Dead Things in the Street

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I can’t move my head. Not even my shoulders. I am pinned, a bright side light on my face and neck.

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I am flat and horrible, my eyes wide, stuck against the ground. Stuck there, panicking. I can’t even move my leg. I have no control. I am completely helpless, trapped by monsters, people I don’t know, who have left me here to die, to be tortured and think nothing of it.

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I try to close my eyes to make it go away, but it is still there. I can’t move. I want to scream but I can’t even do that. I am stuck in this silence with not even myself, with nothing but my labored miserable loneliness.

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(Yeah, I know. I always end with a tree.)

“The Ark”: A New Beginning

I am back to work on my science fiction book, The Ark, at the beginning again. 

I edged out further, holding hard to the balcony rail, and looked down to the street, 28 floors below, at the neat rows of sandbags banked up around the Custom House grates.IMAG1225A howling gust snapped sharply over the trees as a line of Japanese tourists, ensconced in cheap clear ponchos, suddenly appeared out of the park, some stopping to take pictures, followed by a police car, its blue lights mute and slow. IMAG1254They had stopped broadcasting the evacuation order hours ago. Zone A was closed. The surge was almost here.

I slid the balcony door closed, and the curtains lulled back. Apollo circled away, eyeing the black sky and buffeting glass.

“This morning’s high tide was at 8:30 am. Eleven hours ago.” The weather guy was earnest, his sleeves rolled up, his square jaw pushed out for this soap-opera apocalypse. IMAG1252“That tide surged over the walls into the city this morning. It has already been here. This tide is a full moon high tide; it’s much worse. This is the one we have to watch. This one could be anywhere from 8 feet up to 11, 12, 13 feet. 13 feet! Think about that.” He had his hand stretched up like he might sing. “In just 15 minutes. 13 feet in 15 minutes. This is as serious as it gets. This is it.”

Spike Jonze’s “Her”: Subtle Sci-Fi

In Spike Jonze’s new film Her, people are profoundly asocial, lost in their search for happiness and understanding in the digital world.Her-Movie-copyThe concrete differences from our world to this not-too-distant future are pants which are worn high above the waist and operating systems (OS) that have been successfully programmed to have human characteristics, including empathy and love. her-movie-photo-13Jonze makes many interesting decisions in this film, including keeping the OS as a voice (no virtual babes) and allowing the OS to evolve as a distinct entity which we, as humans, eventually cannot understand, an idea reminiscent of the cognitive planet offered in Stanilslaw Lem’s Solaris. Solaris3This thoughtful science fiction piece is well worth seeing not only because it posits an imminent future that is neither doomed nor delightful but also to see a futuristic video game that doesn’t involve killing everyone and actually looks fun to play.tumblr_mz7nab11xx1seyhpmo1_500

Winter: “my bad side”

I crept into my horrible hole, my knees bruising against the ice, everything brittle and cracking, and beat my arms across my body, kicking my legs to get warm, and then lay still, as cold as before, worse.IMAG2310I was breathing fog and closed my eyes. It was so awful and cold. I couldn’t move my fingers. 20140110_111553My cheeks hurt. I couldn’t breathe right. I felt for my heart and couldn’t feel that and then it wasn’t right, half beating and then too many in a row and then none at all. I had to tear myself out of my sleeping bag, out of my fucking snow tomb. IMAG2318And I was going to do it. I was going to scream, insanely scream. Scream! It didn’t come out like that. It was just a noise, a groan, hardly like it had come out of me at all. And then there was something else, another noise, a crunch or snap. I held myself and listened. It was a branch or snow falling, an animal looking for food. A bear. 20140112_102239I turned onto my side, its teeth and giant paws in my head. I could hear it circling. I dug my hands between my legs and stared. I’m not cold. I’m not cold. I’m not going to die here. I said that around and around in my head. I’m not cold. I’m not cold. I’m not going to die here. IMG_3129And then it wasn’t so dark. I could see the shadow of my snow ceiling and my hand. I stared and waited. It was almost light. I was the first one at the fire. I stood over it, staring into it, feeling horrible.* (*From my bad side)20140112_140715

Bridget Anne Kelly: Hell Hath No Fury Like Middle Management

New Jersey Governor Christie’s aid, Bridget Anne Kelly, is like so many other stuck at her level, always taking orders, never going anywhere. The stupid and spiteful act of the Fort Lee lane closures is typical of the bitter power-hungry people in middle management.Bridget Anne Kelly, Chris ChristieThese are the little bosses – the department heads and principals – the banal and evil ones, like the Third Reich’s Adolf Eichmann, who do everything within their power to ruin anyone in their range and pretend they were just following orders.eichmannThese are the nothings behind the failures of banks, health care websites and gun control legislation, the sad and lonely that stop traffic because they can.

Congressman Chabot

Congressman Chabot: “Serious concerns regarding gun control.”

And the worst thing is that we can do nothing about it unless they’re dumb enough to put it into print.email-512x327

New York Images: Calatrava to Bieber

A few New York images:

Santiago Calatrava's World Trade Transportation Hub

               Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Transportation Hub going up

Not Quite Eye-to-Eye

                                                           Not Quite Eye-to-Eye

$100 per three weeks ago

                                  From $100 each to garbage in just three weeks

Juxtaposition

                                                   A musical comedy perhaps?

Absolutely Most

We live in hyperbolic times, everything an absolute and most.

One radio commentator went so far as to call The Winter Classic “the greatest event ever played on the greatest continent.” 20140101_160205As ridiculous as his statement may be, hype is our norm. Winter weather, once described as “cold” or “snowy”, has been transformed into drama verging cataclysm. polar-vortex-deep-freeze-ftrWhere were you during Winter Storm Hercules? winter-storm-herculesHow did you survive the Great Polar Vortex of 2014? colbert_report_polar_vortex_a_lAnd what will you do to get through the next step towards our end?Chicken-Little_Sky-is-Falling

Neil Young Plays. Nobody Listens.

Neil Young battled the audience at New York’s Carnegie Hall last night. Time and again, he had to ask them to stop yelling out between songs. “You guys finished? No? You paid real good money to get in here, so you should be able to listen to each other.” Neither did they listen to the ushers telling them not to take pictures, flashes going off in all corners, guaranteeing each and everyone a personalized blurred memento.

Neil Young's stage at Carnegie Hall

Neil Young’s stage at Carnegie Hall

It’s a common disease, not being able to listen, our self-centered world only getting worse. As Laetitia Sadier sings in Stereolab’s The Seeming and Meaning:

We communicate more and more
In more defined ways than ever before
But no one has got anything to say
It’s all very poor it’s all just a bore

20091217-133516-528269Paolo Sorrentini’s La Grande Bellezza, although a somewhat tedious film, does offer one character, a poet, who says nothing. Explains the protagonist. “He’s an excellent listener.”

La Grande Bellezza

La Grande Bellezza

It’s something to aspire towards.

 

 

“my bad side” opening…again

I’ve edited the opening to my bad side again, for the 30th time? I’ve lost count. I might have it now. It’s focused and clear, emotionally charged, paced, punctuated by effective dialogue; it has the right cadence. IMAG1946I watched my face in the window, fading in and out with the shadows, my eyes and mouth against the doorways, my neck and chest over the slumped scaffolding, the empty street and then Bowling Green, a rectangular line of light sliding down my arm, vanishing in a flash across my dress. The cab rattled heavily over a rutted grate and stopped in front of my building. 2012-10-11 00.26.33The driver watched me through his mirror. “$9.40.”

“It’s a $7 fare.”

“What do you want with me?”

I gave him $8.

He snapped around, his white collar tip jutting up like a tiny paper airplane. “I’m not a beggar.”

“And I’m not a tourist.” I didn’t have time to close the door before the car lurched ahead, its wheels catching in a sudden threatening jolt.

“Are you all right?” George wore his uniform perfectly, tie tight, shirt sleeves just out from his jacket.

“Oh, he charged me out of zone.”

“I’ve heard about that.” He walked me up the steps to the apartment doors. “Mr. Walter looked very official tonight. I thought we were being inspected.”

“Derek?”

“He said he would give Apollo some company.”

“He’s here now?”

George frowned. “I hope that’s all right, Miss Sinclair.”

“How long ago?”

“It must have been around 2:00, maybe a little after.”

“Thank you.”_MG_3158My hand reflected ghostly in the silver elevator panel. Derek knew that I didn’t want him near me. I had told him exactly that. When would he go back to his sad drunken life and leave me alone? I rotated my heel back on the stiletto, my foot angling sharply up, and thrust myself through the door before they were half open, my key already out, and pushed the apartment door in too hard. IMAG1642

I’ll go over it one more time tomorrow. Just once. Maybe twice.