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Monday, October 31, 2005

Latter-day beatnik

The man can only be described as sauntering.

Cigarette dangling above a greying goatee, flowing pants tucked into heeled biker boots. He is wearing a turtleneck, layers of thick blazers, a brimmed beret.

I wonder what smoky, coffee-bar poetry reading he's headed to, and whether he'll find other men there like him, preserved in nostalgia.

Monday, October 24, 2005


In this town, every house has a stacked stone fence and every yard a wilting orange maple. Every grocery is organic, every cafe serves tofu, every latte is made with soy.

This is the utopia of moneyed Manhattan, a refuge from the city.
Here, 'casual' is an art of perfection.

Friday, October 21, 2005


My office has no windows. No natural light, no link to the outside world. In here, it is always fluorescent, always 68 degrees, always artificial.

I imagine that outside is a tempest, a blizzard, a sandstorm, an alien invasion. The sky may be pink and the street turned to lava. From in here, outside could be anywhere.

Every time I leave, I am always vaguely relieved that the world is still how I remember it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Last night I walked home in violet light, lost somewhere
in that in-between world - after day but not yet night.
Above my head a man was stringing lights in the branches,
and it seemed to me that he was hanging stars in my sky.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Tuesday, October 18, 2005


The tree-lined rooftop bar comes with a caveat: no photos, no sex, and clothing is optional. Front and center, one middle-aged man dances enthusiastically in only sandals and a wide-brimmed hat, as the band averts their eyes. Another man lounges with a beer against a railing.

The other guests are white and nervous and fully clothed. The husbands look everywhere but at each other, while trying not to appear that they are looking away. Their eyes skitter wildly and never find a resting place. The wives are overly casual, as if to prove their comfort with nudity.

We are all waiting for something to happen, for a scandalous story to take home, for a threshold to be crossed after which we might also become hedonists. But the band keeps on playing and the man keeps on dancing and we all keep on waiting, and nothing happens to change the fact that we are white, and nervous, and fully clothed.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Perfect moment

We are perched at the stern of a wooden bar, lit golden and warm by the late-afternoon sun, and I am watching the condensation drip from our bottles of beer. I lick lime juice from my fingers and listen to a barefoot man sing over the noise of his guitar.
A hot wind is rushing in off the harbor. It blows my hair in my face as I smile sideways at the man I love, and I realize that this hour will last for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I have a tendency to swallow my anger. I internalize the smallest things, keep them inside, plan to discuss them later.
But wandering in my mind they meet other small bits of anger and join together, growing larger and larger until I become enraged with no clear cause.

I don't want to be that angry person. I will promise myself to let the small bits out before they can join forces and become too big to speak.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Rainy day

There is something I find delicious about a cold, rainy day. Today I wear my most comfortable jeans and warmest baggy sweater and don't feel at all guilty for not putting more pride into my appearance.

I imagine the moisture seeping through the walls and wonder what it was like hundreds of years ago to live in a drafty, stone-walled lodge and hover over a smoking fire, the wood wet and hissing.

On my rainy days, meals are hot tea and oatmeal, pie, beef stew, thick soup. Tonight, damp from the evening commute, I will light a candle, exhale into the pillows and open my favorite book as it grows dark outside my circle of warmth. I will be happy to be home.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Today I am a little lost. I am unsure of my direction; there seems to be no place that I want to be. I feel alone in a crowd.

Today I don't quite fit in my skin.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Lately I've been trying to listen to others' opinions; taking their advice in how I act, how I dress, how I eat, how I exist. But of all their words, the best advice was given by a dear friend: you'll never be comfortable or confident if you aren't being yourself.

I do know who I am. I am sure of what I like, I know what makes me feel confident. I wonder why I should go against my own instinct. When it comes down to it, I can pretend for others' sakes, but I don't want to be someone else. I want to be me.

I am lucky to know myself; most people don't ever have that. I will be careful never to lose it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Fighting through the fog, one tree blooms bright red:
scarlet lips on a pale, invisible face.
It is all I can see in the whiteness.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I have discovered that I am — like a child or a pet — someone who thrives on routine. I seem to crave a life of relative predictability, punctuated by brief bouts of spontaneity, of the unusual.

When I was younger I imagined myself to be a free spirit, a latter-day hippie, changing course on a whim. I thought I would travel the country with only a backpack and a bus pass. I would talk to strangers in coffeehouses and dance barefoot in the park at night. I would take long and aimless hikes; I would skinny-dip in August.

I never did any of those things. As it happened, that was not who I became. Instead, I am comforted by staying home and thankful to have formed habits. It turns out that this is what makes me happy.

After many years, it is a relief to accept that and let it be.

Monday, October 03, 2005


In my closet, there's a cardboard box.

It's been with me for a small lifetime, moving from closet to basement to garage, riding in the trunk of my car, ending up in yet another closet. I hadn't opened it in many years.

Yesterday, determined to usher in a new age of organization, I opened the dusty box and spread the contents on the rug.

The box was full of letters — love letters, hate letters, valentines from my mother. Thank-yous from my sister, just-because notes from friends, birthday cards from old boyfriends.

I hadn't intended to sort through them as I discarded them, but despite that resolution my hands began to open each envelope. One by one I remembered old friends as the letters made their way back to the box.

I threw out the box with last night's trash. It was empty. All the letters, now neatly bundled, are resting in my bottom drawer.

Sometimes a lifetime is too much to throw away.