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Friday, October 30, 2009

love-words to Mica Spirelli

Mica Spirelli – au pair extraordinaire, bird-of-flight and princess of Ljubljana – I bring you words of apology. I am underground, you see, and was not able reach you in time to let you know that our “date” could not transpire. If I had enough room here in these burrows I would kick myself, but I am cramped so I cannot. Forgive me, Mica, I punish myself enough and to console me I have only toothpicks and mouthwash.

Mica Spirelli – au pair extraordinaire, bird-of-flight and princess of Ljubljana – please carry on au-pairing for a few days more, time for me to wind out of this earthy maze.

I send these words as vibrations through the ground as I have no other means at present. It may feel funny in your toes, but these are words Mica Spirelli – au-pr extrdnre, brd of flght & prnc f Ljbljna – these are words.

I hope your français is improving très quickly and that –

Wait Mica! There.... a rabbit with yellow eyes.

I must go.

I send love (a peculiar vibration, no?)

Lui

Sunday, October 25, 2009

the rabbit hole

I was meant to go on a date with Mica Spirelli, my first date in eons – eons! Was I looking forward to it? (Do Serbs eat pork?) Yes, massively, and I was prepared for it too: toothpicks, mouthwash, I bought a shirt with a collar, and I even rehearsed lines in the event of a blackout (me blacking out) – What do you say you and me we go for a walk Mica? – I even called Brendan for tips in the event of the theoretical i.e. if things get hot – Shift the paradigm, Labas. Change the whole geometry on her. Get horizontal. Got it! She’s au-pair, they like that stuff.

I was ready, but nervous too, so I went down to the German bakery on Bergstraat (Ulrich’s Brothaus) for a loaf of Schwarzwald – that’s Black Forrest sourdough – but on my way back something happened and I got sidetracked.

Imagine coming out of a German bakery with a loaf of Schwarzwald and a tall guy in a suit hands you a card that reads Clay Dove Esq. III – CEO, Banque Internationale and he motions to an open door on a blacked-out vehicle with a driver in leather gloves. Imagine that.

For a minute Mica was eclipsed; for a minute I was taking in all this leather and gadgetry. Then I turned to Clay Dove with a question: Mr. Dove, is your dad called Clay too since you’re the third… and his dad, and his dad.


Mister Labas, we would like you to focus. There’s a great deal at stake. Please.

Mister Clay Dove, I’ll tell you what’s at stake, I have a date with Mica Spirelli in exactly two hours and... twenty two minutes. So I don’t know what you have in mind, but – and then I took a bite out of my Schwarzwald and cut myself off.

As we drove over the Erasmus bridge I thought of Mica, her gap teeth, her spiky hair and the way her laugh warms my belly. Mica Spirelli – father Italian; mother Slovenian, from Ljubljana –It’s true she’s au pair, but I did not know au pairs dig the horizontal. Is this so?


Trick question Mr. Dove: how many J’s in Ljubljana?
... Sir?... Mr. Dove?

(A real bag of laughs these financiers.)

The meeting at Banque Internationale was held in a pretty small room for sixteen Esquires and Thirds. One guy had a tiny laser he was pointing at a screen with charts. He looked like he knew what he was talking about so I asked him, I said: sir, tell me, what is hyperinflation... I mean, exactly? (Brendan would have poked fun: that’s like when your jeans get tight around the crotch, no? But I’m not Bren).


Hyperinflation, mister Labas, is hugujeei strajasm the money supply lieah tiy urg. And this about how much sense it made to me. I said, thank you sir. Yes, please carry on. But my presence had shaken the room and laser-man could not carry on. He could not.

This is when Clay Dove the Third asked for my opinion on (and I quote) “the coming collapse of the dollar and the investment opportunities in a global depression”. My mouth was full of sourdough. I needed a moment to think.


(Like I said) there were sixteen of them around the table and in the middle of this mahogany donut was a rabbit hole going into the ground deeper than the eye could see. I said to one of them – not Clay Dove but an even taller man – I said to him, Sir, you seem like a reasonable man. I have a date with Mica Spirelli –

But he interrupted. Mr. Labas, we want you to go down the hole and tell us what you see. So I said, why don’t you go yourself, it’s your hole, it’s right there. Or does this have to do with size, because I’m so much smaller than you. And then this wellspoken man – he wasn’t black, but he could have been – he said, we’re not asking you Mister Labas. We want you down the rabbit hole, we want you to look. Laser-man nodded and then a few of others nodded too.

I left my Schwarzwald on the table and thought of bigman as I climbed into the ground. Up above, laser-man pointed the way with his laser and grinned.

Funny, but I was relaxed on my way down, and I even calmly went over some things in my head: Toothpicks (check); mouthwash (check); collared shirt (check); "How about you and me we go for a walk…

(…to be continued)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

coming home


On a footpath in Yemen a man with a dog kicks up dirt as he takes a fig to his mouth. There is no shade for miles and the sun in Yemen, I suspect, is a nasty piece of work. I mention this man and his dog because at precisely this moment – with the fig – I show another man to the door of my cube here in Rotterdam City, a skinny little dude whose appeals for help I've just turned down flat. As I push him out – it’s come to that – he tells me I smell of horse’s penis and that my mother will beget children without heads, and children – anyway, all untrue, of course, my mother is too old to beget (period) and I shower regularly even by Western European standards.


I understand Yemen has customs different to our own, and perhaps Yemenis are generally more impulsive. But what the heck! He held a clipboard with signatures in wild Arabic script سید ابو الاعلىٰ مودودی عبد الحميد كشك‎ and with a pen, pointing to a blank line, he suggested I add my own: Lui Labas

Do I commiserate? Of course. Will I pay fifty euros and sign on to his campaign? No.

You smell of horse’s penis; your mother will birth children… etc, all the way to the front door. Don’t get me wrong, I understand his quarrel. The man with the fig and the dog is his brother, and I understand a fig is too little to keep a man together – too little anywhere, but especially under that nasty, blazing Yemenite sun.

I didn’t take it to heart, though. I checked my armpits and wondered for a moment at the smell of a horse’s penis, but imagined it must be like its urine and thus not exotic in any sense; then I thought of it no more. My head was still full of bright orange suits, water in gazillion liters, the cry of gulls and Roman’s stories of vulva in Riga. So the man from Yemen was not enough to knock me off course. It would take much more than a bit of Arabic script and horse piss.

You see, I was sipping hotdrink with bigman when this ingrate came barging in. Even bigman – who needs no money and has no real concept of it – smiled when Yemen raised the fifty bucks. I’m not saying it was a scam. Yemen probably does have a sunburned brother down to his last fig. I believe it, but that’s not the point.

The point is – the point is – I was home. Home! Deeply glad to be home.

When I returned from the sea and saw the grillroom on the corner, the Turks with their smoky noses; when I heard JK’s chisels and the crackle of his experiments, my heart lifted like an air balloon. I forgave JK the three hour blackout between nine and twelve and the long tongue of smoke that unfurled from his top window. Of course I forgave him. At this moment I would have forgiven my own assassin.

I was happy.


Not a feeling that shows its face much in the open . Usually, it comes wrapped in something: a redhead with nice gums, a bit of fun down in Dubrovnik, a plate of goulash from home… but here, in my candle-lit cube on this October night (a touch of smoke in the air) it came just like that. Plain and dressed down, an all-knowing, far-reaching kind of happy, as if all the world was practically within my reach. I felt Rotterdam behind me, hugging its massive harbor, twinkling in the lowlands. And my sister Bee – spacebird Bee – I felt her too, abuzz, lighting stuff up as she does, right, left and center. Even my friend Drago, on the rim of the galaxy, felt near. And, of course, In the back of my mind I could hear the soft cling-clang of Brendan’s dumbbells and the sound of Willy Nelson’s Highwayman.

To you bigman, I said raising my mug. Big looked like a bear in the darkness - a bear with a mug - and then he raised his mug too.


Home. Yeah!