Amsterdam Turbulence

There is an instability in the atmosphere today. I am moody, detached, and threatening to bash any intimacy that comes my way. I pass the coffee shops and want to go in and smoke some hash, but I do not. Instead I murmur consent to look at the flower market, though a voice inside me says, "When did I ever want to look at the fucking flower market? What do I care about a bunch of flowers?" My shadow is kicking up today.

Linda realizes it quickly and says, "You go on by yourself today. I can't deal with this." She gives me a map and a kiss on the cheek and disappears into the crowd. I am left alone with the black dog. I wander along a canal, brooding on how much fun I had here when I was young.

The doorman smiles and greets me cordially as I pass into the hotel lobby. I catch a movement out of the corner of my eye. I whirl around and see the black dog following me. It slips off to one side, behind a velvet curtain. I rush forward and open the curtain but it is gone. There is a man behind the curtain. He is wearing a tuxedo and he speaks six languages.

"May I help you sir?" There is the slightest hint of condescension ensconced in an overly polite tone.

"There was a black dog ..."

"Of course there was, sir."

I had a dream the other night in which I got into a Rolls Royce and it began rolling down the hill. I was forced to sit in the driver's seat and steer the damned thing, and I drove it into a hotel, up three levels to the top, where I got stuck. The gate closed and trapped me up there. I was in an untenable position. I had taken the Rolls. Now I was stuck with it.

Just above me is the Presidential suite where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their famous "bed in," in 1969. In Amsterdam there is the promise of America from the sixties, a parallel universe.

There is a flat screen television and chocolates on the pillow. The black dog is hiding in the bathroom, or perhaps under the bed. I can feel the little fucker close by. My black mood expands until it breaks in sadness and ennui. Where did youth go, when one surge of desire was worth a thousand cold and probably disease ridden dollar bills?

Daddy's got the blues.

n London grief hit me by surprise when I was standing in front of the National Museum, and saw the statue of George Washington. I am a patriot. When I was a child I read about all the heros, from Washington and Jefferson to Ethan Allen to Davy Crockett. As a young man I memorized the quotations of the forefathers, such as, "Those who would trade essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." I have been a lover of America, but I don't recognize it anymore.

The emotion hits me again when I am on a dinner cruise along the Seine. The ensemble is playing Mozart's fourth violin concerto as we move past the Louve. Why does this music strike the diamond of emotion with such precision? It is perfect form. The sword is released from the stone.

The sadness is a mourning for something that died in a plane crash. The only survivor was a black dog.

Posted: Sat - March 25, 2006 at 01:18 PM