Monday, October 29, 2007

It's been a week now since I quit my temp job, since I quit that temp agency, since some other stuff. Looking at job listings is only slightly less boring to me than probably doing most of these listed jobs, aside from of course being a pedicab driver or a dogwalker. Being in motion sounds really nice to me. The ideal job to me would be to be a car mover, to drive someone's car across the country for them. So you're moving to the West Coast and want someone to drive your car out there for you? Dude, I am your man. As you can see, I am taking this job hunting real seriously.

I care and don't care. There is the recognition that money is needed, that it is some necessary thing enabling me to pay my rent, eat food, and to live in the most general sense of the word, and that in order to get this money, I must do something, some task I most likely will not enjoy (but hopefully not detest), and that this will consume hours from my days, days from my weeks. I hate this recognition, this knowledge, this reality. This is why I quit jobs often and do sex work and am often broke and often happy and still alive. And so what to do, what to do, except sigh like Tolstoy in accepting the thing, laughing at it, shaking my shoulders in resignation before I pick up the shovel, and say, "What is to be done?" That was a refrain that would appear from the lips of numerous characters throughout Anna Karenina, and beautiful it was, true it was, this thing, life, often forcing us to ask that question, to grin and bear it, that this thing, life, is often an asking of that question, there are things that happen, sometimes terrible things, and things we must do, and we go on waking up each day and moving through this thing, hopefully asking this question with a smile, realizing that there is something beautiful about this process.

Maybe today I will try to find a copy of War and Peace. The cold is finally settling in, the leaves are starting to show colors different from their greens they have been wearing for the past season or two, putting on those fall duds they have had in their closet all year also. And the weather, the time, and my own mood seems right for such an undertaking, perhaps that book or perhaps Middlemarch - something large, something epic, something that will bore me at times and at other times, because I have been through those boring times, thrill me, something overwhelming.

I went to the Met yesterday to see "The Age of Rembrandt" show and most of the Dutch stuff, beautiful as it was, bored me in its setting, surrounded by other technically accomplished similar paintings. The Vermeers, as they always do, stopped me in my tracks, slowed me down, and forced me to admit beauty and greatness. There was another painting, a still life of silverware toward the end of the show, that wowed me so much, though now I cannot remember the painter's name. Coming out of this exhibition space, it always spits you out into the room with the Caravaggios. I was feeling sad walking through the exhibit and was excited about ending up with my favorite painting in the Met, Caravaggio's The Musicians, like coming home to your mom's arms after a trip as a kid. And there where this painting had hung was another Caravaggio, a religious scene. My mom was not there. There was no one there to pick me up from the bus stop, no one to welcome me home. I was sad and getting sadder, needed answers. I asked a guard I found nearby. He didn't really seem to have the slightest clue, didn't know the painting I was asking about, even though it hung in this gallery on that wall there for at least a couple of years, and had been there fairly recently, the last time I was at this museum. The guard, sage old man that he was, simply said, "New things come. Old things go." His wisdom seemed like something else, something terrible. I went into Central Park and read poetry and tried to connect some dots, tried to feel okay.

The moment, the terror and sadness, passed. Last night, I found myself at Boysroom, dicks in my mouth, semen on my chest, and felt happy, or at the least did not feel those other things.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Friday night, I got smacked upside the head with what I think was a leg cast by a careless performer at this queer rock show in Bushwick. It hurt like hell and since it was right to the side of my head totally fucked up my hearing and my sense of balance. My hearing is still not back to normal. One of my ears feels like it is filled with water. This is disturbing, especially so since I don't have health insurance, and yet this is probably one of the least of my worries right now, though certainly up there on the list, a fairly long list, of things stressing me out and/or making me sad.

After calling in sick on Thursday and Friday to my terrible temp job at, being lost in a sea of cubicles all day long, no view of sunlight, punching in numbers all day long, and trying my hardest to stay awake, I quit yesterday, quit via email saying that I hated that job, unbearably so, and could not ever return to it. Needless to say, that was also an act of quitting my temp agency, something I didn't want to do, but something I had no choice about if I were to quit that job so rashly. As was to be expected, I got a very angry voicemail and email from my temp agency. So while there is my happiness about never having to be in that office again, there is also an awareness that I need to find a new job quickly and yet have no clue whatsoever about what that job should be. I could go on about this for a while and there are many threads that these thoughts take, but I will spare you those, saying only that because of another stressful thing in my life, thoughts about what I should do about my living situation, I have been pondering the possibility of working or volunteering in some other location altogether. Places being considered in these day dreams were San Francisco, India, Mexico, and now that Niki is trying to convince me to move to Puerto Rico for a month and sublet out this place, there are more than passing thoughts about moving to Puerto Rico.

So, yes, where to live is another big concern of mine these days. There is the option of staying here, which is not at all a bad option, of moving somewhere else closer with Niki, of trying to find a room that I could move into without Niki, or of saying goodbye to this town and all those options. But this concern and thought process circles back to the earlier concern as I think about how all of these options require more money than I have right now and how I need to continue working.

Also on my brain, and the thing that had been occupying pretty much all of it yesterday as I laid in bed crying or sleeping or thinking about how I should get out of bed, is my relationship with G. On Sunday night, I had a talk with him on his roof, him telling me about he was upset with me for Friday night and being sexual with him despite telling him I would not be when I told him he could sleep over, and then him saying that he did not want to have any more sexual contact with me, saying all of this in fairly stark terms that removed what I had loved about the ambiguity of our friendship, the occasional sexual encounter. His saying this prompted my eyes to get really watery as I tried to explain why this made me sad, doing so by confessing a known secret, saying how much I like liked him and how I had some romantic sentiments for him. And so this just made clear to me in a very definitive way something I had already really known, that G was never going to like me in a similar fashion, and it was this definitiveness that really broke my heart, that, as well as the now imposed boundaries on our freindship, and how now it would no longer be this thing that gave me so much pleasure, this odd sexual freindship. That there are rules and boundaries stings. I was totally misled growing up reading Anais Nin and Henry Miller and Ginsberg. That is what broke my spirit, realizing that sex, even in this one situation where I thought it could, cannot be this free and casual thing, that there always must be some drama attached to the thing.

About this also I could say more, but those tears have been cried already and it is a lovely day and my friendship with him is still there, will still be something great and enriching. About all of this, I could say more. I could, could do that, or I could do things, could apply for jobs instead of talking about it, could look into opportunities in India and Mexico rather than dreaming about it, and could look at apartment listings rather than fretting about that. Also, I have still yet to think of a Halloween costume.

Niki came home last night from Puerto Rico and I had had the radio on. We cracked some beers, talked for a while, and then a song she really liked came on, a really cheesy nineties dance song and she turned it up really loud, so loud that it even felt loud to my partially deaf ears, and danced around the living room to the song, danced around in a banana costume she was trying on, and I joined her and sang along with the radio, danced like a maniac, and felt so good, so good after spending all day feeling so bad, and there it is, the solution: social interaction and physical movement, dancing.

Monday, October 15, 2007

october 15 already

Bushwick, Brooklyn

My desires are for other things at work, usually sleep, but often these days for a noble life, a life of meaning and adventure, a different life. There, I have been listening to the “This American Life” archives for the past week or so, hearing stories of people who are living in ways different from me, living in other places, doing more compassionate things. At work, in that sea of cubicles, my desires differ from those that take place outside of that space, probably because most of my desire there is to somehow imagine my life in a different setting, one opposed from the tedium of this temp job. Outside of that setting, I no longer have that thing that seems necessary to oppose; outside of that setting, other things are opposed, loneliness, boredom, and distance among them.

And so on my lunch break, I did agree to meet up with this man who I met on the street not too long ago for an after work roll in the hay. Back at work though, listening to these stories Ira Glass had compiled, that desire for sex with a stranger had vanished. There were other factors at play also, chief among them my bowels and how they had yet to still fully feel regular after being fucked on Saturday night by this nice boy with soft skin and a big penis. So I texted this man met on the street some excuse saying that I could not make it after all, not feeling that, no longer needing the thing he provided me when I met him, having since had sex with more attractive people, but more importantly younger ones, my peers, people I at least have that in common with.

I am really happy for the most part, but something is off and I would be the first to admit to that. One manifestation of that offness is the infrequency of entries on here as of late, and the lack of care with the ones posted, there being very little self-reflection and introspection, rather just a flippant recounting of events, of this and that happened, or I saw this and went here, and while that may at some point in the future interest me, when I want to recount what it was I did on that particular day, it fails to do the thing I want to do with this, to have a stronger relationship with living, to intensify my living, to give it a meaning I otherwise may not have noticed when rushing through the actions, when making out with that person, when dancing at that bar drunk off an open bar. There are those details, but I want to get at the narrative behind those things that make me happy enough. And that there is the problem, the thing that is off; there is not much of a narrative to my living these days. My head is a muddy mess. I haven’t thought clearly in seemingly months. There are things on my mind, things about my current situation as relates to boys, to health, to my job, to sex work, to my friends, to my apartment, all of them in a less than settled state right now, and there are thoughts about how to get things to an ideal situation that would remove those thoughts, would at least no longer have them as thoughts that cloud out other thoughts. There are thoughts about exactly what ideal would mean, something about which I am not even sure, and that unsureness about what ideal would be to me is the thing more unsettling than the actual lack of idealness.

On a cold morning a couple of days ago, I took a shower, a really hot shower, and I stayed in there for a probably a good half an hour, it doing for me what all my thinking and not thinking about these things had failed to do, to remove all these thoughts from my head and to make me present, to make me a body instead of a mind. It is why I love swimming so much, the water at every point on my skin, this total body sensation, making me a body, feeling things at all points, pleasure on the entire surface of me. The physical contact making me aware of physical reality in a way I not always am. In movies, when someone gets hysterical, starts panicking, another character will usually slap them, saying, “Get a hold of yourself.” And it is that slap, that forcing of physical reality upon them, that brings them out of their mental convolutions, situates them in their actual present. Showers, sometimes, can have that effect upon me. Sex, too, often does, and that is why I am so often chasing it.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Going through a stack of old IDs, business cards, and other crap, I found an old, old, split in two New College ID, which hopefully I can superglue together or relaminate and use as a student ID for rush tickets to musicals and whatever other discounts I had been using my old student ID for. I was looking through this mess in search of my Brooklyn Public Library card, which I did not come across. I did however come across old library cards for three other jurisdictions: Sarasota, Florida; Alexandria, Virginia; and Madison, Wisconsin. I also came across cards for various grocery stores: Winn Dixie, Albertsons, and Willy Street Co-Op. These all sparked nostalgic memories of past places and also in the turning over of those memories sparked the desire for new memories in me, things that I could come across on some future date when looking for something or other and finding evidence, libray cards or grocery store discount cards, of some past place I have lived, some past life. Adding to these thoughts was a card from the Ungame deck that Jamie had gave to me when I moved away from Florida, writing her phone numbers and email address on it. The card, chosen very perfectly, asks the question: "If you had to move and could only take three things with you, what would you take?"

This has resteeled my resolve to find a copy of the Ungame. I need to call some stores maybe as I think I might be giving up on ever trying to obtain it on eBay, now being burned twice and never recieving it. Last night, I saw a production of Carmen at Lincoln Center. It was a lovely thing, my first real opera experience in an opera house, and it's all about love and obsession, and, needless to say, I liked it, related a tad bit to a couple of the characters. Now to go to the library, get a new card, and hopefully get a copy of Devra Davis's The Secret History of the War on Cancer. You should listen to her interview on Fresh Air, particularly if you are a diet soda drinker. It should scare you off of aspartame forever hopefully.

Friday, October 5, 2007

At some point this evening, I lost my wallet, the wallet I have had since high school, purchased at Wal-Mart, the one on Route 1, and have never been able to replace, despite the holes in it through which change always fell through. This is perhaps a chance to get a nice new wallet, but I am still a bit sad that I have lost my ID, my debit card, my newly purchased MetroCard, perhaps my Social Security card, and my student ID, which I have used on many occassions to take advantage of student discounts and which apparently I will no longer be able to reap the benefits of, student ID now lost in the Chelsea Piers bathroom where I took a shit this afternoon and where I am guessing I must have dropped my wallet.

To put this bad news out of my mind and also to put out of my mind the stressful goings on of my apartment (a plumber tearing apart our kitchen walls, Niki getting into a fight with the landlord, and my wanting to move out already), I got drunk at gallery openings this evening. Afterwards, friends inside a bread shop, I, hungry, picked up a man on the street. I said goodbye to my friends and went out for drinks with this man. He bought me a couple of drinks and we talked about our lives. We did this and at some point we walked back to his apartment and we fucked around and we fucked and we did so not safely and lately I don't know where my brain is when I am horny but it is far gone and perhaps I secretly want HIV because I have particpated in quite a bit of unsafe sex lately, and I don't know. The man gave me an old MetroCard of his so I could get home and I used it, fell asleep on the L and thought about the sex we just had, how even having it just once unsafe would have been stupid, would have been inexcusable, but that it happened twice is something else. At the least, his dick was nice, gorgeous. Though I now regret it, I did have fun, so much fun, got what it was I wanted out of my night. And he lives two blocks from my place of my employment and perhaps I have now found a way to occupy my hour-long lunch breaks.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

junot diaz, leonard michaels, wes anderson

Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao had at first won me. I was wowed by his looks, by his charm, but by the third date, the charm became something else, a grating, trying too hard thing, and the looks not much. The first half of the book has so much promise and the voice it is written in is so great, so full of life, but Diaz's tendency toward footnotes to explain Dominican history and the book's long forays back into familial history in the Dominican Republic sort of turned me off. The rushed, over-dramatized ending turned me off even more. Diaz is a great writer and I should probably read his short story collection, Drown, to see him in a format that would probably suit him better.

I can't remember which critic commented on how immigrant literature, much more so than other contemporary fiction, continues the model of the early novel, tracing a family history's back a few generations. I read someone say this not too long ago, and, yes, there is a Coors Light at my side, perhaps aiding in my inability to recall more details about this argument or its author, but something about this novel and its rewinding back to the history of Oscar's parents and grandparents and their lives in the Dominican Republic turned me off. I am not a fan of these big sweeps through time, tracing connections, seeking them, between stuff that happened to your parents and stuff that happened to you, looking for overlaps and repetitions, seeking something distinctive in your genetic makeup that also appeared in your parents' lives, in your grandparents' lives, and on and on, all the way back to Adam. It just isn't how I think that life works and is a less interesting (though perhaps easier) prism in which to view life and write about it. There are things that repeat themselves in a person's life, themes that rear their head again and again, but I don't like (and don't believe in) the fatalistic qualities some literature wants to attach to families and one's belonging to a certain one. At some point, the novel became a pastiche of so many other novels, striving to be this new American multicultural novel: the Spanglish throughout the book, the overusage of footnotes a la David Foster Wallace, the hot-headed Latina ladies, the hints of magical realism, and the references to comics a la Michael Chabon, opening the book with a Stan Lee quote even - Stan Lee and his creations have been name dropped so much in the past five years in literary fiction, the trend of which is certainly deserving of further commentary, but which I am not capable of mounting right now.

Okay, blame it on the Coors Light and the coffee consumed earlier. The above does very little to convey how much I actually really liked this book and how good a book it actually is. When something I like a lot (people included) disappoints me (even slightly), I take it real hard.

I have started reading Leonard Michaels' Collected Stories, and so far, so great. I had never heard of him until I picked up this book and if I am not too presumptuous I am guessing you haven't heard of him either. He is an amazing short story writer, dead now, and at one point more well known. I hear so much in here - the bleakness of Carver, the urbanness of Salinger, the slight surrealism of Murakami's short stories. It is really great stuff and amazingly well written. It is a bit bleaker than my worldview and often the stories have the subject of an abused woman, presenting surely problems to some, but the writing is fantastic, sentences that I reread and reread, looking at the mechanics of them, at the amazing word choices, and at how perfectly formed they are. I will quote from some of it soon. I am still early in the book and may surely change my opinion by the time I reach the end, but right now I am kind of in love with Leonard Michaels.

This evening I saw The Darjeeling Limited. It, of course, was really good. Wes Anderson has made a Wes Anderson movie and I can't imagine that he can make too many more before it becomes boring, becomes all of his other movies, but he is not there yet, and I really enjoyed this movie a lot. The movie had me feeling lonely and I looked at one of its stars longingly, wanting to touch him, to play with his hair, looking at his hands and feet, longing to touch both, wanting to touch other people, thinking of other people I have touched and their distance from me physically and otherwise at this particular time in my life, thinking about that a lot because this is a movie about travel and distances, about collapsing those emotional ones, doing so in this travel movie, and, yes, perhaps traveling physical distances is the best way to collapse those emotional distances.

I watched it alone, the theater packed with groups of friends, couples. I rode the subway home looking at faces, wanting one to look at me, wanting to make some sort of connection with someone, wanting to kiss someone and talk to someone and lie next to them and to feel giddy about another human being. That didn't happen. I picked up a Coors Light and a bag of Doritos at the bodega downstairs and consumed the both here in my apartment while listening to the Rolling Stones.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Rushing back toward the building I work in, I reached into my bag to pull out my wallet so I could have ID ready to enter the building. Near my building, at the intersection of 8th and 16th, pulling my wallet from my bag, I noticed that I dropped something while doing so. I look down to see what it was, as do the other people around me, office workers on their way back from lunch. A free sample of lube that I had picked up somewhere! Lube! It was pretty embarrassing, more so because one of the guys who noticed said, "Hey, don't lose that. That's important."

Then I listened to Harold Bloom presumably lecture on Wallace Stevens' "The Poems of Our Climate," but really losing himself in digression after digression to the extent that it almost seemed like a parody of a lit professor. I have mellowed in my hatred toward Harold Bloom, no longer consider him the enemy. I can recognize that he is kind of charming and does have some nice moments of insight, but still, even though I am longer as committed to politicized readings of texts, I still cringe when he gleefully says that to avoid problems (you know, being forced to discuss black, Latino, and women poets), his course on reading poetry just won't include poets born in the twentieth century. Ignore that part and a couple of other parts and instead listen to this old man riff on life and poetry in a pretty entertaining fashion.

Now I am on my way to potentially use this sample of lube at some hotel in midtown with some man.