Wednesday, August 21, 2013

8/11 6:00PM, Grove and Bleecker

The attempt to write more continues. As Doma is better known these days as a defunct marriage protection act as opposed to a similarly defunct coffee shop on Perry Street, I have settled this evening at Angelique on Grove, right down from Marie's. A favored spot of late New Yorker Bridget Reilly, who took her little sister here for lunch the first time she visited New York.

In the days of Doma, I would use those wide windows to watch for friends I knew in the neighborhood; in those days, not a few people. I would especially keep an eye out for Stephaun, hoping to catch him strolling down Seventh Avenue, taking care of some errand or another---returning with dry-cleaned shirts, or off to have a trim at the salon.

The streets these days have many squalling babies on them, pushed in strollers by blonde mothers, or sometimes a pair of fathers, and more often than not, bored-looking nannies. Stephaun used to complain about this, cross about how "the breeders" (a term I'd never heard until I met him) were changing the face of the neighborhood. It is true that things are changing---I would always inevitably run into drug dealers and prostitutes while making my way through the neighborhood after dark. Nowadays, I see no such people, only more babies, more blonde women with maintenance fees to the tune of hundreds.

There are many couples, too; dumpy folks from out of town gawping into shop windows, teenaged street kids with neon hair, but mostly people of a blandly well-off sort. Slim, shaded from the sun, wearing whatever is in season casually draped on their frames as the designers must have intended.

(As a side note: it is, I believe, lazy design if you can't imagine how your garment will hang on a person who isn't impossibly thin. If you can only get your pleats to fall a certain way on a flat surface, it says little for your ingenuity. Think of the pioneers, building cities from land that rich and expansive---nevermind that the prairies were mostly flat, the comparison was not meant to be interpreted literally.)

I was part of a pair of my own, walking down these streets. Stephaun would walk me back to his place at five in the morning, loaded from eight straight hours of drinking. It was not suitable for me to go home to Bushwick, miles away. I must be taken care of. And he did, always pulling out his couch and handing me coverlets, which I would leave neatly folded after sleeping two hours, then getting up to leave for school.

More children, a steady stream---two twin girls with an baggy-eyed woman trailing behind them, a redheaded boy with a handsome Italian father, a little girl in scruffy tomboy clothes.

Greg Taubman, seeing me for the first time like a grown-up woman, hair done, neatly dressed, walking me out of the bar for a kiss outside Sheridan Square. I wasn't just an odd duck anymore, not a little sister to tease, but someone he could really feel something for. I've been part of that pair ever since, many neighborhoods becoming our stomping grounds between then and now.

Greg and I have talked about leaving, going somewhere new. There is a part of me that is ready to find someplace as exciting as the New York my older friends all talk about, but something else isn't so sure.  won't ever know this place like Stephaun did, before the boom and the crash, before Giuliani and Bloomberg. But I am here now. Whether or not an era has passed is debatable, though to argue it defeats the purpose. What I do know, is people will keep streaming down these streets. They will keep coming, no matter what, the straight-shouldered and the screaming, the wild and the worn-down. When I go, if I go, no doubt, there will be somebody else to take my place, looking curiously at people passing by a sidewalk cafe.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Pray You Don't Get Tetanus

I follow her shoeless feet,
blackened and bandaged,
across two train lines.

She's the one I saw in the Duane Reade
explaining to her companions from Korea
why her homeland (Russia)
made the expenses of New York
seem paltry.

Somehow between tipsy Port Authority
and a packed L train
we remain bound to each other.

She stands, leopard stilettos in hand
her skin so fair against
the speckled blackness of the floor

I touch her hand with the intention of
offering her my seat,
but she stares on,

her eyes too tired to commit to
the flicker of shame that burned
in their dilated pupils as briefly
as the popping of our ears
as we went under the river.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A few New Year's resolutions -

1. Make good art
2. Devote as much enthusiasm to my education as I do to making good art
3. Learn to do a standing backbend.
My friend and I had to show our IDs to the door guy at the Bowery Ballroom, all three of us in a conspiracy to maintain the illusion that we were on the list. I first encountered aforementioned people while hurtling myself around in the mosh pit of that same concert hall several years before. The band playing that night was a circus punk band from Brooklyn; tonight I was here to see Patti Smith.

I was taken aback at her presence. She is redwood-solid with her feet planted behind the microphone, her trunk moving slowly with the music, her hands swaying aloft to articulate a word, a line. She is wisecracking, a tough lady, but also has a maternal sensibility that made you love her even more. She reprimanded us audience members, "None of you are wearing coats! I hope you all cover up before you go outside, it's chilly out there" with absolute sincerity, before continuing "I always feel bad for those girls I see in this neighborhood on New Years', little girls with no coats, in high heels---puking!"

A really mixed crowd that night. The young and musically well-versed, of course, in outfits of varying spiffiness. But also a great many older people, who probably were there in those first days she started performing not too far from the Ballroom, at the closed-down venues people are so quick to mourn the loss of. An old hippie couple standing next to us held each other throughout the ballads, with headphones to muffle the blaring speakers. Two young girls entwined in each other kissed furiously hanging over the balcony during "Gloria." A guy I knew from high school was there who I haven't seen since graduation. I ran up to him after the show and said hello before running to the subway to get uptown.

I try my best to avoid the subway on New Years' Eve, as it tends to be an utter shitshow. I warily entered the car, and watched the people pile in with their sparkly glasses and various other 2011 memorabilia. Everyone was a little drunk, and everyone was taking pictures. But at some point the entire car burst into "Auld Lang Syne," which no one knew the words to. I couldn't help but smile.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

People, when crossing over snowdrifts at street corners, bob up and over them as boats do over waves.

Monday, December 27, 2010

In the Roman era, women found that they would look paler by painting their skins with lead paste. Fair skin, at the time, marked status, and was a symbol of feminine beauty. And so I'm fascinated by the construction worker, clasping a subway pole with plaster-white hands. His hands are large, and work-worn. They are highly unlikely to be adorned with bracelets, or to wither away from lead poisoning.
What You Will Find Here - A List

1. Notes about anything I come across.
2. Musings on a variety of subjects, namely theatre, sociology, music, fashion, and New York
3. Stories, myths, fables, poems, hymns, epics, plays, among other flights of fancy my brain spits out.