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The door.  Introduction
This photo was taken last night as i waited for the bus to take me to work. As you can see it’s of a normal entry into a normal apartment building.  The outside is covered up with scaffolding and netting now because they are putting a new facade on.  I started to wonder who lived there? What stories do they have?  I’m going to use this door to tell their stories. Just a couple of paragraphs for each tenant together with a new edit of the pic, the lady who turns 100, the quiet guy no one remembers, the angry young man, the asylum seeker. I hope you find it intriguing

The first story in the sequence, The Door, part 1, Gunbrit

Early morning 25th of November,  a cold wet morning, Gunbrit awakened and thought back in time. Tomorrow would be her 100th birthday and she wondered if anyone would remember. Bengt, her husband had passed long ago, and she had not spoken to her only child, Ole, in years. She remembered the last conversation they had together. It was the First of May, International Workers Day. She had just found out that he was going to demonstrate with the Nazis. She told him she was ashamed of him and never wanted to see his face again. Those words haunted her as she faced the morning, as they had every morning since then. Sweden was, to her, the most free country in the world and her pride in that reputation was enormous. She had been a lifelong member of the left party, strong and proud in her belief in the equality of all, a fact which no doubt fuelled her adamant refusal to make amends with her son. She had, in fact, not spoken his name in years.
Though she was fragile of course, at her advanced age, she was still spry mentally and maintained a semblance of self sufficiency surprising for someone at 100 years. She got out of bed and went to start the day. Her home assistant would be there soon to help her with breakfast and all that went into her increasingly limited existence. She rarely left the apartment anymore for health reasons she felt  her world was collapsing in on it’s self.  She turned on the radio, the volume very high so she could hear it, Always station P1, she hadn’t missed the program “God Morgon Världen” in a very long time, she felt like she was friends with the hosts. It brought her pleasure to hear their voices. She remembered the flower shop that she and her late husband had opened down the block. They had owned it for 30 years before retiring. The money the had made selling it went to travel. They both loved life and always went with the moment, a fact that she never regretted even though she had precious little money now.

In the many years in the neighborhood she had made many friends, but sadly she had outlived those who had not moved on and she was always bad at staying in touch. That meant that there was no one around that she felt close to, that she could talk to or invite to a fika. Her upcoming birthday was a reminder of her isolation.

Maria was to be her assistant that day, she tried to be nice to Gunbrit but it was difficult. With her own problems to deal with and the work conditions, constant understaffing causing the most unreasonable demands, Maria didn’t have the time or energy to do what the job required. Gunbrit loved the flowers she brought, but always wished that Maria could stay longer. Maria had made plans to have a small celebration for her birthday tomorrow, a princess cake and a card together with flowers, but that was tomorrow. Today, she was running late and trying hard to get there on time. She knew that Gunbrit, even with her stubborn self sufficiency needed much help.

Digging her keys out of her handbag, Maria opened the door to find Gunbrit on the floor. She rushed to determine what had happened and if she was breathing. As she leaned over, she heard Gunbrit mutter a word with her last breath, a word she hadn’t said in decades, “Ole”

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Well all,

I work nights at a local hotel and tonight I was talking to a colleague about how our schedule affects us on our time off. By swedish law, we work 7 nights in a row from 22:00 until 07:00, then we are free 7 nights in a row. It’s not too bad a gig, to be honest. The schedule doesn’t change from week to week as the day workers schedule can and we can have a life outside of work at least on our weeks off. Planning things is easy, we only need to remember which week we work or which week we’re off. Keeping in mind that when we work, we’re probably sleeping almost all day and don’t have the required amount of energy for most social encounters.  There is little place for insomnia, that is probably the most dreaded event, long sleepless days or the weeks when our bodies can’t make the adjustment back to normal time.

So with that in mind, I find myself getting increasingly frustrated at one issue regarding the above. That is that I see the events in the world and events in my own little space of it and want to share it, to write about it, to holler from the peaks to sound my barbaric yawp across the rooftops of the world. but my own human physicality prevents it. I can feel ideas and unfinished work rattling around in my brain but when do i get the chance to capture them before they fly away like so many unstarted revolutions? I am a freedom fighter, is my epitaph to be ” the tired one”? What if we stared a revolution and everyone was asleep?  Oh,, wait, i think that’s happened, never mind.

In a nutshell, when did my brain go from this.  images

 

 

to this???   bartbrain

Oh woe is me, oh woe indeed, woe the size of Mt Everest.

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I write it nonetheless

The only problem is

finding

little

scraps

of

time

in

which to get

it

written.

 

 

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a beautiful photograph by a very talented photographer, well worth sharing. I recommend following this blog and also investigating the website in the link.        Alone.

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Ahhhh,, Allen G. It’s hard to think of a poet who had a bigger influence on me than you. Ezra, yes, tiger cage or not, Kenneth Rexroth and Kenneth Patchen both have opened my eyes to the beauty of taking on a social cause and of love, as has Neruda.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, “
 
I was one of those angel headed hipsters, I was one of the frustrated youth, busted without a reason, inclined towards the inevitable decline, ousted with nowhere to go and no way back in, climbing a ladder that I didn’t know didn’t exist, where are the fucking steps? Where am I going? Following a hollow leader, leading nowhere but up and ending up nowhere but down, tearing my clothes in a flagellants rage, whipping my back with all the insipid uninspired rules of the military, the crucifix burnt into my skull, he is risen he is risen, Dylan, no, not Thomas, Bobby, no not Kennedy, a poet for no one but words for all, stuck in my throat, gagging  like a cock at an orgy, a hero running the streets at dawn, now, here in Stockholm luring me into a storm of calmness, denying me my rage until i couldn’t hold it anymore shooting it out into the worlds great gloryhole, with no one on the receiving end,
 
Well, I digress. Allen was simply one of the great minds of our, or any, generation. It is a pleasure to read and share his work. I’ve been planning on writing something for my 60th birthday a few weeks ago and I still hope to do that soon. It would be massively incomplete if it didn’t include this magnificent fountain, this famously censored HOWL.

 

Howl by Allen Ginsberg : The Poetry Foundation.

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cohen

 

 

 

Leonard Cohen, who in my humble opinion is one of the coolest and kindest people on the  planet, is also a gifted poet, as most people who have heard his music know from his wonderful lyrics and if you’ve read his poetry even more so.  I admire him greatly for his gifts his class, his style his poetry and his music,  but also for the sense that if we had somehow been alive together in the earlier part of the 20th century, we might have been freedom fighters, partisans, fighting with words perhaps, side by side. A nice fantasy perhaps.

Today  he celebrates his 80th birthday. In honor of his birthday, I’m posting both a poem he wrote called “Questions for Shomrim” about Gaza, and the lyrics to one of my absolute favorite songs ever. They both speak to me in many ways. The poem, because of it’s beauty, but also the fact that it was written by a Jew and is a strong condemnation of Israels policy of apartheid with regards to Gaza. The poem because of what I mentioned above. The song is called “The Partisan”.  Enjoy this wonderful genius!

“Questions for Shomrim”

And will my people build a new Dachau
And call it love,
Security,
Jewish culture
For dark-eyed children
Burning in the stars
Will all our songs screech
Like the maddened eagles of the night
Until Yiddish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Vietnamese
Are a thin thread of blood clawing up the side of
Unspeaking steel chambers
I know you, Chaverim
The lost young summer nights of our childhood
We spent on street corners looking for life
In our scanty drops of Marx and Borochov.
You taught me the Italian Symphony

And the New World
And gave a skit about blowing up Arab children.
You taught me many songs
But none so sad
As napalm falling slowly in the dark
You were our singing heroes in ’48
Do you dare ask yourselves what you are now
We, you and I, were lovers once
As only wild nights of wrestling in golden snow
Can make one love
We hiked by moonlight
And you asked me to lead the Internationale
And now my son must die
For he’s an Arab
And my mother, too, for she’s a Jew
And you and I
Can only cry and wonder
Must Jewish people
Build our Dachaus, too?

— Leonard Cohen, poem from 1970’s

 

“The Partisan”

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I’m the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Les Allemands e’taient chez moi, (The Germans were at my home)
ils me dirent, “Signe toi,” (They said, “Sign yourself,”)
mais je n’ai pas peur; (But I am not afraid)
j’ai repris mon arme. (I have retaken my weapon.)

J’ai change’ cent fois de nom, (I have changed names a hundred times)
j’ai perdu femme et enfants (I have lost wife and children)
mais j’ai tant d’amis; (But I have so many friends)
j’ai la France entie`re. (I have all of France)

Un vieil homme dans un grenier (An old man, in an attic)
pour la nuit nous a cache’, (Hid us for the night)
les Allemands l’ont pris; (The Germans captured him)
il est mort sans surprise. (He died without surprise.)

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

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Life, like this poem

 

Life, like this poem, is made up of moments,

Some we’re aware of, or are we?

It’s morning, not the usual morning, not this one, not today,

Opening the window hearing the birds sing,

Chatting away about where to find food or whatever it might be

The sun wafts in through the sheer curtains,

You stand there, gazing out,

Finally and for the first time aware of everything,

Making a pledge to your self that today won’t fly by

You’ll be aware of everything that goes on

What are the birds saying?

Wait… What was that? What was that noise?

Rushing to the window you see an old car,

Being pulled by another, linked by a chain,

Backfiring as the engine struggles to make something of it’s self

Something that was once there and is no more,

A fire, a spark, a fan turning over and off we go,

The clock radio jumps at your thoughts

The music of Gorecki fills the air

Plaintive, repetitive, brilliant

Your soul dances on the notes, the staff your guide, the bars your floor

The sharps cutting your feet and the flats salving the cuts

Yes, you think,, you truly are alive,, this is a moment,,

Happiness happens in these moments, not the planned ones,,

The ones you can’t control, can’t predict,,

A sequence of events that go wonderfully awry

A sentence that doesn’t end up where you thought it would, but somewhere better, somewhere that lifts you up

And sets you gently back where you were, almost

You realize that maybe you can have a life today,

Just once, find what the poets write about

What the partisans fight for,

What so many people, all your life have promised you you’d find…

You go back to the window, coffee cup in hand, ready to meet the moment

Now that you’ve found it there’s no going back,,

You look up in the perfectly blue sky

You see the planes overhead, not recognizing the marks on them

Not knowing from whence they came

A loud noise in the distance

A flash of light so bright it burns your eyes,

The rest is silence.

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