Monday, December 31, 2012

looking back, looking forward

In a little less than ten hours, this year, 2012, will segue into 2013. Now, whether that actually means anything, whether there is such thing as units of time distinct from one another with qualities their own is another thing, a debatable thing, that there probably is just life, this life, that we are temporarily enjoying, and it's just one big chunk of time. But because I am human, because I am living on this calendar system, I do put stock in years, in looking back on them, trying to take them as a whole, learn some lessons from them, and with those lessons live better in new years, in this approaching one.

Looking back on this past year, there was an event that overshadows the rest of the year, that makes everything else fade into the background. It was just past the mid-point of this year, in late-June, when Jacob, my boyfriend of two plus years, broke up with me. It is now nearly half a year past that point and, still, I find myself strongly affected by it from time to time. There are still nights when in bed alone, thinking about being in my bed alone, I shed a few tears thinking back to my time with him, lamenting that those times are over. I lost a lover, a companion, a best friend. Last night, when my eyes started to water, I let myself cry. I told myself to enjoy it for one more time, the picking over this wound, because there would be no more tears shed about this in 2013, that this was it, that we have lamented this for too long, that we are putting this in the 2012 scrapbook and sticking it on a high shelf, out of reach.

This past year started out with me leaving my past job of three years, a job in hospitality, for another job in hospitality. I am making less money and there are times when I think that it was a mistake to switch jobs, but 99% of the time, I am really happy that I made this change. In this upcoming year, I want to get out of hospitality, or at least out of the frontlines of it and its shitty hours. And, yes, I am in the midst of interviewing for a concierge job at another hotel, and, yes, I really do want this job since it pays nearly twice what I make now, but by the time the year 2013 ends, I would really like to find myself not working in hospitality. I might find myself living in Los Angeles.

I quit Facebook this morning. I have done this before and am not sure how long it will last this time, that it often does seem necessary to be on it to keep in the loop about certain things sadly, but I am going to do my best to not look back. If I could add up all of the hours of this past year that I have spent on Facebook, I would probably cut that number down to a third of what it actually was before telling you, and yet I would still be embarrassed. It is a vicious circular loop that I get trapped into and I have wasted so, so much time on the site. No more. 2013 is going to be a productive year for me.

I was not very productive in 2012, despite finally getting out of my comfort zone and leaving a job I had become stuck in. I ate a lot of great food and saw some amazing concerts and had some amazing moments with friends. I didn't love enough though. I certainly did not write enough.

I have been trying to find a section that I read in The Brothers Karamazov that really inspired me. I may have imagined this section since I have been having great difficulty in finding it today. It had to do with love, love for other humans and for the planet, for everything in this world, that it was only through this act of loving, of universal love, that the world takes on any meaning, that this is what living is, what life is, that without this life is absolutely meaningless. I may have actually conflated some sections of "The Mysterious Visitor" from the novel with themes from Love Actually.

There are lots of things that I am unsure of, but there are many things that I am sure of, and I am getting a lot better about drawing lines when things contradict the things I am sure of.

I am going to minimize my dairy intake in 2013. I am going to try to avoid most sugars and sweets. I am going to try not to smoke. I am going to work out more. I am going to write. I am going to love and live.

five songs that I listened to over and over again in 2012

Yes, only two of these came out this year, but these are the five songs that I listened to over and over again throughout the year, that really helped me through certain moments. The album of the year for me would certainly be Twin Shadow's Confess - no album was more played or more enjoyed this year. I could have easily put all 11 tracks from it up here as the most listened to tracks of this past year, but I chose only one so that I could put into this little time capsule other songs that meant a lot to me during this past year.









Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Let us be lovers - we'll marry our fortunes together."

Last night, I found myself listening to various covers of Simon and Garfunkel's "America." There is a version by Yes, that, even despite being stoned last night, I had a hard time getting into. And then there is this version at the opposite end of the spectrum by David Bowie, a cover version I had never heard before - totally stripped down and absolutely perfect. Chills up and down my spine when he sings: Michigan seems like a dream to me now. He drags out that now just long enough for you to hear the power of his voice, before he pinches his mouth down, the memory, the line, the recollections conjured, the feeling of being young and in search of something - all of this a bit too much and look at his pained grimace as he ends that line. Bowie really feels these lines and he sings them in his perfect voice, the only accompaniment being what sounds like the slowed down waltz of a circus's music. What is conjured for me are images of tired and weary circus performers on the march across the countryside, elephants reluctantly moving forward.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Simon and Garfunkel - "America"

Wah Wah Wah, said the guy next to me on the subway this morning. I had headphones in, was listening to Simon and Garfunkel's "America," a song that I have fallen really in love with over the past few days and that I have been starting my morning commutes to work with.

I took out my headphones so that I could hear what he was saying.

"Are you a Blood?" I thought he was joking. He didn't immediately scream Crazy Person when I sat down next to him. He looked like a normal enough guy, a sane enough person, an Asian guy in his twenties. Again, he asked me if I was a Blood. I told him that, no, I was not a Blood.

"Are you sure? Because someone told me that the guy who gets on the train at DeKalb with a red hat is a Blood. You look like him. I am sure it's you. Are you sure you're not a Blood? My friend told me had a red hat like you. It's you, I know. I'm sure of it."

I kept nodding my head No as he continued with his monologue, asking the same question over and over again. I put on my headphones and tried my best to ignore him, to tune him out, to tune out my own fears that this man might stab me, that he might pull a knife out of the bag sitting on his lap that he keeps reaching into and cut me in front of all these morning commuters doing their best to ignore this man.

Paul Simon sang in my ears: "Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping.

I have lived in this city long enough now that I can sit on the train next to a crazy man asking me if I am a Blood and still manage to halfway enjoy my ride to work. Turn up the volume on your headphones loud enough so that other noises, crazy people talking at you for instance, take on the sound of a murmur underneath it all, a Wah Wah Wah trying to get your attention, trying to waste your time, trying to engage you in nonsense. Make the world you want to inhabit loud enough to silence any other worlds.

Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all gone to look for America


This year, 2012, is ending in just a couple of days. There is a forecast of snow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas

I woke up yesterday morning in Delaware on my mom's couch. We had opened presents the night before since both my sister and I had a train leaving early on Christmas morning to take us back to New  York. I got a window seat and looked out over the landscape of the Northeast, of cities in decline, of centers of manufacturing long abandoned, of rivers, shopping centers, subdivisions, of marshlands and trees without many leaves. There were quite a few cemeteries that our train rode past, cars parked throughout them, visitors leaving flowers at numerous graves, a lot of people out on Christmas morning remembering their loved ones no longer of this earthly world. I remembered a loved one still of this earthly world as my train breezed passed all of these scenes. I thought about Jacob a lot over the Christmas holidays. It probably didn't help that my mom made us watch Love Actually, which inspired all sorts of sentimental longing, nostalgic wandering, and romantic feeling in me.

The train pulled into Penn Station and I took the subway home, unloaded my luggage, my presents, showered, and then headed back on the subway, into work. 

Because I was working Christmas, because I was sad, because I was back in the city after spending two days in the suburbs, I wanted to rage. And, so, rage I did. C and I started inhaling dust-off in the bell closet fairly early into our shift. We started chugging red wine as well. We did poppers. We were on a mission to get as wildly fucked up at work as possible without getting fired. We bought some Lime A Ritas, a weird new canned concoction from Budweiser. We drank those and then with some other co-workers downed two bottles of cava, all the while hiding out of sight to inhale more dust-off. 

From work, already wasted, we hopped into a cab, headed toward Brooklyn to rage. I played Kendrick Lamar loudly from my phone and we passed the bottle of dust-off back and forth, getting more and more fucked up, killing more and more brain cells. 

I remember that Metropolitan was surprisingly crowded for Christmas. I remember that C and I did dust-off throughout the night right in the middle of the bar. I remember at some point doing a terrible karaoke version of Whitney Houston's "So Emotional." I left with C. We stumbled home toward Bushwick, walking down Grand Street. We parted ways at Manhattan Avenue, but not before I pointed out the location of my first apartment in New York, and also the location of my first New York boyfriend's then apartment, the two directly across the street from each other. It's a very sentimental conversation that these two buildings have with each other all of the time. 

I let these buildings continue their talk and headed home. I stumbled into the Dunkin Donuts by my house and had a conversation with a sausage and egg sandwich.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Two Chihuahuas, Two Yorkshire Terriers

It's only 6:30 in the morning, I thought to myself as I walked faster to the subway, ignoring the yelling and cursing behind me, way too early for any of this and also this being no way to start the day.

I have what might potentially be the worst neighbor ever. To rewind a little, when I was moving into this apartment a few months ago, lifting heavy boxes up flights of stairs, unloading furniture into a still empty apartment, this lady from across the hall watched the proceedings from her doorway without an introduction or even a simple hello. She just glared at us as we made a couple trips up and down the stairs. After a bit of this, she peeked her head in and asked if we were the people moving in. I said that I was. She said that she only has one rule. She doesn't say her name, doesn't ask ours, just starts right off the bat laying down the law. She tells us that she has grandkids and is trying to protect them so when we smoke weed, we need to light incense in the hall so she doesn't smell it. I think it is also worth pointing out that my friend and I were not carting in massive bongs, blacklights, vacuum-sealed bags of weed, or pints of Ben and Jerry's - nothing that should immediately give away the fact that we smoke weed.

At that point, I actually hadn't been smoking weed for a couple months and didn't for the first month or so I lived here, though now I have started smoking just about every night. Last night, I incurred her wrath - this mean Puerto Rican grandmother. I don't know why this woman is so loud. I don't know why Puerto Rican grandmas tend to be. This woman reminds me of the landlord of my first apartment in New York that I lived in for four years - another insanely loud Puerto Rican grandma that I also got into massive battles with.

Anyways, around 10 pm last evening, this lady from across hall comes BANG BANG BANGing on my door, the type of knock that announces one is really, really, really mad. I open up the door and she starts screaming at me about the smell of weed in her apartment. Also worth noting is that the people who live downstairs blaze out all day long and the entire building has always and will forever smell like weed because of them. Also worth noting is that I hadn't even smoked weed yesterday when the BANG BANG BANGing on the door came. We yelled a bit and I closed my door and she stormed back over to her apartment.

At that point, it was definitely time to smoke some weed.

This morning, I am leaving for work at around 6:30 and I hear her yelling to her grandson about the motherfucker across the way. I hear her yelling all the time - every moment of the day she is home she is yelling, either at someone on the phone, at her grandkids, or at her equally loud chihuahuas. She disturbs me more than I thought possible and yet I do not go BANG BANG BANGing on her door to tell her that her constant aggressive shouting all day long is really ruining my vibe.

So I was particularly upset when I was about to leave the building this morning, down at the bottom of the flight of stairs, when I heard her again mumble about the motherfucker to her grandson, referencing me. I yell to the top of the stairs, "Excuse me? Are you talking about me? Do you have something you actually want to say to me?" And neighbors on the first floor, I do apologize about so early going to battle this morning right outside your doors, but I did it for you too, for the good of anyone that lives with this insane gremlin.

She was walking her grandson to school, giving him fine education in the choicer words from the English language, particularly the word "motherfucker." Every third or fourth word out of her was "motherfucker." Our fight spilled out on to the porch, on to the sidewalk, and continued as we both walked toward the subway together, me and her and her grandson, waking up all the fine residents on Dekalb Avenue at such an early hour this morning with our profanity punctuated screams at each other. I told her that if she ever knocked on my door again I was going to call the police and file harassment charges. She told me that the next time she smells weed, she is going to call the police and report me. Threats back and forth. I complained about her dogs. She told me to move out. I told her to go fuck herself. A beautiful start to the day.

Since I was already running late for work even before this fight started, I walked quicker, leaving this lady behind as I hurried to the subway. I could hear her still from a block away screaming obscenities and threats in my general direction.

I called my landlord and explained the actions of this little domestic terrorist living next door and he totally took my side, told me how much he hates that fucking bitch, and told me she needs to mind her fucking business. Apparently my landlord is also a big fan of f-bombs - from him, I really enjoy them though, probably cause they are directed at her, my nemesis, and not me. He told me that she has also harassed both of the downstairs tenants as well, yelling at them about weed smells too. He told me that she calls him everyday to scream at him about something. He told me he is going to file a police report about her and asked if I would give a statement. I told him that of course I would, that this woman is a terrible human being and a menace to my happiness and well-being.

That taken care of, after work today, I went to Greenwich, Connecticut to see a gentleman. It was weird. I just wanted to be drinking or having sex. Instead we watched Newshour and he cooked me a burger and told me that he is taking painting classes. He showed me paintings he is working on. He was nervous and clearly lonely. He was 70 and looked much younger. He wore a wig. He was nice but his loneliness was really making me sad. He remarked a couple of times on how he was sad he never settled down with anyone, how it's too late for him now. He told me that he thinks he would have been much happier if he had stayed in Cincinnati, that his life would have turned out better, and he would have fallen in love with someone there, how smaller cities are actually easier for gays than large cities like New York. He was sweet and he told me he didn't want to have sex this first time, that he needs to feel like he knows someone first. And I am so bored in these situations, so uncomfortable. I don't know how to fill these emotional needs, how to fill their loneliness. I know so much better how to fill particular sexual needs. I am not necessarily comfortable trying to fill these emotional needs; too often tonight they reminded me of my own unfulfilled emotional needs.

I knew I didn't want to end up as this guy, that more than anything I did not want to end up as him - rich in a big house all by one's self in the suburbs, lamenting that one missed out on something. I slept on the Metro North ride home. Around me as I slept, rich girls from Connecticut in heels and really nice winter jackets drank beers and whole bottles of wine as they rode into the city for their Friday night.

I thought back to this guy who I had just seen and something he mentioned. He was really into the concept of vanishing points in visual art. He had a bit of an art collection and pointed out the vanishing points used to give these paintings depth and a sense of field. A road narrowing down in the distance, objects either painted smaller or the colors more muted, sometimes both, or maybe a river winding through the background of the image. He told me that he was really intrigued by the prevalence of vanishing points in images, that he had been thinking a lot about them lately, trying to understand them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

holidaze

Last night, our job threw us a holiday party at a trendy downtown restaurant. The party lasted from 7pm-2am and had an open bar. That is a five hour open bar. That is alternately great news and terrible news. I danced a lot and talked to various friends and got absolutely wasted.

When the party ended there, a group of us decided to move the party to the Cock. I did ask a co-worker to go home with me and thankfully he went home with someone else - thankfully because this is the ex of a good friend of mine and it would have been a terrible idea that I would have regretted so much today. I found my way to the back corner of the bar and watched this guy suck this one guy's dick. I started to jerk off watching this. Pull out your dick at the Cock and soon you will have a mouth on it. Despite straight co-workers being somewhere in near vicinity at this bar, desperation outweighed any sense of propriety, any awareness of the shame I might feel the next day thinking back to these actions.

The guy was not at all attractive that was sucking my dick but I didn't really care. I just wanted this, wanted something. I don't think he cared either, that he even really desired this. It was mechanical, a thought that we had this need and were fulfilling it because we thought it was what we wanted. Everyone there wants something but not with anyone there and we all make do.

He stood up and pulled his pants down and bent his fat ass in the direction of my cock. This is when some awareness took over. I saw this guy's ass, saw its unattractiveness, saw the unattractiveness of this situation, saw my desperation staring me in the face, its ugliness. I zipped up and walked away. I found my co-workers who were all leaving. I have no idea if any of them witnessed the peak of my night's desperation.

Out front, everyone got in cabs and left. I walked uptown in the light rain to catch the L train. It was four in the morning and I was alone in this city and it felt terrible and it felt great.

Monday, December 17, 2012

the only one thing we can be sure of

I have re-listened to this one section of President Obama's speech last night in Newtown several times last evening and again this morning when I woke up. The entire speech is great and worth listening to, but this one section of the speech last night really got to me, had me running for pen and paper to try to write down some of it. We have a president that sincerely seems engaged with questions about what it means to live here for a time on this planet. There is so much beauty in this passage, it really makes me take pause, and for stuff this eloquent and true to come out of the mouth of a president really fills me with hope and happiness. It is really, really well-written, honest about how we as human beings will always fall short of our aspirations, honest about how life is a mystery, that we will grope "through the darkness, so often unable to discern God's heavenly plans." To hear this part in the speech, skip to around the 13:30 mark:

"All the world's religions - so many of them represented here today - start with a simple question: Why are we here? What gives life meaning? What gives our acts purpose? We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain; that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it's wealth or power or fame, or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that no matter how good our intentions, we will all stumble sometimes, in some way. We will make mistakes; we will experience hardships. And even when we're trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God's heavenly plans. There's only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have - for our children, for our families, for each other."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Faces - Ooh La La

I drank cheap canned beer at a house party a couple blocks away. I talked to Carlos about various things, talked about a gay house party I didn't go to, talked about the desire to rage, talked about strawberry-flavored Andre, talked about work, talked about going elsewhere. We went elsewhere. We went to Tandem.

At Tandem, we drank beer and shots and talked about Prince and about romance. I have a crush on this boy but also don't. He's straight and I have been having a lot of fun hanging out with him lately. I haven't had a straight guy friend in a long time. This is good for me because oftentimes I don't know how to relate to men, gay or straight, unless it's through some either subtle or explicit form of flirtation. Also, he loves to drink and talk about his failed attempts at romance, so he's kind of the dream person to hang out with.

I just got a text from a waiter at a new French restaurant in Bushwick, asking what my name was, referencing a lipstick note. A couple nights ago, Erica, Adam, and I were on a note-writing rage. We thought this waiter was insanely sexy and so Erica wrote him a note on a bar napkin in her lipstick telling him so and leaving my number for some reason. I am pretty sure he thought he was texting Erica. I just let him know. We'll see if he texts back.

Another note was written at Tandem for a boy in a red beanie, given to him as we were leaving the bar to rage at Erica's house, inviting him to come over and rage as well.

The weather outside is gray. I woke up in my bed alone and miserably hungover. The good news is that I am drinking coffee, that I am alive, and that I am feeling really good about things lately. Also I am listening to the Faces' Ooh La La, which is such an amazing and beautiful album full of life and with a real rock and roll appreciation for its beauty, and which I have been listening to over and over again these past few days. I have a job interview on Thursday for a job I am excited about. I am finally getting back my deposit on my old apartment tomorrow. I am going to Italy in a month. I have a week full of exciting things ahead before heading home to see my family. And, really high on this list of signs that my life is regaining its sense of fun, of steam, is that in the coming days I am going to Spandex World to buy some animal print fabric, make some curtains, and finally have some privacy in my apartment, be able to walk around naked or dance stoned to Janet Jackson and to not be ashamed about all the people across the way able to see me. Unfortunately, Spandex World is closed on Sundays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

stoned poems december 11th 2012

#1
Matt's eyes, dark and
hooded, echoing in the dark black
eyes
years down the line
as I, stoned, watch an episode of
It's Always Sunny

I shiver looking at the eyes of
this nameless character
in a hospital bed
full body cast
black eyes

and all of a sudden I remember
how weak he
used to
make me

sense and reason entirely gone
when I used to look into his eyes

he never saw, looked back

I had forgotten that people
could feel that way, that
another person
could make one feel that way

and for a moment

I remembered and forgot



#2
lost in the overhead bathroom fan,
its noise,
the fan that comes on if the bathroom
light is

loud, drowning out any other sounds,
allowing you to forget the
world
immediately outside the
bathroom and get
lost

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"I'd rather buy 80 gold chains"

I should be reading The Brothers Karamazov but instead I have spent most of the afternoon doing what I do on just about all of my afternoons, doing what I do with just about all the free time I have when I am home, which is all of the time that I am home, and that is looking at porn and masturbating. It always starts off with other things, reading the news, reading blogs, but sooner or later somehow my fingers redirect my computer's attention, and thus mine as well, to images of naked men. Hours later I will finally come and feel so guilty about the hours of time that I have wasted, literally just tugging on my penis in some zombie state, scrolling through pages and pages of naked men.

And I could start reading the book right now, but really I would much rather smoke some weed and watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which I started watching last night and which I am really, really into. I don't know what it says about me, or about the world in general, that myself along with seemingly bigger and bigger audiences are drawn to misanthropic humor. But I plowed through the first season in one sitting yesterday and totally fell in love with this show. I am excited to start the second season and to see where this show goes, whether I still find it so funny.

I wrote a note to myself last night, or my phone did dictated by my voice. I was stoned and lying in bed trying to sleep and I wanted to write down a thought I had. I didn't want to go in search of paper and pen and knew my fingers would mangle trying to type anything coherent on the keyboard of my phone, so I talked and had my phone dictate this:

"Powers of description being lost because no one has to describe anything anymore. You can just show the screen, pull up the video, play the song you're talking about, that there's no need to describe anything, to use words, language to approximate the thing. Instead you can just present the thing and then Chavet [no idea what I actually said here] it sounds that song etc."

I followed this with another dictated note to myself:

"Get notebooks and pens and leave one by your bed and one in the kitchen and one in the living room."

I did not buy notebooks or pens today. I did buy protein powder.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Empire State Building, hidden in fog

There was an old paperback copy of Lars Eighner's Bayou Boy on his bedside table. It was a weathered book showing its age, having that look of vintage gay erotica. He recommended that I find a copy on eBay. He said that it's actually really good writing and not as porny as it might look. I wrote the title and author in my phone in the hopes that I would remember to find a copy of this book somewhere. It was a couple minutes before one o'clock this afternoon. Most of his belongings were in trash bags and an exterminator was due later that afternoon in an attempt to kill bedbugs, a problem he seems to have been fighting for months now. I am always a little nervous when I undress at his house, set my clothes down gently on a surface that for whatever reasons I assume to be less hospitable to bedbugs. I pissed in his mouth. I twisted his nipples. He gave me a blowjob and it brought me somewhat out of the massive hangover I have been under for the last two days.

I rode the train back downtown. I went to the gym. I walked around this city full of mist and light rain, the gray seemingly particularly onerous today. I thought about what lay beyond this gray. I thought about what it might do to my mood, to my life, to my time on this planet, if I were to live somewhere sunnier, if I were to live in Los Angeles for example, and which I am very strongly considering doing since one of my best friends is going to be moving there in May. I am thinking about home and belonging and also wandering, about what any of it means.

In the tunnel that runs underneath 14th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, connecting the L train to the 1,2,3 trains, there is the homeless man who has his signs announcing that he is a New York Times published poet. He sells poems I believe. Since I have never seen poetry specifically featured  in Times, I have always wondered about his claims. This man has been here seemingly as long as I have. I have seen him camped out in this tunnel for years. At the other end of the tunnel, closer to 7th Avenue, there is the guitar player who sings nothing but Beatles songs. He has pamphlets set up in his guitar case with ankhs on them and they seem to be tracts promoting some sort of spirituality. This man always has a smile on. His voice isn't as good as it used to be. His smile isn't as big and he seems noticeably older than when I first moved to New York. This man as well has been working this tunnel since I moved to New York nearly a decade ago.

These people present themselves on both the stay column and the go column as I contemplate what this city means to me.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ducktails' "The Mall"

I was walking to the grocery store this evening. It was dark and there was a light rain. It was five pm. It felt much later, as it tends to on these dark winter afternoons

There was twenty-something dollars in my wallet, enough to get my hair cut. I wanted to trim my hair, to make it shorter, sharper, to hopefully as a result feel a bit better about myself and my appearance. I have been feeling very ho-hom lately. I wear the same pair of jeans and one of two flannels just about every day. There are days when it seems to me that I have given up. Things I used to care about, scouring thrift stores for new looks, putting these various items of clothing on each day, getting dressed with intention and effort - that these are no longer a concern, a priority, a thing done.

I bought a new pair of jeans today and a new pair of boots, bought these at the Cheap Monday sample sale, where I ran into Jacob. We hugged. Leaving, I crossed traffic on Broadway in the middle of the street and thought of him as I hurried before the traffic reached me.

Food could wait. I needed a haircut, suddenly became pulled in the direction of the barber I have been going to for the last couple of months.

As I was walking up to the entrance, the guy that cut my hair the last couple times was walking out the door. His eyes lit up and he led me to his chair. I am bit confused if this guy likes me or just likes my business, likes that I probably tip too much money on what is a really cheap haircut. The skill of the Latin barbershops in Bushwick and East Williamsburg is entirely unmatched by any barber I have been to in Manhattan. You get a really nice fade, your edges shaped with a straight razor, and all of this for eleven or twelve dollars.

This barber mentioned to me probably two or three times that I was his favorite customer. He told me I was so young and good-looking. When he would take pauses to let me inspect how the haircut was going, his eyes looked at my eyes with something a little more intense than the desire for approval. I wasn't really attracted to him and also was so confused by what was happening, whether I was reading too much into things, whether this guy was just being nice, or alternately whether he was doing this confusing/kind-of-hitting-on-me thing as theater, as some way of making me, clearly a gay boy, perhaps like him and want to tip him more, or to come back and see him more often. I don't know. I kept on wavering between feeling hustled and feeling hit on. I was tired enough and had enough trouble understanding his accent that it didn't really matter. I left with the haircut I wanted.

I did indeed feel better, new.

I bought some groceries at Associated. Most of the beer didn't have prices, there were hardly any frozen pizzas, and I resisted buying Ben & Jerry's even though it was on sale. I walked home with these bags of food and I then took a shower. I washed off the bits of hair all over me and stood underneath the hot water, letting it warm me up, letting my body relax, standing there for an extended period of time, letting this warm sensation wash over me again and again and again.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bozo and His Shirley Temple

With Grindr, things often seem better than they actually are. The person is cuter in their pictures, is cooler in their pictures. The dirty talk you had engaged with them in turns out to be better than the actual sex you have. There is that awkward stretch of time in which you are waiting for them to come over, in which something like regret starts to overtake you, in which your horniness subsides during the wait and you question whether this is really what you want, whether you wouldn't rather be getting stoned and watching more episodes of Battlestar Galactica. There is the moment when you let them into your apartment and you already want it to be over, when you can tell this isn't going to be what you had thought it would be, and there is your own sense of politeness telling you that it's too late at this point, that it would be really rude to send them home once you got a real look at this person, and so there are the awkward attempts at conversation on your couch until you begin to make out.

He is a contortionist, a circus performer. He sent me photos of himself doing splits, balancing on his hands. He is kind of cute. But there was a weirdness about him that turned me off a lot. When I mentioned that I had been watching Galactica, he mentioned how he could never watch that, how he is too loyal to Star Wars, how he is a huge Star Wars fan. What that had anything to do with this show, other than they are both in the sci-fi genre, I didn't know. What I did know was that this person displayed a really sincere love of Star Wars, and already I was wondering what the fuck I was doing, why this person was in my apartment. He was wide-eyed in enthusiasm about everything, seemed a little bugged out, and had this little elf voice that came out of him whenever he spoke that made me wish for him to stop talking, please, stop. 

I was determined to get this over with quick. I had been chatting with Erica online during the long wait for him to come over, and she kept telling me to ditch Bozo, a nickname she had coined for the boy once I mentioned he was a circus performer, and to meet up with her for drinks. As we started fooling around in my bed, I was wishing I had taken her advice. I was thinking about how much more fun I would be having with Erica, sharing drinks and conversation. But instead I gave into my base desires, pursued my own desire to get off down dark alleys, down wireless signals letting me know how many feet away certain men were from me who were seeking something similar - a boost to their own ego, confirmation either by someone talking to you or someone sleeping with you, that you are attractive, that you are a person that other human beings do in fact desire, that you are not as alone as you think you are. Though often, the experience, the hookup, makes you more aware of how alone you actually are. Sometimes it makes you happy with this knowledge, other times not so.

Last night, when this boy was over, the circus performer, I was so happy to be alone in my life right now and could not wait to resume that aloneness. We had little sexual chemistry. The circus performer had untrimmed finger nails. I was not into the sex at all and I wanted it to be over already. I was leaning against my headboard as he was sucking my dick. He was holding my cock in his hand. I looked at his nails and then tried not to. I looked up at my bookshelf and my eyes focused on Philip Roth's name on the spine of one of his books on my shelf, the Zuckerman Bound trilogy. I thought about how I would like to reread that, about what a shame it was that Roth wouldn't be writing any more books, about how should I really take writing more seriously, about how I wasted so much fucking time today for this, the endless back and forth on Grindr, the waiting around for this boy to shower and walk over here, and now him here in my bed and me bored and wishing it was over so I could get back to me. I told him I wanted him to come.

He was a bit surprised, seemed happy to prolong this sex forever. I apologized and said I was supposed to meet up with my friend Erica later that evening. Then there was this long period of him jerking off before he came.

As he was taking his sweet time getting dressed, I told him I had to meet my friend Erica because we had a book club to discuss The Brothers Karamazov, which wasn't happening until the next day, but I wanted a nice excuse to not hurt his feelings and also for him to hurry up and get dressed. He asked what that was, seemingly never having heard of the book at all. I was so ready for this person to go but he kept up with the questions while slowly getting dressed. He was sweet, innocent, clearly wanted something more than sex. And maybe I did too, but not with this person, not with someone that is a Star Wars fanboy and has never heard of The Brothers Karamazov. He seemed much younger than his age of 24. I just wanted him to leave my apartment and he wanted to talk to me about what I did. I was brief. He asked me what I like to do. I told him I liked to drink. He told me he had never drank alcohol in his life, that he accidentally had it once because a bartender served him a non-virgin Shirley Temple but he spit it out as soon as he tasted it, the alcohol burned his throat so much, was so gross. It was really time for this person to go. Leave now, I was thinking. This was another level of weirdness that I could not deal with. I find people that don't drink to be the weirdest type of people. I don't trust them. I don't think they know what life is about. He still hadn't even put on his boots and I could not wait for him to leave. This was not a real person. This was some elf that had wondered in from the forest and ended up in my apartment. 

Nice meeting you, I said, once he had his shoes on, opening the door, ending the conversation.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the point of fever

"I'm really suprised at you, Alyosha: how can you be a virgin? You're a Karamozov, too! In your family sensuality is carried to the point of fever."
...
"You mean Grushenka? No, brother, he doesn't despise her. If he's publicly traded his fiancée for her, he doesn't despise her. It's...it's something, brother, that you won't understand yet. It's that a man falls in love with some beautiful thing, with a woman's body, or even with just one part of a woman's body (a sensualist will understand that), and is ready to give his own children for it, to sell his father and mother, Russia and his native land, and though he's honest, he'll go and steal; though he's meek, he'll kill; though he's faithful, he'll betray. The singer of women's little feet, Pushkin, sang little feet in verse; others don't sing, but they can't look at little feet without knots in the stomach. But it's not just little feet..."
-The Brothers Karamozov (79-80)

I joined a new gym a week or so ago. Part of the appeal to this gym was that it would be a nice change from David Barton, that it wouldn't be so gay, so cruisey, that I might actually focus more on my workout in such a setting, presumably a straight one. The locker room is a sight that I imagine most gym locker rooms to be - brightly lit, a sports station playing sports news, and overweight and out of shape older guys trying in unimpressive ways to hold a line against gaining more weight, against aging more. This was a massive change from the dimly lit locker room at David Barton full of impossibly chiseled bodies on display with a soundtrack of pulsing dance music.

But put me in a room full of half-naked men and my eyes will wander no matter where I am. As I was about to go into the shower, I saw this guy walk up to the towels naked, a little too proudly so, before grabbing one and heading to a shower stall. I, of course, couldn't help myself, fever starting to rise, and chose the shower stall next to him. David Barton Gym would never have such shower stalls as this gym - it would be entirely too much and people wouldn't be able to restrain themselves. It would take the bathhouse atmosphere to another level for them, which would probably attract too much attention from the Health Department. The showers at this gym, my new gym, have slightly fogged glass separating each one.

I showered, soaped up, and watched the guy next to me do the same. He did so facing me, taking extra time when soaping up his genitals. I did the same. This became a dance. Each of us followed the other's lead, testing out boundaries before we saw that the other person was there for the same thing, that we were there to get our kicks off both voyeuristic and exhibitionist. I faced him more. He faced me more. The hands lingering over our cocks as we washed those areas soon transitioned into our hands stroking our cocks. I saw the foggy shape of this guy jerking off. He wiped down the glass between us with his hand, wiping away steam and water, bringing forth clearer outlines of bodies, of frenzied bodies jerking off next to each other at this straight gym, of fever taking hold. He pressed his hard dick against the glass, rubbed it back and forth, and I could see it clearly at this distance, saw its massive size, its proud upward curve. I rubbed mine against the glass as well for him to get a better look. He put his mouth close to the glass, pantomimed sucking me off.

He pressed his ass cheeks against the glass and I could see his bent over muscled back. He rubbed his cheeks up and down the glass. I became worried that someone might see us from outside the shower stalls, but the fever had taken too much hold by this point. It had taken even more of a hold for this man. Soon he was on his knees, so that his cock was under the partition. He was absolutely wild with horniness, not giving a fuck at this point about who might see. I became a bit nervous about the situation and was already at the point of climax, had been for a while, and so I shot my load, came, and turned the water off and dried myself off. He rose from his knees and fled his shower stall before I had even finished drying myself off. I didn't see him when I came out of the stall. I have no idea what he actually looks like. I like it that way. I just have this image of a foggy naked body, of a a dick coming into clear focus, of an ass doing the same. I lost myself for a while in this fog and afterwards, I remembered, remembered what a joy it is to lose myself in these fogs, to give in to these passions, to be ruled by them on occasion, to pursue them in the locker rooms across this city, gay or straight, to really appreciate the male body, its form, to fanatically worship it, to bite my lower lip and stroke my cock and to firmly believe, at least for the duration of that act, that there is nothing more meaningful in all of this world that we live in.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ke$ha's "Die Young"

Do not get high and ask Siri questions about your life. Specifically do not ask if your ex still loves you. It's a weird sensation when the question is answered and you hear in Siri's voice: "Probably."

I woke up this morning to my phone vibrating with a text. It was Jacob asking me if I wanted to go to brunch. It was an unexpected invite and I said yes.

We had brunch at Fiore. I was a bit hungover and so that was part of the reason, why I didn't have much to talk about, but also it was because I don't want to talk that much to this person anymore, that I don't need to reveal everything, that I need to keep my distance, that I need to protect myself. I am finding that I have less to talk to him about now that we are not together, that I want to reveal less to him, that I need to.

I think he has well moved past our breakup and believes it is possible for us to hang out like normal friends. I am not at that point yet.

We said goodbye after we paid the check. I regretted having agreed to meet him. I had been in a much better mood before I knew I was going to see him, before I saw him. I went to go buy a travel book about Rome. I am going to Rome and Istanbul during the first week of February. I impulsively bought a ticket last week since my friend David is going to be in Rome during that time.

I am insanely excited about this upcoming trip and all the things that I will have the opportunity to see in person. This will be the realization of a long-held dream to visit this city.

I am going to finally read The Brothers Karamazov all the way through. I am part of a reading group with Erica to make our way through it. I am in love with burritos. I have a gym membership again. I had a beautiful Thanksgiving with friends. I am tired. I am tired too often.

I danced like a maniac last night and had a ball with some great friends. I made out with one of these friends, D, on the dancefloor. I smoked a lot of cigarettes. Today, I smoked the last remaining cigarette in the pack and told myself I wasn't going to buy any more packs, that I was done with this desire to erase myself, that these small acts of cutting, of chipping away at my life, at attempting to set the thing to flames, are done with, that it's time to move on, to enjoy this body and this life.

Netflix Reviews for "1313: Bermuda Triangle"

I have read some pretty amazing Netflix review in my years of stoned searching for movies, and yet the reviews I stumbled across tonight for 1313: Bermuda Triangle might be some of the best ones I have ever read.
















Monday, November 19, 2012

"Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe"

It was a few days ago that I went out on a date. I don't know what it is I want. There are days when I am happy being single and then there are other days when I do wish that I had someone to hold tight at night and text about the stupid stuff that happens to me throughout the day, someone to indulge me while I vent about life's minor irritations. This guy was someone that I had had remarkably friendly and G-rated chat with on Grindr. He is only 22. I have made a mental resolution to myself that I am not going to get involved with guys much younger than myself anymore, that I want to invest my time into people that are a little more certain about what it is they want, that I am going to do my best to avoid the heartache that will come with being cast off along with the numerous identities people shed in their early twenties.

Despite this, I went on a date with him. I was feeling lonely and wanted to hang out with a guy and have conversation and then have sex. We had some drinks at the Ritz before seeing David Mamet's The Anarchist on Broadway, which was maybe the most boring play I have ever seen mounted on Broadway. It is quite terrible. A good fifth of the audience was asleep only half an hour into the play, including my date. I signaled to him that we should leave. We left the play about halfway through and headed out to Bushwick where we grabbed some drinks at neighborhood bars and then came back to my house. Here, we smoked some weed and listened to the new Rihanna songs. We then had sex in my bed, rolled around, sniffed poppers, both us coming on my chest.

He said my mattress hurt his hips, which is very understandable as the mattress gave me all sorts of aches the first few nights I slept on it. He left to sleep in his own bed.

The night was fun and also lacked something. The entire night there was some slight nagging feeling in the back of my mind, some thought that this person was not Jacob, that that was what I really wanted. I was judging this person against what I would want from a future boyfriend, imagining him in this role and I liked the previous actor better who had played this role. We would keep holding auditions, call in some other actors to read for the part.

I told Jacob I missed him a couple days ago when we were chatting on Facebook. He told me he missed me too and that we should hang out. We went out to dinner last night at Mission Chinese Food. We drank the free beer they give you while waiting for your table. We did this for the two hours we waited for our table. I told him that when I said I missed him, I meant that I missed him as a boyfriend. He didn't really respond. After I asked him some questions to elicit an answer, I got answers that I didn't necessarily want, that he just missed me as a friend, that he just missed hanging out with me.

We ate pigtails, thrice cooked bacon, kung pao pastrami, and cod fried rice. We drank more beer and were given a shot of soju for reasons I didn't really understand. I stuffed myself and had a really great time hanging out with Jacob. I am not really excited about going about the project of establishing this level of rapport, of shared history, with another person. I had been building up hope ever since he told me his missed me that he might have had some interest in trying to be romantic partners again.

We rode the J train back to Brooklyn together. When we neared his stop, he told me that he was going to invite me over but that things had gotten too emotional. I puzzled over that once the doors closed and the train headed off in a different direction from him, about the mixed signals of that statement.

I don't know about much in this world. It is clear. I like coffee and I like alcohol. Everything else is a giant question mark.

Monday, November 12, 2012

get the guests

Yesterday, I bought a new bong. It is clean, clear glass, simple. I had wanted a penis bong, specifically the one linked to. I went to every smoke shop in the West Village and on St. Mark's and could not find this, would occasionally see some really ugly orange thing that was vaguely phallic-shaped and that the store owner would try to sell me when I told them what it is I was looking for. So I bought something simple until my dream bong is finally found.

Yesterday, I also saw the current Broadway production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and it was fantastic. I really love this play a lot - it's an exhilarating and powerful work. Tracy Letts and Amy Morton really shine in the roles of Martha and George. They are both such insanely talented actors. It's such a fucked up and disturbing play and yet also so funny and riveting. There is a real joy that comes from hearing these two lob hurtful words at each other, trying to inflict damage.

I really want to say more about it, to look at this play more deeply, because there is something about this play that I am really drawn to. And maybe soon I will do that. I kind of want to see this production again, and maybe I will do it then. Maybe I won't. What is stopping me from pursuing these thoughts further this evening are my current evening's plans. In just a couple of hours, I will be seated (most likely standing and dancing) at Madison Square Garden to see Mafuckingdonna! I can't believe that this is happening. For a few years, I really did not care much about her and thought the idea of seeing her in concert sounded terrible. I have since come to really embrace pop spectacle arena shows. I have also come to again really love Madonna. I was a small child and my sister and I used to watch Madonna videos on MTV in the eighties and think she was so cool. I can't believe that that person that I have such early memories of is still going strong and is still touring and that tonight I am finally going to see her perform for the first time. I am so fucking excited. Also I got these tickets for free, which makes it doubly awesome.

And so I can't write more because I have to go stand in front of mirror as I play Madonna tracks and try on various articles of clothing until I decide on what it is I would like to wear.

Friday, November 9, 2012

flu shots and blow jobs

Why has it taken me so long to get high and have a dance party to Erykah Badu while stoned in my new apartment? This should have been the first thing I did upon moving here. This, today, is now proof that this place is home.

I need curtains for sure though.

Windows naked, illuminating me to these rows of houses I can see so clearly into behind mine, situated across short backyards untended, me dancing, making the fool of myself. I saw this muscled-up Latin dude across the way pumping iron a couple days ago. I was making food in the kitchen. He saw me looking at him. He closed his blinds. It feels too close, the short space separating my house from theirs. There is a tinge of self-concisouness even now despite this high tickling my spine, telling it to move, move to the rhythm, that this is what bodies were meant for, not to sit static ignoring this world, but to dance, to have a conversation with life, with the things around you, to show the joy, the feelings you get from New Amerykah Part II for instance, that to really live requires one to actually fully inhabit one's body, not just to hide behind one's eyes, but to feel it everywhere.

And I feel that way often, but sometimes a check is put on that, seeing an at-home club light system, orange, blue, green, and yellow lights rotating slowly around a living room across the way, thinking of every high school prom scene you have ever seen in every seventies or eighties movie you have never seen, thinking of those times you went to the roller rink in eighth grade, had your mom drop you and your female friends that were the closeted hags then to your closeted fag. I am looking at that lighting system now in the living room of one of these apartments that seem too close, or my windows too curtainless, or for whatever reason just about every single apartment behind me curtainless, that I can see these lives too clearly, am too aware that they can see mine too clearly - dancing around an apartment by myself in my underwear, really feeling Ms. Badu, in a way that might seem absurd to someone glancing at this scene from their apartment, the type of embarrassing thing that might make for an amusing viral video, "My Blazed Out of His Mind Neighbor 'Dancing' to Hippy Music - LOLOLOL".

And I know that I should be - I thought that I was; I know that my mind should not be out there, wondering how I might be perceived, trying to see myself from some other judging eye, but rather that my mind should be here, inhabiting this one body, my eyes in my own head looking at my own world, living fully, dancing to this music.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Runaway Train

I want to rewire my bathroom light switch so that instead of an overhead fan, a really, really loud fan, turning on each time I flip on the lights to my bathroom, instead Tom Petty would play, nothing but Tom Petty.

I thought this was what I wanted and I had some lyrics about a runaway train that I wanted to hear, that that was the song I would really like to play from my bathroom overhead each time I wanted to drown out the sound of myself taking a shit. I tried finding this song online and could not find it. I found some song, "Runaway Trains," by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers but it was nothing like I remembered, was missing the key lyrics that kept repeating in my head, the only part of the song that I could remember: "Never going back." I searched and searched online, sure that there must be some other Tom Petty song I was thinking of. What I found was a Soul Asylum song called "Runaway Train," which was what I had been thinking of the whole time, and which were you not to know it was Soul Asylum would be very easy to imagine as part of the Tom Petty catalogue.

It's still a really good song, however I don't think I want Soul Asylum blaring from my bathroom anytime anyone turns on the light.

The L train started running again today after being out of commission for the past two weeks due to Hurricane Sandy. It was such a joy to ride the train again. I again felt part of this city, not some commuter on the far edges of it, felt in control in some ways, felt the convenience of being able to easily get home. It was a lovely feeling. I am not sure I have been so happy to ride the subway as I was today, probably haven't felt that same joy since those first few months in New York a decade or so ago when everything about this city had the quality of the new and novel to it. I really appreciated this train line in a way that I have not in a while.

I was at a bar earlier tonight, Duff's, and they were playing some movie muted to the soundtrack of their metal music. The movie, soundless, seemed to concern the plot of a runaway train, an eighties B action movie. This is probably why I had wanted to rewire my bathroom earlier tonight. But it wasn't a Tom Petty song I had been thinking of and so I am no longer running down that dream, others perhaps, but not that one, not tonight.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Oh Bahm Ah

Obama was reelected president last night. I fell asleep at some point before his acceptance speech, having woken up at five to be at the polling place at six.

A nor'easter hit New York City today, bringing inches of wet, slushy snow.

I had gas all day from eating Mexican food last night.

These things are seemingly unrelated, but in fact are indeed related. Everything is and always has been.

The heat in my apartment is suffocating. I am sitting in my underwear with the window wide open to the cold and still sweating. My normal train, the L train is not running. I have to walk to the M train. This is adding to the feeling of apartness I have from the city and its stirrings of life. There are times when I wish that I again had a boy to cuddle with on the couch on these evenings. There are times, when I am not on the couch, or headed back home to it, that I am very happy to not have that. There is a lot that I do want and at this moment in my life, freed from the demands of a relationship, alone more so than I have been in years, there are no excuses for not pursuing those things. I am being confronted hard by own laziness. Hopefully, I will win. Hopefully, I can stay awake to hear its concession speech.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sandy


One week ago, this city, New York, started to be lashed by Hurricane Sandy. I spent this last week at the hotel I work at, trapped by the lack of transportation in the aftermath of the storm. My employers gave me a room to stay in because they wanted someone to be there to staff the place, most people unable to come in. I worked an insane amount of hours this past week and also partied an insane amount of hours.

The place I work at was very lucky and was just above the powerless zone by only three blocks to the south and by only one block to the east. It could have been a lot more stressful a week. Throughout the week, I heard from friends who work at other hotels, ones in the powerless zone, what a nightmare their weeks were without power, heat, or running water, and having to figure out what to do with a hotel full of people.

The annoyances I dealt with, mainly entitled Europeans who couldn’t grasp why Bergdorf’s was closed, were so slight in comparison to a lot of the people in this region who lost their lives, their homes, or their businesses. I had power throughout the week, internet, cell phone service, and the company of really fantastic people.

A lot of the staff from the restaurant and the hotel were all forced to stay in the hotel for this past week, and once people were done working, they would start partying. We made constant runs to the booze store to buy six-packs of cheap beer, bottles of whiskey, bottles of wine. A bunch of people were bunked up in the biggest suite and we all hung out there, partying most nights, having dance parties, smoking on the room’s rooftop terrace. It was a very, very bizarre week. I formed very close connections with many of my co-workers through the experience though and for that I am really, really grateful.

Monday night, once most of the storm had passed, I walked down to Madison Square Park, which was dark, the building below it and around it all without power. It was very, very creepy. The winds were still crazy and when a big gust blew against me, I ran back to the safety of my hotel, afraid some dangerous debris flying about would injure me. But that sensation of seeing a darkened Manhattan and feeling the dangerous winds blowing around is one that I will always care with me.

Halloween, Wednesday night, some of us ventured down into the West Village, walking through streets without power, totally in darkness, the few people out, being led by the glow of their flashlights ahead of them. I had heard Stonewall was still open without power. They were closed and so we went to the Monster across the street, which was lit by candles. There was a piano player providing the soundtrack to the bar, patrons of the bar gathered around singing along to the songs. It was such an insanely beautiful experience that really made me love New York City, the perseverance that New Yorkers have. That these people, these bar owners and customers, were not about to let the lack of flowing electricity stop them from living. This was how bars operated for centuries and it was really nice to experience this again.

I had experienced similar moments when the last blackout hit New York nearly a decade ago. I remembered those magical moments hanging out at bars that were lit by candlelight only and I wanted to experience that again.


The next night, I wandered through the East Village, amazed by all the bars that were open there. I was really inspired and wowed by what I saw. It’s all such an amazing treat to get to see the night sky from neighborhoods in Manhattan, something that you can only really experience during the rare occurrence of a blackout.

I hurried back from the East Village back to my hotel to go to a rooftop party that the restaurant was throwing for the staff who had all been working through this hurricane. The week was a blur of these moments of fun, of drinking with all of my co-workers, talking about life and New York, and it was all so beautiful. There were many stories I heard from people who had wandered up to our hotel, right above the line of power, desperately seeking a room with water or power, desperate to charge their phones and get cell phone service. I watched the news a lot in the afternoons, once I got off work, once my hangover caught up with me, and I lied in bed, taking in the serious destruction this storm wrought, which I was so insanely lucky to have missed the worst of. A woman was either jumped or pushed from the building a block away from ours. Her body laid in the street for a couple of hours before it was taken away, a crime scene that the police had to investigate. One of my co-workers told me how someone tried to mug him in the powerless area as he was walking from his house.

I witnessed real acts of generosity, of people stepping up and stepping in to offer help to others. I saw a woman run out into oncoming traffic to wave her flashlight at cars to prevent a blind man from being mowed down who was trying to cross 23rd Street, a street without power or traffic lights.

I finally left the hotel to head back home yesterday afternoon. Carlos and I got a ride from this driver I have given a lot of business. He offered to drive us back to Bushwick for free. I was so relieved to have gotten this ride. We passed insane crowds of people on Delancey Street all waiting for the bus to take them back to Brooklyn. We passed gas lines that snaked down block after block, gas lines that were six or seven blocks along, absolutely astounding stuff that I had heard about on the news, seen images of, but it’s such a different thing to see this happening at gas stations in your neighborhood, to actually witness this in person.

I don’t have internet in my apartment. My train that takes me into the city is still not running and probably won’t be for a while. But I am alive and my house is still standing and I have dear friends. I also learned a lot of things this week. I have learned so much about gratitude, about kindness, and about the fragility of our place on this planet, that we have to live as much as possible, to take nothing for granted.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

white pants

There is a hurricane working its way up the Atlantic Ocean. We know it is coming. People are buying groceries, bottled water, batteries. People are getting ready for it, for an unknown. It could very well be a blip that passes by quickly. It could be otherwise.

Hungover all day, I did little but look at Facebook, jerk off, and watch episodes of The Walking Dead.  The show and the impending hurricane overlap each other, both inspiring thoughts about the the end of the world, about what matters, about those close to you, about who, if anyone, at this point in my life, post-breakup, I consider close. In the last hurricane that threatened the city, I thought constantly of Jacob who was in another part of the city, stuck in Manhattan. The few remaining living people on the show care so much about their still living loved ones, that that is really all that drives them through a hell of a world overrun by zombies.

This storm, I am alone. I won't have anyone to worry about in that particular way I did last time. I will have no one to hug with a bit more meaning, having had a storm and its threatened destruction making me again realize the short and unpredictable nature of our lives here on this planet.

We get dressed up and we dance. We spin and spin until the dance is over.

Last night, I dressed up as a zombie sailor and drank a lot of vodka and a lot of rum. I thought of boys. I looked at boys. I danced to songs I don't remember. I sent a dumb text message. I headed toward home and stopped at Dunkin Donuts at four in the morning, a habit I am beginning to form now after drinking. Some guys, gay guys, stopped me out front to chat with me. They told me I looked cute. I told them I was headed into Dunkin Donuts and walked away. I could hear them discussing whether they should have invited me over to have a drink. I went inside. I ordered a donut and a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich.

I was a sailor on shore leave, careening around a port city, drunk, horny, unattached.

Friday, October 26, 2012

balut

Two night ago, I had balut for the first time. I had this with along other very yummy Filipino food, ate these things amongst good company. Afterwards, I went to Phoenix with of these fellows, a very attractive married man, and we talked about relationships, about sex, and about creativity, amongst other topics. I wanted to kiss him, but didn't try. There was a part of me that thought he was so handsome and another part of me, newly formed, that didn't want to be any part of helping to ruin a relationship. I also have recognized recently that I am pretty bad at having gay male friends, that usually there is a sexual attraction on someone's end that eventually spoils the attempt at friendship. His being married actually makes it easier to be his friend in my case.

I bought a black bandana yesterday after work and then caught up on desperately needed sleep. I am drinking coffee and thinking about an impending storm.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

the songwriter

I had yet to have sex in my new apartment until last night. Aside from the pleasure obtained from the act itself, there was a relieved feeling when I fell asleep last night after the guy had left, that this would not be some sexless apartment, that I had broken it in in some sense, that this was now more of my home. 

Even before he came over, I had thought the pictures he sent me of his naked body looked quite a bit like Diego's. When he came over there was that. But there was also distractingly the nose of this boy Clay, this boy I had had a brief fling with in Florida, and a boy that I found pretty annoying. I was trying to remove these layers of associations I saw on this boy from the actual boy underneath these things I was projecting on to him. As I get older though, is this how it is bound to be? At this point in my quite experienced sexual life, numerous romantic partners now behind me but still present somewhere in memories, will these men show up in the features of new sexual partners? That with the more partners I have, the more difficult it will be for me to see them independent of who they remind me of?

There were these recollections of years gone by, of boys I had had romances with in this city and others. I told him to get undressed. We started kissing and fumbled our way to my bed. And with my eyes open less, with my hands and the back of my mouth, with my cock and with my asshole, I experienced this boy through sensations other than sight. It was a really fun, sweet, and dirty time. 

He is actually a very nice guy, just young, which at this point in my life makes me a bit wary. Afterwards, we watched Mariah Carey videos on my laptop. We talked about pop music, yoga, and Mexican food.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

spank

There was this boy with a beard last night. There were a lot of boys with beards last night, a fair number with mustaches as well. I had chatted with him on Grindr a while ago, tried to chat with him. It didn't really go anywhere. I saw him a couple times last night as I flitted around the warehouse space where Spank was hosting a dance party. I never said hi, never wanted to, couldn't imagine those necessary steps. I just wanted to be naked in a bed with him. Not even though. A dark hallway, a bathroom stall - anything would have done. It was a fantasy I played out in my mind each time I walked past him.

I was a bit drunk. I had had a couple beers, a purple Four Loko (cause it matched my outfit), an ill-advised shot of vodka, and then quite a few whiskies on the rocks. At some point in the night, I started repeatedly huffing from a bottle of poppers that someone had very wisely thought to bring with them. I danced for a while but found it hard to really lose myself in the music. It either wasn't loud enough, I couldn't reach a point of fucked-upness to get into "dance" music, or my love of more easily identifiable hooks along with the presence of a human voice singing lyrics was too much of a hurdle on this particular night. I was also distracted by boys. There were so many of them, so many cute ones all over the place. Nick at one point said it was like Brooklyn Grindr come to life, that all of these cute faces were now in one space together. And while that may have been true, the pathetic thing is that it might have actually been easier for me to talk to these people on Grindr. I have fallen out of practice with talking to new people, hitting on boys. There were moments, many last night, when I wondered how this is done.

I took the subway home at some point. I stopped at the 24 Hour Dunkin Donuts by my house at four something and bought a doughnut and a breakfast sandwich. I woke up this morning on my couch, the sunlight pouring through my kitchen windows at some early hour, and a mental note was made to buy curtains later in the day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

a purple wall, a sky close to it

I have only a few days left of my gym membership. I put in my cancellation notice there a month or so ago, an acknowledgement to what my new economic realities would be, to rent that cost me about twice as much as before, that I would no longer be able to indulge in luxuries such as memberships to fancy and heavily-gay gyms.

However, with its imminent end in sight, I am considering actually renewing it, figuring out a way to scrape by, that going to this gym really keeps me feeling sane, happy, and healthy. Sometimes you do have to be willing to pay for your happiness I have realized over the years, that certain things may cost money, maybe a lot of money, but sometimes these things are more than worth it for the joy they give you.

I jerked off in the steamroom across from this burly bear of a man. He had a beautiful upturned penis. I was really into our encounter, into sitting across from each other, admiring each other's bodies, admiring our own bodies via the other person's admiration of ours, and stroking our dicks. Some other guy came in, some creeper of a guy who always sits near me in the steamroom and jerks off. I got up and went into the showers. I came in the stall. I changed. I bought some red wine and some dental floss. I took the subway home.

From the train, I walked through Maria Hernandez Park. I noticed that the leaves were changing colors on some of the trees, that it seemed like they had been for a while now. I have been failing to pay attention to my surroundings, to the world around me. I am beginning to again. It was a beautiful walk home. I walked between kids racing across the center of the park on their skateboards, these lines quickly forming, striking past me, running out of steam, other lines cutting different paths, all through the center, kids attempting to catch air, some succeeding, some not but always trying again and again. I had my own path that I followed carried by feet at a steady pace. These people had some attachment to the center that I briefly pondered as I cut through it and caught the view, the setting sun over buildings on Knickerbocker giving a large portion of the sky a fantastic pink hue, the trees with their leaves beginning to yellow, beginning to orange, all the people here and taking pleasure in their presence on this planet.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dekalb Avenue

I woke up today for the first time in my new apartment on Dekalb Avenue. Yesterday, I finally packed up all my stuff into boxes and bags when I ran out of boxes and said my goodbyes to my last apartment, the home I had created with Jacob on Meserole Street. It was a sad goodbye. I am still angry, more so than at first actually. All of the reasons he had told me he wanted to break up were lies - independence, being single, making more art, more time alone, etc. The day after - literally the day after - he broke up with me he started hanging out with M, who he is now dating. The fact that I have just been traded out for another boyfriend, another sort of domesticity, is quite depressing. If he were slutting it up across town, I would take more comfort from that, feel less hurt. As is, I am quite upset with him and don't think I need to be hanging out with him anymore. But that's an insanely depressing prospect to think of, that the boy who has been my constant companion and source of comfort for the last three years will no longer be in my life. I think it is probably for the best though.

I am not good at goodbyes.

Brendan and I packed up a UHaul van full of my stuff and I told Brendan that I would run upstairs and grab the last bag and say goodbye to Jacob. I took a look at the apartment, half empty, looking ransacked, and a flood of memories from the last two and a half years all came pouring over me. I suddenly found myself incapable of even speaking. I wanted to say a nice cordial goodbye to Jacob, but I couldn't even talk. My eyes swelled with water and my throat was blubbering, wanting to ball that this period of my life was now officially over and done, that there would be no going back any longer. I gave Jacob a hug as I held back tears and then I left, a sad, sad walk out of this building that from this moment on would no longer be my home.

Brendan and I drove away toward my new apartment, van full of my belongings. I turned on the radio. Al Green's "So Tired of Being Alone" came on. I immediately changed it to a Spanish station, my Spanish not good enough to understand what probably were some equally lovesick lyrics. At some point, one of the songs had an English chorus about love. There was not even respite here on the Spanish station. I turned the radio to a pop station as we got closer to my new apartment. As we circled looking for a parking spot, Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" started playing, which was a little easier to swallow, its anthemic vocals proudly, not sadly, declaring the end of a relationship.

We unloaded all of the cargo into my new apartment. My neighbor across the hall, Spanish grandmother, came out into the hallway, nosy to see what was going on, and before introducing herself told us that if we were going to smoke weed in our apartment, then we needed to burn incense, that she has a 15 year old grandson she is trying to protect. It might be added that we were not smoking weed, or about to, but just moving boxes up a flight of stairs.

Once we had moved everything out of the van, we got back in the van to return it, and Pink's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" was playing on the radio. So insanely appropriate. I cranked it up loud and we cruised down Knickerbocker Avenue in the UHaul van.

Susan Miller has told me that for the last three years Saturn has occupied the fifth house of true love and romance. She has pointed out that on October 15th, a new moon, today, I would see a release of the last three years. When I read her monthly horoscope a couple days ago, my mind was blown with the specificity with which she talks about the events in my life over the last three years.

I am alive, folks! That means everything. I made it out of my last apartment. I have suffered a brutal and swift end to what was an ideal love for me and there were many days when the news seemed unbearable, something I would never recover from. But there are silly pop songs that have helped me raise my head higher. There are people who told me to get out of my apartment, who told me to, yes, sign this lease even if it seems expensive, just do it. There are people who helped me pick up furniture from Queens, from South Brooklyn, from my old apartment, and I am so appreciative of it. And life goes on. Yes, it does. It's a new moon today. I am starting over and not looking back anymore.

goodbye 180 Meserole Street

Yesterday, I said my goodbyes to my home for the last two and a half years - 180 Meserole Street. It was a much more painful goodbye than I had anticipated. There were photographs of the two of us and cute souvenirs from our travels attached to the fridge. There were cute notes from him left for me in happier days that I had stored in the bottom of my underwear drawer. There was a piggy bank he gave me on this past Christmas with a picture of a beach in Costa Rica in the background, an enticement for the two of us to save money to go there together. The trip never happened. I left the piggy bank behind, did not need that memento staring at me everyday.









Thursday, September 27, 2012

Madonna - "Nothing Really Matters"

I pick up the keys to my new apartment tomorrow at five. I need to get a mattress, other things.

I went out to some East Village gay bars last night with Diego after seeing Cyrano on Broadway. Phoenix smelled of hot dogs. There was a beautiful man there that I watched for a couple drinks before introducing myself. His name was Drew. He was much nicer than I had imagined, chatty.

He later met up with me at Eastern Bloc. I was less into him there. I escaped at some point in the night, his insecurity turning me off, destroying this image I had constructed of him as I sipped drinks at Phoenix and watched him, created a narrative about him that that was then called into question by actually talking to him. The fantasy brutally collided with reality and I slunk out of the bar. I picked up two slices of pizza at Muzarella and waited for the train to take me back home to this apartment off Montrose that I inhabit for a short while longer.

Hungover today, I have played "Nothing Really Matters" again and again as a pick-me-up. I played it a couple days ago while doing some yoga and exercise and have not been able to stop listening to it since.

Countless times today, Madonna has told me: "Nothing takes the past away like the future."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

home

Yesterday afternoon, once I got off work, I took the subway out to Bushwick. I had an appointment to sign a lease for an apartment at 4:30. Since I was a good half hour early for my apartment, I wandered around what is soon to be new neighborhood for a while, walking past memories of when this used to my neighborhood five or so years ago. I sat on a park bench in Maria Hernandez Park across from my old apartment. I looked up at the apartment's window and wondered if Niki still lived there, wondered if I was going to run into her now that I lived a couple of blocks away.

A circle seemed like it was being made. I wasn't sure what this meant, whether this was a good or a bag thing.

I signed the lease on the stoop of what is to be my new building on DeKalb Avenue. I am really excited about living in this neighborhood again. That stretch of Knickerbocker is full of so much life and really calls to mind images of what I imagined New York to be when I was a kid. Fruit and vegetables piled on sidewalks for sale. Taco shops, pizza shops, 99 cent stores, booming sound systems, kids cruising by on their BMX bikes, a crush of life.

There is the neighborhood. And then there is the apartment. It is a tiny 1 bedroom and it all mine. I can't wait to hit restart, to be on my own, to not see Jacob anymore, to be out of this place that used to be our home, to forget. The bathroom has a sink. There is a non-working fireplace. There is an empty apartment that I will fill with stuff and position just so and make into a cozy place to call home.




Saturday, September 22, 2012

forever

"When I think about forever I get upset. Like the Land of Lakes butter has that Indian girl, sitting holding a box, and it has a picture of her on it, holding a box, with a picture of her on it, holding a box. Have you ever noticed that?"
-Sally Draper

Friday, September 14, 2012

nothing but time

Two days ago, I went to the zoo. Walking from the subway to the zoo, I passed a recently taped off crime scene. Pools of blood on the sidewak in front of a TD Bank, blood soaked clothing left behid on the sidewalk, police everywhere. It was a very disturbing sight that shook me up quite a bit.

At the zoo, I watched a pack of baboons terrorize a heard of gazelle-like animals with a name I had never heard of. That also was a bit frightening to watch.

Yesterday, I talked to this father as he awaited word on his daughter, got him a cup of coffee. I was very worried about what the outcome would be. I heard him cry out the most awful cry of loss when he was told his daughter was dead. The sound he made is maybe the saddest sound I have ever heard and I am not sure I will ever forget it. I kept on hearing it last night when I was trying to sleep.
It has been an intense last couple of days. This morning, on my way to work, I listened to Cat Power's "Nothing But Time," and it seemed like a lie, the song's lyrics, but a comforting lie that we sometimes need to hear. She told me that time's got nothing on me, but I know it has everything on me. She told me I've got nothing but time, but as I have been reminded the past couple days, no, no, I do not.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Talking Heads - "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)


It was about nine or ten years ago. I know it was shortly after moving to New York sometime in 2003. I had been hanging out with Megan and some other people at Blue and Gold on East 7th Street. Over the jukebox came a song I had never heard before. The singer was talking about Home, a place he wanted to be. The song was full of nostalgia and hope and sadness. I was feeling rootless at the time, wanted that feeling of home, of belonging to a place, to something. I was madly in love with New York at the time, was going about the process of making it my home, wanted it to be. This song really helped me realize that it was my home, that it was where I was present, and that I needed to acknowledge it as my home.

"Home is where I want to be, but I guess I'm already there."

I ran to the jukebox to see what the song was, matched up the numbers with what album and what track were playing. I saw that it was the Talking Heads, "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)." I went home and downloaded the song soon after and listened to it again and again.

I found myself at Blue and Gold again yesterday. I have been thinking about the idea of home a lot lately, the one I had created nearing its expiration date, maybe already having passed it. I had created a home with Jacob, a safe space that I felt I belonged in, a place imbued with all those notions of comfort, safety, and love that constitute the somewhat porous concept of home. We are parting ways by the end of October and will pack up all these things sometime soon, split up the shared positions, and be on our way to something else, something that I can hopefully soon make a home. I'm not sure if that place will be in New York, whether it will be with a roommate, whether it will be by myself, what neighborhood it will be in, anything really. Where my home will be is one big looming question hanging over my life right now. That's okay. Questions without answers are fine, maybe even a good thing. Something to work towards answering.

I was with some friends from work. We ended up there because we wanted cheap drinks and someone had suggested the bar. Once there, once a bit drunk of their shot specials, Dan wanted to play stuff on the jukebox. I went over to look at the choices within him and became overwhelmed by the memory of that day nearly a decade ago when I first head that Talking Heads song on this jukebox. I wanted to see if they still had it. Magically, it was still on the jukebox. We played it and I occupied a moment in the same point on a circle I had some many years ago, unsure of where I was in the world, but made just a little less unsure by the comforting wisdom of David Byrne.

"I am just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two"