case in point, it never rains like this in july, not on hudson street. but july is almost over, and the street is suddenly cooled, chilled like a bottle, new and wet. carried along the ionized air is a nutmeg smell from the still-warm sycamore trees, as if air always smelled like this in summer. the city reminds you that although it is a hot greasy concrete container for the heavy air you must wade through, it is also the bearer of cool breath and pleasurably surreal snippets of the natural world. it never fails to surprise you, and to point out your foolish assumptions with glee. it will have no misunderstandings.
inspired, you take this around with you for a week, the picture on your camera, the patience in your gut, until you encounter an acquaintance so important to you that you find it incredible you would have a misunderstanding with her: the person who cuts your hair. you explain why you had to have someone else cut it five weeks ago (as she walks to prepare her chair) that the receptionist should have called to cancel before you got there (while she turns back because she realizes you are going to explain something longer than 'hey baby') that you could not do it any other night and that you are very sorry and would never cheat on her again (while she smiles incredulously because she had no idea anything at all transpired and could really care less). she smiles and says "you're so cute" and continues toward her chair.
you needn't wonder so much. you needen't tell others so much. you just need to listen. you did it right the other day. you listened patiently, calmly, enjoyably, even though it had been you who was insousciant, you whose heart attacked when he made a pass at you in the steam room, you who cannot resist a guy who looks like popeye's nemesis brutus except taller and more muscular, you who always scopes a guy who is a giant compared to you, with an italian accent. you were the one who gave him your phone number, unasked. yet he was the one, weeks later, who despite being someone you have barely spoken twenty sentences with, felt the need to interrupt your workout, pat your behind with a towel, and explain why he didn't call, that he had just started seeing someone, that he didn't want you to think he was a jerk. and all that while you had not even noticed the lapse of his attention, because your attention had been on others more captivating than a steam-room trick. but you were pleased to see the other side emerge, a man like yourself who would and could precisely explain how he wanted to stand with you, at six feet four be small and sorry and hoping you would be his friend.
your first impulse is to say that the explaination is redundant, and unnecessary because the situation is already understood. but you'd misunderstand that, too. appearing unsophistocated and childlike is the only sign that will complete the message, revealing that what others see of you is intentionally fashioned, and that your hidden self is thinking somewhere else, about them.
but knowing this, one is also reminded of the fact that the city is composed of appearances, layers of effects and perceptions and reflections and deliverance. yet we are unremindable of the truth that appearances are deceptive, in that they can perfectly, seamlessly, innocuously prevent us from knowing what we think we know.
the most reflective of our surfaces, the blue and the white over the body's outline, fine back and thighs, shadow tank and shoes, and the most brilliant images that they convey, can contain an interior of emptiness, and act only to separate that emptiness from the street. this is not poetry: it is a storefront. what else would be spoken of?
you rode the train. you always ride the train. you think on the train. you always think on the train. about people, your days are full of motion, and in that constant and asymmetrical fitfulness, it is a quietly hidden gift to be able to study others while facing them. of one, about to get on, you might say "takes up too much room and is loud, ready to break my quiet" and discover, as they sit next to you, that they are writers like yourself, yankees fans too, and whose sole business, like you, the thing they live and die for, the thing they doggedly are fighting for, is a collection of moments between coffee, shower, email, paper, eat, dress, work, train, work, lunch, work, personal call, work, paper, work, gym, train, eat, email, shower, and sleep. they are trying to steal them back from their day, from their city, from all of the containers of being that encircle little scraps of time and spirit them into the others.
perhaps it is this emergence of an unknown reality, of a person or of a situation, in writing, that is what keeps you captured in this city.
perhaps it's the reason that you still love the film memento, because the story emerges the way all those blogs do: in a reversed sequence of forward-sequenced bits, where the sequence of time threads around like a sewing machine throwing threads into fabric. their understanding of you, their construction of you, is in reverse, from now to then, made of spinning bits, which is coincidentally how you composed yourself. it's not the best story ever told, but it's a marvelous instrument for perceiving memory.
perhaps it's why you're always in love: the next kiss could turn out to be your anniversary.
a couple of weeks ago, the sun was in your palm, held, its sharp folding brilliance creating a flower out of your hand. it made breathing gently disappear, and completely opaqued vision, a thickened sense that turned the light into a liquid, red and yellow oceans into sensation on skin, ideas into order. a book you are finishing frays into nothingness, like light propelling the day, the night, and the story begins to turn on itself, the author describing how he began this work, coming into an ending begging to be taken up again, as a writing. an artist revives a project you designed long ago, designing being an ever-expanding map, charting new places at every turn of the axis, but the way a satellite does, with clearer resolution of the same planetary terrain, always marking places, always reminding that there are specific material somatic places that one's body needs to inhabit, regularly, completely, mundanely, before anything else can happen, and as well there are places that seem completely familiar but have never actually been visited, and so are surprisingly alien, and for this project, the artist wants what you did long ago, but that action done again now, the project itself longing to be reacquainted with the present you, the way an old love kisses you again, after a long pause in a conversation, in a cab.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.