It’s just after 10 here and the restaurant is becoming a bar. Poznan is a college town and the weekend starts on Thursday. More cigarettes are lit – Poland still allows people to embrace two vices at once. Ties slinker out, skirts hike up, somewhere a bassline thumps.
I’m eating at an outdoor tapas bar (no, not a topless bar) that has been bustling for a half hour. Gas flames fuel the night but soon the patrons will file inside and to the basement down the stairs that are likely to be narrow and somewhat uneven, leaving the patio a lonelier place.
But I’m working tomorrow. Maybe I won’t go to Berlin tomorrow night after all. I’m not ready yet to leave this country, and Poznan is a great place to make a last stand.
Hurtling down a thread of pavement tracing the curves at the edge of a continent. Gas. Brake. Gas gas brake. Clouds hanging in the sky above coating the Sierra on one side and mirroring the Pacific on the other.
I turned hard and the car bounded down the rutted lane of an old country road. I was following a sign I’d spotted but couldn’t read. This was the part of Ireland where the people speak little English and their signs speak none. The ruts ended in sand at a seaside cemetary. You could see what used to be the church, it’s stone skeleton draped in ivy having been long deprived of it’s wooden roof. Or maybe it had been thatch. Both were common here. The waves splashed the stones below, a silent movie, made so by the wind rolling down the hillside. The Celtic crosses stood defiant like lighthouses in the turbulent sea of emerald grass around them. Warning the living? The dead? I can’t say because these voices, too, spoke in the native tongue from which English has borrowed few words.
The scarlet-crimson light lasts longer aloft than when seen from the ground. Impossibly long, as it drags out, each minute changing shade imperceptibly but inexorably. Each shade darker and more primally beautiful than the last. The serrated silhuettes of Tetons cascading past rocky past sierra. The quilted cover of snow topped peaks and plains from the day replaced by sleeping hulks. Blooms of light passing below like some strange luminescent diaspora floating in the murky deep. Blossoming flowers too faded to discern in detail but present nonetheless. Occasional clouds stretch on the horizon like blackened birds, dispairingly dark like some transplant from a crushingly deep abyss. Scarlet smears to crimson then smudges into more ordinary hues and then again to a darkness that seems to mirror but not quite imitate the one below. The darkness a bit more pale. The luminescence less organized. And the swolen circle of light which must be the reflection of the observer – ever peering with one glowing eye straining to see through the dimness something. Though I know not what, something. Some thing I may find out there.