Saturday, May 31, 2014

there is graffiti on a blank billboard near the BQE saying "Know Gods Just Work"

At the courthouse downtown, I spent forty-five minutes in a security line just to get into the building. I was there to see my friend get his citizenship and was really excited for him. The line was making me very angry. For a moment, I had forgotten some of the worst aspects of this country - the exercising of power just cause, the security theater set up everywhere now post-9/11, the maze of bureaucratic bullshit that you are totally powerless against. It was worse than any airport security line I have ever been in, and this just to go to a citizenship ceremony. It made me so angry that these people who were about to receive their citizenship and their families, this really meaningful day for everyone here, everyone all dressed up, that they were corralled tightly into this maze of a line, guards yelling at everyone to tighten up the line, move in closer, turn off your phones, take off your belts. A lot of unnecessary yelling. And, of course, no one challenges this treatment because everyone just wants to be able to get into the courthouse. These guards know this and act like total fucking assholes because of it. 

Forty-five minutes after standing in the line, this line that they made a really pregnant lady and a man on crutches wait in, this line that the lady in front of me had a panic attack in and had to step out of line to sit down on the floor, I finally made it into the courthouse. My rage at the bullshit that is power in the US subsided once I saw my friend and sat with him and another friend in this massive room. It was a beautiful moment to witness and the presiding judge actually gave a really sweet speech about his own immigration story that made me really emotional.

There is a lot to love. I want to be here. I love this country. I want it to be everything it can be though and I don't know how to make that happen. I don't think anyone does. How do we step back from this security state we live in so that we don't spend 45 minutes in lines getting berated by guards, made to feel like elementary school children lining up for some fire drill? 

After the new citizens were sworn in, the entire crowd said the Pledge of Allegiance, and I don't think it had ever sounded as sweet as it did in the room. That closing phrase of "with liberty and justice for all" lingered and floated around the room, an ideal that sounded so perfect, all we could ever hope for, what this land is supposed to represent. We grasped up at the phrase, bits of a blown dandelion, trying to hold on to it. The sun was shining brightly outside the room's windows.

I bought some hair bleach after and spent hours trying to take the color out of my hair, to make it as white as possible. The result is still a bronzy yellow. 

With my yellow hair, I left my house last night, quote a bit stoned, and walked up to Spritzenhaus where it was a classmate's birthday. I made a mental note to do this more often, to walk around North Brooklyn at night while stoned. It was such a beautiful experience and I had some great thoughts. It was the best walk I had had in forever. I had forgotten one of the best benefits about warm(ish) weather, how you can get more thinking done in it, because a half hour walk outside at night isn't a big deal, isn't something that you want to take a cab through, or hurry through, huddled up in your jacket. Instead, you can walk at whatever pace matches your own mood, take in the scenes, and try to recall what used to be where this block of massive condos is now on the side of McCarren Park, that you know these weren't here when you first moved to this neighborhood eleven years ago, and that you can't recall exactly what they used to be, that your memory is fading, that even the memory of that New York is fading away. It gets harder and harder to hold on to old street maps, to remember what used to be in each of these places, each of these new fancy restaurants and bars along the stretch of Graham Avenue nearing the BQE. But then you see R Bar, a bar you had forgotten about it. It is still there. There are still some older regulars perched on barstools there. For a brief moment a decade or so ago, the bar had held gay underwear parties, and you used to be really cheap and all about any sort of free drinks, and so would go and strip down to your underwear for the free drink promised to people in their underwear. You were there with Matt, you think, back in those days, so far gone. There is a dead pigeon underneath the BQE that you almost step on. There always seem to be dead pigeons underneath the BQE.

I got to Spritzenhaus. I didn't have my classmate's number to text him and see where he was in this packed beer garden. I did one awkward circle around the bar, too stoned for any setting other than a crowded bar setting, not this everyone sitting at their tables with friends thing. Analogies to the cafeteria on the first day of school here. I couldn't see him and felt too weird and so left. I walked back home, tracing more memories, taking in the beautiful night clouds that were visible last night, passing the nail salon called Cutie Calls, there this entire time I have been in New York, entertaining me this whole time with its name, me talking back to the sign, saying, "Oh, really? I wish, but sadly he is not calling."

Monday, May 26, 2014


Finally, summer has arrived. I sat on a beach yesterday, Jacob Riis Beach, and dipped my legs into the Atlantic Ocean. The water was still freezing cold, too cold for me to go all the way in, but the weather was warm. The sun was shining. I was on a beach drinking vodka drinks surrounded by friends. I smoked a lot of weed and the day took on a glorious haze that the best summer beach days will take on.

Various tabloid covers were screaming about Virgin Rampages and Homocidal Virgins. I passed these papers in subway kiosks, in a bodega where I bought chips, in a bodega where I bought a Straw-ber-ita. Whatever that is. It tastes like the syrup from a Shirley Temple.

It was cool and refreshing and it is what I was drinking while I was on the subway platform at Broad Channel waiting for the A train. It was what I was drinking when I got a ticket for an open container.

I didn't want the day to end. I spilled out of the subway into Metropolitan. I drank beer and talked to various people and at some point, my desire for food, led me down Grand Street, toward my burrito spot.

I lay in bed eating a pulled pork burrito. I lay in bed still covered in sunscreen and sand, too tired to shower it off. I thought of skin and human beings and boys I wanted to have sex with, boys I have had sex with. I wanted to be on the sand again under the sun next to the ocean. I wanted that clarity brought on by that haze, everything eliminated from your scope of concern except for the things on that beach. These days are here now, these days of summer that are why I live in New York, that make all those cold and miserable months worth it. It is for this release, this sense of freedom.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Elton John's "Mellow"

We were lying side by side jerking off. I had my head pressed against the top of his chest. The had recently set outside his window behind some clouds, the sky now a deep shade of blue, something approaching black. There were deep shadows that ran down his chest, the outline of his pecs, of his abs, clearer than normal in this lighting. It was a beautiful sight. Every now and then I would cast my eyes out the window to take in the sight of the sky. There were lingering storm clouds, majestic looking things against an evening sky. His beautiful body, the beautiful sky, and back and forth, back and forth, hands stroking his cock or mine.

The skyline was familiar, a comforting thing to see. This guy lives two blocks from where I used to live on Meserole Street. I recognized the buildings out his window, saw the spires of that one church, the clouds forming some spectacular shapes behind it.

I had been lying in my bed earlier in the day, tired after having drank a bottle of rose with Diego in our backyard, had been napping, looking at various things on my phone, Scruff among them.

There was a message from this guy. I immediately perked up from my sleepiness and messaged him back. I didn't think I was going to hear from this guy anymore, had given on him. This is the guy that I hooked up with on 4/20 and who I had thought was so cute and sexy. I was a stoned mess that day and so the sex wasn't that great, and I had assumed that's why he never really responded to my messages to him afterwards.

Two messages were exchanged, a how's it going, a I want to touch your body, before he asked me to come over. I threw on some clothes and rushed over to his house. We smoked some weed at his apartment and then took off our clothes and had really fun sex against his window as the sky did incredible things.

After we wiped ourselves off with tissues and put on some clothes, he offered me a cookie sandwich that he had made. I stood in his kitchen eating this massive thing even though I don't really like eating sweets, did so just because it was something he had made, something he had offered, and as it was more reason to hang out with him and chat some more.

And I wish it wasn't true about not wanting things, not desiring things - that it's when you want something, want someone, that you are not going to get it, that only once you have forgotten about your desire for a thing does that thing come your way.

I walked home from his house, enjoying the dark sky, knowing that I had seen it shift to this current color over the past hour or so, knowing that things change but not that much and that if you keep your eyes on the thing, the changes are subtle, slow, that the transition makes sense.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"You Are Your Mother's Child" - Conor Oberst

I was punched in the back in the fourth grade by this classmate, someone I think back of as some budding serial killer. I am pretty sure his name was Jeffrey. He was from a military family, from Alaska I think. This may have been third grade, maybe fifth. The teacher was out of the room. I don't remember what I did to make this guy angry. I remember him raising his fist high and slamming it against my back. It hurt so bad. I smiled at Jeffery in response. I wanted to cry. I smiled, fighting back tears, not wanting this person to see, not wanting any of my classmates to see, how much I hurt, how much this person had been able to affect me. He hit me again and I smiled again, a crazy fuck you smile, my eyes watering with tears that were no longer doing such a good job of hiding. The teacher came in soon after and we resumed class, she having no clue about this psychotic scene that just took place, two emotionally distant kids trying to hurt each other while a class of children looked on. He punched me and I smiled as way of saying: that's nothing, you're weak, wanting to hurt his sense of pride.

He was gone in a year or so, family relocated to another military base, where he would be the new, out of place kid in some other classroom, probably again resorting to violence to deal with his situation.

I sometimes like to attribute, on days when I am prone to meandering, nostalgic thoughts, my poor posture to this moment, that ever since that moment, there was always some fear in the back of my mind, however small, that someone was going to come up behind me and punch me in the back. As a result, I tell myself in these thoughts, I crouched inward, a defense mechanism, hunched shoulders, back turned in, always braced for a punch that I still fear coming some 25 years later.

I have been made more aware of my posture lately because I injured some muscles in my shoulder a month or so ago while lifting weights at the gym. I went to a doctor, who prescribed me physical therapy to help heal it. In these two physical therapy sessions I have been to, they have explained to me that my injury was probably due to my posture. They explained it in ways that I don't entirely understand, but which seem to make a lot of sense. I knew I had bad posture, but wasn't aware that it was so bad that it could cause me physical problems. They have given me various posture exercises to do at home, which seem really easy, but because of my poor posture, are actually really difficult. I wish I could take this physical therapist I saw today around with me everywhere for her to tell my how to stand and where my shoulders should be.

I am trying to take as much advantage of this physical therapy as possible right now as my health insurance will probably be ending soon. A couple days ago, I turned in my two week notice to my job. My days in hospitality are quite literally numbered now. I can't believe it's almost here, that it's going to happen. I think for a little while there, I had thought I might be working in hospitality for life, it having already been five years or so. I am so excited to see what it is like to wake up two weeks from now and not think about what various disasters await you at a hotel full of rich, needy people, to not think about such petty things even when off from work in the evening. I wonder where all that mental space devoted  to that will soon go. I am so excited to find out.

I had a burrito tonight.  I have one just about every night these days.

Friday, May 2, 2014

we lived for music

"She has her solitary meal, as spartan an athlete's before a race (some say to avoid occlusion of the drugs she plans to take), as they scream drunkenly. And then, just as the Polish barbers who stand all evening by the stoop are turning back to go upstairs to bed, she slips out of her hovel - for the queen lives among ruins; she lives only to dance - and is astride the night, on the street, that ecstatic river that flows through New York City as definitely as the Adriatic washes through Venice, down into the dim, hot subway, where she checks the men's room. An old man sits morosely on the toilet above a puddle of soggy toilet paper, looking up as she peeks in, waiting himself for love. The subway comes; she hurries to the room in which she has agreed to dance this night. Some of the dancers are on drugs and enter the discotheque with the radiant faces of the Magi coming to the Christ Child; others, who are not, enter with a bored expression, as if this is the last thing they want to do tonight. In half an hour they are indistinguishable, sweat-stained, ecstatic, lost. For the fact was drugs were not neccesary to most of us, because the music, youth, sweaty bodies were enough. And if it was too hot, too humid to sleep the next day, and we awoke bathed in sweat, it did not matter: We remained in a state of animated suspension the whole hot day. We lived for music, we lived for Beauty, and we were poor. But we didn't care where we were living, or what we had to do during the day to make it possible; eventually, if you waited long enough, you were finally standing before the mirror in that cheap room, looking at your face one last time, like an actor going onstage, before rushing out to walk in the door of that discotheque and see someone like Malone."

-Dancer From the Dance, 115