Say Goodbye To The Sea

I'm watching the other girls in swimsuits, not listening to what Milky Way says. I'm pretty sure its about the Western consumer society's path to destruction again. Milky Way likes me nude, but he doesn't like me in a swimsuit for political reasons.

He's stroking my hair now. Trish, he says, you're so innocent. He wants me to buy him another tea.

Now I'm waiting for the waiter, who is also the owner and a friend of Milky Way, like everyone here. I'm going to stop writing for awhile while I drink tea and write in my Wonder Book. It's better to keep my travel diary separate from my deeper thoughts.


I wonder why Kerala natives here put kohl under babies' eyes. Never spoil the beauty of children.


I wonder why Milky Way claims to be a pacifist but advocates violence against tourists.


I wonder why only fat Indian men ride motorcycles, never thin ones.

I wonder why his name is Milky Way. (crossed out)

I know now. It has nothing to do with the candy bar. He stays here instead of going home because it is only here he can see the Milky Way.

He's right. At night, on the southern tip of India, you can see the whole Milky Way. You can see it even better if there's an electrical blackout, like usual. If there's a blackout then all the lights from the beach cafes die out and all you can see is the phosporescent line of the waves. And the orange dot of Milky Way smoking other people's cigarettes in the dark.


Back in my travel diary now. Milky Way is talking to a man who sells tie-dyed sarongs on the beach, like the ones Milky Way and I always wear. Milky Way generally never talks to tourists like me, but only to the Indians. the man selling sarongs just asked what I am writing all the time and Milky Way told him I was a poet. He takes my work very seriously.

And that's important. It's important to write all my thoughts down because they may be useful later. Great writers do this.

Milky Way's real name is Erwin Schmidt, and he is 33 years old. I saw his German Drivers' License before we went to bed in his hut.



Wednesday morning. If the sun and the moon were within reach of human hands, they'd have been destroyed long ago. Milky Way told me this last night. He said I could use it in a poem.

I haven't written in my wonder book since yesterday.

I wonder if Milky Way is in love with me. Yesterday he let me put antiseptic creme on his fly-bites.

I wonder why Coca-Cola doesn't sue the Indian cola company for making a drink just like theirs. There is no Coca-Cola here.

I wonder why Milky Way doesn't become a poet himself. He has definately got potential.


We just came out of the water, now. Milky Way says the sea is one of life's few natural delights. And it's free. Which is good, because the traveller's checks mom and dad gave me are running out.

Milky Way is talking to the local girls on the beach. They all smile and like him very much.

I'm back at the cafe, writing. There is an awful tourist sitting here now, some man with short hair and expensive sunglasses. I'm going to stop now and go watch Milky Way go in the sea again with the local girls.


Later. That tourist talked to me! He said, hello, are you American? I like to talk to other Americans. And I said, I don't believe in nationalities.

He said, you must have the same guidebook as me. My guidebook says this cafe is pretty hot.

I said, I read only poetry.

He said, those books are too thin. When you're on the road, you have to buy the thickest books you can, because you've got a lot of reading time to fill.

His name is Roger and he's majoring in business administration. I'm not suprised.


Later. I just came back to the hut and threw out all the cosmetics in my pack. I don't want to be anything like people anything like Roger. I threw out all my perfume sprays and my lipgloss and my facial scrub. I found an unopened package of condoms, and I thought about whether they were or weren't cosmetics, since I bought them at the same time and place as everythng else. I'll keep them for now.

I wrote two poems today. (see poem book) Never sell your poetry for money, is what Milky Way says. My mother is a college professor, but he says this is bad because she can't be sure of the clean hands of everyone who gives money to the college, and besides, she is training innocent minds for placement in the bourgeoise. That kind of education is just another consumer product, he said. My father is a magazine journalist, and Milky Way says, can he guarantee the clean hands of every one of his advertisers? besdies, a magazine uses paper, which comes from trees, and it is wrong to see trees as consumer products.

The best way to live is the way he does, just eating coconuts from trees.

Milky Way has left a lot of leaf paintings on the floor of the hut. They're the kind with pictures of elephants and dancing girls painted on leaves for Indians to sell to tourists.


I wonder what Milky Way has leaf paintings in his hut for.

I wonder why God makes people as awful as Roger.

I wonder if Milky Way could make me pregnant.

I wonder if I'm pregnant.


Thursday, early afternoon. The monsoon starts soon, and the sea is swollen up to the front of the cafes. There are mosquitos everywhere. I try to watch out for them with my eyes, but sometimes I'm distracted and they bite me. Mosquitos.

I'm back in the hut, now. Roger was in the cafe again today. He ordered a big fat steak, unaware that the proprietor is Hindu. Or maybe he just didn't care.

The man selling leaf paintings on the beach passed by and Roger said, you know that blonde hippy? I suppose, I said, coldly. Roger said, he buys these ugly things and sends them home to his aunt, and tells her he's painter, and she sends him money to live on.

Roger thought it was funny. How do you know, I said, and he said, the cafe owner told me.


I wonder why Roger keeps talking to me when he can see that I don't like him.

I wonder why there are mosquitos. They are bothering me.

I wonder if Milky Way would think condoms are a consumer product.


later, evening. I can't stand it. running along the beach at night. he's wrong, wrong. now i'm out of breath but there's no light to write. I'll rewrite this in better handwriting later. says the bourgeois are always trying to interfere with his pleasures. says I am a viper not feminine, i only asked, he's so angry. he says the local girls, they take a gift and shut up, don't demand, don't deny him the right to feeling. i only asked and that's all. i am white bourgeois class pale and ugly, he said, and I will never, ever, be a poet. he's wrong. My notebook is full and I'm going back home. Say goodbye to the sea. When I was packing quickly to leave I took his sarong he wears, the green and pink one, so it will always, always remind me. I don't know of what.


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