Sunday, April 13, 2008
Thursday 3rd April - Granada
I watch a film without sound through a sheer net curtain in a dimly lit restaurant. The Moroccan boy's face on the screen is a mixture of pain, ecstasy and conviction, as the film veers from colour to black & white then back again. There is violence, dancing.
I’m thinking about Jacques Derrida - Algerian, teaching in Paris, deconstructing his own identity and life. I look at the painting on the rough brown wall - a group of Arabic women, clustering together. One of them is staring right at me.
I can't escape the fact that England has lost itself.
We drink fresh lemon and mint and we eat prawns, avocado, peppers, hake. I slurp orange blossom water and nibble at strands of carrot. The man running the restaurant looks like he should be mates with Leonard Cohen. They should be perched on plastic chairs outside, gurgling on a pipe, discussing Islam and tobacco.
I'm in a good place.
I woke up this morning from dreams that felt serrated, that cut me as I stirred. In them I’d witnessed all manners of catastrophe and ruin. The Whitehouse had been bombed – rock-stars and Hollywood actresses were stumbling to save their lives; grenades were thrown in.
Bodies flew from a glass building, people stumbled about, limbs hanging off. Those running away were shot, and a lone man walked away from the scene holding a gun. Moving onto another group on some steps, he sprayed them with bullets, then did it again, to make sure no one was left alive.
I woke up knowing dark things exist that are too big for my mind to let in, and that evil has a tangible feel to it - a smell, even. Then I walked off for breakfast at Plaza Nueva. Taking one sip of lemonade, things began to swim... I was fainting, sweating, nauseous.
Granada has got into me like sun rays through skin.
And so... in order to quell the intensity today ... I must avoid coffee and bullfights... dark women with intense eyes... golden, crucified Christs... churros con chocolate and dark men with intense eyes. I must not give too much thought to babies, sexism, gender, marriage, duende, sexuality, Rimbaud, my mother, David, my age, my thighs, my father or any of my exes.
Or the fact that I'm never sure what the right thing is anymore, or how much that even matters...
I shall do this at least for today. I see there's too much of me here, in Granada. It’s too much like something inside me - I see my face in every wall, down each street. I see ghosts in corners, sipping ron miel in ornate bars. I wonder who I've become and why I'm here.
And what to do with all this useless beauty.
In a dream the other night, C turned to me, angry, and said "People who live through archetypes, who treat myth and story as if it were more real than anything else, who can't live without a Muse, who get their meaning from magic - they're just victims of underlying psychological neurosis. It's all just narcissism."
Remember that ultimate moment of completion that you waited for? That longing to return - that untold promise of salvation, of umbilical love or grace? To recapture a lost heaven you knew was somewhere in your bones (god knows you longed for it until you could almost taste it, till you could almost feel it wriggling between your fingers and thumb... in the shrine room... in that bed... in that aeroplane...)
It came and went, every time. Through the fog of all those loves, the friendships, the drugs, the religion, books, laughter, sex, the incredible landscapes of existence... life rolled on regardless, blessing them all, taking them all away, each bearing the sign of their own dissolution, each imprinted forever in the sky.
This great, sad, immaculate machine, gathering no dust.