by Zev Gottdiener
. . . (don’t worry, they’re not THAT poisonous)
You arrived on the island with rucksack, duffel bag, and a folded up news article about the completion of the super-highway that will connect the region to the north over the Sierra Madres via some hundreds of bridges and tunnels including the largest cable suspension bridge in the world (you can fit the Eifel Tower underneath it) and cuts the drive from 8 to 2 hours.
Your first nights of tropical island life do not easily pass. There’s much to do to make a home. Shove cloth in holes and ground level door slits to keep out mice. Sweep up existing mouse poop. Sweep in large, sweeping motions until you sweat. Take the towel away from a saucer sized spider and escort it out. Take a shower. There is no hot water. You don’t need hot water when the world is so hot now, hugging in the daytime, blowing through the night.
Do not stay in the house. There is night and stars, darker and brighter both than in cities. The basin of the sky is turned inside out, yawning up beyond imagining. Amazing that over lull pounding surf you can hear everything: Woodstockian snowbirds next door in their porch shaped editing nest, working out a ten year documentary on the Nimbin utopia on Australia‘s Eastern Coast. Sputtering reptile feet on rooftop. Wind through palms (a close synonym of wave-speech). Hum of fridge. Hum of brain, why still inside?
There will be nights of loneliness and nights of exuberance. Days of solitude, and days so hot and humid you cant breathe. There will be days of rapture and movement. Days of errands. Nights of talking. Times when you wish to go back home, where you will flail yourself raw on what Cohen called in his tidy first foray, a Bildungsroman titled The Favorite Game, the “many murderous plateaux of indifference where you wont even own your personal despair” (1963:95). There will be times when you cant remember what it was like not to be here, and the sum total of your memory will condense like milk stored in cans of brain, containers of thought simpering on the shelves in the ashen dawn of the end of your world. There will be time to think out crippling things inside you save the flesh. There is here, where all coincides with your selfness as the end¾the ocean¾the final coda drone of Pan over Apollo. There is here without you and you and you. There will be life here past no one.
That which we cannot make for ourselves: a world without end.
Learn mislearnings of language. Pelicula is not movie, its film; hence, you wrap your half papaya in pelicula autoadherente and stick it in la refrig. Mineral oil for the locks and here’s a Jackfruittree in the front, and a tree from India (the only one on the island, whose ripe fruit smells like strong cheese) all powerful medicines. Enough cures down here to make you not buy paper anything. Flies that spew acid if you crush them when they’re busy sucking on you. Here Pomegranates originating in the Jordanian rift valley take root. A tree in the garden has one reaching maturity, and you support the branch over a palm’s low frond.
Kids run singing pop music. Leaves fall from bamboos with a breeze’s encouragement, and vehicles leave the beach for coming dark. Feel exposed at a crush of life unlike any congested thoroughfare. A pulsing far from stress, more relax and less reactive. Here the French-Canadian yell tabernac! at the dogs, and you feel how it sounds in your mouth, laughing for you don’t know what its doing there.
Stars belie immensity here for you city kids. Night sky more than ever hoped for, unless you’ve grown up under one so pure. Its Billie Crystal here away from the city, and despite solar flares, you cant imagine it being more so. A comfortable naked sky, and with Magdalena pastry memory of this morning’s café visit with your friends, you remorselessly log today in a special place for days like it. Not entirely¾the days in that place govern their own space. A nonrational (as opposed to irrational) governor of special memory land warps them at whim, without right regard to their immediate refraction of now at hand. Reflection deepens difference, and such synchronic portals emerge memorialized in diachronic specters of invisible performance.
By the way, dancing under stars is a here-now panacea for fear of future, and before you fall asleep remember to countdown to nothing the I love you stored away.