...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
frenetic, love-laden song, "Walking On Thin Ice." ( play song )
Archive for April, 2007
Monday, April 30th, 2007
during sex in the setting sun we heard the amplified sunset prayer chants broadcast from the minarets. it seemed oddly fitting.
when we first took up, i’d look up from what i’d be doing and find lady k watching me adoringly. i was the first man who was kind and fair to her, and i think she kept looking to make sure i was real and still there. it is unnerving to be looked at like that. but i wasn’t worried, because that look always goes away when they’re around you long enough to discover just how sadly human and weak you are. the weird thing is, 20 months later i look up and see she’s still watching me adoringly. my shortcomings, weaknesses, and defects don’t seem to affect how she feels. makes one want to be better, just to earn the look.
marrakech is a fascinating city – greater cultural differences and a wider range of them than the rest of the cities we’ve seen combined. america, western europe and the east european ex-communist countries vary but in degree, each walks a similar path – they differ mostly in money, technology, and population density. and it seems to me the more sun there was, the nicer the people were.
but here in africa they walk a different road entirely – perhaps multiple different complex roads. too many people, too little money, too much sun, not enough water, too much history, not enough future.
i worry about running out of natural gas. in croatia, the huge tank of heating gas ran out in december. in france, the cooking gas canister for the stove ran out. on the 4th floor here, the stove gas canister emptied halfway thru lady’s cookies on our last day there. i’m in this adventure where i have almost no control over events. i suppose there’s a life lesson to be learned here.
leave for somewhere north of marrakech in an hour to see more poor, another big souk (market / bazaar) and a camel. i’m looking forward to the camel. will accept what the rest has to offer my enlightenment. i’ve done what i can to prepare for the trip – drank lots of water before 7 and finished my 2nd cup of coffee before 8:30, giving me 90 minutes to delete said water from my system so i don’t have to use the public facilities… although here they don’t always use public toilets here, they just use the public.
Monday, April 30th, 2007
Our Moroccan Friend with Smith
(he gave us permission to take this photo)
PHI, PHYLUM, PHO, PHUM: I SMELL THE BLOOD OF AN ENGLISHMAN
“In the old days, they thought the Earth was the center of the Universe. Boy were they wrong.”
“Yes. I am the center of the Universe. Rotate around Me, Oh Vast ‘Thingy’.”
Ah, good stuff. To the bone. To the marrow, even.
“To the marrow?”
Yes. Will you marrow me?
* * *
It’s a day for nostalgia: nukes, ozone layer. My childhood fears seem nostalgic. When I was little, I knelt in the dirt of our back yard, trying to dig a bomb shelter with a tablespoon. I was going to save my family and my best friend’s family.
“I used to be worried about the ozone layer,” I tell Smith. “But now I have global warming.”
“I don’t worry about global warming. Because the bumblebees will take care of that.” Smith’s current favorite disaster story is the disappearance of the bumblebees.
I say, “What’s really sad about this is that when plants started flowering 130 million years ago, that was a whole major incident for the planet. A whole new phylum of plants, anthophyta. We’re no longer causing mass extinction of just some species. Now we’re achieving *phylums*. ”
“Yes, and Einstein said if all the bees go we only have four more years left.”
“Well, I think science will help with crop fertilization. I’m not worried about that. I imagine high pressure pollen spraying or a lotta feather dusting.”
“Ah, Mr. Science will save us.”
“But flowering plants in the wild will be gone. It will still be a disaster.”
“Not entirely. Some pollinators are ants, wasps…”
“Yeah, pigmy bats. We can paint little yellow circles on their bodies.” Pretend they’re bees.
I wonder what a world will be like without the clumsy busy bodies of bees. Will they become mythological creatures, gold bugs only met by tomorrow’s children in illustrations? MGM lions, tigers, bears…
All our problems right now are really about overpopulation. We’re in an ugly Mathusian comeuppance.
“Go out to the balcony,” says Smith. “Go to the railing, to the sun.”
Gold sun’s painted into the salmon and magenta colored bedroom. I wander to the railing. Smith comes up from behind me and scruffs my tanned neck with bearded kisses.
I say, “Yr not gonna push me off, are you?”
“No, there has to be a profit involved. Yr not insured and yr not rich, so there’s no profit. But wait a minute – it *would* be good press… Traveling Artist/Poet Loses his Helpmate in Tragic Marrakech Accident….” I could parlay that press into some self-promotion.”
“Ahhh…. I understand.”
“Plus, rich women would then throw themselves on me, to try to alleviate my sorrow.”
“Hah hah!” I spout.
Smith gives me a yellow pumpkin face grin.
“I could also sell a *true* story of what really happened, a different one, a different version, to each of the tabloid trash chains.”
“Well, like today, when those British ladies were here. We were talking about how most artists don’t make it before they die. I could always kill myself, fake-like, and then we could cash in on my death. I could make new assemblages making sure I only used old articles, and we could keep releasing this ‘new found smith artwork’ into the hungry waters. So actually, I’m the one who’s supposed to fall from the balcony. Not you. We had this backwards.”
“I think I’d follow you off the balcony.” I don’t know what I’d do without Smith. I only know joy with him as my companion.
“No, we’re just going to make them *think* I went off the balcony. I need a bizarre death. Something metaphoric. I need a big falling word sign to fall from the sky and crush me into the sidewalk.”
“I’m going to write that down.”
“No no no. Nobody else can know about this, just us. That’s why this is all a secret. Although, in Basic Instinct Sharon Stone wrote what she was going to do, and she got away with it.”
“What would the word sign say? The one that’s going to crash on you.”
“Peace on Earth, in pieces,” he says. “There is peace in pieces.”
We slump back into the bedroom. Smith straightens a pillow against the foot of the bed, bends his knee. He’s wearing his ever-present uniform of black pants, black t-shirt with an enigmatic faded silk-screened rectangle.
He coughs. “So you gonna contact those travel book people? Those people who’re going to give us tons of money and drugs?”
“Oh, no. We can buy our own drugs.”
“No, let them do it. It’ll be easier, safer.”
“I’m thinking of contacting High Times. They could sponsor us.”
* * *
Smith reads some of his recent writing to me: “I wrote, ‘You can stand on the roof and hear the prayers revolve around you.’ I think that’s what it feels like to be God.”
Then in a jive voice, he says, “Give me some more prayers, Baby Lady… Hmm. That makes me think of the Jim Carey movie where Morgan Freeman is God. Now there’s someone I’d vote for.”
“Morgan Freeman? Why? What if he turned Republican?”
“Maybe I’d still vote for him. I trust him. It’d probably be a *ruse.* He’d be making them *think* he’s Republican.”
“Turning *Republican* is kinda like turning into a werewolf,” I suggest.
“Oh no. I have a lot more respect for a werewolf. At least a werewolf has balls, doesn’t get five deferments from the Vietnamese War.”
“Actually, I respect my biological father for defecting from the war. He went to jail for it, too.”
“That’s true. But Cheney and Bush *ran* from war and now they’re *running* a war. Bush deserted his National Guard unit at time of war and Cheney said, “I have better things to do.” And now *he’s* killing people. It’s his war. It’s *Cheney’s* war.”
* * *
“Ug. Can’t relax. That’s the trouble with a brain you can never turn off.”
“But I like having an active brain,” I say.
“Mine’s sluggish or something today. My body’s sluggish… Maybe I’m just tired from smoking for 19 days.”
“That’s it, yep. I’m proud. I have lived up to my responsibilities.”
“You should try not smoking for a couple days.”
“I am a weak soul. I have a stick of hashish and I keep hearing it call my name: ‘Smith! Smoke me!’ I wonder how our dust mites are doing.” We theorize that the dust mites from Smith’s old house have developed a jones for chemicals due to his steady domestic usage.
I look at him wistfully. I think about how unattractive I feel today even though my weight is good, low. My eyes are bright, I have a tan, and my hair looks good. But I will always feel like a fat woman.
It’s like he can read my mind. “I like you, you know. Yr a good kid. Yr a good person. And you’re looking better and better. ‘Cept for the hair and the glasses, you look like a hippie chick.’
“I do kinda look hippyish right now.”
“Well, you dress hippyish. You look hippyish. You act hippyish. Course, then there were the old hippies. OK. I’m gonna smoke pretty quick. I’m gonna smoke, I’m gonna smoke,” he sings.
Continues: “It’s easier to write now than it used to be. But it’s even easier still when I smoke. I tend to get a little bit funnier. I also tend to use too many words, which I have to take out the next day.”
“Ah, that’s a lime tree outside our window,” I notice. “A lime tree in Marrakech… the big orange sun city.”
I move the computers to the center of the bed. Smith notices this, and moves them again, to the floor. We lie down, get more comfortable. We kiss intensely for a long time and then migrate to other differently articulated gaspy activities.
Sunday, April 29th, 2007
HELPING THE BEES
You know they could put little tracking devices in the bees. We could have science make little GPS tracking devices, install one in each bee. That way each bee could find its way back to the hive.
Or, you know what? We could make some really tiny little cell phones and sell them to the bees, since cell phones may have started all this problem.
“How would cell phones help?”
They wouldn’t. That’s what caused the problem. There’re several likely culprits. There’s cell phones, there’s radiation, there’s the genetic modified Frankenfood problem, and there’s the stress problem. They’re moving these hives all over the country to pollinate. And these bees hives are constantly moved. Having moved 31 times in the last nine months, I find I have my own trouble getting back to the hive.
Plus there could be another culprit. There’s more and more cable being jammed through the air, satellite and such.
And the real problem – they don’t teach the birds and the bees no more in school. People no longer know which side their bee is buttered on.
“That’s weird, honey.”
Well, it’s none of your ‘beeswax.’ I wonder where *that* expression came from…
“So I still don’t understand why you’d want to give little cell phones to bees. Wouldn’t that make the problem worse?”
Yes. The cell phones would make it worse. I’m a mean person. It’s the absurdity of it.
Sunday, April 29th, 2007
marrakech may have decided my role here is lab rat. i run the medina mazes in the morning and early afternoon, and i get my cheese reward in moroccan hash each night. i’ve found that my body reaches some point of wanting to stop after 2 & a half hours of walking the maze… unfortunately these experiments tend to come in 4 hour segments. monday we’re going to go see a camel. the old cigarette commercials said they’d walk a mile for a camel. well, we’ve traveled 12,000 miles to see ours. i even wrote a camel joke in france: It is easier for a Camus to pass through the eye of the needle than for a Republican to get into Heaven. i’d definitely walk a mile for a Camus.
the souks are a millenium old million meter mall made into a minotaurian maze. the only way to find your way back out is to buy small trinkets and drop them behind you as you go in, then follow your trail of stuff back out… or drop poisoned breadcrumbs and follow the dead birds back. we saw a cat eating a dead mouse in the souks today… hope it wasn’t part of anyone’s back trail.
at today’s lamb lunch in the old city, we ate from one plate with our fingers and pieces of bread. so far my stomach’s okay. they sent a plate of meat down to the women, and lady ate with us 5 men. this was the house with the rooster crowing in the next room.
if you’re not in the new city, the toilet is a hole in the ground, and toilet paper is a bucket of water and your hand. i dread the day i have to use them. i took a cookie with my left hand and our host said that was socially unacceptable because the left hand is for wiping your ass. it is okay to hold a drink with your left hand though.
each mosque’s minaret tower starts it amplified prayer chants by its own clock, and each clock differs, so there’s a wave of chants caressing the city over a 10 minute period. you can stand on the roof and hear the prayers revolve around you.
this city is hard on one’s soul – someone’s always asking you for money, or to let them do something for you for money, or please just come into my shop and look because looking is free even though you need to buy something from me. it is all about money and stuff.if you have a decent soul and a decent level of politenes, this city will tear at you, pick little pieces of your niceness away.
Saturday, April 28th, 2007
the heavy moroccan sun on my shaved head casts shadows from the dents, creases and crevasses in my brain pan – it looks exactly like aliens opened my head, took out my brain, then put the skull-flap back hoping i wouldn’t notice. it was a good brain too – hardly ever used.
as i walk through marrakech, folks call me “ali baba.” i have no idea if it’s because i resemble him with my white beard, or if it’s an insult. ali baba and the 40 thieves – maybe they’re suggesting as a tall white man i’m a thief (aren’t all whites thieves in 3rd world countries?)… or since the 40 thieves were given hashish to motivate them, they’re just acknowledging my hash use… or maybe it’s a comment on my having a young wife, which is another form of theft. internet says american soldiers in iraq refer to arabs as ali baba because they’re thieves, and iraqis refer to americans as ali baba because they’re looters and occupiers. in the story though, ali baba only stole from the thieves. since i’ve given up my criminal ways and am seeking inner light, i’m more meher baba than ali baba these days.
there’s a lot of tourists here (i know we’re 2 too), but outside of the souks and the horse drawn carriages, we never see them. so we went on a tourist safari today to the big market square near the tallest mosque (koutoubia) where they juggle fire, pose monkeys, and charm snakes (and you pay for every pose) – we found a whole bunch of them. i think maybe tourists dip in and out while travelers tend to amble about. in the square they’re actors performing for the tourists, whereas the alleys we walk are for the locals and have a more real feel. think the biggest difference is the children everywhere we walk and their total absence in the square. the square is also cleaner.
we’ve seen 2 men squat down in public and urinate on the ground. the small shed walls in the tiled park out front reek of urine. so do large sections of the 1,600 year old city wall.
having lunch today at hamid’s brother’s – that means i’ll have stomach malfunctioning physical vehicle symptoms afterwards.
canadian professor was denied entry to the u.s. after border guard googled him and found he had published an article on the medical properties of lsd – he is now persona non-gratis. now lady’s worried about me. i have every sin i ever committed posted on my agentofchaos.com website. i always said if anyone tried to blackmail me, i’d ask for extra copies for my friends. this is an attempt to squash dissent, to make people cautious about what they say. the best way to fight it is to refuse to be intimidated. i will not cower before mass-murdering war criminals like dick cheney and his middle finger puppet george bush. if you do go to agentofchaos, be sure to check out the 666 – the number of the bush section.
Naomi Wolf of The Guardian newspaper in the united kingdom on april 24th published an article titled “Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps.” she lists the 10 necessary steps totalitarian governments have historically taken to set up a fascist state – according to her, the cheney-bush beast have initiated all 10. welcome to the brain camps.
Saturday, April 28th, 2007
UNPLUG ME FROM THE ENDLESSLY MULTIPLICATING REALITIES OF THE MODERN WORLD
So I’m reading this article about Rove which says there were two reasons his email was deleted. One — because he was totally involved with deciding who was going to be fired — the attorneys general — and Two — because he was heavily involved in the Ohio rigged elections.
Yes! He and Bush actually flew out to Ohio, met with Blackwell… so I guess according to the article, those are the two reasons why the email actually disappeared.
And the interesting thing is that the emails were not mailed on the White House system. They were emailed on the RNC’s system.
Why is that interesting?
Oh! Because they knew White House emails would be subpeona’d. This was not official White House work. It was backchannel type stuff.
Who’s the article by, Wasserman?
Let’s see. It’s on Commondreams.org, ‘Missing Emails’. Ah, there we go. It’s Bob Fitrakis / Harvey Wasserman. How’d you know?
Because he’s covering the 2004 presidential election fraud in Ohio.
“I wonder what they think when they go through our garbage and find these. I’ve heard of women being shunned from society during their periods. I wonder if Moroccan society is one of those societies.”
I toss the pad in the garbage. I’m unhappy that all the menstrual pads are made with plastic and packaged in plastic. I’d like to find something more friendly to the planet. Tampons are not friendly to my body, so they are not an option.
“I just had an idea for a new product,” says Smith. “We can bag those.”
“What, my pads? Why?” I indulge him.
“We could sell them to vampires for a snack. Call em *crispy periods.*”
“Oh, why *crispy*? Cuz of the paper?”
“No, because of the caked menstrual blood.”
“Ew!!” I run off to the living room for my computer.
“Yr not going to write that down, are you?”
“What? Yr the one who *said* it.”
“Yeah, and *I also* came in here to write it down.”
I sit down, put my computer on my lap. It feels warm. “I love having my computer in my lap… it feels like… a mind meld,” I tell Smith.
He burps and looks warily at me. Palms his newly shaved head then rubs his eyes.
* * *
Smith finishes the dishes. “Let’s go get high now.”
“OK,” I say.
“Wait, I gotta empty myself.” He pulls down his pants and sits on the toilet. I sit and wait for him at the bathroom door. “I get rid of urine every chance I get. But I should try holding it like you do.”
“No, that’s not healthy. You can be poisoned from holding it. And anyways, women have bigger bladders.”
“Really?” he asks. “We should have a pissing contest.”
“Well, women would win for quantity, but not distance.”
* * *
“What’s that phrase about Obama?” I ask Smith.
“I’m not sure I know it, can’t remember exactly what you said.”
“It’s weird. Limbaugh is really a propagandist.” I imagine every flag-waving cowboy baking in traffic in oversized SUVs. All simultaneously turn the silver dial on the radio to tune in, and light a Marlboro.
“Actually it’s kinda sad. Got in trouble with his bad habits, his prescriptions. Then he got let off the hook. And rather than be decent, he turned nasty and just started biting everybody again.”
“I think that’s his job, to increase the tolerance for intolerance. Desensitize.”
“It’s howdy doody time, it’s howdy doody time, it’s howdy doody time…” Smith hums subliminally and turns on his computer.
Friday, April 27th, 2007
I read Smith’s blog. He’s read too much news lately, and is collecting disaster stories, which he writes about in the blog. One of the recent stories is about the disappearance of the bees.
“Actually,” I tell Smith, “It’s not only the latest impending disaster *theory*, it’s *fact*. And they’re all fact. Like all the possible science fiction scenarios which *could* be realized *are* being self-actualized.”
I continue: “I always agreed with Jung. I think we have this form of collective subconsciousness, not just a mass subconsciousness, but a ‘popular’ subconsciousness in which all these fictions envisioned in sci fi thrillers so excited the consumers of movies that they came up with a whole buncha new gods for us. So we’re living in an age where all the disasters and all the miracles can happen. It’s all happening at once cuz we had a consensus that the post-modern world expired in 2000. And now, we are in the Age of the Planet’s Reckoning. A kinda sci-fi weird religious American Armeggedon self-seeding collective craziness. Even if yr scientific, yr ideas are lodged in the mud of it. Like Pompeii.”
“The world did expire,” Smith agrees. Then thoughtfully, “Didn’t it?”
* * *
I say, “It’s funny how you can tell who is a tourist here. Cuz the tourists DON’T look like the people who live here.”
“That’s for sure… You see em in the souks, you see them on the buses, you see them in the carriages… you don’t see them in a whole lotta other places. We saw them in the IBIS…”
“I think that they’re just afraid to wander around. Wasn’t there a bombing in Casablanca a couple days ago?” A friend sent us a worried e-mail.
“Yeah, but that’s a whole different town. I guess there’s trouble in Fez, too, according to Mohammed.”
“The strange thing with me is that I have a lotta understanding about where they’re coming from,” I tell Smith. “But I would never do what they do. And I am afraid of them.”
* * *
“You know, I’m reading what you’re writing, and I see some of your art, and I can’t help think that you’re brilliant. But then there are some things you do that I think of as careless – that you’re not intimidated enough. You take risks without considering all the possibilities. And then I compare that with how intelligent you are in your creative work.”
“Well,” he says, “A lot of what you might think of as carelessness is just a sense of adventure. And sometimes just no thought. Sometimes it’s just thoughtlessness.”
I hear the evening singing starting. They get the half hour after the sun goes down, a kinda time lag recognition of the end of the day, the howling at the beginning of lavendar night. “Ah, listen — they’re doing their magic outside. Singing. This is the first time I’ve experienced a sense of God, is here in Morocco.”
Smith crosses his fingers at me.
“It feels like magic, though. Admit that,” I assert.
“It is magic,” he says. “Don’t need no *God* in the equation.”
“Well, I’m not a Goddite. But I have an appreciation for metaphor. And I do believe in a magic of sorts. Just look how my life turned out.”
“Ah, the Lovin Spoonful,” quips Smith. “Do you believe in magic, da da da da da…”
* * *
Having difficulty communicating with Hamid. I don’t want to take photos of people if they seem resistant. He says, “Good photo, good photo,” and tries to get me to take wide sweeping photos of people. A lot of times I shoot the pictures over peoples’ heads, but the people around me don’t know that. One time a guy held a piece of cardboard to hide his head.
I want to respect Hamid, so I’ll take a quick shot or pretend to shoot. But a lot of times it’s obvious that I’m taking a photo. So I say, “But Hamid, there are some men there. They need privacy. I should not take a photo.” Then he thinks I mean to take a picture, and I want the men out of the way. So he chases them away. I try to stop him, saying, “No, no, it’s good, it’s OK.” Meanwhile he continues to think he’s doing a favor for me.
The other day Hamid thought I was interested in the noise the donkeys made, so he disturbed some for me. He also tried to coax some cats so I could film them, feeding them cheese. I felt sick, watching the cats eat the cheese. There were many poor people around. It was as though I had more sympathy for the cats then the people. I’d rather give humans dirhams than cats. I love animals, but people are more important.
He saw me take photos of some animal heads that were on the ground in the souk in the poor village. He must think I liked them because I am sick. I took the photos because they are so different, such a contrast to the way we live in rich-world countries. We eat meat and we don’t have a concept of what it takes to get that meat. I’m considering vegetarianism again. Meat is unethical because of the deteriorating condition of the planet. And so many people go hungry. Their needs could provided for better if us rich-worlders lost our appetite for meat.
A ten-year-old followed Smith and I into the medina Tuesday afternoon. He asked for money to be our guide. I’ve read that one really should not give money to children, that it prepares them to lower their sights, to become beggars. I have mixed feelings about this, though. I think a lot of the advice I read is oriented more towards giving the tourists a framework so they don’t have to feel guilty about their luxurious lives.
So this time, I said no to the boy. Then he followed us, literally pleading for money. He looked healthy, he was well-dressed. So I said, “Thank you, no, goodbye.”
I thought a lot about this. I’ve decided that next time I’ll manufacture a need. I’ll say, “Can you take me to Jamaa El Fna (the center) for 5 dirhams?”
* * *
“I’m done. Here, you finish my oatmeal. You’re losing too much weight.” I’m concerned about Smith’s 15 pound weight loss over the past couple months.
“What if there isn’t any more food? You’ll be wanting it then,” he says.
“That’s the problem right there. People get fat because they don’t trust the future. There will be more food for me. I’m satisfied with what I’ve eaten, so I don’t have to eat any more.”
“No, there won’t be any more food after 10:00, so I’ll regurgitate for you.”
I think about the dinner Hamid’s wife prepared for us. I was to prepare it with her, expecting this to be a social exchange. But alas, it was financial. Hamid asked for money before they left, so we gave him some. I wonder if he felt anger because we didn’t make the offer first.
“I don’t understand people’s situations here. I’m concerned and confused.”
“Well, it’s new to you,” Smith says. “If you got used to them, you wouldn’t think about it. Like Jim Lang. People become symbols of themselves. If we came back to Cleveland and watched Jim Lang, we’d notice more.”
“Yes, we could observe Jim Lang. Take notes.”
Friday, April 27th, 2007
i watched a small boy licking the last bit of essence from a wrapper – he examined it every which way to be sure nothing was left, then let it go. he didn’t drop it, or throw it away – it just ceased to exist to him. as it fluttered to the ground, he looked about for what was next.
Marrakech at dusk
Purple petals on the ground
Red flower falling
we acquired a bit more self esteem by going into the rabbit warren maze of the walled city by ourselves. my pocket compass helps a bit, but it is still confusing. lady does her fruit and vegetable shopping from the street shops. in the medina, the alleys vary from 4 foot wide up to 12 feet. against the walls, folk set up their shops by spreading a tarp on the street and piling their goods on top. the remaining alley consists of people, bicycles, motor bikes, and donkey carts constantly coming at you both ways. get in deep enough on the wider ways, and they throw taxis and small trucks into the mix to make it more interesting. during our past few days of wandering and food shopping, we were the only foreigners we saw – yet go south a dozen alleys and there’re foreigners everywhere.
looking forward to the coastal town of essaouira – rent’s supposed to be 5 times cheaper. also supposed to be windy since it’s on a point and gets wind from both north and south. there’s dangerous ocean currents as well, and sewage dumped directly into the sea. you know, that sounds so inviting it makes me wonder why we’re going – though i suspect it’s the going and not the why that matters.
shaved my head and mustache today, leaving my white beard. i’m returning to my psychotic amish look. in jail in 1970 i shaved my head and my eyebrows, leaving just my moustache – now there was an odd look… no top head hair and no eyebrows is definitely space alien territory.
getting blog comments from people i don’t know – i wonder how they find us. folk seem to like what we’re doing. at least we’re real time, unscripted, and our path unusual… not many poet/artist couples with a 27 year age discrepancy sell their studio, give away their possessions, and wander the earth not knowing where they’re going. but we do know the why: because there might not be an earth to wander later on – and we’d never forgive ourselves if we didn’t.
the latest doomsday scenario is The Case Of The Missing Bees. seems u.s. bees are dying in droves, so there’s not enough bees left to pollinate all the plants. the latest theory thinks the genetically modified franken-foods might be the culprit, and estimate total food disaster to be 4 years down the road. this may be my chance to make some money honey – i have a small penis, so perhaps i could hire myself out to have sex with all the almond tree flowers. i could tie a lot of helium filled balloons to my body to enable me to bounce around the trees, visiting each little flower with my flower powderer. hmmm, i know you bring a lady flowers when you want sex, but what do you bring a flower you want to pollinate – lady fingers?
lady said when she was fat, she was always trying to hide her body, so i in my circus voice announced “pay no attention to that woman in the whale.”
lady said “my cousin has a mini-mansion in denver.” – if we murder her, do we inherit? – “no.” – good thing for her.
lady k’s side of our journey can be found at
here’s 32 years worth of
mug shots of lady k 1974-2007
lady k has 11 galleries of mostly her (some of mine) fotos on pbase. she groups them by cities – check out her latest: marrakech.
7 videos of france and marrakech at youtube.com/kathyvirgw
here’s some smith checkered past info
Thursday, April 26th, 2007
this is the time they never show in movies, or include in novels… the killing time time. we’re packed. spent the past 3 hours cleaning this place and regathering our stuff to move upstairs. now we sit for 40 minutes waiting to go up. it took one elevator to move down from 6 – it’ll be two to move back up. had to buy an extra elevator’s worth of dishes, pans, food, cleaning stuff, moroccan clothes… how can a 10 day stay turn into an extra elevator? and all this extra stuff stays when we leave, so it’s money short time used and lost. otherwise, its bulk and weight carried on our backs.
lady k is sitting next to me, stern, glowering. i turn and say “boy, you’re a bundle of radiating joy.” she laughs, says “i’m sorry, i hate this waiting part.” now she’s back in brood mode. this is not a welcoming apartment, but at least it was our 10 day hole. folks with places to stay have no idea what’s entailed in frequent moving. this will be our 31st change of bed in 9 months – 31 places to serially sleep. this move is for 16 nights. then a month in the sea coast town of essoaira. after that, only the shadow knows. no place to go back to, don’t know where we’re going – we’re grasshoppers trying to outrun winter in a world of air-conditioned ants.
figure when the earth breaks into sporadic pools of isolated people, lady and i can survive by traveling between surviving enclaves and entertaining them with our poetry. to pay for our entertainment, they can house and feed us and give us a wee bit of hashish for the road.
and the earth will break, at least as we know it – i’d say there’s a 99.9999999% chance of it happening within the next 43 years. if it doesn’t go via global warming, it’ll be social cooling, or it’ll be by some escaped man-made virus, or germ that’s gained super-virus powers because all the anti-biotics and humane growth serums we’ve dumped into the water, or some country with the initials u.s.a. will start dropping atomic bombs, or franken-corn will take over the earth’s vegetative system killing everything in its path and then die off itself, or the bee collapse and lack of pollination will starve us, or scientists will try to geo-engineer a fix to global warming (which will of course backfire and fry or freeze us faster), or the earth’s magnetic field will fade out & realign itself (it’s about 150,000 years overdue), or an asteroid will hit us, or honesty will come into vogue destroying the very basis of the world’s economic and political systems, or the cheney-bush beast will declare martial law and cancel the next elections – and we all know if they stay in power any longer, the earth is doomed. i figure lady and my trekking about with all our possessions on our back is training for the future.
my true sorrow for the coming future will be its lack of electricity – there’ll be no web world, and how can i be sure i exist if i don’t receive cyber feedback?
watched american movie dubbed into french on belgium woman’s tv here in marrakech. lady k went to the dvd menu, told the movie to talk to me in english, with english subtitles just to be sure – it said sure, will do. it lied. machines do what they want to me. so does marrakech… the city toys with me by day, and i good naturedly go along, so it rewards me for being a good sport by getting me stoned each night.
you know what T.V. stands for, don’t you? Totally Valueless Theoretically Void Tired Vision Trash Value Trendy Validity Trite Vocalizations Turgid Vocabulary Turd-ish Vociferation Treated Vomit Typically Voyeuristic.
i read you couldn’t walk across the street here without being offered hash. i have yet to be offered any, anywhere. only way we got hash here or france or grass in krakow was to ask strangers. so far we’ve asked three strangers where to find smoke, and all three have known.
i don’t wear walkmans when i walk because i want to hear what’s coming from behind when they come to take me away. i want a fighting chance to get away. gotta get away before they get you in the car. once you’re in the car, they have you, you’re meat. i’m just going to tell them “i’m not me. go away now. i’m closing my eyes. you can’t see me.” then when they’re laughing, i’ll run away.
Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
I position myself on Smith’s lap. I touch my nose from his ear to the back of his neck, lightly pecking tender kisses. “Grrrllll…” I purr.
“I’ve been wondering about your animal.”
“Your secret identity. Every once in a while you let it out.”
“Yes. I’m Tiger Kathy.”
“I was wondering who you are.”
I pet Smith’s head. He hasn’t shaved it since France.
“I’ve been meaning to get rid of this. Too hot here for hair. First time I shaved my head was in prison.”
“Why? Shaving your head in prison, is that a right of passage?”
“No. Shaved my eyebrows, too.”
* * *
“Door… wall… birds… ma’am?”
I’m in an uprise of unfolding interior revelation, a brain blushing high. We’ve just smoked before our walk to the old city.
We walk to the medina wall. It’s two stories high, thick rose-colored plaster. It extends some 17.5 kilometers. People’ve made holes in the wall, for the martins. The birds exit at night, dive in the purple dusk among the brilliantining orange clouds to catch bugs in the last sun.
The outside of the wall is soaked with a thousand years of urine. There are blemishes on the ground, patches of human poo, sometimes pools of bright yellow.
There are no other Europeans tonight. We walk through the wall to the other side.
“Let’s go spy on our guide’s house,” I suggest.
We walk down a longish residential-looking street. There are no road signs. People stare at us. Even the typically tourist areas seem bereft of tourists. In most areas of the souks, we don’t see any other customers. Just a lot of nice men saying hello to us in several languages, trying, hoping to get some money to make a life.
“All of Marrakech is trying to survive off our whims,” I tell Smith.
We find our guide’s house, then we start out of the old city. It’s a little too unknown yet.
“We could try a new street each day,” he says. “Then we’ll become old hat at this.”
The street is alive. I wish I wish I wish I could feel more comfortable at this. I want to document, to live. I want to be alive in a real place.
Yesterday we drank mint tea in a house that was missing its guts. We walked up winding staircases into rooms that hung off the sides of the building’s facade. The walls were gone. A rooster crowed in the courtyard. The crow was alarmingly loud contained within the constraints of the building.
This is home to me, not this big luxury apartment building outside the city wall.
* * *
The way back “home.”
“Now how colonial is *that*?” I comment sarcastically.
Five carraiges pass us on the road. Europeans. There are rarely, rarely any Moroccans in the carraiges.
“Oh, they’re looking at us!” The men who are startled and awkward and clumsily robust, the women who have shoulder-length blonde hair, and the statistically-conforming quantity of two blonde children.
* * *
The hammam, the bath house. Hamid finds me a female guide. He yells at her for a while in Arabic and she yells back. She pantomimes for me to follow, for me to undress, for me to give everything to an old woman behind a desk. Hamid yells some instructions from the doorway. “Don’t pay her anything. It’s finished. I gave her money.”
“OK,” I say. There’s no talking back to Hamid when he’s determined.
My clothed guide disappears. She’s morphed into a rough woman with big breasts, slender waist and big belly. They take my glasses. I make out brown humanoid forms and tiles and buckets.
The woman takes me through several rooms, each progressively hotter. She points for me to sit behind a girl human. I obey. I scrunch so that my legs hide most of my torso, and I try not to stare at any one person.
My guide lifeform fills her huge bucket. As it gets near the top, she ladles some fresh hot water from it to her neighbors’.
A curious older woman visits me, says hello in French. Says some other things as well but I can’t understand the very confusing accent of her French. It’s issued forth as though filtered through a totally different universe. She has a tattoo, a line down her forehead and her chin. Her right eye is fixed in one direction. Her skin is leather. I make friendly noises and she goes away.
My guide scrubs me with a rough cloth. I wonder if it’s a brillo pad. She looks a little disgusted, has me look at my arm. A lot of dead skin and soap scum is wicking off in little pellets. (We’ve found that most homes and hotels in Europe don’t issue wash clothes, and we’ve gotten in the habit of using our hands rather than clothes.)
She soaps and rinses me several times. Lots of water gets in my eyes and mouth (which I’ve read I’m to avoid because of water-borne illnesses.) She rubs my back, my shoulders, my belly, my legs. She has me wash my own genitals, handing me a pile of gooey brown Moroccan soap.
After I’m rinsed, she takes me to a cooler room. She fills another bucket with warm water, and I’m rinsed again.
I give the woman some money because I don’t know how much Hamid has given her (probably not much) and I want to show appreciation and some feminine solidarity.
I dress and my guide indicates for me to sit. I sit between the door and a young woman who has a baby girl. I’m watched by the room as I apply my makeup.
The baby is very pretty. Thick curly brown hair, little pink mouth, thick eyelashes. The mother leaves her with the curious older woman – the one who has the facial tatoos. She changes the child’s diaper. Perhaps she’s the grandmother? Or maybe just a woman who has a community role at the bath.
The child makes some sweet little noise. The grandma has difficulty dressing her. She berates the girl as she tries to fit a tight shirt over squiggly little limbs.
After all of this I feel a bit foolish. I wonder if my guide thought I was like a child. The next time I go to a hammam, I’m doing everything myself.