Intermezzo: Vignettes in Spain

Vignette – Any small borderless picture in a book, especially an engraving, photograph, or the like, which vanishes gradually at the edge.

“Le Fils des Etoile.” Horizontally asymmetrical vibrating masses of frequencies equalize the weight of their witchcraft so as to fake vagabond flight unpathed and undrawn undestined. Gelatinous light smacks him directly in the face, but this inch tall plastic purple buddha figurine labeled, “Wisdom”, smiled all the same dominating my writing desk with placid enthusiasm. Hardly 40 seconds in, and Erik Satie´s work had me mentally pinned up on the cross of art music now almost 100 years old, and still irrelevant. Much has happened, little changed.

He blows : absence. Intimate, and familiar. There it was between outside n´inside. This was, harmonize forces between them. That was the incredible task. We are ignorant to being in concert. As the breath enters we are sounded, and when it leaves us we sound as well. The well engineered cyclical respiration unbelievably attains a marvellously continuous work obliviously symphonic with other works simultaneously independent and related. A musical masterpiece! At least if nothing else, the all around was surely a musical masterpiece. Now if he could just replicate such mechanics with the bamboo flute in his hands sounding like a pitiful forgery of the aforementioned philosopher´s stone of melodies. The respiratory graph of Huckleberry´s trip to la Valle de Jerte this spring..would become what sort of score? To which genre would it pertain? Which age? What ensemble?

Thinking about the daily while practicing the shakuhachi flute reminded him suddenly of watching the stars at night in high school during the lunch period.

Sky night watching. That is to say, the surface of our all at once crunchy and juicy apple universe. Observing spots rounded out perception loops. Within the spot of his palm lay an apple, with little dots peppered about its face, each dot with an open landscape sparsely filled  by other dots which were surely nothing other than borders to another inner space.That´s where the world is. How dangerously inspiring is an apple.

Pirates. Here in the cafe across the street from bar “The Buccaneer” he finds a pirate ship on the television screen declaring singularities and abnormalities at a silence-oppressed-xenophobia manifesting itself this time as a bunch of cafe regulars aged 50 average, each caballero with his waist long jacket, unrecallably colored slacks, and trade with any mark gentleman shoes.

Upon entering Huck called out, “buenos días, cup a´Joe, please.”

Peering through the foggy mass of foreignness the bartender sees a bearded man and asks, “Got change?”

“What?” <Why would Huck ask for a coffee if he didn’t have change?> Huck said, and thought.

“What? got change?” <Why do foreigners always fail to understand me?> the bartender said, and thought.

Now screening terrorism updates from Iraq on the national tele.

A gray haired flat top man blue jacketed and purple shirted asks huck from the end of the wooden bar, “You Italian?”

“No,” he stupefied calmly in return, “ American, apologies. Why?”

Rubbing his fingers together and then raising his eyebrows followed by a raise of open palms into the air above his shoulders as if to say, “I don´t know, because it looks like you got muh-nay. I don’t know, it wasn’t me!” all in one fell swoop of international body language. Actually, quite a courteous display of charades given that to Exhibit A: Bar Regular Number 4, his audience (Huck) could apparently be italian, swiss, german, or french. Who knows, really?

Now, Palestine was on display, spread eagle and gagged on international news. They´d have you believe that the world was a circus to vicariously vent your frustrations at the improper target. Gotta love the media.

“Me pone un churro, también?” Huck directed at the bartender, and joining in on the awkward silence ignoring Bar Regular Number 4´s ..comment.

“Ahora mismo”

He realized whilst pulling the wine out of the cool place, uncorking it, and placing it assuredly on the desk, “I´m turning spanishese. It´s 4 p.m., and I’m sitting down to read Marcel Proust with a cup of crianza from the prolific Ribera del Duero. It´s four p.m. How on earth did I get to the wine so late?”

Putting a pause to the narration, Huck smelled the book´s pages. Straight Vanilla. Nothing to cut its sweetness. A sensational block interrupting his sensationless bedroom surroundings. Just as the prose found within; long blocked passages of uncut delicacy fermented in collective memory, a method of passing contents from one container to another until the final product attains a unique development, yet to be decanted. “Who else participated in this communication?” Huck imagined which hands previously touched this copy of El camino de Swann. “Were they uptight? Elegant? Crude? What nationality? Were they bored, or intrigued? Did it burn upon ingestion? So many questions.

They hear, “HELP, HELP!” and shift their astute bottoms and absent minds.Someone outside the library was clearly in some briney pickle juice and their salty tears were only emboldening their torment. Nonetheless, everyone about the library seemed timidly cool, faking it till they make it to psychological states: Unmoved and Unbothered and Unknowing and perhaps Unperturbed. Some of them attempted to interpret the incessant S.O.S.  as music, perhaps of a ´primitive and unfamiliar kind´, but music nonetheless – ah! perhaps this is  what their uncle Paco had meant when he said, “Modern music may sound like noise to you, but this my dear family is nothing less than the music I love!” Immediately forgetting their irrelevant memories of uncle Paco, the countless newspaper reading library goers continued shifting and shuffling their bottoms in tune and rhythm with the persistent demands for help just outside the giant windows. An embarrassment to them all, and in plain view!

So, Huck gets up, and walks outside to see just what the matter is.

There, in the prison of abandonment, were a black lab furtively leashing the tree attached and an astute belly-lying golden maned mutt.The black lab was filibustering her terms of abandonment and the mutt waited with tepid hope in her eyes, as well as the Gestural Negative Space created by the actions she wasn´t taking to avoid looking like she wasn´t annoyed by her companion, even though she was. As any dog will tell you, sometimes it´s not what you say, but what you don´t say – and dogs don´t say it, best.

He approached them calmly and obliquely, kneeling to their level. First, the gold maned mutt immediately came to me to receive well waited affection. While the pink, grey, and black plaid jacket wearing black lab continued her saeta. Where was her god?

So, Huck, thinking maybe she needed to be within immediate reach of a human being, moved himself between the two doggies. There, there, and suddenly the labrador hushed up while glaring hopelessly at the cruel laughs of the sliding automatic doors, bullying her powerless and sore spirits.

Huckleberry sang a soft ssssssssssshhhhhhhh, repeatedly and quietly, substituting a noise to soften the transition between distress and peace. As they said, “The answer, my friends, is blowin´ in the wind,” so he did his best to invoke said spirit and elicit some of that assuring magic. Waiting outside in the scorching winter heat of 50 degrees fahrenheit, the doggy god arrived. Actually she was a beautiful lip pierced goddess with brown square framed glasses that complemented her auburn curls. Briefly addressing Huckleberry with a, “Gracias!” the goddess turned to our poor soul black lab and said, “what a little bicha are you!” Needless to say, his work was done and unnoted thus leaving him back to his duties of the day: re-applying for this english teaching gig and fancying a go at fumbling out a novel from his clumsy inarticulateness. Before entering the sauna where books are stored, he noted that people even wore winter jackets in this heat – not just the dogs! – but the people too, “What a strange place this is!” he mused entering the literature adorned sweat lodge. Indeed, Huckleberry, indeed.

At the cause of the illumination rare at the hour abstract of the pre-sunwake, in some moment he saw the face of hers in absence. Without details to fill the abyss. He, one brief instant confused before the nothing that was the simple night continuation where she should be, her saw. Of some manner, twins they are, without doubt and from the vacancy appeared a smile absurd, almost sinister and cruel yet lacking signs of such motivation, none. A storm stable and satisfied of her own powers potential hidden. He swore to himself, that in that vacancy was the girl he loved one time, but now the wide and immobile smile to him replied with strong gesture of unchanging non gesture. This was not funny, not comical. But neither came to him the word “horrifying ”because he didn’t fear this apparition. He just smiled back. Two tribeless lions encountering each other in the plain. Even though the one didn’t feel threatened by the other, the curiosity rising from recognizing one´s own kind out in the middle of a foreign and nowhere land led them to contemplate each other with curiosity arrogant. They’d both seen reflection at the bottom of nothing. Now, another smile that farewelled to Huck,“Until next time.” Thus disappeared the cat foggy and Huckleberry found himself watching again the beautiful face of the girl he loved, once upon a time.

“And so, to write is to hunt” and at that moment precisely I was awoken by this certain Mr. Cowriver (Search: Mr. Ushikawa).

“That´s to say, consists of a plot of patience?” I told the interrupter of my dreams.

“no, Rigid, no.” He paused, thereby modifying the seat of power in our untimely conversation with neither word nor gesture. Sustaining attention, while nothing occurs, robbing autonomy from your audience. That was Mr. Cowriver´s favourite surprise. He continued, “ And when you strike, do it beyond rapidly. To have someone say, – my, how rapid- is to allow someone to notice, which is to fail. Nothing can occur mentally that doesn’t have anything to do with conquest. All else is waste. Therefore, as I said, to write has to do with vengeance.”

“My friend, you speak in cut lines and foam sprays.” I muttered half attent in transitional funk.

“Seems that way, as seems a spider web, and in that sense said lion plays the lamb to coax its prey into ostracizing caution from its heavenly sphere of confidence, entering into the realm of Absolute Unconscious Behaviour” His ugly manner of using his lips to outline the capital letters of his obnoxious speech would be the singular pestilence of my following week.

“So your strategy is hypocritical.” Huck exhausted at the invasive presence.

Satisfied on the high of a captive audience he succinctly succeeded in not defending his statement, “No.” And then, after a grotesque grin that unveiled stained teeth, “Your logic is at best two dimensional, hardly enough these days. Even so, you’re in luck – the world continues living out the dark ages, and no one recognizes it.”

With that, Mr. Cowriver dryly left me to my room, my mental mathematics digesting his interruptive convo, and my dreams. Not before a bit of scotch, and a touch of 1Q84, of course.

Failing to put the book down wore down his eyes and depleted his Royal Swan beverage, and thus – putting on a youtube video of “From me flows what you call time” by Takemitsu Toru – Huckleberry decided to prelude his dreams with what´s on his mind:

“Please understand that I´m not accustomed to this. So unaccustomed that I´m up at 1:30 a.m., listening to the album Coplas de Querer by the golden voice that belongs to the mere human being that is Miguel Poveda. In my right hand we find a pen bridging the rim of the cream liquor bottomed white porcelain cup.

First of all, it´s not my fault that people don´t write letters anymore, and just to set things clear, I´m not in love – I know what that feels like. And when I read this in 5 to 10 years I´ll laugh not only at the absurdity of my current emotional naivete but also at the fact that the thought of 5 to 10 years made me wonder, ´Will she be there, then?´

That´s the kind of mess I´m in. I know what fleeting is, too. Past pitfalls showed me the way there and I can promise that I won´t get carried away, lose my head, and do silly things unwarranted by reason like simply being honest, because the only person who doesn´t feel uncomfortable and inconvenienced by honesty is god, to whom I´m grateful for listening even though I don´t believe.

Because of that I know better than to lose my head and let my hands get into an irrevocably dirty mess. Even though this might have the look and feel of a letter with romantic intent let´s be frank about the grim matter: I don´t know your favorite color, though it has to be some sweet spot of purple between pink and blue; I don´t know your first childhood friend; I don´t know which type of dessert you find unparalleled; I don´t know what gestures make you flip out; I don´t know your teenage dreams, or your parents´ names; I don´t know what it is that sometimes makes your eyes betray your smile at perceptively unrelated moments.

Well, whatever else it is I´ll admit that it crept up on me. I´ve tactlessly sleepwalked during the night to wake up in an open prairie without home on the horizon. Since I don´t belong here and there appears to be some accidental faulty arrangement of the cosmos, I´ll be on my uncertain way out now. Although, I´d really like to stick around and daydream for a while. Luckily for you I´m lacking in imagination.”

He hoped the humor of the gesture came through, one could never be sure.

To read Chapter 4, Click here


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