Sunday, February 11, 2007

Napoli, fear and longing

Sitting in a cafe in Naples I watch 8 men entertain themselves with
loud conversation, gestures and laughter. An old mad man screams at a
beautiful whore with braces who inadvertently makes glances at me, as I
sip my tea and hide behind my book and sunglasses. She has a hard look
to her, which has suffered and survived terrible circumstances and her
smile shows it. It says yes, I made it, I have seen it all, what are
you going to show me?

You ever have that feeling of meeting your death? Knowing that its in
your own hands, that if you so desire you can end it. Some women have
that quality to them as do certain cities and I could feel her (the
city) waiting for me in her tender trap. As she played with her
cellphone I knew she was waiting for me to say something, do anything
to make her feel like a lady. My manhood was beckoned, instead I
focused on ideas, on deep philosophical ideas and theories, thats what
happens. We think books will save us when they just protect us from

There would have been a time when I would have taken her to my room and
caressed her fine long black hair. Instead now I have better things to
do, excuses really, as I am tired, don't know what to look for and
can't recognize beauty in the shape of a whore. I disgust myself. To
not follow desire. I can't think of anything worse. To know that in
this world lies all our pleasure and pain and I just sit. I sit still,
I ignore it, I prefer to follow another desire. The desire to be

There is an apt saying about Naples, which is: see Naples and die. It
is the best way to describe the danger and excitement constantly in the
air here. Its how i felt the first time I went to New orleans, a city
to die in, a place that reeked of death.....and voodoo magic. You feel
that here in Naples, a lost greatness amidst a great sun sea and sky.
As you walk along its streets life and struggle is on you in you it
draws out all that you wanted to hide bursting out - lustful

The tough women with their Mediterranean faces waiting for men with
passion and violence.

This city inspires me to create. Madness and chaos do that, they
spring forth a need to bring life in that which is filled with death.
I attribute Naples madness to the volcano. To be constantly propelled
to explode. What a place to be in.

I have been feeling nostalgic for my father lately. Its been 9 years
now since he left me. I was a boy then and now I am a man, and with
each passing day I see him come closer to me in the mirror. I always
felt he went into my soul, inside me, to live life again, to see to
feel to touch, to hold on to a lover as everything crumbles. To go for
long walks by the sea, listening, listening for sailors.

I read "My ear at his heart - reading my father" by Hanif Kureishi and
I am half way through and I feel as though if it is a book written for
Indian boys and their dead fathers. I am sure others can universalize
it for themselves, though there is such detail about certain rituals
that take my breath away, I never knew someone else has lived through
what I lived through. That exiled Indian fathers feeling. All done
with such heart and creativity. I will leave you with some excerpts of
the sexual act as metaphor for life....

"Where does sex begin and end? Sex is often the memory of sex, as well
as the fantasy and the anticipation."

"She has taught him something useful about excitement, that it is
something to be sustained rather than evacuated"

"The attempt to make an entirely safe environment - coffee without
caffeine, war without killing, sex without contact - can only diminish
life. A world in which people can't die is a world in which people
can't live. What else is there apart from passion and its

Napoli! Napoli! Napoli!

A human being is never what he is but the self he seeks - Octavio Paz


Anonymous said...

Do not fear. You will always be loved by me even when you are alone and far away.

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Liam said...

fear and longing's not only in napoli, mate... it's all around the world innit?... spread the word... cheers... =L=