Up all night, Patrick Joust
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (Göran Olsson, 2011)
Art Title: At the Opening to the Baltic I Missed the Pacific.
Neighborhood, mornings, sound, etc.
Impossible Germany, unlikely Japan. Also tiny airport bike I wanna steal you! #travels #bikes #oheurope #tinybikes (at Frankfurt Airport (FRA))
Bikes and civil attitudes towards cigarettes: Carmen passes thru Germany.
Square or diamond?
Mistake us for strangers. (at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar)
Life on Marz. #marz #marias #chicago #summer (at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar)
A year ago my brother and I went to the patio of the new Vaca with Mario and Yut and somehow ended up at Reggies on a hot night with a shitty band and bottles of 312 all about. Then we got on a plane and I woke up a few days later in a borrowed Paris apartment, staring from the mattress at the sandy dawn, my head thick and tired already.
It was such a long summer. It took forever, it went on too long. I worked six days a week, three unpaid, and would arrive at my fire escape at the Throop apartment with a forty in tow and stare at the alley, listen to Tame Impala, battle myself to wake up on Monday, to smile, to learn SQL, to keep up. Everything felt exhausting probably because it was. Grief wouldn’t let me be. I wanted to quit graduate school. I wanted to quit everything.
In Paris we stayed near Etienne-Marcel and I walked up the street between the bread and tabacs and open windows in my sandals from Guanajuato, the sun on my legs, long earrings. I stared back at the men and felt impossibly strong and keenly porous. I wanted to desire again, anything, I wanted to find out how to return to cities and old streets. I wanted to forget the dirty apartment I’d left in the States or the classes approaching or the coming year of my life.
Languages, who knows? I’ve long gotten over the need to talk to both my Spanish fluent parents about why mine is so broken. For years I took French. In Paris I ordered food for my family, tried to eavesdrop, grinned when my accent was complimented. I felt something I can only say is “beautiful”. My abuela spoke French fluently, and Dutch, and Spanish, and eventually English. The frenchman she loved had numbers tattooed somewhere on his arm and she found him as he chased fortune in the oil fields sprung from the Orinoco. I’ve seen photos of him: he gave my father the bit of Gallic nobility and intensity. They drove fast cars and climbed over beaches and terrified the rest of her sisters. Where his story ends, I don’t know. But mine reaches through him and her because they had my father.
While in France for work, my father reversed his narrative of anti-France stances. They let me pick tiny bottles of rose from Monoprix and set a table of chicken and salad and wine for dinner. We wandered the Seine and learned about Rodin and he talked about the war and he talked about the resistance and DeGaulle and we laughed about Asterix and Tin Tin (Belgian, still) and listened to Edith Piaf and Tame Impala and Air. I read lectures on emotional capitalism. Near the Sorbonne, he took my photos on the stairs. I taught my mother the beauty of an afternoon Kir.
One day I wanted to go to a flea market on the eastern edge of the city. My mother’s anxiety kicked in, and my brother. There were piles of used clothes and junk, old tools, comic books, records. We got lost and wandered among immigrants and stolen goods, homeless, addicts. My memory of it is interesting and a place I wanted to explore. My brother tells me now it was frightening and my mother was afraid and something could’ve happened. This might be true. It might be I was so leaned during that summer I couldn’t feel any danger. Three days a week I rode to Woodlawn along King and 61st, or around South Shore or to the DHS offices. I was careful but I was also not going to give flame to a narrative about a city I desperately love, but know I need to not want to save it. What would saving be, anyway?
The night before we left, where we drank with my friends, I came within seconds of being hit by a car as I crossed the street. I felt wonder, mostly, and my brother felt panicked and Yutaro ignored and laughed at it and Mario was furious. But we walked down the street and kept drinking.
After the flea market we walked near Gambetta and I realized it was the arondisment I’d stayed in as a young, broke college student. I led my parents down the small street to the Hotel Charma, a place I found clean and safe and perfect. It was cheap and I would eat the free bread and pastry and wander the cemetaries and the Seine and Montmartre until I ruined my boots, then sleep next to a cage elevator. What did I think my life would look like then? I was so broke in London and losing weight and hearing about the rapidness of death and then it was over and I kept on.
I came back to Chicago, sticky and humid. Carlos moved back. I didn’t quit school. My grandmother died. And here we are a year later. I’m trying to write with discipline, I’m trying to forget all my responses to scarcity, I’m trying to keep my body moving in the world. I miss that week fiercely, lately, always. This summer has been so quiet and so solid. I have no idea what will happen next. I say it out loud, I lie and I also realize there’s no point to it, and I try and wake up where I can see my street out the window near my desk, and remember most days, I do love the trees.