Friday, February 28, 2003

I walked back from the Ear Bar after work, walked across on Spring Street to the 6, and I walked by some dumb shoe store on a corner, a long narrow shoe store, and I remembered having been there years ago with A., and I remembered how smart and ornery she was, and how much I loved her, and I muttered "I love you" over and over under my drunken steaming breath until I passed the store, like you hold your breath while passing a graveyard.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

His Name Is Fritos. That shall be the title of a short story of mine. Yesterday on my way from work to Barbara's a guy sat down near me on the F train. Too close to me it seemed – there were plenty of open seats but he took the nearest one against the wall, perpendicular to my bench. He was a thin, young Hispanic man with a wispy mustache, a gold chain, and curled hair bulging under his baseball cap. He was eating Fritos. At first I didn't, but then I caught a whiff of that unique Frito smell, that salty-sandy smell, momentarily delicious but so transient, so insubstantial. And I thought of the word itself for the first time, how it's a Spanish word for a fried thing, but I'd managed to never in my life recognize it as a Mexican-influenced thing: to me Frito was all-American, garishly so; as American as Crayola or Dr. Pepper or Visine, blissfully artificial and pure Yankee.

But they stole the word.

And I remembered the real reason I get this American-flavored taste when I think of Fritos: when I was maybe nine, we were in the hills of Northwestern Connecticut visiting my mom's cousin and her rich small-town family. She'd married an oil executive and had a Barbie doll-blonde baby daughter whose beauty was fated to be ravaged by alcoholism and depression. But I digress. This girl, then a teen, was introducing my brother to someone I think, and she momentarily forgot his name, and she took the opportunity of her misstep to say this:

"Fritos! His name is Fritos. I've got to go get more Fritos."

And she glided into the kitchen to pour more in the bowl.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

The sidewalk on 103rd, usually rat-infested, was frozen over glassy.

This morning I awoke at B.'s in Brooklyn to the shriek of newsradio: "… THE SENATOR REPEATED THAT PEOPLE SHOULD AVOID NEW YORK CITY SUBWAYS…" I slammed it off and got back in bed, faintly nauseous from the wine the night before, and pulled a blanket out of a tangled pile over me, and thought about devastation, bombings, poison gas, and whatever fate awaits us all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

If I'm Dead

If I'm dead
I won't see the peeling paint
at 51st and Lex
as I ride the escalator to the E

Monday, February 10, 2003

D. the bisexual from Brooklyn told me about a party on Saturday, at her dorm at Pratt. I was at work, obsessing over some fine point of the project.

"What kind of party? Cool kids?" I asked her, by instant message.

"Yeah, cool kids. You need to wear a wig. I might be able to make you one."

I begged off, using my nagging throat cold as an excuse.

Truth is I'm not that attracted to her, curiously. She's got a great body, she seems to be a competent artist, these would seem to be the things that matter to me. But her tongue is too invasive in my mouth – we were kissing the other day and she kept parrying and thrusting with it and I closed my mouth a little, trying to discourage her. "Give me your tongue!" she said brightly and hungrily, as though she were addressing a waiter at the Carnegie Deli. I did, reluctantly, but the entire exchange left me woefully unexcited. She has naked lust, too much enthusiasm. I like restraint and friction, uncertainty and tension.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

I've been falling in love with women on the subway recently. First a few weeks ago (months? Days?). She was with a guy, some nondescript yet clearly phenomenally lucky guy; a man I hardly noticed but for the hot envy that welled up in me. She had dark hair and Russian features; she looked a lot like J. but better somehow, more self assured. She had a small, perfect mouth that made a little frown all the time and she had pronounced, slightly slanted eyebrows. She had the slightest underbite. What struck me about her was her control over herself and the ease, the authority with which she interacted with the world and others, whoever they might be. She and her boyfriend were evidently accompanying friends from out of town on a tour around the city. She declared that they had to have New York style pizza, of course, and in the morning of course they had to have bagels. With that delicious underbite. Her eyes half closed the whole time, her eyes, half-closed.

And just the other day there was a Hispanic girl across the train from me who was one of the most beautiful humans I've ever seen in my life. She wore wire-framed glasses; she had flowing, elaborately styled hair that was red at the tips and black at the roots; impeccably flawless olive skin and a sensuous mouth framed by such a complex and ravishing mechanism of dimples, muscles and subtle creases that every expression she wore seemed to be definitive of some aspect of man's longing or perhaps of truth itself. Her spectacular face lent her a talent for smirking. She was accompanied by a taciturn Hispanic kid, maybe her brother or cousin (her boyfriend? Maybe, but he was overweight, and so standoffish and dismissive of her that I could not imagine he saw her the way I did), and once when she turned to him to react to his mumblings she said "Serious?" in such a streetwise-homegirl way and with such a wry, wicked smirk that I nearly lost consciousness. But it was when she was at rest that I found her the most alluring. She'd look blankly the other way, away from her neighbor, her hands deep in her coat pockets, and as her face softened into a curious mask I was left only to imagine the meanings and powers of its potential forms.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

The other day I waited for the 6 at 51st and Lex, late for a Tuesday, 12 or so, among a curious band that included two lost stewardesses and a short Hispanic man leafing through an enormous coffee table book about George W. Bush. A man emerged from the corridor and traipsed past us, chanting-hollering: "I got the last dance. I'm a gonna get the last dance. The last dance. Yep. I'm gonna do the boogaloo. I got the last dance…"