Invisible Cities

almost a year ago sean gave me a book called Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino…  the author tells fantastic tales in describing the cities that are more like songs. 
i´ve been thinking that Bueños Aires could easily be several of the cities dreamed of in the book. 

Where movies are filmed below your balcony.  armies of dogs, every shape, size, and color… marched in formation, radiating from a single belt harness.  must love dogs?

political demonstrations into the night, fireworks in the street, beating drums, dancing and singing, hoping to find the single man who witnessed years of political crime.  disappears just before his court date.  most believe he´s dead… as children run by with spray cans, cops are nowhere to be seen.

the intonation of an accordion may rouse you from sleep and on opening the shutters you may find a market of fresh vegetable, fish, plants, nuts and grains has gathered around the old man with the melody.

and on saturday night… the streets below are alive till dawn.  young loves, golosos, finding no privacy submit to the throngs of people and embrace till the world around them disappears.  electric youths surround mysterious doorways and bars spill out into the streets with celebration.  stray dogs are happy for the company while the cats lurk in shadows till the crowds disperse.

a quiet time in the evening… there is a hush just before the families of cartonels file down the lonely avenues like a ghost train, picking through the remains of the day .  they push giant burlap sacks wheeled like impossible parade floats.  it is a secret life they live.  a secret language they speak.  perhaps a secret treasure they seek. 

performers too.  when lights are red grit and spit children run out before the traffic and juggle.  tiny arms and tiny bone legs have mastered five balls behind the back, under the leg.  waterfalling in the headlights.  hoping for change.  on pedestrian avenues, as the shops close, the lights shine on.  in an empty street an intersection will be brimming with crowds erupting in laughter and oohs and ahhs.  in the center is a charismatic man on a carton telling jokes.

some make a less honest living.  on a wednesday afternoon if you walk down a bustling street in city center during lunch, guard your watch.  you may be assaulted from behind by a mythological giant in business attire.  you may be colossal and put up a good fight, but when you realize you´re being mugged it´s best to let go.  and as the thief runs to the street to jump on a motor bike that dashed up, you should not hold on.  let Hollywood provide the action.  it´s too horrible to see it happen to friends who tumble into the traffic and come too close for comfort.  but you socked him good. 

dash the police who stood idle in front of the station. “eh, that´s Argentina” they say.  thank you to the caring bystanders who ran to your rescue.  thanks to the stranger who lent a shoulder and bought you a coke then disappeared.  THAT´s Argentina.


5 responses to “Invisible Cities

  1. Jesus, you got MUGGED??? Ugh. The show was good, everyone had fun. Off to New York on Friday to play with Maestro Echoplex again. I think we are possibly on our way to becoming great music buddies. I am glad that Invisable Cities is still in your mind, it had a profound effect on me when I read it years ago, and in some ways your descriptions are not unlike those of Italo Calvino.

  2. OK-It’s time for a phone call home!!!!!

  3. Please post your address in the way it should be written on a card(like what goes on each line). Your phone numbers, too. Inquiring people want to know!

  4. 3 weeks later and I still can’t walk on my left foot…but it is improving. So if we left all the action to Hollywood, what kind of stories would we have to tell? Who would read our blogs? hehehe…it was worth the struggle!! And I would love to ring in the new year in Buenos but I believe I will be in Morocco.

    Cheers sweetie!

  5. Big Mike from California


    Sounds like you’re having a great time and in fact, that not much has since I visited La Paz, Bolivia. Didn’t do any bike riding. Had one helluva headache the entire time I was there, and chewed many coca leaves, myself, although, those never did stop the 4-day headache.

    I got the link to your blog the other day, and look forward to seeing what you are up to. Have fun.

    By the way, we road many hours in the bus, got multiple flat tires, got out to lay down and barf on occasion. I tell ya, I can really relate to much of what you’ve described.


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