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November 12, 2001

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Fuck, another day. I suppose I should be happy, but it didn't start out that way. Unkinked my legs aboard Amtrak Train 89 to Miami. "Where are we?" I ask, rubbing eyes at sunrise. "Tampa," says Big Dread, sprawled over two seats in front of me. It's the home of my -ex and I pondered the irretrievability of the past, mistakes made. I sat depressed, not wanting to do anything, watched citrus groves roll by the window. Something felt wrong today. Last night I read Alive straight through and had big sad feelings this is what democracy looks likeabout possibility of never again seeing Sarah. Don't know why, something about buses makes me feel that way, and when I saw her off on her bus to DC (replacement for NYC-bound train running late) I walked around it but couldn't see past tinted windows for last farewell wave and that bothered me. I should feel happy but there is a sadness now writing this 6:10 pm eastern time in Miami at Kafka's Cafe. Had a high after a swim and chance meeting with local artist who offered to put me up for the night, saving my sorry ass here hitting town with no one to call, two days early for a meeting at the face of optimisma swanky hotel, the Delano, whose front desk and concierge played the pass-off game when all I asked was to plug in to a phone jack for a local call. There's something icky about people who are helpful only for money. Fuck 'em, Kafka's is better anyway, bookstore and cafe, with friendly ESL owner who couldn't come up with the word "wing" when we discussed the latest horror up NYC way. Two planes in five years explode soon after takeoff from JFK (TWA 800 being the first on July 17, 1996). "Accident! Coincidence!" the authorities say. reminds me of that line from repo man where the government investigator attributes a death to spontaneous combustion: "It happens sometimes. People just explode. Natural causes." When a similar thing happened to Flight 103 out of Lockerbie on December 21st, 1988 (you are memorizing the numbers, dates, and points of origin, aren't you?), the cause turned out to be an altitude-sensitive bomb in a suitcase. Just saying. I didn't know about it till I was on a bus between Miami Amtrak station and the beach, a phone call from Steve telling me another plane crashed in New York. Somehow it didn't surprise me. I had a feeling something big would happen before I got to New York. Now my only worry is that this wasn't it. So I gets to the beach and slip into utilikilt and jump in and the water is gorgeous milky green and cold at first but quick to get used to and afterwards I sit in the sun and take pictures of a man feeding gulls and another photographer comes along and we strike up a conversation and when he hears squadronI have no place to stay he invites me over most graciously and in a few minutes I'm going to walk back to the beach and outline a lifeguard shack with ELF so he can take a picture of it for miami film festival visuals and I'm starting to feel + again although strangely alone in a city I like (English here in South Beach has really become the second language and it's nice to feel like a foreigner on American shores), the mediterranean light, the warm salt water a bath of tears. So, yeah, fuckin' A, this is all over the place, all over the place, all over the place...



...hours later, things are looking up again. we outlined a lifeguard hut with ELF but it wasn't bright enough to show up in pictures. after, billy and i sit down at a cuban sidewalk cafe. a woman approaches, he smiles a greeting and i assume without really looking up that it's a friend of his but she says Rob! and I look up surprised to see Kalinda, the director of the iisa who is the reason i'm in miami. after a satisfying meal, we go back to billy's, where i'll be staying, muy impressed by the art crowding his comfy apartment. "hey man," Universe seems to be saying , "it's going to be OK."