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Archive for May, 2007


Saturday, May 26th, 2007

I’m reading Camus’ Myth of Sisysphus but what I really want is more of his lyrical essays. In Myth he’s trying to argue points. It gets really convoluted. But the book still speaks to me. I am a man aware of living in the absurd, as he is.

My sentence started the day I was born. It will end the day I die. No time off for bad behavior. But in his lyrical essays, he writes about what he sees and thinks. And he does it with grace and wit, and understanding.

“That should be the way things are. Good name for a book, too. Seeing and Thinking.”

They’re actually much more profound than his philosophical essays.

“When you die I’m going to have to find another live-in philosopher.”

You can’t. There’s no one out there.

“I’ll find another ex-con.”

That’s only a piece of me.

“I know; I’m joking.”

There’s a lot who start off. They all quit. They get tired. It’s hard to keep fighting (for truth, justice, what should be the Amerikan way…)

I’m not against intelligence. I’m not against learning. It’s just, the intellectuals get away from life, and they start filtering facts through philosophy.

“It’s like they have to figure out what to believe rather than letting it manifest itself to them.”

Right. Now I can understand having something to believe. But when facts change, you must also change. I can see how you need a philosophy of life to start off with. If you haven’t formed one yourself, you can take one off the rack. But you gotta customize it as you go along. Your philosophy has to be mutable with new input. You can’t change fact to fit philosophy.

Three people have written, complaining about what we’ve written. I’ve answered all three. Two of them we’ve never heard from again. The third, of course, is Melissa, who’s brilliant in her own right.

Wallace Stevens and a whole bunch of other philosophers, like Dewey, all say sorta the same thing. There’re three requirements for building your philosophy: one, it has to have a correlation to reality. Just because you say you can walk in front of a moving bus doesn’t mean you can.

Two, it has to be able to be changed. Because you don’t know everything, and you might learn something down the road.

And three, it has to bring you joy. Why create a life philosophy that makes you miserable?

“I think some people might retort that philosophy is about Truth, not about the Ideal. But the other way to think about this is that philosophy is an outlook, a way of dealing with truth.”

When I say philosophy, to me philosophy has three components. How the world really works, what you are, and the moral interface between the two.

“That’s interesting.”

Just because you think something should be don’t mean it is. Right now my philosophy comes down to two statements: brighten the corner where you are (from Mr. Rodgers) and do as you would be done.

It’s like ripples on the water. Waves, wave theory. When waves intersect, no matter which way they’re going, they increase in amplitude. Whereas the trough between the wave decreases. So if you spread Bad, it’s going to amplify existing Bad and decrease existing Good. And verse vice-a.

Sometimes all it takes is a smile and a thank you. And laughing with — not at — always works.

It’s just everybody, all these little artistic cliques, and poetry cliques, invest so much in their own little construction and domination of their clique…

“Um hm?”

…that they fear anything that varies.

“I like your lucidity.”

Yet one of the best meals I can think of is a really good stew. But in real life the potato people would be fighting the Sauce.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha…”

And the carrot people would be off in the corner licking themselves. My apologies to Chiplis.

You know, my ego is bigger than anybody’s. Yet I’ll listen to everybody and consider what they have to say. Because I’m semi-complete inside. People outside my own parameters don’t threaten who I am.

“I love listening to you. I know you’re a genius. But I think you’re rough with other peoples’ egos.”

I’m very rough with other peoples’ egos. I’m not a fucking babysitter. I’m very nice to children, old women and animals. The rest best be able to take care of themselves. I’m tired of babysitting weak souls. But I also keep my mouth shut unless you force me. I no longer need to be seen because I know what I am.


lady grey

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

foto by smith

Lady Grey

Well I got a little lady
Maybe she a shady grey
But when I lap her lapidary
She the only way

She make me sweet begonia
She jolly up my jam
She make me sweat petunia
She amp my is with am

I want to be her front door man

O lady let me light your darkness
Won’t you lead me late to sin
Let wicked lie be my harness
And my whip lip on lip

wrote that for Lady K who used to be Lady Grey aka Kafka’s Lady until our love lightened her load. going to memorize it for the August 17, 2007 reading she set up at the Poetry Cafe in London for the English contributors to her online zine.

be nice to read to an audience again. we read our poetry 4 times last august in london, and another 4 times in krakow poland last october. waiting until next august will make 10 months between readings for me. that’s the longest i’ve gone since i started reading publicly in 1981. i’m like a junkie, i need my audience fix. london will be nice because it’ll be a year between visits – we started our journey there. it’ll be an interesting bookend to our beginning – we’ll be able to see how we’ve changed in the 12 months and 7 countries in between.

i call the money we give to beggars karma coins – it’s not buying forgiveness so much as priming the pump.

we started referring to moroccan street food as chicken salmonella sandwiches. every time we eat out or buy dead meat from the street, i wonder what will be inside of me, how liquid it will come out – and which end.

lady’s afraid i’m going to end up in jail or the hospital due to my anti-authority attitude or my crumbling body. leaving the public bath today, i wondered what would happen if i collapsed on the street. lady’d be waiting back here at the apartment for me, and i carry neither identification nor fone. i don’t even know our address here.

in croatia when my heart was beating 5 beats then skipping one, i had a panic attack while we were internetting in the library. i was feeling light-headed, tried to count my pulse and couldn’t find it – panicked. looked at lady typing away researching how we were going to get somewhere, then looked about the library, and felt i didn’t want to disturb anyone with my dying, so got up calmly and went to the men’s room. still couldn’t find a pulse in my wrist, so figured i’d do toe touches since they always seemed to get my heart beating more regularly. afterwards, i took my pulse at my neck vein and found it going 130 per minute (my normal is 60)… still couldn’t find my wrist pulse. did some deep breathing to slow back down and went back to my terminal where i’d first felt terminal.

finally told lady about this last month. she exasperatedly said “well next time tell me, maybe we can save you – don’t go crawling under the house to die quietly like a dog.”

my heart mostly beats regularly now – depends on salt it seems… too much salt, too few beats. (and there’s salt in everything, even bottled water – we’re a salt sick civilization). lady says she’d been secretly counting my heartbeats when hugging me in marrakech, and had only found it skipping once. that makes 6 months now we’ve known about it, and i’m still standing.

silver and gold leave me cold. as treasures go, they’re so faux. lady k’s my treasure today.

foto by smith



Friday, May 25th, 2007

Essaouira West Wall


I watch Steve munch a handful of crackers. My face feels tight from running.

“Wanna cracker?”

“No thanks. I don’t have an appetite.” I’m feeling self-contained. I set my hand on my chin, pull my skin.

“Whatcha thinkin? Are you OK?”

“Actually, I’m fine.” I do feel fine.

“No you’re not. You look sombre.”

“No really, I’m fine. I feel really good. You wanna know what I was thinking? I was watching you eat your handful of crackers. I was thinking that some day in the future they’re gonna outlaw crackers because of the hydrogenated fats. But I didn’t want to say anything because I bought those crackers. I’m not your snack manager.”

Steve chomps down on his last two cracker bombs. “You should put that in a science fiction story. There’ll be cracker smugglers. It’s little facts like this that are worth reading. You can always toss in Fat Boy being a hydrogenated bomb.”

* * *

“You know, I’ve rediscovered that I love reading.”

“Reading’s cool. You need this pool from which to draw from.”

“Well I always have this feeling that I should be constantly creating something.”

“Reading is creating. You’re creating your brain.”

“I still feel guilty, though. Like I’m indulging myself.”

“It’s part of the process, Lady. Actually going to see art is part of the process, listening to music is part of the process, talking to people is part of the process.”

* * *

“I have 93 years of dead bodies in my brain,” says Smith.

“At least you honor your family when they die. You think about them. You keep them alive.”

“Oh I do. I use them. I use their little corpses as stepping stones.”

Essaouira Beach – View of Mogador


sound collage

Friday, May 25th, 2007

foto by smith
lady k’s 3rd marrakech assemblage, gifted to hamid

we bought two gallons of water. the store keeper only charged us for one. lady said that’s not right – called him back, showed him the 2 bottles, showed him the excess change. he took back the correct amount and thanked us. this one small action could swell large if he dwells on it, or shares it with others.

it’s funny – if he’d cheated us, we may have kept quiet – minimize bad, trumpet good. lady did a good thing. sometimes i come across as her cheerleader, but the act of the factor is she’s beautiful, smart, talented, has a just soul, a good heart… plus she has fine taste in 2nd husbands.

i told her my list of her sins and shortcomings are written on an etch-a-sketch, and each night i shake it clean. god knows what she does with her list of mine… maybe that’s why her backpack is so heavy. mom always said she felt sorry for anyone who married me.

wild complex dream. fell in with an underground moroccan hippie bohemian enclave run by brad pitt in his wild “12 monkeys” persona, only not quite as crazy. they kept making fun of me, testing to see if i were worthy. they stuffed a huge hunk of hash up my right nostril, told me it’d get me high. i put it in my pocket for later. they loaned me a cell fone to call lady to come on over and thought it hilarious i didn’t know how to use it (i don’t). told them we’d be in morocco 3 months, they said don’t count on it – you’ll be here at least 6. it was a cool group with naked couples bathing in the sitting room, but it would never work for me in real life because i don’t do sycophant well… i’m more the equal but separate outlaw weirdo, and group leaders always want compliant underlings. on my way awake, i realized all i had to do was give them our calling card (the church of not quit so much pain & suffering – the irreverend smith and his beloved lady presiding) and they would have immediately welcomed us. my dream kept on developing as lady awoke and told me her dream of us being homeless and checking out an abandoned building by the sea in which we were going to squat. perhaps dreams mean something (jung and freud think so), perhaps they don’t. but they’re sure a fun way to pass the night. free movies.

my dreams are in color with exquisite detail – stitching in the patterned material on the couch, knick knacks on the shelves, bunches of buttons and lights on the phone, nails in the wood, dust bunnies in the corners, correct scent and color to the hash, pubic hair on the bathing couple, complete streets on the city map. my dream life is richer than my real life, and my real life is really rich. i’m not sure my brain needs my body – which is good because my body is rickety… i abused it too much along the way. my spirit, brain and soul have thrived, but my body’s bent and crumbled. lady’s going to have to get a little red wagon to pull me about – or one of those boxes catherine deneuve kept david bowie in in “the hunger.”

saw a movie scene being filmed when we went for our morning bread. the bread looks and tastes like an english muffin, but is an inch tall and 8 inches across. the scene consisted of a child riding his bike past a dancing line of protesters singing “o morocco.” cop made two horse drawn carts carrying earth u-turn. also saw a film being shot in leeds england last august. that scene was sparse and glum, this one celebratory. our bread is cooked on gas canister operated open-faced stoves standing in the street. noticed all the beggars gone from the street this morning – wonder if it’s due to the film crew.

we’re paying twice what this apartment is worth. the person who found it for us and the person he found it through both get a commission from the renter, so basic premise is screw the tourist, rake the cash. but it’s worth it to us. we’re inside the old walled city, where we wouldn’t be on our own. here it’s an entirely different existence. we walk home through narrow crooked alleys, we have the street sounds, we have the street vendors all about. every time we go out the door, we enter a never ending never boring foreign film. this journey has always exceeded my expectations, but here it’s even more exceptional.

horse drawn cart just clomped by, 8 inches from our front door – 3rd one this morning. they can use the alleys until 7 a.m. – after that they’re only for citizens and tourists. weird to hear horses outside your morning city door. we also hear snare drums beating, bongos bonging, tympanies tinging, herds of school children singing playing, hammers hammewring, propane canisters dragging, soccer balls thumping, stray whistlings, folks talking laughing arguing, cats crying, doves cooing, seagulls squawking, vendors hawking, motorbikes snarling, bicycle bells ringing horns honking, roosters crowing, prayers chanting, woodworker working, suitcase wheels clacking and human carts rumbling over the pavement stones – a glorious joyous never ending sound track of life being lived in an exotic norman rockwell sound painting through the looking glass in ever ever land.

sound collagist extraordinaire jack dangers would love it here.

foto by smith



Thursday, May 24th, 2007

* from a New Yorker article about Obama. I’m not an Obama fan – I think he’s as calculating as the rest of the Dems and Reps.

Steaming in the hammam this morning I had these thoughts:

Intellectualism for the sake of intellectualism is stale, bankrupt, elite. So I’m a thinker – this means I have to search out the most “elite” thinkers? Can’t I find inspiration by interacting with the average person on the street?

My writing about other people is sick. What would Hamid’s son say if he read my blog? My suspicion is that to write about people in an candid way is to exploit them. And it’s impossible to be honest when one does not know all the facts; one only knows the facts as they are perceived. Maybe honesty in journals is overrated. And I kid myself if I claim I’m totally forward. Maybe honesty is the function of serious fiction… Note to self: finish reading the Alexandria Quartet.

I tend to believe good and bad are distributed mostly evenly across all humans. Sometimes I believe rich people not bad, but human, and therefore greedy. I covet recognition and enough money to continue doing what I’m doing; I’m greedy. I try to rise above myself to be fair. Thought: the individual setpoint of fairness is the minimum comfort level one can bear. Shades of from each according to one’s ability and to each according to need…

My other suspicion is that the upper class really is so far removed from average human concerns that they are truly evil by virtue of obliviousness. I’ve also read rumors that the concept of altruism is a middle-class one. That the rich on average do not have this culture of altruism and fairness in which the middle class is raised…

I also believe in my own fallibility. When people are asked questions they are expected to have some soundbite, some consistency. They are expected to have come to some wise point in their lives in which they have the “answers.” I think that to claim consistency is to be stale, to have stopped growing. I do not have the answers. I only have my reflecting pool and the vistas revealed by trail…

The underworld is obscured behind its thick skin. My tangent mind walks in opaque soup. I used to work a little corner of it, peeling into electrical engineering, tinkering where other specialists revealed what’s under this rock or that. But I’ve lost my schooling in favor of broader experience…

* * *

There are many things I love about Morocco. I especially love morning. I wake up to the exotic moan of morning prayer followed by call of rooster and the first stirs of gulls. This morning, the solitary noise of a single musician played his way down our street.

But it’s not all good. Smith says, “the trouble with most travelogues is that they skip the shit. It ain’t all Pepsi and popcorn, you know.”

Oh, I’m tired. The days are pretty full here. I have a simultaneous dismay and enthusiasm for this country. First week I got here, I didn’t want to go to sleep because I wanted to explore the city as much as possible and I couldn’t wait for morning.

I’m still enthusiastic, but oh so tired. We’ve been here 45 days, and every day is a struggle to find something to make our existence more comfortable. Today we went on our third quest to find pillows. We were successful this time. Smith is suffering from allergies because the pillows in our apartment were chock full of dust. Although we wrapped them in two cases, the dust still puffed out. I do not understand why the owner of this apartment keeps it in such abysmal shape. This is her business. She should treat her customers better. I wonder if she *ever* washed the bedsheets.

It rained this morning and yesterday morning. I hoped the rain would clear some of the filth from the streets, but it just rearranged it. The storm sewers are thick with sludge, and the rain water sits on top of the street over the drains, unable to exit until the sun bakes it into the air. In the new part of the city, the storm sewers are permanently overflowing with pungent DayGlo green puddles.

Men clean the streets every morning, but they double as trash cans for the citizens. First thing in the morning it’s really raunchy. Fish heads and feces and lethargic dead-looking pasty-eyed kittens, cats with chunks peeling off or missing. Two dead rats this morning and bloated floating cockroaches.

Climbed over a fence to the shoreline which runs up against the city’s western wall. I passed a young woman. She was walking on the fence. She stopped me, said I should not continue on to the shore because it is dangerous. I thanked her, and we went out anyways. Some distance out, we saw poor people had made camps along the wall. There were several fires. There were no women, but lots of tattered men. In our explorations Smith and I stayed within sight of the tourist area to reduce the probability of our being mugged.

I’m tired of this. I see the beautiful shoreline, the city’s wonderful architecture and colors, but my overwhelming experience is of dirt and poverty and trying to stay healthy. We still do not have sturdy turds even after all our precautions of putting iodine in the wash water for our produce, not eating raw street food, drinking bottled water and even brushing our teeth with bottled water. It’s really discouraging.

In an error of judgement I bought chicken from an unknown butcher. I should have gone to his neighbor, from whom I’ve already bought chicken and not got sick.

But the transaction was initiated, so I chose a chunk of chicken with the skin on it. I buy chicken with skin. I figure it protects the meat from the flies. Maggots won’t hurt me, but flies carry disease in their shit and vomit.

As the butcher cut the meat into chunks for me, I noticed his cutting board. It must have years of soaked salmonella juice. And then I noticed the hands wielding the knife. Big patches of white on his skin as though he had lost pigmentation because of some skin malady.

When I paid the butcher, he didn’t even bother to wipe his hands, much less disinfect them. He took my paper money with his wet chicken hands and gave me change. Ew!

I decided the chicken was safe. It didn’t smell. I’ve smelled bad chicken from US grocery stores and I know when it starts to go. Heck, this chicken is probably safer than US grocery store chicken. Here the consumer can witness the processing.

I removed the deadly skin. This is the first time I’ve seen straggling feathers left in chicken skin. I washed the naked meat in iodine-laced water as an extra precaution.

Made curry chicken with gobs of fresh (and washed) cilantro. It was delicious.

We didn’t get sick, but it’s not an experience I want to repeat. I really gotta become vegetarian.


fruit flies

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

foto by smith

essaouira day 13, morocco day 45

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. – Groucho Marx

it’s a chill grey rainy day after a night of tossing and turning. told lady this would be a good day to be stoned. she asked if we should go out and seek some. said no… it’d solve today’s doldrums, but create other problems – be better to wait a couple months. nobody knowing me these past 40 years would believe i’d ever say that. this journey has changed me.

i’ve also changed in that i’ve less anger and rage against the machine inside me. you can’t go through those many border bureaucrats and passport prosecutors without becoming more laid back and equanimous within. finally learned not to expect logic or fairness from flux.

although sometimes i do yearn for a shelf i could place me on to wait out my off moments. there’s a service in switzerland for the wealthy overweight – they’re put to sleep for months while they’re fed diet liquids intravenously to lose pounds… they go to bed a sphere, wake a straight line.

this is our 12th day straight of not smoking. starting to remember my dreams again. daily use of hash or grass makes me unable to recall night dreams. some sort of short term memory transfer failure. 16 years ago when i was drinking like a fish and smoking grass like a west virginia coal-fire factory, i had the longest short-term memory gap in town.

lady dreamt last night we went underground to a bus station. the moroccans there were dwarfish and had blue hair, their faces covered with freckled patches of it. said she didn’t know blue was a natural hair color… guess she hasn’t seen those little old blue-haired ladies infesting florida. she also dreamt she was with 3PO again – her cat of 12 years we had to leave when we left the states. in the dream he was covered in fleas and she was trying to find flea powder. in waking life, 3PO’s happy, flea-less, and has taken to sleeping in her mother’s kitchen sink.

in my dream, we were sharing a 100 foot long philadelphia hotel room with my father Pappy who’s been dead 18 years and my mother Mother Dwarf who died 2 years ago. night before in my dream i was smoking so much hash with my dead brother Cat i’d lost 4 days and was upset because i couldn’t remember taking the ferry across philly. he’s been dead 20 years. that’s 40 years of dead folk in my immediate family – 93 years if you toss in my 1st dead brother who lived 9 months and checked out 53 years ago. i’m 61 years old, yet carry 93 years of close family death around in my mind. no wonder my head’s heavy.

the day count above jumped by 2 because not counting the partial days bothered me. i’m a counter. i count because the answers might clarify the who what where why i’m in this life without parole sentence called existence. i collect facts as clues – hoping for answers, or suggestion of direction.

the longer i live, the less i understand. the more i learn, the less i know. the more myriad my experience, the more mystified i become. actual answers seem as chimerical as unicorns and honest politicians.

if there’s a god, she / he / it / they are doing one heck of a lousy job, whereas evil seems to be working just fine.

mammon is mammoth, spirit supine.

perhaps we create god in our image to explain the evil we do. there’s the nasty but understandable law of the land – kill what you need, but eat what you kill. then there’s the law of the rich – which is kill everything in sight, deposit it in your checking account, then kill more for your savings.

I’d eat the rich, but their taste is so bad
I’d serve the poor, but too many already have

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. – Groucho Marx

George Bush in 2003 told Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz): “God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.”

i told Lady K that Cheney and Bush have now killed an estimated one million Iraqis. “That means they’re this millennium’s first mass murders” she replied. i’m shocked, i tell her, how dare you say such things about our unelected leaders.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. – H.L. Mencken

foto by smith


free naked lunch

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

collage by smith

when i was 21, i thought there was no hope for mankind. there were simply too many of us, we all wanted more than we had, we lusted after what others had. then i grew into this complicated dance of changing humans through non-violence, making the world a fairer place.

now i’m back to where i was 40 years ago. even if somehow we could revolt via violent or non-violent means, install a good, fair, honest, ethical government, pass just laws, there would still be some who wanted to work and contribute less than their fair share, still be some who wanted more than their rightful allotment. but even if it worked, once the good governors died off, the paper pushers and the power hungry would take over, twisting it all out of whack to fit their own human weak need.

if you have government, that means governors. governors mean you have an elite class. elite means some have more than others. there has never been a ruling system that worked. communism, socialism, capitalism, communes, churches, tribes all have leaders. with leaders you have automatic privilege. without leaders you have the rule of the strong or wiliest.

you’ll always have folk smarter and dumber, weaker and stronger, more impetuous or cautious. then there’s the genetically, mentally, morally, and physically damaged who just weren’t born right.

so no matter what, the way man is, we will never have a just world. the only way is to teach the world to think differently, to desire other than they have for 100,000 years. and we have neither the time nor the willingness to do so. we’re running out of world.

our only chance would be like the arch building ants that cannot complete their arches until there are enough of them to reach mass mind, whereupon they know to insert the keystone to prevent the arch from collapsing. such mass mind awareness could happen, but it’s not likely.

we’re not going to fix the problem because we are the problem.

so, there’s no fair world down the lane. probably not even an earth down the lane which will support humankind. there’s no happy ending. there’s no utopia. there are no presents beneath the tree on the magical christmas morning which will never arrive.

what does that leave?

we can only live each of our own lives with the maximum amount of joy we can generate for ourselves, while doing the least amount of damage to others and the environment. it comes back to a combination of mr roger’s “brighten the corner where you are” and every religion’s “do as you would be done.”

humanity is a cancer that has doomed the earth – it’s up to each of us to be more benign than malignant so this dying earth hosts us as long as possible.

nothing – not non-violent revolution, violent revolution, electing good politicians, cutting green house gasses, recycling, sharing the world’s wealth, eating the rich, becoming vegetarians – nothing whatsoever is going to save us in the long run. eventually we’re going to choke ourselves to death.

BUT, all the good things to do i just mentioned could extend our earth life just a little longer. so it comes down to how long we want to hang around, and how miserable we want to be while doing it.

so missus and mister human, i suggest you start doing all the things you’ve wanted to do but have been putting off. do it now, and do it as ethically as possible. don’t worry about the financial cost because money is temporary – as it life and the earth’s ecosystem that nurtures our portion of it.

not only is there no free lunch, soon there’ll be no lunch at all.

foto by smith


the dead and:or dying

Monday, May 21st, 2007

foto by smith

essaouira day 9, morocco day 42:

lady’s tormented. her grandmother appears to be dying. her grandfather died last december, and i read that statistically when one of a close long term couple dies, the other fades within 6 months.

my mom lasted 15 years after dad died. of course she moved in with me for the duration, and life was so weird in artist-poet land, she stuck around just to see what oddness was next. plus my 4,552 film collection from 1894 through present helped distract her.

lady’s thinking of ending our trip right now, 4 months early. tried to tell her to fly back, see granny, then come back to me, but she won’t leave me. i find the thought of returning to america now abhorrid. probably feel the same way in 4 months, but by then i’ll have arranged a few poetry readings and an art show to take the bad taste out of my mouth. i’m also looking forward to our scheduled reading in august in london at the poetry cafe.

lady’s grandpa and granma were her home in the early days of family turmoil, so i understand. plus granny’s a nice lady with a sly sense of humor. comes down to whatever lady needs, we’ll do. i’ll let you know when i know. life is weird, brought to you by monty python, and then you die.

. . .

we didn’t have any coins left to give the beggars, so i plotted paths around them to not disappoint. but the lady beggar to our left moved down to our right and caught me. fortunately i had 1 coin in my pocket for her. it is nice, yet disturbing, to have the beggars smile in happy recognition when they see you coming. it’s cool to make someone’s day by giving them 12 cents – but it’s hard work finding the coins. no one will make change. lady says there’s 2 levels of life here – the 200 hundred dirham bill people, and the 1 dirham coin folk.

we can’t store food due to bugs, heat, no refrigerator, and lack of safe storage – so we must go out and buy 2 to 30 dirhams of food for each meal – but we can’t buy the food because we have no coins because we’ve given them all to the beggars and the shops can’t break what the bank money machines dispense.

no matter how much we give away, there’s always more to break your heart.

a blog reader suggested we were fascinated by poverty – they couldn’t understand because “we have poverty in cleveland too”. poverty appalls and repels me. i come from a poor family, so know what it’s like, how it eats at your mind and self esteem. but the poor in america would be considered fortunate here. america even as screwed as it is still has a few shelters, a few free clinics, a few food lines – here the sole service offered is they cart your body away when you die. there are too many poor in america, but the number is astronomically exponentially greater here. the odd part is no one feeds the poor, but many feed the cats. think if i were poor here, i’d start eating cats.

we’re living in the midst of it and would have to be fools, blind, hard hearted, and dishonest not to blog about it.

foto by smith



Monday, May 21st, 2007

essaouira day 9, morocco day 42:

“I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it.
But I know that I do not know this meaning
and that it is impossible for me just now to know it.”
Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus (1942).

foto by smith

foto by smith

foto by smith

Whethered Would

Uneasy cockroach co-existence
Exilic, yet extant
Contingencies of space and time



Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Wrote this blog entry this morning and then found out my grandmother is dying; her Alzheimer’s has taken a turn for the worse.


It’s morning. Smith’s stiffly moving about the apartment, naked. He has toothpaste foam in his beard. He goes into the spare bedroom to weigh himself. 172.8. I’m worried because I think he’s losing too much weight. A friend suggests he may have picked up a digestive parasite here in Morocco.

I watch his penis dangle heavy in its foreskin. I start our morning coffee, thinking about his anatomy. The foreskin would be a nice place to smuggle things. I don’t know why my mind likes to ponder the logistics of criminal activity. Must be my paranoid survivalism.

“So I was thinking about how we could smuggle things. An obvious place would be my twat.”

“Your twat? No, they have special dwarves for that.”

“Twat Dwarves? What songs do they sing? Whistle Whilst You Work?”

“Oh, no. They sing ‘Burble while You Work.’

We giggle. Smith thinks I’m finished. He pads into our bedroom. I follow him.

“Actually, I’m not done. I was thinking your foreskin would be a good place to smuggle things.”

“Like what? They’d have to be awfully small.”

I think about this a bit. I mostly want to secure our bank cards. I could get a card in my twat, but it’d be uncomfortable, might bend and break. I could fit a roll of dollar bills in it, though.

“Oh, like a dollar bill. I’m sure you could get a dollar bill under your foreskin.”

“But why?”

“Or hash.”

“I could put hash in here.” He fingers his ear. “But not black hash.”

“Oh, you could. Sometimes earwax can be black. You know, I’m glad we have fun. A sense of humor is the secret to happiness.”

“Yes, a sense of humor is all that can get you through this veil of darkness and death.”


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