Friday, August 20, 2010


space was limited. airlines now charge a baggage fee and there is a weight limit. go over this limit and you've got to fork over extra dough. because of these limits we brought only a handful of books. the larsson mysteries, a couple of collections by anthony bourdain, zen mind, beginner's mind by shunryu suzuki, and for me the lit. journal lungfull!.

i did print out a few things from the net, such as john bloomberg-rissman's interview from otoliths, a couple of articles from poetry, and the pdf zine edited by welsh poet rhys trimble, ctrl+alt+del. i read each of these several times. even tho we had nothing but time i did very little reading. i made a lot of notes in my moleskin, wrote the outline of a sonnet for a collaboration i'm just starting, and did my best to do what i think i'm best at, doing very little.

it was quite marvelous, really. lotsa walks in the woods, lotsa exploring the cities and towns we visited. stockholm is one of the world's most beautiful cities. from the town gnesta, the first place we stayed in, we took the train to stockholm centrum and walked down to the vasa museet, a 17th century ship that sank right after launch and shortly forgotten, then raised from the bottom of the harbor in the middle of the last century, and after the museum we headed over to gruna lund, the amusement park that opened in the 1880s.

damn that amusement park was quite scary. attractions are jammed very close together because space is at a premium. the park is right on the water. but it was the funhouse that i thought terrifying. nicholas had a great time in it but the funhouse is different than the ones you find in the u.s. i don't know how to explain it but fuck me! there were sections that were pitch black and a section were i felt if you lost your balance you'd go tumbling down the rabbit hole.

it was a long day in stockholm and nicholas was a trooper. the walk back to the train station was quite far. the boy asked to be carried, so i did that. i placed him on my shoulders. i could feel the weight of the child, firm and solid. then as we were waiting for the light to cross the street people were looking up at nicholas smiling and chuckling. now the swedes are not necessarily publicly demonstrative with strangers. the u.s. habit of smiling at people you make eye contact with is not done in sweden. i think we smile at people here in the states because we want assurances from strangers that we mean no harm, we ain't gonna kill ya. also, the california friendly wave, the wave of acknowledgement a driver does to another driver as a courtesy when that other driver let you have the right of way, is completely out of the question in sweden. i did that wave a couple of times before i realized it wasn't necessary. the looks of confusion i got from other drivers made that realization.

so there we were at the crosswalk waiting for the light to change and people were smiling at nicholas sitting on my shoulders and laughing warmly. it was then anna looked up and saw why these people were laughing. nicholas was sound asleep, out like a light, right there. on one of the best days of the best vacation ever.


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