Tuesday, August 29, 2017

By the pool we lay our towels under trees with compact spheres of branches and leaves, the kinds of trees you look up at and you're afraid a snake’ll fall out onto your face, or at least I am. But they shed only dead leaves, now and again.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Awoke with a new tune in my head, “it's all right” repeated over a one-five progression.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Woke up with “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” playing in my head.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Spain is florid with graffiti. It’s on the walls along the railroad tracks of course, but also on the trains, even encroaching on the windows. At the station in our little beachside town the tunnel under the tracks was completely covered with tags and messages: All police are bastards, Welcome to Altaganja.

What a luxury it is to sit before the blank screen, with nothing to write, the front door open and the sound of a lawnmower in the distance. Nothing to do in the future but swim in the pool and bob for hours in the gentle waves of the Mediterranean.

I recognized the streets, the walls, the contours of town from Google Maps. Everything was in place. As we crossed the bridge over the tracks I looked for something—anything—unexpected. Maybe the blotchy pattern of plaster on the wall of the building down there. But it was only a matter of time before Google cataloged that as well. When will their project be complete? When every paint chip, every cobweb, every blade of glass is documented—and its growth and decay in real time as well. Then the universe will finally be demystified and we can all go back to sleep.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The First Time I Heard About the Disaster of '55

We sat at a round dining table covered in lace, somewhere in the middle of France. These were friends of my parents—was it the family my mom had stayed with as a student? Or someone else they’d met along the way? We were forever criss-crossing the country: Paris, the south, Provence, the Alps, Brittany, the Pyrenees. Who the fuck knew who these people were. I can’t remember.

They were older—older than my parents—which befit the exquisitely bourgeois surroundings. The fine china displayed in cabinets along the wall, the flowered wallpaper, the Louis chairs. There must have been a grandfather clock somewhere.

We were there to eat cake. A classic French cake with meringue and cream and lavender. It was not very good, in my opinion, as it contained no chocolate. But it was sweet, so I ate it. I don’t know why we didn’t eat lunch. Just cake. Maybe we’d arrived too late, stuck in traffic on the autoroute.

Someone mentioned the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The man wistfully recalled the race in ‘55. A car slowed on the track and Pierre Levegh struck it. His Mercedes took flight and tumbled along the stands, disintegrating as it crushed and tore asunder dozens of human beings.

I gripped the silver fork and thrust it into the violet icing. The meringue resisted a little bit—you had to press hard. When it broke, the layers shifted willy nilly. Soon, crumbs and cream covered the floral pattern along the perimeter of the plate. I was afraid I was not elegant enough for this.


He slashed again and I was forced to jump onto dry land.

Friday, August 04, 2017

It poured rain this morning and then a venomous, vengeful sun came out all afternoon. Sodden trash along the sidewalk shocked in its rays.

Thursday, August 03, 2017


These rumors were all nonsense—definitively false—as established by the medical examiner.

This morning I sat beside a young man on the train. He was asleep, or half asleep, his upper body listing from side to side. Occasionally his head landed on my shoulder. I shrugged it away a couple of times, but thought: he’s just a tired person on the train. Let him touch you. It doesn’t matter. But it was hard not to reject the intrusion into my space. I pushed him away more gently the next time. He never did open his eyes. Then the seat on the other side opened and I slid over. I looked back at the man and he was now slowly waking up.
Did I dream that I saw the tallest man I'd ever seen the other day? Or did it really happen? I honestly can't remember. He seemed to be a foot taller than anyone else I'd seen. I was with someone—Sara?—and I said something about him, but she didn't seem to notice, or didn't hear me.

Today I saw the very tall man on Carmine Street, smiling under an umbrella. He had a neck tattoo and his daughter trailed behind. At least I thought it was him.