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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lui's list

What are you moping around for, Lui? Get off your butt, get out, get some action. You’re a free man, don’t you get it? You’re free! What more do you want?

I had no answer to this question. I was stumped. I drew a blank as I watched Brendan finish his protein drink.

Does this mean I have everything? Does this mean I am complete, whole and consummate? But I’m a Croat, that’s impossible! Everything comes to me riddled. Freedom especially. I love my problems – this is a matter of national pride – my barricades and my heads-of-state. Wall me in, throw me a clash or a confrontation. I’m alive only when embattled. Chaos tickles me. And freedom is a slippery product anyway. It’s colorless, it doesn’t talk to you, it doesn’t move until agitated. It’s like water: no one necessarily likes to drink it... until it’s taken away and then you think of NOTHING else.

But back to Brendan: You’re a free man, don’t you get it? You’re free! What more do you want?

I’m a roving engine of curiosity. My actions are stopgaps and my thoughts are scarcely within my control. Far from the flowing dress of the Buddhist monk, my life is an ill-fitting jumpsuit. So I am truly flabbergasted, and grateful too, that it can feel so comfortable at times. HAHAHAHA!

But anyway, things can be better, of course... so with Christmas in mind, I made a small list:

1. a svelte redhead with freckles and pink gums

2. a skinny cat with a tail-kink and a haughty eye

3. a live grizzly you can scratch and pat on the back

4. the legs of a sprinter

5. the eyes of lynx

6. the swiftness of a lizard

7. a houseboat moored off Dubrovnik

8. a small Balkan province in the Benelux

9. a rucksack full of gold bouillon

10. and lastly - as a matter of course - a carte blanche for this and adjacent galaxies

(this list is not exhaustive... feel free to add liberally).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Switch

Whining and moaning is un-Croatlike and unbecoming a man of your heritage. Snap out of it! He said. I wanted to ask, what heritage are you talking about, thinking he must have it confused with his own Ottoman lineage, but seeing as his name was Switchblade I thought it best to keep quiet and not interrupt. He assured me "Switchblade" is not an epithet, but his real name. I suppose it must be a common name in Turkey; there must be many young Switchblades in Istanbul; perhaps there are Turkish ministers and heads of state called Switchblade – how else do you explain this. And perhaps it is not written, Switchblade, but şviçblüd, or some such Turkish script. I nearly asked him to write it on a beer coaster, but his eyes sent out darts to let me know I had belabored the subject long enough . He concluded by saying that once we are friends I could call him Switch, but the suggestion was clear: do not do so until I tell you to.

Switchblade trades in fanciful, near-imaginary financial products meant to bamboozle and – in his words – throw sand in the eyes of the competition. He owns a loft in Soho, a bar in Amsterdam and sixty thousand head of livestock somewhere on a Turkish plain. He is an imposing figure. He drinks cognac and speaks his mind. We met last last night in what turned out to be his own bar, called – you will not believe it – The Ol’ Switcheroo.

Lui, what were you doing in a bar on your own, without Goni or Brendan? You ask.

I will not beat around the bush, I will not shrink from the truth – that too is un-Croatlike Goni broke up with me. That's it. Full stop. That’s how fast it went. She called me from the airport on her way back from Haifa – at the f*!$@ airport– evidently keen, to finalize this little “procedure”. I asked her: Why? Why now? Why so sudden? Is it 'cause I’m broke? 'cause I’m unemployed? 'cause I’m too young? Her answer was unequivocal,

Yes.

But then I thought about it and I got confused. “Yes” what? What are you saying “yes” to? All of them? And then she was really unequivocal,

Yes

In an act of savage spitefulness I retracted the two line of verse I wrote for her last week and I told her she wasn’t the worth the credit on my cell phone. But an hour later I got weak at the knees and I called her at home hoping to convince her to change her mind and to tell her I could get a job easypeasy and that I’m not as young as she thinks (I was prepared to lie and forge documents). Alas, I got no further than her personal firewall, her pesky eighteen year old daughter Geraldine, who snapped at me in Hebrew and told me to take a hike.

This is unconventional. This is not a break up worthy of the Western World. This is an eviction. I feel kinship with the Palestinians. And do not tell me things could be worse. DO NOT! Of course they could be worse! I could be thirsting in the deserts of Yemen; I could contract a disfiguring disease; I could be trampled by hooligans or crippled by polio. So what! Let me feel like shit. I was outmaneuvered, outflanked, emotionally gutted and I came down to The Ol’ Switcheroo to drown my sorrows. I will not apologize for that.

Anyway, after the whole heritage thing, Switchblade swirled his cognac, looked me dead in the eye and said: Fight back you chump! and then he lay his free hand on a lush thigh to the right of him. I’m not sure what he meant, but it conjured up images of Brad Pitt in a dark corridor beating a man to a pulp. I’m sure he meant this figuratively (please God!). Switchblade is not a bad person, but I’m thankful for the civilizing effect of his entourage. The “lush thigh” I mentioned belonged to a mysterious, dark-eyed, raven-haired nymph by the name of Sofia von Spitzenwald – blue-blooded, maybe German, maybe Austro-Hungarian; germanophone in any case. And on the other side of him, a chocolate-colored splendor stroked a Mojito and on occasion voiced her dismay in Portuguese as she was forced to lift, again and again, Switch’s heavy hand from her thigh.

The next day I woke up in my own bed with cognac on my breath... And truly, that is all I remember.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

teckels and pizza

I walked Goni’s teckel, picked up his turds, did the wash, split a pizza with Bren, and thought positive thoughts. I thought about light years and how many miles that makes, and I watched Chuck Norris fight the enemy in Delta Force. Zombie, enthusiast, geek, buff, introvert... a strand of each coiled into a hairball: that’s me these days. Kicked around and wind-blown. From introspection to Chinese cookery to being sleepy and lovelorn for my beautiful Goni. She left to Haifa this week to see her mother. I wrote her a poem: Your toes, islets / Your fingers, ridges/ Your arms a bay around my beating heart... then I got stuck rhyming Adriatic for my Balkan-theme (ecstatic? aromatic?).... and thinking of home I decided to call my mother in Zagreb. We talked about me, about Bee in LA, and then she let me rail against the new prince-elect across the Atlantic –

I’m restless!
Have you noticed? I started jogging today. I got tights and a timer. I did laps and checked my pulse. Bren said to stick to one sixty to burn fat. Bren, I’m skinny as a rake. But he insisted. He’s the only guy I know who can talk and do push ups at the same time. He's the only guy I know who can use "triceps" and "Patriot Act" in the same sentence. I laughed like a crazy man, and then I stopped!

Get serious. We are on the cusp of something. The world is on a razor’s edge. Every day is momentous. Every day is the day. I could do a hundred things. I could save the downtrodden in Brazil like my friend Jeru. I could fight the Japanese whalers on the Pacific. Or I could go dark, break rank, conspire and sabotage the Machine. It can’t be about teckels and pizza. It can’t be about Chuck Norris. And if it’s about light years, then show me how!

Friday, November 7, 2008

“Change”

Ever heard of Zbigniew Brzezinski? Most people haven’t. He was the guy in charge of national security under president Carter back in the seventies when the US was fighting Russia in Afghanistan and funding the mujihadeen (today’s Al Qaida) to do their dirty work. A less known fact is that he is the co-founder of the Trilateral Commission together with David Rockefeller (who’s name seems to pop up everywhere, except in mainstream news). I wish I could tell you more about the Commission, Lui, but its handpicked members are sworn to secrecy so I guess we’ll have to take Zbigniew’s word for it that its aims are peace on Earth and goodwill toward Man. Why shouldn’t we, he’s done so many wonderful things already. Let’s see what light breeze of change he will blow into US foreign policy. I can’t wait.

Are you serious?

Yes, I’m serious. And what about Paul Volcker? remember him? No, he’s not dead, he’s 81 years old; young, energetic, the picture of hope and vitality in this new age of “change”. He was Federal Reserve chairman under – guess who? – president Carter. Ha, ha, ha this is so much fun, I wish I could cast this movie myself. And guess what, he’s also a Trilateralist. And guess what he did when the US was plunged into a major economic crisis after the oil spike in the late seventies.. Everyone was strapped for cash, no one could get a lone to save their life, and guess what mister chairman did? (Such foresight, so much common sense!!) Did he increase the money supply, did he try to stimulate the economy? No, that would be boring. He ratcheted up interest rate up to 20%! The economy imploded. And now it looks like Mr.Volcker is set to become Treasury Secretary! Why, you ask? Especially now at this time of economic crisis? Because he did such a friggin’ good job as fed chairman?

Brendan, who came up with this plan? Are they stupid, or this intentional?

Wait, wait, there’s more... Rahm Emanuel. Sweet, gentle Rahm. Chief of Staff under President Clinton. The image of composure and poise? Forget it! Not only is he known for his flighty temper, he’s also heavily, heavily pro-Israel. His father was a member of Irgun, a Zionist group that even the New York Times has labeled as a terrorist organization. Like father like son? No, I don’t believe that – look at me – but for God’s sake, Lui, to set this man up as chief of staff – that’s a very, very important position, he’s virtually co-president, he structures the president’s agenda, he essentially frames the issues for him – to set this guy up as chief of staff at a time when tensions with the Arab world are at an absolute boiling point, and when the question of Palestine is indisputably at the heart of this conflict, that, my friend is plain and simple provocation! Nothing short! And Lui, these are just some of the upstanding gentlemen that are suppose to represent a "breath of fresh air" in US politics. So forgive me if I don't drop to knees before the savior just yet.

Again, are they stupid or this intentional?

Well, one guy said – I forgot who – he said, “consistency has never been the mark of stupidity. If they were merely stupid, they would occasionally make a mistake in our favor.”

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Delta Romeo Unicorn

Lui Labas, where are you going with your life, where are you steering this vehicle, you haven’t thought things through, you’re not in Zagreb anymore.... you don’t have a clue? Are you on drugs?

What!?

Delta Romeo Unicorn –

No, no, I got it, of course I’m not on drugs.

Well, you sure act like you are. The world isn’t arranged to suit your little whims, Lui Labas, you have to start taking things seriously. You have to start facing reality.

I am serious. I’m dead serious. I look people in the eye. I tell them straight when I don’t like something. I’ve been serious since I was five, my friend. Five. I was going to be a tennis star – Bjorn Borg, James McEnroe – nothing could stop me, I played like my life depended on it. Me and the wall. Grit and determination. Sweat on my brow. All of that. I am serious. I’m too serious. That’s my problem.

It’s John. It’s John McEnroe. Common, Lui. And what about Goni?

Yeah, what about her?

You should get married. You can’t keep roaming around like a gypsy. Buy a house, get settled, have some kids? You’re great with kids.

How do you know? Man, who the hell are you?

My name is Louis.

Well Louis, if you don’t mind, fuck off!

What!?

Foxtrot Unicorn Charlie …