7. write as if it were for only one person. if you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
[ rules for creative writing 101, introduction to bagombo snuffbox. k. vonnegut]
this is my ecuavida.
living in wooden houses, with too many cucarachas, and twice as many rats. rain at night, flooded muddy roads in the morning. constantly greeting everyone, even when i’m in no mood to be friendly. red beans and vegetables and crispy burnt rice. the pacific (at night, by sunset, in my hair, in the pages of my books, in my heart). herba luisa [fresh, not from the tea bag]. mold. the bats (murcielagos) which swoop through the (sometimes) flooded river valley at exactly 620 in the evening. the crack in the shower wall that looks like a spider when the light isn’t right. trying not to slip and fall in the mud on the way to the bathroom in the nighttime. the triple curves in the road to tabuga which i count subconsciously in my head on the way to school. playing politics in spanish. being trapped by a flooded river with andrea at the house of a wide-eyed Italian man in the middle of the ecuadorian costal campo, having calamar, fresh basil, and espresso, and talking about international politics and futbol. taking pictures of pictures. my chicos. leading them into the reserve, and watching as they fall in love with el bosque, and each other. panaderias and the fruit market on the corner. the springwater of pd (a rum and coke). taking over the dance floor, crazy gringa style. the loud ass ecuadorian polka music at six o’clock in the morning. the “bombed little man” that is our chef. being sad to watch the baby aullador scramble inside the rice sack, and being happy to watch the wild troupe take him back up into the trees. attempting to understand the social class balancing act I have found myself inside. angelito, gisela, moises, deci, jonathan, andrade, and duana. being escorted down a dark dirt road by a parade of small children. bear hugs from lorena. cooking beans in hostel kitchens. fumigation headaches. being not-so-terrified to give speeches, in spanish, in front of more than 100 people at the town meeting. helping to begin an environmental association, and calling for the vote. hummingbirds, and mosquitos, and camarones del rio. camarones al ajillo. contemplating the loss of memory while watching the coast blur by on a bus. rancheros and the wind. riding in the backs of giant red pickup trucks after rainstorms. spontaneous freestyle jam sessions on the beach, at 3 in the morning, with harmonica mac and joe’s guitar. being awake by 730. hearing news of a massacre, and feeling my lungs collapse from remembering how it is to be stunned, claustrophobic, of needing to be elsewhere and not being able to get there fast enough. drinking tea beneath the trees. free grapefruit, oranges, maracuya, and watermelon. conversations about soul with the lanky longboarder [ how it can get lost in LA and how there is more in the california waters, and why walking on the tips of the waves is more than just a meditation on the impossibilities of eternity]. three, or north through manabi. inappropriately comical situations. beach writing. reading the lorax. the parrots in the menagerie (how many birds have died in cages, thinking the ceiling was the sky?) galloping. watching “the thin red line” in a party bar. ridiculously vivid dreams about sharks, and climbing stairwells with falling rocks, and giant tarantulas on the streets. the traveler v. the tourist, and expanding my reality. collecting new music. reading, and bawling, and being all the lighter for it. maybe thinking I know what I want to do, at least for now. making friends with fishermen, and a strange encounter with land owning, awkward English-speaking ghouls. mercedes, and her artesanian heart (she calls me “mi hija”). vultures on the cross in pedernales. the hanging of the red plastic chair. everything is dissolving.
way down deep (past the light and the sound, where the squid and the whale fight battles in the dark) this is where our dreams go in the morning. our eyes open, and they float, like plastic bags with tentacles and moving metal parts. as they sink, they rust and scatter into bits, but only physically. they stay there forever, and when we die, we are plunged back into our forgotten, long lost subconscious thoughts. haunting? maybe, but at least it is the truth. and no one can avoid that. close your eyes, and think of all the bubbles of love you’ve made… [medusa dreams]
but what happens to people who forget each other? are there holes? like rotting windows in our solemn dreams, our salty bloody seas? gravity is infectious. the weight of it, I mean. the bodily feeling of falling, especially in water or through air, passed buildings and towers and ravines eight miles deep. the poet who wrote about the death of the flying stewardess (1968) caught in photographic words our human obsession with the war against the weight of the earth. to fight, and fail – to flail and cease endlessly – is such an ugly truth, but at the same time, horribly delicately beautiful. is this wondering, this desire to test fate, and flight, why some choose to jump without a parachute? I wish their final thoughts were made into documentaries and broadcast in 8 mm silent frames on the walls of subway stations, like a fleeting glimpse of their eternal struggle, caught in flickers of light on the cement. [for existing in the first place]
you’ve got me by the hand and I can’t quite remember the sensation of being alone of how to stand this vertigo its got me hanging on with both hands (to your untouchable face) and how I can’t remember why we even existed in the first place
there are ants in my pants, or ants in my shoes; ants in my shoes and my pants and the grooves (between your nightmare necessity needing, and my absolute apathy towards disaster). what a place, what a sound they must make, if we set them ablaze from our match burning betting. I sink heavy in mud, in barbed wire mud, loaded with rain and the awareness of fear. my feet carry me through doors, and windows, and walls, but one candle bright cannot compete with them all. careful where you step my friend, my lover of light, and I’ll carry you there on my back, in my bones. I’ll carry you anywhere – your heart is my home. [careful there]
I’m done leaning over my shoes; out over the ocean and singing the blues. and why for this within, can I find no without? but for the searching the rocks are crumbling, and I can’t say that I haven’t always been this way; we are from another time, you and I; our bones are from the sea but at their depths only where the light comes from the enigmatic glowing. where time has not yet reached (and so it is nearly one hundred years before). are the fishes lonely in their vacuum, missing the movement of the soul as it grows older? [rainer on the point]
breathe breathe breathe. ocean. breathe. ocean, breathe. ocean ocean ocean. breathe. ocean. breathe breathe.
this ink is everywhere.
two sides of the abyss not given a page a photograph or a paragraph written to claim them at 7th and Jackson the microphone’s open the moment of the music never will you see me be a judas to the movement used to be a student of the beat until I mastered it and then I set it free to be let it be the energy. . .
the blue scholars, [evening chai]