Episode from the podcastBehind The Glass with Charlotte Eriksson

A summer in Lisbon

Released Saturday, 11th April 2020
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LISBON, 5 Aug, 2018.

I keep putting myself in solitary places, for the pleasure of it, I think.
A brown-eyed boy said hi in Swedish, so I looked down and walked away.

The heat is so constant, it’s like a wall as I open the window each morning. The heat, it consumes my senses and there is not place enough for sadness or cold. I bought a black dress with a bare back, wander in sandals and wear no make-up. I let my hair blow free and I only sing before 6am on wild streets or in front of the ocean, where no one can hear.
They drink sangria at 2pm here, smoke cigars and go to the beach. I walk with a notebook and a collection of poetry under my arm, ignoring texts and emails, pretending I might stay. Pretending I’m not on the run, pretending I live somewhere. My mom asked me how long I’m staying and I replied “i miss you too”.

I could stay here. I could find myself a job, make some friends, find a home near the beach where I would walk every morning. Meditate, slow down and serenade the drinkers at night by the pub.
I have a two months of rent on my bank account. My new book sold okay. I paid 100 pounds to bring my guitar over seas and I’m thinking of teaching yoga classes in the parks. If people want to come; donation based.
My life is donation based. Give me what you think I’m worth, how much do you want me to survive? That’s not what I mean and not what I say but that’s how it feels, some days.

I am in love with the constant struggle. The constant pushing, trying to get by. I am in love with the feeling of making it another month, of simply getting by. I fell into a discussion with a British economics student, told him he spoke from an angle of white privilege and he did not understand the other side of money. He wouldn’t live anywhere else than London unless he had a job there so he voted to leave the EU, proud to not be a part of it. I said he was young and not very travelled and I regretted it the second I said it.

My brother is graduating soon. A fine master’s in something important. He’ll get a nice salary. he has a girlfriend, living in a nice flat. My ex-boyfriend just got engaged and my old best friend is pregnant.
I’m writing poetry in a beach bar in Lisbon, sipping gin and only need two more songs to fill a new record. I fall asleep to the sound of drunken university students in the room next-door, they’re here to party. “are you a student?” “no, no, i’m here to work”.
I say. Softly. Smiling. “i think i’m a little older than you”.
I met a Norwegian boy who practiced yoga and said he saw rainbows in my eyes. Now he sends me photos from Canada, where he’s moving, and I save them on my hard drive to keep as a day dream. As an escape plan. No matter what happens, I still haven’t been to Canada. I can still go to Canada.

The heat is so constant. There is no place for anything else.
I can make it another month. Maybe even more.
I don’t think I ever asked for more than this.

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