Photos: The Canvas Cafe, our headquarters in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and the Vespa of our landlady.
Chaning and Rocio, who had been touring Laos with a local circus for a month, finally made it to the Canvas Café in Chiang Mai, where we were all staying. The meeting between Chaning and Raffi, who hadn’t seen each other for months, was that of two absolutely mad souls. They began by tosting in the way that they had learnt in Georgia, where packs of men in bars would rise their vodkas and exclaim: “For the mountains of Georgia –which are the mightest, a choir of drunkmen would assure in the background- for the rivers of Georgia….for the women of Georgia…..to predictibly end up tosting for the street dog of Georgia. Chaning and Rocio, who were in the pavement, stood up and started to chase each other and kick each other’s asses, a scene that had a good rating among the market vendors that at the time were packing their staff. At one point Raffi grabbed a stick from the ground and used it as a walking stick, pretending to be an old babushka. When Channing reached him, he pretended to be breking her bones. This was our heroes’s way to say “hi! How are you?” While all this goes on, Raffi’s violin lies still on the ground, sorrounded by a loonies, strangers or known, cheap whiskey bottles and cans of beer, constellations only seen from lands reachable handstanding and dressed in rags.
On the following morning, no wonders, the same people that were playing as kids on the streets were talking seriously about the possibility of playing Jazz for the king of Thailand, himself a pofessional saxophonist. The letter requestiong an audience should be written in a special formal language that nobody knew and following certain rules. Naturally, the project was dooomed to sink for its own weight. In any case, the King of Thailand seems to me more of a tyrant than a cool guy to hang around with, since he allows to punish with death those criticizing him.
Some days before the arrival of Rocio and Chaning there had been a party at Canvas Café, and that had been the ocassion of my first performance with the circus. No, I was not juggling. In a way I was juggling with words, to create worlds. Somehow I had to make poetry fit in the circus frame. I read a prose titled “Circus in the dark”, which had been written under an unproper dosage of malaria medication and can be found by scrolling down a couple of entries in this blog. During the day, some of the people we would meet during the performances would come to hang around for a while, some of them also circus artists. Philips, just to name one, was a German guy devoted to making a 1 euro coin roll over a parasol being spanned. Way or another, we soon moved to Jerry’s house. Jerry was an American philantropist who worked with Burmese refugees and had a house big enough to host an army. Instead, he hosted the circus, so the tribe could sleep comfortably….