Monday, January 9, 2012

Bill Pearlman

Meeting Robert Graves in Deya, Summer of 1969

My Catalan not being what it should have been, I still managed to communicate in my Castellano that I was off to Mallorca to see Robert Graves. My wife Meredith and I had had a few good days and nights in Barcelona, ate paella and good seafood, drank a lot of cheap wine and were enamored of walking the Ramblas in the afternoons. Meredith had bought a leather jacket she liked a lot. We had taken the train down to Barcelona from Paris where we met a while earlier. We both took lovers before we met each other. 1969 was a big year for sex. When we finally got to Deya, on the north side of Mallorca, Graves was amazed at how young I was (26) and how we had exchanged letters for so long. When Ali was draft resisting, Graves had admonished me to go in the army. You will not have a say in the peace that will follow, he wrote. And at least you won't have to fight on two fronts as Cassius does. Vietnam was a horror to me, and I did not go in the army, but dodged the draft with an acting job beyond the madness I was resisting. Graves offered me a beer when we first visited his house. Warm it was, but good British ale. He had a goddess that summer, a young ballerina from a Norwegian ballet company. She put suntan lotion on him at La Cala, where we swam. He was 74 and she was 20. Graves walked as much as we did and was in pretty good shape. We were both Leos and we attended each other's birthday parties that August. What do we know about Leos, I asked Robert one day while we were walking down the terraced hills to the Mediterranean below. We're very proud, you know, he said. And what about women, which are best for Leos. Pesces, he said, lions like fish. 


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