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Un lieu pour passer la nuit


1Shine on, shine on, harvest moon up in the sky ...

2The gods smiled, opened gaps in the clouds so that huge moon in Aries beamed into the hacienda. Even more special a gift, they sent Mondo home for the first time in over a week. He was sitting there talking with the Snorer when I arrived, no ski cap and no gloves, his hair having grown enough on the sides to lose that shaved chicken look. He was in a quietly happy mood, showed me his pack of Marboros and offered me one. But he had better offerings and I moved over to sit beside him for the rotary connection. Alas, the Snorer, always a motormouth, goes absolutely into high gear after inhaling once and I was relieved when he decided he had to go buy something sweet to eat despite the not so welcome fact that Mondo decided to walk with him while I stayed and watched the belongings.

3So I was laying back enjoying the gentle buzz of the smoke and my cart-financed Hurricane, exploring yet again the delight of that wonderful "bedroom". More mystically inclined Egyptologists claim every measurement in the Great Pyramid contains some esoteric information, a thought which came to mind while I was pondering the numerological aspects of the hacienda. Two columns, three arches, where was the one? Duhhhh ... flagpole framed right in the middle of the center arch. The ceiling is a grid, 7 by 11, of symmetrical tile designs. I love that building.

4Mondo and the Snorer returned and we shared another of Mondo's offerings, finishing off his little supply. That was enough to put me in the mood for music instead of more yakking from the Snorer, so I slowly stopped paying attention to him, even though he kept looking over at me now and then, and lost myself in music, occasionally taking a look at Mondo who was sitting with a half-smile on his face listening to the Snorer. Then the Snorer settled down at last, having said he had to be at work at four in the morning, and Mondo went to sit on an outside bench for awhile before coming back in and settling on the bench behind mine. I drifted into sleep with a fuzzy, happy feeling of knowing he was there beside me.

5Around midnight I was awakened by voices, saw that the Sleeptalker had arrived with yet another young stranger and Mondo had gotten up, moved to the outside benches to join the conversation. I put in the earplugs and went back to sleep, woke later to see that Mondo was back on the bench behind me, the Sleeptalker on the bench in front. The perfect pair of flanking angels. When I woke in the morning, Mondo had taken off his tee shirt, was laying there sound asleep and his wallet was on the floor under the bench. I retrieved it, then sat there wondering what I should do about it. I couldn't try to put it back in his pocket, he might have awakened and thought I was trying to take it, or even worse, making some kind of move on him. There were a couple of strangers in the place, still asleep, so I didn't want to risk just leaving the wallet on the bench beside Mondo. I could, of course, just sat there enjoying the sight of his brown chest, that flat belly rising and falling in sleep, but too much of that was going to get me really twisted. He doesn't have nearly so fine a body as Reese, or even the Sleeptalker, it has more flesh on it, a softer brownness that I can't look at for long without urgently desiring to lay my head on it. So I smoked a cigarette, pondering the dilemma, momentarily distracted and amused when the Airport Refugee went into tentpole mode and by the Sleeptalker suddenly saying a few words in that sharp, distinct voice he uses when asleep. Then I decided the only thing I could do was wake Mondo up, let him deal with the problem of the wallet. I touched him gently on the elbow and said his name, he opened his eyes and smiled. I held up the wallet and said, "it was on the floor", he sat up and put his tee shirt on, stuck the wallet in his pocket. I said, "it's not a very good idea keeping it on the floor", patted his shoulder and departed with a wave, more than happy with the farewell smile and little wave I got in return. A fine, fine evening and night under that beautiful moon, which was still shining brightly in that predawn hour.

6Although it had been dry early on Monday morning, later the sky went solid gray and there was frequent drizzle. I saw the Cherub at Hamilton and chatted with him for awhile before he went off to class, then decided I might as well return to the mall since the weather made strolling around campus less than pleasant. By the time I'd topped up my tobacco supply, the weather had begun to change again with breaks of sunshine between very light sprinkles, so I went over to the park, intending to finish the saga of the Crazy Duke and his Quaker Duchess. Reese and his buddy were asleep on grassmats side-by-side. The Krishna truck arrived so I walked over to join the line which Reese and buddy also soon joined, along with all the other habitual park band of nomads and a few obviously not-needy beachgoers, one of them so blatantly not-needy that a Krishna fellow in the truck rattled the contribution jar at him. I didn't blame him, but the freeloader ignored it.

7The meal was, as usual, delicious, but I had learned my lesson and ate less than half of it, storing the rest in my casserole. After the unexpected refreshments supplied by Mondo, I was quite happy I'd saved the dessert. Maybe I didn't get the munchies as badly as the Snorer, but even so ... and it was sweet of Mondo to share half a chocolate Hostess cupcake with me, too.

8I finished the romance novel, enjoying it right up to its expected happily-ever-after ending and not at all surprised to find out that Quaker lady was a good deal less prim than she thought. The weather began to look threatening again, so I took a last long look at Reese and his buddy and went back to the mall to hunt shopping carts. Once I had enough for a Hurricane and the next morning's senior coffee, it was off to the hacienda.

9That morning interlude, sitting there with Mondo's wallet in my hand and feasting my eyes on his bare chest, had me so intoxicated it didn't really matter if the beergardens were dry, and they were save for half a Bud Light. The Cherub had asked me when I'd last had sex with someone and feigned jealousy when I'd said I didn't remember which day, but one morning last week. My Japanese shower buddy, again. I've lost count now how many episodes we've been through together, so I guess it can appropriately be called an affair. The most recent time, though, was different. He had forgotten to remove his wedding band. Adultery! And the old Filipino gentleman who is so smitten with me came in. We stopped, of course, but he made a gesture urging us to continue, so I grinned at the Japanese fellow, shrugged and he grinned back, grabbed me and we took up where we'd left off. Having an audience made him even more energetic than usual and, as usual, he didn't have much staying power but that's okay. I thought about that episode especially, after the morning with Mondo, and was tempted to go over and see if my favorite shower buddy was around. But no, sometimes it's fun to stay horny, save it up. Who knows what Dame Fortune might have in store after that delicious day and night of the Full Moon?


10"FUCK you, Reting!" said the Sleeptalker in the game as he was forced to log-off since the State Library was closing. Monday, bloody Monday.

11When I read Cainer's forecast for this week, I told Kory K I wished there were a pill which would let me sleep for a week, and a place to take it. He felt the same way about the forecast for his week.

12On Sunday evening I had my second encounter with that technological miracle, DVD, watching "2001". I don't know how many times I have seen that film, several times while under the influence of LSD. It was good to see it again after a decade or so.

13Then I went to the hacienda for the first time in a week. Mondo was the only member of the Club there, already asleep under his blanket. A young black man I'd not seen before had, alas, taken the bench next to Mondo, so I settled on an outside one next to the Big Local Dude and his lady. It was windy and cold.

14Wind is the biggest natural enemy in this beautiful place. Rain, even heavy continuous rain, can be a nuisance but shelter can be found. When the wind is both continuous and erratic, it cancels out the advantages of almost all outdoor sheltered places. The cloisters has almost no protection from wind, the hacienda, too, opens directly to the gusting trade winds.

15But it was quiet, so I put on an extra tee shirt and snuggled up under my towel. The black fellow was listening to a radio with headphones, drinking from some hard liquor bottle (I couldn't tell what it was), but everyone else was asleep. Occasionally he would say something, probably more loudly than he realized, and it kept me from falling asleep even after I put in the earplugs. It became more and more frequent, and then he started "singing" along with his music. The BLD got up, went over and asked him to keep it down. He did for a short while, then started in again even louder. The BLD again spoke to him, more sharply. Silly fellow was too drunk to get the message, and when the BLD spotted him pissing in the corner (inside!), he grabbed the guy by the back of the shirt and escorted him to the exit path. Everyone was sitting up watching, Mondo looked over and saw me, waved. Everyone settled back down except, apparently, the BLD, because the drunken fellow tried to sneak back in and was promptly re-evicted. Poor guy could hardly walk, staggered off down the road. If he hadn't made such an obnoxious nuisance of himself, I would have gone after him to help him find a place to collapse for the night, and I felt a little guilty for not having done so.

16I moved over to take his vacated bench since it was on the inside row and more sheltered. The BLD said, "hey Albert, cigarette butts!". Oops, had forgotten to pick up the two under my first bench. "Ah yes, thanks," I said to the Resident Cop, and retrieved my litter.

17Windy, wet morning. Monday, bloody Monday. Senior coffee at McD's for the first time in a week, too. Then to campus.

18The Sleeptalker was in Raging Brat mode in the game. I kept quiet, said nothing. Then he started making public remarks which included me in his tirade, so I quit and took a couple of hours break, sat in the secluded grove in the occasional light drizzle, drinking a welcome Hurricane. When I returned to the game, he was still in full rant, everyone telling him to shut up (and more strongly worded suggestions). I made a few sharp public responses to his continued jabs so he ended up totally isolated against a group of people who were otherwise having fun and just wished he would buzz off. Fortunately he had no choice at five o'clock, and the rest of the evening was quite amusing in the game, and useful for Reting's advance since a few highest level players had been irked by the Sleeptalker's crap aimed at me and helped me out with getting some better equipment. Nice, but I would certainly rather have had a pleasant day with the Sleeptalker in there instead of any better equipment or sympathy.

19The weather was utterly vile all afternoon, gusting wind and horizontal rain much of the time, and it continued that way all night. When I got to the cloisters, all benches were taken, so I took a spot on the floor, after saying hello to Cat and the Gypsy Boy. Some fellow walked over and told me that was his usual spot. Well, that little bench is my usual spot, I said, but someone has it. First come, first served. I could have yielded and just moved to another piece of floor, but what the hell. Strange young man. He introduced himself, shook my hand, and went off to talk to the Gypsy Boy, ended up sleeping about three feet further along the wall from me.

20I woke up around two in the morning and saw my little bench had been vacated. Hallelujah! Moved to it and had a few hours of more comfortable (albeit far from real comfort) sleep.

21Where or where is that seven-day sleeping pill ...

Argent, alcool et tabac


22I can't believe it happened. I was all drunk and everything.

23I was, too, but I'm just stating the fact, not offering it as an excuse. These things aren't always easy to write and the most difficult ones are those where I have to admit I was stupid. Some of this one I could just pass over in silence but since it involves, directly or indirectly, three of the major players in this saga, I guess I'll tale it.

24Knowing the Fabled Pension Check was waiting, I didn't linger long on campus, went downtown to collect it, then to Waikiki to cash it. Then back again downtown to a little hole-in-the-wall place Angelo had shown me in Chinatown. Cigarettes for $1.95 a pack.

25To the mall, picking up a Mickey's and going to the park to enjoy it and continue reading Straub's Mystery. I was much surprised Angelo didn't find me. I suppose Rossini is "something better" even if old Albert has money in pocket. I wasn't complaining.

26Since I was nearing the end of the book, I got another Mickey's and returned to the park and the book. A shame he had to kill off one of his best characters but it certainly was a fine read.

27Two Mickey's and not yet four o'clock. I went to the mall again, looked for something to eat and found a pizza box on a planter ledge, two slices abandoned. I smiled as I passed a cart in a very awkward spot. The day before I certainly would have wheeled it back. Then I saw another one and since I was walking toward a corral anyway, went to collect it. A woman I've never seen before grabbed it. I thought she just wanted to use the cart but, nope, she took it back for the quarter and set off to hunt another. She's going to get a very inaccurate picture of the Quarter Hunt with me out of the game and the Mongoose not there, too.

28I saw Rocky sitting on a bench, he waved me over and again asked if I'd seen Angelo. I said I thought he was probably with Rossini, as he had been the day before, and offered to buy Rocky a beer. He wanted me to fill his pipe instead. I declined. He begged, wheedled, flirted, said "we can share it together, just you and me". I yielded, dumb person that I am.

29We took a bus to Chinatown. On the way I gave him the twenty dollars he needed. And two more for the pipe. I guess no one wants to walk around carrying the things, safer just to buy one each time. The guy he planned to score from wasn't there, so the alternative was going to cost five dollars more. Sigh. And another fifty cents on the price of a pipe.

30He said we could go to a friend's place to smoke. When we got to the apartment building, the friend came downstairs, told us the Sleeptalker was in his place with two friends, two twelve-packs of beer and some ice. That was the funniest moment of the day. Rocky and I both said "no!" at the same time. So that's the Sleeptalker's "friend", too. A rather portly man, probably in his forties, not much hair left. He said the Sleeptalker was staying with him "for a few days". The poor man.

31We'd get a bus, Rocky said. As we were walking to the stop, he saw Mondo across the street. "Pretend you don't see him," he said, "ignore him." "No way I'm ignoring Mondo," I said, and waved to him. Mondo asked what we were up to and Rocky made some lame excuse about us being late to meet some guys. I doubt Mondo believed it, but he seemed happily stoned as usual and it probably didn't much matter to him.

32I thought we were going back to the park, but about halfway there, Rocky said we should get off the bus. He went over to a group of portable toilets, said, "I'll go in first and then you can." That wasn't exactly what I had in mind as a way to share, "just you and me". He went in. I sat there and waited, smoked two cigarettes. Finally he came out, was all paranoid, wanting to know if someone had been checking out the toilet. No, just some people using them for more ordinary purposes. I waited for him to hand me the pipe but the little bugger got up, went back into the toilet, leaving his backpack with me. Earlier he had said, "I just want one good hit and you can have the rest." Uh-huh.

33It didn't really matter to me. I wouldn't have minded a little sample of the stuff but hadn't intended to smoke much of it. Since he'd left his backpack, I didn't have much choice, had to wait until he came out again. "My turn now?" I asked. "Soon," he said. Hmmph. "I may be stupid, dude, but I ain't that stupid. Enjoy yourself." And I walked off.

34I can't believe such greed. Just incredible. Oh well, $27.50 is a small price to pay, I guess, to watch Rocky burn his bridge with me after all this time. The funny thing was, he'd kept reassuring me throughout the adventure that he wasn't taking advantage of me. If I hadn't known him so long, I would have been suspicious from the start. As it was, I was just astounded.

35Back at the mall, I was headed to the drugstore when I saw an abandoned stroller. Couldn't let that opportunity pass. As I was wheeling it back, a lady came up behind me and said, "here, take this" and handed me a five dollar bill! What goes around comes around. Or at least part of it.

36I bought another Mickey's and went to the park to think. A third brew was ill-advised, since I'd planned to be at the Pier Bar in the evening for the Island Riddim Band, wondered if I'd be able to make it after finishing that bottle. I did. Something of a disaster, that gig. Even though the place was half-empty they were asking for a cover charge. I didn't even ask how much, had no intention of paying it since you can see and hear fine from outside the bar and I didn't need a drink. Mike Ka'awa was alone on stage and it's always a pleasure to hear him, but where was the Island Riddim Band? They finally showed up, almost forty-five minutes late, played six or seven numbers and then said they were taking a break and Henry Kapono would be up next. Say what? If I wanted to hear Kapono, I'd go to one of his gigs. Bizarre.

37I left and went over to Gordon Biersch where my favorite bartender was at the inside bar. He told me to sit on the stool by the taps, poured me a beer, later poured another one and shared his dinner with me. I stayed until closing, thoroughly enjoying his company and being in that place even if they've messed up the atmosphere by putting three big television sets over the bar. Three. Sheez. An old "Saturday Night Live" was on and Madonna did a dreadful job of singing "Fever". She should listen to Peggy Lee for hours as penance.

38Somehow I managed to stagger to the hacienda. Angelo was there, asleep.

39And the second day of August began with a horrendous hangover, not just from the beer, but even more from having been so damned stupid with Rocky.

Se nourrir


40There is much to be said for contentment and painlessness, for these bearable and submissive days, on which neither pain nor pleasure is audible, but pass by whispering and on tiptoe.

41A couple of weeks ago, someone gave me a coupon from the McDonald's card campaign entitling me to a free choice of several food options and a small cup of coffee. I had tucked it away, saving it for some future time when I was "desperate". I mentioned to a reader that I had been walking around feeling hungry all day and might resort to using that coupon. She noted that it was unlike me to have saved it to begin with and wondered if that represented some shift in attitude. Voila! Little wonder the Guardian Angel of Supplies had been so inactive; why should he trouble himself when I was walking around with a free meal in my pocket.

42So on my way back to Waikiki from UH, I stopped and had a Broiled Chicken Deluxe Sandwich and a small coffee. The lady behind the counter said "you were lucky to get both free!", correcting her mistake in ringing up the coffee. Quite true.

43The next morning, I found three pennies within minutes of starting the walk to UH, a fine omen. And the Angel was back on duty. I was prepared for lunch, with a packet of dried spinach-miso soup, but when making my tea-time rounds of the best ashtrays (one has to stay ahead of the army of Filipino ladies cleaning them out), I found the remains of a chicken katsu mini-plate which was quite delicious despite those vegetables which are still totally alien to me, an almost full cup of hot chocolate, and most unusual of all, half a cup of tea. One must be grateful the student body at UH is so affluent they can buy such things and then decide they don't want them, so lazy that instead of taking them to the nearest trash can, they simply leave them sitting on benches.

44On the walk back to Waikiki, there was a penny in the middle of the street. I walked past it, stopped, waited for traffic to pass, returned and pocketed the penny. It isn't wise to ignore the melon that falls from heaven, no matter how small. When darkness began to fall, I sat for awhile in the twilight until Venus was shining brightly, then lit the candle and thought, let's try that old trick, let's turn water into tequila. Out of practice though I am, after a few minutes of the exercise, the water gave me a warm inner glow and I went to lie down for awhile.

45Captain John was supposed to be at the Irish Rose, as is his usual habit on Tuesdays, so I walked first past Duke's to see if he was there. He wasn't, so I went on to the Rose. Only one fellow I knew was there, lamenting how broke he was. We hugged and commiserated. I went on to the Shorebird to say hello to one of my favorite bartenders, Greg, who insisted I have a beer, and we had a good time talking about the recently departed J.P. and old times at Duke's, where Greg was the bartender during the time it was my daily afternoon habitat. A fellow visiting from Alaska was there and the conversation turned to art. I said I only wished I had made paintings of beer cans before Andy did soup.

46The Alaskan dude went on his way, so I returned to the Rose which was almost empty. I sat on a concrete block outside, waiting to see if John would arrive, and was soon joined by a lady who had been handing out leaflets for one of those tour desk operations. It was the end of her shift so she was just waiting for time to go home. She is a former stripper, said she made lots of money at it but spent it all on drugs and ended up living under a bridge for two years. By working seven days a week, she makes enough handing out leaflets to keep a roof over her head. We exchanged stories of life on the streets in Waikiki and then she said "I want you to have a beer on me", gave me two dollars (and change for the tax) and told me to go get a 40 oz. bottle of Mickey's. What a cool lady!

47We said goodbye to each other and I walked through the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center to replenish my tobacco supply. It was tempting to spend that two dollars on the bottle of beer, but I thought I'd really rather have cups of coffee for the next couple of days and was sure she'd understand.

48The next morning was clear and beautiful. I decided to forego my usual trek to the University and spend the day in Waikiki. A corner shop offers large cups of excellent coffee for 51 cents, so I bought one of those and walked to the beach to enjoy it and watch the beachboys setting up their stands and the Marathon runners out for early practice. I dallied too long, the Shopping Center cleaning staff had already begun the rounds of the ashtrays. So I walked along the beach to the Zoo corner, headed for the local library and its email terminal, discovering along the way two ashtrays outside the Queen Kapiolani Hotel which were heavy laden with lengthy cigarette butts.

49After checking email at the library, I returned to the beach and spotted Captain John waiting for enough customers to take his catamaran out. We talked for awhile, then he said he wanted some eggs and asked if I'd share a breakfast. The man has such style, he made it seem like I would be doing him a favor by agreeing. The place next to the Police Station certainly takes good care of the beach workers; that plate-lunch breakfast must have weighed five pounds: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, macaroni salad and two scoops rice. John told me to take it on board while he was getting ready to cast off, and to eat all the meat especially because he didn't want any. Delicious bacon! After finishing the iced tea he bought to go with it, I had two beers from the boat's ice chest, a most excellent breakfast indeed, especially in that beautiful setting in the calm waters off Diamond Head.

50John tried to get me to put on a life preserver (I cannot swim) and go in the water, but I said I'd need to have five beers before I'd go in water that deep, preserver or not. One of these days I'll do it.


51So much food. It began on Wednesday with a bottle of Mickey's and the loaf of bread for a late brunch. Then I stopped by Kory K's place after the library closed. He was cooking a big pot of what could be called chicken paella vindaloo, with an emphasis on the vindaloo. Hot stuff! Delicious, too. I ate so much of it I couldn't drink any more beer, which is even more ridiculous than watching Independence Day 4 (well, half of it) for the nine-and-one-halfth time. Crept off early to the bench for a long, peaceful sleep.

52Thursday was Kuhio Day, a State holiday that not many places observe, but the university did and most things were closed. It was yet again a day when it rained for fifteen minutes and then got sunny for the next fifteen before raining again, so I abandoned plans to stay awhile in Waikiki, grabbed a bottle of Mickey's and headed to Manoa Garden. I had a loaf of bread as well as a plate lunch container of fried chicken and potatoes, so the birds and I had a grand brunch. Several people I know on campus stopped by during the afternoon and, aside from two trips downhill to replenish the beverage supply, I ended up sitting there all day enjoying the beer and the company of both the birds and the humans, along with some decent music, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis particularly.

53It was a fine way to celebrate Tomita-san's birthday, and many toasts were drunk in his honor. So many I lost count of the coinage and thus discovered on Friday morning I was three pennies short of a senior coffee. As usual in such situations, not one penny was to be found anywhere in Ala Moana. I could have taken a discarded cup and had it refilled, but I feel cheap asking for a refill even when I've paid the senior price, much less when I haven't bought anything at all.

54No pennies, but a loaf of French bread ... happily, since the breadbasket had been emptied by the time I got to it ... and half a pint of Mickey's, plus a bag of dried cranberries. Then what must be almost two pounds of cheese turned up, three different kinds, cubed for a party platter. I didn't know birds like cheese (cheddar seems to be the preferred variety). This bonanza was supplemented by a large plate-lunch container, full of chicken and fried rice. So Friday was marked with a decided shortage of beverage options but an abundance of food.

55It was also time for the follow-up visit to the doctor. He said the infection seems to be healing well, so no need to do anything but continue to use the cream until it is completely gone. He grilled me again about the chest pain and is eager to see me off to a cardiologist. Meanwhile, I'm not to "exert" myself. Now that's a medical order I find much easier to follow than his repeated injunction to stop smoking.

56NPR played Mahler's Fifth yet again, the third time in one week, so I listened for the second time (having missed one outing). And they did a nice bit of synchronicity with my recent "Shall we dance?" question by playing that Gershwin song in a continuing series observing the hundred anniversary of his birth. Read a bit of Steppenwolf now and then, spent a lot of time just watching and feeding the birds, walking around from place to place with not much hurry to get from one to another.

57Just keeping on keeping on ...


58I decided I didn't like the original Tale 130 so took it down after a couple of hours for some re-arranging and editing, put up the aphorism which is now Tale 130 instead. Is it really an aphorism? A new section for the Tales? Probably not the latter, anyway, because if you start to think in aphoristic form, the mind gets very silly quite soon.

59The off-line weekend, the short library hours during the week, and the even longer off-line weekend ahead, plus the comparatively deserted campus, makes for a time quite unlike anything in these almost-eight months of nomadic life. And writing about the events of several days instead of the usual daily commentary changes the nature of writing the Tales.

60So amidst the strangeness of the time, it was comforting to have Rocky sleeping on the bench beside me on Monday and Tuesday nights, after a longer absence than usual, and it was an interesting experiment spending all day on Saturday in the mall, encountering so many people I knew that it made Honolulu seem like a very small town indeed.

61Viktor and Bobby, from McDonald's, were the first people I ran into, outside the restaurant; then I spotted another Bobby, from the group Kolea, and shortly afterwards saw Jake Shimabukuro. I went upstairs over Center Stage for the Ilona Irvine set, saw Mamaloa get up and dance, so went downstairs to say hello to her and sat beside her on the floor at one side of the stage. Bruce Howard came over and joined us and we both got fed Famous Amos cookies (after I declined the offer of a full plate lunch which they'd given Mamaloa at Patti's Chinese Kitchen). Kory K turned up for the Pure Heart gig and after chatting with him and Bruce afterwards, then going on my way, I ran into Myra. Panther the Mall Rat.

62Someone brought a box of food from 7-Eleven and left it outside McDonald's. It was mostly sandwiches that were dated the last day of sale, but there was also a beef bowl concoction which was mostly rice, and some pastries. I grabbed the beef bowl, two sandwiches and two pieces of cake just in time before some of the other nomads spotted the box and quickly emptied it out. Very kind of someone to have dropped it off there. Then I found a bag with a can of corned beef, tuna fish and a can which is probably sardines but was missing the label, so I put the tuna in my backpack with the 7-Eleven goodies and stashed the other two cans away in a hiding place which has come in handy several times before.

63Cigarettes were in short supply ... it seemed there was always a cleaning person a few steps ahead of me. So I ended up walking down to Ward Centre and Warehouse to get the evening supply of tobacco, picking up a bottle of Mickey's at the new 7-Eleven, and then finding a huge salad with chunks of chicken abandoned at the Centre. It seemed as if I'd spent the entire day eating, and was still feeling hungry. Maybe the body wants the two pounds back it lost last week, because appetite has been unusually strong. That's not very good timing, considering the scarcity of abandoned plate lunch boxes on campus this week.

64Sunday morning I decided to go to Waikiki for a change, did a tobacco run through the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and then sat outside the Zoo for awhile, trying to spot someone who might buy the two free passes I have or else someone I wanted to just give them to. Didn't see likely candidates for either, so crossed over to use the lua and ran into a long-time friend and/or enemy, depending on the circumstances, and had a cup of coffee with him and a chat about health problems and on-line madness.

65Monday morning I had gone, as usual, to get a cup of senior coffee from the Ward Avenue Jack-in-the-Box and crossed the street to sit at the sheltered bus-stop. A white pick-up pulled over nearby and a man got out carrying two white bags. It looked like he was going to dump them in the wastebasket which seemed rather odd. Instead, it turned out to be a notable webmaster who was kindly stopping to bring me breakfast. Breakfast Jack, hash browns and another cup of coffee, delivered! A most excellent start to the strange week of no school.

66The bonanza of discarded books continued on campus and Monday morning I found a very large paperback volume which is an overall survey of world religions, giving a fairly detailed history of all the major ones with chapters discussing off-shoots and less orthodox varieties. It is a special edition, with a chapter on Hawaiian religion added. The book was far too heavy to lug around, so I broke it into chapters, put three in my bag and stashed the rest for later, then sat in the grove, read the Hawaiian material and began the chapter on Hinduism, with its pre-Vedic and Vedic forerunners. The book takes a very neutral, unbiased stance and is well-written, a welcome discovery. I don't feel at all touched by Hawaiian mythology or religion, at least not via any sources I've encountered yet, and this one is no exception.

67The chapter on Hinduism was the inspiration for that aphorism. Finishing that, I went on to the chapter on Christianity which is particularly interesting in its tracing of the earliest developments and the possible paths that religion might have taken. Some cleaning person got too thorough and the chapters I had stashed were gone on Tuesday, so I'm left with just Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism. More than enough religion for any one person, any one life.

Le jugement artistique


68I've been all around the world, boys ... trying to get to Heaven before they close the door...

69One day, decades ago in London, the postman delivered a 12x12 parcel which contained Into the Purple Valley, one of Ry Cooder's delightful albums, with a note saying "You must hear this." I was very grateful for the gift and the advice and continued to follow Cooder's career closely for many years. When Chicken Skin Music was released, I am sure I read the liner notes and checked out the credits, but Gabby Pahinui's name meant nothing to me so I spent a long time listening to him without knowing who he was. A reader of the Tales kindly sent me a tape of that album. It brings back many happy memories, accented now by the added appreciation of Gabby and Atta Isaac's participation.

70On a beautiful sunny Friday morning, I awoke just before dawn and made my way on foot from Manoa to Ala Moana Beach where I had a cup of tea and a shower, then sat in the sun to dry. I walked on to the new Kakaako Waterfront Park where, on top of the highest hill with a view of this entire part of the island, John and Mariah Feary exchanged vows in a simple, but touching wedding ceremony. Later, I ended up at Jelly's with Kory K and thanks to a piece of paper sent with the Cooder tape, I bought Bob Dylan's new album, Time out of Mind. One evening long, long ago, I went for a walk alone through Greenwich Village and passed a club where I heard the most extraordinary rasping voice and almost-pounding acoustic guitar. It was my first encounter with that genius, Mr. Zimmerman, and I then almost made a nuisance of myself trying to convince everyone I knew that he is, indeed, a genius. The new album reconfirms that long-held opinion more strongly than anything he has done in years, and it was a special pleasure to sit on campus Saturday morning as the sun was just appearing over the hill and listen to the album from start to finish, enjoying every track. So my tape collection has expanded and both are well worth the extra weight of the backpack.

71The week just past included one day when it rained almost continuously throughout the day and evening, the first time that has happened since this trip began. It was irksome to either stay inside all the time or to wrap up in the poncho whenever going outside, reminding me how spoiled we are by the weather here and how much less pleasant the life of an urban nomad would be elsewhere. The week also included, as usual, a number of evenings spent listening to fine musicians make excellent music: BB Shawn with Bobby Ingano; Matt Swalinkavich, also with Bobby Ingano sitting in; Aunty Genoa and her crew; and the very special evening near Pearl Harbor at the Feary Wedding Party. All three Cruz brothers, BB Shawn, Taz & Thomson, Mackey Feary and others jammmed together in various combinations all evening with the groom occasionally joining in.

72It was one of those rare weeks when I didn't make it to the Willie K gig at the Pier Bar. The bartender at Manoa Garden was in an even more jovial mood than usual, several of the regulars were there and I got into something of a drinking contest with a young Japanese fellow whose name is Tomita, a fact learned by asking him about the characters he has tattooed around his ankle. The tattoo is only in its early stages and will eventually include a dragon with its head near the knee and a tail curled around the lower ankle. Tomita-san was a delightful bar companion and a champion drinker; by the time I left to go to the Regent to hear Genoa, I knew it wasn't going to be an extended evening in bars.

73It was an "ordinary" week with a few extraordinary touches: the wedding; the compass on top of that hill; the music at the wedding party; the hours with Tomita-san; an incredibly graceful young man doing Tai Chi at Ala Moana Beach one morning; a black cat I have courted for weeks finally allowing me to stroke her head; the Dylan songs.

74Nearing the end of the main section of Magister Ludi, I particularly enjoy Knecht's discussion of his decision to so drastically change his life, and saying What I am seeking and what I need is a simple, natural task, a person who needs me. What more could any man wish for...


75Just before dawn in downtown Honolulu, a group of people dressed all in yellow were doing Tai Chi in the Chinese Cultural Plaza. They do a simpler version than the young man who does it each morning at Ala Moana Beach, but after watching him for some time now, I'm inclined to think he's just showing off. I could be wrong and if so, offer up apologies via that great switchboard in the sky which directs such things to the proper recipient.

76I have been drinking too much all week. It isn't likely I'll do anything to correct that until these wretched holidays are over, but then there might be a drying out break until January 12th when Manoa Garden re-opens. Note that I said might be.

77It is my great good fortune to have the keys to an apartment on the 33rd floor of the Honolulu Tower until after Christmas. The lanai provides a splendid view of the mountains and Nuuanu valley and off into the distance past Tripler. Before dawn the mountains were wrapped in low, misty clouds which gave way to white, fluffy ones shining in the bright December sun. Behaving myself, I've only made one change to the decor, temporarily replacing a watercolor which was hanging over the computer with a photograph of Harold Kama, Jr. in a Russian enamel frame.

78Ah, but where were we with these current tales? Like I said, drank too much beer and far too many Surfers on Acid last week ... at Manoa Garden, Duke's, and Pier Bar primarily. The highlight of the week was definitely Thursday and the long delightful afternoon with Tomita-san (and especially the dance of getting him onto a homeward-bound bus) followed by three hours in the excellent company of Aunty Genoa and crew, then Willie K and Harold and Guy at the Pier Bar. I was fairly drunk at one point in Manoa Garden but got a little worried about Wesley and that sobered me up slightly; then I felt such a heavy mixture of warm happiness over the afternoon with him plus sadness at knowing I probably won't see him until the 12th that it took awhile for Genoa to lift my mood. Can't resist the love from that woman for long, though ... her happiness is totally contagious.

79Willie was in a good mood, too, and Bryant the bartender from the Garden stopped down, so the Surfers flowed all night, the music was great, and the only bummer was staggering over to the Immigration Building where some poor dude hacked and coughed so loudly all night it kept waking me (and everyone else) up. I was so weary of listening to him, I left at about 5:30 and went over to the beach at Ala Moana for the sunrise. Consequently I was feeling pretty trashed by mid-morning, paid only a brief visit to UH, and then set out for downtown and the agreed-upon meeting to collect the key. I was sufficiently early that I stopped by the Pier Bar and it was good to see Jimbo, reminding me again that more of my favorite people in this town are bartenders than any other profession ... and so much for any thoughts of drinking less.

80I see I have some .... errr ... interesting potential reading here. John Milton's Complete Poems and Major Prose, a heavy looking volume of Seventeenth Century Prose and Poetry, and an even heavier looking two-volume set entitled The Norton Anthology of English Literature. But I spent the first evening with my own India notebooks, and I guess I'll go back to that, now.


81Ok, ok. Nosey people wanting details...

82On that long-awaited Thursday, I took a bus from Kaneohe to downtown Honolulu and then another bus to the University. There were fairly long waits for both of them but I arrived on campus in time to stop up and see Kory K who joined me in the walk over to Campus Center where Pure Heart was getting ready to start their gig. We chatted briefly with Lopaka Colon who looked really cute in a funny little hat which he only took off for a moment later to adjust his microphone, then we grabbed a spot in the shade on the steps in front of the stage.

83I've been an admirer of Jake Shimabukuro since the first time I saw him when he sat in for a few numbers at Hot Lava one night. He's the Hendrix of the 'ukelele, the epitome of the word virtuoso. He's also as much fun to watch as to hear. After a number of times when I had expected to see him with John Yamasato and Lopaka, his comrades in Pure Heart, and had for one reason or another missed seeing them, it was a delight to finally be at one of their gigs. They have a fresh, exciting energy which made even some songs I don't like at all fun to listen to, and when they tackled songs I really like, "Waimanalo Blues" and "House at Pooh Corner" especially, they gave them a personal interpretation which few local singers manage. The influence of John Cruz is so strong, echoes of his vocal style and phrasing can be heard all over town; John Y. has escaped it somehow and does everything his own way, even songs Johnny C. does himself. And Jake is just incredible, has tamed his exuberance enough to blend well with the other musicians instead of outshining them as he sometimes did before.

84Some of the youngsters around us on the steps were thoroughly amused by Lopaka's bird calls, and I wondered if they had ever heard his daddy on the Martin Denny classics of the Fifties. Whether accenting a song with bird calls or playing with the vast array of percussion instruments he always has along, Lopaka is a delightful young man and a musician with impeccable taste and style.

85After the gig, Kory went back to work (so to speak) and I walked over to Manoa Garden. Tomita-san was already there, halfway through one of those large jugs of Red Hook Double Black Stout. He and Bryant greeted me enthusiastically and said they had just been talking about me. Tomita-san said he had missed me, but I doubt he missed me as much as I missed him during that long holiday break. He has a wonderful sense of humor and is a most excellent drinking-buddy. We talked about what we did over the holidays, with "getting drunk" an in-common theme, and what he will be doing this semester at UH (only two courses, something like "Media in Education" and "Chinese in Hawai'i"). He's interested in eventually getting into the film industry. I asked if he knew Ken Russell's films, but he didn't. We looked in the UH catalog and I was surprised to see they have nothing like a History of the Cinema class.

86He had to leave around 3 o'clock because he had promised to do some shopping for his grandmother. I should have left the bar when he did, but he bought me another jug of that wicked brew, so I stuck around to finish it. I hadn't eaten anything all day so was already well buzzed. Some real jerk sat at the end of the bar, one of those guys who must inspire instant dislike from a lot of people and certainly did with me. So I moved outside to finish my beer, went back in to say goodbye to Bryant, and staggered down the hill to Hot Lava. Lisa was in one of her totally bitchy moods, so I walked out without having anything and got a bus to Waikiki.

87I had planned to stop by Harry's Bar to see Kevin Kama but was running too late so went directly to Genoa Keawe's gig at the Regent Lobby Bar. Mark Schmaltz is in town, visiting from Florida, and joined me at the bar. Then Myra came in and joined us. She's a real sweetheart and dances with such sincerity that it's always a delight to watch her. At one point Mark asked me to switch seats with him so he could sit next to her; since he was buying the beer for all of us, no argument from me. I don't think I drank very much there, but certainly made up for it at our next stop, the Pier Bar.

88John Cruz was playing, joined by Matt Swalinkavich, Lopaka Colon and a couple of other musicians, including Guy Cruz who joined in on a few numbers. I'm not sure just why, but they never seemed to really get it together and I found myself spending more time talking to people at the bar than actually listening to the music. Many of the long-time Thursday regulars were there and I hadn't seem them in weeks. Ditto the wonderful Amie, who makes a wickedly delicious Surfer on Acid and did, at least three times. Henry Kapono was in the crowd and Mark wanted to meet him. I've sat at the bar there with Henry a couple of times but don't really know him, but made the introduction anyway.

89Mark and I left just before midnight and walked over to look at the Alexander & Baldwin building, a favorite of his and mine, before he drove me back over the Pali.

90It was a Thursday worth waiting for.


91I was thinking again last evening of the notion that I "glamorize" the homeless life. I'd gotten to the hacienda early and was relaxing on the bench, looking around me with the increasing admiration I have for that space, those noble arches, the esoteric elegance of the use of threes, the strange but wonderful blend of Moorish, Egyptian, Mughal, Mayan. Yma Sumac could have stood in the central arch for a concert, a perfect setting. Or Sutherland in "Lakme".

92The Great Bear was framed in one arch, just the handle of the upside-down dipper visible. I'd never noticed before that one of the bright stars of the handle has a tiny, barely visible companion. It was moving slowly up through the arch and before I fell asleep, had vanished from sight.

93I turned on the radio and puzzled over what I was hearing. A symphony with a first movement which sounded almost like Mozart, but not quite. A third movement which was much more modern in feel. It was Shubert's Fourth, as the announcer informed me in the intermission. And it was a live performance of the Vienna Philharmonic, which continued with Stravinksy's "Firebird", the 1919 version of the Suite. It must be thirty years since I last heard that. If I had turned on the radio during it and had forgotten that once very-familiar music, I could have guessed Prokofiev or Rimsky-Korsakov. But for the third selection in the concert, there would have been no doubt at all that I was hearing Richard Strauss. Ein Heldenleben. Brave for a man to compose a work and call it "A Hero's Life" and feature snippets from his own music, just in case we didn't guess who the "hero" was.

94Fine music, all of it, and an ever splendid orchestra playing from that beautiful hall on the Ringstrasse. Beautiful starry skies between masonic arches.

95Yes, this life has its glamorous moments. I don't have to exaggerate them to make it so, indeed I can downplay them and still have the glow of the memory and be most grateful I walk this path. Such an evening does more than enough to counterbalance the hardness of the bench, the sometimes hours of hunger, the constant living of a public life, and all the other very "un-glamorous" aspects of the nomad's life.


96There are moments in life which make it seem worth living, worth having stuck around for so long and through so much crap. Even for those of us who, like the Steppenwolf, tend to think of the razor or the loaded pistol held to the temple whenever going on no longer seems sensible or viable, those special moments eventually make their appearance if we persevere. Perhaps they come less frequently for the Steppenwolves than for other men but that may make them even more special when they do arrive.

97As has so often been the case during this long strange trip, I was most fortunate. I'd left campus and gone to Kahala Mall, enjoyed a thoroughly delightful gig by Pure Heart while sitting on my backpack on the floor leaning against Papa Colon's well-traveled drumcases. Looking at those frayed leather straps and feeling the battered but still sturdy cases called to mind thoughts of them sitting backstage at Martin Denny gigs decades ago, while now young Lopaka sat a few feet away making the same kind of percussive magic his father had. Like his band mates, Lopaka is a joy to hear but the pleasure is increased several fold by being near enough to closely observe his incredible energy and perfect style. He's so close to perfect it was something of a shock when at one point he dropped a drumstick and I loved the look on his face -- and the way he continued with one stick and his hand, improvising but not missing a beat.

98In a week when there have been numerous opportunities to hear the song, not to mention the two wonderful new recordings of it by Raymond Kane and Cyril Pahinui, I still preferred Pure Heart's laidback, rollicking version of "Hi`ilawe" to all others and it was, for me, the highlight of the gig. It might be one of their last at Kahala. Eventually merchants are bound to complain about the large crowd impeding the flow of shoppers.

99I watched Hapa setting up for their gig which was to follow but was eager to get back to campus. I first heard as just a rumor, months ago, that Dylan was going to play Andrews Amphitheatre and could hardly believe it. When I mentioned it at the bar in Manoa Garden, a young lady said, "you're full of shit", and I could sympathize with her reaction. Even when it became official, had been confirmed, and tickets went on sale it was still hard to believe. Andrews is a charming little outdoor arena, built in classic Greek style, but with a capacity far lower than one would expect for a 1998 Dylan gig.

100I had watched it being prepared for a couple of days and strolled by frequently on Saturday to check on progress. Most fortunate, as I said, because I happened to walk by just as The Man and his band were starting a final sound check and rehearsal. Security was not yet as tight as it became later so I was able to watch from the walkway of a building overlooking the stage and was especially delighted when they launched into "When I Paint My Masterpiece", one of my favorite Dylan classics which, as it turned out, he did not include in the actual concert.

101With less than two hours to go before the concert was to begin, I went up and sat across from the Post Office where I was sheltered from occasional drizzle and could watch the arriving crowd and had a glimpse into the arena itself. During Ledward Kaapana's brief sound check that followed, it was clear there was too much echo in that spot to remain there but it was a fine, dry location from which to observe the preliminaries -- and to break out the vodka I had so diligently saved for the occasion.

102They had covered the gates with black plastic (rather stupidly leaving two large dumpsters outside the one facing Krauss Hall, perfect platforms for defeating the blocked view and, like nearby rooftops, keeping the security people very busy all evening). But I'd had my look at the Legend already so opted for a spot under the big tree in the circle by Krauss, sheltered from the occasional light drizzle and, as it turned out, in an area which later featured a most ... errrr ... evocative "perfume" in the air.

103Ledward Kaapana would not have been my choice for the opening act. I would have wanted the Native Hawaiian Band or at least Bla Pahinui and whoever he wanted to back him, give Dylan a chance to enjoy local music at its best. My misgivings were accented when Ledward started the concert with two dull numbers including what can only be called a cocktail lounge version of "Killing Me Softly". Weird thing to play for a Dylan crowd! But two classic slack key numbers roused the audience and, despite a rather weak rendition of "I Kona", the rest of Ledward's set was well received. I noticed he and his entourage left immediately after their set. In his place, I would have cancelled anything else on my calendar, no way I would have missed the chance to hear and watch Dylan from backstage.

104Then The Man and his band took the stage to a thunderous cheer from the crowd. They must have heard that all the way down in Waikiki. As I've written in these Tales, Bob Dylan is the musician I most admire of my generation. I came to the conclusion after his first album that he is a genius. People thought I was crazy. They thought I was crazy again when unlike his calico followers, I cheered rather than booed when he "went electric". Through some difficult times, for him and for me, my love and admiration for his music has never wavered.

105He more than repaid that long loyalty. Two hours of alternating crying, laughing, sitting in awe, unable to sit and jumping up to quietly dance or to sway in sympathetic rhythm with "I Shall Be Released". I was most surprised by the number of his earliest classics he included, even more surprised by the often thoroughly different treatment he gave them. He was well into "It Ain't Me Babe" before I recognized the song. Even "Blowin' in the Wind", which I never expected to hear, had to reach the chorus before it dawned on me what he was singing. But, ah, "Everybody Must Get Stoned" had me on my feet with the opening bars.

106He was totally uncompromising, played and sang some of his most dense, most difficult compositions, giving in not at all to a crowd who wanted him to "rock and roll". But when he did rock, he surely did do it. I wish every local musician with aspirations to play real rock music had been there to learn from a master. Only the Willie K Band at its best comes even close -- and this was by no means one of Dylan's greatest bands. I wished a couple of times we could have asked the (second) lead guitarist to come out and share the perfume, he might then have let it rip a little more.

107But then their job was to provide the setting for the crown jewel of American music in the second half of this century, and they did a fine job of it.

108I was, for sure, grateful I'd stuck around on the planet to hear it. As the man sang, "don't think twice, it's all right."

La vie affective et sexuelle

sex [numéroté 009eb dans l’analyse]

109Since I began these Tales, people have asked for more specifics or asked what it's like to be gay or variations on themes with sex as the central focus. With the exception of the Tale of the Japanese Garden, I've stayed deliberately vague about it, not out of coyness but because writing each of these Tales has involved a process of trying to write as honest and candid an account as I can. To do that, I have to sometimes examine my own motives or reasons for acting as I did or, in some cases, admitting that I didn't then and still don't understand the reason. That process is probably more difficult when sex is the subject matter than with any other topic because I honestly don't know why with so much of it.

110Despite all the volumes of writings on the subject, too many of which I have read, I think much of it remains a mystery. Why, for example, am I interested in seeing other men naked? It was a curiosity from as early an age as I can remember. There are explanations about it being a natural childhood thing, but few of my contemporaries seemed to share it. Later, or perhaps even then, there is an explanation about male dominance, as if there is some primeval law that says the man with the biggest prick is chief. That one particularly doesn't satisfy me. I never felt superior because mine was larger or inferior because it was smaller. But it did matter on some level because in my younger years, especially in the Army, I was always annoyed to have one of those which gets so small in repose compared to how it looks after even a few tugs, and I did envy men who could walk around giving a more accurate estimate of their full potential. On the other hand, I was grateful not to have one of those long, floppy types that hardly get any larger when aroused. It wasn't until I began taking acid that I reached a more comfortable relationship with my body in general and my penis in particular.

111But my fascination with naked men has little, if anything, to do with comparison. I like seeing men naked, I always have. I've never had the same interest in naked women. It is a mystery to me, but I feel fortunate that I've always been comfortable with it, never felt ashamed of it being one of my interests. Some of my favorite friends were determined heterosexuals who either knew or sensed that seeing them naked gave me pleasure and were casual about sharing, both of us secure enough in our friendship to know they were not just teasing me and I was not going to misinterpret it as such or to ask for more than they were willing to give.

112I think that interest in seeing men naked is central to my sexual history, although it is present whether I have any sexual interest in the man or not.

113Certainly it was that which led to my first sexual experience with another person. I was thirteen and was a member of the school choir. The boys had one class each week without the girls and the classroom was a sort of tiered amphitheatre with desks in front of each seat. The choirmaster either could not see, or ignored, much of what went on behind those desks (or perhaps did see and enjoyed it in silence). The older boys sat up in the back rows and those of us whose voices still had not changed, or were in process of doing so, sat on the sides. From my desk, I could clearly see what a group of Mexican boys were doing and it often involved pulling out their hard cocks and stroking them, and watching each other do it. I was naive enough to think that was it, they just enjoyed watching. One afternoon, two of them asked to be excused after a few minutes of their play and one told me to follow them. I did, and when I got to the men's room, they had their pants down around their ankles and were really pumping away. They told me to join them, and when I did one of them moved me into a stall, bent me over and slid it in me. I suppose technically it was rape, because not only had I not asked for it, I didn't even know men did such a thing with each other. And it hurt like hell. Fortunately, the other boy was so aroused by the show that he shot his load before trying to take a turn.

114So that was my introduction to human sexual interaction and it wasn't something I was eager to repeat. Until that afternoon, my only experience had been with my best friend, Kenneth, and that usually involved standing together in front of the bathroom sink pumping and seeing who could shoot first. Kenneth was the only person I told about the Mexican experience and we agreed that it was gross, although we both were intrigued by the idea that people actually sucked on them and he had the advantage of having once had a blow job. Even that we weren't willing to try.

115I had a steady girlfriend at the time but the most she would let me do was feel her breasts under her clothes and she would rub my cock the same way. Any move to pull down my zipper, and she called a quick halt.

116Those three early relationships form something of a pattern which has often been present throughout my life. Casual encounters with a dominant strange male, a comfortable and warm relationship with another man where the balance is about equal, and a relationship with a female where I am uncomfortable about how and how far to proceed.

117The next scenario changed. We moved. My new girlfriend was bolder but she, too, was terrified of getting pregnant and there was no question of "going all the way". But she would jerk me off with her hand, or oil her breasts and let me slide between them to orgasm. My best buddy, Terry, I never saw naked. But I actually had better sex with him. I don't remember how the habit started, but we used to remove our shirts, and take turns rubbing each other's back. I invariably had an orgasm as a result of his back rubs. He probably did, too, but we never talked about it or said anything about wet stains on our Levi's. The pleasure of those sessions stayed with me so strongly that I could not for many years get a back massage without coming, something which greatly amused the masseurs in India.

118Having one close female friend and one close male friend continued for many years. They almost always disliked each other; it was quite some time before I discovered the added pleasure of having both in the same bed. Gradually I began to rely more on the male friend for sexual fun than the female. The male friend had the advantage. I was interested in his body to begin with. Having sex with the female friend was more a question of satisfying her demand, a way of getting closer to someone I liked very much and to say thanks for being my friend.

119I enjoy sex with a man more, even when it is a very one-sided relationship. Many of my favorite lovers were men who would just hold me while I reached my own orgasm after having satisfied them in whatever way they liked best. I prefer that. Fucking a man is for me the same as fucking a woman, I've only done it if that is what they wanted from me. And I'd much rather be on the giving than receiving end of a blow job.

120Those are aspects of my sexual preferences and tendencies I am comfortable with, even if I don't understand them. I was never overtly "gay" in my youth, never had to cope with any of the prejudices and problems such people encounter, but I also never went to any special effort to conceal it. My twenties, when I might have become involved in more exotic scenes, were spent in two stable relationships. I've never actively participated in gay organizations and except for one brief time in London, have rarely made a predominantly gay club my main place to socialize. In many ways, I've never had to think of myself as being "gay" and so when people ask me what it's like, I think they are asking the wrong person. I doubt that I know.

121There are other aspects of my sexuality I am less comfortable with, and maybe that's why these Tales go under that strange title "The Underworld Dude". Certainly exhibitionism is one of those aspects which was especially a nuisance to me in earlier years, and I'll deal with that in a separate tale.


122Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

123The "tourist" with the pillow was Mondo's older brother. He's a "professional surfer" but has a regular job as well and lives at home with the parents. What's he doing sleeping on a bench, I wondered aloud. "He just likes to spend some time with me, and I won't go home," Mondo explained. Ouch, make me feel like a louse for grumbling, why don't you.

124He'd spent the day with his brother and Rocky but they'd gone bar-hopping so Mondo was sitting in the hacienda on his own. Fortunately I'd saved three virgin Marboros for him. He said he doesn't like going to bars anymore but used to take his girlfriend to them a lot because she liked them.

125As I've mentioned before, I've long had the feeling Mondo really wanted to talk to someone but none of the tactics I tried worked, I hadn't found the way to open the gate between us on that level, no matter how strong the bond has become on a nonverbal one. But the gate opened, the fence fell down, and for the next hour or more I listened to the story of his young life. It was given in a chronological and topical jumble but beautifully phrased in that gentle, soft voice of his and with an admirable lack of blame or recrimination.

126He may have been speaking more in spirit than genetically when he termed himself "mostly Hawaiian". His mother is Japanese, both her parents having been born there. His father is the son of a Filipino man and a Hawaiian woman. In addition to his older brother, whose name he told me, he has twin sisters, both of them unwed mothers. Uncle Mondo.

127He'd been with his girlfriend four years before he "went away", a euphemism for jail. He didn't say why he was in or for how long, but when he got out, the girlfriend didn't want to know him and had a little girl which he suspects is his. That topic he returned to several times. Rocky has a one-year-old child, but Mondo has never told Rocky he, too, might be a father. Only his older brother knows. He said again that he'd never told Rocky, almost as if he were slightly amazed he was telling me. He thought his brother could talk to the girlfriend and find out for sure if the child was his, and it seems to be one of his major concerns, possibly the only one since the rest of his life right now is centered on "doing nothing". He carries a tiny photo of the young woman loose in his pocket, took it out and showed it to me while telling about some of the differences between them which had made their relationship less than smooth much of the time.

128He talked a lot about his time in high school which seemed to revolve around sports. His parents encouraged jujitsu and karate, approved less of the traditional American sports, and when he made Junior Varsity on the Aiea basketball team he didn't tell them, hid his jacket from them and kept it at a cousin's for when he needed it.

129I wasn't too far off with the trust fund theory. He inherited two "rental apartments" and a house. They are managed by his father and under terms of the "contract", he won't gain control over them until he "straightens out his life" and gets a steady job, but he gets income from them monthly.

130Although his relationship with his parents seems to have been fairly stormy throughout his school years, the final breaking point wasn't reached until they went on a mainland trip leaving him with a "no parties" restriction. Not only did he host a large party, they managed to burn down the garage during it, and he left home for good.

131What does he want to do? "Nothing." How does he spend his days? Hanging out with Rocky or other friends (including the Sleeptalker), eating at IHS, sometimes playing the online game at the State Library. He hasn't been going to classes at the vocational school, but said he had to return to them next week.

132Although the details of his jail time were missing, and I was careful with my questions, the narrative was interspersed with several stories about major escapades including horrendous sounding gang fights, happier tales of pakololo, and ominous ones of guns. He's a bona fide tough guy, all right, but such a sweet and gentle man. I could not love him more if he were my own little brother and if he were, I, too, would sleep on a bench to "spend some time with him".


133Much to my surprise, I found out from separate second-hand sources that the Sleeptalker evidently enjoyed himself very much on Friday and our expedition to Waikiki was the "talk of the 'hood". One of the more difficult things about the friendship with the Sleeptalker is the almost total lack of direct feedback. I never know whether he has had a good time or an awful time. Even this second-hand information is a rarity.

134For me, the evening had been a very difficult one and I was still feeling somewhat wrecked from it on Saturday morning. So after coffee at McD's, I crossed over to the beach, planning to just lay on the sand for a couple of hours and doze. I ran into the Snorer on the way through the park and in addition to chatting about the Sleeptalker, he said he was expecting Rocky to stop down later. I'd already decided I'd make it an offline day and not travel to campus so after listening to Dylan's "Not Dark Yet" and some off-and-on dozing I headed to the far other end of the beach, hopefully out of range of the Social Horror Club.

135I crossed over to get a beer and as I was walking along the canal on the park side, there came Rocky strutting his strut along the other side. He spotted me, jumped down into the canal and came straight across to me. All through the day I kept remembering those early Tales, Rocky the silent, sullen guy who so intimidated me I was careful not to even look at him unless I was sure he was soundly asleep. The Sleeptalker had been puzzled, Rocky said, by why I'd left on Friday evening. When I told him it was because my patience ran out when the Sleeptalker started ranting about gay people, he laughed and said, "he didn't mean you," but added, "we told you he's crazy."

136All through the day he kept returning to the fact that I think the Sleeptalker is cuter than he is. And Mondo? No, Mondo is not cute, I said, he's handsome. To give the poor lad at least a little ego stroke, I told him he had the best body and is definitely the best hung. "You want to see it?" he asked. Sure. So he pulled out the waistband of his shorts and let me have a look. Nope, I never would have expected it a year ago.

137Unlike the Sleeptalker, who freely admits he has let men have his body in the past, Rocky is quite proud of never having done so but he promised I could be the first if he changes his mind. He talked a lot about his lady and his four-year-old son who are living in Hilo but otherwise very little about his past despite my subtle efforts to get him to.

138BB Shawn was scheduled to play at a "Festival for Fathers" in McCoy Pavilion and I wanted to stop by to thank Nancy for having been so kind to the Sleeptalker on Friday. Poor Nancy! The Sleeptalker one day and Rocky the next. We didn't stay long and after leaving Rocky was fuming away because he thought he'd heard Nancy say "he's not cute at all"! I assured him I'd heard no such thing, that it just wasn't the kind of thing Nancy would do, and that if she had said someone wasn't cute she wouldn't have been referring to him. That started the whole thing going again about what I think, although why it matters to the young man is a mystery to me.

139He seems so much more worldly and experienced than the Sleeptalker it's difficult to keep in mind that he's even younger and I have almost nothing in common with him which makes communication very much a hit-and-miss gamble. I'm not physically attracted to him despite his fine body and impressive equipment but teased him a little just to reassure him I do like him. Each time I'd pat him he'd go into a mock karate routine which was really quite funny since it was so clear he liked the attention, and all in all, it was an amusing day and somewhat easier than a similar session would have been with the Sleeptalker. He was heading down to IHS for dinner but I said I was going to campus, planned an early night. As one final demonstration of his physical prowess, he smashed an upright can flat with his fist. "Wow," I said, "I am definitely out of here!". "Just joking, just joking," he said. Sweet guy.

140The Snorer and Rocky certainly had me feeling somewhat better about the evening with the Sleeptalker but only from the perspective of thinking about him and his reactions. For me it remained a muddle in my head and pretty much stayed that way despite hiding away on campus all day Sunday to think about it, about the extreme contradictions between my life with the Boys and what's left of the life I led before this trip began. I was so discouraged by it on Friday I felt like burning bridges to all of it, even leaving for somewhere else, starting over. But that's not really the answer I want.


141The third day of the Seventh Decade was a Sleeptalker day. He arrived on campus early in the morning and we remained together until about eight in the evening when he suddenly decided to make a run for the last express bus, only to turn up later at the hacienda and take the bench next to mine.

142"We're family," he said to me at one point. He really has the most uncanny knack for saying things that deeply touch me, wipes the slate clear of all my impatient feelings of annoyance. And when I calmly think about it, I have to admit that I must give him just as many reasons to get impatiently annoyed.

143He doesn't mind, sometimes obviously relishes it, but still, it must get somewhat tiresome to be with someone who is so admiring, so apt to get lost in desire.

144I find it genuinely a puzzle, this neverending fascination with him, with his feet, the soft hair on his arms, that wonderful scrubbrush hair, with those deeply brown eyes. Come on, I tell myself, after all this time shouldn't the fires be burning a little less ardently? Maybe they should be, but they aren't. Even when I try very deliberately to ignore the many little things about his body that so enchant me, I waver and get lost again, rewarded with one of his grins and that look that says "caught ya'!" And when he's in a flirtatious mood, even my most conscientious efforts to ignore his body fall easily by the wayside.

145It is so difficult to get coherent information out of him, always a process of putting together bits and pieces which surface without any apparent connection. But he didn't "find" the bus pass, as he'd said. His "caseworker" referred him to a psychiatrist who decided the Sleeptalker is "schizophrenic" and, I think, arranged the bus pass so he can attend some kind of rehab center sessions.

146The doctor's catchall diagnosis was based on the Sleeptalker's tales of hearing voices, having vampires after him, etc. etc., all inspired by methamphetamine and having little to do with any true clinical "schizophrenia". I think the Sleeptalker probably neglected to add details of what refreshments accompanied these delusions.

147He told me more about the trip to Vegas. There were six of them, two in each of three hotel rooms. One evening a fellow who had joined them from Los Angeles kept coming and going from the Sleeptalker's room to his own, each time letting the door lock behind him so the Sleeptalker had to get up to let him back in. The others were apparently away at the time. After a final visit to the Sleeptalker's room, the fellow vanished and was not seen again. The others, according to his version, thought the Sleeptalker had murdered the guy and they are still giving him a hard time about it. The story, especially with his dramatic way of telling it all, did indeed have an aura of madness.

148Paranoia, persecution delusions, an utterly jumbled memory bank, sometimes maybe even borderline psychosis, but "schizophrenia" is far too easy an out. Still, it got him a two-year bus pass and some pills. He couldn't remember the name of them, said they made him feel all groggy in the morning. He may have felt groggy in his mind, but he was certainly more tense and jumpy than I've ever seen him, didn't halfway settle down until after we'd had lunch and even then kept in almost constant motion, leaping around in conversation even more than he did physically. I suspect the doc's prescription is as sloppy as his diagnosis, but kept my thoughts to myself.

149I do wish he'd been more honest with the doctor than I think he was. Maybe there is something in the current chemical arsenal which would help with the main problem the Sleeptalker has, and that's with sorting out the difference between amphetamine-fueled "reality" and real "reality" and with keeping the two separate in his mind. And certainly the doctor could have told him that what he experiences on drugs is a normal, known effect of those substances, not something wrong with his head. I can tell him that, too, but it doesn't have the same weight.

150I fell asleep on the bench beside him while he was still busily writing in a notebook. I wonder what he was writing? I'd certainly like to read it.


151I went down to the State Library again to harvest some reading material. They have reduced their "honor collection" to one three-foot shelf but I trust Dame Fortune will nevertheless manage to put some decent books in my path. Stopping back by the mall, I was surprised (and delighted) to see the Young Husband. He said, "I don't have to be work till three, wanna go beach for awhile?"

152Of course, "sure." And we walked over to the beach, went into the shower house. He took off his shoes and socks, stood up and very provocatively removed his tee shirt, slid down his jeans. Boxer shorts underwear. Cool. I left my tee shirt on, was just changing into my surfer shorts. "You have a big dick for an old man," he said.

153I laughed and corrected, "It's not that big, but it doesn't shrink as you get older." Of course, it doesn't as often reach its full potential, either, unless faced by a young hunk taking his clothes off. The boxers went down. He was standing tall. But okay, he's almost as easy to read as the Sleeptalker, he was just working up to it. At least in the case of the Young Husband, there was no doubt whatever that I would be getting it eventually.

154He put on a pair of shorts made from that slinky synthetic fabric which is enough to make any old man's heart beat faster, especially when no underwear is worn under it. His little bag with trousers, tee shirt, boxers and shoes hiding the evidence, we walked across to the sand. He went into the water immediately. Didn't cool him off all that much, I thought, when he came back and lay down beside me.

155He and his wife have been married a little over a year, he told me. It seems to be a marriage which was more or less arranged by the parents. "I like her a lot," he said (I noted the absence of the word "love"), but "she stays like a virgin in her mind". I assume from the rest of what he said that she only does it "missionary style" and then only once or twice a month. She doesn't want children yet. (Or perhaps she just doesn't want to do what's necessary to have a child?). Poor fellow, he's a sweetheart, really deserves something better.

156A friend of his came along, wearing only surfer shorts, carrying a board. They greeted each other with one of those elaborate handshakes young local men exchange, and the Young Husband introduced me. The friend grinned broadly. He stood near us to do the usual limbering up exercises. I watched admiringly. "You like that?" the Young Husband asked. "I told him about you, but I don't think he'll let you do it, he thinks it's a sin."

157Sigh. Tell me about young men who have been conditioned to think it's a "sin".

158His friend went off to the breakers way out beyond the shallow coral reef, the Young Husband again headed into the water. Then we lay quietly in the sun for awhile. He told me he'd known his friend since "we were St. Louis together". [St. Louis being a local high school. High school seems to remain a lifelong link here, and one of the rituals for two young local men meeting each other for the first time is always asking, "where you went school?"]. As I know, alas, not all St. Louis grads are as congenial as the Young Husband. Alas, indeed.

159It was time to go. In a private place, he removed his shorts and was again standing tall.

160I don't use the term "fock" out of any reluctance to write "fuck", but because fock more closely matches the way most young local men say the word. Conversation is generously sprinkled with "fock" or "focking", so much so it hardly has any meaning or significance. But now I've heard it in a totally different tone.

161Once when the Sleeptalker and I were talking about the possibility he'd go to jail, I told him to make friends with a BIG guy who had a little dick. That way his cute butt would only get used by one and it wouldn't hurt as much. The Young Husband isn't a big guy and he surely doesn't have a little dick, but he does know how to use it. I should probably be feeling sorry for his wife, not him. She doesn't know how lucky she is, or could be.

162We went to have a shower, the showers fortunately deserted. I thought, had it been the first time I'd seen him, the Young Husband would've rated mention in the Tales just for the shower. I soaped his back, rubbed my hand over his butt as a conclusion.

163"No one has ever done that to me," he said. "I don't think I'd like it."

164"It hurts at first, but then it feels good."

165"You liked it, didn't you?" he asked. I admitted I had, indeed, liked it. "I got off, didn't I?"

166I couldn't see it," he said, "but I could feel it when you spermed."

167I can believe it. The only problem I had, much to my surprise, was making sure I hadn't "spermed" before he went first. And that invoked a memory of the Sleeptalker. After our extraordinary double feature, laying in the Fool Moon Spot, I thought he'd fallen asleep, decided it was time to relieve myself. He wasn't asleep. "Are you playing with yourself?" he asked. "Yes, you had it twice," I said, "but the pressure builds up." Silence. I finished. "You spermed?" he asked.

168New term for my local lexicon, and what fine teachers.

169And the Sleeptalker was in the game in the early evening. I gave him an unusual scroll I'd found. I had cast a spell to see what it did. When he "recited" it, the message said his "body radiates warmth". "So, what's new?" the rascal asked, and laughed.

170Cainer was right, it's a special week.


171His erect, throbbing penis stood between his legs like a cobra ...

172Sheez, either the woman has never seen a naked man with a hard-on or she's never seen a cobra. I've seen both, close-up, and I never saw a penis which looked anything like a cobra. Silly book, A Glimpse of Stocking. The cover fell off and I threw it away, don't remember the author's admitted pseudonym.

173It reminded me of long ago, so long it seems like another life altogether. One of the most disliked tasks as a lab tech in the Medical Corps was taking a microscope-slide sample from guys who thought they had the clap. More often than not, they didn't. The doctor said most of them were just irritated from too much jerking-off. Some of them, too, were just using it as an easy way to avoid a few hours' duty. Well, I was one lab tech who didn't dislike the task in the least and since I never complained about it, they left me doing it for my last year in the Army.

174I'd sit on a chair, the patient would come in and hand me his paperwork, stand in front of me. The ones who had been through the routine before knew what to do, would drop their pants and give their cocks a few tugs to produce (or try to produce) a drop of fluid which I'd capture on the glass slide. For first-timers, and it was always easy to tell since they were invariably embarrassed, I'd tell them to drop their pants, grab their "cobra" myself and try to squeeze out the sample. I'll certainly never forget one young man. A few tugs produced no results. Two more and he shot his load all over me. He was mortified. I was pretty embarrassed myself, mainly because I didn't know what to do next. I told the doctor who laughed and said tell him to come back after lunch, maybe have a cold shower first.

175When I say I've never had a job I really enjoyed, I'm forgetting about that one. Of course, those were the pre-plague days. The job now would no doubt include protective clothing and all that. Back then I was just told to wash my hands between patients, didn't even wear gloves. And I surely did see a lot of penises, many of which indeed got erect and throbbing from the exercise. But nope, not one of them looked like a cobra.

176Three days off, no one requiring my services, although it's probably inaccurate to include Sunday. Just being with the Sleeptalker, looking at him, is sometimes as sensual an experience as having sex. On Wednesday, though, I was in the shower, had washed a tee shirt and was about ready to leave. A local man came in, very solid and muscular, a tattoo on the back of each shoulder. He looked like he might be part Japanese but his equipment was considerably larger than would be expected if so. If I'd seen him on the beach I would have thought, what an interesting body. But I wouldn't even have considered him as a possible playmate. Can't judge a book by its cover. He almost immediately got hard, let me hold it for a few moments and then said, "suck my balls". Now I've known men who liked that as a preliminary (including the Sleeptalker) but this fellow was the first I've encountered who wanted only that. He did the rest himself, and he did it very, very quickly, too.

177That, without question, I'd soon get bored with.

178I had continued my routine of an early morning trip to campus, an hour or so on-line, and then returning to the mall and beach park. I tried to get myself to chill out about wanting to see the Sleeptalker. He told me once he felt like he could sometimes hear me calling him. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I had been and he did. So don't bug the guy, I told myself. I guess part of my desire to see him is knowing the balance of our friendship is going to shift somewhat because of his increased affluence, wanting to enjoy more time together before that happens. And I want to tell him my new routine in case he needs to find me.

179Cainer wrote: Just tread lightly but steadily in the direction of what you find most appealing. And then let Mars and Jupiter pleasantly surprise you.



181I get two kinds of major hangovers. One is the "I'll never drink again" version, the other is "I need a drink". It was the second trashing which started the last morning of June, but I bought scrambled eggs and hash browns instead of beer. Eating breakfast is certain proof I was in bad shape.

182Too much, too much on Thursday. The Fabled Pension Check arrived.

183For awhile, I thought it was going to be a day without the Bad Boys, didn't see Rocky or Angelo all day. But as I was having my sunset beer, they arrived. They went over to eat the food provided by a Christian organization I won't eat from because they insist on preaching before feeding. I drank my beer and continued the Ludlum madness, Rocky and Angelo returned. We walked through the park, I got us beer at the 7-Eleven and we went to the hacienda, sat on the outside benches to drink. I was zonked, went to lay down, had to get up again to upchuck most of that final beer. Angelo grinned.

184That boy really is crazy. He missed his monthly appointment with the psychiatrist, so they increased his foodstamps but cut off his cash. He has to re-apply next month. He agreed when I said anyone who would throw away four hundred a month by failing to spend half an hour with a doctor is nuts. I wonder how long it will be before the Sleeptalker does the same.

185I figured sooner or later the Sleeptalker would stop by the hacienda to show off his pierced tongue and latest new batch of clothes, and he did. Rocky and I raised our heads, saw him sitting outside, put our heads down again. Angelo went out to talk with him. If the fellow who was with the Sleeptalker is his "new boy", the Sleeptalker has lousy taste in men. I was asleep (or passed out) before they left, too smashed to care.

186The big surprise of the day was seeing my former co-worker at the mall. It has been a long, long time since I last saw her. I looked at her and thought how strange it seems now that we worked together five years, and certainly she gets much of the credit for me having stayed at that job so long ... and getting that Fabled Pension Check every month. Such a sweetheart, she is.

187I told her my life has become "The Old Man and the Bad Boys". And so it has.

188Maybe I should hide out until the FPC stash is gone.

Le sens de la vie

009: introduction [désigné par 009a pour l’analyse textuelle]

189I don't like the word "homeless" but continue to use it, and continue to ponder a structure which views the homeless life as existing within four levels. More accurately, it views my life that way since I am not a mainstream archetype of the urban nomad and the patterns would no doubt differ for most homeless people.

190The first level, Survivor, primarily involves the search for food, shelter, clothing, toilets and places to wash. I have thus far only experienced briefly being hungry and having no means to purchase food. Rescue arrived in the form of the Japanese tour hostess with an extra bento. Had she not arrived? Perhaps watch the tour group, see who only nibbles at their bento, and retrieve it from the trash as soon as the group departs. Starvation need play no role in this journey but acquiring necessary food may be more time-consuming and involve some adjustments in the concept of pride.

191The search for shelter will be an ongoing task due to the inconsistent behavior of the authorities, making it difficult, if not impossible, to establish any set pattern. When it is not raining, there is such an abundance of fine places the only problem is deciding which. Finding pleasant dry places in the rain is a more delicate task. Toilet facilities and showers are plentiful and adequate, so the Survivor needs only to be patient in wet weather, keep an eye out for free food, and maintain a watch on the few, but convenient-to-have, possessions being carried. The Survivor also has the task of conserving resources vital to its mission, but encounters significant static with that task.

192The second level of existence could be called Pilgrim. Discussion of that level is the main reason for writing this series. It is far more difficult than Survivor.

193Third, the Tourist in the Land of Urban Nomads, continuing life on many fronts as if there had been no change in lifestyle, sitting in bars and talking to strangers, going to UH to get online, going to movies and reading books. It would be the easiest level if a nagging voice from the Pilgrim would go away and bother someone else. As the Tourist told him early one morning, throw all that junk away, come join us, sit and watch. But at this stage of the journey, the Tourist is almost always happy if there is money in pocket and almost always miserable if there is not, and that earns him no points with the Survivor and the Pilgrim.

194The fourth level is the Underworld Dude's. It is there all the time, interwoven with the other levels, but sometimes dominates so strongly that everything else is temporarily forgotten. In the external world, it can take the form of watching two people have sex on the beach or saying good morning to the young fellow at one shower who so enjoys displaying his ever-erect equipment. Some of it is arousing and amusing, some saddening and depressing, but only rarely does it offer an invitation to participate rather than pass by as a neutral spectator. I have no complaint with that; the invitations take so much energy, in deciding whether to accept or decline, and in the followup to that decision, either way.

195When there is a real need, Survivor has the ruling hand, just as it does for the man who comes to that shower to bathe, sees our exhibitionist friend (not for the first time) and says "that's very interesting, but I need to wash". It is a fine example of the general attitude of the urban nomads. They are far more tolerant. The exhibitionist is tolerated because he is a smiling, direct person who clearly enjoys making a public display. If he wanted more than that, he would no doubt pick a different venue and certainly a different time. He provides satisfaction on all four levels for me: the Survivor needs to wash but doesn't mind the entertainment, the Pilgrim sublimates himself with thoughts of adoring the lingam and such, the Tourist is delighted, and the Underworld Dude's appetite is fed. And my regard for the Ala Moana Shower Club is increased by observing their tolerance, patience and good humor.

196The I who exists in all four levels and yet has an undefined existence separate from all sometimes gets caught up in one or the other, or in the interaction between them, and forgets himself. But more and more, he becomes the Watcher, watching the reality of the shadow of trees on a deeply green lawn or watching the custodians of the four levels attempt to manipulate the others to achieve what it considers the prime directive of the moment. For the Tourist, that could be another beer, even though the Survivor hisses warnings about how miserable life will be again for the Tourist when the pockets become totally empty.

197A seeming gain for one level can increase the workload for another, as in the remarkable increase in the ability of the Tourist to fall asleep anywhere, anytime. The Survivor is pleased with this, since sleep is vital to his mission, but is both displeased and alarmed if the Tourist fails to curb the knack of sleeping when the place and circumstances are of uncertain safety.

198The Underworld Dude was content for the first month of this new journey to remain quietly in the background, only occasionally exerting influence on the choice of where to go and what to do. Only when the comfort level of the Survivor had reached a level of rare-nervousness did the Underworld Dude step out and play for a few hours and, eventually, an entire day. That so concerned the Survivor that he brought on a physical fever, setting off an alarm on all systems and chilling out the Underworld Dude. A similar alarm was sounded when an unexpected play area for the Underworld Dude was discovered on the university campus. After one interlude there, everyone else joined forces to declare the area off limits in the longer term best interests of all concerned.

199After a month of the urban nomad life, all four voices agreed that the best path to follow is the one that is continuously being suggested by subtle and some not-so-subtle hints in the immediate environment. A more delicate than usual state of attention is required to notice those hints; they can't project over a mind set upon getting from one specific point to another one or moving with some task in mind. It is when walking "aimlessly" and paying attention that a slight urge is noticed to turn this way or that, to head in a direction, to step onto a bus, to sit and do nothing. Following those urges inevitably provides the best for all four voices and thus for Albert.

the survivor [désigné par 009b pour l’analyse textuelle]

200Albert calls me the Survivor. It is not an entirely appropriate label. Except for a very small, genetically-programmed segment of my existence, I don't care if we survive or not. But unless Albert decides to override that programming, my duty is to keep the physical organism in good working condition by finding sufficient food, attempting to deny excesses of consumption of anything, locating safe, dry and comfortable places for sleep, and keeping an ever vigilant watch against possible danger.

201What he calls the Tourist is my greatest burden. The fellow is basically irresponsible, a child who seems to think karma will forgive his excesses and continue to somehow provide the basic needs for continuing existence, few of which play a role in the Tourist's everyday concerns. As Albert pointed out, the Tourist is almost always happy (or at least, content) when there is money in the pocket, almost always miserable when there is not, even when having no money does not actually interfere with his enjoying his life as the Tourist.

202The Pilgrim admires the Tourist's insistence on living for the day with no concern for tomorrow. It fits the Pilgrim's desire to Be Here Now, and challenges the Pilgrim to accept that all the spiritual baggage I have been guarding for him is actually unnecessary, either to my mission or to that of the Tourist and, indeed, unnecessary for the Pilgrim himself, possibly even a hindrance to reaching his presumed goal.

203I listen to the extended discussions between the Tourist and the Pilgrim, frequently carried on while Albert sits alone with a mug of beer and an occasional friendly word from a bartender as diversion from the continued debate about our shared goal and the best way to proceed toward it. I enjoy the discussions but inevitably we reach a point where the Tourist does a quick analysis of expenditures, funds in hand, and expected immediate expenses and decides to order one more. I quickly point out the flaws in his financial analysis and urge caution, reminding him that his inability to overcome his absurd descent into misery should at least inspire some moderation, some saving of that one-more-beer for another day when the money has gone and that beer would be a welcome antidote to his condition of misery. He rarely pays attention to my argument, thus time and again finds himself in the same place, having no money and remembering the many occasions when he was stupid, overly generous, or greedy, thinking how much he would now enjoy the money that was squandered. Time and again ...

204There is cause for optimism as a result of joining the League of Urban Nomads; each cycle of having little or no money finds the Tourist more at ease with the situation, less apt to sit and mourn the lack of a beer, more willing to join in the spirit of the moment even if it may be totally unlike what he would prefer. There may be hope for the fellow, yet.


205Someone asked: What does the sacrifice mean? He said: I do not know. If one knew enough to tell that, one could govern the empire as easily as seeing the palm of one's hand.

206No, the question of the book was not settled. There are too many parallels between this journey and my first Journey to the East to ignore so obvious a one. I carried only two books with me then, the I Ching and Hesse's Magister Ludi. The I Ching asked to be left behind when I shifted from being a tourist in Delhi to living in the Himalayan foothills, Hesse stayed with me throughout the journey and was read several times. After a trip down to Rainbow Books, it is with me again.

207Sitting at Manoa Garden earlier, re-reading some of the Analects, Ginsberg's opening of Howl surfaced. The best minds of my generation ... who would that be? "Generation" is a tricky term, where does one end and the next begin? In what I think of as my generation, I noted as best minds Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Ken Russell, Carlos Castaneda, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Bartle and Sid Meier. An interesting dinner party in hell that crowd would make. I don't think any of them were driven stark raving mad, but it would be totally understandable if they had been. In an email exchange earlier this week, I mentioned I had experienced a day when I felt surrounded by "subhumans", and I was reminded of that while waiting outside a video arcade/club called The Source. It isn't, of course, that its patrons are really subhuman, just that they are so distant from being truly conscious and aware, they might as well be.

208But why the entire best minds reverie took place, why I (unusually) took the trouble to make notes, or what purpose is served in writing it here, I don't know. The answer to that is as unclear to me as would be my answer to Florida Mark who asked "what is the purpose of life?" Like Confucius with the meaning of the sacrifice, I don't know. But it is always a pleasure to find some reason to use my favorite pen.

209Everyone who has had experience with LSD knows those moments when, no matter how thoroughly the house had been cleaned, everything looks incredibly dirty. How can we live in such a pigsty! Minutes later everything might look miraculously beautiful. There has been no change at all in first level reality but the point of light called "I" moved from one alternate reality to another, each having points of contact with the other but nevertheless being totally different. Such direct experience does more than any book to convey the truth that reality is a mirage.

210This pen I love so much is merely a tube of metal but it has stored within it traces of the mana of its original owner, thus gives me a warm and happy feeling when I hold it in my hand. It is a treasure which at an auction would fetch no fancy price; Possession in Great Measure has nothing to do with diamonds and gold. As it happens, the original owner of the pen scolded me for even contemplating this nomadic life, viewed it as whining failure, and grumbled prophecies of cold and hunger.

211When we're hungry, love will keep us alive ...

212In fairness, the owner of the pen endured some months of my company when I teetered constantly on the edge of extinction. That was a hunger greater than any bodily need could be, and love did keep me alive. Love for him, love for a cat, love of the hope that something might still be left in this ill-chosen life which would let me, perhaps again, write a book called Life Was Worth Living. On the surface, it could be done already. I have had tastes of fame, fortune, love and happiness, have dined with some of the people of my lifetime who are assured a place in history. I could do as Graham Robertson did and write a chapter on each of my famous friends, but I think not. I know them no better than the owner of the pen knows me, what I wrote could be as far off the mark as some people's view of these Tales and the life they are describing.

213I've had mails expressing surprised disbelief that life on the street can possibly be as pleasant as I am making it sound. I do not mean to promote it as a desirable lifestyle; earlier today I told an English friend who was thinking he should just sell everything and join me on the beach that he shouldn't, it is an "old folks' trip". Like the LSD swings of perception, how pleasant or unpleasant this trip is depends more upon the mind than the actual reality.

214I think Kory K did an excellent job of speaking for the Tourist. Since Kory has been for some time one of the Tourist's best friends, this is perhaps not surprising, but then even best friends often have ideas about who we are that differ greatly from our own view. The Survivor rarely surfaces socially or, except in times of great stress, within friendships. The Pilgrim, too, leads a solitary life. Since the Underworld has been locked up as much as possible, it has been the Tourist who most people know as Albert.

215The Tourist does not, perhaps, view the Pilgrim quite as harshly as Kory's interpretation suggests. Despite his love of handsome young men, jugs of beers and good music, the Tourist has more sympathy for the idea of sitting under that Bo tree than might be expected. He has been around long enough, sampled many pleasures, and has no illusions about the true importance of what makes life fleetingly of interest for him. If infatuation matures into love, it leaves the Tourist's domain and moves into the Pilgrim's fold. That is possibly the Tourist's main contribution to this Life.

216But it is also the case that the Tourist stumbles upon pleasures which greatly enhance the ability of the others to perform their tasks and for Albert to achieve goals they have set for him. In the revolutionary, evolutionary years of psychedelia, it was always the Tourist who led, who dared to experiment, who marveled and partied, then bowed to the Pilgrim and asked "is this what you were looking for?", often achieving in a few minutes what years of reading, study and exercise had failed to illuminate. Without those years of intense inner exploration, this trip could not be. It is the Tourist who gets the major credit (or blame) for that, even if this trip often interferes with his own agenda for enjoying life.


217In the almost three months this project has been going, this is only the second time a Tale of current life was withdrawn and revised. It was originally written with the attitude of an arrogant householder. A cold night on a hard bench is a great attitude adjuster.

218I stayed in the eagle's nest all day but shall soon be leaving it since the airplane carrying its owner is now only a bit more than an hour away from the islands. It was chilly up here today, almost cold, but I've learned not to judge the street temperature by the feel of a windy day on the 33rd floor.

219There was a lot of interesting email but the one which most caught my attention was from someone whose name I have not seen on the Incoming Mail list in a very long time.

220Discretion, of course, is always a concern when writing things like this, whether the current record or tales from the past. It almost goes without saying that many of the perceptions are mine alone, the other members of the cast undoubtedly saw the play in a totally different way and would speak of it as they saw it. In a couple of the Tales, I even took the trouble to say so at the beginning. But there is also the concern that even a highly accurate account could cause embarrassment or discomfort to the person involved and in those cases I have taken care to write in a way that no positive identification could be made, only participants at the time would know who I was talking about and nothing I write would be any news to them.

221These are concerns known to everyone in the Web Diarist School, but I think perhaps some readers either underestimate the problem or feel the artists using this medium don't take it into consideration. Not so. We see two of the best in these islands either retiring altogether or attempting elaborate methods of hiding their work, at least partly because of these problems.

222Ah well, more immediate concerns at hand. Hamilton Library being closed on the weekends is a serious disruption of my lifestyle for the next twelve days. The mountains being invisible outside because rain is falling so heavily on them is an even more immediate concern. The endless fireworks we have endured since Christmas Eve are only going to get worse.

223Don't let it bring you down, it's only castles burning ... just find someone who's turning, and you will come around ...

224A burning castle may have been going a bit overboard but I wouldn't have minded a beam or two from one burning in a fireplace on my first night out of sanctuary. I have never spent that cold a night without at least a tent as shelter. My bench was under an overhanging roof, but the wind was blowing in such an erratic fashion that there was really no shelter from it. Space blankets do a wonderful job of creating a warm, humid atmosphere by holding in body heat and moisture. What I had never noticed before is that they stay cold. If bare skin is touching them, it gets very cold, too, as I discovered when I awoke with my hand frozen. Che gelida manina ... and my mind launched into playing about a quarter of the first act of La Boheme before I went back to sleep.

225Every time I shifted position, I was awakened by some cold breeze having found a bit of open space it could squeeze through and I had to tuck the blanket in around me again. It wasn't a very pleasant night, but I was much better off than some of the other nomads there who had no blankets at all. More importantly, I deserved it for the tantrum I threw yesterday.

226I don't remember where it is in his writings but I've long been impressed by Spinoza insisting it is a basic law that we get back what we give out. That works both ways, of course. We give back what we get. It's an important first step to self-knowledge to break that chain. I don't think it's necessary to go so far as to "turn the other cheek", that can lead to pathetic masochism. But if someone communicates with you like a crazed little rooster, it achieves nothing to respond in kind. I know better, I know my inner reaction was wrong as well, but it took me much of the evening to reach the point where I could think calmly about it. I really don't like anyone having that much power over me, but it's my fault, not theirs.

227Getting so frazzled by the prospect of shorter daily hours and no weekends on-line was equally stupid. A man who professes to believe there are no accidents can only sensibly view such a thing as a "signal from heaven" that an adjustment is needed. Certainly in recent days there has been far too much on-line time, not enough time spent "smelling the roses". Maybe that's part of the reason some reactions to other people have been so unbalanced. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to agree with Candide that "all's for the best in this best of all possible worlds", but that attitude is a lot better than the one I was walking around with yesterday.


228A reader asks if I really believe in reincarnation and cautions, "If you start talking about your past lifes, people will think you're nuts."

229I agree with the caution. I used to think it was a harmlessly crazy aspect of my friend who has devoted a lot of his time and energy to a "hobby" of researching past identities, his own and others. But then people think I'm nuts already, so no big deal.

230No, I don't really believe in it. I wish I did. There is some evidence I trust which appears to confirm it, men like the Dalai Lama and Satya Sai Baba, but that isn't sufficient to totally convince me. Rather than say "believe in it", I say "I accept it". It makes the most sense to me of all the possible structures of existence, from the extremes of "we live this life, we die, that's it" to the nightmare of the Christian fate of eternal bliss or eternal damnation. Despite what his followers have constructed as their Canon, as I understand it Gautama Buddha thought it was useless to speculate on the subject, that for real, "Life" and "Death" are just names, there is no coming and going, and eliminating that which blocks the full awareness of this truth, waking from the dream, is what matters. Yet even he is reported to have often spoken of his own past existences.

231As for talking about what may have been my own, there is not much to say. Based on a particularly extraordinary acid experience, I think I was a scribe in Egypt but could not from the experience place it in any specific time. I may have been William Fredericks, a soldier in General Washington's army, who was killed in New Jersey shortly after the crossing of the Delaware. In the last century, Pan Tao Shih, a Taoist monk in China. And earlier in this one, Graham Robertson, an insignificant English artist. All I can say is that I would not be at all surprised if that were somehow proven to be the case.

232It doesn't really matter.

233If it is true, I'm grateful to have none of the memories, at least consciously. Bad enough to walk around with the debris from this life. I was reminded during lunch hour on campus yesterday by the students swarming everywhere of the unpleasant habit I had as a child of taking a stick and attacking an ant hill, just for the fun of watching the ants go berserk. Even worse, a friend and I used to catch grasshoppers, pull off their back legs, and drop them in the middle of the crazed ants. Ouch, what nasty little karmic waves that must have stirred.

234Meanwhile, I was sent some excerpts from the transcript of Clinton's speech which prove he did, in fact, refer to Asia several times, also proving that even though I was earnestly trying to listen to him, I obviously didn't do a very good job of it. It probably would have been better to simply read the transcript of the speech because he's really a lousy actor, never has been able to play the role of statesman. A preview of the upcoming Mike Nichols film which features John Travolta as a presidential candidate suggests Travolta does a better job of playing Clinton than Clinton does playing President.

235I stopped writing at that point and went downtown to have lunch with a friend. It was the first time I had eaten at Zaffron, the Indian restaurant on the edge of Chinatown. The menu led me to expect South Indian cooking but it was definitely North Indian, very mildly seasoned. Quite decent, though, even if the chapatti was too gentrified and not immediately off the griddle like the real peasant type. Yummy iced tea.

236When I got back to Hamilton I thought I'd better spend a little more time with the Buddhist canon if I'm going to go sounding off about it, so I read the Diamond Sutra. It's a translation I hadn't seen before, with an introduction by Evans-Wentz whose Tibetan translations were a constant part of my life in the high acid years. I probably put a Taoist gloss on all my interpretations of Buddhist writings, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.

237A pleasant New Year's Day. Past Tiger years have always been very prosperous ones for me, marked by inner struggles, "wars in heaven". I sometimes think that if I did really believe in reincarnation, I'd live my life much differently. Maybe not. If I don't have the sense to practise enough moderation in the early part of the month to prevent the famine and drought of the last week, would I be likely to "invest" in something as remote as a future life?


238Good Friday ponderings, locked in a life and death battle. We all are, all living things are, perhaps even those we regard as without life. Does a mountain suffer from erosion? We say that, but is it just a "figure of speech"? Language can be a wonderful teacher of the truth of no accidents. Under the blessing of LSD, an "innocent" conversation can be a catalyst to great understanding. It is always so, of course. Most of us just need extraordinary fuel to wipe clear our dirty windshields of perception.

239We struggle against death, whether with the simple act of eating whatever will keep our bodies functioning or through the profundity of an earnest prayer to "help us make it through the night". Some gamble extravagantly in the battle, taunting death with aptly labelled "death-defying" feats, others huddle like misers in cloistered cells murmuring prayers and hoping only to avoid any threat to continued existence until gently taken to the target of their petition.

240I am a fool. Not der Reine Tor of this day of Parzival, just a fool, welcoming death ... even so, come quickly ... but unwilling to force my company on him. Would I catapult myself into Death's drawing room? I went to a research clinic on Good Friday morning. Among a long catalogue of ailments and conditions to which I was asked to reply "are you now or have you ever been ..." was a delightful question asking if I had a "plan" for committing suicide. A plan! I replied that if I had one, I would have used it. They probably won't accept me for the study.

241"I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified," intruded NPR on my thoughts, when an appalling voice read some scripture in between two excerpts of decent music apparently dealing with the events of this weekend, two millenia ago.

242I talk too much, even worse I write too much. It has been a lifelong failing. My friend Frances saved every word I sent her. Even today, people are saving my emails, ephemeral though that art form should be. It should shock me into silence. When Frances died, her sister wrote to ask if there was anything I wanted. No, I had the magic bronze bell, I still have it. I just asked that everything I had written to Frances be destroyed. Hesse was not so lucky -- volumes of Collected Correspondence, poor man.

243Earlier this week a reader mentioned that I seem to have a high regard for Hermann Hesse, another wondered if Burroughs might not be more expected than Hesse and Confucius. Burroughs and Crowley ... ah yes, that could have been the life that was.

244Uh-oh, the "appalling voice" belonged to Martin Luther King, Jr. Mea culpa, but he should never have gotten involved with Bach's B Minor Mass. "Decent music" ... I must be studying the delicate art of understatement.

245A tale of the Weekend of Holy Week, written in real-time, like the "poetry", on paper, using Kevyn's pen.

246I had my best birthday present early, very early on Good Friday morning. Some noble deed I did in a past life yielded its inevitable blessing and I awoke from a wonderfully peaceful sleep, rolled from my right side onto my back and turned my head to the other side. Rocky was doing that which young men often do, old men too when they can find the energy. The pleasure of watching until he finished, then rolled over onto his stomach and returned to sleep, was surpassed by gratitude that he feels comfortable enough to share so intimate a moment. Perhaps consciously he did not know I was watching, perhaps he thought I was still asleep. But some part of him knew and shared, and it was a greater gift than I could have expected, well beyond what I could have allowed myself to wish for. And for a moment I was grateful, too, that I'd stayed alive and that I walk this strange path through nomadic life. Good Friday, indeed.

247And of the less "profane" aspects of this day? Rudolf Steiner felt the "Golgotha Event" was the most important moment of mankind's history. Men died by crucifixion, that seems a historical fact. It may be, as they say, that a radical young man, who would have been given honored guru status in the East because of his elegantly insightful teachings, became overly involved in the established religious politics of the region where he was instead born, and was destined to die in such a barbaric fashion.

248That by doing so, he cancelled the fabled debt of Adam's "original sin", that he was somehow a son of an all-powerful god who was sent on a mission to save us through such a vile passage into death is way out beyond my ability to believe. If we had a totally different history and such a thing had never happened, if that can be imagined, and a writer wrote an elaborate fantasy novel using all the plot elements and characters of these events, I wouldn't be at all surprised if a publisher rejected it as too far fetched.

249Yet two thousand years of this planet's history revolve around it, just as surely as the planet circles the sun every 365 days or thereabouts, if it does. In some places, and not all that long ago, I could have been burned at the stake (another flambouyantly unpleasant way to die) for writing this Tale.

250On a trip downhill from campus, where I spent early Good Friday afternoon, I stopped by the Church of the Crossroads. I thought I'd sit awhile and ponder what I was thinking about Easter.

251The Church was closed.


252Don't let the stars get in your eyes, don't let the moon break your heart ...

253The jukebox had to dig way down in the memory banks for that one and, seemingly pleased with its research into musical antiquity, continued to play it until I begged for mercy. Then it switched to Virgil Thomson's score for "The River", a far more pleasant alternative.

254Thursday morning started off with a feeling of massive confusion, so much that it's difficult to define exactly what was going on in my head. My internal clock seems to have gone whacko. I woke at 2:30 in the morning feeling like it was time to get up, looked at my watch and vetoed that notion. Woke again at 3:30, then dozed for half an hour before giving it up and going on my way from the cloisters to Ala Moana.

255Wednesday afternoon had been an especially mellow time. Although there were occasional drizzles of rain, it stayed sunny most of the day and for the first time in what seems like eons I was able to enjoy a Mickey's in the secluded grove while reading the Honolulu Weekly and continuing the Krentz book. Few writers have been successful in writing graphically about sex and Krentz is not one of them. Fortunately the detailed scenes of high passion were few and the rest of the book, the plot and general structure, was quite engrossing. I alternated visits to Hamilton with reading the book throughout the day, going downhill again for another Mickey's after sunset and completing the book while sitting outside Manoa Garden.

256My thoughts have been much concentrated on Paxil and its effects and/or side-effects. From what I understand of how it works, it is forcing the body to release more of a substance which it naturally produces. [Note: a reader wrote to correct that. Paxil is not actually causing greater production of that substance, but is causing it to linger longer in the brain. The following sentence still applies.] Such an effect must be possible without the use of drugs, but who am I to scorn an easy way out. I realized I don't really want to like it too much. That brings back unpleasant memories of the valium-addicted days. Even though my doctor was very understanding and subscribed 100 tablets at a time, with two refills, there always came the day when I had to return and beg (as I saw it) for more, and I hated that.

257This Paxil-induced state of mind has a little in common with my brief experiment with Lithium, the only doctor-prescribed drug I refused to continue taking. Although it seemed to be very effective for people I knew who suffered extreme mood swings, I hated the way it kept me in a gray area emotionally, unable to feel either happiness or misery, but always slightly aware that those feelings were just being chemically masked. It may be that at least part of the confused mental state on Thursday was that I woke feeling quite down but was chemically shielded from really feeling it. Or that may just be sheer fantasy, I'm not sure.

258Money, no money, no difference, as a reader wrote several months ago. It's almost true. Faced with this three-day off-line weekend and what is likely to be a deserted campus, I have to be grateful there's a few dollars in my pocket for Jumbo Jacks and such, as well as a few bottles of Mickey's, so it does make a difference even if it's just a superficial one. It also makes a difference because I spend time debating about when and whether to spend any of it, and then sometimes scolding myself afterwards for having spent too much or on the wrong things. Even though I went downhill twice on Wednesday for Mickey's, I didn't make the effort to walk the short distance to Burger King and pick up a cheap burger (the BK across the street from the campus closed). So Wednesday's Daily Nutritious Diet consisted of a cinnamon roll from McD, a little tub of microwavable chili, and a Butterfinger bar. Bad. A day of outright fasting would probably have been a more sensible option.

259Having money means I have to think about having it, exaggerated right now, too, because this will be the poorest month in a long time without the added income from the clinic. It's such a nuisance. If only I could accept the theology, I'd probably be happier in a monastery of an order committed to self-imposed poverty. Food, shelter and clothing and a life devoted to things of the spirit sounds wonderful, but I wouldn't be surprised if I hated it, even if I could accept the theology.

260Paxil may eliminate extremes of mood, either the drug or simply returning to a state of greater inner harmony has brought back that acid-like vision which began to manifest itself a couple of months into this nomadic life. Colors are brighter, light and shade more dramatic, a feeling almost of opening the eyes wider and seeing beyond the surface. I sensed at the time that quality of vision disappeared that I had embarked somehow on an inferior path, and its return is encouraging. But Paxil itself, of course, is no lysergic acid, no consciousness expanding agent, so it seems to, like Lithium, provide a mask and no answers. That's as I expected.


261I don't care, I don't care, what people think of me. I'm happy go lucky, men say that I'm plucky, and just so damned care free ...

262For more than thirty years it has been perhaps the height of my "spiritual goal" to attain and maintain a state of existing in the present, the here and now. The message of Be Here Now by Ram Dass was etched with acid in my consciousness. In many ways, Paxil has brought me closer to that presumed goal than I've ever gotten before and, perhaps because I was propelled into it, I'm finding it somewhat uncomfortable.

263It is my assumption that the extended lift-off, with its sometimes unpleasant moments, has been completed and this is at least the lower level of Paxil-fueled orbiting. It has much in common with the mind state brought about by continuous consumption of LSD over at least a three-day period. There is no longer the zoom of take-off, the dazzling jump into a different state of consciousness, but a steady, continuous experience of existing in something other than First Level Reality. I once kept that up for two weeks and not since then have I experienced quite this feeling of not caring, of not being at all concerned about next week, tomorrow, even the next five minutes. It doesn't matter. All that matters is NOW, and so it becomes possible to get "lost" for half an hour gazing at the shadows of palm trees, the beautiful contrast between the darkness of the blocked sunlight, the brilliant glare of the sun on concrete, the delicate patterns of the elegant trees.

264This, of course, is exactly where I wanted to be.

265The simple life. The search for tobacco, beer, sleep, food, sex, in that order of priority. In this state of mind, a cigarette becomes more of an anchor than anything else, the desire for a smoke, the anticipation of the next one, drawing me back from the Now into anticipation of the future. The beer filling the one drawback of Paxil, its total lack of reference to physical tension. A capsule filled with a daily dose of Paxil, plus timed-release doses of Valium, would be indeed the closest thing I can imagine to chemically-induced "liberation".

266I don't know yet if I will attempt to continue using Paxil after the last dose in hand (four days hence). For a person suffering from a chemically imbalanced depression, it must be a major boon. That's the worst kind, being depressed for no reason at all, sometimes even when everything in life suggests just the opposite should be true. I know that feeling, I've been there. But I'm not prepared to accept that all depression is based on body chemistry. I think there are times where one can be understandably and justifiably depressed, and it is that state which brings around my occasional dips into bleakness in recent times. To avoid those times by a chemically-induced escape into the "higher" reality of existing in the Now is something I can't see as anything but a cop-out, a vacation.

267And I'm not sure yet how long I want to stay on holiday.


268"I'm going to push you out a window," the Sleeptalker threatened with a smile when I wouldn't stop touching him. What a perfect ending for the Tales, I told him. Panther killed by the Sleeptalker.

269Those lines, added for a day to the title page of the Tales, set off the discussion in Tale 317. Rather than being seen as the, for us, very funny moment it was, instead aroused concerned alarm. The discussion continued:

270 [I asked, in jest, if the reader had read Proust or Tolstoy lately.]

271: Sadly, no. I don't think my classical education included Proust,

272: and I haven't read any Tolstoy in decades.

273A main theme in both "Swann's Way" and "Resurrection" is a man deeply in love with an "unsuitable" person. You, of course, would say it's just a "coincidence" I happened to pick those two books to read at this time.

274:: Love is just not something we can make understandable, to

275:: ourselves or to anyone else. It "happens".

276: Yes, it does. But when it is always with the same type of person,

277: then that is not enough of an answer.

278I spent much of Monday evening pondering that, and the discussion as a whole, thinking of the various elements and how best to respond to them. The reader has a totally inaccurate concept of how often I really fall in love. Not having known me for even so long as the eleven years I have lived in Honolulu, she missed the majority of those years when there was no love interest at all in my life. My nephew's presence provided the pleasure I have always gotten from the company of young men, made especially sweet by the absence of lust and the sexual dance or desire for one. Even after his departure, when bartenders began to be the source for that pleasure, I became very fond of some of them, and still am, but that didn't cause me to "fall in love" with any of them even though a few certainly inspired thoughts of lust.

279Then I did, indeed, fall very much in love and it went on for many months, a dance which has much in common with the current one even though the two young men are very, very different. That unrequited love affair the reader knew more about than anyone else and undoubtedly forms the foundation for her thinking. We form our concept of who someone is and seem to resist with all our power seeing and accepting changes in the person over time which make our conception an increasingly inaccurate portrait.

280I think the reader's portrait is understandably based on that time and I am not, in many ways, at all the same person I was then. The differences in the way my inner life is affected by being in love with the Sleeptalker and the way I am playing my side of the game are for me the most substantial evidence of just how much I have changed. I am often surprised by it myself, so cannot expect others to adjust their portraits.

281And it is the Sleeptalker himself who gets much of the credit for that. It is he who has constantly kept our friendship honest and candid between us, slowly and steadily adds to the depth and degree of sharing our inner lives. I am sure I know more about him, his history and his thoughts, his secrets, than anyone ever has in his life, and that's a much treasured gift, just as it was with my nephew.

282So, as I told the reader, the Sleeptalker is not really an "unsuitable" love affair for me at all, even if, as with the heroes of Proust and Tolstoy, friends, family and "polite society" would certainly not agree.

283After this most recent extended time alone with him, I'm more convinced than ever that friends, family and polite society would be utterly wrong.

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