Monday, June 29, 2015


She was a constant restraining presence, watching over her daughter, and watching with her.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Ethel Zimmerman considered this. "No, no—I can't say that."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Drip Cock

There was some new graffiti at the elevated Fourth Avenue stop last Thursday, as Jackie and I rode into the City. Two words on a concrete abutment: DRIP COCK. I processed it as you do any street speech: I noted its vulgarity, its absurdity, also its admirable conciseness. It's a striking phrase, the kind that makes for a good band name. Drip Cock. One-two punch.

It's also interesting that it isn't COCK DRIP. Not just interesting—important. "Cock drip" is mundane; offensive but only in a tedious, juvenile way. By swapping the words, the writer forces us to engage. Maybe it's someone's tag—that'd be great.

Yo yo, guess who hit Fourth Avenue da other day?! Drip Cock, yo!

What kind of cock? Drip cock.

But I’m overthinking already. You sense that the writer has no particular meaning in mind, and this makes the phrase yet more powerful. Is it a command? Or a description? Better not to say. Better not to know. The words inhabit the wonderful and scary world of nonsense.

On the Manhattan side a dishevelled woman stumbled drunkenly on the corner of 17th and Eighth. She appeared to be looking for the wall to orient herself in the universe. Not finding it. Loaded at 9 o’clock on a Thursday morning.

On Friday night, at the Philharmonic concert in Prospect Park, I lay down and watched a light move bizarrely in the sky. Blinking erratically too. Why isn’t this a UFO?, I thought numbly. Space aliens, abduction and experimentation. The whole nine. Then I noticed it wasn’t the light that was moving, it was the clouds.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The day began alright but I grew despondent. Something about the heavy wetness in the air, the office not yet fully air-conditioned. I was inattentive at work. But it went by fast. It was after 12 before I knew it, two-thirty-something after that, and then it was time to go.

When I got home Jackie invited me to play Candyland, which really meant just looking at the board and the cards. But that was all right with me.

Home, sidewalk, train, office, sidewalk, train, home. Bed. Sleep. Dream.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Jackie and I met another dad and his daughter on the F train this morning. He seemed old enough to be a grandfather, though I guess I am, too. He had a creased, swollen face, the sort of face that’s seen a lot of board meetings, room service and business-class whiskey. He had a full head of gray-blond hair and was tall and well dressed, with expensive, Italian-type shoes, a trenchcoat, pink cuffs visible under the sleeve of his suit and a crease in his pants like the spine of greeting card. Except his shoes were a little worn and dusty. His hair was a little mussed. His entire outfit seemed a bit off, as though it had come from some other time and place. As though it had been purchased at the estate sale of a dead lawyer in Westchester. The girls were talking about their birthdays and Jackie said mine was in August and I said August 28th and the man said, “Right around the time of Burning Man!”

He was nice, though, with his daughter, Lena. Jackie talked to her, asked her name. Her dad wanted to know what school we were going to, then told us about theirs. When we got to Jay Street to switch trains Jackie gave Lena a hug.

Monday, June 01, 2015

As I walked across 9th Avenue last Friday, on my way to pick up Jackie from school, I saw two men walk past each other in front of me. They seemed unremarkable: in their 30s, dressed casually, one white, one black. I noticed that they bumped shoulders slightly, awkwardly. No apologies were made. The white guy passed me as the black guy walked on ahead—but after a few paces, still in the crosswalk, he stopped and turned around, as though he’d suddenly remembered something. He strode up to the other guy and smacked him on the side of the head. I watched from the sidewalk, expecting a brawl to erupt in the Avenue as the lights turned green. Instead, the victim cowered a little and stared at his aggressor, perplexed. They both went on their separate ways and that was it.