Friday, October 28, 2005

The air outside the office was richly redolent of butterscotch. As though some tanker heading down the Hudson, God knows. A thick, cloying brown-sweet. The goddamned odors in this city, for the love of Christ.

A homeless man was bent over the trashcan of Canal & Greenwich northeast. Not bent over looking inside mind you. But propped. Perched, by the chest. Examining the ground on the other side.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Last two, three days I been trying to memorize that Dylan tune Tangled Up In Blue. Waking up in the morning to the deep-deep-deep of the alarm, already bearing the cadence in my brain: Early one morning the sun was shining. Getting up, brushing the teeth. She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe. A strangely difficult song to memorize, its language the authentic one of a single real man in the world, liable to tell you something one way or the other. She said over my shoulder we'll meet again someday. Stepping through the puddles on Canal and Hudson, animated from caffeine and work. And when finally the bottom fell out, I became withdrawn. A flurry from her cigarette, waiting for the light to change. A man and a woman push a car across the intersection. An entire car. I never did like it all that much and one day the axe just fell. A tall, hunched leather rocker with a despondent air chose a seat across from me on the L. She opened up a book of poems and handed it to me. She took off her glasses and placed them on the bar. I jaywalked across Fifth Avenue and the gypsy cabs and a man coming 'cross the other way. Her folks said our life together sure was gonna be tough.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

To plunge into the furious, bewildering flurry of dreams.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I've been putting ashes to my lips.

As I began to take my seat on the flight back to New York the older lady in the aisle seat said, in French, that she'd been separated from her husband and would I mind switching?

We're pushing back.

I said yes, yes, of course, even though he had a middle seat and I wanted window.

The hyper-American accent of the voice from the flight deck. Suggestive of deep and mythical American experience: A lush green and sunlit farm by a winding country road; red barn shaded by oak, maple & elm; acres and acres upon which to play; milk and all it represents; no laws to follow but those of the planting and the growing; breakfast - eggs, sausage, biscuits, ham, grits, bacon, oatmeal, halved grapefruit, monstrous breakfast - steak, waffles, toast and butter and jam, jam, jam; corn muffins and popovers and holy hot cross buns; flapjacks or griddle cakes or pancakes or whatever you want to call them drowning in syrup, beautiful amber syrup. Syrp. Corned beef hash and cream of wheat with cream and molasses or brown sugar, hash brown potatoes. Carnal breakfast. Extravagantly sensual. A new meal for a new world.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Gallagher's at Newark Airport with the big band honking away in the upper background along with the sweet tang of onion rings and there's a bartender calls you buddy, pal, my friend, surprisingly old school but why not really? And a bonhomie among the waitstaff, the small-

I love to get there early, you become alive.

He called - the bartender - he called a mulatto waitress "two-tone.'' Hey Two-Tone.

-voiced black waitresses gamely playing along.

There's a guy at the bar, says he's from New Hampsheeah. He talks about here's what I like about sitting at the bar. The girls – you see them – here's what I. What I like. To sit here. To sit at the bar – you see the girls. You can see their – at the bar, you can. Bartender: what? You can see their thongs. You get a view.

The man from New Hampsheeah likes to drink wine and he has an ever-so-slight overbite. Ruffled dirty blond hair and unflattering glasses. The bartender humoring. I hear that, I hear that. But turned away the same time.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Way It Really Is, Part I

The world is made up of many nations with many different types of people, all of whom work together for the betterment of themselves and of humankind as a whole. Nations trade with each other with their mutual interests in mind, knowing that what is good for them is only good if it is good for the other as well. These interactions are always embarked upon in good faith and with utmost sincerity. The leaders of nations accept their duties with modesty and the deepest sense of personal conviction and responsibility. Theirs is a mighty task: to look after the interests of all the people, primarily their constituents but also the interests of all people everywhere on earth. People rich and poor, black and white. People of all creeds and habits and inclinations.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Imfomation Society

Mr. Pride, our alcoholic art teacher in high school, told stories about the Ku Klux Klan chasing him around the South. You'd go into his office, one of those offices adjoining two classrooms. Next door was Mrs. Nevers. Mr. Pride had a bottle of Maalox there full of vodka. Maalox and vodka. White, chalky vodka. He'd take a pull and pry the plastic bottle off his lips, momentarily reluctant, and loose upon the small room the antiseptic tang of alcohol mixed with the faint, sweet blandness of antacid.

This was 1985. One day Mr. Pride told us, "Chillen, you is livin' in a imfomation society. This world is turning into a imfomation society. Iss all gonna be 'bout computers an' communication an' imfomation an' computers talking to other computers an' everything. Git used to it! Git ready fo' it. You best be gettin' on dem computers an' such. Imfomation."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The envoys from the rebel army entered the grand hall of the old imperial palace and took their places around the table to discuss with the president not only his complete abdication and the dissolution of his cabinet, administration and coalition-led parliament but the absolute effacement of the national identity and the overturning or subjugation of millenia of national culture: art, literature, music, architecture, dance, cuisine, folkloric crafts, pagan and modern religious rituals and holidays and the like; these being named as a partial, representative, list only, not to the exclusion of other stipulations to be made at any time at the discretion of the rebel leader or an authorized deputy.

The president was late. He arrived and paused briefly in the doorway to bow and offer his most heartfelt apologies. Gentlemen, he said. I am at your complete disposal.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I worked with her one summer but I'm not gonna remember her name. She drove a blue Mustang convertible. An invisible boyfriend.

She was that type of still-hot Puerto Rican girl soon promised to a life of childbearing, child-rearing and eventual matronly misshapenness. She wore her hair in a trashy mid-'80s bouffant.

Not going to remember her name.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I peered above the magazine to the TV to find that all hell had broken loose in some fucking stock car race. Wheels and side panels had sheered off to glide above the fray.

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's getting dangerously close to the point where the best life to live really may be a life of torpor and indulgence. Wireless Internet access, TiVo, FreshDirect, video games and Netflix, coupled with older and still-improving conveniences such as cable TV, processed and frozen foods, microwave ovens and laptops, are making the case louder and stronger than ever before that we should stay home in the half-dark, sinking deeper into our armchairs and sofas at a glacial yet inexorable pace, in geologic degrees.