Saturday, November 30, 2013


America, there are moments when I think I have you figured out and they overwhelm every bit of my senses, these moments in which everything seems beautiful and seems to be of a piece with each other, and all I want to do is somehow be able to capture, some day, these feelings.

These are sketches, notes, for that future day when magically I am going to suddenly have a surplus of time and be able to pursue these things, to pursue trying to write what it feels like to be driving along a highway in Delaware in late November with your family that you don't see too often and as your mom is talking about phonebooks, for a reason that you can't recall too clearly, and she is talking about how that's probably a business that could go away and no one would miss that much.

We were driving past a chemical plant, which Delaware seems to have a lot of, billows of gray smoke floating off into the just slightly less gray air, trees without leaves lining the roads. There were numerous self-storage places. I don't know how people have this much stuff to store, what it is that is stored in all these flat buildings. There was an old business shuttered, the business housed in a barn-shaped building.

The public radio news show playing in the background of the car was talking about street protests in Kiev, Ukrainians taking to the street, wanting to be a part of an EU trade agreement.

My mom found out right before my sister and I came that her hysterectomy was successful, that she currently had no traces of cancer left. Great news to start off Thanksgiving.

I watched a depressing romance - Celeste and Jesse Forever - that was incredibly beautiful and spot on about the shitty emotional games people in love with each other play. I tried not to cry in front of my family. I watched various episodes of Mob Wives with my family, my mom getting surprisingly into the show. Love, one of the wives, kept talking about stabbing people. I ate food and drank wine and thought about love and family and who it is I'll spend future Thanksgivings with and I thought about being alone and I thought about being happy and I thought about working in hotels and I thought about working in advertising and I thought about winning the lotto and I thought about feeling fulfilled and content and I thought about the idea of what it means to be a man, and more so, what it means to be a human.

And from the heated comfort of a car, I looked out on to bare trees lining the roadways connecting cities past their industrial prime along the Eastern Seaboard. Everything was there on those roadways, every clue you ever wanted about what it means to be alive.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Blood Orange - "No Right Thing"

I woke up at Wilson Avenue, having slept through my stop. It was 20 minutes until the next train back in the right direction. I walked out of the station. There was a cemetery behind me and no black cars driving by for me to flag down and carry my drunk self home in. I put on the Blood Orange album and started to walk home.

There was a bottle of poppers in my jacket pocket. I kept on sniffing from the poppers every block or so. It was a beautiful night, a magical experience. Everything was blurred, glittering, and hilarious.

After work and going to the gym, I went to a copywriting class in Dumbo. We all had brought beer to class since we were having class on a Friday and just ended up drinking and watching music videos and talking. It was really nice. Afterwards, some of us went to Superfine for some more drinks. I was already feeling a little tipsy and in love with the world. I brought a bunch of my classmates over to my friend's house in the East Village. Natasha Lyonne was on the F train, looking like she was having lots of fun. It was Friday night, New York City - everyone was.

At a bodega, I bought beer and cigarettes. They had a huge display case of poppers. My classmates were unfamiliar with this amazing product so I bought a bottle of Rush and introduced them to it.

We sat in a backyard under strings of white lights and drank beer and sniffed poppers. I did some Adderall. I took a bunch of shots for some reason, four at least - various people continually saying they wanted to do shots with me, me unable to say no.

The group wandered to Phoenix. The poppers were passed around. I danced to various songs, hit on various boys, and when people said they were migrating to Eastern Bloc, that's when I headed home, tried to. Slices were bought at Muzzarella that I stuffed my face with while waiting for the train.

Soon enough I was out on streets I had never walked before and which were incredibly beautiful, aging row houses built with roofs forming a perfect line from one house to the next, the entire block the same height, Latin bars still open with sounds and harsh lighting spilling out on to sidewalks, corner bodegas that never close, cars cruising by either blasting music or moving sinisterly and slowly down streets as if looking for something. I would sniff from the poppers and take in all these sights. These sights were coupled with the sounds of the amazing Blood Orange going through my ears, my whole body, as I walked alone through unfamiliar neighborhoods feeling both secure and vulnerable at the same time, the night perfect in this moment.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

CCR - "Lodi"

When I was in college, all of my friends had landlines. Very few had cellphones. I knew when people weren't going to be able to pick up their phone sometimes and I would occasionally play into their answering machine a song I really liked. I did this with a couple friends and with the various boy I may have been interested in.

Last night, I got several calls that showed up as my own phone number. I assumed it was some telemarketer or someone else obnoxious. I did not answer my phone after and rejected the three calls in succession. Then a call right after showed up with a 646 number. I hit ignore again, thinking it was the same person. I was also busy getting ready to go out to the MIX Festival.

They left a message. The message was nothing but Creedence Clearwater's "Lodi." I don't know what the purpose of this message was since it's a fairly bleak and depressing song, and have no clue who left it. I do like though that it was a CCR song because it reminded me even more of college years in Florida, since I used to be very much so into that band then.

At the MIX Festival, there were numerous cute guys I had never seen before, the space a fairly large and crowded space. The space was lined with giant pillows that people were lounging on, making out on, framing the space with a some languorous sexually charged air, an opium den of sorts. I had taken some Adderall and so wasn't in the same mellow mindset that the energy of the space had. I felt pretty awkward and danced to feel less so, smoked a lot of cigarettes to feel less so as well, and stared at cute boys, not knowing how to approach people anymore apparently.

I finally talked to this one guy who I had been eyeing as we danced near each other on the dancefloor. He said he liked my tattoo. I said I liked everything about him. We ended up dancing to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." How appropriate. He left about halfway through the song though.

There was another cute guy, a redhead with a mustache who I passed numerous times in the space and who I kept exchanging glances with. For some reason, I never said hi. I kept on trying to push myself up over that hump, to say hello to this person. I didn't. The music eventually got cut off because of noise complaints or something and with the music no longer on, he soon disappeared from the space, beautiful man who I failed to talk to.

This other guy started talking to me who I know, or kind of know, of know through various friends and don't really know at all, having never actually talked to this person one on one. He was hitting on me, told me I was cute. I had tried hitting on this person a couple times in the past, in the company of shared friends and he always gave me the cold shoulder, ignored me. I told him this and he admitted that it was true. We chatted for a long while, though I had that terrible problem that I sometimes get of not being able to commit, to wanting to see what other options were available, whom else I might be able to have some sort of romance for. The guy I had danced with earlier passed by while I was talking to this one guy and gave me some sort of look that said a lot.

I circled the place, looking for something better, red head guy, other imagined personifications of either immediate sexual or more longer-term romantic happiness. Soon this person was gone, that person was, and I stood awkwardly alone on a dance floor all options gone for the night, having been too picky, watching various other coupled off people all around me. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Barbarism Begins at Home" - The Smiths

In case you didn't know, let me just tell you that our criminal justice system here in the US is totally fucked up. This is something I have always known, but today that point was really hit home for me when I got to observe its workings much more close up. As a citizen, I felt so disempowered, so impotent, before this apparatus of the state enforcing its vision of morality, of order, ensnaring mainly underclass people and people of color in the process.

I made my way to a New Jersey Courthouse at a very early hour this morning to appear in court for a summons for something that occurred sometime this past summer, months ago. Court is not what you expect. Law and Order and Legally Blonde present you images of a dignified setting, something courtly and majestic about the courtroom. This was the lovechild of a wood-panelled basement den from the '70s and the meeting room of a small evangelical church, the back of the court essentially church pews set up for all the defendants on trial, a large mass of them that will be fed through the court system in one breath.

In the long period in which nothing happens, while defendants mingle with lawyers and people sit awkwardly awaiting their fate, I went to the bathroom. Fuck this place, I thought as I rubbed one out in the bathroom, the one thing I was able to do as some act of defiance there, secret act behind a stall, dirtying the place up, a middle finger to the place, to the whole corrupt system.

I watched as an elderly white male judge repeatedly rolled his eyes and shook his head as he tried a Latin couple who spoke no English, doing his best to shame them, and imposing a harsh monetary fine on them that was totally unnecessary and destructive despite tears from the woman telling how she was unemployed, used to work in shipping for a manufacturer, but injured her back and was now on disability and living with her son and couldn't afford the steep fine. Not that I necessarily believe in Hell, but were I to, I would comfort myself with the fact that this judge would get his comeuppance there. As is, I live in this world and there are people with all of this power to mete out punishments and decide cruelly the future of other people for such minor "offenses" that it makes my blood boil.

It's honestly mind-boggling all the shit that goes on - and this was one tiny courtroom dealing with minor offenses in one small corner of New Jersey. It made me so depressed to multiply this hundreds and hundreds of times each day to get some understanding of what this all meant.

Today, I really started to understand probably what it is that drives people to some bunkered down anti-government mentality on the far right (and less so on the far left). And I got it. Something needs to change. It's this unstoppable machine that no one has the ability to change, especially those most affected by it, that it requires specialization and accreditation to even be able to engage with the legal system as something other than a defendant. There's so much wasted money involved that all of the people involved in it benefit from. It's a rolling snowball of shit, greed, racism, arrogance, and power that we are all just sucked up into as it rolls over us, nothing we can do to stop the nonsense. There are so many adverse effects produced in the lives of the underclass through the legal system that keep them where they are. And what's even more fucked up is that this is the point. This is really the purpose of the current legal system - using the various apparatuses of the state to keep class and racial stratifications in place - to maintain order, as it were, doing so with burdensome fines, blights on your criminal record that would harm your chances of future employment, unreasonable probation sentences setting one up for failure (of no substances or alcohol, say, for two years, which was someone's sentence in court today), or actual jail time. Seriously, fuck everything!

And so once I got back to New York, I spent hours at the gym, taking out all my aggression on various weights, not knowing what else to do, what else I could do.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Outkast - "Player's Ball"

Sangiovese, five dollar bottle from Trader Joe's -
maybe six dollars.

I ride trains all day, reading catty comments from Morrissey,
turning back corners of pages,
catty comments of particular note.

My mom had a hysterectomy yesterday,
texted me she is doing well,
is sore.

Snow fell this morning

Nothing stuck.

It's been a long time since I have been touched,
have submitted to someone's hands,
felt some connection outside this skin,
this head.

I hold my jacket tight against the cold wind,
head home to blankets that I will cuddle with,
will try to,

the cold stronger than the various blankets
assembled on my bed


Sunday, November 10, 2013

make sure you have everything

"The written word is an attempt at completeness when there is no one impatiently awaiting you in a dimly lit bedroom - awaiting your tales of the day, as the healing hands of someone who knew turn to you and touch you, and you lose yourself so completely in another that you are momentarily delivered from yourself. Whispering across the pillow comes a kind voice that might tell you how to get out of certain difficulties, from someone who might mercifully detach you from your complications. When there is no matching of lives, and we live on a strict diet of the self, the most intimate bond can be with the words that we write."
-Morrissey, Autobiography (95-96)

I read from Morrissey's Autobiography as some friends and I rode up along the Hudson River on the Metro North toward Cold Spring. I thought about boys and life and loneliness, which I am prone to doing normally, especially so when reading this particular book.

At the Croton-Harmon stop, I noticed the poetry of the announcement given at each stop. It took on a particular resonance in that moment:

"Watch your step. Make sure you have everything."

We hiked up a mountain. There were beautiful views from up there. We hiked down the mountain and into Cold Spring. We ate some food, drank some beers, ate some pie, drank some wine. We looked at some antique stores and bought some wine to drink on the train ride home. I fell asleep, Morrissey in my lap. He held back from the cuddling though, and I woke up groggy, still alone, and with a man sleeping next to me.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"until your guilt goes up in flames"

Earlier this morning, I told myself that I am never drinking again. Never again. It hurt to even get out of bed and walk to the kitchen to pour some water. Everything hurt. My Advil bottle was empty. My goddamn Advil bottle was empty. Never again would I not have a copious supply of Advil in my house. I knew that I should go to the corner store and buy some Advil but the idea of putting on clothes and taking steps down the stairs, let alone underneath sunlight and around people was just too painful seeming. I rolled around in my bed and tried to sleep the pain away.

My phone started buzzing next to me on my dresser. I didn't have the energy to immediately see who it was texting. I was hoping, because this is the state I was in, that it was Advil texting me, saying it would be right over. Please be Advil texting, I kept on moaning. It wasn't.

I went to the store, Rite Aid, down the block to buy a giant bottle of Advil. While I was being rang up by the cashier, Sheryl Crow's "My Favorite Mistake" started playing. Of course, it did.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Take Care

You want to feel good? Reacquaint yourself with Bob Dylan. I imagine it's been awhile since you have listened to him. There is so much new stuff coming out all of the time, an avalanche of deliriously good and fun pop music. But put on Highway 61 Revisited. Load it up on to whatever music device you have. Plug in your headphones and walk around New York City. Ride the subway. Look at the people and things around you and listen to this great fucking album and realize that life is pretty awesome.

Friday night, I was supposed to go out dinner with the superhero dude at a very nice restaurant. He told me to choose some place really nice, wherever I have always wanted to eat, that it was on him. I was miserably tired from Halloween, having gotten only about two hours of sleep before having to work in the morning. I told him I would need to take a raincheck on the dinner but that we could still meet up for his fantasy of superhero roleplay later in the night, of him punching me, Batman, in the stomach. Anyways, I slept and slept and soon woke up to an annoyed message from him saying he thought we had plans, that he would find someone else, that I should take care.

Saturday night, I was supposed to go on a date with this cute guy I met through a friend. He had texted me a couple days ago and asked me to reconfirm that we were still on for Saturday night. He then made what I guess was meant to be flirty banter, saying, "I hope you're a top." My interest in him went spiraling down with that comment, that what I had really been looking forward to, a proper date with someone, something with some potential for romance, something sweet, something where I might make some connection with a person, was before that even had a chance to happen was now no different than any conversation on Scruff with the numerous sex-hungry creeps who live near me asking first thing, "top/bottom?" And I am well aware that I am one of those sex-hungry creeps in your Scruff radius of guys as well, so I am not judging not too much, or at least not removing myself from my own judgementalness. 

Long story short, I sent him a message canceling due to being busy with school work. He messaged me back, saying he believed I was canceling because of the texts. I told him he was correct. He then sent me a bitchy response.

So I am doing real well with the fellows this weekend. Bring it on. Anyone else want me to let you down, flake out, cancel plans, and be a generally unreliable person? Please let's plan to go on a date so I can mess that up.

I am feeling just about as great as I have in the longest time. And that's because I know what I want and (more importantly) know what I don't want. And I have got Bob Dylan to listen to, this city to explore, and my own hands to make me happy in the late hours of the evening.