Thursday, January 31, 2008

Coming back to the locker room, sweaty and exhausted from working out, I could hear through the door the running water from the shower. It is a sound that always excites me as I enter the locker room, the sound serving as notice that skin will be on display, that in the cramped locker room, there will be someone showering in the doorless stall right next to the lockers. Opening the door to the locker room, seeing who was in the shower, I immediately had trouble controlling my eyes, keeping them from being too obvious. It was this man that was in there a month or so ago who I thought was so incredibly sexy then and thought so on the train ride home and thought so when I got home and was able to masturbate to recalled images of him. That time there was no one else in the locker room and so it was far easier to peek at this man, his back to me, his lovely ass and muscled back. That time he had been showering in a pair of soccer socks, which I found very perplexing and wanted to understand. I found it even more perplexing (but certainly no less stimulating) when he slowly, almost as if it were a show for me, took off each soccer sock, continuing to shower, and soaping up his legs.

There was something painful about that last encounter, how again I was closeted, how I was in this straight setting, the city gym, and here was this gorgeous man, probably straight basketball player, who I wanted to touch, to lick. The desire was so overwhelming, probably even more so because it was in a setting where I had to hide it. The white suds from the soap dripping down his black muscled body was such an engrossing sight, so much that I was in a trance, unable to quite staring, taking my sweet time in the locker room, untying and then retying my shoes just to steal some more glimpses.

And so today, to see him again, naked again in the shower, soccer socks next to him, apparently already having been showered with again (for what reason?) and taken off, made me feel crazy. This time there were other people in the locker room changing and so I could not just stare when his back was to me, but had to be aware that there were other people around me that would notice me staring. I cursed their presence, wanting the ability to look at this man some more. He turned around to wash off his backside, faced the locker area, his dick only partly covered by his hand, the thick top of it saying hello, me having to keep in check my naughty eyes that wanted to say hello back. He turned back around, soaped up some more, and to see a person soaping themselves up should not be nearly as sexy, as arousing, as it is for me sometimes, as it was today. He was again in the shower forever, his confidence in his body, his complete lack of shame, and his comfort (perhaps even pride) about being naked in this locker room was the source of my arousal, my attraction, my envy.

For a second, I was fearful, recalling that I had published a Missed Connection about him the last time I saw him, was worried that he had read it and would have remembered me as this lecherous fag, would kick my ass. That fear morphed quickly into fantasy, the original fear turning into something else, turning into an erotic thrill, an imagined scene of locker room bullying, of sex. I washed my hands and face in cold water, cooling off the sweat, stole one last glance in the mirror above the sink at the reflected image of his beautiful backside, held it, and then headed home.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Watching the State of the Union address last night, boring thing that it was, I distracted myself on the Internet, distracted myself on Manhunt. This young boy came over, Frankie, 22 years old, Spanish, short, and really cute. He was much shorter than me and this made me feel monsterish, like some giant. We sat on my couch and my self-consciousness about being so tall disappeared, conversation coming easy, the boy being very charming. We got stoned together and conversation came even easier.

For the second time this week, I was convinced that someone, a boy I was talking to, meeting, was Matt S, this boy that I used to really like, used to be a little crazy about. This boy doesn’t look like him, being far shorter than him obviously, but something about his deadpan, ironic sense of humor, something about the subjects he chose for jokes, something about him made me think so much of Matt and so I was instantly attracted to this boy.

There is other stuff going on behind this, prior to this, which might have informed this interaction. I had a talk with G a couple days ago in which I told him about my love for him and how that makes me crazy and sometimes sad feeling and talked about ways for me to not be so crazy, so off putting. And maybe it would have been better to not have talked about things, to not have made things so explicit, so clear. I feel better though and more sure about my need of his friendship (even sans romantic love), but things still seem to be a bit awkward.

So there is that background, which maybe I should have gave as such, told that part of the story at the intro, so you, the reader, knew what aside from the boringness of the State of the Union might had led me to be on Manhunt, why perhaps I was even home at this time of night alone. This is why I wanted a boy to come over. This is why when a boy did come over that things were pleasant, friendly, and why I perhaps projected some things on to this cute boy, thinking that his mannerisms were a lot like an old crush, thinking that obviously this person must be really neat.

After joking around for a while, talking about absurd things, we moved to my bed. It has been a really long time since I have had sex stoned and I had forgotten how amazing that could make it. We made out for a long time, me at the time wanting nothing more than to kiss this person, to feel their lips with mine. Clothes came off and I did not mind. We kissed other things, exchanged bjs, and rolled around on top of each other, humping each other, him then fucking me. It was awesome, just what I needed. Like in yoga, they ask you to take a deep breath, to hold it in for a while, and then when you breathe out, it comes out as a sigh, a total release, feeling so good. That’s what this sex was. There were things that I had been waiting to breathe out and I did so, feeling fantastic afterwards.

As I cleaned up in my bathroom, he got dressed. We stood around and talked more and I couldn’t tell if he wanted to leave or not, if he was just doing so cause that’s what people do on Manhunt. He seemed to really like talking to me, to want to stay and talk for a long time, to make silly jokes, and I was kind of hoping that he would stay. A Marvin Gaye song came on. I danced to it. He asked if that’s what I was going to do when he left, dance around my apartment. I confessed that it probably was, thinking how I was going to put on Mary J. Blige soon. He asked me what I was going to dance to, if I was going to dance to Mary J. Blige. I was stunned that he had guessed who, that that seemed very weird, him saying that as soon as I thought it. So I danced to Mary for him, to “Just Fine.”

We sat on my couch some more, smiling at each other, either guilty smiles or innocent ones, full of joy either way, made plans to hang out again, and I told him he could stay. He said he had class in the morning. I walked him to the door, made out a lot with him there, and then said good-bye, closed the door behind him.

I watched City Lights last night after he left and I didn’t appreciate the film the first time I tried to start watching it, but last night, man oh man, it was so beautiful, amazing, Chaplin’s smile in that last scene of the movie absolutely killing me, me wanting that smile so bad.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

City of Night

To apologize for what is sure to be a sloppy diary entry here, probably increasingly so, let me say that I have just taken some Benadryl and that soon it will probably be taking effect, making me more and more tired, more and more loopy.

I am reading John Rechy's City of Night right now, his first novel, published in 1963, which chronicled the life of a young hustler. I have seen it in bookstores many times over the years, picking up the book to read the back cover, the blurbs, the summary, and many times have thought about reading it, but for whatever reasons moved on to some other book, a book either less dated or more so. Most of the writing that I have read from the era in which gay fiction emerged as a genre of sorts, the sixties and seventies, has never really moved me in the way that other fiction has. I should also admit that I haven't dipped my toes too far in these waters, having read some allright stuff and normally am looking for the fuckingyeah stuff when I am picking up a book.

But on Sunday I was at the Strand, looking through the racks of fiction, really wanting to read some specific Kundera books (which I couldn't find) or any Saramago books (which I couldn't find used). I had just come from a web porn shoot, in which I had been a straight male (totally plausible, obviously). They had picked the name Travis for me, telling me that I was an East Village rocker, in a band, and had a girlfriend, a groupie. Their story conceived for me displayed an embarrassing lack of imagination and a reliance on clich├ęs so dated that they wouldn't even ring true anymore. What aspiring musicians can afford to live in the East Village? They would all be located out in Brooklyn - Bushwick, Williamsburg, maybe even Bed-Stuy. I didn't critique their backstory though, instead went along with this story, finding it funny, and also lost in thinking about the name they had chosen for me, Travis, and what that meant, what it evoked. It seemed meaningful that this was the name they had chosen, the first boy I ever desired and who has probably informed most of my sexual desire toward other people ever since. His name was Travis Ralston. He was in my middle school gym classes, always with his locker right next to mine, them being arranged alphabetically. He was a rough boy, a tough white kid with thick hands, pursed lips, an earring, and a buzz cut. He would call me faggot and punch me in the arm. I would go home and imagine him having sex with girls and jerk off thinking about that.

But I had just come from this shoot, had just come from being Travis, and there I was at the Strand, trying to find something that wanted me, looking for just the right book to read right then, something that jumped out at me. And there it was, City of Night, and with sex work already on my mind this book seemed totally appropriate.

The first section of the book, about his boyhood in El Paso, is bad. The writing is too dramatic, and even worse, it is attempting for literaryness with talk about death, windstorms, and parents, but it comes off as amateurishness, a pose he can't seem to stretch into. It is unnecessary setup. It's only ten pages or so, but it really should have been cut. The book would be much stronger if there wasn't such a weak opening.

There is also an introduction written by Rechy in my version of this book and in it Rechy defensively mentions all the bad reviews the book got by the literary establishment following its publication, saying that he proved them wrong by selling so many copies and by the book now being considered a "classic." I think it is a "classic" though for historical reasons, for being part of the beginning of that explosion in gay literature, part of that moment when "gay" became an identity. The writing isn't that great, but there are great moments here and there, and the story is more interesting than most to me, it being about this world of rentboys in another age, in an age when walking the streets of Times Square, rather than posting an ad from your house on to the Internet, was how one did business. It is a lost world that is never coming back, at least not in industrialized nations, the Internet having eliminated the need for gay cruising spaces, for public prostitution

Reading this book, about spaces I know - Times Square, Bryant Park, other locations in New York – makes me love my city more and makes me miss it more, this city that I never knew, this city that each day, each week, shifts more away from the gritty city described in these pages.

I don’t want to write a hustler book. In some ways, it seems too easy and that the attention the book gets is cheaply earned, that it rarely seems to be for the book, for the writing, but more so for the content. I am thinking of JT Leroy and that woman’s quick rise to literary acclaim for writing sad hustler stories. It has been done and it gets one pegged as something too static. I also think that there is a hostility toward sex workers when they do anything other than sex work, that the stigma is always there, and people are suspicious, wondering if whatever they are doing is not also a con, a selling of something. I think that this is what Rechy is vaguely referring to when he talks about the hostility he received from the reviewers when this book was written, that it wasn’t taken seriously as a literary work even though it was published by Grove Press, that it was because it was a story about a hooker written by one. This is perhaps why I too am hostile to works about hustlers, that I too am guilty of these same prejudices, judging the works more critically and suspiciously. An example of this in another area is Jason Preston, an ex-hustler, and the boyfriend of Marc Jacobs. In just about all gossip mentions of the couple, such as in Page Six or Gawker, Preston’s past as a hooker is always invoked (no matter how many years ago it was) and normally done so in a non-positive way, done in a way to diminish anything he may be doing or may ever hope to do.

And so I have stayed away from this subject in my fiction, in my few and infrequent attempts at it. Reading this book has again reminded me about things I want to write about and things I don’t want to. I have been reading it on and off today. A cold took hold today and I have been trying to smother it, to kill the thing in its early stages, with lots of cold medicine, and so I have been half-asleep if not totally asleep for most of the day. I did in those half-asleep moments though clean my apartment and do laundry in excited anticipation of the arrival of Bonnie tomorrow.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I was lying next to Alex in the dark. We were touching each other, holding each other, talking. He mentioned going out on a date the night before with a young boy, a Joe. It didn't seem organic the way it was brought up. I wondered for a bit about his purpose in doing so, whether it was simply bragging, a pure desire to share, or to cause some jealousy. I may have asked whether he wished he were sleeping next to Joe. I may not have. He did say this though, obviously not thinking about its effects, saying he wished he were sleeping next to someone else. Even in the dark, he could sense my body's reaction to that statement. To be someone's second choice, their backup plan, is okay; it is okay just so long as I am not told that's what is going on. He apologized and backtracked, saying he just said that because I had already told him I didn't want a relationship and that this other boy did.

The moment passed because it had to, because I needed to not have a boy leave in the middle of the night, because I didn't want to sleep alone, because I couldn't on this day, because I was terribly lonely and just needed to not feel that way for at least a few hours, because I did like this boy and touching his skin and being wrapped up in him. We talked about other things, rolled around some, had sex, and slept with arms wrapped around each other. It felt really nice.

This morning, I woke up to a call, reminding me of a work appointment at 3:30. Alex said that we would have to have a quickie. We started to jerk off and then he said that we shouldn't if I had to work soon, that he should go. I was annoyed with him because I was horny and he was too and he was doing something I didn't understand. He would say, not entirely convincingly, that we shouldn't do anything, would then stroke his boner, and then would turn on the cold water, saying we couldn't do anything. After a bit of this, too much of this, he said that he should leave, saying it in a way where he had no intention of leaving and wanted me to hug him more and say no, say stay, but instead, annoyed, I said yes, I said you should.

He took his time getting dressed. I made coffee and then sat down at my computer, back turned to him, to read the news, to not have to intereact with him until he left. Done getting dressed, I kissed him goodbye as he left, aware that it was probably for good, locked the door behind him.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Portions of the letter I received from my dad's sister, Herta, dated January 8, 2008:
I sensed a great deal of uneasiness when I called you the other day. Please understand that is not my desire to make you feel uncomfortable. I simply wanted to say hello as well as to know that you are doing fine. I pray everyday for you, your sister, and your mom. May you all find happiness, but most of all I hope you are at peace with yourself. I will not call you again, but I certainly hope that someday I will hear from you and your sister.
...
I know all too well that it takes time to heal your painful wounds. Also I know that we must work on faith because one day the pain will subside. Everyone of us did what it was necessary to protect those we love.
...
We did nothing wrong. My brother had emotional problems so deep, that nothing, or nobody cold have changed.
...
Life is not always easy Charlie. I am sorry that you, your sister, and your mom had to suffer because of my brother's addictions.
...
In the future I will send you a long letter. I want to tell you about our family. I recently have found out so many things about my own mother and father and reflecting upon those facts I wonder if my brother's life and mine would have had less pain.


This letter annoyed me a lot because it brought up things that I am not sure need to constantly be brought up every time I talk to my aunt. It also annoyed me because there was this patronizing I-have-learned-to-forgive-and-maybe-one-day-you-will-be-able-to-also tone to the whole letter that got under my skin. After picking this up from my old apartment, reading it there in my old living room, and then biking home, I took a shower, and in that shower, I mentally composed a response to this letter, the letter that I would send in reply. It wasn't neccesarily the nicest letter, but it felt good to compose this while showering. It relieved some stress that the letter had brought on. My response will certainly be a much tempered down version of that imagined letter. That shower letter is yet another unwritten and unsent letter, another one added to that already big file.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I was at Jaymay's show last night at Rockwood Music Hall and the space was really tiny, people pressed up against each other, various old faces scattered around the room. Ahead of me though was this guy, rich looking, yakking away to his two female companions throughout the show, talking about specific songs, making references to Cat Power, one of those persons unable to have any experience alone, having to make sure it was shared with the people he was with. It felt like some weird version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, these well-styled heads right ahead of me, laughing to each other, leaning in to one another to whisper, blocking my view and distracting from the main show I kept on trying to focus on. I succeeded for the most part and thought about boys, most of the songs about that subject, and thought about my life and the progress I am not making with it. Thoughts came and went.

At one point, I was recalling the earlier part of my day, my time spent with Alex, and thought how weird it was that while I had been lying on my back, smiling up at him, he had remarked that I looked like Patrick Dempsey (a compliment that I cannot see) and Jonathan Larson (not exactly a compliment, but something which I can at least kind of see). This was really stunning to me since the evening prior I had recounted to Ethan how during that time I was a nutcracker countless people would tell me that I looked like Patrick Dempsey. I am assuming that anyone reading this knows me in real life and knows that aside from the fact that I (like most people) have brown hair, there is no resemblance whatsoever. That so many people told me this for a period of time had me very confused because this was something I had never heard before and then was suddenly hearing it so often. I became a little convinced that this was some giant orchestrated joke, that the world was trying to make me feel totally crazy, to inspect myself closer, wondering if I had no self-perception at all, and looking at pictures of this star on newstands and seeing nothing. So for this boy, basically a stranger, to tell me this while in bed yesterday really brought on this feeling that the joke was back on. Because I find it so weird (and probably also because there isn't that much going on in my life these days, being unemployed and all), my mind wandered back to this while Jaymay was playing. While thinking of this, I got a text message from that boy Taylor, inexperienced college student, I had that threesome with a month ago. The text message: "U look just like patrick dempsey. Im going to a punk band tomorrow night at 113 ludlow if u want to come." The timing of that message coninciding with thoughts on that subject made me certain that this is some cosmic joke. There is a punchline or this is a clue to something, a dream that needs decoding, and I have yet to figure that out.

After that show, I walked up to The Rapture, caught the end of Readings for Filth, and was really surprised by Sophia Lamar, someone I didn't expect to be good. And it probably wouldn't have read well on paper, but she gave a really fantastic performance that won over the crowd and certainly won over me, a really fantastic reading of "key words" and "key phrases" with a magnifying glass. Though it was just a litany of dirty words, there was something really fantastic and poetic about it, absurd as it was.

I had a beer with Diego afterwards at Phoenix. He was dressed nicely and was looking really cute to me, his smile, his eyes. I told him he should come over and play Scrabble. At my house, we drank more and actually did start to play Scrabble. We didn't finish the game, other things holding more interest to us than the assembling of tiles with letters on them to form words.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This boy, Alex, twenty years old and with a big smile, came over to my house this morning. We kissed, undressed, and made my way to my bed. We fooled around for a while, it being more playful than it has been for me in a long time. The playfulness may have been because he was young or because this was daytime sex, sober, the house to ourselves, Mary J. Blige playing in the background, sun coming in through the curtains. This sense of play brought us into my shower. We soaped each other's bodies, kissed, sucked dicks, kissed some more. The sunlight was coming through my fogged bathroom window, filling each of the little water droplets on his face, around his lips, with light. He was glowing. We dried off, went back into my bed. He wanted me to fuck him. I started to and there was the cry for more lube. Fiddling with the bottle of lube, I lost my boner. I pulled off the condom and he seemed disappointed. I lay next to him and we introduced ourselves. We did what normally precedes sex, introductions, talking about our lives, what we do, the usual. It was really sweet, really tender, lying next to each other naked, carressing each other, looking into brown eyes, and talking about life. We played some games, me being an airplane on top of his outstretched arms, silly things that made me laugh a lot, smile ear to ear. We exchanged massages and started rubbing boners against skin. I sucked his dick a lot, enjoying the dirty smile that crossed his face right before I would place it in my mouth, as he held it there for me to suck. We both jerked off on to my stomach. We hung out for a bit, smiling. He left. I looked at the clock, seeing that three hours had passed, my daytime had, and for the first time in several days, I did not feel like I had wasted my day, felt really good about how I had spent my time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I made a to-do list last night and was feeling pretty good about myself today and my progress with this until now. I have just spent the time I set aside in my day for writing by instead being in some sex daze, seeking it out (yet not entirely whole-heartedly even) on Craigslist and Manhunt. I have finally closed those browser windows, something I should have done minutes after looking at them, rather than two hours after the fact. And I sometimes wonder where my day goes, how time goes by so quickly, and here is the answer right here, these last two hours, how I can spend so much of my time in a daze, non-conscious, and rather zombie-like marching with a limp, outstretched arms, and some zombie groan toward sex. I think that I might have to begin unplugging my wireless router to prevent me from using the Internet as a distraction when I sit down here to write.

But prior to that, I called about things I needed to call about, purchased house items that had been needed for some time (sponges and shampoo among those items), went to the gym, did yoga at home, read, and went to the thrift store. The to-do list really helped shape my day and remind me of things that I needed to do. I am going to try to get in the habit of making one every night for the next day so that I can wake up and have some plan for my day.

Despite the bit of guilt I feel about wasting so much time on such silly sites (and yet not even producing the only justifiable excuse for being on such sites, that being sex), I do feel great phyically from having done yoga earlier tonight and so am going to let that guilt about wasted time and the stress it is producing go. I could feel guilty and could whip myself for being such a lazy shit, for claiming that I want to be a writer and not doing the one thing that a writer needs to, that being to write of course, but that is unproductive and also a waste of time, a way of procrastinating. Things will happen when they do. Hopefully tomorrow I can be more committed to the practice than I was tonight. Yoga is increasingly becoming a necessary part of my day, something that I need to do in order to feel relaxed and unburdened. After doing it, there is such a nice feeling of calm and I want to try to live in that feeling more often, to bring that sense of centeredness to every aspect of my life. I am working on doing that.

Each day that I do it, I am able to do the poses a little bit easier, am able to stretch a little bit further. The discipline that I am trying to bring to my life will be similar to this. Each day, I hope to wake up a bit earlier, to be a bit less wasteful with my time, and to write better each day. It is just a matter of getting into the habit and practice of doing these things. I am happy with the progress I have made today and I expect to continue it in these forthcoming days.
It does concern me that half of January is nearly past, that half a month of this new year has already whizzed past me and I have done none of the things which I resolved to do in this new year. Tomorrow I am going to wake up and it will be 2008. Tomorrow I am going to start doing all the numerous things I said I would do this year. These include not smoking, waking up earlier, writing every day, and becoming a better person. They are fairly simple resolutions and yet apparently not simple enough for me to actually do them.

I saw a really fantastic performance tonight at the Kitchen by Superamas called Big 3rd Episode. It was one of the better things I have seen in a while and probably the most intelligent thing I have seen in a long while, scratching the surface of really topical questions (for me) about happiness by deconstructing scenes, having them repeat several times in different ways, breaking them up with bits of video or light. It's not an easy show to describe, but a pleasure to watch and to engage with, the show provoking many questions and even some briefly grasped answers.

I rode my new bicycle to this performance and fell in love. The feelings that I have are a bit silly. I will occasionally check myself and ask if this love might not be materialism, that to have actual feelings of love for a bicycle, a piece of metal, may be a little warped, but the pleasure that I got while riding it and the ease with which I rode, the ease with which it just pedalled casually over the normally steep Williamsburg Bridge, silenced those questions, pesky things.

A couple of days ago, I found out that I have rectal chlamydia. I took some pills, two, and in a week the STD should be gone. Surprisingly, this is the first time that I have had an STD. The occassion seems worthy of note, of documenting it here in this diary, this thing that I have been neglecting, but which I am going to start things up again with. I don't want to make resoultions I cannot keep, but my goal is to write in here every day, that diaries are very important to me, that it is a form of writing, and that when I am in the habit of writing in here regularly, it comes easier. Writing is a habit that I need to get back into. I need to drop some of the bad habits and pick up some of the good ones that I have let drop over the past several years. Even reading this here I can see how my brain is mush, how my writing is also, and how I need to clean up both, how through writing more regularly, making it cleaner and less messy, that that has an effect on my brain, on my ability to think intelligently and coherently. I can't say more because it all reads like shit to me, but tomorrow and the next day and the days after I am going to clean it up, work myself closer to that place I want to be in.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I got off the subway this afternoon on the Upper East Side. There was a boy climbing the stairs ahead of me. When he caught sight of what he was stepping into, with awe he said, "New York City!" He repeated it a couple of times and his excitement about where he was recalled to me moments when I shared that same feeling and made clear to me how far from that feeling I have been lately. For a moment today, I saw it with his eyes, remembered how tall and massive these buildings look to small children, how they should look to adults also. Lately though, these tall buildings have been unnoticed, the city has; it has all been blocked out by my own sorrows, thinking about my inertia in this life professionally, artisically, romantically, and pretty much every other front imaginable. Circling all of this and feeding these thoughts is an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, which at times becomes so painful that the only way to deal with it is to be asleep, to not be awake to pick at the scab anymore.

I was uptown to get tested for STDs, was getting tested at one of the two remaining bathhouses in this city. I was doing this instead of attending a group pig play session that I had expressed interest in, had decided against that when I learned that people I knew were going to be there, when they encouraged me to come, my interest in the scene being fed by its earlier anonymity, being able to project imagined things on to these unknown people. Knowing that I would know these people killed my interest, and instead I found myself at the East Side Club getting tested for STDs, thinking about my inability to connect with other human beings.

There were more people at the place than I had imagined for an early Sunday afternoon, older men walking around in towels cruising each other. I passed them all, enjoying the attention, the desire, I enjoyed as the youngest person there, my feelings of isolation, loneliness, and undesirability all temporarily (and how temporarily!) soothed with their eyes, hungry things.

Vials of blood were drawn and things were swabbed with giant Q-tips.

As I walked home from my subway stop, the sun was already nearing the horizon, and the clouds looked full of something that I wanted in the sun's dying light. I watched Chris Rock's Bring the Pain, which was really good, Rock stalking the stage like some large feline, lion or tiger maybe, and owning that crowd. This brightened my mood and made me laugh out loud. I then continued my reading of Mary Gaitskill's Veronica and that brought me back to the place I had been earlier. It is a fantastic book, sad and miserable and beautiful, with writing that I sometimes read twice over, wowed by Gaitskill's ability to so eloquently in the span of a few sentences or paragraphs conjure something so large, so known and unsayable. I go back and try to find out where exactly the thing was said, with what words, but it's not there; it's just in the tone and the things implied. Throughout the book, she says some amazing things about music and our complicated relationship with it.

My music was more private, and I didn't play it loudly. I crouched down by it, sucking it into my ears, tunneling into it at the same time. Daphne sprawled on her bed, reading, and Sara played one of here strange games with miniature animals, talking to herself softly in different animal vocies. Downstairs, my father watched TV or listened to his music while my mother did housework or drew paper clothes for the cardboard paper dolls she still made for us, even though we no longer played with them. I loved them like you love your hand or your liver, without thinking about it or even being able to see it. But my music made that fleshly love feel dull and dumb, deep, slow, and heavy as stone. Come, said the music, to joy and speed and secret endlessness, where everything tumbles together and attachements are not made of sad flesh.

I didn't know it, but my father was doing the same thing sitting in his padded rocking chair, listening to opera or to music from World War II. Except he did not want tumbling or endlessness. He wanted more of the attachment I despised--he just didn't want it with us. My father had been too young to enlist when World War II started; his brother joined the army right away. When my dad was finally old enough to enlist in the navy, he sent his brother a picture of himself in his uniform with a Hawaiian girl on his lap; he wrote, "Interrogating the natives!" on the back. A week before the war ended, it was returned to my father with a letter saying his brother was dead. Thirty years later, he was a husband, father, and administrator in a national tax-office chain. But sometimes when I walked past him sitting in his chair, he would look at me as if I were the cat or a piece of furniture, while inside he searched for his brother. And through his brother, his mother and father. And through them, a world of people and feelings that had ended too abruptly and that had nothing to do with where he was now. He wasn't searching for memories; he already had them. He wanted the physical feel of sitting next to his brother or looking into his eyes, and he was searching for it in the voices of strangers that had sung to them both a long time ago. I was so attached to my father that I felt this. But I felt it without knowing what it was, and I didn't care to think about it. Who wants to think about their liver or their hand? Who wants to know about a world of people who are dead? I was busy following the music, tumbling through my head and out the door. (30-31)


The book was quite good and, typing this, I see that it doesn't show the thing felt when reading this, that as a whole this book works very well, little pieces coming together, earlier referenced things, fitting in perfectly with new things, new themes.

More would be said but I am off to Hell's Kitchen to change the setting, shake up the snowglobe a little bit, hopefully producing new feelings.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

When it turned midnight, a year ending and another one beginning, I was on a rooftop in Bushwick surrounded by friends while making out with Diego. Kissing him was fantastic and relieving. The happiness I got from that kiss, that moment, was because there was the knowledge of recent New Year's Eves, all outrageously terrible, and because this one did not seem to be such a thing, was nice, pleasant, and fun, that I wasn't cursed to have a terrible night every year on this night, that I was alive and happy.

Diego soon left for Metropolitan with his friends, telling me that he wanted to sleep over and that I should meet him at Metropolitan. And because apparently I did not learn my lesson a few days ago when I took my sweet time in getting to this exact same bar to meet a boy I liked a lot, I continued to hang out in Bushwick, time passing faster than I realized, my sense of time probably altered by excessive consumption of vodka and some pot smoked.

Around two, I arrived at this bar, and soon after got a text message from Diego saying, "Just left."

All evening I had had the expectation that I was going to end my night with this boy, that I would have sex with him, and that I would then sleep next to him, and this thing to look forward to provided me lots of happiness. When this thing was no longer going to be such a thing, when he had probably just gone home with someone else, that happiness quickly departed. I was feeling pretty glum, New Year's again seeming like this night of outsized importance, that how one starts a year has a symbolism for how that year is to proceed that may or may not be true, but which on New Year's Eve I always think that is so, and so this news, his departure, and how it meant I would be sleeping alone, really brought me down.

It didn't help that I talked to some boy I had met at the Marc Jacobs holiday party, exchanged numbers with there, and had had tentative plans to hang out with, which he never followed through on, never called me back about. He kept apologizing to me as if my feelings should have been hurt by his not calling me, and I didn't care, didn't care at the time, and certainly didn't care last night, my mind on other things other than this boy whose name I could not and still cannot remember.

I drank more. I saw a boy who looked like David, who I thought was. I went up to talk to him thinking he was a person he wasn't. His name was Amit and he said that we were subway buddies, that he always sees me on the L train. I felt his chest and told him that I wished I could play it with more, could be somewhere where his clothes would not be a hindrance to doing so. Diego was on my mind in this moment. Sex with a really attractive person needed to occur, or I thought so then, that that would make me happier, erase the sadness, the feeling of rejection.

Amit and I walked to his house, cutting through McCarren Park, talking about other places, origins. In his bedroom, we listened to music and smoked some pot. We undressed each other and had sex. We lay next to each other talking about our love lifes, it being pretty apparent that this was a one night thing, and so both really comfortable talking about other people, things we wanted, things other people wanted. We had sex again. He mentioned going to get pizza, and I thought this was a cue for me to leave, thought that he didn't want me sleeping over, but this also very well could have been a bit of paranoid thinking induced by being stoned. I was sad about leaving, not only didn't want to have to get back home, but really did want to sleep pressed up against someone, to not wake up alone. His bed was also really comfortable. I got dressed and left, not exchanging numbers.

I woke up this morning hungover and alone, no one else home.