Archive for 2015|Yearly archive page

A City Manifesto:

In New York on October 7, 2015 at 10:29 pm

I must never make the mistake of believing that I actually live in New York. I mustn’t lie in bed in the morning killing hours as if I own them, brewing just another cup of tea and cracking just another egg without glancing through the window over grafitti-laced buildings and TV aerials to that art deco crown that like a needle, across the river, threads the sky.

I mustn’t imagine that frogs and beets and pieces of computer code also get to walk down 2nd Avenue, swinging boxes tied with string through bakery doors, walnut bread tight in their hands, melting between their teeth. Frogs and beets and pieces of computer code surely get up to some things, some days, but not this.

I mustn’t so pray to the volume on my phone that I forget that crazy men are singing! Right here in a car hurtling miles and miles per hour under ground for no reason other than that crazy men need a place to sing! Strollers need a place to be jostled, watches need a place to be glanced at, candy needs a place to be sold, seats need a place to be hogged, gossip needs a place to be caught up on, and shy minds need a place to so frequently, furtively, fleetingly fall in love.

I must never make the mistake of believing that I actually live in New York. I mustn’t walk by the hat shops and coffee bean shops and the square houses of warm light and liquid that might be called wine shops but should more appropriately, I believe, be called wine boxes, and believe that I know their secrets. The leaves fall and it’s autumn, the petals fall and it’s spring. Rooted to pavement, they see it every day, happening.

I might suppose that that patch of grass is a patch of grass under that tree, but I would be wrong. For the teenager it is weeknight freedom, for the baby it is a balance beam, for the shut-in it is a beacon, and it leads to the taco joint and the club and the ballerinas on canvas and the ballerinas on stage and the river and the highway. It is a synapse across billions of nerves firing into each other, though they’ve never even touched.

I mustn’t believe that I actually live in New York. If I did, I might forget that 66th and Broadway revels in song while yoga mats at St. Marks catch sweat beads while monkeys at Central Park West in that room past that dinosaur past that whale past that totem pole past that starry sky hold their pose, consummately, unflinching.

If I were to actually believe I live in New York, I might believe that I could know it, when in fact, the most I can do is meet it: the dirt, languages, siding, cigarettes, spires, applause, and afternoons. On the high-flyingest days, on the lowest meanest, I must never make the mistake of believing that I actually live in New York.

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Walking off a bit of bother in Central Park this May…

In New York on July 13, 2015 at 2:56 pm

…I saw a woman near tears and heard two men yelling and heard children sing the alphabet and a boy want to take a boat and a boy play cello and men dance and a dog whimper and a dog run and arms linked and hands held and ice cream licked and pretzels chewed and statues climbed and pictures drawn and a girl laugh and a girl smile and that girl was me


In Life on May 8, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Today’s just one of those days. Sitting under early morning covers, a quiet mess landscaping each corner of my room, remembering. What wonderful memories. How painful and curious and loving and wild.

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In Life on March 26, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Well it’s night now. I don’t know if everyone’s carrying beer and bleary-eyed anticipation home on spit-stained streets because it is only Tuesday. Me, I’m in the green room, sniffling. My body has finally succumbed to a bit of ill-ease, and I’m the newest patron of the heretofore ignored tissue boxes of the house. Now we are lovers! Laying in bed, running white sheets to my head.

Ah well. To be sure I want to care for my nose at this time. I want to let her know I will feed her with fresh ginger and cinnamon and the smell of the arms of someone I love just as soon as she is able.

To Be and Not To Be

In Life, Travel on March 13, 2015 at 1:41 pm

I have not been a milkmaid in Denmark. I have not woken before the first rays of sun and skimmed across fields to sleepy, smelly cows, patting their cold noses and leading them to a spot of grass, where in my knee-length cotton dress we commune with a cold metal bucket and dawn.

I have not been an au pair in France, flitting across Parisian streets in rush hour, a Shakespeare and Co. find in one hand and wide-rimmed sunglasses in the other, waving, “A bientรดt,” over my shoulder to friends on Vespas.

No, I have not massaged America’s dusty roads by bicycle, a heavy bag and sleeping pack at my back, spandex shorts and a nylon windbreaker my only guard against mountains and valleys and hills and byways, rocky roads by rivers and mom and pop reststops; a three-month time-out to travel the country that continues by birth: my home.

No, home has not been the boy who once carried blankets while I carried pillows, laying them across a broken-into garden teeming with mosquitoes and twilight, holding each other across one night’s hours: thoughts tapped like syrup into words and fitless sleep and nothing more.

I have, however, picked carrots in Cork and watched Irish storms threaten, with hands lashed by nettles in overgrown gooseberry patches, with hot air balloons skimming over an old stone house at dusk.

What’s more, cobbled streets have called me home when I was still young enough to count stone walls as balance beams, kept in the company of moonlight and lonely stars and faded craic, an Atlantic Ocean with but one suggestion for how to spend the rest of my life.

And, I have been a pilgrim on blocked-off Ecuadorian highways, mountains a faint outline at midnight: treetops and overpasses and a moving machine made of thousands of feet.

And, love has looked down at me from the highest branch of an apple tree, love has stroked my hair in a messy room, love caught my eye between a beer-sticky floor and a stage.

And, I have spun air in a six-way marriage, which the rest of the world might call a band, laughing in the face of God or Time or whatever it is we spend our whole lives inside of, but occasionally, at a white walled museum or a dusty bar or a campus auditorium or a cathedral, journey out of and call music.

Over an Old Stone House