Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Outside some alarm has gone off; at first I'd imagined a car alarm but it did not ring insistently. It bleated out a few loud tones in a babbling, singsong melody and stopped. Perhaps a police alarm gone haywire. It rang in oddly organic fits and starts – at one point I wondered whether it was the whooping of a lunatic, wandering off the avenue and into the darkened street to rattle the dozy citizenry.

It has stopped now.

The soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison, it is said, filmed themselves, in the words of military officials, "acting inappropriately with a dead body."

Who knows what the fuck that means but it's worth noting in connection with our revulsion at how Iraqis in Fallujah tore apart the burned bodies of the ambushed Americans a few weeks ago. Even those among us who are critical of the U.S. surely felt a pang of racist, all-American disgust: Look at these animals. We're not like them.

Oh, but we are quite like them. And this leads me to a strangely, under the circumstances, reassuring realization: We are them and they are us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I've been thirsty for months now, thirsty in the middle of the night, thirsty in the morning, thirsty now. That terrible choking rasp in my mouth, a thought bubble thick with crosshatching hanging over me. And the water, this thing with no savor is so curiously delicious: cold, frustratingly viscous at first but then exquisitely fluid. It shoots up into the center of my brain just as it enters my belly and I am saved.

Monday, May 10, 2004

The echoic, chlorine ambiance of the pool. The roiling foam in the Jacuzzi. The woman who stands in the steps to the shallow end and lifts her leg in the water again and again and again.

Friday, May 07, 2004

A couple weekends ago I was sitting on the train on the way back from somewhere late at night, I don't know where. Had to have been the 2 or 3 ‘cause that's my train.

I think it was at 14th Street, the train stopped. Well of course it stops at 14th but it stopped a long time. The doors were just wide open there like nothing, like the end of the world had come and gone.

There was staticky babble on the intercom about a police action.

The passengers sat all New York impassive in the glow of their inebriation or the gloom of their late-shift blues.

A cop walked by on the platform, his gait urgent but two steps short of a jog. It's like he was in a hurry to get somewhere but not that much of a hurry when you think about it. Then another went by, and another. And another. And then cops in twos. And another. Then one with his hand on his holstered gun, snaking around like Pecos Bill. Then two with nightsticks in hand. More.

By this time the younger guys were leaning out the door to look. Some stood brazenly on the platform and tiptoed around. A guy returned to the train and told his girlfriend, I've never seen so many cops in my life.

I went out on the platform. Cross-current to the cops and curious stares, there walked an elderly, dignified man in tweed, expressionless.

Something incredibly bad is going on down there, said the girlfriend guy.

We could not see the end of the platform where the cops had disappeared. They just kept striding on down until you couldn't see them anymore and you got a sense that the dimensions of space itself were distended there and some vortex might be swallowing them up. For all we know the earth dropped off and they were tumbling without complaint into the void.

There was no shouting and there were no shots and you could not see a thing.

Then the conductor said next stop Penn Station and we got in and finally the doors closed.