actions,
from my number split side to side,
from all of this I am the only one who leaves.
From the Champs Elysées or as the strange
alley of the Moon makes a turn,
my death goes away, my cradle leaves,
and, surrounded by people, alone, cut loose,
my human resemblance turns around
and dispatches its shadows one by one.
And I move away from everything, since everything
remains to create my alibi:
my shoe, its eyelet, as well as its mud
and even the bend in the elbow
of my own buttoned shirt.
Cuba’s response to HIV/AIDS.
Marwan Barghouti has decided to run for president in the upcoming Palestinian elections.
Canadians might just make trans fats illegal.