Knowing and Not Knowing

I took the train to the bar, the local, thinking I knew what I knew. She would be there. And that was that.

I had calculated the $10,000, the equivalent of 50 nights at a nice hotel, 75 bottles of very fine scotch, an Antarctic cruise or a buyout from a first marriage. Not a big deal.

I felt clarity and confidence in that, knowing exactly what I was doing, intensely so. It was what might be next – the harrowing plummet to who knows where – that I could not grasp. And then it hit me. I should have taken the express.

Kosinki’s “Being There” Updated

Chance went inside and checked his social media. The phone created its own light, its own color, its own time. It did not follow the law of gravity that forever bent all living things downward. Everything on his phone was tangled and mixed and yet smoothed out; night and day, big and small, tough and brittle, soft and rough, hot and cold, near and far.

His followers would never know how real he was, since he thinking could not be downloaded. And to him, the followers existed only as projections of his own thoughts, as images. He would never know how real they were, since he had never met them and did not know what they thought.*

*Adapted from pages 5 & 65 of Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There.

Innocent knowledge

That innocent knowledge of the act, in her movements, not knowing what that is, not that half-gaped mouth or maybe that, that dread, needing, clamoring out of lost, separated, entwined. Desperately, awfully so.

Desperately, awfully so.

Tales of NYC: On Screen

He leaned against the dirty pillar, head slumped forward over his phone, unlit cigarette in hand, playing his game, watching his feed. He wore a dull blue polo shirt and was Chinese. I glanced over his shoulder, disinterested, and realized it was not a game or feed but porn, a young girl on her hands and knees, getting fucked from behind, a red background draped behind her. 

He glanced back at me – much older than I had first thought, probably in his 60s – and then again at his screen, zooming in on the girl’s ass, and stepped back for the approaching train.

Imaginary Place

What if you could go to a place where you would experience the greatest moments, filled with sensual pleasure and love, genuine fulfillment, however brief, understanding and compassion in the profoundest of ways but also senseless pain, the deepest of regrets and a constant and genuine confusion for why you were there at all, and you had to stay for 85 years…would you go?

Tales of NYC 3 1/2

She didn’t look well, a petite woman in her late 20’s, sitting on the subway platform bench. She looked tired, terribly so, and suddenly, she threw up into her Dunkin’ Donuts. It was a full-on spew of vomit, like a penguin feeding its young, once and then again, fully and completely into the bag. She paused, exhausted, her head just pulled back from the bag, looking like she might do it again.

People walked past, me included, not noticing or not caring. She threw up again, expertly, back into the surprisingly resilient bag. She heaved once more, less in her now, paused, and wiped her mouth with a crumpled napkin, stood, looking like everyone else, and threw the bag into the garbage, like it was just a half-eaten donut, before getting on her train.

Philip Roth on Getting it Wrong the Right Way

You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be…and yet you never fail to get them wrong.

You get them wrong before you meet them, while you’re anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you’re with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception, an astonishing farce of misperception.

And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of other people, which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on a significance that is ludicrous, so ill-equipped are we all to envision one another’s interior workings and invisible aims?

The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It’s getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong, and then on careful consideration, getting them wrong again. That’s how we know we’re alive: we’re wrong.*

*Excerpt from Philiip Roth’s American Pastoral.

DeBrusk, Cassidy and Boston’s Ugly Hockey

There’s a lot of chatter about Nazem Kadri’s retaliatory cross-check on Jake DeBrusk, an ill-advised moment to be sure. But let’s be clear on this – DeBrusk never should have been on the ice at that point, given his deliberate knee-on-knee hit against Kadri the previous period.

That is a five-minute major, game and suspension right there, yes?

Straight from the NHL rules handbook. So what about it, ref?

Nope. No call at all. According to Morgan Riley, the ref said Kadri “jumped in the air”. Or more laughably, Bruins Bruce Cassidy stated flatly, “The hit was shoulder to shoulder.It’s Kadri’s prerogative to stay down.” Let’s look at those images again.

As much as I’d like to meet Cassidy halfway, feel his heartbeat, hug his pillow and all, but he’s as close to the truth as Albuquerque on that one.

The Bruins brand of hockey is an embarrassment to the league as is DeBrusk’s knee-on-knee hit, as are Cassidy’s passively unpleasant comments as are Boston’s ‘energetic’ fans.

Did Kadri deserve a penalty? Yes. Did DeBrusk. Yes. And so…what is this then? There better be a better answer sometime soon – read NHL hearing for DeBrusk – or else it seems that the league has a bigger problem. (Hint: It rhymes with Zenophobia.)

No Words For Dreams

I dreamed that I flew-skittled along the edges of an inside-outside lake-city and I was climbing a long ramp of some kind when I lost it. I mean, I thought I knew it or had it so clearly in my head. But, no, not anymore.

The thing of it is that it was there, clear, more substantial than real, like the vivid darkness of outer space. I was awake and actually held a shard of it, a whirring instant of something that, in my head, still made perfect sense.

But, no, it left me as I tried to frame it, build it into something else, an artifice.

Words didn’t belong. This phantom certain things did not want to be touched.

This place, here where you read and I write, and we find a beginning or end, the words kill it because it’s not that, no and shh-shh, uh-uh and z..