Monday, January 31, 2005

Seller's Remorse

I've been in a frenzy of selling on eBay lately. Old camera lenses, guitar pedals, computer things I no longer need. Straining toward a vision of myself as unburdened and of life as elegantly efficient. But there's a curiously empty feeling now, not because there's nothing left but because there's nothing left to cast away. We're all really materialist fetishists of one sort or another; preoccupation with getting rid of things is just like preoccupation with acquiring things. Either way it's a preoccupation with things.

Friday, January 28, 2005

I walked stiff in the breathtaking cold back up Greenwich. Adam and Steve ahead, Jim and Rumana behind. The whole world seemed to want to crack: cars and asphalt, signs and facades, awnings, free-paper boxes and people belching plumes of breath.

We walked by the Umanov & Parsons bakery, where a waft of warm cinnamon seeped into forbidding air. There's a sign by the door there telling cars to turn off engines while they wait.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The odor of burnt bone clung to the walls and drapes and permeated every porous thing. We lived with it for weeks. The first night, after the shock of near death, we escaped the stench and drove to the ersatz New York delicatessen by the side of the highway for pastrami and French fries and pickles; strong, simple-tasting things to make us forget. And though we were happy to get out – and to have averted tragedy – that haunting smoke suffocated our mood. We were sleepy, dazed, not entirely in contact with the world or each other.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Had dinner with Andrea at a new Italian restaurant around the corner from her. The slate sign on the sidewalk read, "Now open Tuesdays." We were there alone and the place had the forlorn, eager air of a long-neglected inn along an obscure road, where stagecoach passengers in a Russian novel must spend an unexpected stormy night. Each of about twenty empty tables glowed with candlelight.

I had the orechiette and it wasn't bad.

As I drifted off to sleep early last night I remembered years ago when I came back from band practice to find our apartment thick with smoke. It was erupting out of the soup pot in a dreadful plume, like something funneled out of hell. I turned off the burner and took a towel and grabbed the handle and stiffly walked the thing downstairs, smoke still pouring. I threw it in the snow where it sank to the ground with a sinister hiss. I ran back up and found Aimee passed out on the couch. I grabbed her and called her name and as she came to she looked around in dazed wonder. "Baby, I fucked up," she said. We held each other. "I fucked up, baby, I fucked up."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

There is a prodigious icicle growing outside the kitchen window, the sort of thing that might kill someone below. It's a fascinating object, a fresh growth whose molecules contain each ancient secret of rock formation, of erosion. Presently water drips down and off the bulbous tips of its hundred glassy fingers. And emerging from there's a crystal vomit-splash of ice across the window, starry and bejeweled.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Snow sifted down upon the city in a blur. I walked over to Andrea's and on the way I stopped at the liquor store on 103rd and Park, right by the elevated Metro-North, right by the vacant weedy lot where inexplicably there's a sofa, table and two chairs. A husky-voiced drunk was ahead of me in line, buying a bottle of wine or brandy.

"You got a opener? For sale?"

"No sir," said the clerk.

"My man, can you do me a favor? Open it halfway."