friendship

the sentiment, so much

I said,

I have heard back from my buddy from January here, a stellar human who promised then that heʼd keep the joint I left him so we could share it “when inevitably youʼre back”

So now I walk to Goodlife Cafe on Søllerørgade, where he may be found, taking note along the way of how I can eat for the absolute cheapest on this timescale

Not that the joint matters

But the sentiment, so much

jøde and reading lamp

Today I went back to the café where I made my one Danish friend the last time I was here, an old hippie who called me out right away as jøde because he himself is, too, and there he was, waiting to hug me good and tell me to come back on Friday, by which time he’ll be through with the ministry of food health or whatever they call it here and ready to ping-pong — his verb—with me about what I might do from now onward. The Danish aren’t particularly open-minded to what is known as networking, he says, for they miss the point that to let someone new into a circle is to one’s own benefit, too. The Germans, he says, will be different.

Now it is six minutes ’til ten at night and I am only just beginning to need a reading lamp to write by, which really could be called a writing lamp if not for the crushing creative imperative. 

Northern Europe in May, as advertised.

borrowed bike

My lovely Danish cat lady host and bike-lender is pushing a healthy Danish six feet tall, so the first thing I did today was ride the borrowed bike directly to the coffee shop out of which my friend the proprietor also rents out bikes and ask him to take a wrench to its seat height for me. Then I hung around a while, getting rowdy on a latte—I guess now commences a slide back into caffeine, as everywhere there is no other choice—and advice on how to live. He told me to seek out Jewish painters and/or musicians in Berlin, that they will anchor the energy I’m out here after. He said, Danish people are like fucking ice.

undskyld

Today I made some friends named Katrine and Hakim — she a native of Denmark, him, of Morocco — who were on their third date and also at the craft beer and food truck festival on the Carlsberg brewery grounds that a brewer here who grew up in Durham like me and is a friend of my old friend got me into.

We sat together on a curb outside the event, passing two spliffs among the three of us and talking about world affairs and national shame.

I told them about Anthony Weiner and Huma and Hillary and about my idea for a shirt featuring the USAmerican flag and the words I’M SORRY in as many languages as possible.

The Danish is undskyld, they told me back, adding that I personally needn’t apologize, and I wrote it all down to remember.

Katrine photographed me deep in my international, ineffectual coin purse, fighting through the mis-math of trying to convert inadequate euro plus some rogue Antillean guilder into adequate beer fest tokens for buying Cambodian hot rock ’n’ rolls to share with my fest friends, two of three of whom would turn out to be vegetarian anyway.

Later I looked at how I also wrote the words tissekone and fisse, Danish slang for parts of a woman, and too drew a crude likeness of the Nike swoosh. No telling why. America, maybe.

suicide pact

She said,

I am in a deep funk tonight.

I said,

I mean, there’s no point to anything, certainly

Iʼve been thinking a lot about this thing you said that night back in Brooklyn when I went off to maybe have sex with Redford (I didnʼt, by the way — he just stretched my hamstrings for me and showed me several drawings heʼd done of different breeds of dog pooping), the thing about desiring some alternative category of togetherness for us

Because I feel that, too

And I was thinking that we could slit our wrists together

She said,

A suicide pact. I never even thought of that and here I thought I was more involved in the dark arts than you.

I said,

Well

Iʼm trying to be psyched about continuing to live this life so maybe thatʼs not quite the one I want

Itʼs just, like, this is all so BURDENSOME

But

I guess Iʼm choosing to gamble on the premise that thereʼs an answer

If only one in the form of some formula for survival

She said,

I donʼt feel very close to death. Let’s keep at it; we can do better.

I said,

Iʼm sorry living is so much work

I wish I could magic it away for you

Although I guess if you were someone who could be fooled by magic I wouldnʼt have nearly as much use for you

Use, admiration, appetite

Need.

She said,

Thank you for offering a vague sense of possibility that doesnʼt feel dumb or like lies.

I said,

I guess Iʼm going to keep trying to pack

Iʼm petrified of Berlin

I canʼt even figure out how to say “Iʼm sorry, I donʼt speak German” in German.

She said,

Berlin is amazing and everyone speaks English, they are ashamed of everything too. You will love it there I suspect.

I said,

Iʼm looking forward to some public toplessness, I think.

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