Category Archives: Travel

A lesson in sleep

There is a book by the Austrian writer Gert Jonke where the main character begins to commune with the statues of Vienna, they ask him: what is this thing, sleep? And so he shows them; he sleeps for hours, days months… the statues watch. it evidently was based on a period of his own life that he slept through, taking sleeping pills etc day after day. Continue reading

Vitoshka lies in the sun

A day of catching up with a long walk along the promenade with the rest of Sofia on a Sunday afternoon. Mount Vitoshka, a big slumbering blue ahead of me as I go in search of the 13 Hundred Years Monument. it also fell victim to badly mixed concrete and is mainly armature now and bears a nickname that makes those who know it giggle and claim they cannot tell me what it means, but this it is nicknamed Continue reading

The theater and its double

Saturday in Plovdiv: art festival, cobblestones, Armenian food, churches, mosque, cats, stray dog, and brides everywhere. In the ancient Roman theater a bride poses both for camera and video, her image enlarged and projected in the center screen like an enormous gladiator queen.

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Kievski Kotlet on Solaris

City GardenVerlängerter, a long coffee, with Milena at the cafe at the Red House Center for Culture and Debate. Talk of authors, New York, Archipelago, artists, spoke of a painter now using urine instead of paint. Noon at the Sofia City Art Gallery with Maria. Sitting in the City Garden behind the hotel drinking tonic water on ice. I relish talking about New York. Continue reading

Here there be dragons

In the entrance a banshee screams into her cell phone. Her cries echo down the stone staircase and through the catacombs where the eyes of stoic saints stare out sadly from under their heavy lids. With bags and circles under dark eyes, they look as if they have stared for ages and that they long for sleep. Continue reading

Mixed metaphors at a reading

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After two introductions, the poet at last stands at the podium. The literati mostly listen, sometimes whisper, while others trace illuminati in the dust of the marble windowsills. His voice echoes down the long hall of the National Library, each phrase runs downhill, poetry is partially music after all, so that much I get out of it. But there are other distractions; like in a film of a ghost story the whispers rise behind me, a persistent sibilant accompaniment that dies down at the end of each line and rises again along with the reader. The whispers are all consonants, and hint at meaning, but I understand nothing. Continue reading

When the sun shone brightest

over the Balkan Mountains

over the Balkan Mountains

“Traveling is real. Opening the door to all fears is real, even if what comes before and what comes after, the motives and the consequences, are not. To tell the truth I can’t figure out how it is that people can make the decision to travel. Maybe it would be helpful to to study the work of those Japanese poets who trekked from landscape to landscape finding subjects for their somewhat incoherent compositions. Continue reading