Monday, December 31, 2007

Winter Break

Dec. 27, 2007
Vienna, Severingasse, bed


We told our parents on Christmas, yes. Currently trying to do some automatic writing, push the pen across the page, manual labor, the opposite of sweeping a hallway, instead you leave the path strewn with muttering, gleaming refuse. It's cold in here even with the heat on. Ka is out teaching. She has had a cold these last few days. I'm listening to Ali Farka Touré. Working on translating a reseller contract. Tomorrow we're to go out to Saturn and buy some office equipment for our companies: espresso maker, phone, microphone & speakers for my computer. Debating Zionism with SOMOS via email. Being in touch with old high school friends through Facebook. Livius Patrick? Livia Malina? Livius the Roman historian, Patrick my grandfather, Malina Slovenian for raspberry.

Ka's back, making an appointment for organ screening for Tuesday the 8th of January. I've been reading Kerouac's original scroll version of On The Road. Last night I was dreaming about running around across the USA with him. The previous night, about zooming down Camino de Orellana in Guapulo (Quito, Ecuador) in a jeep driven by Miguel Angulo, who was driving really fast, but there was no need to worry--he had Neal Cassidy's driving skills. Magic is in the air. Jimmy is asleep and Jack is investigating the laundry I hung up earlier. Email from Dad this morning said Nana took 70 steps yesterday: she's in rehab after pneumonia. He is philosophical about taking care of her. She doesn't say much, but what she says is interesting, he says. He is reading Jane Eyre to her and playing Classical music.

Jean Kremlicka had me over for lunch yesterday. Ka was to come, but was too sick, and instead, stayed in and watched Romy Schneider films about the Empress Elisabeth. I'm hoping to make a video with Oswaldo Alvarez about my time in Ecuador. I've been writing some texts for it in my old 1998 notebook. The raw videotape he's using for it is some that I shot in that year.


Saturday, 29 December, 2007
Vienna, Severingasse, bed


I'll be 40 in a month. Ka suggests a Cirque de Soleil DVD as a gift. I have to teach again this coming Wednesday. I think I can get another day or so out of the textbook. Need to start looking for other material. John Unger friended me today on Facebook. He's producing exquisite mosaic sculptures and looking like an eco-magician.

We saw a film on TV last night about Margarete Steiff, founder of a great teddy bear company, about her struggles with being mostly paralyzed, and how she got ahold of a sewing machine and found her life's work.

According to a Facebook application, as a German philosopher I am Gottfried Leibniz.

"And, in the evening, it's Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers," says Ka, reading a TV schedule on a webpage.

"Moomfie," she says, stroking Jimmy, who's wheezing in the space between us on the bed. Wheezing is his normal way to breathe when he's relaxing. "What are you writing in there?" she asks me.

"Stuff."

"Stuff? Like a stuffed animal?" she asks.

Yes. I am writing stuff to stuff the animal of time.

Jimmy attempts to cross between Ka and the computer, and is repelled.

"Mah," says Ka, her expression of exasperation. "I can't reach the milk."

This is a request. I comply.

"See, Jimmy?" she says. "How important it is to be able to speak?"

Wheezing, Jimmy regards the computer screen, then looks around. Jack is asleep next to my foot. The cars outside are unceasing. The weather is gray and damp and cold. We are drinking espresso with milk--espresso from the new machine. I installed it yesterday at 4:45 p.m. on top of the dishwasher in the kitchen. Walked out and walked back in again and saw the large black surface of its side, and as I had just read an email from Abdón Ubidia, his description of his character's black Remington typewriter popped into my head: "... a schematic instrument of evil ... something that might have a purpose at a funeral." A dark vision! It makes very nice espresso.

A warm and newsy email from Abdón, he was in Toronto and Tampa at conferences, and my translations of his stories were read there; his mom died this year; he has been writing ...

("I understand that you are with infant," Enrique seems to have said to Ka on the phone just now--or did he say something else? Who would have told him? Or did she mishear him?)

... he has been writing a Funvention that he likes, and also he wrote an erotic novel in which there is a character named Nathah after me, an editor and translator who lives in a distant place; and he has met an Austrian translator who would like to publish some of his work in German.

The cup out of which I was drinking espresso is in a state which we generally term "empty," though it is mostly full of air and also contains a small amount of espresso. I tip it and get another drop out of it. The inside of the cup resembles the crater of a Latin American volcano with sloping sides, plenty of exposed dirt, and a small lake at the bottom. Latin America is everywhere, even in Central Europe; the continents penetrate each other like strangers at an orgy.

Jack has found one of the small plastic-coated wires that bound one of the cables of the speakers I bought yesterday, and in playing with it, he disconnects our internet connection, so that Ka can't load a new webpage. I get up and check the connections, plug a yellow cable into the router. Pick up Jack and carry him around; at the moment, he doesn't really want to be carried. His fur smells like beeswax. He really wants to play with the wire. He jumps up on the bed with it, then back down on the floor, playing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Jimmy, waking up, takes note, but it's not interesting enough to compel him to move. Looking out the window, Jimmy resembles Mount Rushmore, a mountain with a face.

The cats settle into the lunar landscape of the bedspread like ancient philosophers in a Noh play, their faces painted white and brown/black. Calmly, they contemplate. Ka websurfs, looking at baby mattresses. "Babymatratze für optimalen Babyliegekomfort." Leave it to the German language to take the three concepts of baby, lying down, and comfort, and put them together into one word.

A pause to find and deploy wool socks. It's cold in here, even with the radiators on. Ka and I both licking our lips pensively. She leans her head on my shoulder, trying to read what I'm writing. "Per--?"

"Pensively," I say.

"Prr?" Jack asks, from the floor.

"Yes, Jackie?" Ka replies. Jack jumps up, looks for something to do. Jimmy is curled up like a snail, dreaming his other life, where he is a scientist on a spaceship in a distant galaxy.

"Das Glück ist wo Sie sind," the computer speaks--Ka played a small advertisement--it means, "Happiness is where you are." Jack is still discontent, maybe sauer, to use the German term. I gave him back his little plastic-coated wire, but it's not moving around by itself anymore, as it seemed to be before. I lean forward and pet him. His mood improves.

Photos of Mount Fuji in the spring with cherry blossoms adorn the box of facial tissues. The continents penetrate each other like--"Will there be breakfast?" Ka asks, then whispers a subliminal message: "Sandwich!"

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