Todavía en España
It has been 2 weeks since our forced holiday extension in Spain. This morning in upstate New York, United States of America, the grass is green and the clematis blooms. I have writer’s block, so please pay attention to the paintings and photos—visual thoughts, dreams and rants of what will surely come out of me in words eventually, as soon as I achieve homeostasis or Zen, whichever never comes first.
25 days ago I wrote the following on social media:
First off, I am typing this rant with big fingers onto tiny rectangles on a small phone. Enormously frustrating! This post will be brief but to the point. My wife and I have COVID. We will be fine. The vaccine works! However, my government is weak and ineffectual. It has refused our entry back into the United States. Our first out of country flight after 29 years of togetherness. We cannot return for 11 days without a “document of recovery” by a Spanish doctor. No help, no direction, from U.S. Consulate. Thousands of dollars to buy new flights and find housing and food for 11 days. This will most certainly enrich airlines and banks (credit card companies). At home we need only isolate for 5 days (the capitalists need their obedient workers) after a positive COVID test. No other country in Europe is laying this mind torture on it sick citizens. And several Spanish health clinics we have called (using Google Translate poorly), have not even heard of this policy. (Nor do I expect them to have heard). So the U.S. restricts our return and expects Rose and I to contaminate Spanish citizens while being drained of both our savings and enthusiasm.
Today I declare myself an anarchist. I have no country. And no country has me.
I’ve been thinking, dreaming, (sometimes living) anarchism ever since I fathered my first daughter. However, rarely do I purport it as a political concept. It’s always been a private aspiration, an untold goal. The way I think of anarchism is how it is (un)related to Zen Buddhism—individual freedom, self-liberation, reversion to nonsense, following higher laws… I’m a Henry Thoreau/Henry Miller anarchist. Both 19th century healthy optimist and 20th century bitter sick. At present I believe people (myself often at the head of the pack) are too lazy in comfort to collaborate on permanent government-ending projects. It’s just the state of society we’re in—Fruit Loops® on 238,000 shelves across America and vote from your favorite (choice of two) propped-up celebrity Presidents to keep them there, at any cost. Likewise, when I press my thoughts, I don’t care about my human neighbor much more than I do the bunnies and birds in the backyard. I don’t trust our abilities, under the present orange juice delivery systems, to function in togetherness without fears and perpetual duress manufactured by bureaucracy, poisoning contentment while keeping us more spoiled rotten than 19th century lords and ladies.
Our adventure in Spain has internally codified my official break with this nation and any nations existing or yet to be born. There are no nations. I am an underground citizen of earth, more intelligent and therefore so much more helpless than the vole scurrying underneath the echinacea in our front yard garden, the one we rent unto death from our oppressors, the local city government, bank, school and supermarket.
I am through paying federal taxes, that is, if I ever make enough money to pay taxes. If by some crazy cosmic twist of fate I some day receive high income as celebrity artist to contribute my annual share of annihilation to the construction and upkeep of a nuclear submarine, then I will give all profit to my favorite local charity—The Society of Voles Underground. Then we’ll just see if Mr. Tax can discover where I buried it!
Until then I am a ward of the Rose (my wife), and no nation do I honor.
As ward of the Rose, I occasionally enjoy fine dining experiences in foreign lands. At this restaurant the staff speaks Catalan and I am three-fourths drunk.
I think I learned the trick of how to keep thousands of people out of photographs. Above is the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's never-ending architectual swan song, playing higher to the heavens each day, probably for eternity. I took the photo at 11 a.m. There must have been 10,000 people standing around doing the same. So we crossed the street and found a shady spot in a park to rest and repair. Tourists tend to clump. I pretend very hard not to be a tourist whenever I’m out being a tourist. Looks like I’m the only one in Barcelona on a sunny spring day.
I took this photo of Rose taking a photo of the Catalonian Museum of Art. The moon was going to eclipse in a few hours. A breathtakingly beautiful night. Thousands of people around us taking in the sights and sounds, but the photo says you wouldn’t believe me.
I am a phone photographer, not even novice enough to be amateur. I take photos to document a life, and claim no skill in the art.
There must be a reason art does not flow out of prisons. One might think long bouts of solitude would spark creative work, and masterpieces of all art forms would be born out of incarceration. Back when I worked stultifying jobs, I’d pine for time to release the energy stopped inside me. Any chance I got away from the time clock, I would find ways to create in the culinary, visual and writing arts. I thought I was trapped trading my physical and spiritual energies for another person’s goal-seeking. Yet no matter how bogged down with work, my mind was still free. I was prolific outside the grind of 9 to 5, even when caught in the web of it.
Prison is wrong. Forced separation from patterns of life, love and familiarity usher in the death of joy and creativity.
As Ward of the Rose, I officially declare all prison doors torn off their jambs.
Lately I’ve been lying flat in a writer’s block unrolling from our trip to Spain. Much going on back home in the real world that my mind locked up so I could attend to renewed responsibilities. A friend moving, another friend arriving from far away, daughter’s needs, daughter worries, and the rest of the ten thousand things to duress a spirit.
On Thursday, with the strawberry moon on the wane, I got into my studio and painted, painted, painted. No painter’s block here! Meditation, contemplation is this humble anarchist’s art, and colors result. A big shout out and thank you to the folks who make my acrylic drug—gateway to dreams coming true.
Finally, Rose on a Spanish hill dreaming of return: