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Nostalgia for Amazonas 
Manaus, December 1966

Where (in my “hotel”) the cold-water tap rhythmically coughs up beautifully orangey rusty water and the hot water tap is best tactfully ignore…
Where Brahma Chopps, the local beer that comes only in large size bottles, pleasantly enhances the siesta time drowsiness, acclimating heat misericordially softens,
Luxuriant explosion of vegetal life, sweat bathed ripeness of human forms, whirring fans affording coolness to the complacent affluent few,
The abundant insect life in the eternal unavoidable act of copulation, the awesome majestic confluence of the Amazonas and the Rio Negro, the meeting of the muddy yellow and the black water,
The churrasco (bar-b-qued meat) de farinha de manioc, the sickly sweet taste and the consistency of the fruit,
The Amazonian sunset, the drugs, unknown, lost to the uninitiated, where the odor of human sweat looses its particular individual pungency in the vastness of the whole of nature,
With a shock of awareness we discover the prodigality and therefore the inherent frailty of life.
The lean bodies in the light colored revealing shifts, the well-rounded buttocks, the effervescent unsparing jungle, the generous breast, the inviting thighs eager for fulfillment,
Weitschmerz and angst sublimated into dreams of sexual prowess…
And insignificant human egocentricity melts into the simple divine flow of life, where human aspiration and personal distinction become cardinal sin…

Nostalgia for Amazonas, like drugs, all this is forever lost to the uninitiated.
Zest restoring, repulsively sugared cafezinhos, procreating and decay, early explosion of pubescence, the overpowering attraction of femininity equal only to that of the strange jungle flowers,
The accelerated onslaught of the process of aging without merciful pause for maturity and torrential downpours, semi-aquatic, pre-natal conditions, the envy of dark skin that does not needlessly redden or blister, the irrelevance of the oblivion, heat and boredom dulling the senses and the memory, beyond salvation, beyond retrieving visceral and intense because life here is all too short and free of sophisticated and premeditated avarices of colder climes, the teeming life forces in its ripeness, like tropical fruits, must be consummated in its prime, to loose oneself, the pull, the enslavement, nauseated by the heat, willing to surrender…
but why talk of enslavement in view of Western man’s equal proclivity to efficiency and industrial productivity rational fanaticism and relentless drive for improvement which at his slightest failing nature re-conquers in a myriad ways and forms,
or am I in my very own occidental idiosyncratic way simple romanticizing the vast, the awesome potentiality of this as yet unharnessed power of nature, am I simple awed by, visionary dreams and with illusory masculine vanity what could be done by man with this endless chaotic virginal territory.

(Written shortly before Jan’s Death)

There are moments in life like sparks of a timeless ecstasy, cosmic eternal, overwhelming in the insight of our, my insignificance. They recur and humble me. They challenge and hurt in the awareness and boundless potential for echo within me, unfulfilled, wasted. I see my dreams, my life, my work irrelevant, impotent, my wildest vision jejune, trembling within my soul, crying for release, there to remain unawaken; for lack of what? Choking me, tragic or joyful, a power, a mad drive impersonal far beyond me or reason.

In my youth condemned to death, and tortured, I felt innocent, pure, un-violated beyond untold violations… After his death remembering Pulika, of the Lowara, I courageously willed meaning out of chaos or so I felt. Young I overcame or circumvented that past and tried to become what I am. With the Rom, at those rare crossroads of life, where we still met out side of past dream, I remember and dreamed in their undemanding love, bygone wholeness and with it the renewal of their overflow, their generosity I want to see as true source of my art.

Then again occur those aberrant, emotional storms, conveniently and too exclusively associated with inarticulate slightly pathetic adolescence, or yet condescendingly turn quixotic. Yet like the mysteriously rising sap in spring, they presage renewal.

Like the alma or duende in the cante jondo of Spain or soul in the Afro-American folk music heritage we have too simply homogenized under the international term Jazz, the demon of art break through triviality of it’s performers.

My dream was to heal the inherent split between art and life. To fuse both, to reconcile the man, in the sense the Rom gave to it and the demon driven creator. To balance responsibility and inter dependence with immediate kin under taking of emotional risks, the stable traditional constant and the restless, daring innovative.

The desolate splendors of Angkor Wat,
Watching my children’s birth,
Starkness of Machu Pichu,
Mass graves of civilization in war,
The frightening yet strangely exhilarating power of destruction in blowing up and enemy ammunition train,
The pain of betrayal,
The ancient, nameless ruins of cities in Central Asia,
The death of a small boy,
The love of a faithful woman…

Jan’s visit to the Amazon

Jan’s visit to the Amazon

Jan’s visit to the Amazon

Jan’s visit to the Amazon