‘Conversation’ (December/1995)

and these are my demands:

I don’t want to know about any backrooms of undercooked loves,
the last thing I need to see is a happy couple,
only page me with a 911
if you want to get a drink,
don’t even look in my direction
if you’re not gonna give up some leg —love is something I don’t need
promise that moonlit windswept moments
with passion everlasting
are not going to occur
because I know these things end fast
tell me that sex is a fuck
remind me that I could lose 5
…maybe 10…
maybe 15
minutes of your precious time
be straight with me
point out that we’re both obnoxious humans
and you’re a mile high bitch
and I love my jazz more than I love you
and beer makes me happy
pay attention to me when I tell you
I’m the greatest motherfucker that ever was
and no one can top me
and you ain’t seen nothin’ yet
the shit I got cookin’
knock your panties off and make you come
and then tell me about that brown spot
by my eye
and the sun in its freezing sky
how mutts can be inconsiderate bastards
full of gas
and I’ll suck my glass nipple
consume the nectars of langour
point out that Jesus needed pussy,
and you’ll scream
and throw things at me
and songs will end
and we’ll have to sit
with our slow march towards death
and wait
and see
that at least we had conversation.

26 June 2011, 21:27

Your Turn


Two Years

Arn Chorn-Pond

This photograph transformed my life.

At times, I feel swallowed by circumstance. Like a toy pulled out to sea, propelled by something far greater than I can imagine, grateful for simple buoyancy.

31 March 2011, 19:40

Your Turn


The Worst Day of The Month

Photograph by Jens Umbach

It arrives with a shock, probably like a jellyfish sting in ankle-deep water — INSUFFICIENT FARE.

And then one hundred and four dollars are ripped from my pocket. That’s how the worst day of the month begins.

My plan is to bike in to the studio every day, once the weather becomes dependably warm. And then do my best to avoid the trains until November. If I have a meeting, I’ll bring a change of clothes and wash up at work.

But this price point — it’s vile. An almost 20% fare increase with a 0% improvement in product. In particular for those of us that live on the C.

The full-car adverts the MTA runs to rationalize the change only serve to amplify my frustration. Their only advertisement is their product, and right now their product is eighties-vintage C trains and unmanned token booths.

I’m writing this on a train home, at the end of a deeply exhilarating, deeply exhausting day. I worked late because meetings ate the day, and so am riding home with everyone else that works their ass off to survive in this city. Everyone looks tired, ready for the comforts of home. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, old, young…this is New York. But the majority don’t have my luxury: self-employment, no dress code.

What happens when the fare becomes $150? $200? What resistance can we offer that? How to keep the plutocrats from pouring our money down the bottomless maws of corruption and inefficiency?

I’m going to give this some thought. New York deserves better.

22 March 2011, 09:24

Your Turn [1]


Five and After

The boy is now five. A major part of the year ahead, we agreed, is reading. I’ve been ready for this moment for years.

10 February 2011, 09:50

Your Turn [3]


The Price of The Ticket

The course charted by our society is often powerfully alien to me.

I’m thinking about this because I’m thinking about 22 year-olds going on murderous rampages. Throughout history, every injustice has been paired with a justification; I’m intensely curious to see what explanations are ultimately made for last Saturday’s violence. But when I consider Jared Lee Loughner, and the world he was brought up in, there’s no running from the fact that it’s the same world my son lives in.

It’s old news that America is an incredibly violent place. Nudity offends the senses here more than images of weaponry. The iconography of war is mainly interpreted as energy, and possession of military-grade firearms is defended as a right.

See Football, America’s primary diversion (now entering it’s seasonal crescendo). Gladiatorial arenas, domination by force and amplified collisions via armor that allows one to (finally?) act with abandon. See the fervor of the need to dominate the competition.

See the way that America’s television news media covers war, or heralds the approach of any armed conflict. A 24-hour news cycle would, on paper, suggest the availability of time for a thoughtful consideration of all things. Instead we have countdown clocks, explosive motion graphics, and experts paid to speak excitedly of the “inevitability” of war.

See movie posters, even if you can’t stomach the movies themselves. I ride the subway to work daily, and I always examine the underlying forms of the large-format imagery that cover the passing stations. More often than not, I’m looking at a gun, am looking at a gun pointed at me, or am being asked to admire the weaponry carried by any of a long line of heroes.

See videogames. Of course, there are many genres, but high atop sales charts are hyper-real, first-person, deeply immersive, incredibly violent shooters. Many of these feature intricately woven narratives and truly brilliant storytelling, with visuals and audio to rival mainstream cinema. That this is the primary distillation of an art form that I regard as one of our society’s most promising, and potent, is telling unto itself.

See comic books, perhaps our most powerful communication art. Relegated to a cultural ghetto on account of the power fantasies that always drove commercial success, American comics have been aimed at adolescent boys for decades. Drama and violence proceed there on epic scales, thanks to the unlimited special effects budget brought to bear by the imaginations we all carry.

My son will be 5 in three weeks, and he knows that Wolverine has claws. Though I own many comic books, and look forward to sharing their content with him as he matures, I’ve not yet read any of them to him.

I can see too clearly the fabric of the world when I observe its texture reflected in my son’s eyes. There’s information that’s readily available to those that seek it. It’s in the air, the water, the culture; there’s no running from we’ve allowed to be created. I look into Jared Loughner’s eyes, and this much is clear.

13 January 2011, 14:31

Your Turn


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