Monday, June 30, 2003

The things I saw last night, oh boy, the things I saw. Two words: Hot shit! At the parade, some ACT-UP people had groovy signs that said, "Fuck Bush! Wear a condom!" "Fight back, fuck hard." I booed the Log Cabin people, chanted Howard Dean at the Kerry people, and screamed like a maniac for the Dean contigent. Yelling is so fun sometimes.

I lied on the Chelsea piers with a nice young lad and lady, watched the sunset, and then watched mass panic as people, thousands, fucking thousands of people ran off the other pier like a swarm of ants because one person started to run after a firecracker went off, and then some others did, and soon a bout of collective hysteria hit the whole pier and I saw thousands of people fleeing for their lives, a mass of people, the closest symbol I have yet to witness for how all of human life is just this mass of interdependent energy.

Then, I went to The Hole, where it was an open bar until eleven in an event called "XXX". I thought it was just a silly name to get people to come, but oh no, this shit was XXX, the type of shit you heard was typical of gay life in those pre-AIDS days. There was a show with naked dancers encouraging people from the bar to suck their cocks, which I might have done. There was a stage where various sex shows were occurying, the real fucking thing. There was a basement, where maybe I went with a hot couple and engaged in sex, where many other people were having sex or jacking off. It was really surreal being on a dancefloor dancing to David Bowie around various naked people, some of them sucking each other off, and for that reason so fucking fun. I saw a man get pissed on. Maybe I engaged in oral sex with a couple other people. And, I had joked about wanting to be a slut a couple weeks ago. But, I think it was no joke. Holding two erect cocks in my hands, one in each, was a feeling that I loved, something that felt right, innate. It made me happy, and you know, what's wrong with that? Last week, the NY Times ran a huge headline across the front page, announcing that the Supreme Court legalized gay sexual conduct. Throughout the parade yesterday, countless people held up the paper victourously, and the thought of what that court decision means made me so happy, that that stupid bullshit case was reversed. And I thought about that last night while I was drunk and in that dark basement surrounded by a huge packed roomful of naked and erect young men, and it made me smile with joy.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

the exciting thing about new york

The only big benefit to living in New York is the possibility to hear lots of live music, by bands that you really like. And I am not sure if that plus cancels out the many minuses that I list when I am in a bad mood and have dreams of Small Town, USA.

Thursday, since the weather was about 98 degrees and I haven't sat out in the blazing sun without sunscreen since Florida, I went to Central Park to finish Austerlitz and soak up some sun rays. I was lying there in this field with maybe a hundred others who had the same plans for the days, and for about the first half hour or so that I was lying there I faintly heard something that sounded like Wilco coming from someone's boombox. I lay there in the heat, thinking about how lucky it was that I was lying in hearing range of Wilco and not some shitty ass music. Then, a lightbulb went off in my head. Wilco is playing tonight in Central Park. That might actually be them doing a sound check. I ran with all my stuff through the park, running with my ear forward trying to figure out where they were. I found them and stood outside the gates with about ten other Wilco fans, listening, and trying to see through the bleachers. Then, I saw an opening at the gate, just walked right in and sat in the front row of the bleachers all by myself. I was the only person in the audience except for the two guys in the booth testing the sound. How fucking intimate a show is that? But this only lasted for a song and a half before a security guard shooed me back outside the gate. But, hearing Wilco perform unexpectantly was such an amazing feeling, perhaps more so than if I had actually had tickets to see them that night, because this was a total surprise, the privlege of being able to hear and see one of my favorite bands play up-close.

Then on Friday night, I went to the Gravy Train / Gold Chains show with Sterling at the Knitting Factory. I was way out of control and dancing like a maniac for Gravy Train, I was pressed against the stage and so got my head rubbed in Chunx's crotch, but even more exciting, way more exciting in Hunx rubbed his crotch in my face, and dragged me up on stage where I was Gravy Train's bitch for a bit, being thrown to the ground, and then getting more crotch in face from Hunx. Something about dancing and bobbing to rock and roll, something about it is utterly heavenly, all I ever want to do when I am doing it. After they left the stage, it looked the girl next to me was about to grab for the set-list, and so I asked her if she was. She said no, and got it for me, and then asked me if I wanted to meet Hunx. Appearantly, this random girl I was talking to is good friends with Gravy Train, and so soon I was being led backstage where I met the girls from the band, who all encouraged me to hit on Hunx even though they told me he had a boyfriend. He was breaking down the set on stage. I eventually got scared of waiting and ducked out at the first opportunity, at which point I rocked and rolled some more to Gold Chains.

And now, I am going to the Gay Parade, which will hopefully be out of control. Things to do, to occupy your time is a potential benefit. But I think I enjoy it where there are not things to occupy your time, when there are stretches of days you do nothing, and lose yourself in thought, in taking time to notice things, to linger.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003


I was supposed to be at work at 9:30 this morning. I woke up at around eleven, and called in sick to work. The news of Kit's death, recieved last night from Bonnie, kept me up late and I forgot to set my alarm clock. But really, does it matter that I missed a day of work at the Strand when one of my peers has died?

As soon as I got off the phone with Bonnie last night, I felt like I needed to process this information to somehow make the seemingly unreal nature of the news into my reality, and I thought I could walk my way into comfort, that by walking, I could somehow work everything out, that walking would make everything all right. It's so easy, so little room for mistakes. One foot in front of the other, and then the other foot in front of the other, and on and on, and you just go, and walk, and it's easy, so fucking easy. But the streets were filled with people my age, with people Kit's age, all of them dressed so well, and looking happy being dressed well. And the scenery did not seem very conducive to the type of thinking that needed to get done, rather it just seemed completely jarring, so not right. These people all happy, all oblivious. The weather was warm, yesterday it got above ninety. Today, it did the same. It did the same. And what is this "it" that I am attributing control of the weather, of the temperature to? Some huge natural system that I don't understand. I studied literature, I never spent enough time with science. I don't know. But yes, the weather was warm, so warm, which it had not been for so long, and the feeling that this heat produced in me was something close to nostalgia. Yesterday, while eating lunch in Union Square, sitting on the warm ground, I could feel the heat working its way through my palms which were in contact with the hot ground, the warm shivers rippling through my body.

And last night, walking for the short period of time I did walk, the news of Kit's death and the heat combined to give me more of those shivers of warmth, a natural system working its way through me, or no, me being aware that I am part of this natural system, that my body reacts to heat, that it is sevety percent water. And I do not understand the weather, big natural systems, the whole process of living and dying. The finality of his absence hit me in brief moments of thought last night, where I felt like I was closer to actually coming to terms with what death means, specifically, what Kit's does. And the news of a death always provokes this reaction that is alternatly selfless and so so selfish. There is the reaction that is nothing but concern for his family, his younger brother and how they are at all able to cope with a situation such as the one that has been presented to them. There is the feeling of loss, that this was a youth, a genuinely happy youth who could so easily provoke a smile in any one of you, and who now would no longer be able to do so. But then, in quick turns of thought, the same thoughts morph into the selfish variety - thinking about his family provokes thoughts of your own family and how they would react to such a situation. But to me, that seems like how we often choose to deal with things we can not easily comprehend for whatever reasons, be them, a desire not to understand or just a sincere inability to. It's neccesary to put into terms that we can more easily understand, imagine our own selves in these situations. And he is so young, was so young. And I am to. I was. I am learning how to refer to a human, a friend in the past tense, and this is something I have not yet had to do in life. This more than anything else yet, brings that reality of this situation home to me, the tense I have to use to reference someone. That the present tense is no longer gramatically correct. Any death always forces issues of our own mortality to the surface of our thoughts, issues that we ignore by focusing on the banal, by investing so much energy into petty things, petty thoughts, petty concerns. "We barter the truth for trifles," is a quote from The Way of the Pilgrim that I found in my notebook this afternoon when I was still trying to accept this news.

In these past hours, I have been recalling his smile, his lisp, drinking with him, thinking that this was such an alive person, a person who always seems genuinely happy with it all and trying to reconcile those recalled images from somewhere in my memorey, somewhere, some time spent in the sun, with the news that he is no longer alive. And it is a hard thing to do, a thing I am still struggling with. I think: He was so young, so young. And then that turns into the selfish thoughts: So am I. So are we. And therefore A = C. It could have been any one, it still could be. This natural system of life, of fickle weather is a thing I am learning is an immutable fact of life, one I need to concern myself with more. And I am as sad as I have been in a long while, but yet still think, not sad enough.

Friday, June 20, 2003

I live on N. 1st Street, right off of Bedford Ave, a few short blocks from the river, albeit a river that is inaccesible because of ugly factories occupying the riverside space. But still, it is nice to look down the street, and see some sign that there is life, a huge natural system that this entire city rests on, is built open. You can catch a glimpse of it between the factories, can see it moving. Its waters constantly flow, and I sometimes, this flowing water is a scary thing to me. I interpret it as the literal fast-paced nature of time, how it streams past me and I don't want it to, don't know what to with it, feels as if we are not in sync, but should be, it is my fault, it always is. I want to be the person with the kitchen pot collecting the water from the bathroom floor spilling over the tub trying to slow down the surge, to prevent it. But then other times, I read the river as a reminder that yes, time is moving, but that this is not a bad thing. We have that Danish prince to remind us: "There is nothing good nor bad; only thinking makes it so." And, I think. Not always in the same way. And so somedays by thinking, I make the river a good thing. Nature, the earth right there, two or so blocks aways, coursing by as it has done for millenia, and I think to those early American settlers, traveling these rivers. I think to those last three paragraphs of The Great Gatsby and I remember the line about those sea travelers setting eyes on the New World, and "for the last time viewing something commensurate with man's capacity for wonder." Or something close to that. I can't remember the passage exactly. But I walk through days, and days, I walk through Monday into Tuesdays and into Wednesdays and I see amazing things, incredibly amazing things that sometimes even make me put my hand to my chest, and think Wow, this is good, I am so fucking lucky, but yet still, when I see the river, or when I see it as this important symbol, when I take more delicate notice of it, all that walking, and all those city wows seem a little less wow. I think that this is what it is about, right here, water, lots of it, so fucking much that it could drown the whole city, and it flows between Manhattan and Brooklyn, these cities are what are on the banks of this beautiful moving natural system. And I sometimes want the green. And when I see the river, those are usually those sometimes. But that is what books are for, that is probably why so many people in this city are always reading books everywhere they are riding, to reconnect with something more true (yes!, there is such a thing, and I am in pursuit, mad pursuit - pragmatism is for suckers!), its a way of looking at the river when you are riding on trains under this earth. It's a little vacation from the city.

In other news, Bonnie is going to be one of my roommates, the forth residence we will be sharing. I have still yet to actively try to get another job besides the Strand and now it is the weekend and I will have to wait until Monday again, at which point, I am sure, I will be bogged down with lots of trivial errands which really don't do me much good, but yet which are still neccesary for whatever reasons. I have also yet the most casual sexual encounter of my life. It was on my birthday. Ten dollars all you can drink. And I can drink, can drink a lot. I did. Somehow ended up riding in a taxi with a boy I started to jack off, got into my room with him, got naked, and that is all I remember. Also the first time I have blacked out. I have an internship/job working for a guy putting out gay travel guides. I lost Scrabble. I was without contacts for a few days, and was madly love with the faculty of sight, and pretty much damn near amazed with how perception is so delicate, and my mind wandered into a dialogue that always sounds silly, and sounds typical of acid-heads, wondering about reality and perception, the details of which I will spare you, you beautiful thing.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Learning the layout of the city (or at least, more so), being able to visualize yourself on a map, you are the dot on the computer screen, Pac Man or some similar thing, moving down this or that road, munching things. And knowing where I am going, just getting on the train and getting there is a lovely mindless activity. When I first moved here, every trip I made, every time I left the house was an exercise in exhaustion, trying to figure out which trains to take, which side of the tracks to be on, how to get places once I got off at the right stop. All of my mental energies were consumed just by the task of getting from Point A to Point B, but now, I don't have to think about it when I ride the trains to work or home from work, or walk from Union Square down to Astor Place. I am, save for the occasional orienteering snafu, on auto pilot, and thus my mental energies are freed to focus on other things, to notice my surroundings, to feel comfortable in this place, that buildings and people are nice friendly scenerey along my trip, they are not the mean apple trees that peg apples at you on the Yellow Brick road. I noticed so many things on the subway today, signs that pissed me off, but most importantly, I noticed a child, a youth, doing origami, following with all her mental energies the instructions in a book, the look on my face when I first got here and looked at subway maps, trying to make my journey fold right, into a swan or whatever, to get where I was trying to get, and today, this afternoon, I was allowed to spend mental energy in other ways, spend consuming this sight, being nothing but thankful.
The public library just seemed like too long a wait today, and so here I am on Bedford Avenue, shelling out fifteen cents for every minute on this computer, so I can look at apartment ads, fire off e-mails, and tell you and myself that life is good, very good.

Did I mention that I called in sick to work today for no reason, whatsoever. It's not a particularly nice day, there is nothing that I really wanted to do. I just did not want to be at work, shelving books, and talking to psychos.

Now, on the subject of psychos at work, is it a compliment or a cause for concern if a gross 57 year old hits on you and gives you his number? Is this a reason to think that yes, you are an attractive young lad? Or dear god, so unattractive a young lad, that a gross 57 year old thinks that you are in the same league? He did invite me to go see a certain Broadway play with him that I have been wanting to see, and for this reason, I said yes, but within minutes my dignity got the better of my greed, and I told him no.

And here's a secret, don't tell anyone, shh, not everyone knows all ready. But, I cannot stay in one place. I have a desire to explore, to see this nation, every little crevice. And I have to be out of the place I am staying on the 21st. Three weeks to find another place in this town or hit the skies with my airline voucher and find another town. Who is whispering Austin, Austin in my ear? I have cowboy dreams, and sadly, I don't think they're worth the fifteen cents a minute to tell you about, so off I go again, into this town, where I want to read every posted flyer, every piece of litter blowing down the street. I want to see it, be a witness to the words before the rain, the wind, and the trample of feet, feet, and more feet, a neverending crashing of them - disintegrates the words, brings them back to the earth, the place where they all should have originated from, but sadly, in this city, they never seem to do that. They emanate from a place that I am not sure about. I guard myself when people, signs, and interiors of subways say these words. I wonder about their motivation, but yet, I read them nonetheless with the hope to understand it, all of this, just a little bit better.