Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I hear voices. See things.
Below me the ground swells, shakes and shudders; Godzilla buried alive. This city wants to accost me because I am no longer me, not the self I know, not the one I left behind.
I am two different people living within this same frame-skull-torso-rib cage.
I am divided, two husks, each related by mere physical resemblance.
The me I am now leans over the ledge of a hotel balcony while the city wails below, teeming like famished piranhas, as if someone’s boiled the ocean and named it Manhattan.
The other me that is not here is sitting in his den, all the way across the continent, house on a rustic lake where there are eagles and beavers cattle sheep horses miniature horses pigs and pickups and barns.
Perfect serenity for writing.
But here it is even better.
It is different. It is a fever-pitched party, pouting and prancing, prattling. Pandora’s Box.
Perfect for writing as well.
Here there are bombs going off everywhere. Streaks of lemon-yellow stain the air where taxis fly as if with wings. The streets rumble underfoot. Everything has a pulse, even the buildings, especially the buildings which crowd in like gang members, shiny silver hoodlums with their flat screen teeth and billboard eyes.
Just listen to the voices—Dutch, Italian, German, French, Japanese, Brooklynese. It swirls through the May air like humid shawls of sound and
I love it.
I love this place.
The city owns me, puts me on edge, pushes and pulls, knocks me over, knocks me down no different than a greedy dominatrix. She wears latex and leather, stilettos and cracks a whip. She says, “Start spreadin’ the news.”
This half of me is intoxicated.
This half of me has left the other half in Farmville.
This half of me is desperate, needs the hustle, the rustle, craves the visual thunder of rippling neon, the rich toxicity of bodies en masse pushing through the city’s many uteruses. Smell of roasted almonds, briny pretzels, Haute Couture perfume and sand oil. Feel of a billion breaths. Sight of The MOMA SOHO NOLITA East Village. Old lady dressed like Dorothy. Man crossing in his boxer shorts. Lady with a toucan hat. All the rest slick and sleek and wearing various shades of black or charcoal, model thin or simply modeled to look anything but not chic.
Steam smolders from the manhole covers. A convoy of hotdog vendors push their kosher carts uptown midtown downtown. Somebody slams on the brakes. A billion birds honk. “Hey, Asswipe!”
“Hey, wanna buy a bag?”
“I’ll take your picture for five bones. Or you can take mine.”
“We got the best girls here. Come on in.”
“We have the best Italian food in Manhattan. Have a seat.”
“We have it all. Want some? Here.”
For the next five days I will taste and touch and take in. I will scorch it all into my brain and when I return home to see my other self I will say, “You’re not going to believe it. Look what I’ve brought you.”