fourth of july, ny #36

Wednesday, 1.2.19
Brooklyn Bridge

The sixth sojourn back from Michigan, by car.
A full day’s trip.
Normally we cut down 280, catch the Holland Tunnel.
But we had company with us,
          and whenever we have company we take the George Washington Bridge
          to the West Side Highway.

What could I have said to raise you from the dead?
Oh could I be the sky on the Fourth of July?

Sloping, sweeping views—
          they sneak up on you.
It’s a nice introduction to the city.
Once you get past the sterile Trump buildings
          in Midtown.

Where everything was fiction, future, and prediction
Now, where am I?
My fading supply

It’s when things get exciting.
The Freedom Tower sneaking up on you
like that.
But then, always, that same fucking roundabout.
          (Take the second exit,)
          ( (…you spaz.) )

Such a funny thought to wrap you up in cloth
Do you find it all right, my dragonfly?

The GPS was having a good time with us,
          as it does.
Usually a straight shot down Chambers Street
          to the Brooklyn Bridge.
A detour, then. OK

Make the most of your life, while it is rife
While it is light

Down Broadway, and around the elegantly named
          “People With AIDs Plaza.”
Questionable maneuvering of this Cadillac SUV
(am I seventy nine years old?)
          possibly illegal.

Tell me what did you learn from the Tillamook burn?
Or the Fourth of July?
We’re all gonna die

But no one is out on the road at this late hour.
Because, despite everything they tell you,
          New York is the City that sleeps
          roundabout 10:49 p.m.
And so we’re stopped on Park Row, at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge
          for twenty minutes
          for god knows what reason.
          (El Chapo.)

We’re all gonna die

… and then suddenly,
we’re the only ones crossing the Bridge,
and nothing had ever happened at all.

patti, ny #22

Thursday, 5.2.19
Webster Hall, East Village

Patti,
Tell us a story?
//
Once upon a time there was a guitar player who wanted to get to the next song,
but some asshole wanted her to tell a story.

……………

Lenny Kaye: I was worried they’d renovate it in here, make it nice.
Still a shithole…
What every good shithole needs
is some punk rock.

……………

“Jesse! We love you!”
Patti: “Stand in line.”

……………

A storm blew in over the island of Manhattan.
“It’s a little dark in here,” she said.
…they cranked up the volume.

……………

april fool
are you experienced?
redondo beach
my blakean year
beds are burning
dancing barefoot
ain’t it strange?
lenny kaye covers: (lou reed, rolling stone)
after the gold rush
25th floor
southern cross
pissing in a river
gloria
people have the power

 

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ephemera, ny #20

Thursday, 2.14.19
Grand Central

Class gets out at 9:30, officially. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later. The same man is on the platform again but I didn’t realize it was him until it happened. He’s nondescript and distinguishable only by his activity as a train approaches and rumbles into the station.

He stands as close to the edge of the platform as he can, the tips of his toes sticking out over the precipice. The blast of wind from the entering number 4 train tugs at his coat, tries to fling it off, drag him down into the tracks. He remains steadfastly in place. It’s so clear to me how at peace he is while the blur of the train nearly consumes him. It’s an ethereal peace; a desperately sought after peace. He can only find it here, now. The city is too busy bustling and moving and dancing and damning to find it anywhere else. Eventually the train slows and then stops. The doors open. He gets on and paces the length of the car three times, tap tap tapping the rails. Eventually he takes a seat close to the door where he entered, but he is disquieted, unsettled.

Hoping, I think, for something else.

 

fleabag, ny #17

Tuesday, 10.2.18
Brooklyn

“Hi. Do you have any flea shampoo?”

She looked behind her. “We don’t… FOR WHO?” She yelled the second half of the sentence for reasons I couldn’t understand.

“My dog.”

“We have this here,” she pulled off the shelf a rickety old bottle. “Natural,” she said. I read the label.

“It says this treats just the bites…”

“It’ll kill ‘em,” she said with a certainty I trusted. I continued reading.

“Well how’d he get ‘em?”

“She. And I have no idea. She’s never had them before.”

“Well you gotta fix it quick before they get everywhere. Does your vacuum have a bag? You have to vacuum the eggs up but they’ll still hatch in there so you gotta throw it away quick before they hatch.”

“You’re trying to scare me.”

“I’m not trying to scare you. You gotta get ‘em. What kind of dog is she?

“Bulldog.”

“You got a kitchen sink?”

“Yes… what?”

“How big is she? Can she fit in the sink?”

I calculated quickly. “I doubt she’ll go for it. Small but mighty…”

“If you get her in there and submerge her, you’ll see, they’ll come running up her neck.”

“How much is the shampoo?”

“Eleven dollars.”

“I’ll take it.”

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french air, ny #24

Friday, 7.6.18
New York

“Send me more cottages that are for sale.”

“I’m looking in France right now for picturesque châteaux and will have them ready for you in a moment. Do you want northern or southern France?”

“Wherever is fine.”

“…Even though the Italian ones are better so far. But how about this one? I hate the kitchen.”

“I kind of like it.”

“It takes a person out of the rustic beauty of the French countryside. It is way too modern.”

“Fair.”

“It’s a punch in the face, that kitchen. I want a house like the one in A Good Year.”

“Yes. Agreed.”

“What about this one? THAT is how you do modern. A tub in the middle of a room?! What luxury!”

“Oh my god, the tub! How fucking elegant.”

“Such a dreamy thing.”

“I want to bathe in a nonsensical tub positioned in the middle of a room.”

“Same here, dude. The definition of a bath room.”

“The pink radiator and fainting couch with fleur de lis is so extra it’s necessary.”

“That would have to be a condition upon purchase of the home.”

“Leave it.”

“Non negotiable. Period.”

“I would like to sit on the couch while I was naked and still wet from my bath.”

“Right next to the open window and fucking air dry on a fainting couch with French air. I get it.”

“It’s a dry climate, Provence.”

“I had the urge to dress in a silk robe when I first saw it.”

“Yes! And maybe bathe with it on, like Marie Antoinette—in the Sofia Coppola version. How fucking luxurious!”

“I would like to have a small cake table next to the tub so I could bathe in silk and eat petit fours, while listening to beautifully sunny instrumental music.”

“Vivaldi. You’re basically in Italy at that point.”

“A perfect choice.”

 

bubble, ny #16

Friday, 6.22.18
Midtown East

“People eat like pigs here,” she said as she looked into my eyes and then down to my stomach. I thought this odd and amusing, as I had been especially restrained on this visit to the Indian buffet. Polite even, because they had seated this woman of indeterminate age directly next to me at the bar.  

The whole exchange was my fault, really, because I had smiled at her earlier.

I smiled because I felt guilty.

And I felt guilty because she was in my bubble, and that irritated me — the bubble being this weird personal space thing that New Yorkers have, and that I myself have despite my aversion to it. 

So that’s why I smiled. Because in my head, 30 seconds earlier, I had thought, “What the fuck is this?” as I saw her saddle up to the chair next to mine. And I miss my Midwestern self who liked chatting with strangers, or at the very least acknowledged someone sitting mere inches away.

And so she took my smile as an invitation to perform her one-woman show.

“You eat too much and your stomach expands,” she continued. “Then all you’re good for is the remote control. That’s all I did yesterday, was watch Croatia come down on Argentina, three to zero.” She said this while simultaneously stuffing individual triangles of naan into her purse. She had asked for them without butter, presumably for this reason. 

“What are they going to do, arrest me?” she asked, pausing to put her hands out in front of her. “Cuff me, then. People are too clean anyway. People need a criminal streak. I’ll be the first in my family to be arrested. Can you believe that? 

“You know, the naan bread at this place is really good if you have it with some brie. Just slide it on. It’s so simple and delicious.”

somewhere around west 4th – ny #15

Thursday, 6.14.18
Manhattan

“Concrete bunghole where dreams are made up. There’s nothing you can do,” I sing to myself as I walk to the F train through the corridor under Bryant Park. It’s already a sultry New York summer and it stinks, but it’s not overwhelming.

(Yet.)

And what is that brown substance? It’s glowing, kind of.
Muddy water, I hope. Rust tinted. That seems optimistic.

I lean into the corner of the last subway car—one of the new ones with no seats on the ends. I fish my book out of my bag: Exit West. I’m almost finished with it. A birthday gift from one of my favorite friends I made shortly after moving to New York. It’s told from the perspective of two refugees and is about escape and transience and home.

After ten minutes or so of being lost in my book—probably somewhere around the West 4th Street stop—someone gets on and starts playing music. My brain initially wretches with its mariachi band and garbage pail scars, but that’s not what this is. It’s a saxophone being played so delicately and so beautifully that I stop reading my book and just listen. And so does everybody else. The subway car is quiet and still. No one moving or speaking as the train rattles underground from Broadway-Lafayette to Delancey Street. A span of time that is probably only two or three minutes but feels much longer, much richer. 🎶

foxy, ny #14

Sunday, 4.8.18
Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

“Do you think the barista is a furry?”

“No doubt in my mind. Dresses up like Sonic, but pink.”

“With extra anime-ish eyes.”

“A cyber pink furry.”

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“Her avatar.”

“Oh my god, it looks kind of like her. But, like, how she sees herself which is helpful and tech savvy, when in reality she is neither of those things.”

“Meticulous planning year round goes into her Comic Con costume, but it still ends up looking shitty.”

“Total D list Comic-Con’er.”

“Wears bikinis and body paint. Leaves her mouse ears on the F train.”

bleecker street station, ny #10

Sunday, 3.11.18
Manhattan

The neon lights on the ceiling of the Bleecker Street station seem worn and faded to me. I remember when they installed them in 2012. Dazzling and convenient. A beacon to the 6 train. It seems like that was only a year ago but it’s been six and that trips me up, makes me feel uncomfortable.

I walk past Tom and Jerry’s bar. I used to love the place, considered it my regular haunt even though it didn’t make sense. I lived much further uptown. They make their own watermelon juice there, at this bar, which is confusing because it does not seem like the type of place that would make their own watermelon juice. It’s where I met my DUMBO roommate, and once I took an Israeli guy there on a date. We crammed together at a small table, he was nervous. That seems like ages ago, and it feels right that it should. 

A man shakes a change jar on the corner of Mulberry and Houston. Eyes like saucers. There’s something familiar about him.
“Anybody want to go to heaven?” he asks.
Shake, shake, shake.