Category: new york city

to love inappropriately, to be ambitious, to simply want more.

J. and I walk to the edge of Chinatown and back. Our bellies are full from wine and pasta. It’s nighttime; the city stinks of summer, and we revel in it. I can’t stop thinking about how it’s already the end of summer. How will we survive the next winter? I am never ready for the cold. J. says, “Honestly, I think the worst thing is feeling lonely while you’re in a relationship.”

I nod, watching the headlights paint the corners of Bowery as the cars turn.

***

A tall guy with yellow lens sunglasses appeared next to me. The sun had already set. Do you dance? he asked, leading me towards the less crowded interior of the pier.

I liked that he modified the way he led turns to account for the wooden slats of the piers underneath my shoes. Turn AND turn AND turn. The pauses were one thing, and more so, the attention to and anticipation of the pauses made the thing.

***

I ran three miles along the river’s edge. On Being’s meditative cadence chanted at me, and Krista brings up Rabindranath Tagore’s quote: “We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.”

***

I’m responding to K. about the things we talked about last night. “I’m too sensitive. Maybe I want too much. I should be okay with things as they are. I just need to stop bringing things up.”

“Don’t let yourself be gaslit,” K. warns.

The theme of hunger is everywhere.

In the New York Times today: Who’s Afraid of Claire Messud?

‘‘Women aren’t supposed to want stuff,’’ she said. ‘‘They’re not supposed to have high emotions.’’ Recently she went to a party where all the women were skinny and all the men were overweight. ‘‘For the men, it’s perfectly acceptable to be a person of appetites,’’ she said. ‘‘You’re in midlife, you’re at the peak of your professional moment.’’ Again, she slipped into character. ‘‘ ‘Pour me a glass of wine and give me a steak!’ ’’ The women, by contrast, were nibbling crackers and drinking seltzer. ‘‘There should be no shame in appetite,’’ she said, her voice rising. ‘‘There should be no shame in anger. There should be no shame in love. There should be no shame in wanting things.’’

‘‘If it’s unseemly and possibly dangerous for a man to be angry,’’ she said, ‘‘it’s totally unacceptable for a woman to be angry.’’

[Ferrante’s] work quietly seethes at the idea that a woman needs to be ‘‘likable’’ — or that a man should be the judge of her likability. More than that, it offers a space for women to be, as she puts it, ‘‘appetitive’’: to love inappropriately, to be ambitious, to simply want more.

Mozart on the tape-recorder

last days of august. and my heart knows it. it’s on a high for what comes next. always reaching for what’s next. haughtily, even.

this morning i was half asleep, watching the road without tenderness. hands on a steering wheel. your closed eyes in the rearview mirror. later, your hand shooting out to hold me close when the car swerved.

last night i was planetary, orbital, insatiable. everything in slow motion, foreign despite its familiarity.

this evening, i was wide awake. watching the moon while walking aimlessly on 61st street after drinks and dumplings, texting you lines from poems, forgetting to look up to see if i was at the right stop.

looking for something protective, firm, resolute; that never came. this feeling reminded me of you. the point is always to be reaching but never arrived, you taught me. and if the void was there yet there existed no words to describe it, perhaps we could make it disappear.

Across a city from you, I’m with you
just as an August night
moony, inlet-warm, seabathed, I watched you sleep,
the scrubbed, sheenless wood of the dressing-table
cluttered with our brushes, books, vials in the moonlight—
or a salt-mist orchard, lying at your side
watching red sunset through the screendoor of the cabin,
G minor Mozart on the tape-recorder,
falling asleep to the music of the sea.
This island of Manhattan is wide enough
for both of us, and narrow:
I can hear your breath tonight, I know how your face
lies upturned, the halflight tracing
your generous, delicate mouth
where grief and laughter sleep together.

the august earthquakes

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.

— Tuck Everlasting

I’ve got a
lot of good
ideas but not
one that
will get me
through
August.

— Eileen Myles

DSC00354.JPG

J. has been posting about August for weeks, and I’m here still going around in circles too. Looking out from the windows at the faults splitting the earth in front of me, riding it out. What is it about this month?

It’s incredible, every single book I pick up by accident discusses at length the following topics: volcanoes, earthquakes, Iceland, love, grief, and/or being alone. (see: The Faraway Nearby, The Importance of Being Iceland, Falling Off The Map, Becoming Wise). So much land to cover, is it thrilling? Exhausting? Both? For both you who keeps reading and for me too. Like Hamilton, I’m definitely writing like I’m running out of time. I wake up before dawn, filled with something inarticulate, that hangover feeling you get after the loss of love.

Maggie Nelson’s Bluets is a whole book of her attempt at writing her way out of it: “Nelson hopes that writing about the bluets will “empty me further of them, so that I might become a better vessel for new blue things.”

And me, over the past three weeks I’ve written maybe over 50 essays about you, Iceland, love, grief, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.; so I might as well keep on towards closing out our book before the month runs out. I always joked that if you don’t want to be written about, don’t date a writer. And I wasn’t lying when I said I’d write my way out of this.

Onwards, then:

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