Monday, November 28, 2011


Chilaquiles really might be at their best twenty minutes or so after they are served. The same argument could potentially be made for pizza. Sometimes the thing is better once it has cooled, when the more liquid aspects to the dish, the melted cheese, the salsa, become something else, something with more solid attributes. Chilaquiles taste best like this when you are hungry and stoned and in love with the weird, chicken-like texture tortilla chips have once they have soaked up all the salsa in the dish. The joy in eating this particular dish is a joy because it presents to us the sturdy tortilla chip, and we see its proud back brought down by the blows of some giant who had been offscreen until this moment, a threat only hinted at by the dark clouds off on the horizon our hero was marching toward. We see a giant tripped up by rope, fallen to the earth. We see that boy who seemed something else take a dick up his ass and make a face of pain, a pure emotion one didn't think possible, his detached badinage making you believe, falsely, that this guy was too cool for it all, over it. A desire's broad outlines somehow satisfied with each bite of the chilaquiles. We see the thing's will broken, and, more importantly here, feel our own asserted by its submission.

We eat and eat and cannot stop. The food runs out though, and we are forced to.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I am not sure that there is much to The Muppets movie, not sure there needs to be. It was a fun afternoon at the movies though, watching this ragtag bunch of puppets from my childhood make self-aware jokes about their datedness, about their irrelevance. There was a happy ending, there usually is.

From there, I went to the bookstore to find a travel guide to Montreal for my weekend trip I am taking in two weeks. Jacob and I have booked overnight tickets on a Greyhound bus for a couple weeks from now and are going to spend three days exploring a city neither of us has ever been to, a city with poutine, naked go-go boys, and French speakers. I am very excited.

I went to the gym and worked out to the point that my arms are very sore and despite these numerous trips to the gym weekly, despite the soreness, there is not the instantaneous massive arms I want to appear - that thing that happens with the Hulk when he gets angry. I showered and bought a nice bottle of wine from Warehouse Wine and Spirits, probably my favorite wine store in New York. It's like the Strand of wine stores, old and dusty and too well-lit, but such great deals to be had.

Jacob and I made curry, drank some wine, and now each of us is staring at separate screens, our MacBooks before us, a distance of only a few feet in one sense separating us, distances in other senses separating us that are quite bigger.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I was riding home tonight on the train back from Delaware, the past couple days spent with my family outside of this city, outside of my comfort zone, a bit bored. It was what it was. Good and surely revitalizing in the ways that being with the family are - in ways that are both clear and also very unclear, very below the surface, that some good on the atomic level comes about by being around these people you spent many years on this planet with, with the people that brought you forth into this world, the people responsible for your atoms. And yet there are atoms just as well responding to their influence in less receptive ways, pushing away from each other, making you want to distance yourself from this type of life in the suburbs, this type of comfort, that this is why you moved to this city, and some sparks long thought blown out again show a small orange ember and there is the desire to live differently, to make it in this world and to live a life worth meaning, said with emphasis, verbally letting you know that in print this is a part that would be italicized, that you want that type of life and are serious about it, that this desire is again rekindled by being around your family, which though you love, you also want to be very different from, other than.

I watched too much television over this time, realize how much of it I watch in New York - too much since I knew about all of these shows, these stars, was able to partake in conversations easily concerning them. I wanted to distance myself from this culture, create a different one, and that's why I moved to this city I now live in and something happened and I am not sure what but I was reminded of some original intentions these past couple days, again wanted an old beat-up Saab 900 that I could cover the back of with bumper stickers that articulated far more forcefully than I would ever do so now, ideas and concepts I was excited, proud, to embrace. There is a critical distance now where a pride that proud becomes something else, tacky, gauche.

I slept and read a copy of Men's Fitness that I bought in the Amtrak waiting area in Wilmington for $4.99, the headlines revealing ways for me to obtain abs and sex secrets, and how could I not purchase a thing promising such things? I have been on a fitness kick lately that is tied to a perhaps unhealthy zeal about trying to get abs and to become more built. After I finished this magazine that I was only mildly embarrassed to read on the train, shielding it a bit when people walked past, I tried reading 1Q84, but that put me to sleep much as it did on the way down to my family's house. I slept and didn't and looked at what type of people showed up on my Grindr feed in these towns outside of New York. The lights of New York began to appear out in the dark, past my own fluorescent-lit reflection and that of my fellow passengers, the city's lights visible if I unfocused my eyes, let their focus on a close world relax enough so they could see the one beyond this one, the many other ones there. A skyline I used to see was there in this new one. Freedom Tower is now gigantic looking when you approach at night from New Jersey, it towering over anything near. It has a flat top, as it's still being built, no antenna yet to give it more shape. A massive block of light on each floor, the floors rising week by week. It's nice to see. It changes the skyline and doesn't. It's still a big light of hope saying EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE when you approach it from New Jersey after saying goodbye to your family. It's the same place you ran to, the Emerald City we staggered to through poppy fields. Even with that gigantic Freedom Tower now there, it is still the skyline I saw when I first moved here, this place I had dreamed of since I was a kid, and finally, finally fucking made it to, that, tonight, I was again so fucking grateful to have made it to this place.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Together

Another weekend nearly gone by, another work week about to start, which also will somehow go by quicker than expected. Thanksgiving will pass. Christmas will too. And soon these things will come around again, again seemingly sooner than one's notion of time seems to allow for.

This weekend started, appropriately, with a snatch of conversation that has been repeating in my head ever since it was uttered. It was Dwayne's birthday and he was having a dinner at Dallas BBQ. I was seated next to an old co-worker, Sara, and she asked me what I was doing, if I was ever going to leave the hotel. I said I wanted to, but that I was lazy, that I hated looking for jobs, that I didn't even know what to try to do. If I had had more to drink at this point or if it had been in a setting outside of someone's birthday festivities, I might have been more introspective, more honest, said that I feel a bit trapped, that I don't know any longer how to go about doing things, that I feel old at times, that I have perhaps missed the boarding of certain boats. Because she is great and doesn't pooh-pooh around the issue, because she also worked the same job, she said, "You don't want to be forty and still be working at [the hotel]."

And, no, I don't. I didn't want to be thirty and still be working there. But time really does move fast and one has to be nimble and keep ahead of it, which I have not been doing. I have been drifting along on its currents, carried forward in this same job I have been doing for three years now. It is somehow Thanksgiving on Thursday.

And so I was eager to leave this brightly-lit restaurant, put those thoughts behind me, let them be less visible in a darkened bar. Erica and I went to Rawhide. We ran into some friends on the street and dragged them there with us. I drank a couple of strong drinks and felt my anxiety easing. I watched go-go boys dance, desired bodies, listened to shit music, and felt better, felt again soothed by time's currents, carried away again, not fighting the current any longer. From there, we all went to the bar at the Chelsea Hotel.

Francois Sagat was in attendance at this party and I went into stalker mode, staring at him all night, barely listening to whomever I was with, eyeing Sagat, looking for a moment when he might be by himself so I could say hello. At some point, this moment came. I had had quite a bit to drink by this point and was a drooling fanboy, but he was way more polite than he needed to be, friendly even. He had a beautiful smell, a sexy BO. I wanted to bury my face in his armpits, inhabit that smell. I shook his hand instead.

When I woke up insanely hungover yesterday, I remembered to jerk myself off with that same hand before showering, thought dirty thoughts, thought about touch and connections and human bodies and internet bodies.

I went back to sleep, slept off my hangover, and then went last evening to see Happy Together at MoMA. Desire and sadness and dreams were projected on to a screen and I projected my own baggage, memories, and associations on to those projections. The images and scenes and slowed down bits and smokiness kept burning an afterimage all night, Wong Kar-Wai often being able to do these things to me. At Eastern Bloc afterwards, Cyndi Lauper's "Money Changes Everything" was played, a song that for reasons I don't entirely understand really cuts deep for me. I got emotional and sipped my cocktail and talked to Jacob about a trip to Canada.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

laser lights sending fallen dominoes back upright, one and then the next

The music was terrible, as it has lately been anytime I have bothered go to Sugarland on a Friday. The fog machines and lasers were doing their best to compensate but the dance floor was still empty. Everyone was crowded at the front of the bar, far from the dance floor. There was a two hour open bar happening and I had drink after drink, talked and did not talk with a group of SVA students. My mind kept wandering. Green lasers kept racing across surfaces and I thought about time, specifically the years I have spent in New York. It was the 4th anniversary of this particular bar and on Sunday night, I spent a similar evening at its sister bar, Metropolitan, when that bar celebrated its 9th anniversary.

I have been in New York now for eight and a half years. My first apartment that I signed a lease to was just a couple blocks from Metropolitan and I lived there for a few years, oftentimes spending several nights a week at Metropolitan. I met a boy at that bar that I had my first New York relationship with. That didn't end so well and I threw myself at him every time I continued to see him at Metropolitan, perhaps started going to this particular bar even more after this, the hope of seeing him, of going home with him if I could manage to say the right things, be charming or desperate enough.

I have hooked up with countless boys from that bar, done lines of coke in its bathroom, spent many summer Sunday afternoons on its back patio getting sloppier and sloppier. I have also now at this point in my life calmed down quite a bit from those early years of mine in New York, settled down in many senses of the phrase. My trips to the bar have become less and less frequent. It is weird to think that my time in New York and Metropolitan's coincides so closely.

I don't know where I am going with any of these thoughts. I am not sure where one ever intends to go when they start strolling down memory lane looking at boarded up windows that they once used to live in. But that's what was happening last evening. I didn't really know anyone other than Jacob and his SVA friends. I thought about when Sugarland first opened, how I was there for that. Smoking on the roof patio last night, I could see a tall unoccupied condo building that Sugarland was now in the shadow of. That did not used to be there. When the bar first opened, the Williamsburg real estate bubble was popping and everything around this bar looked bombed out, razed lots, half finished construction projects. Apparently the money has now come back for big condo projects. This building was a depressing sight to see, obstructing a view of the night sky that used to be fairly unobstructed.

Jacob at one point asked about the mural of Domino Sugar Factory at the front of the bar, wondering why it was in the bar. I was a little blown away that he didn't know the building's history and its relationship to this neighborhood, that it was less than a decade ago still an operational factory, that its closure in 2004 (a year after I moved here) was a very potent symbol of Williamsburg's manufacturing decline, that what had once been an active industrial waterfront was no longer, that the bar took its name from this, that it was a cutesy reference to this part of Williamsburg's history that had only recently come to a close.

My mind wandered even more so now, this brief retelling of the neighborhood's recent history throwing about green lasers all over other surfaces of my mind, things briefly illuminated, memories of beds and boys and shit jobs and hungover mornings and bike rides and endless slices of pizza.

The open bar ended. The music was still shit. The dance floor was still empty. Jacob was too drunk for his own good. We went to Anna Maria's and had some slices before hopping on the train home.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I woke up yesterday morning with a slight sore throat. I took some Advil and some vitamins intended to ward off this cold and went to work. Work became more and more unbearable. I could feel a fever developing more and more, a headache becoming more and more pounding, my head literally feeling like it was about to split open. From work, I came straight home and went to bed. I have not had pants on in what is now 24 hours. I called in sick to work today and have been lying around in bed or on the couch, watching The Only Way is Essex, porn, YouTube clips, and feeling like shit.

I am drinking a cup of coffee now in an attempt to feel normal, as coffee is a necessary part of my day in order to feel normal. Sweat beads are popping up all over my forehead.

I can already see the rays of the sun becoming more and more horizontal, it nearing sundown already at this early hour. I am thinking about how I should think more about certain things, not necessarily thinking about those things mind you, just rather telling myself I should be thinking about them more sometime soon, some future date, not necessarily now.

Among these things: Figuring out a way to manage my finances, so I quit overdrawing my bank account every single month when my rent check is deposited. Finding a new career outside of hotels. Researching ways to quickly gain muscle. Figuring out a place in Central America to vacation soon. Again figure out a way to manage my finances, so that that can happen. Figure out a way to get my wisdom teeth removed. Again see that admonition about finances.

Looking at that list, I see it as stupid. I also am getting soaked in sweat due to this cold and this very hot coffee. Sweat it out, start again. Burn it to the ground. Dance around the flames and send up your prayers skyward with the smoke.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

an end to Daylight Savings Time

When I was coming back from seeing Joan Didion read the other night, I was seated across from this sexy man on the L train. He looked like a better-looking version of an ex-boyfriend of mine. I kept looking up from my book to look at him. He would occasionally catch me looking at him and I would look away, pretending I was just looking around the train. I wasn't sure that the man was gay, had my doubts, didn't want to be too obvious, didn't want to get my ass kicked. Gay cruising is such a fraught activity. It often exists in straight spaces, trains in this case, and there isn't always the guarantee that the person being cruised is gay. There is the hope that they are and you look for a signal, a look held just a fraction of a second longer than appropriate, a slight smile in the corner of the lips, eyes that show their hunger for sex. And so there is bound up in this cruising a fear, a tension, a riskiness; there is the fear, sometimes large, sometimes tiny, that the person might not be gay, might be offended by your looks, might get aggressive or even violent toward you, well-founded fears in the homophobic world in which we reside.

I was never entirely sure with this person and so I did my best to not look at him too much. He got off the train a couple stops before me and that was that. In earlier days, I may have gone home and written a Missed Connection about him. Instead, I went home and sat on the couch with my boyfriend.

That was our last friendly night with each other, Jacob and I. The next night he did not invite me out with him, despite me telling him I wanted to go out. I took great offense to this, probably more so than was fair, but I can be quite sensitive when feeling slighted and then I turn very venomous and mean. We have barely talked since then. I have gone into the other room when he has been home, have tried my best not to talk to him. I thought a lot about whether I should be with this person, thought I shouldn't, wanted to be alone and on my own.

After lying in our bedroom while he sat in our living room last night, a real rager of a Saturday night at our house, I left to go meet Erica and some other friends at Midway. A few five dollar beer and shot combos later, I had softened, missed Jacob, and texted him that I loved him. I somehow convinced all these people, most of them straight, that we should go to Metropolitan instead.

I was talking to someone at Metropolitan about Werner Herzog. They had recently met him and I wanted to know everything about their brief meeting, Herzog someone I admire dearly. Behind this boy talking to me, I saw him, the boy from the train. He saw me too and smiled, clear that we both remembered each other from the train the other day. I left the Herzog conversation abruptly and went to talk to this boy. We chatted for a long while about things I can't remember on this hungover day. I remember a Robyn song came on and I sang along. We walked back to his house.

Once there, he told me he had HIV, that he wanted to let me know that beforehand. That's fine, I said, who cares. We were already naked. He said that it was a dealbreaker for the last few negative people he had brought home, that they had left. We made out and he sucked me off for a bit. There was talk of other stuff but he didn't have condoms. I came and he licked the semen off my cock and fingers. We talked about Bjork. I got dressed during this conversation. I said goodbye to this guy and he seemed a bit sad. I asked him if he was. He said no. I didn't believe it. We hugged and I sang along some more to whatever song was playing on his stereo at the time. I was really in a singing mood last night, stirred to feelings by being out late on a Saturday night with whiskey and beer in my system and an extra hour in the night.

I walked home through dark, mainly empty streets, feeling very sure of my footing, walked with a strong awareness of the present moment and my place in it. Home, I ate some cold pizza, and then slept next to Jacob.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

a thank you

After she was done reading from her new book, she said she would take questions. There was silence and everyone looked around nervously, wondering who was going to break the silence. There were things I wanted to ask but I didn't have words for these questions and any questions I could think of seemed either too banal or too much for the setting, for the person the questions would be directed to. I was really nervous. This was one of my idols and I couldn't ask her just anything. Worse, I could not ask her something and have her give a look where I knew she was bored by the question. I wouldn't be able to continue living. I was silent and so too was the rest of the audience. We all adored her too much clearly. The moderator broke the ice and asked a question and soon other people followed, seeing that she wouldn't bite, that she is a sweet, old lady who fingers all these memories in her answers.

I had seen Joan Didion read once before, when she was promoting The Year of Magical Thinking, and that experience was beautiful even though I was in the back of a huge overflow crowd at Barnes and Noble's. This time, I was lucky enough to see her read at Paula Cooper Gallery, a much smaller event, and was even more lucky to score a seat in the second row. I was ten or so feet from this writer I adore for a good hour. She is small and spectral, a little old lady, delicate looking.

After the reading, I got in line to get my copy of Blue Nights signed. Her hands briefly touched my book as she signed her name. There were a million things I wanted to say to this woman. There was no way I could concisely put all of these feelings into this brief moment granted by her signing my book. When she was done signing my book, she looked up at me. For a brief instant, I got to look Joan Didion in the eyes and I said, "Thank you." I said it in the most sincere way. Those two words were packed with so much gratitude.

It was some years ago when I was working at The Strand when I first read her. The first book I read was The White Album, a beautiful old hardcover edition that I can still clearly picture the red and blue cover fonts of. It was a magical book, a book of spells. It really showed me what could be done with an economy of prose, how moods could be evoked with pauses and clipped sentences. It showed me a beautiful rhythm which I often find myself poorly imitating, often unconscious of the fact, sometimes conscious of it. They are short little essays, each of which packs a huge punch, paints broad pictures of this country and what it means to live. I sold the book during one of the many times when I was broke and sold off big piles of books I had acquired from working at that store. I need to reacquire it, an old hardcover copy though. Slouching Towards Bethlehem was read shortly thereafter, and I soon relisted my favorite books on Friendster. These two will always be on any favorite book list of mine.

I couldn't explain how much this woman means to me, but I am sure you have people like that in your life, and imagine how you would feel if you got to see them up close in person, the butterflies and the joy and the nervousness all bouncing around inside you. And that's how I felt last night - absolutely giddy and starstruck and full of dreams and memories and heartache.