Saturday, July 26, 2003

I sprayed my mom's bike chain in WD-40 this afternoon, pumped the tires full of air, did this in our backyard, in the sunshine. The sun beaming, making everything brighter, more brilliant. The noticably (after being in a towering city) gigantic blue sky and the white clouds floating through it were made especially brilliant by the intensity of the light.

This little light of mine, I am going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

The chain already is looking a lot better than the rusty state it was in earlier today, and now the bike is in the backseat of my mom's car, waiting for the car ride we will embark on tomorrow. You have to leave or lose something to fully (or, at least more so) appreciate the absent object. Distance allows for either objectivity or nostalgia. A weird mixture of both, with nostalgia being the really flavorful ingredient in the mix, the cinammon you know was thrown in there. And there are things about urban life I miss, and I am already preparing to miss the breezy indolence that being in Northern Virginia allows. I appreciate them all, am grateful for each setting, and with each shift in location, I know that the slight fit of nostalgia felt for the departed place, the ebullient sadness is a sadness felt not only for the just left place but a sadness steeped in premonitions, the awareness that there will be more left places, that all of these are just preparations, ways of getting ready for when at some point there will be a leaving of all places, a residing in no places. And this is there always in departures, and so I take joy in the fact that I can will my departures, know the results of them, get on a bus and in four or five hours time end up in a place I know, a place I wanted to go back to, and that I can just as easily leave that place (at least, physically) for another place. Leaving a psychic space though is another matter and that too, is part of the joy in shifting around through physical spaces, learning that you can shift from place to place and yet will still occupy the same psychic space - and this, this seeming permanence of thought, is the source of joy in departures, that maybe there is a permanence to it all.

Friday, July 25, 2003

total participation excludes self-doubt

And I am home in Virginia. I took the Chinatown bus, got an aisle to myself, looked down into other cars, saw fields, factories, and rivers, got really excited about the rivers especially, passing over bridges, and water underneath, so much of it, empty space, a big shining strip of it. America, America, America - I saw you today, and fuck, so beautiful, so so beautiul. To the right across the aisle, I saw the sunset. I understood the line: "Purple mountain's majesty. The purple and pink of the sky, looking so otherworldy after having spent months in the city, or actually looking so of this world, so worldy, and for that reason, so beautiful.

I ate a Snickers and a bag of Combos on the bus, kept on wishing that they would turn off the A/C, and finished reading Nabakov's Speak, Memory, the last chapter of which can be read alone, and perhaps should be, since the writing is about time and memory, a topic which would already give the writing weight, but Nabakov sets off the "veral pyrotechnics" (a phrase Dimino once said about Faulkner) and says some sentences that will either awe you or make you jealous, depending on your confidence in your on writing.

I took the Metro from the bus to my neighborhood, and looking at the Metro map trying to figure out how to get home, I realized that we deal with what we are given. That, today, this Metro map which never seemed so easy and so tiny, looked like a map of a pretend city. The New York subway map has about eight million stops on it, and you have to run your finger along the map on the platforms to help with the sense of where exactly you are or are going, trace it with your finger, let the sense of touch try to help, make it seem more there, that you can touch it. But the Metro, this evening, looked as if it had maybe ten stops when I was looking at the map. And I have never noticed its puniness, have always thought it adequate, more so - but now, I know something else, I have even become accustomed to it, and I am not sure. The streets are emptier here, there was one other person on my Metro car.

I came home, so happy to see my mom and sister, and went off into a tirade about Bush's deception about Iraq, provoked by what, now I am not sure, and my sister told me that living in "the city" (that's what she called it, that's what lots of people call it, the city), that living in the city was making me neurotic, that I needed to spend time in the country, but it's not the city, shit, it is Bush, it is being lied to, it is our collective complacency, our unacted upon discontent that makes me neurotic. When the whole Niger lie first dropped, I was sick for days with a sore throat, and I was a little convinced that my personal sickness was a more localized version of a national sickness setting in, a "malaise" if we want to reapply Carter's term of a post-Watergate nation for whatever this one will be. And it really does make my blood boil, such things. Someone needs a good shaking. Democratic leaders in Congress, for one, who are failing to exercise leadership on this issue. Conservatives, for all I disagree with them, exercise leadership when they feel wronged, when they want to take someone down, and they do it fearlessly. And shockingly enough, Fox News, from my watching of the cable news networks tonight is being the toughest on Bush about this, cranking up the heat.

All of this makes me seriously mad. That's an expression that people use, and so you may think that I am doing the same, but my appreciation for this country and its institutions of government is a heartfelt, sincere one - and reconciling that with a willful deception by these instituitions really is the source of a deep pang whenever I walk by a newstand.

I am here in Virgina tonight, and I will sleep in my old bed, here in one of these fifty states, and I passed through a few today, and Saturday, I am going back to New York, driving there with my Mom. Last night in Brooklyn with Rebecca, I saw Traci and the Plastics, which moved me by its excellence and really inspired me to, if not create art, then to at least live more artfully. One of her personas in the video show, read some poem/song, one line in which was: "Total participation excludes self-doubt."

And that is my current motto: Total participation excludes self-doubt.

With that knowledge, I totatlly participated in the dancing festivities that followed at Luxx, I danced and danced and danced, and my heart beat like a fucking drum, something about velocity in Nabakov today, human's desire for it, his son's particularly. My legs felt like jelly when I got home. And this morning, I went to the Fela Kuti tribute/exhibit at the New Museum which was also inspiring. And then I left New York, left Rebecca, came to our nation's captiol with too much on my mind, and will hopefully leave here with even more on it, because I love it, the thoughts, the living.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Maggie Ray! Of all people to run into, of all the people that I have been hoping to run into, I run into Maggie Ray right around the corner from my house. She is flying out today, but is moving here for good in three weeks, and this makes me so happy.

In other news, my job threatened to fire my yesterday, my toilet is in pieces all over my kitchen as plumbers try to fix the running water, and in an hour or so, I am leaving for Coney Island to rock and roll to bands I have never heard at the Siren Music Festival. And Cake is singing, "And sometimes for music that you haven't even heard of!" But, it's a free show, that's how I afford my rock n' roll lifestyle. Thursday, I did however, pay ten dollars to see the High Strung and Mates of State, both of whom were quite excellent.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Just about every item of clothing I now have is swirling around in suds about two blocks from this little internet cafe, and rather than hang out and watch my clothes spin, I thought I would come be an internet geek, check my email, play on Friendster, and update my diary. And here we are now at item #3 of my being an internet geek list.

I did not show up for work again today. The second Wednesday in a row. Nor, did I bother to even call in. Also, the second Wednesday in a row. I am so lazy. Wednesdays are the days I am supposed to work at 9:30, and I just cannot make myself get out of bed to go shelve books. Next time, I report to work, if I am not by that point fired, I am going to switch to Wednesday afternoons and just accept the fact that I cannot get up and out of bed before ten o clock.

But I did buy a 30 pack of Coors Cold for 13.46 today, which for some reason was a great source of joy to me. I bought this all the way in Chelsea at a beer wholesaler that I had walked by last week seeing the shockingly low price of 10.99 for the thirty pack before tax. Riding the subway back home, I saw a sight on the E Train that afterwards made me shake me head, amazed and mumble to myself as I was connecting to the L train, "Only in New York. Amazing. The things I have seen in this city." This was a Carribean woman, violently dancing so that her whole body was convulsing, dancing up and down the aisles of the train, singing/screaming about Jesus, and she was worked up in such a fever, we're talking about to the point that people get in all those movies where someone starts to speak in tongues in the church, and was convulsing, saying Jesus, Jesus, Jesus with each body spasm so that her body movements and pronouncing of Jesus' name coincided to give a really haunting effect. It was really wild. Bananas, I think I said. Fucking bananas, out of this world, and I really have never witnessed anything even close to whatever that was that I saw.

Yesterday, I helped this old man find some queer book at the Strand, and he thought I was so helpful and wanted to know my name. I said, "Charlie." And he said it also, and then drew a connection, telling me that his son played Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! The fucking movie I watched countless times as a kid, my own name being Charlie and all, and a movie with a main character who shares your name and gets to take over a candy factory. Shit! Charlie is now a veternarian in upstate New York. Life is insane.

And on Monday night, I went to the Cock, hoping to run into the boy who I have been slightly infatuated with for the past couple weeks. This boy David, the most lovely boy ever. Awesome things about this boy: he asked me if I liked Haruki Murakami!, he was wearing a Bucky the Badger shirt once!, he loves to dance!, he's red hot!, he's all about the queer theory!, plus a million other things going for him!, and the past couple of times I have talked with him, we have always gotten seperated and on Monday, he was there, and I talked to him for a long bit, so long a bit that I had to pee, and I was not going to leave him again without getting his number. So, I asked him and he gave it to me, but then followed it by saying, "Okay, but I need to let you know that I have a boyfriend so that you don't get any expecations." And I yelled "Shut-up" like people tend to yell in TV shows, Elaine from Seinfeld especially, when they don't want to believe something, when they are just shocked by news they have heard. But, it is true. My crush is somebody else's crush, has been for quite some time. But I did take him home with me since he is in an open relationship, and it was so nice seeing his naked body on my bed.

There's this crazy bird on Bedford Avenue that is totally oblivious to what time of day it is. It squawks all night long, like from midnight to five in the morning. And everyone I have walked down the street with has made mention of it, the first person was Colin, my new roommate, then Graham and Megan said something about it, and I have passed people on the street who were also discussing the oddity of the bird, saying: Don't birds sing during the day? A routine is being upset. Perhaps the streetlights have upsetted the bird's routine, perhaps the bird is just bonkers, but as result, the bird is upsetting other people's routines, and there is this huge chain of effect with something a little off putting others a little off, or at least forcing them to be aware of the normal order of the world and how something, albeit a tiny little bird, something has trangressed this order that the world is supposed to have and what does that mean. Is this a sign that we are about to witness the dawning of the apocalypse? And if so, the really funny thing is our response. We banter, it provides a subject of discussion, we talk about the natural world as if we could ever know it here in this unnatural town, this bird is the tiny little bit of the natural world that exists here in this city, but even the bird has been made unnatural by living here, this city that I think "Unreal City" about, chant it as Eliot did, and as Paul Outka said he recited every time he was in a big crowd in New York. Another chain of effect. But, no, no, no - nevermind what I just said about people carrying on inane banter about natural cycles and wildlife, as if they couldn't do that here in this city, that living here would somehow remove their knowledge of life, and how it is supposed to work. People do know about life and nature here, somehow, and that is the amazing thing. Is this making me an essentialist? Is that really so bad a thing? We all recognize that birds chirp during the day. We know there is something a little off-kilter when a bird is singing throughout the night - that that indeed does not follow the natural order. This knowledge is innate in us. Our residing in a city, a big fucking one, does not diminish this knowledge that we store, this life somewhere inside of us. I know this is true. I know this because Monday night/Tuesday morning, I walked with a boy, the same boy David, past this squawking bird, drunk to my apartment. And he noticed it also. And then, our knowledge of how things should work, of natural cycles and desires led us naked into my bed, where our knowledge, our nature nature was in effect, nature working, doing its little thing like a bird singing during the day, just the way things should work.

Friday, July 4, 2003

About exactly three minutes left with the one dollar in internet time I bought to check my e-mail. Saw The Fever with Graham last night. Today is the Fourth, I have spent it reading AR Ammons Garbage, which is fucking amazing and beautiful and positively impacting my life for the better. More talk about it when I have more time. Now, I am going to go celebrate America and find a nice sunny spot to read Whitman passages about America. Then maybe Sterling's BBQ, and whatever, definitely fireworks. Big, bright, shining, humbling fireworks.