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Archive for the ‘graffiti’ Category

Sending papers for the dead

I am so terribly tired.

I’ve been spending the past few days talking to the US and German embassies in Tokyo, not to mention the Tokyo Police, trying to arrange things for Brian.

His parents have been dead for years, and he’s been on the road for a decade – I’m not even sure if anyone knew where he was until the end.

According to the officials, I don’t count as next of kin, since we weren’t married or otherwise related.  It’s not like we were even that involved, and it was only for a little over two years, but I very much want to do right by him.

I’ll pay the thousands of Euro for his cremation and shipment to the US, as long as I know that his life can be properly acknowledged, even celebrated, if by no one else than me.

I’m not sure if Susanna or Isabel even care at this point, but he had so many stories to tell about them, so much fondness and forgiveness. I don’t know how to contact them, or anyone else from that part of his life.

All he had was the streets, or the bedrooms of lovers and girlfriends, in whatever country would take him.  He usually blew up his bridges completely, never looking back, and I was treated no differently.

I felt different, however. I did my best to care for him unconditionally, to give him his dreamy, paranoid space when he needed it, and I could tell he appreciated it.

I can’t say if I was more special than the last girl, or the next one I’m sure existed.

When it comes down to it, however, none of them are looking after him now.  No one would be, if I didn’t speak up.  That’s so frustrating and sad to me.

I really appreciate Tokie and Die Database right now – they’re helping expedite everything.  Satomi didn’t press any charges, so the potential criminal investigation was brief.  She’s even trying to smooth out the situation with the U.S. Embassy, but I know that’s going to take a while to straighten up.

The autopsy has been sealed, for some reason, but knowing how he died isn’t as important to me as why – no report can reveal that to my satisfaction.

In the last week I saw him, when he was so terribly sick, he often ranted while feverish.  “Once I die, mix my ashes in paint, and mark the world with me, one little line at a time.”  He wanted me to help with his last work, spreading his tag one last time across the cities he once lived in, including München.

I don’t know if I can track down every wall and bench he visited, but I do want to give it a shot in the park next to the Isar, where we met.  I want to walk out in the daylight, and slowly spread his art’s blood.

He also told me the particular design he wanted – he drew it on a page ripped out from the tiny spiral-bound notebook he always carried.

I don’t understand what it means.  I don’t have to.

I just need his spirit to guide my hands, and bring forth the last light from his eyes.

I didn’t take him seriously on his false deathbed, but now – I’ll do whatever I can to make things right.

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The slow, steady hand

When we were together, I used to follow Phone around Europe and try to capture his brilliance.

Even hanging off a rooftop at 3 in the morning, he had a slow, steady hand that made the paint pop.

When he was still a teenager in the 80s, he told me, he traveled the US with one punk band after another – Intruder Alert!, Masking Tape, Fire Escape – and left his mark everywhere. He didn’t play an instrument, he didn’t sing, but he was lyrical with a spray can.

He constantly kept me wide eyed. All my friends thought I was crazy to ever believe in him, to hold his calloused hands for dear life.

He carried a whole world of connections with him. Everywhere we went, someone knew him, someone owed him a favor, or tried to collect a debt. I was impressed that he was noticed, someone I thought was a rough patch inside a diamond.

Sometimes, he’d steal from me – records, books, food – and he always said he needed not extra money, but extra time.

He was paranoid that every other person was somehow out to get him. Not in a vague way, some sort of psychological fault, but he had it backed by data. I don’t know how, but he could look at someone, and tell you where they had been, where they were going, and why they should be avoided.

He never explained the marks all over his body, but I knew.  He was a Pure Land Antenna, like that Suspender song – one of the chosen few.  He ran with the whispers, and his heart pulsed sparks and shadows.

I wasn’t allowed to touch his glasses.  When we made love, static gathered around us, gnawing away at our skin.

For a whole week, the last week I ever saw him, he was bedridden, chased by a fever that wouldn’t let go.  He was sure he was going to die, right then.

So, he told me his only true story, the only story I could never believe, not until now.

They made him into a living weapon, his former friends and lovers. They stored a ball of light deep inside of him, so deep that choked his own soul.

“On my back is a mark that will tear apart all worlds,” he said, and all I saw was sweat and fingernail scratches. “I don’t want you to be there when it turns on.”

The next morning, he was gone for good.  He left his paint, his markers and stencils.  He didn’t even take his bag of clothes.

He did leave a photo, the one he took of me sleeping.  I was curled up into a little ball, the sheets thrown off the bed during my night swimming.

He thought that photo was the best thing he’d ever seen.  He used to stare at it, then aimlessly leave it around the house.

On the day he went away forever, he left the photo taped to the TV.  On the back, he wrote: “When the last dream ends, no one will know it.”

I wish I knew when we’re going to wake up.

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Recognizing the dead….

I really don’t believe it, not now.

I watched the Die Database concert feed from Tokie, and was right there when Satomi was attacked.

I couldn’t really see his face, with the hood and glasses and beard, but I’m sure – it was him.  Phone is dead.

It was the Intruder Alert! patch that gave it away.  He made the stencil a few years ago, at my flat. It was one of a kind – no one else has ever worn it but him.

He dedicated it to Sasha – he had so many stories about her, and crazy band adventures. Too many things to believe.

But I believed in his touch, his voice.  We met by the Isar, near the Friedensengel, behind a building he was tagging. I knew him from his work – he wanted to be the anti-Banksy, no pretense just paint.  I had a few t-shirts he designed, from punk bands no one hardly remembered, from his life.

He was infamous, complex. He had tattoos that no one could see, but he showed me.  He used to come in the Library and flirt with me, or follow me to a café and then sit outside, asking for change.

We weren’t lovers for that long, but the change he sparked hasn’t ended yet.

When I saw him jumping on stage, attacking the band, I was afraid. Not afraid for Satomi, but for him.

He told me, years ago, secret things that I tried hard to forget – they made my nightmares have nightmares.

In his face, when he yelled and hit and fell, I could see those secret things stirring.  There was more than him inside him, more than him dying on the floor.  Like Sasha did, ages ago.

Can I even believe that now? I don’t want to believe that it’s real. They couldn’t use him like that, not after a decade of silence.

No matter, my Phone is dead.  Brian Thomas is dead.  I’m not sure what to do first.

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