It’s now Thursday, five days into my visit to Rio, to Alcir,
and we’re home, and he’s drinking.  I have never known
anyone who can drink like he can, and yes I know it’s a
bad sign, and yes I know Brasilians drink more beer than
any other country, and yes in that tropical heat, that half
frozen freezer stored refreshment cannot be beat, but…

This man has such high tolerance to everything, since
maybe birth, and so it’s a gift and a curse.  I have seen
him put away liter after liter, go to the store, buy eight
more, I drink one, he drinks the rest, and while he’s out
he’s done shots of Scotch at the local garage bar.

Yes, along those winding urban streets there are countless
bars in garages, little gatherings of men sitting on cheap
plastic chairs, smoking and bullshitting.  It’s a part of
Brasilian culture, the men just go out at night and drink.

So Thursday he drinks, we cuddle, he asks me not to
let him go, and then sneaks out when I fall asleep.
Friday there’s the usual hangovers, denials, and Mr
Bad Mood.  Sullen isolated shit head.
We go grocery shopping at the giant Mercado that we
usually walk to, sometimes holding hands, but this day
he drives us, because his elderly Aunt Maria needs to
go too.  He goes to a chair at one of the little mall stops,
and Maria and I go in with our separate carts and get
what we need.  She is not a happy person in general,
but when neither speaks the other’s language, it’s pretty
lonely.  She cooks, and I can’t even ask her about
ingredients or where something is.  And he’s back in the
mall drinking beer, and beginning to refer to
us as “you people”.    This does not bode well.

I’d so looked forward to getting out and shopping for
things, finding new fruits and vegetables, people watching,
and now he’s just mean and doesn’t want to be there.

When I’m in line, which is always endless… I mean, take
a book or some playing cards when you shop here…
he comes by long enough to load the cart up with beer,
and a big Scotch.  Oh, and I’m buying.
Of course I’m buying… I’m a rich American and I’ve
intruded upon his space, and I will pay.

Maria and I are now pretty much the same, in his eyes.
Irritating women who want something from him.
Never fall in love with a man who hates his Mother.

 

_____________________________________

… not even a week ….

ImageJanuary 1, 2006

Rio de Janeiro, on the island in Guanabara Bay…

Sunday morning is a disaster.  I was demolished, maybe slept
an hour at best, and can hardly begin to sort out my feelings.

Our fabulous NY Eve had turned into near disaster, with him
so drunk, more so than I’d Ever seen him, crashing into people,
passing out for 4 hours, leaving me in a strange country with
no idea where to go or what to do.  Thank God for the kindness
of Brasilians, all Two Million of them along Copacabana Beach,
for there were a few who knew 3 words in English and helped
me while I waited for Mr Wonderful to wake up.

When he awoke, it was dawn, and he was still drunk, and
kept asking me if I still loved him.   Once he awakened on the
street, we found the bus, walked home up the hill, and collapsed.
The same thing went on all day Sunday, him all pitiful and so
hungover,  but somehow we got through it.  Not pretty.

Monday, no one was working, so we stayed home, and I got sick.
Throat sore, coughing, sinus ache… tired… We slept a lot,
watched movies, and slept some more.  It was a good way to
avoid facing our reality from both sides, I suppose.

Tuesday we went for a long walk to the town area and stores
where we could get groceries, and I bought a great set of
stainless steel pans to replace the toxic antiques he was used
to using.  Here I was buying organic produce, and he was
using aluminum and teflon, with no idea what he was doing
to his gorgeous cooking.
He was a great cook, having learned at his Grandmother’s
side, and I remember fondly the way he would make cross cuts
on the half onion in his hands, using a small paring knife,
then make slices across to make little squares for his sauces.
He’d do it the way old people used to do, and beautiful hands
he had…brown and graceful and elegant, as he laughed and
stirred and tasted.

I am sick with fever, and after we walk home through the
old delapadated suburbs and put things away, he goes out
again.   He doesn’t just go out… he comes back and goes out
again, getting drunk, snorting god knows what, and getting
drunk again.
The third time he wants to go, he tells me not to let him,
to tell him Not to, so I do, and he lingers.
Finally I say…”want a massage?” and he melts.
“OK”…  and he falls upon the couch pads.
He falls asleep during the entire back side massage, and
sleeps deeply, quietly, the way he almost always does…
How can a man like him be so peaceful in sleep?

He wakes up speaking Portuguese, and I guess talking
himself awake from a dream leftover.  I laugh…
He does amuse me.

 

_______________________________________

Dead Man Awakening

Back but Not …

This blog started as a running commentary on Dating sites.
Then it went in a direction that was not planned, yet one
that was in the card catalogue…
You know… that thing that you know some day you will write about………Someday.

And then that Someday became a train that I hitched a ride on
for quite a while….

Time was,  it was Time to get off that train… for a while at least.

Perspective.   That is what matters in life.  And perspective
depends on your locale, no matter the Bardot, the Time Zone,
the Chakrah….

So here I am, listening to Brasilian Jazz for the first time
in a long time…
I have avoided it… I did not want to go back to it….
go Back to it, to the emotions that the music lead me to. 
For many years, I used Brasilian music of all sorts to
take me back to that magical place that I had attained with
this person who had come into my life. 
And now, for years, I have pushed all of it away….

It’s called Survival.  It’s called Healing…
It’s also called something … oh,
and Right Now as I write, Jobim has come on Pandora, the
station that will be my slave and play whatever mode I choose…
And like I said, I am allowing Brasil to re-enter my reality,
because… although it represents Him… it also represents
the culture that I fell in love with many years ago, and
opened such beauty and rhythms and sweet language sounds to me.

Please…. I am a girl from the sixties, and I loved those days
when Samba entered our culture, and became a part of Movies that
are Dated by the Samba notes that are played as Party background.
I mean, check out Peter Sellers, and an early film… “The Party”…
which, if you haven’t Seen it… oh you Must!
It’s one of his Best, and Samba and those times just envelope
the film. It was a heady, sweet and naïve time, before Reality
struck. I am so glad I got to be there… But…
I am a girl of the times, and all those notes, those feels
go straight to my soul and to my Netherparts as well…

So now Jobim … and his brilliance, his iconic purity…
reminds me that Brasil is more… so much More than Alcir and
all he happened to bring to me….. I fell in Love with Brasil,
and was lucky, privileged enough to really get a taste of a
culture that mesmerized me for so, so long.

So I guess I am saying a few things… I still love Brasil. 
I am still in love with the Music that falling in love with a
Brasilian took me to…. and now I seek to, on one note,
Separate one from the other, and on another level, Allow me
to feel some positivity towards finishing my story about
my love affair with Brasil, and with this crazy Brasilian
who really in all honesty, fucked me over big time…
whilst bringing what I wanted, which was a true real visceral
experience of uniting with this culture.

And yes, still, I feel there are things that need to be
confronted, completed, shared, and yes, even enjoyed,
before this tale is over.

OH… and ps… I am now Listening to DEAD MAN WALKING
soundtrack, and yes, You Alcir know what that means…

 

————————————————————–

…he said…

I’ll never lie to you….  I’ll be true to you….
I’ll carry you on my back if need be…

The words.  They rang in my head now, as I lay near him,
tossled, sweaty, still drunk from the new years night.
Who was he now?  He’d said so many things, perfect things,
and now that I was once again his prisoner, a stranger in
a strange land, at his command, his mercy, his brutal life
style which had included lying, and cheating…. and now?
Now I had carried Him for hours of cold and lonely fear,
protected Him, been true to Him, and it all just came
crashing down.  Morning light was cruelly harsh, lighting
that crumbling hovel he called a home, filled only with
him and his sad and bitter life.
Back in Rio, full of hopes and dreams that were beginning
to crack and crackle before my reddened eyes.

… it’s all about me …

face in love

face in love

I used to think that Love could do all, heal all, and be all.
I used to believe in love Above all, and that it could conquer
every doubt, no matter the cost, because the ultimate in life
just had to be finding the One and Being in Love with that
other, that mirror, soul mate and journey friend.

I still believe in Love, but in a very different way.
I have grown up, finally, and it feels wonderful!
Real Love, True Love is not attached to any one person….
It is that which is called Unconditional Love.
And that includes yourself, and can include others, and
the world at large, Life itself.

This story is about me, and my journey through and to the
other side of this naiive, albeit heartfelt notion.
It may appear to be about the particular man at a particular
place I was at in my life, but it really is about Me, and how
experiences that we call to ourselves, create for ourselves,
are really such rich learning grounds for reaching for other
levels and bardos of awareness.

Shedding those sometimes thick and tenacious skins can be
painful.   And often we resist, especially when there is love and
attachment involved.  I mean, isn’t love supposed to feel good?
Well…yes… but there are always deeper reasons, and if we are
willing to delve into it and actually look, we can have the great
opportunity to benefit in ways we may never have dreamed of
consciously…. but our Soul knows.

Let your Soul be Your Pilate…Let Your Soul Guide You,
as my friend Sting has said…

We have called this to us… I called this to me, as he called
it to himself as well.

Growing up is hard work.  It means letting go of a whole lot of
shit that we would rather hold close.
Change is hard, and the human animal resists change at all cost.
It’s painful, and it’s costly on many levels.  But nothing is more
valuable to our Soul’s work here on this planet, and particularly
at this time of evolution and transition to higher vibrations and
consciousness that we are a part of.

So this story is an attempt to share not only a remarkable life and
being that I was privileged to be very close with, the heady intimacy
of it all…..It is a wonderful Romantic adventure worth telling….
But it also maps the journey that I took to move through and
beyond all my childish notions that I held so dearly…
Notions about what love really is…
and on to a more stable and rich abundance of Options in my life,
now that I am no longer imprisoned within the confines of fantasy
and wishful thinking, which I indulged in all of my life.
We All tend to see what we Want to see, what we Expect to see…
and often ignore signals and signs, out of our Desire for Love.
And we don’t get a lot of help from the culture we live in!

Genuine love, and truly Seeing someone and how beautiful they are,
how unique and delightful they are, and how thrilling it is to be so
close with someone so overwhelmingly powerful and Full of Life…
well….it is just that…
Thrilling, invigorating, humbling, terrifying and exciting…
the potential crashing together of two Souls filling your imagination…

This Truly was a Love, for Both….but…
As a close friend said, so simply and so wisely…
“Sometimes love isn’t enough…”

_______________

… home …

house 3Our home was small and modest.  It was on the lower level of
this old multi leveled place, an old  manor of sorts, something
the family had lived in for generations.
The Grandfather had had it built a long long time ago, and I’m
sure at one time it was quite grand.  But it had fallen into disrepair,
and had this very sad aura about it.

Alcir was born here, and his mother and father still lived on the
upstairs level, although I never saw them.
He was disabled, in a wheelchair, and the only time I saw Her was
one day during my first visit…
I was sunning out on the deck of stone slabs, Not naked I might
add, and she came out on her upstairs veranda and yelled down
at me in Portuguese.

“nao fala Portuguese”, I responded, using one of my favorite
phrases while I was in Rio…
“Tu sabes bla bla bla…”   You Know what I mean!
I got That much… I didn’t know the specifics, but I certainly got
the gist… she neither liked nor approved of me, or my presence,
at that place.  Certainly she had no desire to See me, reminding
her of Alcir and his lifestyle.
I knew there had been other women, many other women, and
she had no idea who I was, or of our history and plans.
That one encounter was enough to not only chase me inside,
from the only sunny area… it also made clear her energies and
angry demeanor.  She was full of hate for him, and he for her…
I sometimes referred to the house as a Karmic Layer Cake.
And she was the Dark Cloud Frosting dripping over the whole
entire place.
And this incident of course led to a giant screaming fight between
Alcir and his Mother…. oh goodie.

Our front room was maybe 12×12, and also served as the
bedroom, the bed being made each evening from the cushions
of the couch.   The floor was concrete, with wooden tiles over
that were loose and shifting, creating concrete dust everywhere.
He threw a small rug over the worst part.   There were ornate
wrought iron bars over the one window, the wall 3 feet away
being the only view.

Attached to this room was a sort of hallway that led to the
shower (cold only), and held the small cabinet where he hung
all his clothes.   That in turn was side by side to an equally small
kitchen, with sink and small table.  It was likely 12×4, just wide
enough for me to lay down my yoga mat, (between one wall
and the sink) when I wanted to do my practice, and get away
from the tv, which was on all the time.
He frequently reminded me that that was a  great way to learn
Portuguese.
As I would do my yoga, he sometimes came through, stepping
over me, on his way to the shared kitchen.

Leading out of our kitchen was an amazing old tiled outdoor hall,
very narrow and with stairs leading up to another level outdoors,
where we hung our laundry.  I actually liked this area a lot,
up above.   Sky and quiet.
The walls, tiles and stairs were all a seascapes of rust and
breaking down paint and chipping finishes, creating
something that an artist might try to replicate in faux finishes.

If you went straight, instead of upstairs, there was the laundry
room, with concrete floor which was always cool in those
sweltering summer months, and the cooking kitchen for us
and for Maria.
A four burner stove, pots and pans of the most ancient aluminum
and worn metals, and a sink with cold water, were it’s accessories.

Maria was called Aunt, although she was not actually related to
the family.  She had been companion to Grandma since she was
a very young woman, and was just part of the family.
Now she was alone, and her routine was her life.
There were doors here, one to the outside veranda, and one
to Maria’s.  She had a nice little flat, with several rooms, two
bedrooms, a full kitchen, and lots of food.  I think Food and
the Doctors were her life.

Then there was the front Veranda.  My space.  No one used it,
and the curtained french doors leading to Maria’s were behind
me as I sat, watching the streets, and the people as they traveled
up and down the easy hillside, to the market, to the favellas behind
us, and to little homes that had been there seemingly forever.

The island was built up as Suburbs to mainland Rio, with winding
streets that held the most rundown places covered in graffiti, and
the most lovely landscaped and freshly painted abodes, side by side.

This Veranda was pretty much mine, and the many times I had
to get away from Alcir, or the tv, or the incredible clostraphobic
atmosphere, I came here and looked at that incredible sky,
for it was an island, and weather came and went with great
haste……wind, the people running up the hill to home, then the
giant drops…warm tropical rain and often wild and crashing
thunder, which I loved.
And then the sun would come out, and the island steamed clean.

Alcir and Maria thought I was crazy…. but for me it was thrilling,
invigorating, and Life, in that strange out of time world that both
Maria and Alcir lived in.
During those days, I called him “Dead Man Walking”, for much of
the time his presence was hard to find, fleeting between utter
depression, and the exhilaration he found with drink and powders.

_______________________________

… synchronicity …

How I Love Synchronicity

The film last night was eerily similar to things I’ve
been thinking about lately.  The main character was brilliant,
a genius actually, clever, gifted, abused as a child, and deserted
by the very people who were supposed to protect him…

He was unable to be close to anyone, and always left first,
so as not to Be left.  He did not expose himself to others,
and looked for their weakness, in order to divert attention
from his own fears, and to throw them off balance,
gain the advantage.

Because he thought of himself as unlovable, he could not
venture to love another.  He preferred to keep the distance,
to maintain the fantasy, the perfection of the other.
Real was not something he was comfortable with.

It was so pointedly on, I was tempted to write down some
of the lines.  But the most powerful one, the one that
gathered it all into something that could be absorbed,
and was stated by the shrink was this:

IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!, IT’S NOT
YOUR FAULT, It’s Not Your Fault, It’s Not your fault, It’s not
your fault, It’s not your fault, It’s not your fault, it’s Not
your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not ….  over and over
and over until Finally….
Finally the layers slid away, one by one, and he heard…
He actually Heard and Felt, and the tears came, the
Heart opened, the bruised and battered child allowed
himself to be held and forgiven by….himself.

It did indeed remind me of someone I used to know.
The film is Good Will Hunting… and
it Did help, just a little.

_________

… the him of it …

alcir in his cageImagine someone you See…
Someone who is so beautiful beyond the words to say…
Someone who holds himself in his Own Cage…

Prisoner of Himself…
Held within webs of the past
and
No matter how you try…
No matter how many signals he gives..
No matter how many times he says… Please…
Help me… Please…

Please can you tell me… what can one do…?

…. i’m publishing this amazing picture of you…

_________________________________

… george …

“Do you remember George?”  he asked…

It was late November, 2005,  and my plans had been set.
I would be in Rio for New Year’s Eve… and he had
Big Plans for the night.
As well, his studies were over, he had taken the Big Test back
in October, and although some relief had set in, the long wait
for results and his Captain’s License loomed ahead.

Remember George? I thought.  Of course I remember George….
George and Angela!  His long time friends in Ibicui, Angela with
her lessons in making…and drinking…Caipirinhas.
Ah, Caipirinhas, Brasil’s intoxicating drink, made from Cachaca
and fresh limes, (pronounced cashasa, a colorless liquor similar
to vodka and tequila, made from sugar cane) mashed to bring
out all those wonderful sparkling tangy flavors of pulp and peel,
with a touch of sugar, pounded over and over in mortar and
pestle, adding sugar, adding cachaca, pounding pounding,
until at last… ready! and strained over ice.
And it was the Best Cachaca…. I had bought the Brandy version
at the Cachaca Museum we’d visited the day before….
Wow, did we get ploughed that night!

“Remember him?  of course I remember George…why ?”

“George was shot.  He’s dead.”

The words hung in the air, from a long way off.  I couldn’t wrap my
mind around the words… I couldn’t speak.
“He was shot by two guys on motorcycles.  They just drove by and
shot him.  It happened back in August, but no body told me,
probably because I would go and take care of it.”

“NO…..!!!  No, oh No.”  I was instantly sobbing, and the memories
flooded back, of the time we stayed with them, of the boys coming
back from the bar all silly and tumbling into the upstairs apartment
like puppies.
Angela with her big smile and warm heart.
George with his roaming eyes, as he met me, taking me in
top to bottom.

“Angela!….”  …my heart leapt…  “what about Angela?”
“Oh she’s somewhere staying with friends.  She left ”

“Why? do you know why?”
“Oh…I guess he was doing something he shouldn’t be doing…”

I remembered sort of understanding that when the boys got
together and went off, there was more than beers and scotch
going on…
They both had a weakness for powders.  Angela and I had stayed
home, and although neither spoke the other’s language, we laughed
and traded words, laughed some more over our accented attempts,
and those Caipirinhas definitely rounded out any differences,
between smiles.

Now I realized that one area where Alcir and George bonded was
their bandido-ness.  When they were together, I saw the bad-boy
in each, paling around like school boys on a mission.

The next layer hit me.  It had been our dream to move to Ibiqui,
this tiny ancient fishing village along the coast north of Rio.
Quiet, quaint, slow…. as we’d walked the cobblestone streets, Alcir
smiled at me, his big arms around me, warmed by the sun and salty
air, sounds of the little boats bobbing.
Slowly, he shook his head…

“Oh Babe….this is Us, Babe.  We could get a little house an you
could sell your jewelry on a little cart on the beach.
I could make a big barbeque out of a barrel…I know how to do that…
an we could cook chicken outside in the yard, an sell it to the
tourists who come here on  the weekends.
I could get a little boat….. we’d always have fish to eat.
I could sell the extras…”

Our beautiful dream, out of time, slow and easy, a time to just
be together and float for a while…. our dream was gone.
Alcir could never live in that town, never again, connected with
George the way he’d been.
It was gone to us.  Ibicui was gone.

__________________________

…it’s only a dream in Rio…

The plane banked over that giant Bay, with curling coastlines and
mountainous mounds, little lumps poking their heads up, between
the blues.  The Bay that held Pao d’Acucar and it’s little Trams …
….sugar loaf in white man speak …. gatekeeper to it’s glory.

The Bay with the battered ferry boats trekking back and forth to that
ancient City on the mainland… that City built, century upon century,
in styles and cultures from nearly everywhere, as they passed
through on their way to their next incarnation.
The Bay, the Port of a million years, the bridges and beaches of what
seemed a dreamland paradise…

My heart pounded and my breath came quick…
He would be there waiting for me, after all this time.

The view that i’d dreamed of  once again filled my sights, and still
I wondered if I was ready, if I could deal, face the real, make this
thing work in person.
Months of long distance rings, missed connections, echoing words…
please pick up…..what? please repeat.. when will you be home?…
…i miss you, can you call back, it’s a bad connection…. I miss you.

His laughter, his voice, the times he was really There despite the
distances… the photos over and over, holding the connection
like a candle, shielding it from the winds of fear and change.

The unloading, customs, paperwork, luggage, head swirling,
watching and waiting til the moment, and then….
far away in the crowd he stood, and something on his face when
he finally caught my eye brought my stomach to a standstill.

The old Raybans I’d bought him were successful in masking his
mood, but body language, no matter how closely held,
like cards to the chest, revealed so many confusing signals to
my senses, and i fought deciphering them at this crucial moment.
I had to hold to myself, be here Now, wait til he was close and
in front of me to understand.

And then face to face.  I threw my arms around him, and breathed
deeply, hearing his heart, once again smelling his closeness.
He was talking with another man, and shared some sort of irritation
when he saw my luggage.
Eyes rolled, something in the face that wasn’t for me, but for this
new guy friend who somehow understood what was up against.
I felt strangely marginalized.  Part of me was crushed, wishing for
that beautiful rush together that I’d envisioned, the
movie moment replayed in my head.
Part of me knew I had to wait.

I’d brought a big plastic tub, filled with art materials, books,
journals, jewelry findings and stones.  I had to have things to do
in that tiny space of his that only held Him.
I had to hold on to something of myself.
He, after all, was a known factor, and it was easy to be caught up
in the all consuming largeness of Him.
It all seemed quite natural to me, but somehow he wasn’t really
present, something was not aright.
And it felt like a wall…. not of bricks, I hoped….but perhaps of straw,
hay bales, something that i could huff and puff and blow down.

But for now, as we awkwardly trekked to his little Gersel Jeepy car,
we made small talk, and his mood was dark and tired.
Was he glad to see me?  Was he hung over?  Had he not slept?
Was it worry or fear, over amped or regret….
He had that ragged look to his eyes, his skin, that I’d seen before.
He was hung over and sleepless…

After we were in the car, after the miriad of turns and trails, when
we were on automatic, and on our way, did he tell of how long it
had taken to find a parking spot, and how little he’d slept, and
how long he’d been drinking.
The Aeroporto was on the same large island in Guanabara Bay, and
we’d only to drive to the other side to be back in his little cave, where
he could relax and begin to grok the reality bubble we were now in.
He poured drinks for us, and we began.

The Day had come, and here we were… each in our own way doing
our best to come to grips with this rush towards and
away from eachother.

_________________________________