Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The American Embassy

Most embassies in Buenos Aires are of the ornate style, in antique Spanish or French Colonial architecture, with grand verandas and beautifully manicured lawns. Although it stands among the beautiful parks and darkened forests of Palermo in the center of the park district, the beauty of the American Embassy in Buenos Aires is different than the rest.

More from a rational design, the grey concrete walls and rod iron gates actually make me forget beauty for a moment as fear from power exude the concrete pours of the fortress walls and the images of empire, destruction, car bombs, and mutilated bodies of Vietnamese teenagers flash through my head. It's a shame that the media has shaped my view of our country abroad in such a way, that when I see our embassy, I associate violence.

If American significance isn’t demonstrated clearly enough to me with the concrete fortress in the middle of the city, the plethora of Argentines waiting in line for the chance to enter the embassy to pay almost two hundred dollars for a short-term visa in order that they can bring their family to Disney World should do the trick.

But I forget about Mickey and as an American I pass the queue. I walk up to a black window. I’m not sure if there is a person there; it’s totally obscured. I hesitate until I see a sign that says ACS, AMERICAN CITIZEN SERVICES. Hoping for a response while fearing a negative one, I pass my passport under the black window. I fear the secret service will come out for me, and when they don’t and the faceless man lets me pass through the thick prison like doors, I fear they are waiting for me through each subsequent security door.

After security takes my brand new liter and a half of Villavicencio fizzy water, I walk through the yard where I am directed at each junction by a different privately contracted security guard. There are magnolia trees that are flowering. The flowers are big and white and the thick green grass reminds me of the thickness of the St. Augustine grass of Florida. I am given a number to wait and I enter the waiting room with the white walls and blue plastic chairs.

The efficiency feels good to me. No pushing. No utter confusion. No having to ask thirteen thousand different people the same question. No receiving different answers. Just good ole American efficiency.

But then the efficiency reminds me of jail and the thought of the secret service men enters my head again. When I finally give the passport to the cold-faced woman behind the glass I expect a cold response and the pressing of a secret button to tell those agents, the ones hidden somewhere in the finely tuned belly of the American Embassy, that I have arrived.

I get a cold response but no button. And she guides me to the next step of the Passport Renewal Process--a step that the American Government has perfected—payment. After I pay, I sit back down and I think, this is just a really nice big DMV. And then I look at the pictures on the walls: Mt Rushmore, The Grand Canyon, a guy with a surfboard, and little kids in really nice new soccer uniforms fighting for a ball.

America, my home, where are you? In the pictures on the sterile wall? Are these my memories displayed on the wall like a museum? Have I transported myself inside my own brain to look at my own memories? No, I never played soccer. Maybe these are another American’s memories. But they are so close to my own that I am convinced they are mine.

What are you to me, the United States of America? Grand Canyon road trips, beer, and titty dancers. My dead grandparents and the lives that they spent in your machine. Clashes with the law. My shitty dead-end jobs. My preoccupation. Things: My dad’s Carrera, my mother’s Zavorsky crystals, and my sister’s new red sports car.

Am I searching for you? Those beautifully comfortable car rides with the cold AC. Sleeping on the couch of my mother’s before the TV has been shut off. Lazy days of nothingness, of fucking TV nothingness. Fading memories of adolescent fornication save me now.

Do I hate you like an adolescent teenager hates his parents? Is that what this is all about? Coming of age until I get a little older and realize how immature I've been. Or am I a teenage runaway, lost and waiting for someone more knowledgeable to carry me back to my home?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Trip to the Moon

Ira stood in the corner with me, her foil space hat cocked backwards resting on the ball of her head. The NASA that I had drawn on the foil was beginning to wear out and the foil was beginning to crack. My space hat was still on my head but had changed form, from a pointy dunce-like cap to some kind of weird blunt object now that sat precariously on my forehead. The ‘I heart science’ that I had drawn on my hat was illegible. Things were yellow and warm. There was a constant sweaty milk on all of our faces, due to the overwhelmingly swampy night. Ira’s face sparkled with this milk as I tried to calm her down, telling her that our friend Pepe was fine. A blond haired American woman casually made her way over to ask us about our hats. She was bursting with curiosity.

“What are the hats for guys? Are you gonna like stab someone with them in the heart?”

“No. Why would we do something like that?” I asked her. Her attempt at humor failed to put a smile on my face. She was trying to relate, but at this point, it was impossible. There was a very thin unbroken meniscus of sanity still, and with each of the girl’s questions, the membrane grew weaker. The meniscus had broken for Ira already, and one false step was all I needed to step into the great abyss of momentary confusion. I knew there was no possible way to relate to this blond woman what we had done and why we were wearing these space hats. The definition of insanity—when you can’t relate to a sane person anymore—crossed my mind.

But this girl wasn’t sane at all. After all, she was talking about stabbing someone at this party in the heart with my space hat.

“I mean, come on, why are you wearing these hats? What’s the story?” She continued interrogating me.

“Well, we went to the moon. And now we’re back.” I said as I looked at Pepe who was laughing and with a spouted pail watering all the plants that lined the courtyard. Those aren’t his plants, I thought, why would he be watering them? Maybe Ira is right. Maybe Pepe is losing his mind.

“You went to the moon.” The blond American woman said. I think she was angry by my response.

“Yeah. We built a spaceship.” I said. “Out of space material.”

“Okay. So you built a spaceship.” She was definitely aggravated. I think she expected a wittier response, and normally I could have delivered one, but my wit was overcome with lysergic acid and the only thing that remained of it was my blank stare that was directed at Pepe watering the plants.

It was better Ira couldn’t understand this woman’s questions. It would have confused her.

I didn’t tell this woman that the day before Ira and I had scoured the dumpsters of Buenos Aires like Cartoneros searching for cardboard and anything that resembled technology in order to transform Ira's bed into a makeshift spaceship. Most of my friends hadn’t understood; they just appreciated my insistence of the idea for its comical appeal. They thought, Haha, Zach, a spaceship.

After we came up with the idea, it had quickly spun out of control. In no time, Ira and I had a pile of trash on her floor and bunch of folded cardboard boxes stacked . But it wasn’t then, when we had started to cut the windows out of the cardboard or when we built the engine out of a broken floor fan and the frame of an umbrella, that I wondered why we were building a spaceship. When we ate the LSD, which we euphemistically referred to as combustible, I felt confident and I ignored the anticipating butterflies that had been flying around in my stomach the whole day. Our choreographed disco dance to the galactic funk version of the Star Wars Theme put me at ease and in the right mood before our journey. The next few hours followed peacefully and the world turned yellow and the heat caught me paralyzed.

When I entered the party with my friends, who eyes were lit like green and blue globes, I was wearing my space hat that was covered with aluminum foil and made from an empty cardboard cone that still had grease marks from the French fries I had eaten from it. With the cold eyes of my expatriated colleagues who comprised most of the guests of the party, I asked myself for the first time what we were doing. I felt like some kind of poor pseudo-Timothy Leary who was delivering his band of drugged out misfits into the mayhem and chaos of the outside world. The only difference was: Timothy Leary was a Harvard Professor with some kind of existential purpose. I was just skinny and confused.

What would my old friends think of me right now? What would my parents think? What did this strange occurrence, the spaceship, these space hats, the unwanted glares from the drunken people at this party have to do with my life as a whole? Why did I spend a day building a spaceship out of cardboard boxes? And why was Pepe watering the plants?

I had come far now, in this exact moment, away from the world that I had come from. I hadn’t felt farther from home, from the sane pulse of existence, than at any other moment in my entire year and a half journey. The expatriate community, the ones throwing the party, had accepted me into their world of escapees and fleers. We had all identified and respected each other. We all saw a bit of ourselves in each other. We were the ones who had to try something else, the dreamers, the makers, the shakers, and the escapers. I felt, in this expatriate party, that I was at some end of this escapist extreme and those that had accepted me, now were looking at me in complete confusion.

I have no conclusion. The spaceship was a spaceship. Did we make it for fun? To have some kind of funny purpose to use drugs? Yes and yes. Was there something more to the spaceship besides a few cardboard boxes with the NASA logo drawn on them? Yes. I chose to do something funny and maybe a bit extreme that put me somewhere outside of conventional understanding. Maybe it was something artistic--it was creation. Along with the celestial craft, there was a celestial state of being that was created alongside of it that we all participated in for the night.

I don't know what this is, my life. I don't know where my life exists within the conventional hierarchy of well-being. It took the construction of the Nave Espacial to really consider this, to realize that constructing a spaceship out of cardboard isn't what other twenty seven year olds do. I am escaping a certain reality that would exist for me in the states, a certain middle-ness. I could be finding my place in the middle, and with my intelligence, I could be a successful middle-est, like my parents and their parents.

Is it living outside my country that gives me the feeling that I have some how escaped the middle-ness? I should be happy the middle still awaits because at least its not the bottom. And if my childhood friends, the attorney and the dentist, are finding themselves on the higher side of this hierarchy of well-being, where does that put me--building spaceships and taking drugs?

I guess that's a spaceship. All rules are off when you break the stratosphere.

Monday, December 12, 2011

La Construcción de la Nave Espacial

Construction began furiously without a screw unaccounted for on Friday afternoon. My first mate, Iratxe, and I scoured the streets of Buenos Aires for space materials. Our search proved fruitful and with the right construction materials in hand it looked as though we were on our way to space.

We had gathered:

2 cables (2 Cables)

4 Tubos (4 Tubes)

1 Caja de jugo de naranja (1 empty box of orange juice, large)

5 Trazitos de aluminio de chocolatina ( 5 little pieces of aluminum from chocolate, small)

2 trazos de alambre (Don’t know what this is)

2 trazos de alumino (2 pieces of aluminum foil, large)

2 Conos de sombreros para el espacio (2 cones for space hats)

10 metros de cinta VHS (10 meters of tape from a VHS)
1 lampara rota (1 broken fluorescent light fixture)

1 panel de arma (1 panel from a broken security system

1 trazo de tecnologia importante (1 important piece of space technology)

1 motor de ventilador ( 1 motor from a broken floor fan)

2 trazos de stryofoam (2 stryofoam rings used for packaging something round)

2 pares de palillos chinos (2 pairs of chopsticks)

1 mongo paraguas (1 frame from an umbrella)

1 controlador de television (1 TV controller)

1 bomba explotada (an Exploded piece of plastic) --the power source--

1 caja con una imagen de telescopio (1 box with the image of a telescope

1 serpentina (I don’t know what this is)

I arranged the space materials on the floor of the construction zone:

The basic structure was built out of mostly titanium carbon alloy and other space-age materials.

These are pictures of space technician Iratxe molding a space window.

This is a picture of the cockpit. I'm setting buttons to go to outer space.

This is a picture of the engine. It's hooked to a small nuclear reactor. Those are space clothes in the background.

This is a picture of the main frame computer. It has a mind link.

The Spaceship was ready to fly. We just needed fuel.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


The summer swamp heat flows in from the contaminated river as the speed and volume of English courses slow to a turtle-pace. Broken hearts hang from the telephone and electricity wires that connect the buildings of this never-ending metropolis. The loud screeching busses and the crowded subways capture the heat, forcing it inside and around me, and a slow push has begun that is out of my control. The city has used me, finished with me, and wants me out.

Many would think that an airplane flight back to Orlando, my supposed home, would be the most logical and easy method of return. I thought long and hard about the rapidity, the strength of those turbine jet engines turning at a furious pace, the loud noises, the turbulence, nine hours in exchange for a year and a half journey, the screeching tires as they landed on the green plains of my homeland, and Mickey Mouse holding a sign that said, ‘Welcome home, Mr Watson. We’ve been waiting to capture you.

“Now.” Mickey would say in his shrill voice. “This broken economy has nothing to offer you, except maybe to work as a waiter, but don’t expect to make as much as you did before, after all, there’s a recession. Don’t worry, you’ll be a peon again; no one will understand you; and the Buddha doesn’t exist. I exist. M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E. The nation has continued without you for the last year and a half. So fuck you.”

In place of this hopeless fate, I have decided to construct a spacecraft, using state-of-the-art construction methods designed by NASA. I have begun collecting various advanced materials from broken down alien spacecraft that I’ve come across in the streets. I’m not sure whether they are actually spacecraft or just dumpsters full of cardboard and wires.

I figure I will need to cover the outside of this spacecraft with mirrors to protect myself and the other passengers from the sun once we breakthrough the stratosphere. Once we have entered the earth’s orbit, I will fire the rocket engines that will boost us out into open space. Once we are in deep space, the moon’s gravitational pull will grab us, doing most of the work. By using my advanced piloting skills, I will slowly lower the homemade craft down and onto the surface of the moon.

I have decided to use lysergic acid diethylamide diluted with ethanol as our primary fuel base. As far as I can see, it’s the only fuel strong enough to take us to the moon and back.

It’s time to begin my metaphysical journey home.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

All I can think about are Indians. Indians with painted faces and feathers and moccasins and big ridged noses. "How!" is their greeting. They always sit on the ground with their legs crossed. They also eat with their fingers and smoke long wooden pipes. "Aw wa wa wa!" They say this too when they are high on peyote possessed by the flames of big fire.

Indians gave the Pilgrims corn and turkey. The Pilgrims gave them Jesus Christ.

In Spanish they call Thanksgiving El dia de Accion de Gracias. I think of that action, that grand feast of thanks to God, with the corn bread, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and big wet Turkey dripping with grease straight from the oven. We eat like pigs to thank God or is it to thank Indians? But why would we eat like gluttons to thank Indians? They didn't give us anything that wasn't already rightfully ours. Right? No, I guess they gave us corn. Oh and Casinos in places where we can't legally gamble. So corn and casinos.

And God, he gave us the great land of liberty. The home of the free and brave. Purple mountain majesties. Slavery, but also Abraham Lincoln. Segregation, but also Martin Luther King. The New York Yankees. Microsoft. Wal-Mart. Kraft.

So Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tres Duraznos por un Beso

Con una cara hecho de cuero, ojos que brillaba como

La chispa de una bomba, hombros músculosos fuertes como el toro, el olor de perfuma barata, y manos secos

el hombre que vende frutas en la calle Brasil sonrió.

Tenía todos tipos de verduras y todos tipos de frutas

que estaban común en este calle. Manzanas rojas y verdes, brócoli, morrones rojas y verdes, pimientos picantes y duraznos.

“A cuanto salen los duraznos?” Dije.

“Tres por un beso.” Dijo el hombre con la sonrisa de dientes.

“Tres por un peso? Que barato!”

“No. Tres por un beso.”

“No es tan barato.”

Se relamió por algo sabroso y dijo “¡ven aquí y deja que te dé un beso!”

Acerqué el hombre y podía oler el aliento de chorizo, ver los pelos cubierto con cera natural, y ya probar sus labios secos.

Nunca he besado un hombre antes.

Cuando nuestras labias se tocaron, sus labias secas

y mis labias jóvenes, yo estaba un prostituta. Con cada rithmo del lengua, sentí cada durazno. Tres lenguas por tres duraznos.

Por lo menos, eran besos, no pajas.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

For those people remembering 9/11 today, the people who will never forget, what are you not forgetting? I think we all need to ask ourselves that question.

First, of course, we need not to forgot the innocent people who were killed in the event and the people who died trying to save them. It was tragic. In addition to honoring the memory of our fallen brothers, we need to try to remember a little bit further, not just what we consciously thought, but how we felt, the reasons that we felt this way, and what happened next.

As I conjure up these ten year old memories now, what I remember most vividly were two airplanes hitting the twin towers and this image being repeatedly driven into my brain. There is no way I will ever be able to forget that image because I saw it thousands and thousands of times, so I believe it's a little redundant to say we'll never forget. Of course, we won't.

I remember people jumping out of windows. I remember being scared shitless and vulnerable. I was 17 and it was the first time that I realized that this illusion of living in the strongest country in the world was, in fact just that, an illusion . And this feeling of superiority that was ingrained for years by my parents, by my media, by my schooling was wiped away.

9/11 aroused our dormant patriotism, yes, which I believe is what you are remembering, too, a feeling of nostalgia for a oneness, a nation coming together over the most horrific thing we had ever seen in our lives. We didn't know what else to do. We had to rely on each other because we were so shitting scared. And it felt good.

But do you remember what that patriotism led to? Do you remember how our government used that patriotism? Two wars that are still being fought today and many more lives, including Americans, lost, all at the expense of the American taxpayer, don't forget, while making a few war profiteers richer.

And who was this enemy? This Osama Bin Laden. This terrorist? Did he really exist anywhere tangible or just on the evening news when they would show clips of someone we were told was our enemy who said evil things, or so we were told on some indescriptive scroll on the bottom of the TV screen. We salivated at the Hate and at our Goldstein, the enemy to our ways, to the beautiful American way of freedom. And when we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, we cheered because it was the only way we could fill the emptiness that was left by 9/11. We had to regain that superiority that we lost. And we trusted our government; we had to. We all shared an enemy.

It was a year before Osama Bin Ladin came out and laid claim for the attacks. But to us without a doubt it was him, and we knew this a short time later. Isn't that weird? I don't remember waiting a year wondering who did it.

And the word terrorist, now that, is a strong word, though extremely loose in its application. What happens when the government starts doing something that's legitimately wrong and you want to fight against it?

So will it make us terrorists if we demonstrate a true concern, whenever the time may arise? In their eyes, maybe it will, the discretion of the U.S. government is a funny thing.

I don't know whether today we are on a yellow defcon flag of terror alert 7 because I am not there. And it's taken me a few years standing outside of my homeland to realize fully how ridiculous it all really is. But it's a good country and we need to keep it that way. As good warm blooded Americans it is our responsibility to pose these questions to ourselves, question the environment that surrounds us, and fuck our girlfriends with our boners. Because if we don't do that, then we are not informed, and a public that doesn't question, is a public that is taken advantage of. Just keep a boner for your girlfriends and for America. Just make sure you know why you have a boner.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I had this thought after drinking cheap wine and beer…last night…

What do I know? Or think I know.

First things first. My body.

My body is made up of bones, blood, tissues, and organs. They are made up of cells. The cells are made up of things that I learned in my ninth grade biology class like the mitochondria and the nucleus. These cells contain my DNA, Deoxyribonucleic acid. This is something that makes my external features like my nose and my decently sized nostrils. DNA is also called genes, not like blue jeans like I thought before I turned nine. These genes decide the color of eyes and the size of ears. But they don’t look like eyes and ears. They're too small to be seen by eyeballs alone. Genes come from your parents. And for that reason, when you see someone with big ears and pink eyes, feel free to laugh, but please, blame the parents for fornicating and creating monsters.

I have genes. Like the hair falling out gene. Some day I will pass this unfortunate gene down to my children. I don’t know if I want children, but it’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re also supposed to get married

So the smallest unit is the cell, but what is a cell made out of, I guess atoms. Atoms have nuclei too. Atoms are protons, neutrons, and electrons, and they float around each other in some way or another. So is there anything smaller than that? Is the universe as infinitely small as it is large?

I have toes and fingers. Sometimes I put my toes in socks and then into shoes. I put my fingers in all types of places, too. My favorite place to put my fingers is in a pussy. Pussies are warm. They feel good. I know that pussies feel good and are warm. I don’t have a pussy though, I just like them. I have a penis, which sometimes I put into pussies too. It’s better to have a penis than to have a pussy. Because penises are more than pussies, in a matter of substance. They are long and can be seen easier. They go in. Pussies get penetrated. I put, not receive. It really is a power thing.

I also have a heart. This heart pumps blood through my body, to all the different places that there are in the body like arms and legs and heads (and my penis when I see T&A). My heart also feels sad and love. My heart makes me feel bad for starving people in Africa, but not enough to do anything about it. My head stops such ideas. My heart also makes me feel love towards women that let me put my fingers in their pussies. Sometimes that’s bad. But sometimes it’s good.

My head makes me “think.” It makes me say jokes and other funny types of things. It also allows me to make ideas and try to make sense of the world around me. My head makes me understand when I am being lied to. But sometimes it takes a lot of “thinking” to realize that I am being lied to.

I realize, because of my head, that I am made of atoms, maybe something smaller, and that I know that I like to put my fingers in pussies. It sends signals to my fingertips and then my fingertips touch this keyboard, which more and more seems to be becoming another part of my body.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sandra got her period, which I'm thankful for and disgusted by. She came in bed this morning and laid down next to me, returning from a long stay in the bathroom.

"I have my period," She said.
"That's nice," I said. "Do you want me to feel sorry for you?"
"I feel so shitty. You don't know what it's like?" She said.

Exactly, I thought. I don't. Women have been taking advantage of this period thing since the beginning of domesticity and you know what, I'm sick of being the sucker, not just for me, but for everyman in the world that has to suffer, plead, work harder, sympathize and be a scapegoat, for something we know nothing about. Mind you, this isn't one day out of a month, it is a whole week. That is a quarter of the time, a quarter.

I have no idea what it's like to have a period. How do I know? But, am I just supposed to assume it is as bad as they say, so they can have a free week of servitude? No, no, no, chicas, not this guy, no more.

You'd think after years they would get used to it. And you know what, I bet they do. There has never been an instant that they haven't rub it deep into my skin that they are biologically different. It's a conspiracy at the highest of levels, an entire gender committing fraud. No more free bitch passes, no more back rubs, nothing. I am treating them as normal human beings from now on.

Just because I see blood, I will not cower. Ha Ha Ha. No more.

Earlier today, Sandra said, "No, it's different for every girl. It used to not bother me."

"Oh. It didn't," I said. "Until you saw your older sister say, 'Daddy, I can't go to school today I have my period.' And from then on, it hurt you just as bad as it seemed to hurt your older sister. Right?"

"No. No. It really hurts me."

Sure it does, Sandra. This blog isn't just to you. It's to all those woman who have made me suffer from my ignorance. I will be ignorant no longer. I smell the deceit from the feminine beast. And it smells strong.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Life is good with Sandra Montecarlo. Except when she forces my fingers on her crotch in the morning when we wake up, like some sort of female antichrist.

It's fine, but I just need a little coffee first.

I eat bananas on my toast with honey and butter. It's what she prepares most mornings this July. I used to eat cereal with yogurt, before she arrived There are people in this world that don't consider cereal cereal when it's mixed with yogurt. That's a very American way to think about cereal, I think. Anywho, I used to mix it with kiwis. Cereal is cereal no matter what dairy product it is mixed with. I wonder what kind of breakfast I will be eating next July and where that July will be or maybe even the July after that, what kind of breakfast will I eat? I hope I am not eating assholes.

SM wants me to be in Cordoba next July. That seems far away though, but I bet she would make me toast.

I have to be in Ohio in July to go to my cousin's wedding. That seems far away though, but family is family.

I have written a poem for Sandra Montecarlo in her native tongue. I have been experimenting with my Spanish poetry a lot lately. I usually tell her something like this to help her sleep. It usually works.

Estar enamorada es estar gordo.
Somos Elefantes gordos con orejas grandes?
Estos suenos parecen nubes hechas de ácido sulfúrico.
El lobo del mar mira los pinguinos y nuestro amor.
Encontré nuestro amor en una bolsa de fruta con un bebé
Dónde ésta el aguadulce de vida y mi amor?


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ficky. Ficky. I want Ficky.
All day long I think of Ficky.
Ficky Ficky in your eyes
Ficky Ficky pecan pie
Chicken Chicken
Finger Lickin.
Where is my Ficky Fickin?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Carlitos is the ghost and he has a little boy ghost too that lives there with him. There is a whole family of ghosts, actually. They all live in limbo.

I would like to live in limbo too with them in the stairwells in El Balcon, but only if a stark black nothingness really is death. I could at least watch the tango show every Sunday, as long as the doors to the building stay open and tourists continue to visit. Really, Carlito's eternal lingering was interrupted much more often in the nineties, in the heyday of El Balcon The Tango House, mostly by loud tapping feet on the wood floor and the amplified sounds of the classical guitar accompanied by the Bandoneón. Carlitos prefers the stairs, where now not many climb, to the balcony that overlooks the square where maybe he was assassinated many years ago when the foundations of the antique neighborhood were still being transplanted by immigrants from Italian barrios from across the Atlantic sea.

Carlitos has a peaceful afterlife now as the restaurant begins its descent into the same place he lives, partial-existence. No more do the tapping feet of dancers keep him afloat all night and through the week. Now with the limited hours, the weeks for Carlitos are sleepy and tranquil while the weekends bring on a subtle party that most don't know about and only find out by employees in the cold weekend street begging them to have a beer at half of the price of any other place in the vicinity. It will be closing soon and Carlitos will have his peace, a long needed peace.

One of the owners told me one day, as I polished the imperfect glassware, that on the terrazza there is a vortex. Where this vortex went, he did not say, but I imagine another dimension of some sort. I stayed away from the terrazza after I learned about the vortex. But he assured me, that the aliens, the ones he talks to, hover above the smaller mountains near Cordoba and usually stay away from the bright lights and the attention of the big city. For this I was relieved, but didn’t understand what this had to with the vortex on the terrazza. But then he went on to say that the Aliens told him that, compounded with his own research, the world would be ending next year. But not quickly like from a comet, more like a social decay, for which he was preparing by buying supplies i.e. dollars, weapons, and tools. But still I didn’t understand the vortex.

What I’m getting at here is that I won’t ever get my chance to witness Carlitos and his family of ghosts with my own two eyes, and I will never accidentally fall into the vortex because I don’t work for El Balcon any more.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I enjoy Wednesday mornings. It is winter now, but it feels more like fall as I walk out of the apartment to the slight smell of smoke. I can see the yellow haze that comes from somewhere, that hangs above San Telmo, and that doesn’t seem like smog. As I walk down the stairs to the underground, I put the smoke to the past and the stuffy concrete scrawl that is the C-Line becomes my present. I search my pocket for pesos and I pay the peso-ten that it costs and I stuff my self in the tube.

When I emerge, I am miles away from where I started and the smoke is gone and I see the red, blue and white flowers that are being sold outside the train station and, sitting quietly beside is the Chacarita Cemetery. Tall palms guard the entrance to the graveyard and atop the train station large single orange letters read Frederico Lacroze Estacion. They remind me of the Miami Airport in the sixties, at least this is how I imagine airports looked in the sixties. It doesn’t have the turn of the century feel of the other Buenos Aires Train Stations. I walk inside, passed the Pancho and Magazine stands, and I wait in line for my ticket to Villa Lynch. I walk to the platform and board the train.

I sit down on the baby-puke green vinyl seats across from a man who stares at a newspaper. I’m not sure if he is reading it or if he is only looking at it to make me think that he is reading it. I begin to write this when the whistle blows and the doors slam shut. The hollow cabin putts down the line, passing the Doric columns that provide entrance into the cemetery between high-stacked skeletal remains that have been locked inside concrete mausoleums for a century or more. The tranquil train takes me between highways and old universities with green greens and old brick buildings, between soccer fields and city busses, and between fields of crops resulting from some sustainable living college program. I listen to Argentine conversation that I don’t understand. And we cross intersections where cars wait and we, the train, slow and stop and I think only about the coffee I will drink when I reach my class.

And then I think about naked girls.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I don't know the language. I respond with one word answers. I work in a restaurant. I am told what to do by a myriad of faces I can't understand. I come from a different country. I am paid a menial wage. I am patronized. Who am I?

I am an illegal immigrant. I understand the strife of the average illegal Mexican now, surrounded by white faces that patronize and talk down, that order and demand, that think that you have the language skills of a chimpanzee.

I work behind the bar, making cheap drinks for inflated prices at the once jiving Tango Club called El Balcon in the center of San Telmo that looks over the tourist friendly Plaza Dorrego. The shaded square during the day hosts casual diners who hide in the shade from their responsibilities, relaxing over an extended Argentinean lunch, probably lunching on Milanesas or something from the Parilla whilst sipping Fernet or a Gancia Batido. At night, the vibe is a bit more lively.

El Balcon, as told to me by one of the co-owners, was the hottest spot in the mid nineties to come and see a Tango Show in the city, fully booked with reservations every night of the week. El Balcon boasts a National Geographic story with a five page photo spread on Tango, and Pato, the co-owner was interviewed by fucking CNN. Every night the club was filled, the top deck lit the San Telmo sky with fire from the barrels they lit to warm their many guests, and people dined on fine wine and fucking steak.

That was fifteen years ago. El Balcon only opens on the weekends now, unable to afford to run the restaurant/bar every night of the week. After a series of municipality fines and problems with debt, the place struggles to thrive. It is still in the hottest spot. It still is in a great building with a balcony that overlooks Plaza Dorrego, but the pulse slows on Friday and Saturday. The food lacks inspiration and the drinks are overpriced. Who would want to recommend this dying antiquity?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The horrible day in the horrible life of Johnathan Tweed is as follows. I awake

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The autumn afternoon leads itself down the streets and among the tame crowds, listening to English as commonly as Spanish, passing the makers of bracelets and Italian puppeteers. The hardwork of yesterday is gone, and today only nothing, like the rest of the slow afternoons on Estados Unidos. The trip down to the Sunday Market has brought no deja vu, no reminiscence of any other markets of South America, more like American ones, Pike Place, for instance, with loud American voices adoring the novelty of the vendors and their crafts.

The soft, cool air settled around me, placing me in places of before. It felt like the fall.

Where is the guy who sells the magic cakes. I don't see him today. He did good business when the gypsies were here. I pass the man whose gimmick is acting like he is in the wind. Today, he is sitting on the corner. He looks a little sick of being in the wind all of the time. Normally, he stands like a statue who is frozen in time walking somewhere. He usually holds a briefcase while his tie is in the air pointing backwards, solidified with some sort of hardening goop probably, his jacket hardened with the same goop. His hair is jelled, pointing backwards in wild array. All these things together look like the wind is blowing in the same direction. And tourists take pictures with the wind man and give him nickels.

I remember when I was with Ben in this same market two months ago and we came up with our own gimmick, our own money making street show. It was called The Spitting Brothers. We would dress in bird costumes, one would be a baby bird and the other the mama bird. Each week we would be a different type of bird i.e. an eagle or a dove. We would make the beaks from cardboard boxes and our hats from old baseball caps and chicken feathers.

The mother bird, whoever it was that week, would say to the crowd, "Ladies and Gentleman. We are the spitting brothers. Today we are here to demonstrate how a mother eagle feeds her young a slice of pizza!" Then we would have a female assistant, dressed in high heels, stockings and a corset, hand the mother bird a slice of pizza.

"Witness the miracle of life!" The mama bird would say, placing the greasy slice of pizza in her mouth and masticating until the pizza was slightly broken down. The baby bird would then open wide and receive the regurgitated food in the mouth, swallowing. The food would drip all over the baby bird. The baby bird would always receive a bigger cut.

"Thank you. And now we will demonstrate how a baby bird eats Dulce de Leche." And so on...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

There is a quick transition as one descends the concrete steps under the giant red Subte sign from the cold humid air of the outside to the still stagnate warm air of the lower levels. I stand amongst people who stand. They wait and think, I think. What do they think? Maybe about their jobs or about their home or about a venereal disease. There is something about subways that feels venereal and diseased. It´s the artificial light, not sterile like a hospital, more like a dark doctor´s office in a film noir, and the smell. The undescribable putrid smell of musts and have-tos, scruffs of rubber soles and trash from a century of fast paced walkers, to absorbed in whatever they are doing to notice the grotesqueness of so many people moving and smelling together.

What do I think? I think what a fucking cock sore it is to fit inside this tube with all those strangers. But here it comes, screeching in, slowing and the doors opening. I get inside. I have some room. This isn´t so bad.

Next stop, however, is. I see through the half open window that the crowd crams all the way back to the edge of the concave walls behind them, waiting as the train slows. People are ready. They are close to the door, and boom, it opens. The flood is magnificent. The raging sea of multi-colored craniums with stoic lips and eager dedication gains momentum pushing the tide to its brink, devouring the ones exiting, how they fight to break the wash of human extremities. The red haired woman falls and screams, "Dios."

Where is the humanity?

And the flood is aghast but not slowing. They push in, all of them. The last stragglers have their bodies sticking halfway out. Then the overweight man runs passed all those that knew they couldn´t fit, the ones that will wait for the next train. He pushes passed them and against me. He can´t fit, I think. He pushes and pushes. The fat of his gelatanous belly, stuffed to the brim with lasagna and choripan, enclose my hand on the metal railing that I grip so tight, jamming it, making it impossible to retract. This motherfucker, I think, why did he do this? What is so fucking important that he had to get on this train? But then I think about the times I have hurried on late for an appointment, confused along my way, and I understand. And I stop hating him for one second until his fat gummy stomach devours more of my flesh from my fingertips down to my forearm. The small cutish girl with the black and white scarf standing next to me closes her eyes hoping for the end to come. My eyes are open, but our hearts and desires are aligned. I look behind me, as I stand beside the door, my hand still consumed by the self-thinking pudding matter that's most likely filled with semi-digested cookies.

I look at all the serious faces. They don´t realize they are riding this train. They are somewhere else entirely, except for that one. A girl, she smiles as her body goes with the crowd and the turning train and her face dissapears behind a poof of black hair and I don´t see her again.

What could she be smiling about? Masochist. I like it. It scares me. Am I getting a boner? No, just a slight genital gesticulation. But I don´t see her again. The train slows and people get off. Not me. Lucky bastards. The displeasure is decreasing. A seat opens and I take it. The fat man is still standing there by himself. My hand has survived the small subway holocaust.

My stop comes. Retiro. I leave amongst the thousands of people. A restaurant serving draft beer in the subway has life, but who would want to have a beer in this dungeon? The rats thats who.

I come out to the top. I feel the cool air and it's refreshing. People pass me in both directions. I need to find Cafe Retiro. I have a job interview. The busses move passed me with diesel humms and squeaky brakes. The Cafe retiro is in the train station and I find the cute woman who will administer the interview. I find that our body movements are somewhat sexual. But I always think this unless a woman is completely repulsed by me. In which case, I find it even more sexual, behind every repulse is an impulse.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The sound of jingling keys cease and a certain metal fertilization begins when the male key enters the female slot, the tenant has the tact, I hear, to turn the antique key just right, and the door slowly creaks open over the groan of the antique elevator and her dusty cables that sometimes creak as well. I can hear the sounds of loud anonymous booms sometimes at a distance, sometimes at a close, mostly fireworks, sometimes thunder, other times I think its an Argentine mob collapsing on the Plaza de Mayo for retribution. And the car horns echo through draftways over the peugots and between the neo-colonial buildings who have sat ignoring the street for a century, maybe two, undisturbed, unamused and uninterested.

Then theres me who hears them.

The people who talk loud on the street can be heard outside the rectangle window with the black curtain. It shines. At night I can see myself in it, unexcited by what I see I take my fingers through my thinning hair and I touch my nose and look blankly. I'm 26 now. I will not be 26 for much longer. How much longer will I look young? I ask again. And then I forget again what I was doing, feeling vain and lost, I continue around the apartment looking for something to do on these long days I wait and wait. I wait to hear about the endless CVs that I send out yesterday and the day before. I eat a mandarin. And then another. Maybe I will have a joint with Andres, maybe I won't.

I lay in the cubby hole where my bed is, above Andres snoring and sometimes Danish kissess, and I remember Matthias being to scared to light the joint the day in Puerto Iguazu when Mike became sick and had to return to sit in a chair all day. And then I think of Marta, when she was sick, and then I think how we all laid in peril awaiting death under the tall pines by the lake. And then I think of lakes and all the lakes I had seen in my life, and I become depressed, as if I will never see a lake again. Why? I don't know.

I am here now, and I can't seem to escape it. I run in circles, should I have gotten off the bus? I love it. I'm too clean. I want to sleep outside in a beautiful place. I chose this. It was a good choice. It had to be done. I'm just lonely. I'll be fine in a month. I miss what I had not what they have now. But isn't it the same. Why am I tormented? Why can't I sleep? I'm afraid that was the highlight of my life. I don't want it to be. I want to keep going.