foto by smith

essaouira day 18

took this foto last august in london. last week lady discovered the graffiti artist is named banksy, and his pieces are going for half a million dollars at art auctions. after reading a new yorker article on him, i googled his images and went to his website – the man has a great sense of humor, some wry cultural commentaries, and a decent amount of talent.

the unattached toilet seat slipped one too many times this morning, so i hog-tied it to the toilet. it can wiggle a bit, but it ain’t leaving no more. i’m a gentle man, but i do have my limits.

all water’s one water. i found two world truisms – children playing sound the same in every country… and men everywhere, as soon as a woman passes, drop their eyes to her ass.

2 locals told us folk call me “Ali Baba” because my beard looks like his.

essaouira day 19, morocco day 51 – 36 days remaining of 87

3:57 a.m. – this is the 4th consecutive morning i’m awake before 4, so i hear the morning prayers. listened to between 7 and 11 mosque minarets broadcasting, each starting the chant or singsong drone at slightly different times. after awhile it’s hard to differentiate when a new one begins since they intermingle so. they either broadcast different prayers, or the same prayers differently played. some drone. some sing. some chant. some shout. some moan.

speaking of slow drone moans, leonard cohen has this soft sad song “4 in the morning” about not being with the one he loves who is with his brother she married. i am with the one i love. my sadness is the unstillness in my soul. these morning prayers soothe me. but 4 in the morning prayers make for a long day awake. right now my love sleeps 4 feet from me.

there are 5 daily prayers in the muslim world – but here there’s six… 4 a.m. (morning) – 12:40 p.m. (midday) – 2 p.m. (?) – 4 p.m. (afternoon) – 8 p.m. (sunset) – 9:30 p.m. (evening). i search the internet but cannot find what the 2 p.m. prayer is. perhaps a different creed, or offshoot. many street shops close for an hour for the 2 or 4 prayer.

morocco costs our souls and my flesh much. yet it teaches and offers much as well. guess most folk don’t drop in for 3 months like we did, they just dip in and out for a nibble. wonder what it was like for william burroughs back in the 1950s before it was touristized? my recall is alan ginsberg and company had to come to morocco to save burroughs – that’s when they began collecting his writings and sending them off to the english printer – which became “naked lunch.” always loved that they sent the chapters off in one order, but the printer returned them in a different sequence – so they printed it as it was returned. it’s a nasty book, but a real one.

this place has upped the level of our writing. we’ve written 450 blogs in the past 11 months – thinking, writing and posting daily brings a fluidity i didn’t have before. i’m also getting better at understanding and describing. this journey’s taking all our money, and really racks my flesh – but it is so worth it. last night lady sat down, opened her computer, said “so, you don’t believe in god,” and we were off. got one of our deeper conversations down… be her blog today. that one and tomorrow’s should cost us a few inconstant readers.

back to my love now, to lie in the dark , listen to the ever constant roosters crowing, and try to sleep. it’s 4:14 a.m.

never made it back to sleep. the seagulls started competing with the roosters. the seagulls sometimes sound like the exotic animal calls in the old 1940s african jungle movies. it’s hard to get to sleep here because our alley is one of 2 main east west passageways through the walled city, and it becomes social central outside our window from dark until after midnight. then it’s hard to stay asleep because at 4 the prayers, roosters, and seagulls begin.

my weight’s down to 170. it went up to 175 for a few days when lady started seriously stuffing me. my heart’s also mis-beating. this morning it went 4-skip, 4-skip, 2-skip, 5 skip, 9-skip, 143-skip. think it’s partly lousy diet, but mostly stress – both the weight and the heart. the croatian doctor’s first guess at its cause was stress, and i was sort of lost in croatia, worried about finances, worried about our aimlessness. then we started putting our bad boy manuscript together, figured out we could survive 2 years on the money we had, and then went to france which was the nicest place we’ve been – and my heart started beating fine.

morocco is serious psychological stress for me. i stop to write a note in my pad and i’m accosted by someone trying to sell me carpet, or spices, or cookies. and they won’t hear my no. it’s like sharks in the water – if you slow down, they move in for the kill. this life of theirs must be a sad way to live… you can’t see other humans the way they do solely as potential food without damaging your soul. and once you say no no no no, they always ask you where you’re from, trying to keep you still and talking just a wee bit longer so they can figure out where else you’re soft and vulnerable so they can take a bite.

the cookie selling young men are rather funny – we’ve been stopped by half a dozen of them with trays of excellent tasting cookies – each tray has exactly the same variety in the same arrangement, and each youth tells us they were hand made by his mother who’s named fatima. each cookie of course is priced twice what they sell for in the bakeries. they do taste good though. this is a scam oriented society, a what’s-in-it-for-me kind of place.

it’s even sadder because all these carpet and spice and cookie sharks are not poor people – they’re doing quite well – but they all want more, they want some of you. sometimes i think it’s not the money that matters as much as the process of getting some of it away from you. they’re sales junkies, con artists who need to play the game, greedy grasping souls.

i’d rather wait another 3 weeks, but i’ve considered finding some hash to smoke because cannabis increases the heart rate. it didn’t skip in marrakech despite the stress because i smoked every single night. but giving in to smoking now would disappoint me in myself – so i’ll wait. smoking’s never the answer anyway, it just creates more questions. i’m not giving in, and i’m not leaving morocco early. i will not be beaten by this country. served two thirds of our sentence so far, so can do the final month. i spent ten months in county prison in 1970, so i can certainly handle three months in morocco now.

i’m finally pondering the possibility of not making it out of morocco. i need decent food, and we can’t cook. going to the store today to look for cans of stuff i can open and eat. will make myself some oatmeal every morning.

if i do die, i told lady to sit my body out in the alley with my hand out – she could collect the coins to live on. also told her to write a short story about having one last goodbye sexual fling with my cold corpse – to jumpstart her notoriety. and if she needed money, she could always rent my body out for unnatural practices. i figure once you’re gone, you’re gone – what difference does it make, the body don’t care. flesh is flesh, it’s the mind that matters.

lady interjects: “I was thinking about having your head mummified and wearing it to the States around my neck.”

as ren & stimpy always say, this is one of those “happy happy, joy joy” blogs. it can’t always be all pepsi & popcorn – (i would never mention pepsi if it weren’t for the alliteration – i’m a coca cola hater from way back).

foto by smith

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