Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Meer seeps with scum, I can smell it as I cross Fifth Ave. I walk down the path past the kid on her scooter and a boy with his dog and the school group with all the same t-shirts that say something. Park employees in carts and pickup trucks navigate the path gingerly, giving a bump of the horn if you don't know they're coming.

The odor clogs the nostrils, like wheat grass or echinacea. It smells of life in its awfulest fecundity, teeming and unbound.

There's some kind of boat in the corner of the Meer, something like a Louisiana swamp boat, and there are two park employees in it, a man and a woman. There's a slanted conveyor belt dredging algae from a hole in the bottom and depositing it in great wet clumps at the fore. She sits beside it on a chair perched ludicrously high, like an African river queen athrone. I pass another worker on the path, shouting to the woman on the boat: "That all you want? A hot chocolate? HOT CHOCOLATE?"