31 October 2003

in lisbon i didnt want to wait for the shuttle bus, so i walked into town, along a lonley lonley road, that i have been on before.

there was ocean, then rock beach, then train tracks, then dying grass, then four lane highway, then train tracks, then four lane highway, then sidewalk, then abandonded buildings, all stretching horizontally against each other for miles, some separated with metal fencing, some separated with a stagnant stream of litter, plastic botles and weathered cardboard. above, pedestrian bridges every mile or so, military looking. cars very fast, their doppler stereo passings coloring the air with movement, but no other sounds, no one else, no people, just me. distant billboards. the ocean an awful color. the sun unfiltered. the sky emormous. the earth enormous. everything so vast in the distance. the ground uneven, rocks from the railroad tracks hiding in the dirt. wires above. road signs. blue, grey, black, brown, white.

so alone.

yet lonliness, that empty isolated feeling, not present. lonliness rare when alone. i have never felt lonliness in nature- ancient skies and rocks and trees and wind, there i feel contemplative and connected, a part of something greater. my heart a sun. or home at night, those enchanted friday nights when no one calls and i get take out indian food and a bottle of wine and eat and drink at the table by myself with a cloth napkin and music playing and maybe a thick reference book laid out before me, the pages turning with detached intrest, me smilin and singing out loud. then i am alone, but contentedly so, happy to know that i am the kind of person that can do this, that can be okay by myslef. sjs telling me about how much she was cracking herself up while home sick, alone. thats a beautiful alone, not lonley.

this alone is diferent, but still not lonley. this alone is powerful, and puts me in touch with the world of men. i have felt it before, when driving across the country- in hotel parking lots and rest stops and gas stations where the world is enormous and unpopulated. all the signs of commerce and society surrounding, advertisements and trash reminding me that i am in the world of human beings. of living and dying and buying and selling and anger and boredom and desire and stagnation. and somehow, in spite of all of my feelings of isolation and detachment form the world, my sarcastic spearation and absurdist observing, i am a part of it, im there, and its letting me. the world is letting me pass. im doing just fine. i can stop into the gas staion and fill up the tank and pay with a card and not get arrested, not get flooded with lights and snipers, not be jumped by men of tired jokes and boring clothes and poor musical taste, throwing a sack over myhead and asking mke who i think i am. i cant talk to most people, i cant agree, but somehow ive slipped through the netting and am here, alone, unaccompianed, unstopped. how can i be in lisbon? what the fuck am i doing in lisbon? how can the world of men have let me here? im not that kind of man...i look up at planes overhead and start laughing out loud, start laughing like a maniac as loud as i can and still am left alone. there are old buildings and cars, yes, but there is still ocean and grass and sky, im still there and conneceted through those pieces of nature. and i can laugh at the things i see and wonder at the words people tell me and feel so alone, but im free to do so, i am free to act and think this way. i am getting away with it.

later, lost. scared, alone. yet excited. alone. not lonley. finally, a woman helps, points me to the sea, north is south, and i return, legs five hours sore. back on the boat, alone.

and then lonliness. only then, when the sea of acquantinces return.

at night there is a halloween party on deck one, i go in black pants and a grey shirt, there is free coors light and pizza and two dozen young white women in sexy costumes dancing and five dozen nonwhite men standing in a circle around them, arms crossed, lusting. i dont talk to anyone. i walk from room to room and dont talk to anyone. drink a beer. tap my foot and smile out loud at the people i see, but dont talk, because i know if i do ill be greeted with words i dont really understand, a script i tore up years ago, a mask i didnt bring, and ill have to laugh those plastic laughs, and ill just get sad and lonley and uncomfortable. when in throw out a curve, when i try to say something that i want to say, when my courage lets me, im greeted with looks. looks. better to just watch and be happy. better to keep my eyes open for godliness without interrupting. better to just be alone, and not have to talk to remind me that im lonley too.

later still, deck 12 black night and the ocean is furious, the wind homicidal; the atlantic crossing has begun. i fall a surprise from a gust and laugh out loud as my chest hits the wet ground laugh, laugh maniacally, as loud as i can, screaming into the sky and sea, and no one looks, because no one is there. so alone, so happy, so lonley, so sad.


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