A lizard darts across the wall…I pour a glass of Cabernet…turn on the fan…light a fag…thinking about those inconsiderate bastards…the old Gringo Trail Gang is here again…all talking the same lingo more or less…when there was nothing here except the thousands of years of buried civilization under their drinking holes…my sin of envy variegated with scorn…they’re either freeloaders or so rich in the States that six months in Mexico is a only another season in a cheaper whorehouse…swinging in hammocks and surfing the waves and having long serious conversations swilling beer and wine and smoking anything around large tables of horns of plenty with seeming intelligence and maturity that they never show in public…and don’t even invite me for a beer?…how to be real and not give a damn?…I knew something was up when one said that I should consider myself “part of the family”…my guard went up like a cruise missile as I said sure, man…family…I get it…a family whose language I can barely negotiate…right.
Nobody can do it to you like your family…I’m living proof…my lousy Lee family wishes me dead…well I’m still here motherfuckers and I remember everything like it happened yesterday…for me in fact it just did…that is one advantage (and disadvantage) of being a good writer…you live in the past so you never forget…I can remember almost every moment of my life because I wrote most of it down…it kept me awake for decades writing it down…it still keeps me up...it’s past midnight and I was up before dawn and I am not even nearly tired yet, you fat lazy bastards zonked in front of your hypnotic televisions with your lazy dogs and predatory cats and no higher purpose than masturbatory unconsciousness.
It is past time to split this shit-smelling town though…finally they appear to be putting a bridge over the “River of Shit” that flows across the street into the lovely lagoon past the long-rusted “treatment facility”—a four foot pump…where people actually swim…now instead of climbing a four-foot concrete embankment to get past it people can walk and drive comfortably over it without splashing someone…after a hard rain in the mountains the beach is streaked in black that can only be interpreted as merde.
Locals tell me they swim in it all the time…they never get sick probably because they are immune…I doubt that any has had the temerity or initiative to scoop some of that black sand for analysis by an independent chemist though. It does not take a microscope to know on sight that it is e-coli, a deadly little germ which we have in trillions, which is meant to stay in your intestines in order to manufacture shit and never pollute your bloodstream...it is why if you get shot or stabbed in the intestines you are more likely to die of blood-poisoning [“septicemia”] than loss of blood.
If you drank of that effluence you probably would die…I asked some guy about it, a North American who was here before the Aztecs…oh, he said, they made a reservoir to collect it all…I went to look…someone had piled a few boulders up at the water’s edge to stop the flow, which then naturally sank into the sandy beach and out into the lagoon anyway…it’s gravity folks…sort of a final filter of slimy green sand…the “reservoir”.
Ah, what do I care?…I’m going to the mountains where the sweet dream flowers sprout in the black wet soil of silent revelation or instant jubilation beneath unrepentant jungles of living pines, making funny faces among the perfectly symmetrical pine needles…inviting you to join the fun…merrily laughing at your reluctance…waving whole trees at only you; but not “pines; pitying”; not at all; pines in fact amused by your derisible disconnectedness.
Lucky I brought my cold weather gear even though I wanted the hot Pacific Coast…up there the clouds approach like vast gray ships from the Pacific beneath you and then rise to cloak you and your mountaintop in an all-night pouring rain of barrels of water cold as Lake Superior…you couldn’t land a light plane in that downpour even if there was a flat spot to land it on…there isn’t…if you can see 30 feet through it you must be young.
There are some great people here too…here on “la costa” where fishing and tourism is almost all there is…some of these Mexican men and women have hearts bigger than dolphins…compassion is as commonplace in Puerto Angel as indifference in Los Angeles…this one guy that I didn’t even like nearly broke my heart telling me happy birthday, though he didn’t know how old I was, because he saw that I had been here four months, and alone on my birthday…He remembered that I had told him it was my 72nd birthday August 23rd, after he had asked…I didn’t tell him that I could not remember a birthday when I was not alone…He felt sorry for me for being “solo”…for a half-minute I did too…and then I remembered: I chose this. This aloneness. This solitude. This derisible separateness. This form that I refuse to abandon out of pure pride and stubbornness and fate…what else can I call my own?...certainly not my antidepressants that the VA for some mysterious reason has never sent in the four months that I tried to ask them to…I must have surrendered my veterans benefits when I crossed a border…if I seem angry it is because I am not depressed any more…everybody knows by now that depression masks anger and anger hides behind depression…okay…I can deal with it without your damned drugs…I don’t mind being angry…in fact I am starting to like it.
You see, the chemical purpose of “anti-depressants” is actually only to help you live with depression…which is a disease like alcoholism or cancer…to cope, and certainly not to cure you of it…only therapy can attempt that…my own mood disorder probably began when my cradle mate Roy Chauvin at five knocked me cold with a bop on my forehead from a toy baseball bat…the forebrain is supposedly the seat of emotions…after that I would fly into sudden rages when I thought people were not listening to what I was telling them…I had dreadful nightmares that woke the whole neighborhood…I cried easily and didn’t mind shouting…but I never hit anybody…except my older sister once, for which I had my ass thrashed…and, well, I did throw a pillow at my grandmother once; missing, and 20 years later I threw one at my mother too; connecting…okay that’s enough of my interior.
When I first got here August 3rd I was in a cheaper hotel on the next block…it had a second floor balcony overlooking a steeply rising street past a small market and some food stalls…I got to know all the dogs from watching them late into the night from a place in the corner behind a shrub where people seldom noticed me…I sat there smoking for three weeks and going in now and then to longhand some more into my book…my fragile book…one night long before dawn an old man came down the middle of the street carrying a bucket on a boat paddle…he was old…there was a one-legged woman who swept out the rooms and even washed a whole parking lot of a small cheaper motel across the street every night…even if it rained…working class drunks stayed there overnight sometimes for early morning jobs…she supported herself expertly with one crutch while she swept and threw water from a pan and some nights she would walk up the hill with two crutches and a pre-teen boy who might have been her son…she often slept behind a curtain in the first room and never knew I could see her…this old man like nearly everybody passing caused some dogs to bark a little…but they all knew him and the barks were more like helloes…by the time he reached her area, she called out for him to wait, and he did…out she came with a big cold drink and a straw…he must have walked a long way to get into the bay earlier than the bigger motorboats to catch some fish to carry all the way back uphill home to his family…maybe he had a small canoe…he drank some gratefully and muttered a few words and taking it with him departed…she didn’t know that anybody saw…was it her father?...an uncle?...an older brother?...an old friend?…or just another poor old man trying to do the right thing?...there is real love in the world and if you never see it I almost feel sorry for you.
Ah, put on some Miles Davis…”In A Silent Way”…wish I had my music…it’s all stuck back on a hard drive in Brooklyn I probably never will see again…who cares?…the only thing I really miss is my Dylan…I gave it all away again…did you get that Bob?…I gave away so much of your music you ought to be paying me royalties…just kidding…I don’t mind spreading good vibes and wisdom around…you’ve been giving them away for years…I love your last 50 albums…wish I had some of my own to spread around but I’m a bitter old man depressed by pride envy and wrath…I want to be Che…but I’m too old and all the new Che’s I’ve pretended to meet are hopeless effeminate students and educated Europeans who would never live in an unforgiving jungle with weapons and bugs and everybody in the world looking for them…they couldn’t kill a fly…me, I can kill a billion flies.
But actually I’d rather be a Ho…now there was a curious revolutionary…they still don’t get what he did to them…but some of us do and are still cracking up because no one deserved it more…the most-intellectual revolutionary since Tom Jefferson…of course I pay obeisance and honor due to the poor unfortunate U.S. servicemen and women and their foreign allies who were duped into dying and killing all those poor people of Southeast Asia for the Corporation…some were my friends…all the marines are my buddies…Semper Fucking Fi.
[If you are confused by my anti-Americanism here, please read, “Our War: What We Did to Vietnam and What Vietnam Did to Us,” by David Harris…it says it all…I don’t have the patience or the time to quote it anymore.]
And before I proceed to harangue you more, I want to add this little bit:
“We are not…approaching Socialism at all, but a very different state of society…in which the Capitalist class shall be even more powerful and far more secure…a society in which the proletarian mass…shall change their status, lose their present legal freedom, and be subject to compulsory labor.” Hillare Belloc; 1913.
If you read the history of peace, and there are one or two, you will see that the headiest time in history for peace activists was the 20 years following the signing of the First Geneva Conventions in 1894 after a century of international struggle, outlawing some weapons and making up “rules for warfare.” They were so sure that peace was “at hand” before the millions perished in WW I…they were deliriously ecstatic about it, while the war factories were turning out cannons, tanks, bombs, battleships, submarines, bombers, machine guns, hand grenades, poison gas shells and chemical weapons and other profitable merchandise in anticipation of the coming feast of peace that obliterated so many people and towns and hundreds of priceless libraries.
It’s ironic how Fidel revised Marx by proving that personality can play an important role in revolution…Fidel kept the Cuban revolution alive through three generations with the sheer power and persuasiveness of his voice, personality, commitment and erudition…and how Ho proved that Lenin’s simple little formula is unbeatable for those who get it…that curious little man of so many names in a pure white suit who vanished for 30 years…reappearing in August 1945 with a Declaration of Independence and an ancient sage’s wispy beard and a child on each knee; that ultimately confounded them all…it still makes me laugh…he feels like my Uncle too…my own stupid uncle Sherman and Uncle Sam too don’t have a brainwave in their heads though…that’s what you get for working for Texas oil companies all your life…If anybody ever is credited with making the cruel American Empire bend its knee for the first time it won’t be Fidel, but Ho Chi Minh…the greatest revolutionary of the 20th Century…Defender and Liberator of every Asian or Indian who ever lived and died below the white man’s lash…or the French guillotine…or the English noose…or the American electrodes…right up there with and surpassing Augusto Sandino…”the General of Free Men.”
Fidel sure did his bit all right…you should hear some of the shitty disinformation I hear about him in Mexico though…I see all these guys wearing Che shirts…Oh I am so impressed…what a revolutionary you must be…I bet you have a condo in the Bolivian jungle…the CIA must be making a fortune off those shirts…put on a Fidel shirt and then I will take you seriously and even take your picture just to record the incredulity of it…Che is dead…Fidel the revolutionary is still alive and powerful…He changed his country and his people and he defied more Presidents and CIAs than anybody ever…One poor rich capitalistic Mexican even told me that Fidel had ordered Che to be killed, and had called up the CIA to thank them for the job…that’s about the level here when it comes to politics…a story right out of the Counter-Intelligence Division of the Central Intelligence Agency…thank you Matt Damon for showing it like it is…(“The Good Shepherd”)…even better than the lie they tell about Danny Ortega “molesting” his own daughter…yeah, right…they even have her “testimony”…Hitler had syphilis too…tell it to the marines they are dumb enough…I ought to know because I was one.
In actuality when Fidel heard of Che’s death he locked himself in his office for hours and nearly wrecked it in a deadly cold raging fury.
“I like Fidel Castro and his beard…” (Dylan)
Show me some guts, people…get off your lazy coke-snorting asses and make them fix the sewage treatment plant…give the fish a break and attract more tourists…have pity on our noses…but what should I care?…freedom from desire that’s the ticket…neither praise nor blame…neither merit nor demerit…neither perfume nor shit…attachment that’s the trap…but you men out there…most of you make me sick anyway…I got eight pairs of sunglasses so you can’t see my eyes…you want to smoke grass and hash and surf and play futbol and drink beer and lay around in a hammock all day, while your woman works her ass to the bone washing yours and the kids clothes and cleaning the rooms and cooking your meals while you play the Local Lord…stoned beyond caring without a callous on your hands…nor a screwdriver or a hammer to your name and some old toolbox rusting in the rain under 10 years of sand and mango leaves while the roofs leak and scorpions spiders and mosquitoes swarm through un-caulked windows and doors and dangerously exposed electrical wiring threatens the undoing of some uninstructed toddler or an unsuspecting old man with a bad heart someday, and you lying there on your increasingly-fat ass listening to stupid songs from stupid people who can’t even play the drums and would be dumbstruck by an intelligent lyric that didn’t begin with “Yo”...your brain is in your dick and just as small, from what I hear.
You poor ignorant macho closet cases hanging out with male drunk braggadocios and screwing every puta around with such a good woman at home…that’s your business…but you ought to be ashamed…you’ll pay for it when you bring her home herpes or HIV and your kid becomes a paranoid-schizophrenic from snorting coke in school just like you…your only principle is self-interest and your sin is pride…I ought to know…you are boys!...muchachos!...boys play…men work…thank God that I had to work like the other niggers…you disgust me…I feel sorry for her…I feel nothing for you.
Or for myself either. ..I disgust myself too for letting them make me a slave with a big mouth and so much to say that I cannot write it down fast enough…but what good will it do and what good have I done?...who am I but a lonely old man with grandiose ideas and a 10th grade writing level?
I want to buy a motorcycle that will make it to Patagonia.
My only regret of departure is that there is this one really fancy French gal here that I probably will never see again…she is a tightrope walker…a tall blonde with delicate braids who owns a fabulous restaurant in Zipolite right on the beach…she teaches little kids to walk the tightrope--they are amazing!-- and goes with a lifesaving board into the dangerous undertow to watch out for an old man like me who dares it to drown him…it almost did!---most beautiful woman I’ve seen since 2008…Absolutely heavenly...Beatrice is no competition.
Oh Good God why did you ever do this to me?... an eye for beauty but an angry critical mind…Did I want too much?...or too little?...or too late?...if I ever have another life please don’t do this again…no, no more, enough of humanity…I want to be a redwood tree next time or a killer whale... Ha, ha!...give me a view or give me some power…or extinguish my imperishable soul…”Lawd, I is so tard a dis”.
It’s hilarious! All I ever wanted was a long hug and a good massage, and sitting around a fireside reading stories aloud with my wife and kid…anybody who thinks God isn’t a great joker doesn’t know much...but don’t ever worry about me because isolation is my ocean and faith can still move a mountain…”I still am not afraid of God.”
¡Vamos a las montañas!
(Date stamps on all photos are wrong; all photos shot only since August.)