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NauenThen

Monday Quote

Billy, me, Teresa, Steve. 

It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you.

~ John Updike

 

Perfect quote for this trip, which was largely undertaken in order to spend time with 3 of my oldest friends. Steve & I met at the last big anti-Vietnam War demonstration on April 24, 1971, and have been close ever since. We are now in Cuenca, Ecuador, spending as much time as possible with Teresa & Billy, who I haven’t seen in quite a few years. That doesn’t matter. We are connected in a primal way & there isn’t a moment of fumbling to start talking. A lot of what we talk about is how our experience together affected us—transformed us—but we also are enjoying each other’s company in the here & now. 

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Cuenca!

The New Cathedral at dusk, from the window of my Cuenca bedroom.

Here I am! Though I left New York on Wednesday morning, we only got to Cuenca on Friday afternoon due to Willis being delayed by weather in Atlanta. Going from sea level to 8,000 feet feels a little jet laggy so only now writing. First impressions? People in Ecuador are the kindest in the world. For example, everyone has been entirely patient with my attempts at Spanish (turns out it’s not even passable, despite the studying I’ve been doing).I have never seen such open smiles. Cuenca is a beautiful colonial city that reminds me of Spain, unsurprisingly. We are staying in a gorgeous huge apartment half a block from Parque Calderon. I probably could sit in the park & do nothing else this whole trip, and have a wonderful two weeks. 

 

 

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And off I go

Packed? Pretty much. Passport? Mos def. Drink the water? Simon says don't & he's from there. Everyone else says yes. 

 

Am I ready? I guess so. South America, here I come! 

 

I'm expect to blog while I'm there but ya never know what my days will look like. 

 

Canda munani! (Quicha for "love ya")

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Teeth Street

This terrific little artwork was made long ago by Tim Milk. 

Teeth

 

I lost the first one in a fight

that was all right

the gap balanced my gat-toothed grin

another couple rotted away          family trait

that was all right too           I stole from my father's grave

I donated a few to the chinese vase industry

& a chubby cherub winged another

wisdom never did strike so from 28 I was down to 17

      next to go were the canines

they withered away when I gave up eating meat

   as I grew vague & dreamy I had no further use for incisors

        my lover swallowed several in vigorous kissing

& to give better head I had the rest removed:

gone gone gone

    what you see now are pearls of great price

intricate carved scrimshaw from longdead great whales

a mouth replete with radio receivers television antennae ebony

cradles tiny camera miniature quill pen cuneiform tablet

each spot has a function disguised as a tooth:

I cook my mouth's garden in my mandible wok

 

1978 or 1979

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Monday Quote

Patriotism is animated by love, nationalism by hatred. To confuse the one for the other is to pretend that hate is love and fear is courage.

~ Jill Lepore, This America: The Case for the Nation

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Getting ready to hit the road (sky)

I'm pretty much packed, with all the codes, passwords, reservations, etc, sorted out. I'll be in South America in just a couple of days. I have no real frame of reference for this whole continent, unlike Europe, where I've been many times & where my people come from. I suppose Ecuador is no more like Peru or Argentina than France is like Germany or Italy.

 

Will I feel tall in Ecuador? I remember Markos & I in a subway car in Mexico City, talking over the heads of every other passenger.

 

I will try not to forget anything. As long as I have my passport & some money, I can get whatever I need. I always say that when I travel. Whatever I don't have, I can get. I was sleepy & nervous & despondent but today i did the laundry & errands, & now I'm excited to go.

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The office ghost?

I found this record—I'm sure I've never seen it before—in my office, not even behind a million things. Where did it come from? Do objects roll up like rocks in a field? 

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From the vault

Me, Varda, Charlie. I'm 16 or 17 in this picture.

Still feeling low. Too much tRump. Still shocked at the racism & cruelty that feels overwhelming this week. This picture cheers me up. My beloved sister & brother, when we had all the future in the world. They are wonderful, then & now.

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Cowboy Jazz

I've been thinking about the terrific band Cowboy Jazz. I had cassettes of their two albums, Swing Boogie and That's What We Like About the West. I've never found a CD or mp3 files. They were from Baltimore or DC area & I have no idea who turned me on to them. Three women singers & a lineup of sensational western swing musicians. I guess they're Asleep at the Wheel with women leads? 

 

I bought a Tony Kosinec record because I'd loved him long ago but I hardly got through it - not even close to in tune & the songs were awful except for one, it had a car in it but I can't remember more than that. 

 

All I do is recapture my old interests, it seems

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Catching up

Robyn knew what this thrilling operation was all about—construction. 

My computer has been in the shop & now is like new, with a replacement trackpad & hard drive. It's almost exactly the same except for a a few glitches that I'm trying to fix. 

 

Kid Sean came over & he helped clean my office & came with me to the Brickman for light-blocking film for my windows—& I discovered a spray paint that makes them opaque. I probably got a brain tumor spraying them today but now light gets in & people can't really make out what's going on in my office. Which is in a half-basement, putting the windows at street level. I've had black curtains for years. Right now I feel exposed but I think I'll get used to it. 

 

I had class & Sylvie & Robyn & I went to a cool show on Ludlow Street, a young Pakistani-Canadian painter whose name I don't know, sort of a more vibrant Lichtenstein.

 

Sunday was beach training, a nap, & then we saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which I liked much more than I expected to & it didn't seem long at all. 

 

So this is, like, 10 blog posts rolled into one. 

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