Satori In Rome (In Progress) Day 11
Self-indulgent post from novella-in-progress I’m working on while staying in Italy for a few weeks before heading to Thailand. OO<>OR MAYBE IT’S A NOVELETTE… I pay for this website each month. So fucking. Here.
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I’ve probably finished about seven or eight bottles of wine since my first week and a half in Italy. And a dozen or so beers. Coming home from the beach today I thought about how to explain myself to my Airbnb hosts.
“Yes, you know the cliche…”
And I was thinking about to explain the word “cliche” in English.
Anyway, the day I left. From Philadelphia. Remember? I said I was drunk. That whole time. Those three years. I evolved from a spore in the hinterlands. The Earth is a backwater of the galaxy in infinite space that was created from its own tree of spitballs, one after the other. A universe plus a universe plus another universe. And here we are. Some jackass, drinking, typing, typing and drinking. Listening to music. Listening to roommates watching Harry Potter in Italian. I AM RUMBLING THESE KEYS FROM OUTER SPACE LIKE A WORM CHEWING THROUGH AN ENDLESS ARRAY OF WOOD STACKED UPON A PARROT’S BEAK.
“Il no so…” I say to some Italian guy who comes up to me in the grocery store while I’m sitting there working. The American working overseas. The American. He’s always working. Always on his laptop. He sure, certainly, yes he does. Si. Uh huh. He drinks a lot…
The guy was asking me for a light. I said that I didn’t know. This probably confused the shit out of him.
Back to Philly, drinking. Drunk. All those bottles of beers. A closet full of plastic bags. And paintings. A cockroach hotel!
The ceiling collapsing. People sitting on their endless stoops, days without jobs. Rashes. Doctor visits. Stagnancy. The cancer that is eating itself. Just like the universe gave birth to itself. The streets of Philadelphia will one day be a graveyard.
I can think of myself in the library out on Vine Street, reading a book from the shelf on evolution. The bones of millions of years a priori … the urban cancer that was hallowed by the glowing embers of love in the center of the galaxy … exploding like blood … the bloodlust of the cancer that is homo sapiens. Five hundred million years of evolution. The Cambrian Explosion. The spine develops. The brain. The tail latches onto something, the green grass growing. Chlorophyll. Pterodactyls. Extinction, a thousand years hence, a thousand, a hundred thousand, millions of years elapse and the tongue becomes a natural instrument for speech. Destruction is the home of the birds and the bees. Buzzing. An angry fly that was born yesterday got into my room today and I knew I was going to kill that fucker, it was disrupting my classes.
I’M TEACHING CHINESE KIDS HOW TO SPEAK ENGLISH. WHAT IS THIS TOMFOOLERY?
There were four or five Italians outside of my room, talking about the plumbing. The shower was backed up and the Earth was coming up from the pipes. I was looking up words to see if they were calling me a dummy.
Backward into space and time. Drunk in Philadelphia. I thought about the Fourth of July and going out to the Liberty Bell. And taking a piss.
I knew it was going to be a long day. Split at the seams. I taught eight classes in a row. Then I went out to the storage space with my paintings. Then I went to the grocery store for a notebook and some last minute items. I chose a notebook with a purple cover.
Then I went to my brother’s across town. I gave him a record player, my guitar, records, all of Beethoven’s symphonies! We said goodbye. I had zero sentimentality. I was ready to unleash from the gravity of my own mind entranced and trapped by the weight of Philadelphia as a technologically-advanced graveyard. A crow flapping its wings in eternal space.
“Squawk, squawk! We’re all gonna die!”
I had to get away. From the people there. Yikes.
I took off for my apartment, trying to buy something on my new smartphone. A bag. For the flight. Checked. It said I’d had to give my passport at least 72 hours before an international flight. I hadn’t done that. Nervous! Shit! What if they wouldn’t let me on the flight! Everything would be ruined.
A gangrene blister split my sides. I careened out passed the subway platform. “Fuck the Liberty Bell!” I screamed.
Back to the apartment. Got my flight shit rolling, entering my passport information. Walked to the nearby library to print out the ticket for Morocco. (I wouldn’t need it. But I wanted to make sure that I had my flight itinerary to show the mustachioed Italian customs enforcement personnel.)
There was a woman at the library and she was docked by the printer with her two kids running around, sitting in the printer … near … on … with … against … by the printer. Hogging up the space of eternity. I was annoyed.
I stood there, honey, let the man sit.
“It’ll just be a second.”
I placed down seventy-five cents. I looked at the money. Everything felt surreal. Like I was alive for the first time in years.
The oceans will bubble and blister. The sky will pour out hordes of bullfrogs. I will become, one day, a splinter in the side of the Earth. Just like with everything and everyone else. Ha!
I went back to the storage space. HMPH. I said. I spoke to the storage space, locking it. Then I put the key in an envelope and I got back to the apartment and I wrote on the envelope. KEY AND CARD FOR STORAGE. I’d give that to my dad. I had to pack up what was left of the apartment and I felt a giant tidal wave engulfing South 16th Street. Fuck. Shit. What the hell. Where does this go? What should I do with this? How is this going to work? Then I realized I’d left something with my brother and his phone was off and I had hundreds of plastic bags.
I left them on the side of the store where he worked.
I saw him. And I felt like my hair was on fine.
“No, I know.”
“I get it.”
“Just give it to…”
“How’d you know?”
My parents drove me to the airport about an hour or two away. I left an empty case of beer in the middle of my apartment. “One day they’ll show a picture of that place in books when they study me as a writer.”
My dad laughed at the windshield.
“I gotta pee.”
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