He decided to see if he could still get into it…
He decided to see if he could still get into it…
It seemed a continual pendulum swing, from highs to lows,
from close to push away, from together to alone, and
obviously that was what it was.
Why the mystery? Onion layers…
Two people, old enough to know too much, to think they’ve
seen it all and enough more to sink a goat, now thinking
they can each transform themselves into the Fool stepping
into the Abyss, as he called it. And why not?
What more was there to do, but complete the circle,
and begin again.
But new borns cry a lot. They throw tantrems, they are
afraid. Nothing makes any sense, and they want to be held
They want soothing songs and nonsense stories
to swim them into themselves, where being is
a Dolphin dance of knowing without words.
The Issues…….and the Methods…
She thought deeply on this one, because just now it seemed
like the “fight” wasn’t about the issues at all. It was about
the style used to prove a point, about winning, about being right.
At least to her it was, and that was all she knew, of course,
like all of of, each of us.
Consider the life of the man. Beaten as a young child by
both parents, isolating himself for protection, proving
himself again and again, yet the only answer he ever
got was from himself, like when the father threw him
into the ocean to teach him to swim. Sinking to the bottom
revealed his abilities to hold his breath, and the complete
and utter joy he felt when he realized he was at last safe
and in his element. Alone now seemed a strength.
And War. Always at war with all of it, but when the real
thing came with the Legion, he saw a path to rightousness,
recognition, and power. He could be a true Hero.
He hadn’t figured on what it would do to his heart.
So fucking alone.. he was completely alone, wrought with
past cobwebs, ropes, the scars from war…the hardest fucking
plastic known to man wrapped around his heart.
Old ways are not set in concrete, but they Are set in neurons,
pathways, grooves so deep, so repetitiously run.
And new tracks can be near impossible to dig out.
Journal musings…. January 2006 in Rio
“You have to really Want this, for this to work,” he says,
and the words echo through the convolutions of brain cells,
concentric circles from a center…. created by a leaden heart.
It felt so heavy. All of it. Sad….. Dark.
Confusion had set in, and too much thinking could be dangerous.
Yet to not-think was unthinkable…. Hmmmm.
She’d been given the front veranda upon which to sit, to get
away from him, from the constant TV, and his moods.
….which actually was quite remarkable, amazing really,
and she could view the wandering streets and flashing
cloud storms and island comings amidst the constant breezes
with a sort of detachment that she needed… desperately.
“This is My House”, he would announce to no one in particular,
at no particularly special moment…except
to her I guess, and the dog, and his Mother upstairs,
and to himself most of all.
His stubborn willfulness had served him well at one time,
most of his life more likely. But now it felt like stacks of
concrete pillows, between the two bodies lying side by side.
Was she to be like the desolate dog, if you could call him a dog,
that was allotted two small spaces within which to eat, do his
duties, be quiet and cower.
He addressed him as “Get the Fuck….” as the poor wretch
jumped up, desperate for a touch, for tenderness… and the
man would cringe, because he hated the dog.
It was the most disturbing thing she’d witnessed so far, the
distain he held for this shit eating dog who had so thoroughly
disappointed him and his visions of what a dog should be.
Maybe the dog was just trying to clean up his jail cell,
she thought, maybe he’s really trying to be a good dog…
Was she to be the “other twin”, protruding from his ribs, ever
connected, never her own, never as large or as individuated?
“Be by my side” now had it’s double meaning.
Did he even begin to know how to let anyone in, even one
he claimed to love? Was he even in control of the little door
that swung open and closed, daily…
There’s the light, and wait…. oh, and now it’s gone…
Did the most courageous man she’d ever known cower
at the possibility of real love?
For this was love becoming real, going far beyond the
fantasy he loved so well and could keep in control.
Beyond the heroes in books he’d emulated, the ones
who would run off to fight another dragon.
No pretense holding distance… This was so real it was
palpable, in the air and sifting like dust to the surfaces
of everything he touched in this cell he shared with her.
“I’m going over the Abyss”, he had sighed one morning,
a couple of days ago.
……………..”and do you know Why?”
She looked long and hard at his face, now miserable
with confusion, yet here he was, the little door opening
just a bit once again …
She motioned to herself…. and slowly he nodded,
…. sadly, tenuously, as though for that moment he had
risen out of his automatic self and was viewing it all
with clarity and a mildly puzzled perspective.
“What do I do?” …..
After a moment, her own answer came, as it always had,
since more years than she cared to remember.
“Jump and Trust…. that’s all you can do…….
“OK….”, he nodded, and it was done.
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.
It’s March 9th…2005
We’re at the aeroporto… we cling to eachother like frightened
children…. or frightened old people…..
we’re too quiet to be children…
I can only hold onto him, hold his hands, touch his borders,
until the very last minute, knowing full well that time just keeps
moving on, and soon all this will be gone…the now of now
will soon be the now of the future, evaporated
but for foggy memories.
He sits beside me, and we are quiet together, our last moments
before the long distance once again pulls us to someplace else.
I lay my head against his maleness, holding to his arm,
head on his shoulder, my hands absorbing all I can of him.
He feels solid, grounded, calm, sad and resolved.
He says nothing… there is nothing to say.
I cannot hold the tears that fall down my face, and onto our
mutual hands…… and he looks long at me…
“Oh…I think thees separation ees going to be harder on
you than me…..”
He trails off …… I hold tight.
He takes my journal, borrows my pen, and writes
one last message to take home …
I remember turning to him for one last look, after I walked away,
before I moved into customs, and readied myself for the long trip home…
I may not see his face again for a long time… and for all that life offers..
….and for the way he is… it could be never.
The old panic buttons send their blaring sirens off into my nervous
system, for the so-many-times he’d left before, all of it coming up
like a slide show carousel on the dark wall of my brainscape.
I remember boarding the plane, and asking the assistant to please
bring me some kleenex…
“I am leaving my fiancee,” I tell her…” and I know I’m going to cry…”
And I did. I cried as the wheels left the runway, as the plane banked
for the last time over that city, over that bay, and away from that
magical place…my magical place…..until I could no longer see
that city, that bay, that coastline, or Brasil at all.
And then I wiped my eyes, sat up a bit, pulled out my book and
began the long journey home.
February 9, 2005
OK… so here I am, sitting in the airport, all packed and ready to go…
It’s about 5:30 am, and the plane boards at 7. > EGAD…!
The day is finally here, and I am a bit numb. The last 24 hours
are a blur of lists and deadlines… I was up at 3am yesterday, and
I think I dozed a couple hours between 5 and 8. Very physical day,
moving tons of boxes and furniture. Last minute things all day,
finishing the animals and ebay, and mending,
cleaning, packing…all of it.
And now I’m here, waiting to begin my journey to my future.
She wondered how she ever got here… Looking ahead, to a future
unknown, yet so full of strange foreign fare. Possibilities loomed…
She’d felt many things in the past 2 months…lately she’d been
saying she felt like the girl on the half shell.
Like a mail order bride. Like Grace Kelly leaving all she’d known,
to be with her man, in a strange country.
All pleasant……all prickly strange.
If it all were true, this would be the last hours of aloneness.
So many years seeing herself alone…how many? 21? Lots of
false starts, lots of maybe – maybe nots….. And now?
Could this be a cosmic joke? The signs were auspicious,
she had to admit.
Could things really just fall properly into place, and aside from
the usual day to day drab realities of really knowing someone,
is it possible, just possible that the two of them were inheriting
some sort of golden egg, laid how long ago, but now fully ripe
and hatching forth a creature of shimmering luminescence,
full of light and ready for action.
To see him finally face to face… His specter prowled
the cove of her heart, and she desperately desired
a peaceful resolution to her longing.
It would be many hours, stops in Chicago and Miami, time changes,
dozing and rousing in that dream state that travel creates…
And by late tomorrow afternoon, they would be together.
Suddenly my life had taken the turn to adventure. I didn’t even have
a Passport! The only places outside of the Mainland States that I had
ventured to were Hawaii and Alaska.
Loved Hawaii and could Live there, but Alaska? only wanted to visit.
My time was now laid out… I had 6 weeks to get my act together,
before I left for Rio for a month.
He had set the deadline as February 14th… his Birthday…and so
it was ordained.
I had things to pack and put in storage, for I was staying with one
of my daughters at the time, the one who had secured my ticket….
I had to ensure that my animals were safe and loved for the time,
the Passport App was mailed, and I began making money in earnest.
I am an artist, and have always been fond of a Bohemian life, living
day to day and on Trust. It has always worked, although there are
drawbacks, to be sure. Still, my freedom has always come first!
I was happy to learn that US dollars were doubled in Brasil, so that
made everything seem a little easier!
As I was impatiently awaiting the leave, while simultaneously and
quietly freaking out, I continued my ongoing studies of Brasil.
Through the past nearly 20 years since I first met Alcir, the Music has
largely been my passport to the culture, and it allowed me to share in
much of the passion, concern, and vibrations if you will, of Brasil,
and particularly Rio.
I settled on Jobim as my groundwater. The Carioca accent, the deep
warm voice, full of passionate joy and melancholic nuance.
He was the one to bring Brasil to the US, and his melodies are almost
cliche now…. but no, never trite.
It’s odd, because still a lot of Americans (and I hesitate using that
misnomer, as Alcir would laugh his deep and heartful laugh and
remind me…. “don’ call them Americans! We’re American too!!) …
A lot of the US knows the songs if you hum them, but have no idea
of who he is. They still play “Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars”,
“Meditation”, and of course “Girl from Ipanema” as background…!
As soon as it gets romantic or sexy seductive in a film, here comes
one of the familiars, and I’ve often heard them in the supermarket
(the elevator equivalent these days).
So…. since 1985 it’s been my mission to know just what Brasil was
about, hear the language, feel the voices, and get into the mindset.
Beyond that, it was that incredible Guanabara Bay, with Pao d’Azucar,
the islands, the views of Rio with the Concrete Christ, arms spread
and embracing that dear, ancient city, that mesmerized me.
The populace is as varied as the US in some ways… a mixture of the
Indigenous, the conquering Portuguese, and the Africans they brought
in as slaves. Fascinating mixtures that creates this race of people
where each face is completely different from the next.
I was intriqued to see that one or the other had lead in the genetic
makeup, with nuance of the others in the back-ground. Because I’d
lived in Hawaii and saw the same phenomenon, this only continued
the anthropological studies I had begun long ago.
The Indigenous contributed their fierce, wild, free spirit, along with
wonderful instruments and sounds that had worked their way into the
fusion jazz of today…. an area where Brasil excelled with their contribution.
Many of their sounds mimic and include the forest of their origin.
African rhythms are the basis of much that comes out of Brasil, and
the influence in new Jazz directions is obvious. As well, as in many
other Latin countries, the Africans brought their ancient religion,
there called Macumba and Candomble, as well as Capoeira, the
martial arts practice that will blow your mind!
And lastly, there are the many representatives of so many other
countries who have moved there, run away there, or just somehow
found themselves there… particularly the Japanese and the Germans.
Interestingly enough to me, Everyone speaks Portuguese, which
must be a very unifying happenstance. But it always provided a
little laugh for me, to see blue eyed Arians and Japanese speaking
Portuguese, and likely with their own accents.
And then the Portuguese.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve felt that they are the Gypsies, the ones
who were out there so many centuries ago, meeting, mixing, mating
and gathering other cultures. They seem to have brought back many
subtle flavors to mix in, along with the Latin soul and Catholic
mythology that is still so prevalent today.
And I must add here that it has been my experience that the
Portuguese have a superiority complex, and I was to know that
better as I truly met the Real Alcir.
So there I was. Filling my senses with as much of Brasil that I could.
Learning some Portuguese, understanding the Carioca accent and
style, (Rio has it’s own regional dialect)… and realizing Rio was
Ancient in so many ways, and with so much history, and learning
more and more about Alcir, and who he Really was, and had become.
Oh my, where was I? I do leave this Tale of Love from time to time,
for a break in the effort, which is a little arduous, but don’t you find
you can’t wait for the next Chapter? Good!
As I recall, I was having heart palpitations over the poem sent
to me from Brasil.
Passionate and completely mad, still my girlish heart had been
captured, and the desire to share swept over me til I drowned in it.
Girls just Have to share…
There was one person who could grok the moment, and that was
my daughter Piney.
I was living with her at the time, before, during and after she moved
into a new house in our area of Oregon, and she’d been kept abreast
of the goings-on with him.
She had known him during the times he visited me back in the eighties,
and was quite fond of him. She found him funny, smart and playful,
and a rather exciting character to a kid.
Sort of like a real life Jack Sparrow, all dashing and full of tall tales
of courage and wild adventures… but not so much eye makeup…
It wasn’t long before I got an email from the little miss… who was
now a bit of an international, as her work (promotion for big companies) lead her to travel.
“Re: sugar and spice and…GET OFF THE INTERNET!” read the line,
so I did…
…but only after I read the note:
trying to call you, you must be on line. give me a call when you
get this e-mail.
i have something to tell you…. something you’ll like….a lot.
What she had to tell me would now stop my breath as well…. Great…
now I can’t breath, And my heart has already stopped..
She had Tons of Miles to spare, and offered me a Ticket to Brasil…
Oh Good Grief. Not only him, but Brasil too? Completely Unreal.
Brain Overload, tape loops, wake up sweats…
So now the plans began, and I had Two Months to wrap up my life,
get ready for another reality, and of course…loose a few pounds…
I Am a girl after all.
He desperately wanted me to be there for his Birthday…Feb 14th…
He was ecstatic, I swung between several states of mind, but mostly
I worked on bringing my brain to the present, and …..
Just What was this Reality that I had called to myself…?