Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Cake & the Square Plates, the Smudgy Glass with a Puddle of Wine

At the end of his birthday Johnny was breaking up with Val. Through the half-opened door we heard his murmurings in the dark. Conciliatory words of endearment and atonement, perhaps. Soft but ruthless half-truths, devised to extract himself from her with surgical precision.

Not damaging nearby tissue.

We figured we'd see him soon enough, within an hour or two, and he'd be returned to us with his freedom, relieved and hungry.

Then maybe we could watch TV.

But a more sinister process seemed to be at work. When you end a thing like this, the implications have no bounds. Must you punish yourself, scar yourself ritually, to measure up to them?

Will Johnny survive?

Day drew alarmingly into night with no developments. It was spooky to imagine them in there on his bed. What on earth were they saying? What was one saying to the other? And the other saying in turn? The proceedings had the solemn and semisecret air of eleventh-hour union negotiations or the drafting of a weapons treaty. But there was no intervention from civilization, nor even life; no breaks for food or drink or rest.

Interactions of any kind with others were clearly taboo.

But at around 1 am Johnny shuffled out to take a piss. As he walked back toward his door Sam called out, "How's it going in there?"

Trying for a little levity maybe.

Johnny shook his head almost imperceptibly, not looking our way. Conveying no of course, but most of all don't ask. He was embarked upon a journey that we ordinary mortals could not hope to understand.

Then there was a savage creaking of their bed accompanied by muffled groans and urgent whispers.

They were fucking, just like that. And we were left to wonder by what alchemy.

By what godless process this had occurred.

Human beings and what they do.

Except a funny thing happened the following day. Johnny came out alone, early in the afternoon. Where's Val, we asked; Val is gone. She left under cover of the raw, white morning.

"Are you back together?" I asked, quizzical.

"No," he said. "It's over."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I just saw the FUNNIEST movie! It's called "The Passion of the Christ."

It's about some dude who gets laughed at and whipped and shit because he says he's like, the king or something, and there is already another king. Or two. Or maybe three, it's confusing. It happens in olden days so I don't know. The whole time you're like, dude! Drop it! Don't be a dick.

Except I spose there wouldn't really be a movie if he did.

He's like covered in blood and they make him carry his own thing that they hang him on, his own scaffold or whatever, all the way up the hill. And the whole way, they're all like making fun of him! He's almost naked.

I think it's supposed to happen in the medieval ages.

It looks like some other dude might save him but that guy gets his ass kicked too. The soldiers really know how to kick some ass. They are badass! Don't fuck with them, motherfucker!

Then he dies and it's like, wow. So much blood dude!!!

I don't know if I totally recommend it because the action was like, kinda boring. But it was pretty awesome for the amount of blood.

Friday, April 14, 2006

We went to Paddy's, C. and I.

There was the Red Sox losing on one of the flatscreens. On another the Mariners played the Indians.

The Mariners are always playing the Indians.

Later it was Man. U. and Arsenal, Man. U. leaping to a two-nil lead.

Man. U. is always playing Arsenal. And Man. U. is always leading two-nil.

That big, tall and perpetually drunk guy Justin, that cantankerous fuck, always at the bar and always shooting pool through slitted eyes, he was talking up some petite blonde. Talking about lemon drops. Vodka, lemon and sugar.

I wondered, will Justin have sex tonight?

The lion sleeps tonight.

A parade of young, thin cunts traipsed through at a certain point. All rolled-up jeans and midriff baring. Girls who couldn't shoot pool to live another day but tried to all the same. One drank a Corona and I couldn't imagine, honestly, how she fit it all inside of her.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

On my way to work through north Central Park I was briefly blocked by a man and a woman, both elderly, but somehow clearly not a couple. They were well dressed and smoking cigarettes. They had the presence and bearing of people walking down the sidewalk to sneak a smoke in opera intermission.

Perhaps they were amicably divorced.

I gave the wrong directions to an attractive young woman on the Canal St. Uptown ACE.

"You can take this train to 59th St. and change there," I proclaimed. I didn't know what the fuck I was talking about. I was speaking to her over my shoulder as I entered the train. She froze in the doorway, shuddered with disgust, turned around and walked away. I turned to face what she had seen: a copious splatter of beige and red vomit on the floor beside the opposite door.

As the train lurched it occurred to me, she's in the car next door now. I can switch at Spring and right my wrong. I did so and found her sitting there, making me a face like, Wasn't that gross? I told her she would have to change earlier; this train doesn't go to 59th. At West 4th she looked over to me. I nodded. She nodded back queryingly. I nodded resolutely, urging her off the train with my head and eyes, and she disappeared out the door.

The kitchen with its mop and bucket, rickety dish rack, magnets. Its calendar and mail-strewn table. The tidy grove of bottles in the bar.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The little racecar burps and snores around the track in the video game PC's playing. It leaps clunkily over the curb and up a hill beside the track, a hill made of that computer-nothing, that color and that form becoming less distinct the closer that it seems, that seems to merge with the car or the guy or the tank or gun and yet also to repel it, all these things swimming in their brave and fragile world, struggling to lay claim to some discreteness, to survive.

Monday, April 10, 2006

We went to some quaint tea house today, for brunch. There were thousands upon thousands of teas on their list: black teas, green teas, white teas and herbal teas; tisanes; tea with ginger and peach tea, mint tea, safflower; eucalyptus, saffron and myrrh; coconut, basil and litchi; straw and nettle; fern; witch hazel, alabaster, grass & sawdust.

The waitress overheard me speculate that the French toast might be "just a bit too much."

It came with crème anglaise, three varieties of berries, whipped cream and syrup, the bready part infused to soaky saturation with jasmine tea.

"Oh no, it's not too much, it's just enough," she said.

She wore gossamer wings and bore an air of alert ingenuousness.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A squall came this morning, beyond the blind that had shaded me from winter's southern sun. Adam said, Wow it's snowing hard. I thought he was joking. But I lifted the bottom and peered out to find an excited haze of thick flakes, seeming almost in suspension.

Baseball's back.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Blog Entry




Blog This!



I got down in the uptown side of the 1 station on Canal and proceeded to pace frenetically, unthinkingly, my mind aswim, as is so often the case after work. A cockroach was struggling on its carapace, legs wriggling horribly in the air. Across the track a whistling MTA worker sauntered to and fro, lantern in hand, on a taped-off part of the platform – a demoralizing vision of civic maintenance; man and mankind resigned to the futility of all enterprise.

On my side there were finally two bright eyes of light deep in the tunnel.

The 1 pulled in and its doors opened before me, then the station went all haywire with white noise. It filled the cavern with invisible foam which carried me upon it through the threshold, which sealed the gaps between the cars, which drowned a yawning child, which enveloped and demystified the third rail.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Where was I?

There's a beautiful and terrifying short film I found online, directed by Claude Lelouch: the camera's mounted on a car careening through the streets of Paris, stirring in the first gray rays of dawn, August 1976. The sun in fact appears to rise over this joyride: it's a bit dark as the driver enters the Porte Dauphine and devours the avenue to the Arc de Triomphe; there are only a few cars on the roundabout, a few sagely navigating cobblestoned streets. Delivery men in their modest Renault trucks, market people, shop people going where they go at such an hour. And the car passes them angrily, snarling. Dodging and feinting, darting between them and the sidewalk, skidding around islands, past abutments, perilously close to knock-kneed ladies with their shopping bags and dogs. Every red light is unflinchingly burned. The engine shifts in lusty, curious growls. What's around this corner? What's down that street? A flash of neon from a cafe sign amidst the venerable facades. The car brings furious life and light into the city, and yet you sense it isn't out of place. It's of a piece with this weary, violent and sultry place.

Monday, April 03, 2006

We were in Central Park on Sunday, we'd walked through the Ramble to the lake, and we were sitting on a rock, right over the railing from the path, that was dappled in shade. We looked at the couples in their boats. Always the man takes the oars. A Japanese woman leaned over the back of her boat to take a picture of a duck.

Near us people lay on a big rock on the water.

There was a commotion among the bushes and reeds beside the water to the right, below the bridge. A black boy, about 10, emerged trudging shin-deep through the shoal. He walked heavily, languorously, more and more impeded with each step by the soaking of his shoes, his socks, his pants. A group of boats that had gathered to observe some geese now dispersed, their occupants bewildered by the boy. He seemed to be trying to say something in a sort of moan. "Boat," I think he said, stretching out the O. Boooat. The men rowing rowed away, trying not to seem to eager to depart. The boy trudged farther in, water knee-high now, still so much shallower than you'd expect amidst these ducks and boats – he seemed to be performing some sort of half-miracle, heedless, upright and mostly dry.

He caught up with one couple's boat, the last to have turned around and slowly leave. They scrutinized him quizzically but did not shoo him away. He grabbed the back. The woman stared at him and might have said something, but it did not seem unkind. He muttered something about don't leave me, don't go without me, don't go. Then he said something like pusssh and he gave their boat a little push.

Eventually he crossed to our shore, to the stone beach to our left. Though he reached the water's edge he seemed oddly reluctant to get out. I thought, Get out. He kneeled in the water and reached up to the rock, at the feet of two women who were sunbathing there. They seemed intent on ignoring him, or at least not being disturbed or antagonized by his behavior. Alligaaaator! he said. The one woman right near him sat up and looked at him but said nothing as far as I could tell. Aaaligaaator!

He crawled out of the water onto the sunny, hot rock and walked away. I scrutinized his gait for indications of illness, injury, intoxication or dementia. His posture seemed insouciant and also weirdly listless. Nowhere to go sort of thing. He reached the path and I thought he'd disappear behind the bend forever.

A minute later we noticed he was still lurking, farther down the path where more rocks gave out on the water. We turned away but soon heard urgent splashing: a man had removed his shirt and jumped into the lake. A moment later he waded back with the boy, now completely soaked, heavy in his clutches. I found it amusing, yet somehow alarming, perhaps even outrageous, to think this poor Samaritan imagined he had saved the boy's life. But maybe he had, who knows? We got up and left, and walked by the boy, now sitting on a rock. There was a gaggle of people near him, all looking a bit stupefied. None were tending to him directly but it was clear that they were involved in some way with making sure he was all right, fretting about his fate, puzzling over his intrusion upon their idyllic afternoon, its portents and ramifications. I took a good, hard look at him as we passed by. He held two dollar bills aloft, before him, in his left hand. I imagine he wanted them to dry but he held them like a charm and I'm not sure why. S. made the point that this was perhaps not all a bad thing; he was playing, he was good-humored. Kids do things. I agreed but he worried me again when I took one last look back. He had spit onto himself and a thick strand of spit now hung from his lip to the front of his still-soaked shirt.