Wednesday, 14 January 2009


WARNING – 32 hour bus journeys, Joyce’s Ulysses (as opposed to Parson’s Ulysses) and a random selection of music played loudly through headphones may be damaging to the health and/or result in a hallucinogenic state of mind…

2.30 pm and Recife thick and heavy with chalky heat, where’s the bloody bus, ma? Late-late-late, first stop Caruaru, on the brewery float bumped dullthudding barrels rolled by grossbooted drayman, chock full of country now, chock full of the interior, leather caps and weather-beaten sun-dried faces (and not tomatoes), chock full of blether, he sneaks on with his birds on the corner and no-one notices, the ferreteyed porkbutcher with blotchy fingers...get on the bus and cause no fuss (what?), five o’clock and the sun is turning red, crusted toenails too, thick thighed cops and pointing their guns, grabbing the man and his illegal tweet-tweets, and then sit for an hour by the side of the road, watching bird smuggler and droopy bellied bus driver and smiling (why?) cops argue it out, then liberation at last, by God!

And ease on down the road, until more cops, and this time we’ve had it Fingers! (kicker-conspiracy – big cheese cops at the checkpoint couldn’t ask for their bribes with so many looking on – let Fingers go then nab him down the road to grab your slice – The Illegal Transportation of Animals Is A Crime. Now, Christ, How Late It Was, How Lateevening will find itself in me, without me. All days make their end. By the way next when is it? Tuesday will be the longest day (or Wednesday), night + night – Belfast - Dublin – Serra Talhada – Paris – Arcoverde – London – Salgueiro: starry starry night, this state (Pernambuco) the size of Austria three times over (maybe)…dreaming now, and never dream – she can’t be dead, can’t be, not Guinness The Dog, no, she’s with The Ex-Girlfriend eating plastic carrots – Good Lord, that poor child’s dress is in flitters – no, call The Ex-Girlfriend from Piaui (Piaui – animal/mineral/vegetable?), no water at home in Olinda, but no dead dogs either…

Of the two-headed octopus, one of whose heads is the head upon which the ends of the world have forgotten to come while the other speaks with a Scotch accent, and Piaui, will you never end? Fights over seats in Teresina, four hours late, five hours late, free to be whatever I want... poached eggs on ghost, now Maranhao, with my yellow country teeth, and Oh! Maranhao, Recife/Pernambuco nothing now, boring like Belgium, Maranhao, the thick fringed babaçu palms, red earth, red flags, red sails in the sunset, into/out of Africa, besieged at Peritoro, two hundred, no three hundred boys selling only corn and water, the air all gluey with poverty, now to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him (how late are we, how late! Head unspun, neck all rachety, crackling bones!) yes and drew him down to me Sao Luis 182 km, so he could feel my breasts all perfume, 76km, and his heart was going like mad, 21km, are we there yet, ma? And yes (we are, son), I said yes I will yes.

All travel, good travel anyway, and particularly travel such as this - alone and with too much time for reflection - is all at once the past (other journeys, other memories, long ago, fill the mind - this truck stop outside Caixas in Maranhao is exactly the same as a truck stop outside somewhere in Bahia, two years ago, with The Ex-Girlfriend), the present (trapped inside your cool, endlessly rolling bubble, the only real concerns are eating and drinking and sleeping and pissing), and the future (what will it be like, what will happen, when you get there?).

And now - tired, so tired - Ouricuri, 3.30 am, a sky milky with stars, a cigarette's autumn glow...Araripina, 4.30 am, a sky milky with stars, a cigarette's autumn glow....son, I'm thirty, I only went with your mother 'cos she's dirty...must stop drinking/smoking...

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