a woman walked onto the subway yesterday screaming.
‘wake up! wake up! wake up! all of yous, wake up! none of yous got soul, soul i say, none of yous got soul. wake up! wake up! wake up! i’ma be alright, i’ma be alright, ‘cause i got soul. you need soul, people. soul.’
she stepped off a stop before me and as i looked down at my page, i realized i had been fake reading, fake reading ten pages in the time she spoke, just turning pages and staring down at my book.
in trying to be extra efficient this morning, boiling water while jumping in the shower, planning which clothes i’ll wear as i shower, packing some snacks the night before…i found myself staring at my bowl of oatmeal as i brushed my teeth and wondering how i’d messed up the order. i would have to brush my teeth again. and i found myself wondering when the day will come in my morning duality of being both calm and collected, and entirely frenzied, frazzled, unfocused, when the day will come when i’ll brush my teeth with quaker oats instead of colgate maxfresh.
Disposable camera pictures that don’t develop night shots. So, there’s lots of neon stripes that strike like lit matches, that might be the lights at the gas station, that might be the glint of a whiskey glass, that might be the distant glow of some drunk on his bike, that might be your red sweater, or the doorknob as we go inside and go to bed.
Italo Calvino” —
Girl half sitting, half ready for a slow waltz, slipping off her bar stool. Patsy Cline like white noise, Johnny Cash, a stencil on every bar wall, and every so often, the squeaky sound of a swing door, about to clip my heel as I walk out the store balancing sweet ice tea and a pair of sandwiches.
Two crepes filled with wild mushrooms, domestic mushrooms, walnuts, ricotta, and jack cheese. Topped with roasted tomato mushroom sauce.
Fresh berry cobbler, two spoons, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
nothing says homecoming like the nba.
cavs down ten with a minute left in the third.
The thump, bang, of the bat hitting the ball high and far, in the most elegant arch.
The echo of the bat, it’s metal frame crashing against the cement schoolyard. ruuuuuunnnnn!
The mirror in the bathroom at Pink Pony will throw you into existencial crisis, no doubt. it’s one of those “true mirrors,” also known as a non-reversing mirror, where you see yourself as others see you.
Apparently the exaggerations you will notice of your own face are only warped for you; a friend will agree with the mirrors take. Apparently.
The only way i can describe the reflection is it’s as if you are looking AT yourself, in 3D; think Parent Trap recognition scene.
It takes getting used to. The reveal will stun at first. It’s got the makings/markings of Wonderland.
For instructions of how to make one: here
“there’s a meteor shower tonight.”
…as we stand in a club listening to some scandinavian, identical twins, pound at their guitar and drums as if this is the last song to be played live, ever. nobody’s moving to the music, everyone is standing still, as if this is the last song to be played live, ever.
outside, there may or may not be a meteor shower.
Found that sentence in the Where the Wild Things Are blog, We Love You So.
At our flat in Oxford there was a chair.
It was round and happy and its color—blossoming, blushing cheeks in winter, the inside of peaches, the raison d’etre of a sunset—seemed to pull you to it.
We joked that it belonged to Hannah. It was her chair. H’s chair. Because that’s where we’d find her, and that’s where she wasn’t, when she wasn’t home.
It was ridiculously comfortable. Cushy & Comfortable.
It had thick, round arms. It was oversized, tugging at that side of us that still, will not untie our laces, that side of us that kicks off our shoes using the back of our heels.
I sometimes sat in Hannah’s chair. I remember the feeling of throwing my legs over the arms. It’s an unplanned, unwitting, almost adolescent thing to do.
But this was what H’s chair required of me.
“No one dances like we dance.”
…young and nomadic by nature, wistful with heart and hope, accomplished with academics, and yet always in search of the perfect dance floor in which to kindle ‘that time in our lives.’
depending on train traffic, it takes the D three minutes maybe, to cross the manhattan bridge every morning. and in those minutes my mind wanders far, fast. and in those minutes i’ve imagined the next couple of years, summer vacations and countries i hope to visit soon. in those three minutes, i’ve set goals both immediate and future, and i’ve pictured my weekly schedule, decorated it warmly, sparkly, two autumns from now.
but i also reflect, maybe two, three, even six years back to very specific moments, maybe not entirely significant, but i relive them in their entirety, right down to everyone’s clothes the moment we all met at the dinning hall table, right down to the way the chairs felt, the way scratched plastic cafeteria cups felt.
in maybe three minutes i can return and renew an entire, most likely forgettable, moment. i can also create an entire world that’s mine, that feels cumulative and grown, deliberate but also stumbled upon.
each time i cross the bridge, i close my book, and somehow my mind races and details of my life, both known and unknown, are enlivened.
a train crossing a bridge, and suddenly everything feels unbridled.
Didion says, “…but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.”
none of those ideas are passive and every so often i question my instinct to avoid imposition, to assume i’ve not been invited, to worry i might be laughing too loud, to choose to hush an immediate opinion, to championing the most articulate and labored ideas, rather than the bold, the brazen.
the start, they call it the blank page.
but so often i see it as a mirror, i see it as didion’s ‘secret bully,’ and not me.
through her job, my roommate is being flown to some secret island destination at 5am. She knows nothing except what to bring, a very random list that includes something white, bug spray, a bathing suit, and clothes that can get dirty.
we discuss possible locations, her 90s bathing suit, potential company, all four of us, in the living room, drinking whiskey, with judge judy playing in the background. we give her time to pack and then head out to the local bar where we bogart the jukebox.
she flies in four hours.
I walk out of my apartment first. It’s wet and and cold and I tighten my scarf around my neck and consider running up for an extra layer.
He walks out as I pass his apartment, two brownstones down from mine. He waits for me to pass and walks behind me as I continue my morning tangle of locating my subway pass, pulling my hair from under my bag strap, pulling down my skirt a little, wondering if I have time for coffee.
He drops something and it startles me and I jump, and then we joins me, and apologizes for startling me. We walk side by side, and he asks me my name and we talk a little, in that nodding and eager manner neighbors talk. Especially on my street, where everyone feels so lucky to live here, there’s the impulse to mention it’s great location, tree lined beauty, its regulars, both riotous and quiet.
At 4th, we part; me to the subway, and him to the laundrymat across the street. A box of dryer sheets is all he has. I’m envious of the way his t-shirts will feel in an hour…toasty, warm.
I rewrap my scarf.
in seven minutes i will see someone i haven’t seen in four and a half years.
there is no way to measure everything that happens in between because it always just rushes to the fore and in the moment all you can say is, you’ve changed your hair, and laugh.
1. Woman squeals as cab breaks suddenly at a light, at a puddle, sending a thick wave of water straight for her purple patent leather pumps.
2. Boy giggles as his mother tightens the strings on his rain jacket hood. He giggles more and she tightens further and further, because they both think it’s funny to have his face squished. She’s holding his lunch box, and an umbrella, and something from the bakery they will eat the moment they reach home and take off their wet shoes. Red cheeks and apple pie.? Cold lips and pumpkin bread? Damp hair and hot chocolate?
3. A dog tied up outside the coffee shop, barks and barks and barks for this owner who is in line. Finally the owner gives up, ditches the line, and joins his dog outside and the two walk off, and the two are soaking wet and glistening in their black trench and gold fur, and similar step, a tired sort of, sometimes skip.
4. A couple, two tourists, try and hail a cab. Taxi! Taxi!…Taxi!…Nothing. They run into the corner store and buy an umbrella. They return outside and try again.
5. Two children, after school, walk ahead of their babysitters and gossip about happenings at the crayon table. They stop to jump carefully over a puddle. One child misses, the boy. And the girl screams, and laughs. She points. And the boy is embarrassed, and changes a bit right then.
feelings: i’ve been told they are fleeting, and therefore inadmissable.
but today i feel like i’m running up a steep hill backwards. i’ve tried to ignore it, but hills are overhelming by nature. and running can grow tedious. and the world only looks good backwards when you’re sitting at the back of the schoolbus and watching the road behind you.
Sailing Home, Food is Still Hot, Building All is Love, Heads Up, Lost Fur, Animal, Cliffs, Hidaway, Rumpus Reprise, Rumpus, Worried Shoes, Capsize, All is Love, Igloo
I’ve returned to Chekhov and Jane Jacobs:
Man is what he believes
Design is people
Man is what he believes
Design is people
Man is what he believes
Design is people
Growing up, I thought it was called the Pulitz-Surprise!
And now, people are calling it Obama’s Nobel SurPrize!
I was on to something…
that’s how it looks at least.
started sneezing the moment i walked in,
sneezed in line, and tried to smile in between,
tried to hold the sneezes, but then choked on them, and coughed a lot,
eyes got runny,
nose got runny,
head feels swollen,
throat feels dry,
back in the office, post, post office, and trying to make sense of this sudden, most surprising cold.
sometimes, usually while sitting at a window, or at a bench, or witnessing something intimate two tables over, i mouth the words, this is where i live.