04.04.2008 Train from Krakow to Prague
Sitting on the bed of a sleeper to Prague. Listening to the Ethiopians sing Train To Skaville; my first moments of reflection since booking a one-way ticket to Krakow with only slight inclination to stop moving.
All that matters are the miles passing by.
Prague is the easy part; I am learning Czech and need to do research for a book.
Krakow, for its basement bars, and castle that was supposedly a chakra point for the world. The bellybutton chakra or something.
It is because of Auschwitz that the ecstatic euphoria of Krakow and the need to translate that from head to paper has worn away to a certain sombre.
Krakow goes quite a way to being how I imagine heaven for drinkers, writers and the lost. It has an obscene amount of amazing bars and I’d talk about them, but all my brain wants, is to talk about Auschwitz. This letter will not arrive in the correct order; from arrival and back to this small table I am leaning on while the train sits in a Bohemia station. But rather, like my eventual arrival to Prague, in a more discombobulated state.
“This is what you want…This is what you get…”
PIL and industrial trains laden with chemical filled barrels and other ominous boxcars are rolling noiselessly by my window.
Everybody needs to go to Auschwitz.
Nobody can return from Auschwitz.
The urgency I cannot impress enough.
This is tugging your sleeve – pointing – demanding.
Come and see…
14.06.2009 Train to Gdansk
I drift, these days, between grim Soviet cities.
Old ethnic centres muted by grey, science-fiction, cyclopean tower blocks. Built to withstand wars that never happened and to contain a brave new world that never came. Segmented blocks conjured up to house the dreams of a people as one united worker family. Yet happy poetic reminiscence of the grand and glorious revolution remained lost to somnambulism.
There seems to exist only a fading bitterness at the past and a very real if unspoken apprehension that the wheel might spin around once more and the past will just be one long now.
It seems numbingly easy to realise/imagine that if the Eastern Front had never been opened, all these cities would have been washed clean. Like a pair of shoes, carefully reconditioned and shipped back to the Reich to the waiting hands of whichever good German happened to have their number called.
That was the plan anyway. Finish off the Jews; move on to the Poles and on.
The asylum and van prototypes worked.
They just needed to expand the factory.
All it takes is a slight squint, to imagine the mostly empty spaces, the living room.
I’m traveling with my young nephew, whom I hope to show all that’s best of us, which right now seems to be Krakow and the Salt Mines. And the worst of us. I hope that it enters the clay and gives him a perspective and understanding.
Different now than when I first started to wander this way. The once terrible hungers dulled by time and indifference. The fire to create a run-on sentence looking for life on the next page.
Perhaps it’s the time passing, a sort of temporal cement to the lifestyle choices I’ve made. But I find myself occasionally yearning for normalcy.
A Gdansk Polish wedding: all as one singing the old songs.
Sort of wistful, the couples and scuttling children. Though I realise even if I got it, I wouldn’t know the words to the songs and it’s too long in the game to learn them so they could be sung without any awkwardness.
Scribbled thoughts and errata become odd rambling love letters to you. Perpetually unsure if I drift this way because, in some way, it’s like being close to you in absenteeism. Though craftily, I avoid the rawness of Prague.
11:30pm: they sashay and laugh as they decide where to go. Tins in hands, protected by perfume clouds and throaty laughs; it is hard not to feel saudade.
Time blips. 3.00am: an ex-Pentecostal preacher is demanding I watch his sissy videos while caterwauling about amphetamine-Jesus and sucking cock.
I have to hurt him to get him to let go of my hand.
Without Finnish, the bouncer is almost convinced that we know each other, that it’s a lover’s something.
I arrived on a storm edge, the skin-shrivelling dry air before the blizzard. The light is crisp and filtered like late ’70s Euro cinema.
The cold has a tension, as if nature hasn’t finished drawing her breath. It hit two days in, and locals questioning if I’ve moved for love are remarking “Well I hope she’s worth it and will keep you warm, as you’ve come for the worst winter in living memory.”
Mnemonic escape and has anyone seen Fuchs? Didn’t seem like a monody they’d understand or have time for. So I drew the other truth from the deck I’d fool stacked: “Here for a cross media music project.”
Trying to stray from any need for questions that might tell of the madness and violence that is the first day collapse.
Narcolepsy is its own survival mechanism.
Though the PTSD urge to end is continuous. Terror cloaked anxiety is gripped with the disappointment of waking up tangled in rope. Narcolepsy appears at emotional peaks. So you tend to check out just as you’re getting ready to check out.
Bits of the lawyers of Christmas past echo from the night before.
“I’m sorry you’re going through this.”
“I wish I could help you.”
“Maybe I can help you crack this.”
“The best thing you can do is own nothing.”
“Best of luck…I am sorry…”
I’m snowed in at the guiche end of Nowhere; a sliver in the wastelands between Helsinki and Vantaa.
The front-facing window has only a red oriental gossamer-edged curtain. Like someone made it from the sex dress of the woman they caught their boyfriend with. Considering the rows that happen by my door, that’s highly possible.
It works. If you believe in it.
The draft is a siege fought with pillows.
I am getting sick.
A doctor has told just told me I’m dying.
The cold rattles
and my teeth hurt.
I’m trying to finish a techno thing
and a gig is drawing me back
back to Krakow
My only entertainment: an Ikea bag full of porn magazines rescued from a dumpster. They span thirty years from Hustler to Finnish magazines. It is this or the living-room, a strange Usher experience where the twenty-four-year-old landlady works a duality between knitting and a crippling Candy Crush addiction. A clicking, staccato, Medea narrative frilled about the twenty-seven-year-old she met at fourteen. Who has left her for a depressed older woman with kids, much to her furious indignation.
When I moved in, she apologised for not emptying the wall wardrobe of racked shoes.
The door has no lock, and she regularly bursts in like a Bradleys parent trying to catch me masturbating.
I’m glad she hasn’t noticed the stack of porn.
I don’t know what to do with it, it seems bottomless. The Finnish are impossible to understand. Which is a shame, as they’re simultaneously the most hardcore as they’re the most bizarre.
Bondage, grannies, animals, fisting, and shit-eating. Designed almost like old country almanacs.
The pictures so much, it pains not to know what the chunks of text say.
Reading through the English stuff, out of order, out of time is a disorientating melt through the ages of man. Bush-era porn referencing Reagan-era jingoism reads like old white bigot comedy less funny as when it wasn’t funny the first time. You can still catch echoes of these dinosaurs, aging badly with their audience, fat, riddled with hate and slow growing cancers.
Nostalgia bigotry, infested with hints of cocaine and yellowing period misogyny.
My landlady has entangled me unwittingly in a tax scam.
It doesn’t make the illness easier and adds a pit of nausea as she has said she will tell the authorities I am lying.
She has an aged terrier called Pineapple*. Pineapple has a small stuffed crocodile.
She likes to get this, and making sure she has eye contact, fuck it across the floor, from one periphery of your vision to the other. She huffs as she does and if you ignore her she may give a short cold sneered and singular bark of attention. The moment you look at her, she’ll resume fucking it across the floor.
Cold canine eyes locked with yours. Little doggy sex grunts laced with aged wheezing. Deliberate dominant pumping.
Look at me.
You’re the crocodile now.
You’re. The. Crocodile. Now.
* The name of the dog has been changed to protect its identity.
The pseudonymous E.F Fluff is currently trying to escape a Kafka-esque nightmare of corruption, death threats, violence, white collar crime, and bigotry in Finland. Seriously. The photos above are all theirs.