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At work, I become a strange version of myself, glibly struggling towards quitting time, assuming the studied structure of what I believe a person at work should be. I chit-chat awkardly with colleagues and joke, tentatively, always afraid that an uncensored comment will let fly and my ‘buddies' will realize just how whitebread they are (mostly), and how not whitebread I am. I want to be able to relax, but I don't want to offer insight into anything that occurs beyond the walls of that place. I'm one good necrophilia joke away from not having to go to lunch with the gang.
Unless you're a cat person, I think it's hard to understand the relationship that I have with Caesar. Very few people or things stick with you for a decade or more, stay consistent through ups and downs, emotionally trying circumstances, loss, celebration. It's like the way people feel about specific musical instruments, songs, prayers. Things that connect inside of you to a place, chemicals in the brain that bond to specific receptor sites to deliver the right balance of life. In a way, it's closest to having a baby. A creature that depends on you, learns from you, rewards you.
Yesterday, the guy a the bodega around the corner asked me if I could tell a fake watch when I see one. This isn't so strange on it's own, a sort of normal question, I guess, but I was wearing a stained, ripped shirt with bedhead and stoned demeanor. I wasn't even wearing my 15 dollar sanrio watch, or socks. What made him think that I was reliable? We have the neighborhood small talk down, and recognize each other, but that's it. I guess I have a more reliable and worldly face than I thought. The watch was a fake.
The water bag hangs on a nail that's holding up a Blues Explosion poster over my bed. They're called Lactated Ringers, those little water bags you see in every hospital scene in movies or television. A tube hangs from the bottom, connected via a white plastic point that pierces. The tube inserts, at the other end, to a needle tip. Along the length of tubing, another plastic piece, rectangular with a dial that controls the flow. I grab a handful of fur at the back of Caesar's neck and stab him with the needle, beneath his skin. 200ml a day.
Money is the king, the prince charming of ugly ducklings. I am a poem living on the paper eaten by money. Money changes everything in songs. Money has more gravitational pull than the earth and is lighter than footsteps on the moon. Money has it's own orbit, creates it's own universe in which small sattelite coins are allowed to float in and out of currency. Money can't buy me love. I will turn your money green. Being poor is like voodo, like being cursed, like being an illiterate tourist in an indifferent city. I am living but can't afford it.
Where does tired come from? The sandy eyed, slow headed mystery lull. I put all my faith in sleep. I depend on it for relief. I expect every wound to be healed through the intricacies of the sleep process, it's single minded cycles, one of the few unique rhythms inherent to the universe, an individuality matched by old faithful, volcanoes, sunrise and sunset. Dreams are intermittent, they exist for me as patchwork, symbolic. They are difficult to decipher, cryptic, but simple if you want them to be. I often remember dreams that are cyclic, being trapped in discreet packets of time.
Why do people feel the need to shove each other when they are in the subway? The contact isn't overt always, like in basketball games, just contact in motion. I just don't understand it. 7am on the way to work, who wants to start their day that way? Sometimes I get so frustrated by some assholes that shove or race to be in front of me getting through a turnstile or hopping off the train, that I'll step on the heel of their shoe at some discrete and ambiguous space. A better reaction than shoving them on the tracks, my first plan.
in this new millenium
will you return my calls?
Have the sloped walls
in your apartment collapsed
more like shoulders
from the show tunes and scripts
that form the exhaust trail
of your living?
I need to know that you aren't
buried in that tiny place down
by Waverly St, from which I
trudged drunken after that
New Year's night that was almost
awful, but was saved by a fifth
of Jim Beam and your video
Why do you live the way you do,
After 4 years without talking,
do we exist anymore?
Today, we feasted. Started with bacon, moved on to double breaded homemade chicken fingers with pineapple chipotle dipping sauce and peanut butter chocolate chip cupcakes with a peanut butter dulce de leche icing, and homemade peanut butter. It's because we're girding up for a big push on sunday, moving the organ into the studio and throwing away tons of useless junk in the apartment. It's late saturday night and I can't yet sleep, headache and injection for caesar. I'm looking forward to dinner with Amy next week. One of these days, I'll talk about Lois. The other cat.
That moment when I realize I'm in love, at least connecting with someone special, someone who on some level is understandable, substantial, someone I get excited to see, worth anticipating, is like falling through the atmosphere in slow motion, being stuck within the cardboard frame of someone's 1975 kodak moment, is worth all the clocks in manhattan, every last breath, is in the top 5 list of reasons for living that is perpetually shuffled in my mind, is better than sex and cigarettes, only by dint of half life, is like every moment of peace, of pause, clarity like sneezing, perfection.
I want rain inside tonight. Thunder and lightening in the next room as the wind pours up out of the beedsheets, clouds waft out from pillows, body permeable distant fog banks swing like curtains in the doorways from oceanic somewhere through trees, wet branch leaves scrape windows that appear where they were not yesterday but are here now being pelted without giving in to the miraculous weather in the apartment, the storm that I've conjured, tempestous protest brewed for relief, another word for pleasure, elastic definition sliding into another meaning momentarily.
Tim Mcveigh died today. What should I feel?
Lovely dinner at the newly expanded Planeat Thailand, which used to be Planet Thailand, but the anonymous (uhm, right) folks from Planet Hollywood had a problem with the name so it became the befuddled, Planeat, which people still refer to as planet. I think it was a date, but I'm not too sure because I've known the person for a while now, but it was just dinner. There was no hug or kiss at the end of the evening, but a shy agreement that the act would be repeated, which is a fairly good thing all by itself, a start.
It seems like I play favorites, but I don't. People tell me I lavish my affection on Caesar, showing very little to Lois. But really, Lois is constantly lungeing for attention, rubbing herself on my leg or flopping in the kind of pose you'd see on a kittie cheesecake calendar. On the other hand, Caesar's aloof, circumspect. He'll stand at the edge of the sofa for a good 5 minutes before softly jumping up when nobody's looking. When Lois was a kitten, I carried her on my shoulder like a parrot. I also put her whole head in my mouth.
Jeff called, drunk on his cell phone, asking us to meet him for drinks at the pour house. It used to be the sports bar, where scary neighborhood guys would sit all day, door wide open, winter and summer, drinking what appeared to be the same pint of beer each time you saw them, in their same seats, like they were assigned the first time you went in there for a drink. The pour house is actually a nice development for this part of williamsburg, a place relatively free of pretention that is inclusive of newbies and lifers. Everyone's place.
Staring at the edge
Of the water,
My toe pointing
Beyond what I know
Already, broken off
From origin, unimagineable
In the face of the wet sand
Puddle on the beach
Unreflective as the faces
Of herons in the dunes
Mimicking your motions,
Echoing your hands in the air
Emphasizing what I should not have said
To bring the day back from luminescence.
Staring at starfish drying
Sandflies pestering the grass blades,
While you quietly collect sea glass shards.
All these small things
Come into focus in our hands
Becoming something they were
Never meant to be.
I never studied hard in school (high, or college—synonymous), even though I hit dean's list. I wait, like my peers, for the fraud to be percepted. I want to be nothing, my goal is up in the air, I like what I like, what use is any of it, what have I read and what does it mean, why can't stories be only stories not allusions to other works. I write and I write, sometimes with the lights off and just the glow of the monitor. Up all night and never awake in time. I want that time back.
Everytime I've reached a place where life levels off, something disrupts the flow. These are times that seem to transform me. In the last 3 years, at least 3 people I know died long before anyone expected, three of my grandparents died, my friends' store burned down, the fiance' of one of my closest friends nearly lost his sanity...the list goes on. I've learned why people swear you can't try to get a handle on life. It prevents it. Some days I believe it's a good thing, most days I resent it. Along the way, I pretend I don't know.
I am so creatively bankrupt right now. I can feel the tension filling up inside of me like emotional carbonation. Sometimes just a journal is all I need to loosen things up, other times writing a song or poem just to stretch the muscles is good enough. I'm just blocked or tired, restless and unsatisfied. I want to shatter the blank space inside of me that is as desultory as an empty apartment in a building that will never be filled. I want my fist to punch through the heart and pull out something exciting and raw to wake me.
We all wonder at some point, in some way, how we appear to other people. Even if it's just modulating the tone of your voice in a conversation, yet your hair is dyed purple as an emblem of how little you care what other people think, you're letting on that you care. I don't think that's a bad thing, always, just something that occured to me when I was thinking about why Jeff saw me as a capable free-lance, write anything for a dollar kind of person. It wasn't a put-down. There's no soul in my spin, there's just art.
Today was one of the hottest days so far this season, but for some stupid reason, the heat was piping when I got home. All winter, it was freezing up here, and now the heat works better than ever. When we don't need it. I think we should charge people for the spa-like atmosphere in this fucked up little building. There's no airflow because the haphazard walls form a barrier between rooms. Everything in the air just floats, eventually settling or getting spun by the ceiling fan. Joyce, Mimi, Jeff, Jon and I went through every apartment, shutting off radiators.
Melody sings our thoughts in life, makes magic appear where there was only air just seconds before, turns imagination to electricity in the mechanical nesting of the brain, creates new emotional landscapes inside the world where only you live, makes the world itself real for just a few seconds, opens windows and doors, stops traffic, turns tears upside down on invisible cheeks that support the grey eyes above them, makes real all that was suspected, keeps you company when there's nothing else available, understands everything that you never will, but doesn't know it either, creates you how you should be.
Sometimes I stop breathing. On the subway, in crowds, when I'm listening to music or playing music or writing, I stop breathing. A few times, on the subway, I've blacked out. Nothing too collossal, but for brief times, almost imperceptibly, I've just drifted out dizzily. Once or twice, in my apartment with Jon, I've had these blackouts, like mini-seizures, where I've just kind of crumpled to the floor spasmodically. Doctors never made anything out of that, but I've always been a bit shaken. I fell in the shower once in Binghamton. Living alone was terrifying sometimes. Waking up from nightmares.
This morning, Saturday, I stopped at this bakery on Graham Avenue to buy a pound of rainbow cookies to bring in to the office and offer around. It was a drippy morning, and I knew as I walked to the corner, that as usual, nobody at work would eat the cookies I brought. I just wanted to make a gesture. In the bakery, one woman behind the counter had deformed teeth that sprayed forward and spread apart below her sunken, tiny eyes. The other recommended that I try the cookies from the bakery down the block, because theirs are better.
Please don't think I'm an asshole when I slip away, back into the bubble world. It's a fear mechanism, a way of protecting a sense of control over life, a notion of preserving things that matter when I feel they're decimated. Maybe it's a sorry excuse for social phobia, but there are some friends that have remained as others silted away. It's always terrifying when someone new comes into my life, the fear that they will disappear in (appropriate) frustration over what appears to be flaky behavior. I hope for friends that value their privacy and solitude as I do.
I can't think about you out there, reading me grasping at half-thoughts and shadows of myself. I wonder how many sentences I start with I. Lost in myself, counting.. Micro-managed. How do you micro-manage chaos?
Everything feels more random everyday. I lurch, at times, from hopeful detail to hopeful detail, like each day is the end of another marathon. Then, I sleep for as long as I can, ignoring anything inevitable in favor of the undetermined. Television is only vaguely controlled by the laws of time, as is the radio. Perfect choices to fill the empty space left by time.
Sometimes I get so happy, even when the world around me is falling to crap. People wonder if I've finally lost to the tiny explosions and fusions of receptors in my brain, if my synaptic gaps've gone off track. But, that's not what it is. I can't explain it. At work, f'rinstance, I'm so fried, stressed out, I can't make myself work, even on those rare occasions when I want to, but I enjoy the experience of being there, making deadlines for projects that I don't personally care about. It's the people that care that I care about and enjoy.
I'm listening to music in the city today everywhere I go. Not music that's being played from casette or radio, not cds or music from windows where people are creating or re-enacting their most recent favorite moments of inspiration. I know I can hear music in the incidental motions that make vibrations on every city block I'm walking this afternoon, added backdrop to the 4 kids on rollerblades that sweep out of the bank in front me as I smoke my cigarette walking around the block. Walking home, rushing to get away from my clothing, I remember songs I'll never find.
New York couples walking around Union Square Park in the middle of Thursday afternoon in tight jeans and tee shirts that show off the area just above the ass and below mid-back. Don't these people work? I ask myself when I see people with dayglo hair or bars piercing their cheeks. But the couples that are walking around this afternoon—I watch one woman slide her hand down her boyfriend's waist and lower back and just inside, above his ass—are not oblivious, just moving in another dimension. I envy that exhaustion, the free flow of experience becoming new again.
Lois, my other cat, is perpetually ready for affection. She will flop in a variety of poses, arching her back, rolling her eyes back into her head, like she knows that with each pose she grows cuter and cuter. The day I bought her (in the mall), I intended to just play with a few kittens, just because they're cute. The store had a little sitting room where you could get to know your potential new pet. When it came time to give her back, she wouldn't let go of my shirt, so I knew I was taking her home.
Here is my one moment with you. I'm opening the shop, peeling back the steel curtain, turning my signs around. The cash register gleams in futile waiting, the broom lays in the corner like a forgotten dance partner. The music is in my breathing. I won't look at the clock, won't care when the moment is over. I'm saving my special pieces for you, behind the counter, because I know what you like. Loyalty is repaid after a long period of repition, concentration. Nothing is on sale, everything is priced according to actual worth, not perceived value, labor not included.
The Tip Jar