Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The day after the world changed

It is eerily quiet here in harlem. There are no cars on the streets. There are few ambulances. All of the bridges and tunnels have been closed. I went for a rollerblade in the park. It is sunny and mild. The sky is a clear blue. There is a feeling of great sadness everywhere. We still can see the smoke in the distance. Everybody will know someone who is dead. There is nothing to do but wait.

There was a dance festival this week at the Twin Towers base. In Ten days they were presenting ten world class dance companies. All for free. I had gone there several times already. After one concert I had a drink with a friend at the top. Afterwards we wandered around the plaza. The weather had been hot and crisp, perfect summer days. After the Ballet Trocadero I had sushi with friends there along the hudson. We looked out at the yachts and into the lives of the very rich.

Having worked at the World Trade Center many times I had never liked it. I used to call them the twin towers of world hatred and greed. But, the more I traveled the more I realized how special they were. Venice has it’s Riva degli Schiavoni. Paris it's Eiffel tower. Rome has Constantine's Arch . Here in New York we had these magnificent skyscrapers. The will it must have took to build something like that. All last week I was telling my friends. "You have to go there. This dance festival is really something special and the location is unbelievable. You turn your head up and you can barely see the top." The day before yesterday the weather turned stormy. That evenings show was canceled. I went down anyways. I don’t know why. I rode the A train downtown and stood there at the base. I looked up at them in the rain and thunder. Then I went home.

I used to be a food worker there years ago. We had to be there at seven thirty in the morning. The kitchen staff had to be there at six. Most of us were actors, dancers, musicians, painters, you know, the type of people who never have a serious job. People who didn't really fit in anywhere. Besides us, most of the people there that early in the morning were black and latino, maintenance workers, cleaning people and the like. In fact the whole building was filled with shitty jobs. And thusly filled with so-called "minorities" to do them. I know people who work there. Nobody close, but I can see their faces. They are people who were just trying to make enough money to live.

Just last year I was working at 1 WTC on the 89th floor. I quit that job because the boss was an asshole. He never showed up until ten. The rest of them, they had to be in by nine, they are most likely dead. They tell us not to be afraid. But we are afraid. They tell us not to be angry. But we are angry. They tell us that life must go on as if everything were normal. But it is not normal. Nothing is normal. The towers are gone. A great shadow remains. They have won something. The question is, what?

Wednesday, August 22, 2001


I flew to berlin yesterday. I flew in the prettiest little jet you have ever seen. A really cute, curvy fat little plane. This happy little chubette soared above the clouds and into the sunshine. I had a short stop-over in Stockholm. Both Helsinki and Stockholm have very small, calm, clean, ultra-modern airports. People drink espressos and read the paper in stylish cafes of glass, metal, pressed wood and fabric. It is a big change from the grim filth of New York.

I went swimming at the olympic stadium before I left. There is a big sauna there. There was a sauna at the corner bar too. This is Finnland. Fathers come into the saunas with their daughters. Sometimes they are toddlers, sometimes they are as old as seven or eight. On Sundays especially, slippery little naked tow-heads are running around everywhere. The attendant in the men's changing room is a woman. Yesterday there were two twenty-something year old women in there with us nude men. They were leading a pack of about fifteen 5-6 year old boys. Nobody was raped, nobody was murdered, nobody was arrested.

The Nordic peoples have this gasping thing. Especially the women, but sometimes the men too. Instead of saying yeah, or uh-huh, or mmm, they gasp. For an American like me this was very disconcerting. I kept thinking I had, through mis-speaking, altered a word into something really offensive. I kept looking around to see if something bad was happening just over my shoulder.

I went on one last boat ride. Pia-lissa took me around to see the parks she has designed. They are building new cities all over Helsinki. It is so tiny that there was never really that much there. If almost anyone moves there they have to build a new building. Then we took a ferry out to suommolinna. a little island fortress in the mouth of the harbor. we sat on rocks, watching the big boats come in, reading the paper. then dinner in town. now i am back for a final week. here in berlin.

Friday, August 17, 2001

Delicious Herrings

I am in helsinki now, staying at my friend pia-lissa's apartment. i met her in paris two years ago. she is a tall curvy very sophisticated finn. too bad she is engaged to be married.

She is staying with her fiance and the only thing that keeps me from tearing apart her room to look for dirty underware to sniff is all the other pia-lissoids strutting around in the hot helsinki summer bake-off.

I have to make a definate plan to be here next midsummer, the solstice. that is high mating season for finns.

I had a nice little affair in with a doe-eyed russian from oddessa that i met in a salsa club in copenhagen and another with a museum guard/gym enthusiast i met at the palace in stockholm. but still no fish in helsiki. the danes call them 'delicious herrings'.

Thursday, August 16, 2001


I have been appalled to read in the International press about a recent poll undertaken by the American media. This poll through the doubtless manipulation of data purports that the American public believes that 30 days is too long for a vacation.

thinly disguised as an attack on george bush this meritless besmirchment of the 'rene calvo philosophy' has not gone unnoticed.

wouldn't it be a nicer world if we all said 'no' to august? we have only one life. in that life we have perhaps 100 summers. how many of those are gone already? how many are left? a very finite number.

let the business men close the coffers. let the soldiers lay down their arms. let the children run naked on the seacoast. let us all breathe in the richness of life.

helsinki, finnland

Saturday, August 04, 2001

Thunder Flies

I was covered with tiny black flies on my way into Ketteminde the other day. I had to stop my bike and dive into the near freezing ocean to rid myself of this creepy pests. The farmers call them thunder flies. They say that they are a sure sign of heavy weather. They were right. By morning it was pouring.

Later the sun came out. We drove to the south of Fyn (foonin) the middle island in the Dansk archipelago. There we visited a castle owned by some young lord. He needed the money so anybody could go. He has a picture of himself in full armor on top of a 1910 Harley. He is no historian. He had hundreds of vintage cars in his barn. There was a real moat. It wasnt too interesting. It was just another castle. He did have a maze in his garden that was truly baffling. We cheated to get out. There was a tower in the middle. People were yelling directions to their friends who were hopelessly lost in that green tangle. When I got up there I realised it wasnt high enough to give anybody any real perspective. Their instructions, which sounded so convincing while I was wandering below, were actually meaningless. So I started yelling random instructions. Keep turing left and you'll have it! The key is to make a left turn at the right place! Turn right when there are no turns left! Like rats, they obeyed the tune of the pipers.

The best thing is the beach. There is a museum here in Ketteminde called the Johannes Larsen Museet. There is a new wing that is ok. The best though is his house and studio. It is one of the most beautifully cozy houses I have ever been in. The walls are covered with paintings. Every stick of furniture, every book, every pot every pan every glass are like an interlocking piece in a picture of warm refinement. His studio, where the larger works are hung, has the most lovingly rendered portraits of this tiny fishing town. Nudes wander the beaches in the dazzle of an eternal summer sun glittering against the waves.

Life is so peacful here. As I raced home trying to beat the setting sun, I passed a blazing barley field. There are flowers everywhere.

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

Shooting monkies in a barrel

I am in Denmark right now. Denmark is a bunch of islands on the Baltic. Who knew? I am on the middle one called Ulan or something like that. I am staying in a farmhouse with the thatched roof and sheep and all that. We are surrounded by barley fields. During the day the farmers burn them.

There is a beach resort nearby called Ketteminde. Minde is a big word around here. It means memory. So this place is a kind of romantic recollection of Kette whoever he was. There are a lot of towns around here with minde for an ending. Oddly enough the most familiar danish expression in America is 'Husker Du', which means 'do you remember'.

The girls are friendly enough but they are mostly teenagers. Its a family resort. So no pussy here. I did have a nice affair in Copenhagen with a Russian woman I met at a Salsa club. I was the mambo king there (sadly enough). There was a horde of blondes there with hungry looks on their faces. It was like shooting monkies in a barrel.

Getting to Copenhagen was kind of a disaster. I got a ride with mitfahrtzentral. I drove with this old former-east german who looked like a Tolkien character. He worked at the Berlin Wasserbetrieb, This place is so obviously an old Nazi building. They had replaced the swastika which hung over the grim entrance with an upbeat eco-friendly symbol. when I asked him about it he said 'What?' I said you know the Nazionale Socialists, the NAZI party, HITLER. He gave me this blank look and said 'I dont know anything about that'.

When we were well on the way this guy told me, 'by the way, im not going to Copenhagen'. Now it was my turn to say 'What?' 'Yeah' he said and explained he was going to this little town in the north of Denmark where his sister had a beach house. Then in a grand display of generosity he offered to swing by the outer edges of Copenhagen and let me off in some one goat town. There he shook my hand and wished me luck.

The guy in the gas station in Bellerop tried to help me get some money so I could get on the train. He said to just buy some gum or something and he would give me as much cash back as i needed. this town was so far out of the world economic system that the machine didnt recognise master card. He told me to chance it on the train. If I see men in black shirts 'take off!'

Luckily they are still not going crasy with checking for tickets up here. I got into town dog tired and managed to find a hotel without too much problem.

So after a few days there I made my way out here, the middle of nowhere. I am just having some beach days and doing a lot of biking. The days are long and warm. There are barley fields everywhere. The water is ice cold. The danish tits are out. Life is good.