El Rumbo Perdido

by Desaparecido

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Me dicen el desaparecido
Que cuando llega ya sea ido
Volando vengo Volando voy
deprisa deprisa a rumbo perdido

-Manu Chao


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London Calling

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I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to write this, ten, twenty maybe. It always gets stuck right at the beginning. I try to figure out why I went to London in the first place. It seems perfectly clear right up to the point where my fingers touch the keyboard, then it all goes to shit.

I suppose I could give a recap of the events that happened there, or maybe an account of how everything transpired, which is really all the same. Instead I think I’ll just give cryptic pieces of writing that I somehow managed to mash out in the insomniac hours of night (day?). Who knows.

Here’s a haiku:

I am on my way
The place does not matter but
I am on my way

I remember about a week before I got to London I spoke with my brother, ‘hey man,’ he said. ‘You know you can only stay with us for like a month.’

The fact is things change, fuck it, I’ve never really followed through with a plan anyway. I talked him up to two months, still a far cry short of the six we had planned.

His girlfriend had moved in.

So what did happen in those three months. A lot. Nothing.

The I Ching said I would find a friend who would be an ally. A few days after my arrival a guy I’d met in Mozambique contacted me, he had also ended up in London. What luck.

We both took bartending jobs in the city, we got riotous, London crept in and Africa seeped out. How do you explain what happens to your soul there? How the grey city reflects the grey sky and people are polite assholes and materialism is the only measure of a man and pseudo-intellectual hipsters pretend to be bi because it is fashionable.

We met a Frenchman. He would pay for an outrageously priced bottle of vodka and then steal a coke to go with it.

‘Diet Coke is for fat people,’ he would say. Then, ‘I love being French.’

The Australian girl studying fashion design. ‘Fashion is boring,’ she would say. ‘It never changes, just moves in circles.’

The Polish girl who liked to talk dirty. In the road. ‘You’re a mechanic,’ she would yell across a damp street in Hackney, ‘and I have a flat tire. Now seduce me you American fuck!’

The mustaches.

The white Zimbabwean girl, ‘We didn’t have slaves!’ she screamed after much bating in my brother’s flat, ‘We had servants.’ The wounded dignity of one defending injustice.

The Hebrew rickshaw driver. The Russian Bar at 5 am.

The squat in Brixton, the wholesome South African girl I lived with there – a hidden respite of happiness in squalor. I learned that Heroin makes your mouth burn from the abusive man at KFC. He screamed at that poor Indian woman until the manager came and gave him his soft serve ice cream at one in the morning. He continued to hurl abuse with his lips and chin slathered in the melted vanilla of that ice cream cone. We left giggling.

And the capstone love that wasn’t. The pane of glass and our own separate prisons on either side. We were the same as before, but wholly different.

It leans in on you, that city does.
7th Apr 2009, 10:25  

nige says:

Something about the way you write, man. I just love it. Great post.

7th Apr 2009, 11:19

it is

7th Apr 2009, 14:46

Caine says:

Great words, great shots. Top shot faved.

7th Apr 2009, 17:00

sweet

7th Apr 2009, 20:45

Desaparecido says:

Thank you for the kind words

10th Apr 2009, 17:31

foreverben says:

Awesome style. You know how to write. More of it, please..

22nd May 2009, 13:39

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