Tuesday, November 29, 2016

There was a guy on the platform this morning, zigzagging close to the edge, babbling. I was lost in thought until I realized he was coming my way. I backed away and hid behind a beam, a little worried that he’d be offended and lash out. We got into the same car and he sprawled out on the bench across from me, chanting and moaning to no one and nothing. He had a belt in his hand and began whapping the buckle against the back of the seats. It made a hell of a racket. He seemed pleased by it, like a baby banging on the bars of his crib. Others in the car peered over their books and tablets at him for a moment, then didn’t give it another thought. “It’s too damn early for this,” said a woman across from me to the right. We caught each other’s eyes and smiled just a little bit.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sometimes when the computer gets stuck, you get that spinning wheel or whatever the case may be, it feels like time itself enters a strange, inhuman realm. Something that once took a tiny fraction of a section, directed by humans in programming language, facilitated by unimaginable processing power, now takes, potentially, any arbitrary length of time. Could be 25 seconds. Could be three days. Could be 5,618 years. The machine doesn’t care. It’s just going to do what it’s supposed to do. We constrain machines with our imperfect, wishful thinking. But they don’t give a damn.

I'm OK!

About a week ago on the subway steps I was in the crowd going down past the one going up. Two men passed by and the first one stumbled on a step, falling back a bit onto the second one, who helped keep him up. “I’m OK! I’m OK!” he said. Angrily. Like: I don’t want your help. It fills me with rage that you had to touch me, hold me like that. I can’t stand that I just needed you right now.

There were flashing lights down on the street tonight, an ambulance. Voices in the hallway. Unintelligible. The voices of two disparate neighbors, I thought—from 1 and 3. Outside the driver walked back to the door, unrushed. But I guess that's how they always are.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Drivers are worse and worse these days, weaving back and forth across the lines as they text or tap their apps or God knows what. When I see a car like that I hold my breath and pass it, to put the impending calamities behind us.

Feel tired and a little nauseous now, after three days of weird eating and drinking, of too much at once, then not enough for too long, then too much again. And all of it under this cloud of grief, this funeral that doesn’t end.

But there is always something to look forward to: the empty page, another day, and death.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ten Years Ago

I walked down the ramp to the platform at West 4th. One of the crazy musicians was there, not the Rasta who plays the same wuffly-shuffly chords forever, or the guy with the keyboard, but the white guy with the acoustic guitar, a sort of Hemingway-looking guy, but demented too, just not right at all. It seemed he always ranted more than he played, and this time he was right in the middle of one. His gibberish was notable for being articulate and clear. Often, street crazies make so little sense that you can barely distinguish one word from the next. Like stars, the more you focus, the more they fade away. But this guy, you knew what he was saying, and you knew it was pure insanity, and that made it scarier, really. Here's what he said, leaning over his guitar, the moment I walked by:

“She died or disappeared or whatever she did ten years ago.”

Friday, November 25, 2016


She wore a big, brown barrette, and when she turned her head I caught a glimpse of a small, white ear.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


And there were other things in those photographs that he didn't like, either.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


and he felt a kind of panic bloom in his heart.