In Iraq I said that word so much, heard it so often. I came home and found myself still saying it. Shrapnel's shell was first used against the Dutch at Surinam (now Guyana). The Dutch were so taken aback by the weapon that they surrendered after only the second time it was fired.
But in another language, in my father’s mouth, there is a tenderness to the tone he takes, so that the word beat overlaps with other words, some of them meaning I miss you. He says beat as if the word shares a border with laughter. As if it is just a lost synonym for love.
The retreating autumn deepens in the city. Water turns from silver to maroon. A fisherman smokes on the bank, looking at the rising tide. The dark tones in the landscape are often overlooked. The bank, grey in the fog.
Late one night in April 2006, I heard an unexpected knock on my bedroom door. I lived at the time with a loose coalition of punks, anarchists, hippies, and nondenominational nonconformists in a squatted block of flats, across from rumbling tracks, in a working class suburb of Barcelona, Spain.