Your memory is only as actual – aktualnie – as your forgetting can dot the courtyard with empties. And you remember him from last year, Rafał, quiet with his putrid Pall Malls, paying tribute to Chronos in the secret aluminum commerce of Kraków’s alleyways, cloisters, and parking lots.



Rafał abandons cans of Tatra Mocne six to seven times every warm day, sometimes while sitting in the sun, sometimes after talking to Krzysiek on an ancient Nokia. Friday evenings Marian and Boguśka abandon bottles of Strzelec after spitting kurwa every third word for a couple hours. And Saturday afternoons Janek and Staśek abandon cans of Dębowe Mocne, casting their eyes downward after debating deals on bicycles brought from Germany. Romek collects the cans and bottles every other day, quick with his cart full of old water heater parts after making his rounds by the Lewiatan down the street.



Having remembered the collector’s use of what is daily at hand and throat, the abandoners draw as much from their recollections as can be poured out of a bottle of jabol, are as oblivious to the surveilling apartments as can be pissed out under someone’s window, and declaim as much of a 1,300 year-old understanding of Kraków as can be recalled between each slug and empty gifted to the dust.



Rafał soon passes out, mouth agape, and Eugeniusz grumbles at him to move on, he does not want to walk with his granddaughter and have her see such a sight. Another five minutes and the Straż Miejska tower over him in their blue rubber gloves, they call his mother with whom he lives and who does not want to let him in the apartment for fear. He is back the next day, cans of Żubr this time standing by his side as totems – rodnidze – setting straight what is to be disremembered.



When you go to the courtyard and tell Rafałek he cannot piss in the corner, you see he has a black eye, and he obliges with an aggressive charm from then on. When you go to the courtyard and tell him you have no problem with him sitting there but he needs to take his cans away with him, he obliges for one and a half days exact. And the next morning he is back, ready to abandon more of his Tatra Mocne, ready to return the next day with all he has forgotten.

For more on Kraków’s courtyards, see here.

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