Tuesday, July 19, 2011.
Sitting bare-assed in Laurel shade, Rhododendron, or some other waxy-cuticled, fuchia-flowered long-leafed shoreplant; resting and watching the early afternoon Pétanque. Here, the end of Nudist Central’s market street spills out of its tight walk into a small plaza of sorts. Bordering two slightly sunken sandgardens, designed for the play of this traditional French ball game.
This pit where I sit holds three full grown trees. Burly knotted trunks thrust out through the packed sand; Organic defiance of the carefully squared and cared-for Tetris. A combed, pruned rectangloid, twenty by fifty feet. Kinked like a Rook’s motion, sunken down eight inches below bricked walk-level. Where nude men crouch and launch heavy metal queballs; graceful backhand, up fifteen feet and down, cutting close angle on the outer edge near seated luncheoners. European to its roots, Pétanque, and old enough to have traveled with the colonizing empire. Played with folks in backwoods rural Laos, barefoot in powdered dust under stilted houses, now here with gray-haired, venerable old men. Tanned by the sun, limber yet; White stached, wearing fine shoes or shades, smiling and competing easily in the fine gusting wind and sun. A strong wind this day, and a strong man up at to throw. He’s playing the aggressive, aiming to drop a steep-arched grenade, to knock the spheres of the Others away from the target, out and away. Switching it up, this old man, aiming to move the center, rather than center the move. Now I’m actually sitting in kind of a bad place, these oversized steel billiard balls skitting across the surface of the sand in my direction. Looking up from the keys to watch them careen off the retaining wall at my toetips, pretending to be ready to dive aside at the last moment. Entertaining the delusion.
Old ‘Gressive is a real long-runner. You can tell because he is the only one with a bit of sports paraphernalia about him: it’s a hanging metal magnet housed in a nice egg-shaped cup designed to hide in the palm. It’s got a retracting line from which the mag can be dropped and suspended. After each match, during the post-match score-finding banter and Taunt, he will stroll over to his pair of metal orbs and snag them up without stooping, by use of this handy tool. Gives him added dignity and a certain image of seniority in the game; after all, he’s the only one with this added investment, the Egg-dropper lets you know: He’s in it for the long run. He’s playing for keeps. (How does he tell his sheep from the others, anyway?! Like a Namibian shepherd child..)
Other guy, of the younger team, has a fine clever mosaic manta tattooed across his chest plate, as if it had just glided up from low in his left ribs and was in the act of crossing over the right shoulder. Stands there amongst his fellow Euro Pans, everyone tanned and spry, masters of their easy vacation games. Calm and sipping espressos or chilled brews left to balance on the edge of the nearest bar table at the edging plaza bar. Note that one of the players is a bartender there; they all friends. Excellent. Had three Kros myself, earlier. Kronenbergs, the local little pony beers, maybe a German import, maybe something French. Doubt it by the name. Regardless..I’ve started to notice the men speeding a great many inquisitive stares up and over my shoulder. I wonder if there is some contoured topless goddess up there or some such other attraction to the masculine. Thinking this, a pretty, dark-skinned woman with a severe downturned look passes me by. Face like that seems out of place here, everyone so calm and easily self-indulgent in the soft sun. She must be on the job or something, playing an entirely different game altogether. Perhaps on her way to make up someone else’s bed. Strange to think, working a normal blue collar amongst a sea of naked retired Scandinavians. But I’ve got to look now, too many glances… ah, can’t see over this shrubscreen from my seated position. Rise, up and down the pints of blood roll, my eyes see black with the quick shift, and in the dark I thank the gods that I can press out a stand from seating Indian-style in the first place. Rank smell of Fear not so far from my nostrils still, the episode of Panamanian infection still close in my mind and memory. Yet, full power in left knee. Full power. Glory. Appreciate it every day.
Maybe it’s just a reclining naked someone, and they’re all just craning their necks and critiquing like so many schoolyard boys in their easy natural way. International, that form and role. Back to my bread.
I must look odd in my maroon plaid top, chest open and crosskneed in the nexus of focus, like a dog underfoot in the busy kitchen. But hey, I learned it from the best, Snoopy himself taught me the tricks. Find the love, where’s the party? Just rambling now, is that what we’ll call this style? A ramble? A journal entry, that’s what. Just publish that shit, call it a writer’s travel dialogue. The self addressing.
Each day, more natural, more actual euphoric I become, growing easy in the nude amongst so many. Confident of my body, as is right and good so to do. Pffft! Sound in my own skin. I can feel the grit of the ground with my sitting bones; How’s that for grounded?! “A puta, merci y mierde!” grumbled Young Nake, right before Wizened Aggressive rains a mercury grenade, smashing someone else’s ball away. Much tactic, Naked’s got a small scrap of green cloth that he holds in one palm, using it to wipe his bombs clean before each next toss, so as to keep the sanddust from interfering in his cast. Good form, down in the haunches, cloth and ball behind the back, held single-palmedly in the small of the spine, other shoulder rounding and casting the slow lob. Little old lady with beautiful wrinkles around her mouth chats through thick purple glasses to the Manta-chested youth on the sidelines; he politely holding his wrists behind himself, upright posture, listening attentively, eyes nevertheless on the game, as men. Bored husbands in the aftground watching with their glass-poured beers, turnip and beet shaped glasses full of blondebier, smoking in luxury and leaning back in the chair to watch the game. Wives and daughters chatting each other or friends, everyone really stoned with the sun and gorgeous weather. So easy, so fine. A wise man takes his time. Which implies that a foolish man gives it.
Strong wind swirls sand into the air, dust from the playpool. The nexus of the game, the wooden center targetball, no bigger than an egg’s yolk, tossed and bouncing unusually light at the beginning of each new round.. this way the game never consistent, the lay of the land coming into play, one man taking special care for the dips and angles, casting backspin or sidespin on his missiles, working with the topo. Some angryish, bullish, unibrowed and wearing black, fully clothed and smoking cigarettes. Many smoke cigarettes, however. Watched an Italian Gangster movie last night with ‘Enry, these guys look like stars. Littleoldlady just walked me by, I looking up into her smile and eyes, she bonjeuring me and tossing a short question over her shoulder, turning to laugh her own reply; probably about me sitting bareassed in the ‘dirty’ sidewalk. Not a car rides here, not a shoe. Dogshit, yes probably, but aren’t we all.
I’ll pick this whole baguette apart and eat it from its thin paper wrap, tucked where it rests, vertically on its own tail in my new (for me) military sack, spoils from the fields of Knebworth, post-festival scavenge-score. Floor score. Explained that concept to young Mort and Larie. Kids on the block. Second glanced and backstepped into a bakery breadshop on the tunnel through the town’s core, drawn in only by the ensnaring smell. Lovely smiling aproned woman came from her workshop amongst the ovens, greeting and holding my eyes; “I can’t speak French and I’m just here for my nose,” but she replies with two recommendations for the best bread, this or that. Split open in baking, both crusty-lipped sexy baguettes, like idols of yeasty fertility, each a euro ten. So I bought one, the one with the descriptive word that sounded more like olive. Also cause it was even darker and crustier than the other. ‘Course I like the crust, now it’s down to the nub. Yummy.
Everybody groans laughing has Strongknee Oldie knocks someone’s ball closer to the target, all delighting together in the fault of the bestman. Nothing unites like a master’s blunder. ‘Notherwords, everyone cheers when the lead-walrus bumbles. Well, he is, big ol’ salt and pepper moustache, carving a permanent frown, bald head just as bald and slick as the billiards themselves, tanned brown like the wooden core, like a ship’s mast. He’s up again, regaining his position; ‘s got a fine, gracefully-curled backhand, weighted and ballast, acts as his counterbalance.
Need to sit and watch everyone with everyone else, so’s to watch the others’ eyes, learn the market value of things. How’s the Eurofolk quantify their good lookers? Now I find it, they’re all watching someone get fucked on the top-floor balcony in the building complex behind my head. Behind the wall that I now lean on. All faces, sunflowers, watching and watching, so many boys in the park. Good on ‘em.
Sitting on the far side now. I took the opportunity of the wooden target ball landing nearer my feet on the sand border’s edge to get up slowly and walk a square circle to the farside of the patch. Now I can see what they’ve all been watching all along: the couple was at the top, visibly gallivanting on a blowup mattress on the porch, the blowup factor making their motion clear and animated even for the blocking railings. But now I see also that there is another couple on the same porch, sitting at the breakfast table, having drinks and watching on, naked. Fucking right, Sex Holiday! Good to see healthy adult swingers, or at least good enough friends, watching each others’ lovin in the sun on a public porch. Sure they thought it was less public than it is; actually, l’m not very sure of that. In retrospect, of course they were exhibitionists and delight in the fact. But now he gets up from her, from where he’s been having her from above, the shapes and shades of bodies, directions of feet painting the position’s picture; he stands to sit at the breakfast table, facing his friend couple and taking his tea. Aha! Here now the grins really blossom on our new friends’ faces, the sandlot billiards men; for our platinum blonde, our busty heroine has come up from her altar and sat in the lap of her man. She leans way, way out over the table, reaching for a glass of drink from the farside near the friends, then sits back into his lap. With familiar intent. The metal balls never cease their reign and accurate raining, but all eyes less those of the then-lobbing lobber cease following the game, turned up instead at the lap-pummelling that she now unleashes upon her lover. Whoa. Tall guy in jeans and gold chain laughs to me, following my samewise gaze, laughs something brief about “how about the naturalism?!” to me, I smile in response. We all in on the same joke. I look just beyond the sandbox edge, past the treeshade into the plaza, fearing for the mothers and daughters, the awareness of the crowd at large. But they seem oblivious, caught up watching the walkers, not reaching for the Stars. The avenue of trees creates an island canopy, marching over the popular sidewalk, blocking their upward view. But not so with the Billiards Boys, attentive and amused.
A beautifully-breasted lass strolls by with a bun in her arms as the clouds move over, shady cover. Warm-colors sarong wraps her swinging hips: crisp. The couples upstairs are clothing their bodies; I think to myself, “Keep an eye out for Platinum in pink. What’s she look like up close? And how doth the fresh eye twinkle?” Ha. The men wait their turn, clink their pair of metal spheres behind their backs, sounds like prayerballs, croaks like frogs. Game goes on, day turns over, just another lazy midsummersday on the sex-strange planet of Cap D-Agde.