Monday, March 18, 2013

still running...

I arrived on a slow train, tired and hungry... and in need of a bath.  I have been dreaming of Veronica for the last four nights... I dream of conversations we never had in cities we never saw together... I dream of the love we never gave and glances we might have shared had we found each-other in another time and place... in Hong Kong, 1956... I walk up a crowded street in a city called Asuncion in Paraguay... It feels like I am in 1956 sometimes... people smile and nod politely and I in return... I ask a friendly face to point me in the direction of my hotel - have I been away so long that I have forgotten where everything is... This city does not change fast enough to catch up to this world spinning out of control... no... I am the one who has changed... Life is slow here and easy on the soul... it is like that in this part of the world... there may be revolutions and dictators every now and then... but it will always go back to the way it is meant to be... a place where people stay out of other’s affairs and mind their own business and life moves slow and easy on the soul...

My hotel, which will remain nameless, still retains a hint of it’s former glory, corners and hallways glow softly in the night like a memory that refuses to fade away of elegant nights of extravagant parties... of women in Dior and Chanel evening gowns with silk gloves that cover their elbows and hair that took all day to sculpt... I can hear the whispers that still linger of tycoons conspiring to rule the world and lovers scheming to abandon their humdrum lives for a lost weekend in Buenos Aires or Rio De Janeiro... My room still carries the scent of talcum powder and Chanel... and Bay Rum... or maybe it was left behind from last nights tourist and his whore...

I slept for twenty four hours... dreaming of Veronica... If she had more time, would she still be mine?

If you were to make any assumption of my life you would say that I am a man that likes to mix business with pleasure... you would be forgiven for such wild accusations... this trip is more business than pleasure... but the business is more of a personal nature.. It is fine tunning “Plan B”
Every one should have a “Plan B” - a back door... a getaway plan... a packed suitcase with a way to get out and a place to go if the place you call your home falls apart... this for me is not that place... it is just a place where I have come to do business... but I will admit, it has very good qualities that do put it on a very short list of places to run away to... Asuncion is perhaps the cheapest city in the world to live in... people are not taxed for the money that is earned outside of the country and life moves slow... and is easy on the soul... ah, yes... the pleasure... pleasure in Asuncion is cheap and abundant... and you could very well say that pleasure is the reason for everything else in my life... no need to be dark and gloomy all the time... brooding my time away dreaming of places I will never see again with lovers I abandoned forever with no good bye letters or backward glances... I do actually have fun sometimes... unfortunately, I do get my giggles from making fun of the stupid most of that time - and the stupid for me would be most of the world... but here I was... freshly risen from my long slumber hungry and in need of pleasures of the flesh and looking for one of the few I call a friend in the sphere of reality I currently occupy...

As I stepped out the front entrance to my humble hotel and breath in the cool morning air... a poem begins to form in the back room of the production factory I call my brain - I can’t remember it now, but it was about how very unromantic my hotel is in the morning light... I chuckled and moved forward.  Cities in South America feel more like Europe than one would expect, it is only the colors of peoples skin and the Indians that remind you - you are in the Americas...

I wandered around with no direction stumbling upon the places I used to know... the places Veronica and I would frequent... from one place to another I subconsciously strayed... and it was not until I arrived that I realized where I ended up... the coffee shop... the paper stands... restaurants... stores... theaters... parks... my hands would tremble... my heart expanded... I reach into my pocket for a cigarette - but I quit smoking years ago... I wander the streets and the markets... I begin to go dizzy... my legs get weak... my mind drifts and I begin to go in and out of reality... I feel her next to me... I know it’s not real - it never is... but this time... being here... it feels more real than it ever has... I hear her laugh... I hear her cry... I smell her... it's just the scents of the city... her city... I wander and stumble.. and cling to the walls of ancient buildings to keep from falling... I never thought this would happen to me... but if insanity is the way I am meant to go out... then let it be here...

I knock on a door... I don’t know how I got there...

It’s Frankie... I  raise my head to look at him... first he is shocked to see me... then he looks worried... I lean against the entrance and he puts his arm around me to help me in... he asks if I’m drunk... I say not yet - what have you got... he laughs and feel I have returned home...

He sits me down in a plush leather chair... I look around the room... It is furnished more like a Manhattan penthouse than a crumbling town house in Asuncion.. There are black and white photographs on one wall chronicling his rise from poverty.. I am in a couple of those photos... so is Veronica... He re-appears with glasses and bottles of alcohol... “bueno, hermano... que sera...” - wine or scotch? The wine is from Argentina - I can’t remember the label now... but we start with the wine... he pours and I look around... I can’t take my eyes from a photo of Veronica... she is smiling... she is happy... it was during a festival that we played at - Frankie and I were DJ’s a long time ago... well, Frankie was the DJ - I counted the money... he turns to look at the photo... and says...

 - She is beautiful there... she was queen of the world that day wasn’t she... (she was)
    And we... we were peasants at her feet...
 - mice turn to coach men... I respond...

I raise the glass of wine to my nose and take a good long sniff... I inhale to drown the oxygen.. And drink... a long slow swallow... and it is gone...
 - slow down there old man... says Frankie...

I look back up at the picture...
He pours me another glass...
He knows... I turn to him... and he knows

 - After all these years?  Your telling me after all these years... now your falling apart over it...
He laughs - You fuck!... you stupid fuck! That girl made you the center of the universe... and you were just a fuck...
 - It wasn’t always a god damn holiday with her you know...
 - I know... I just like calling you a fuck... He looks at me for a good long while with a big smile on his face - What in the hell are you doing here? You always said you would return but you never did... and I don’t blame you if this is what was going to happen to you.. I haven’t heard from you in years... what the hell man...

 - Frankie... my young man... we’re going to need lots of drink... and I  drink down the wine in my glass in one long slow swallow again...

And I told him everything... I told him how and why I ended up in Paraguay the first time and everything that led to that... I told him of my life before... where I was from and the tales of my youth... I told him my story after I left Asuncion... my travels and my life in Chicago... my friendships and my conquests of love... the women and the friendships... the betrayals and the heart aches... I told him everything... Things I have never told anyone and things that no-one other than him will ever know... I told him my deepest darkest secrets.. My hopes and my fears... my goals... my failures and those moments that will be lost for ever... I told him... everything...

By the time I had finished my tale... we had been drunk and sober a couple of times... and we had moved from the front room to the kitchen... and two days had passed... and all Frankie had to say at the end of it all was... - Fuck... get out of here before that old dragon finds you again... you don’t have to come back to be with Veronica... you don’t owe her ghost anything... and here, old man... in your state... you would stumble and fall back into that pit she worked so hard to pull you out of...

And he was right...

I  was on a bus that afternoon to Ciudad del Este... City of the East... “nowhere will you find a more retched hive of scum and villainy... we must be cautious...” or something like that...





to be continued...

Friday, March 15, 2013

until...

It felt like falling...

It was worse than those dreams you get... about falling... that startle you to wake...

It felt longer and darker... and  I  wasn’t waking up...

I was falling...

And nobody was going to catch me... not an angel... no devil there to collect payment for my debts... and not Veronica...

And not Veronica...

I couldn’t walk down the street of her city without feeling like my heart would burst... I had to stop often near the places we used to call our own to catch my breath and keep my balance... I was falling apart... I was going to fall back into the abyss... and I was quite ready to let it happen... sweet angel... why would you not let it happen...

I had received an e-mail from Diana - yes... Diana... for a couple of days we carried on a conversation over the internet and tried to catch up... something I did not really want to do... but I amused her... and she... fed my ego as she always did... She found out through Beatrice - Elena’s sister that I was back in Juarez and that I was involved with Elena... but of course... Elena has left... through this God cursed internet she found the Deringer Files... after all these years... she found me... she seemed... well... not mad at me at all... I fear that one day all I will be doing is apologizing to all the women I have hurt... apologizing over e-mail...

I let her know that I would be in Chile for my birthday - inspecting the property - and that we could get together in Santiago if she would like... though I knew it was a bad idea... I went to Santiago... and arrived early to where we agreed to meet... she did not show up... I waited for an hour... and left... not surprised and not disappointed one bit... I was... in-fact... indifferent... I know she will read this... so it will come as no surprise... what we had was over long ago and there really was no point in trying to get re-acquainted... was there...

I knew my old friend Cristobal was in Ciudad del Este, in Paraguay... but that too was a bad idea... because first I was going to Asuncion  - and that city tears me apart... it breaks my heart and shreds my soul... it was Veronicas city... and though I stay a thousand miles away and calculate magic formulas to resurrect the ghost of her that seems to want to abandon me these days... though I stay away from this little kingdom of hers trapped in time - in my fortress of misplaced melodies and crumbling walls of unfinished poems... writing ballads and sonnets and love letters to the memory of her... to charm out of the loneliness of the night the shadow of her.. Far away from here where I spy the skies for falling angels with wings that need mending in exchange for a simple whiff of her... the sounds and smells of her breath... I remember her skin had  that smoking scent that some french soaps have... and her hair... always filled our apartment with the smell of spices from the market.. A smell that has followed my from child hood... and it was on her... and has stayed trapped in the grip of my fingers since the night she passed away... it does not let me go... or I can not let it go... and I can’t wash it away... and I can’t wish it away...

And I don’t want to...

I am in love with a ghost... I am spellbound by a memory... I am cursed by scents that haunt my nights... like the voice of my father... singing love songs in the night... to what passing angels  happen by... I sing... and I whisper... and I hold on to this pain... and every time I think I am over it... every time...

My old business partner Frankie said - “get out of here... before that old dragon finds you again...  You don’t have to come back to find her...”

Remember in the movie “Rocky” - Rocky says to... I think he was talking to Pauley... She’s got gaps... and I’ve got gaps... and together we fill the gaps...

That is what Veronica was to me... well... she was more than that... we found each other when we both needed each other... and we did fill the gaps... she needed some one to give her love to and I needed to become a man... I let her give me her love and she... let me be her man... she made me a man... she showed me what love could be... and showed me that I could love... though I did not know that what I was giving was love back then... I learned what love is... that...

Was along time ago...

And though I say I don’t need anybody or anything to fulfill my life or to make me happy...

I have... a very big gap...

This song is “until”, the “B - side” to the 45 of “Tragedy” by the Bee Gees... I have had that record since I was a boy... and it is something I have carried with me around the world... in the dark lonely halls of my mind... I cannot listen to it with out thinking of her.. And I can’t stay in Asuncion with out falling apart...

I made my way to Ciudad del Este... and lost myself in the chaos and the smells of the market...

until...
video
a Steven Meisel shoot
DERINGERPHILED

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Counting Angels

Counting the angels that fall from the sky
I’m running away but I - can’t tell you why
I travel by train to get to the sea
A slow boat to Asia is waiting for me...

The moon becomes clear  - the past fades out of sight
Picking up Angels - cast away in the night
And I’m getting closer to where I belong
Can’t tell you why I stayed away for so long...

The Eternal Empire rises from the mist
I make dragons tremble - when I shake my fist
Business men and sailors great my at the shore
Sweet delicate geishas  behind - rice paper doors...

Counting the angels climbing out from the snow
I’m hiding from the world but I - can’t say where I’ll go
I could get lost in Brazil or the North of Thailand
But my heart is breaking -  my soul is aching...
                                                  for Japan...
maybe it's just the japan in my dreams...