Monday, October 28, 2013

a bloody sock and these dreams of you

Wes Montgomery's "No Blues"

When I am sitting by an open window, a little stoned, a little drunk on red wine, smoking a cigarette and listening to jazz on the local public airwaves, I realize my life is not so different from the one I used to dream about having when I was a teen reading Beat poets with hopes to live in that really cool city, New York, someday. Despite what I sometimes think, there are moments, such as this current one, in which I realize I didn't miss the mark that far (if at all), that it's just about allowing these moments, tuning out all the distractions we constantly find for ourselves, and living the dream.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Won't you be my wagon wheel?"

The Williamsburg Bridge is always there. Take more advantage of it. Sometimes a walk over it may be just the thing you needed that you didn't even know you needed.

I was down in South Williamsburg taking photos along the waterfront of the skyline and then decided that I should walk over the bridge into Manhattan. No real reason to do so, but it seemed nice and it had been a while since I had walked over it. You can really get lost in thought on that walk. You are walking through the clouds in various senses of that phrase.

I walked to Trader Joe's and bought some bottles of Charles Shaw. I came home and took of my shoes and socks. One of my socks was soaked in blood. I had put a band-aid on the back of my foot before heading out today but the blood soaked through that, soaked through a beautiful pink sock. Last night, I dressed up as Rihanna from the "Pour it Up" video and was wearing six inch stripper heels that tore up my feet. I got in a car outside of Metro last night to take me home and immediately tore off these heels and tried massaging some feeling back into my feet. I hobbled barefoot from the car up to my apartment building, heels in hand, a mess of a sight.

"You're going to reap just what you sow." We sing this line over and over again, an incantation.

Lou Reed is dead and is very much so alive. I am listening to Transformer right now and his voice is stirring up all kinds of things inside me. The news of his death came as a shock to me when I read it this morning on Facebook. It made me quite sad for reasons that I am not necessarily sure of. This is a man who lived a very full life and influenced the contemporary world in a way few others have and who left behind a great body of work. This man helped shape the idea of New York that I attached myself to, that I dreamed about before moving here. A great deal of what I believed New York to be, wanted it to be, was the type of life he sang about with the Velvet Underground and on his own later on, especially on Transformer, an album I have listened to innumerable times. It was that particular attitude, that particular voice that I wanted to live, wanted to be surrounded by. I wanted to live in his city.

And I just want to eat Doritos with you and drink Charles Shaw wine and listen to this album as we play Scrabble together. But I have homework to do. I have to work at seven and desperately need to get some sleep tonight since I know the rest of the week will provide very little of it. And perhaps most importantly of all here for why this won't happen is that there is no particular "you" being referenced here, just a vague unfocused longing for something, someone, making it that much harder to text this concept to see if they would like to come over and join this entirely theoretical Doritos, Charles Shaw, and Lou Reed Scrabble party.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

an afternoon in times square

My feeling toward the numerous bootleg versions of popular characters that hang out in Times Square posing for photographs is an evolving thing. When this phenomenon of a couple Elmos posing for photos a few years ago somehow morphed into what it now is - people in raggedy outfits of various recognizable cartoon figures or superheroes - I found the spectacle creepy and yet another corporate and branded thing about Times Square to detest. However, now a couple years later, I have come to appreciate these characters so much more. I am so fascinated by them and I also like the effect that they have. In some way, they are bringing the seediness and creepiness back to Times Square. There is something very funny about how Times Square was originally cleaned up back in the '90s with the help of Disney and now a couple decades later, it is people desperate for money dressed up as various Disney characters (as well as Marvel and Sesame Street characters) who are making Times Square seem somehow more menacing, and in the process undermining all the money these protective brands spend shaping these character's identities just so.

I sat and watched them for quite a while today, photographing them every now and then. They would occasionally all huddle or one would lift the head of their costume to peer at how much money was in their tip bag. Later in the day, when finally leaving this part of town, as I was going down the subway stairs, I passed four Central American guys changing out of their costumes at the bottom of the stairs. It is pretty insane to think that there are men and women who have immigrated to this country and find themselves in Times Square dressed in various ratty outfits portraying these icons of huge corporations for tips from visiting tourists - Mario, Batman, Hello Kitty, and of course Elmo, so many Elmos. I can't imagine that back in whatever place they immigrated from, that this is what they thought they would be doing in a new country.

In front of the McDonald's on 42nd Street, I came across a Bansky art piece that has been making its way around to various McDonald's in the city - an angry looking statue of Ronald McDonald with his shoe out to be shined, and an actual shoeless black man shining this statue's shoe. It made me deeply uncomfortable to encounter this, but that's probably a good thing. There were numerous tourists who took pictures of this in the same way they did of the guy putting nails up his nostrils next door at Ripley's Believe it or Not or of the various Elmos a little further down the street, one more crazy sight that they encountered on their trip to New York. It's a really great work that speaks a lot to these times we live in. I couldn't help but notice some symmetries between the characters all over Times Square making messes of various brands and this Bansky piece as well.

I went and saw Gravity at the Regal on 42nd. When I left the theater, the Bansky installation was already gone. I walked down the subway and passed the group of guys changing out of their costumes, counting their tips, happy.

Friday, October 18, 2013

"joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea - joy to you and me"

I bought a plane ticket today. Puerto Rico. Several days in December. Work today seemed particularly boring, petty, and insignificant given the news I received yesterday.

My mom last night told me that she has cervical cancer, that she is going to have to get a hysterectomy in a month or so. I had called her and after a brief hello, me telling her how I am doing in the vague terms we normally talk, she kind of abruptly and matter of fact-ly said, "I've got some bad news." I was braced for something when she said that, knew it would actually be bad news of the serious kind, not of the insignificant kind that people sometimes describe as bad news, that my mom's not like that, and that she has probably said the same statement to me a few times now before what actually followed, really bad news. 

I was stunned and also not stunned. I have become a bit desensitized in some ways to bad news, to people close to me announcing various traumatic health conditions: cancer here, HIV there, cancer there. I just want everyone I know to live forever, to never suffer. It made me incredibly sad. I have already lost one of my parents to cancer and losing the other one, my mom, whom I love so much despite our not-too-close relationship, would be far too much for me to handle. Luckily, her doctors have said it has been caught early and that she should most likely be fine after having a hysterectomy. Still, quite upsetting. It really made me more aware though of how fucking short all of this is, how by chance it is that we even live another day. Existence is a really terrifying thing.

She said she would be fine, that she didn't need anyone to come for the surgery, that her husband would be there, that she will just be there overnight one night. I was so happy in that moment that she was remarried, that she lived with this person who I know loves her so much, that she had someone that cared so much about her there in her life. And while I was thinking about this, some slightly vain thought popped into my head - because usually you find, even in the most terrible situations, a way to somehow relate another person's suffering back to your own imagined suffering, some excuse for you to think about your own self, as if you need any more of them. And I thought about dying alone, wondered what would happen if I continued on this current track I am, of solitude, that when I am old and become ill, wondering whether I would have anyone to comfort me, to look at me and with just their eyes, with the sight in front of me of someone that cares about me looking at me, make me think, even if it might be a complete and total lie, that everything was going to be all right. I choke sometimes on water or food and think that if I were to die choking on some small thing in my living room that one of my friends would have thought, maybe even many of my friends, to their own relationship status and thought, depending on either whether they were in a relationship or not, "I could have died just as sad a death as him, alone, had I not have had x to come to my rescue and do the Heimlich maneuver on me," or "I am going to choke to death on Doritos I consumed when too drunk and too quickly, and no one will be there to help and that only once the smell becomes too bad after a week or so will some neighbor call the police who will then find my rotting body next to a half empty bag of the 99 cent size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos."

She said she was going to be fine and then said she had even more bad news. I wondered what else she could present that would be worse news. One of my aunts has a brain tumor that they found and are going to try to operate on in a few days. She described the process to me, said they would start to operate and partly through the procedure they would stop to make sure my aunt still had proper brain functions and would either stop or continue the operation at that point. 

I am confronted with mortality, of what it is to be alive, and how precarious a concept that is, that it's all temporary and short, some of the moments just slightly less temporary, slightly less short than the others. I just want to hug everyone. 

Needless to say, I was less than in the mood for the needs of rich people in my service industry job today. I spent the day looking at pictures of various beaches in Puerto Rico and could not wait to dive into the ocean, to move so freely through the elements, to swim seal-like under water, to escape.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ernest Wilson's "Sentimental Man"

Yesterday, I went to this guy's house and we drank glasses of water on his couch together. He told me that this fantasy of his first probably started when he was about nine years old. The old Batman TV show. He was watching it. That is when he first got turned on, really noticed himself being turned on by something. It was when Batman was getting punched in the stomach by the bad guys. He would go see every action movie in the intervening years and in every single one, without fail he said, there was this scene of the hero being held down by the bad guys and getting punched in the stomach. It was really quite weird he said, how almost the exact same scene happens in all of these movies. He wanted to know why that was.

I was there because he wanted to punch a guy in the stomach, to do some role playing, him being the bad guy, me the tough sexy hero getting punched in the stomach. He first explored this even before the Internet he said. Even then he had managed to find a thriving network of people with similar fantasies. He thought he was a weirdo, alone in his fantasies, and was so happy to meet so other people with the same fantasy. Once the Internet came along, he realized that were thousands of people with this same fantasy, and he was relieved to find out he was not so alone, that what he though was a weird sexual fantasy that only he had was in fact a pretty common one.

He explained the scene to me, how he wanted it to go down. He put on some Led Zeppelin. It took me a few minutes to get into playing this character, but once I did, I was really into it. His punches were light. I wanted them to be harder, to actually hurt, but I faked the pain. He kept on saying how he was going to turn my abs to mush. I kept on flexing my abs, trying to make it seem like I had defined ones, since clearly this guy is really into superhero abs and punching them.

The sun was coming in through his window, Led Zeppelin was blasting, and I was naked in bed with a sexy older guy pinning me down, jerking me off, and punching me in the stomach. It was a beautiful day is what I am trying to say.

I then met up with Andy, had some drinks in the East Village, and then went out to eat at Bunker in Ridgewood, which was quite delicious. I drank too much, but had a lovely time. I walked past beautiful industrial buildings on a stretch of Flushing Avenue I had never walked down. That area where Bushwick and Ridgewood meets has a real sense of poetry to it. There is something beautiful and not of New York about the place, or not of this current iteration of New York that we live in. We crossed some railroad tracks strewn with garbage. The streets were abandoned. The sun was setting, the sky a beautiful color, and through the large dirty glass windows of a factory of some kind, that sky's beautiful color looked even more beautiful filtered through the haze of this old glass.

I had read some William Carlos Williams the night before, his two "Pastoral" poems, and their lines were ringing in my head as I took in this scenery. "These things astonish me beyond words."

There was tape, thick spools of black VHS tape knotted up in big clumps along the side of the road. It had been so long since I had seen such a thing. I was thrown back to other eras, when for whatever reasons strings of both VHS and cassette tape always seemed to be gathered by curbs, occasionally fluttering with gusts of wind, some angry person, or lots of angry people, smashing cassettes and VHS tapes all over this country, pulling out the tape, pulling and pulling, yanking it from its casings and throwing it out the windows of cars as they drive by angrily cursing the names of ex-boyfriends.

Despite waking up hungover this morning, I still felt pretty great. I knew what I needed to do and I also knew that things are pretty fucking good, that life is really quite a beautiful thing. I am trying to be a better person, and it's a process, but to know that I am taking steps toward such a state, that I am aware of a better self and trying to bring that self into being makes me immensely happy. I want to be good. I am trying. And that's really all there is. Just making the effort to be better. You can't ask more than that. And when you do that, when you make that effort, it's amazing how good you can feel, how happy you become with the world.

Monday, October 7, 2013

the devil wants nothing more than to be "some fat, 250 pound merchant's wife" and to "go into a church and light a candle with a pure heart"

Today, I finally finished The Brothers Karamazov. This moment represents something, though I am not sure exactly what. I have been reading the book for years now. I bought it a couple years ago, a few years ago - I am not exactly sure how long ago. I started it and then put it down, wasn't in the proper mood for a heavy Russian book at the time. I picked it up and started again. I made a bigger dent in it but again I got distracted by other books, by magazines, by life. I would pick it up at various points, read a hundred or so pages over a week, and then, without consciously doing so, let the book fall by the wayside for months. It's not that I didn't like it - I am not sure what the problem was.

Regardless, I finally reached the end of it. I still had a couple pages left today when I got off the subway by my gym but I was determined to finish it in that moment, before anything else came about from preventing me from reaching the end of this novel. It was drizzling rain and I read those last few pages, a beautiful speech given by Alyosha, in the drizzling rain, the pages getting wetter and wetter.

"You must know that there is nothing higher, or stronger, or sounder, or more useful afterwards in life, than some good memory, especially a memory from childhood, from the parental home. You hear a lot said about education, yet some such beautiful, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man stores up many such memories to take into life, then he is saved for his whole life. And even if only one good memory remains with us in our hearts, that alone may serve some day for our salvation." (774)

This book has been with me through various relationships and attempts at them, all of them failed. I have read from it on numerous bus rides, train rides, subway rides, and I believe even plane rides. I was a little sad to conclude this era of my life today, of having this unfinished Russian novel over my head constantly.

I still have Middlemarch though, also unfinished, also read through stops and starts over years, to now look forward to - something I have resolved to finish by the end of this year. And then I still also have Within a Budding Grove, which has sat half read on my bookshelf for an even longer number of years, and then whenever the day comes that I finish that, I will have all the remaining volumes of In Search of Lost Time to work through, slowly, on and off. Who knows where I will be in my life when I finally get through all of those books?

School started again this evening. I watched a beautiful sunset over the Manhattan Bridge from one of the classrooms.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

On Not Eating a Burrito

I was hungry and I was full at the same time, overcome with both desire and with its being sated, wanting more of this pleasure despite being so overwhelmed by it. His cock was stuffed down my throat, gagging me, and I never wanted it to end, was hungry for future moments of this present moment. He was sitting on my face, I was eating his ass, and I wanted him to sit even harder, for him to be heavier, for his presence to be more, his body to become entirely suffocating, something that could erase me.

I had gone to the gym after work, however I realized I forgot my gym clothes once I was in the locker room. I remembered Matt worked at Eastern Bloc on Thursdays, thought of how long it had been since I had seen him. What I am saying is that I went to Eastern Block for happy hour, which was fun. It was nice to talk to Matt and to various strangers there for happy hour as well. I left, having intended to finish The Brothers Karamazov this evening, having gotten so thrown off the course by these very strong drinks, and by the sight of all this vintage seventies porn they played when men may have reached their physical ideal, it all downhill from there, people too skinny or too muscular in the various genres and eras of porn since, nothing having that just right Goldilocks feel.

So I was on my way home, walking up Avenue A toward the L train back to Brooklyn. I was thinking of how good a burrito from Zarazoga Deli would be. I was also thinking of how good a dick would be, how great one would be, how amazing it would be to choke on one. I was looking at Scruff as I walked toward a burrito. I messaged a few guys, throwing off Hi's and Hey Sexys in quick succession, as quick as I could type them on my way to some Mexican food to soak up the whiskey sloshing around my insides. And there were no responses except from the one I did not expect a response from, someone so absurdly porn-star sexy, seventies kind I mean, that I didn't think he would respond, that this is the person, the one, that in fact did respond. He was a few hundred feet away. A few messages back and forth and I was soon ringing his doorbell. I was soon walking into his apartment to see this insanely fucking sexy dude in his boxers with a huge boner poking through. Is this real life?, I may have been wondering at the time. I may be still wondering the answer to that question and other variations of of it.

It has been a long time since I have had sex. Too long. I was so hungry and I was so full.

Sometimes life is so good. Like, you shouldn't be so lucky, that no one should, that men this sexy should not invite you to their apartment and want to mess around with you, to get each other off, to explore notions of pleasure together. Like, does this stuff really happen? I had forgotten it did. It felt so good to remember.

It has also been a long time since someone has really understood me sexually, or been willing to play a role I haven't had someone play in so long, that of some dominant male making me worship him - so, so long. There was no discussion of this but instantly through my moans as I was sucking his dick on my knees, he understand what it was that turned me on, saw some glimmer of a dirtier submissive slut buried somewhere.

This guy was quite muscley it should be added, someone physically larger than me in mass, someone that could play this dominating role very convincingly.

He stood over me, his foot pressed down on my face, making me kiss it, lick it, admire it. He did this harder and harder until I came. He then ran his toes through my semen on my chest. He made me lick it off his feet.

Once I got dressed and was saying goodbye, I kissed him briefly on the lips, the first time we had done so, and then I kissed again those armpits, full of such a sexy odor. I took a taste of it with me for the subway ride home. I skipped out on the burrito. I passed right by Zarazoga Deli. Though I hadn't eaten in hours and was hungry, I didn't want to eat anything that might remove from my mouth the taste of these other things still so present - his armpits, his ass, my semen, his cock - this mixture of intense scents still in my mouth, still in every part of me, these overwhelming senses - smell and taste and the memory of touch. I walked past the burrito place, did not stop. I was hungry and I was so full.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

the second day of October

I went to Westgay last evening with some friends and danced and drank too much vodka and stuffed dollar bills into Kennedy Carter's underwear when I wasn't busy staring at and salivating over his body. Toward the end of the night, I made out with some guy, stuffed my hands down his pants. He lived in Greenpoint. I realized I didn't really want to go home with him, with anyone really, though an exception would very likely have been made for the aforementioned go-go dancer. I was quite relieved when his friend or boyfriend came up to talk to him. I danced with my friends some more, but soon after ran into the guy again and there was the seeming inevitability that I would go home with him. I told him I was going to the bathroom and then walked out the front door, got in a taxi, and was ferried to my bed in Bushwick where I slept alone and was thankful for that. I have pulled this move just about every time I have gone to Westgay, and yes, I know it's not a cute move. There is some need I have of validation (duh, this blog perhaps Example A here) and that's all I want. And once I have that, I start to dread some long taxi ride back to the wilds of Bushwick with some person. That is actually what I dread more than anything in all of these instances - the thought of twenty minutes of being next to this person in a taxi when all I want to do is have sex, dance, drink, or smoke weed. And so instead I say I am going to the bathroom and hop in a taxi instead.

Once awake, I went into Manhattan to have lunch at the G00gle offices with a friend who now works there. It was truly bizarre and just like every piece I have ever read about the company's workplace culture. I saw several people zip past me down the hallways on scooters. I wondered if that was not the person's job, a prop there, part of the scene they want to set for visitors. There were cafeterias all over the place, all serving really, really good food free of cost. There were a coffee bar. There was a juice bar. There was a sandwich place. It was all pretty overwhelming in my hungover state. It was nice to have a healthy meal though and to see this friend and to see the inside of this world.

I then went and lay out on the Christopher Street Piers again, reading and not reading from The Brothers Karamozov. I went to the gym and ran and ran until I couldn't any longer, until I was short of breath, sweating, and having chills. I took a shower, sat in the steam room, made awkward eyes at some person who I couldn't tell if they were there to jerk off or to actually sit in the steam room. I gave up, thinking they were there to sit in the steam room, and went into the showers. He went into the shower stall next to mine shortly thereafter despite there being other ones open. The shower stalls have fogged glass between them so you can vaguely see the person showering next to you. After an excessive amount of soaping up on both of our parts, it became clear that we both wanted to jerk off. We jerked off across the glass from each other. He pressed his hard dick against the glass and I didn't realize how hungry I was for sex, for real human contact, until I saw that dick of his. He came and I reached down to pick up some of his semen. I rubbed it on me and soon came as well.

We both got dressed in the locker room not too far apart from each other, neither of us making any eye contact with the other.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Drake's "Own It"

Outside the discount DVD store on Broadway, the guy out front was shouting. He was shouting: "Everything! Everything is on sale!"

It was a deliriously beautiful day. The oceans are rising. We will drown one day because we can't quit our addiction to fossil fuels, but before that day comes we get to experience these amazing eighty degree October days.

I was listening to the new Drake album on my headphones. My head was turning every which way. There was so much beauty out on the streets today. My head kept turning that way and then this, following the sight of that beautiful man and then this one.

Everything! Everything is on sale!

The sun was on my skin and I was on my way to get my hair cut. Fade on the sides please - #1. Everyone was in a good mood. The Polish haircutter started talking Spanish to me. He told me I had very good hair, very full, very healthy.

I felt less than healthy. I could see the glow of sweat, of alcohol from the night before seeping out through my skin, in my reflection in the mirror as I watched him buzz off finally the last little remnants of my bleached summer hair that was still clinging to the tips of my hair. It is gone. There is now a break between that time and this. I went to a concierge event last nightat a West Village restaurant with some co-workers, got quite drunk on rose, and then went out to Nick and Diego's house where I drank more rose, then some rum, and from which we then all migrated to Metropolitan, where I made eyes at boys, drank PBRs, smoked a truly disgusting amount of cigarettes, and danced to Roisin Murphy songs as well as other ones I can recall less clearly.

With my hair looking good, I walked through the West Village, through Washington Square Park, down Christopher Street, and down to the Hudson River. I lay out on the piers, taking in the sun, this beautiful day. I read from The Brothers Karamazov, which after years of picking up and putting down, I am finally close to finishing. I think it will happen tomorrow. A cute boy came and spread his towel a few feet away from me. He took off his shirt and his shoes. He had beautiful skin that I kept fantasizing about, but it was his feet that prevented me from reading any further. They were beautiful. Their perfect proportions and symmetry, proof of the divine. I was getting so turned on. Luckily I had my sunglasses on so I could covertly stare at him, at his feet.

At some point, I let the sight go. I packed up my stuff and walked up along the Hudson River to my gym uptown. I was listening to the Drake album again. I stopped to admire the beautiful ruins of a pier long gone, its wooden supports barely peeking out over the bobbing surface of the water. These weathered wooden poles lodged deep in the river floor, built to last. Whatever pier rested on them long gone, but these poles still showing the shape of a trail, a path out over the water.