american angel notes from amsterdam – 22

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monday october 30, 3006 17.59

this is devil’s night in detroit. cardinals win series 4 games to 2.

we have had 3 days off. the body recovers a bit. falling in and out of love. takort.

letting go. everywhere letting go.

to not get in harm’s way.

mark rosenthal arrives tomorrow. we go to rotterdam.

stayed up all night again with harm and renate and their friend rueben. such good people. i like being around them. slept on their couch from 8 until 10:30. ate pancakes for lunch. time to go home. it’s 18.13 and the sun is gone gone gone. the clocks changed.

tuesday october 31, 2006 12:03

picture a village; picture a village with streets made of zigzagging bricks that run along canals and rise to become bridges. little bridges that rise over joining canals. streets with lots of trees and yellow leaves thick against the low low curbs in the fall. yellow yellow leaves floating on the black water of the canals. and on the streets beside people mostly on bikes and other people walking. women riding bikes wearing dresses. knees and thighs appear and disappear. everything and everyone in amsterdam plays hide and seek.

(got lost in vondelpark on my way, late, to physical therapy yesterday morning. approached a beautiful roller skating woman from behind. it turned out to be hadewych’s friend katherine.)

picture a village, rows of thins houses, no more than 5 floors with hidden gardens in back. picture a village, you can get around by boat.

(why are people more comfortable waving to you from boats?)

picture a village with countless restaurants and cafe’s and coffee shops. countless and always crowded. and only two non-smoking sections in the entire village.

(i write from one right now)

i will miss this amsterdam. perhaps one day, i’ll turn to writing and live here.

the bus leaves for rotterdam in 3 hours.

i text messaged a girl i feel love for to join me for tea. the girl has not responded. the girl has a boyfriend. this is the truth of who i am.***

there is no place called holland. the word comes from holt land. wood land. there are two provences in the kingdom of the netherlands called north and south holland. amsterdam is in north holland. holland is a mythical land. i think hansel and gretel lived there.

love,

bernie

thursday november 2, 2006 10.40

my prayer this morning is “thank you”. over and over and over. with the memories of a life. such blessings. to the kind and healing touch.

to walter on the bus, alone in his eighties, and engaged in eating well his boxed meal. engaged in his hand written poems on small pieces of paper. curious at contact. listening and butting in. wanting to be seen. careful to be seen. so alive. beautifully arrogant and annoying. still so alive. his dance. the depth and subtlety of how he listens to his recorded thoughts on stage each night.

from the warmth of friends, daily miracles. to the broken and breaking heart. thank you, dear God.

“yahweh,
tell me now, why the dark before the dawn.
take this city
a city should be shining on a hill.
take this city
if it be your will
what no man can own
no man can take
take this heart
take this heart
take this heart
and make it break.”

out this window, the low clouds, grey skies. so many colors in these grey skies. silver, blue, black and white. the water is stiller today than it was yesterday. it seems the cold weather has arrived here in amsterdam. my home, today, in amsterdam.

we played breda last night. a small and distant crowd. next door the chippendales dancers filled the house. charged 10 euros for bored women to get their picture taken with them. frieda and noraly saw the beauty of the silliness. i saw the boredom of everyone involved. the shirtless fags. the forced interest. the revenge against the patriarchy gone terribly wrong.

“yahweh, why the darkness before the dawn.”

and yet. . .the air and lighting inside there so warm and nice. the wine good. the giggles real. my judgments sour. beauty all around. blessings to fill the heart. so many having enough money to buy a drink.

same on the bus. mam and i sitting together, snuggling. attended to. jesse and hadewych, holding close, listening to music and singing. walter alone, his meal on his lap, his hymn book in his hand. his little light on overhead. enough to read. sad and beautiful. mam said why not just beautiful. i don’t know. other than that sad is beautiful. and beautiful is sad.

today is a day off. mark and i rehearse with ola tonight. easy, with wine in her home.

after the smoeshaan last night i joined harm and renate and trudy and andy for food. harm is beautiful. so gentle and loving. so inviting. they are a good couple. i wonder why i’m such a fool for love.

now, i walk out into november. i will see familiar faces on the streets of amsterdam. i will visit the good folk at the small world. will be welcomed there. and at the koffie salon and at the kritberg (St. Francis Xavier). i will take with me this gift from God. carry it all day, even when it gets heavy. this morning, the gift so light it carries me out into the day. into the constant changing grey of amsterdam.

i’m carried. i’m breathed. i’m burped. i’m walked. i’m let down. i’m brought home. i’m smiled.

God’s gift of gratitude.

“the desire to thank you, o Lord, is itself a gift.”

just checked the time. it’s 11.11. t’s 11/2/06. now it’s 11.12. carpe diem. i’m seized by the day.

“i swept the marble chambers
but You sent me down below.
You kept me from believing
until You let me know;
that i am not the one who loves,
it’s Love that seizes me.
when Hatred with his package comes,
You forbid delivery.
and when the hunger for Your touch
rises from the hunger;
You whisper you have loved enough,
now let me be the lover.”

thank you leonard.

now it’s 11.22. honest. the bed is made. leonard sings me prepare to leave.

14.50

and the day continues. toneelgroep has just invited me to a farewell drink. next friday at 17.30. i will be en de hemel boven de zee on my way back to america. returning to the old new world.

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