Archive for Category ‘Note‘

Remember?

Remember when I juggled the baby tigers in the swimming pool? I was wearing cowboy boots. I have a picture of that day – in my mind. They called me the gentle juggler because the baby tigers were still sleeping. I told them to call me the gentle giant, but there was a man who was taller than me in the crowd.

riding along the wall

This apartment building stands across from the ice cream shop on a tree-lined street that points toward the heart of the city.

I frequently ride by this building on my bicycle en route to the center for a few hours of working in a cafe or for drinks in the evening. There is a diminutive garden patch in the corner of the grassy lot where carnations and several stalks of corn grow.

During the afternoon the sounds of women beating rugs descends from the balconies and in the late evening all is silent except for the bustling of midnight bakers in the grocery down the road.

Often there is a gypsy girl, maybe nine years of age – sometimes younger, standing by the wall that traces the sidewalk in the midday sun. She watches me as I pass by, smiles, and calls me a whore or a motherfucker.

Late Summer Overlooking Autumn from the North

Late Fall Overlooking the Fields of Eastern Austria

I returned to Prague, the city of steeples and guided tours, to find the leaves on the trees crinkled and fringed in brown. I know what this means; but how can it be? Summer just arrived two short months ago and now autumn looms like a deadline. Not that autumn is at all unpleasant, but generally speaking, autumn is followed by winter. Winter is cold, limbs are barren, the evenings are dark, and distances become greater as the frosty air nips at my ears and neck while I trudge along the sidewalk toward the subway tunnel. I never trudge in summer. I am not sure that it is possible.

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Fallen leaves. With the obvious signs of summer’s conclusion littering my doorstep like abandon concert flyers and plastic beer cups, I feel the weight of responsibility. Time is passing, I tell myself, better make the most of it.

This sentiment is in stark contrast to the endless season known to me in my younger days, idling blissfully on the shores of the Pacific Ocean under a perennially perfect sun. And so it is that climate supports the species: in my case, a Southern California lad, content with the ebb and flow, given time all good things will manage of their own accord and seasons slip by unannounced.

Though for people in the realm on the Bohemian regent, and others scattered about the continental crust, time has a messenger. The season spurs the sowing of seed, the repair of a leaky roof before the rains, a fresh battery for the automobile to safeguard against being marooned in the frigid winter night, a milestone in anthropological undertakings. And the inhabitants of this realm are au courant with the palpable passage of time. For me, the notion remains elusive.

Perhaps for me, it is a cue that I will remain timeless, like an armchair purchased long ago that never went out of style. Or perhaps something more ominous. In my dream life, the predawn world that I regularly inhabit, my subconscious crafts narratives on the onus of existence, and a curious facet of this theater is that the actors remain the comrades and antagonists of my adolescence.

Saturdays

The city sleeps in on Saturday. In June the morning comes early, by seven thirty – my daily rising hour – the sun weighs upon the red tiled rooftop of the school building across the street and the leaves glisten below its brilliance. It is already hot at the stool by my window onto the world. The only sound breaking the bird songs is the motor of a trash collector dragging it’s load up the street; otherwise the street below remains deserted.

From my window, Saturday is a day like any other. There is no celebration to commemorate the end of the long work week. The is no hangover to cloud this view from my window onto the world. The days are marked by rain and sun. Blue skies bring a tinge of regret when I keep myself indoors, and storms bring a relief that I am sequestered inside by a force greater than my will. There are days when I must phone-in a report on my ongoing progress. There are other days when I remain wholly unaccountable for my schedule. Progress ebbs and flows.

The milestones are increasing infrequent. I count time in months and by the migration of the sun. The world outside anticipates a response, while I seldom anticipate the future. I rose this morning with purpose and I will sleep this evening with the solemn sensation of time slipping past; though I cannot say how long it has been.

The Departure Terminal

A few months ago I took my show on the road. It is not much of a show to be honest, like a one man band playing a haunting and familiar melody on a worn down fiddle with a hat full of coins and crumpled currency at his feat.

I set out to embark on a grand adventure, my charts and maps laid out before me, teasing my destination out with my fingertip that moved coarsely across the flat tattered paper map of Europe. My finger skimmed over boarders and boundaries of established societies with remarkable ease.

My traveling cases were crammed with the distillate of my lares and penates. I wore two hats upon my head, quite literally, as I lurched through the international terminal toward the ticketing counter. One hat would serve as a collection vessel for crumpled gratuities, the other as a metaphor for the dying vestige of my materialistic constancy.
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“Oh my, you have a tremendous quantity of luggage in tow considering your gender. How long will you be traveling?” inquired a slovenly togged hen.

“Indefinitely,” I uttered beneath the strain of my burden.

I approached the ticketing agent.

“Mister Taylor, it appears that one of your bags exceed the weight limit.”

“That’s fine, I’ll pay more.”

“I am afraid that is impossible, the weight limit is set by the union, it cannot be exceeded.” She said it as if the union had inconvenienced her greatly in the past. “You will have to move some items to another suitcase.”

“I don’t exactly have another suitcase with me, maybe you have a box I could use?”

“Hmmm, I don’t think that we have a….Let me check,” She glanced over her right shoulder, “No. No box here. If you just go over there,” pointing with a crooked finger to indicate a turn into a corridor, ”you will find a luggage store.”

I stepped away from the counter with my offending baggage and briefly considered purchasing another suitcase and paying the fee for extra luggage. Then, understanding the stupidity of that solution, I hastily tugged the beastly green suitcase to a nearby garbage can and unzipped the compartment. I needed to reduce the load by only 3 kilos. I grabbed my sketchbooks and media folder and crammed them into my carry on bag so it was cumbersome and overflowing. Then I took out two large winter coats and put them on, one over the other, which likely matched the absurdity of my two hats in the balmy Los Angeles weather. Without making use of the garbage can I had succeeded in conforming to the union requirements.

I boarded my flight to Dublin and immediately filled the overhead bin above my seat with coats and hats. I laid back in my chair and dreamt of my future on the other side.

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