And my mind has wandered. Traveling along and above my feet. I near the return leg of this 8 month journey. An adventure that started most clearly one October afternoon in a cafe on Main Street in Ann Arbor, I did not sleep a blink that night. I saw the world and I was determined to plunge into it.
I have drifted in from the smoggy Moroccan coast, finding a brother- a rebel of the soul, a fierce mind, he was Neal Cassidy of Hardcore in Casablanca. In the smokey cafe I saw the cool sad eyes of a woman I would never love.
I have moaned heartbroken, feverish, and with no escape from what I knew leaving the home I made had meant. In the blue pearl, standing on the bridge of God in the Riff, I have laughed among vagabonds in tangier beat, singing in Darija, the tobacco and hash of mad drunk men and women lapsing with the sea. I passed the limit only dreamt by some on a jet plane over the Mediterranean.
Exorcising my self across the streets of Budapest the contrast so drastic, the bare damned earth of the orient, the black south and the opulent jewel of Europe. Emerging from the metro my first glimpse of the former capital of the Austrian-Hungarian empire was a protest against the treatment of migrants. A Palestinian man read over a megaphone a poem in Arabic, the words crackling with heat in the early fall breeze.
And still my mind wandered. Over the rooftops of Pest, winding along the Danube, shooting across through the world. Where it went, I'm not quite sure. My heart pounded and burst for the love I missed in the home I had left and that was slowly slipping away. I was determined not to think so. But what else could I do? I looked to Asia. I looked east to follow my wayward mind, catching ground to where ever it had gone.
Metro, Bus, train, bus, flight, I was on the move.
I exited fortress Europe via bland bound Brussels, along with a hundred other brown faces flying off to Abu Dhabi, connections to Delhi, Doha, Dhaka... cities of ancient modern hybrids that swim in the remnant of empires fading in memory: A vat of steaming ghosts, dunked and risen, Arab traders, Wandering scholars, PC technicians, Mughal mistresses, Hindu fascists, soulless children of the west looking for a spirit, a blind man reading Tagore in Bengla in the metro of south Delhi, all tumbling over each other spun by the ladle of some galactic Chaiwhallah. He pats his brow dunking once more for the day.
He hands me a small clay glass, I sip. Hidden.
My mind has wandered finding me again next to an open kitchen window in Mexico City, it glides down. Finding me sipping from another clay glass. Alice Coltrane blows into the cool night.
What have I found? Where have I been? I don't know. To be honest how could one begin to really express this without having returned home.
Although for a few hours at a film showing of Raol Peck's "I am not your Negro", with the words of Baldwin and the images of Americas fury, I did return home. Closer to home then I have been since I left.
And in all sincerity it feels as if 4 years have passed by, not a mere 7-8 months. Maybe that feeling will change when I return, but I do not think so.
I have not traveled feeling on vacation, one bound to end at a set date. The home I left is no longer there (this I should say has nothing to do with a president, solely to do with losing love and family moving). Instead this journey I embarked on was the beginning of many phases, phases of the heart, of the mind. Moments that surely transcended the few weeks or months that I can place them in. And will extend for a great deal when I return.
I think of the line Baldwin wrote in "Just Above My Head", he said "I was repelled, yet fascinated, embittered, yet home". Although this is what a character says retiring from the Korean War. I imagine in 1955 when Baldwin returned from Paris he must have felt a very similar sentiment.
One I can only imagine feeling walking over that line in the sand between Texas and México, catching a greyhound to Austin.