Saturday, February 13, 2016

As he stepped out of the train at 7th Avenue he hissed venomously into the ear of the short man in the baseball cap who stood at the left of the doorway: You’re in the way. There was no reaction from the other man—he might not have heard. But I did. I stared at him as we walked along the platform. Well-to-do, my age. Guy from the neighborhood. Probably a family. Good job. He gave me an unhappy glance, suggesting that he knew I was scrutinizing him, that he knew I’d heard what he said, and that he regretted that I had—that anyone had. It was supposed to come from the darkest core of his self into another human being—his target—and the world wasn’t supposed to know.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

It keeps supposed to be snowing. And it never really does. A flurry here, a flurry there, that’s it. Yesterday, today. The whole city waiting for it to happen. We’d like something pretty and white to cover up the mud and gunk from the last big storm, at least for a little while.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

We all felt like we had a personal relationship with Bowie. Which is immediately a problem, because he didn’t have a personal relationship with us. So to mourn him and to watch hours of videos of him on YouTube is poignant but also disconcerting. Did we all love him because there were so many of him, one for every one of us? He did present many reflective surfaces—or certainly flat white ones, upon which we could project what we wanted, anyway. It is remarkable that there’s something for every gender, every sexuality, every race. Something for the loners and the weirdos and something for the preppy kids. (Mostly something for the loners and the weirdos.) But beyond those obvious conclusions there’s something he said in an interview which makes sense to me and cuts across the personae, and so cuts across us all: the theme in his work, if any, he said modestly, is the experience of isolation and misery, and the urge (the related urge) to make a connection with other people. I want an axe to break the ice.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


There was a faint, unpleasant shiver in the air, like chimes gone sour.
As I gazed into the microwave, the bowl slowly turning, the liquid inside growing hotter—I couldn’t tell it was, but I knew—I wondered about the first microwave of all time, maybe a hundred years ago. What did they think was going to happen? That blue flames would arc across the air? That all life in the vicinity might be contaminated? How could they know? They didn’t. So they tried.

I thought about how the entire twentieth century was defined by leaps into the void. Eat this mold from an orange—see if it kills you, see if it makes you well. What would happen when an atom exploded? Would the chain reaction continue until all of creation was destroyed? How about a sonic boom? Would the airplane disintegrate, and Chuck Yeager too? What if you shined a laser into someone’s eye? What if we played all the wrong notes? Painted pictures of nothing? Made sculptures out of toilets. We suspected someone, or something, might stop us. Or punish us after the fact. But no one did.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Just Do It

OK, ready? Now do it.

Do it.

No. No, no, no, no, no. That’s not how it’s done.

Do it again now. Do it right. Do it.

What are you doing?

You’re doing it wrong. Again. You’re doing it wrong again.

Do it right.


You know how to do it. So do it.


No, no, no.

You’re still not doing it right.

You’re doing it wrong. All wrong.

See him over there? He knows how to do it.

Watch what he does. And do it. Do what he does.

Simple as that.

You’re not doing the same thing. Watch what he does. Watch. Really watch.

That’s not it. That’s not IT. He’s doing it right. Watch.

That’s how you do it.

Why can’t you do it right?

Don’t you know how to do it?

You know how to do it. You know you know how to do it. So do it.

No. Nope.

Not like that.

Do it again. Try. Try harder.

Oh no, no, no. No.

You’re not even close. You were doing it better before. When you weren’t doing it before, you were doing it better.

You were almost doing it.

Now you’re not even doing it like that.

You’re not doing it bad like that. You’re doing it worse.

I don’t know what you’re doing now.

OK now go. Just do it.

Stop. Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop.

You’re trying too hard.

Do you feel like the harder you try, the harder it gets?

Don’t try so hard. But don’t try easy. Just try. Take a breath and try.

Forget about it. Do it.


OK hold on, hold on, stop. You’re not doing it at all. Not at all.

Do you think you’re doing it? Do you think you did it?

Because you’re not doing it at all.

Not by a mile.

That’s right.

If he can do it, you can do it.


And look at her. She did it before and now she’s doing it again.

Look at her do it!


He can do it. She can do it. You can do it.

Ready to do it?

I know you can do it.

Listen: I know you can do it.

Do you know you can do it? You have to know you can do it.

But don’t think about it. Just do it.


That’s it, that’s it. That’s it!

I think you’re doing it!

Come on, come on, come on!


What’s the matter with you?