Sunday, July 05, 2020

I was watching a classic French movie late at night, drunk, after the fireworks and after the guests had gone home, actually the fireworks were still going on and they still go on now. I’d watch a scene and descend into a psychedelic interpretation of the events—is that what really happened? Did he think she said he said she thought? I fumbled for the slender Apple TV remote and swiped back 20 seconds, whatever the device is set to do. And 20 seconds more. Turns out nothing of the sort took place.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

The fireworks begin at dusk and go on late into the night, sometimes in quick bursts, sometimes every few minutes, no rhyme or reason. Of course they’re in honor of nothing this year. Each concussion is an anti-celebration, an assertion of how fucked we all are and everything is. Boom, boom, boom, boom, bang.

Friday, July 03, 2020

A bead of water trickled down Jackie’s electric toothbrush after it had been replaced on its stand, probably to gum up the electronics once it reached the charging base, causing a short circuit, starting a fire. I envisioned us naked on the street as annoyed firefighters clambered up the four flights.

No matter what technology you have, smart devices, app controls, computers in the car, nothing works like a toilet.

Jackie had a fortune cookie in her lunch. I unfurled the little wisp of paper, spotted with sauce. Ready for another fortune? it said, and I thought: good fortune. Smart. Did not expect that. Then I realized of course the fortune was on the other side:

Declare peace every day.

Lately when I read a book that’s supposed to be good, I think: this book has been read ten million times. It’s been read to death. I start to worry there’s nothing there for me. I try to reassure myself that every act of reading is unique. It must create its own universe from the reader and the text. I believe that, but still I worry. Hasn’t everything been thought already about these words? Maybe it doesn’t matter anyway. I thought this reading “The Sound and the Fury” and now I think it reading “Ragtime.” But then a word or phrase comes round to penetrate my brain. Tonight it was this: The freaks were delighted.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Sara said look at the moon, see the moon? Jackie said it’s almost full. It seems like a couple days ago I was showing her the sliver of new moon out her bedroom window before she went to sleep.

I’m looking at it now, its giant aura shrouded above and below by black clouds.

I’ve always been obsessed with my computer doing things, updating itself, fixing itself, restoring something or other. I thought it was because I want things to work and then I thought maybe it’s because I want them not to work. Just so I can worry. Just so I can care. So I can wake up and see: Is it done yet? Is it fixed? But really I’d just like my computer to count from 1 to infinity. I’d check its progress now and then. Sometimes often, every ten or fifteen minutes—when I’d be working and in need of distraction. Sometimes once a day. I’d see: how far up is it now?

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

After the beans were already cooked I found a raw one on the counter, pristine, more beautiful than all the rest. Smooth, unblemished sea-green flesh. I threw it away.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Sideways rain gave way to hail, rattling angrily off the windows and air conditioners. They were marble-sized or less—not like the ones upstate someone had posted pictures of, which were the size of a man’s balls and dented the roofs of cars. Still I beheld them with awe. They had come from so far away to land on our planting terrace. I imagined they were fragments of meteorites, or a warning from God. Frogs and locusts next.

Then the sun shone again and I tried to remember what it felt like, two or three minutes before, to be in the storm, and I barely could, the way you sometimes remember a dream.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Someone in the park said hey look, the sun is coming out again and minutes later the wind picked up like crazy. A mylar birthday balloon blew out of the woods onto the sidewalk and hit Jackie, shit that’s not supposed to happen—balloons and plastic bags are like pigeons, they always get out of the way. By the time we got upstairs ropes of rain were pounding down and the sun shone straight through the west side of our apartment and out the east. And of course there was a rainbow. 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

It took me all day to remember what I’d watched drunkenly before bed last night, a documentary about Sam Cooke. Smokey Robinson appeared to me, his fine features and processed hair, and I realized he’d been on it had to be about music, but what? R&B, Motown? Sam Cooke. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

9:23. It’s always 9:23.

At seven o’clock from our roof there was the usual commotion down below, claps and honks and sirens, but almost no one else up on top. A neighbor to the right clapped gamely but inaudibly with garden-gloved hands before lying down to fuck around with the vines curling up around his deck. New Jersey glimmered far away. What would the guys from WBGO in Newark say tomorrow morning when my clock radio goes off at 7:30? It’s going to be a hot one.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

I flipped through the channels and landed on a tennis match. Was it a replay from years back? It didn’t seem to be. Anonymous players and no crowd. Not even empty stands. No stands. A plywood barrier where they would start. Mask-clad figures hovered just off court, watching vaguely, attending to some thing or other. So it was current, I thought. But then I looked again and wondered whether it was a video game. There was a vague stiffness in the movements, of the players but especially of the others, and of the leaves on the nearby trees and everything else. There was a suspicious emptiness in the grassy area adjacent to the court. No people or cars parked or infrastructure—why bother coding it? The gleam of the sun on the players’ shirts seemed too real—so unreal, really. The match proceeded a while and a more frightening thing became clear: it was real.