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Nantucket Nectars


I was crossing the street congratulating myself for responding to the homeless man’s request for money directly – Sorry, man – like I’m some fucking saint for saying hello to him and that got me thinking about ___ and about how my penchant for speaking to the indigent would make me more attractive to him when I saw her coming out of the café with someone whom I took to be her sister. Or I guess one of her sisters, the one that doesn’t look exactly like her. I guess it’s hard when you look so much like one of your sisters and you’re both a little odd-looking and then your other sister is a model and your mother is the most famous actress of all time. Maybe not so much hard as particular. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. How to validate different people’s experiences of difficulty, regardless of their privilege. Seems like you could spend all day thinking about this. I’m constantly nervous that what I take to be my “spiritual” approach to identity is some stealth neo-con shit taking over me via a slow release genetic program I’m unaware of. I never want to make my spiritual beliefs public ever ever ever. Other things I should keep to myself, too, like this morning in rehearsal when I said that most poets are sad drunks and everybody was Wow way to be judgmental of a whole group. So I clammed up while rolling around on the floor, quietly telling myself But it’s true it’s true.

Her hair was cropped in a bob and very bleached and she and her maybe-sister were wearing black leggings and cool sunglasses. I wondered if she lived in the neighborhood – makes sense – and if she makes enough money to. I keep having the urge to grab strangers on the street and scream HOW DO YOU AFFORD TO LIVE HERE cuz really how do they? Anyway I tried to stay just a few paces ahead of them to see if I could hear what they were talking about but then I sorta grossed myself out doing this so I tried to walk regular tempo. I’m sure famous people can tell when non-famous people are trying to hang around or follow them but can they tell when the non-famous person is in front? I’m writing about the both of them I suppose but really I just mean to write about the one of them, because she’s the one I’ve seen in stuff and because she’s the one I was really trying to listen to.

I crossed the street to prove yet again what a saint I was – SEE I’M GIVING YOU SPACE – but kept apace on the other side of the street just long enough to see them say good bye to each other in front of a sign that said BENEFIT.





pureDKNY-SHFT.COM NYC Pop-up Art Gallery with pureDKNY fragrance super model Angela Lindvall and SHFT.COM's Adrian Grenier

They came towards me like three amazons, sharpening into focus as if walking out of the mist. Tall people find each other in life I thought to myself. I was bleary eyed and foggy. Just moments earlier I’d been thinking about how fascinating it is that you can be pretty functional on just two hours of sleep. All of your basic body processes continue and you’re conscious enough to remember to bring all of your luggage and your passport and you’re polite with the driver if a bit curt. I’d even had the presence of mind to boil two eggs before I left the apartment to bring with me as breakfast or a snack. Whenever the urge struck.

It struck once before the security check in and once after so there went my eggs. It was time to get my last croissant before leaving the country so I went to the godforsaken Exki. Really what is that place. A slightly upscale cafeteria. I dutifully stood in line and once I was at the cash register realized I could have gotten what I wanted just there and that I shouldn’t have waited in the line. It’s a beautiful day. Then I was sitting in the upholstered chair next to the duty free that sells bottles and bottles of liquor. I didn’t know that till later, because I was in a reverie of recalling the video art I’d seen the day before with _, who is unbearably handsome and a great museum partner and exactly the person I would like to fall in love with (though maybe it’s really _ in New York but he never asked me out again so wtf am I talking about), which I knew the moment I met him last summer but he doesn’t give me a single I’m attracted to you vibe and he has some twink boyfriend anyway and well isn’t falling in love with people who don’t fall in love back exactly my problem. When I’d told my friend/co-worker S that I was apprehensive about spending the day with a person I was too crushed out on she said focus on all of his flaws and why he’d be a terrible person to be with and I said that sounds awful I can’t do that. I mean I can if we were actually dating but when you’re pining they’re always perfect. Whatever, I saw the day as a practice of letting go and loving the FRIENDSHIP. The video art was by that super super famous guy he was fucking 26 when he made the piece and like why do I bother making art I thought when I watched it. It’s freakishly brilliant. He’s the poet of the 21st century! _ said and ok well that made me dislike him a little bit cuz I had an attack of ego and thought well so am I bitch.

So it was in this roiling maelstrom of longing, jealousy, self hating and insipid reflection that they emerged, slow motion, and once I stopped thinking about what a crappy lonely artist I am I realized it was him in the center flanked by what I took to be the model/girlfriend and a stylist. They all looked very LA. The m/g was in an oversized sweater and black leggings, the stylist wore all black and windswept bleached hair and he was wearing black jeans tucked into brown lace-up boots and a red t-shirt that, improbably enough, said REEBOK on the side. I moved from one unreality to this one, appreciative, mostly because I knew immediately that I would write this and honestly I need the practice. I got up to go to my gate and realized oh they’re all probably on the same plane, too, and that’s when I saw them in the duty free considering booze options.

At the gate I noticed this side entry stealth boarding line and I went for it. A man went up to the attendant and said are you boarding? She said yes. He flailed his arms around, but there’s been no announcement! I, too, found it disorienting but I was into the novelty. Subtle chaos is delicious. Plus it gave me more time to observe A, to assess what sort of feelings he stirred in me, and to confirm that he was wearing what I thought he was. I don’t know why I fixate so much on their clothes. He’s good-looking, not spectacular, but yeah totally cute. I tried googling to see if it really was his girlfriend but looks like he’s had a lot of them so hard to know. It must suck to be so publicly accountable for your sex life. In some online pictures he’s on vacation with girlfriends, shirtless wearing board shorts yuck. I realized I have absolutely no real feeling about him, or towards him. And yet the air had definitely shifted. The vastness of the departure hall with its curved ceilings had transformed into a secular cathedral and there he was, this unremarkable messiah, standing at the end of the priority line.

The m/g is taller than he is. They weren’t especially affectionate so maybe they’re not together. He was ahead of her on the jetway and they were both on their phones, which I determined to be a signal of how terribly they communicate. This adorable young Spanish guy (I saw the passport in his hand) in front of me looked back several times and smiled and so my heartbreak about _ (and _) was ameliorated, transubstantiated. We, the passengers in economy I mean, were subjected to the humiliation of walking through first and business classes on our way back to our sardine chamber so I saw A taking his luxurious window seat in the fourth row. It’s so fucking weird. I mean, we’re on the plane together and he’s probably all of 80 feet away for the whole flight.


photo by Marion Curtis



Radha Mitchell

Such a strange day. After finally waking up from jet lag sleep I puttered about in my apartment accomplishing only one of the five things I wanted to do before leaving to talk at Career Day at that high school way the fuck out in the outer boroughs. I thought I was giving myself plenty of time by leaving an hour plus for the commute but on my way into the city I realized that the train I wanted to take only leaves once an hour so now I was officially late. I am really trying to correct this lateness thing. I hung out with a friend of mine a few months ago who told me that his therapist said that lateness is “beyond rude” and that’s really stuck with me. But I’m fighting against decades worth of bad time management and narcissism so we’ll see where this all lands.

I opted for taking the subway the whole way. There were these very loud teens in my train car – I suppose they should have been in school but what do I know. I find loud teens on a train reassuring, charming even. All that life pushing the decibel limit of good taste. I love it. I like to pat myself on the back for being into it, like I’m some cool dad. Keep screaming, kids! Staring at my phone, I pored over the different possible outcomes of my lateness. I might be 7, 12 or 17 minutes late depending on which bad decision I made. Suddenly the kids were screaming about somebody riding on top of the train. I had read about this a couple years ago in the paper so I was hip to it being possible, but still, it felt refreshingly renegade, or like the closest I’d ever come to Spider Man. Our adventurer dropped into the space between the train cars to readjust his… headphones? Impossibly enough, yes. He was surfing the train to a perfect soundtrack he wanted to make sure he didn’t miss. Don’t look at him! shrieked one of the girls to her compatriots. Superhero guy had on grey leggings/sweats that gave him a lot of room to move and he was up and out of sight soon enough and the kids were gawking once more. I wondered if he would tumble off the side, affording me my first ever real life “I saw a guy die once” story. But he was fine. Later, though, they held the train for a bit at the station cuz there were “reports of someone riding the train.” Duh. We saw the guy. After the investigation was “resolved” we were on the move again and they played an automated message saying “Please don’t ride outside the train,” but those announcements are ridiculous.

Career Day was underwhelming. Let me tell you, if you ever worry that you’re riding too high on the SUV of your artist ego go talk to a group of high schoolers about what you do. That’ll bring you back to earth. I took it in stride, the kids napping or on their phones or gawking at the images of my work like they were the most useless things ever. After about twenty minutes of this the teachers waved their hands at me and said ok that’s enough, we have to move on. Wow. Next up after me was a lawyer who likes to dance in her free time.

I walked back to the train through the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the world. I feel like I’ve heard people say about this area, It’s like being in _______! and you plug in the name of whatever country stands out to you. For me, it just feels like being in New York. Diversity comes as no surprise. It is overwhelming, though. The squeeze through the people on the sidewalk is real. I was looking for the train I never take, power walking so that I would at least have made it to one thing on time that day. I found the entrance in a space between buildings made remarkable by its patch of dead grass and tall weeds. The train platform itself held a special melancholy of cracked pavement and few passengers. I scanned left and right for a ticket machine. Can I buy one on the train? I asked this middle aged white guy. Yeah. There’ll be a penalty but yeah.

As we rode back into the city we passed stadiums and parking lots and scores of squat houses out of which at one point I saw this goth exit and walk down the street in platform boots. Can’t believe there are still goths. So much work to assemble the layers and the makeup and the hatred of sunlight. Who knows where a goth goes at 330pm? The train pulled away. Then we were in a tunnel for a long time and I wondered if there are still mole people or if once there’s a book about your subculture you all disperse.

I was starving. I wanted to go to the gym. I had to sort out the food to workout timing cuz I didn’t want to puke on the treadmill. There was a salad place. Suddenly I remembered my friend J who I’d just seen overseas. He’d looked so healthy and springy – he said he was doing paleo. In a fit of transatlantic co-dependency I decided right then and there to do paleo, too. But first I had to find out what it was. I got an app. Ok. Basically eat everything I don’t ever or don’t like to eat. Perfect. I sat and ate my “this will fix me” lunch while working briefly on some work email, a task that takes every cell of willpower I can summon.

This is all taking too long to tell but the day was so full of words.

After a reasonable amount of waiting I walked down the street, went up the flight of stairs and got physical. I figured that now that I’d gone paleo one serious incline speed walk on the treadmill should take care of the rest and I’d wake up the next morning with my waistline from fourteen years ago. I thought about all of the great advantages my new skinny self would bring. Photo shoots, invitations to movie openings, access to the hidden stock in the back of the very expensive clothing store, and, of course, gangs of men throwing themselves at me. I huffed and puffed my way up across no distance to my new life as fit 20somethings triathloned around me. This gym is so great I thought. Nobody bothers me and they had the presence of mind to get TWO pec decs.

All of this was just about gearing up to go to the play I’d heard so much about. __ had raved. It was at a theater I’d never been to, a new space. It’s always a shock to walk into a theater that’s been recently built rather than hearing about another one closing. What Faustian bargain gives any arts organization the opportunity to acquire real estate here? I walked in and noticed right away the thing I’d heard about how there’s barely any space to hang out in the lobby. Oh shit I was seeing a play. Actors go see plays. Suddenly very articulate overexcited enunciators were all around me greeting each other as if it had been centuries since they’d last seen each other. I glumly slalomed through them to get my ticket and thought I should go to the bathroom cuz I’m sitting in the middle of the row and it’s a two and a half hour show so I went to the other side of the lobby to the bathroom, rounded the corner, and there she was, her cherubic face looking straight at me and then smiling as if I was the one being recognized. I must have looked puzzled – I’m sorry do we know each other? almost came out of my mouth. But of course I knew who she was, even though she does have that name that eludes you at first. I instantly felt bad for her in some way. I’m sorry you’re not as famous as you maybe are supposed to be. I half wanted to go up to her and tell her that the movie she’d been in about the drug addict changed my life, sort of. Well it helped to tip the scales. The scene where the photographer almost does drugs but then picks up the camera instead. The recognition came fast and I’d half gasped, quietly, in the movie theater, thinking that’s me fuck that’s me.

She was there with a guy who I guess was her boyfriend and their gay best friend. They sat a couple of rows in front of me. Every now and then I checked to see if she was enjoying the show. Of course she was. We all were. The play was so fucking good.


Cameron Diaz

My friend and my other friend were going on and on about the ridiculousness of real estate in the city, the impossibility of ambition in the face of so much economic difficulty, the brokering of power and the abuses wielded by the wealthy. I wasn’t so much listening as I was witnessing, nothing to insert into these obvious topics and I wasn’t being asked questions anyway so I sat there like a fool while my mind constructed another plane, a moving topography of uneven grass, moss covered walls that rose and fell to make an indeterminate labyrinth, twinkling moving lights and tilting earth – a teletubby world I guess only more jagged, pulsing and alive. I felt myself breathing in the chair, smaller than I actually am, ageless and heavy but also empty, like a subway station at night you don’t get off at. Out of the shadows on the street side of the window, left to right, C strode by, shrouding herself in an ivory colored scarf, at a pace that signaled – I’m going home. I sensed the sweep of her pass but only recognized her at the tail end when she turned and glanced into the restaurant, maybe to see but probably sensing being seen, and I locked in on her sucked out cheeks, dark concavities that gave maturity and pain to her face despite often being cast as golden and carefree. She’s beautiful I thought as she moved out of the frame. Most people forget she’s Latina but I don’t.



Jonathan GroffMurray Bartlett

M and I were on a tear walking from the showing to the train. I’ve seen so much art this week, most of it really fucking good. That day alone I’d been to a museum for a few hours, then saw the one show and was on my way to the other. I told M I was having “advanced perceptual training” day. I’m lucky to get to see so much right now. It’s not always the case, I miss a lot cuz of traveling, rehearsing, blah blah blah poor me. I told my PT, and then M, that for a while I’ve been fantasizing about taking a year off from seeing dance so that I could just go see other kinds of shows like music (though I hate drunk people and I get bored standing around), art openings, classical shit. But then I forget how much I like seeing dance shows and anyway, these “clever” ideas I get about not doing X for Y amount of time… I dunno they just seem like excuses, a conceptual platform to make me feel smarter. If I wanna see a music show I can just go nobody’s stopping me. I don’t need to make some big announcement about it.

M and I can really fucking WALK and TALK. It’s alarming. It’s Olympic-level ping pong, which is just one of the many reasons I love her. I had the wherewithal to suggest walking down one of the quieter streets. I get these eruptions now – Turn now and find serenity! Find trees! I guess it happens when you get older, or so everyone says. Anyway it’s funny that I wanted a chiller detour given that we were being such manic freaks, chatting away as if we were earning miles for how fast we could speak. Suddenly there he was, walking towards us, wearing a t-shirt, khakis, a backpack. He’s so regular looking and so cute at the same time. As I realized who it was it was like I was fitting some outsized image into the body of him. He’s just a person walking down a street duh. Was he singing a little bit to himself? No that’s not true, I just have this idea he’s singing to himself all the time. He looked like he’s been hitting a keg. Or maybe the hotter weather doesn’t agree with him. It kind of just made me want to hug him and lick his neck. He totally cruised me! I swear. We locked eyes for a bit but when I looked back he didn’t turn. I think I was giving off something special that day, maybe it was my boots. They make me feel confident and grown-up. I’d gotten cruised that morning for the first time ever by the barista at the café I go to and I was so thrown cuz usually he plays it so cool and aloof. It’s exciting to get cruised. It’s so ancient, a lost art. I found myself wondering if J is filming the next season of that show anytime soon or if he did already and do they put pressure on him to be a certain weight or whatever. When I looked back I got caught up looking at his hips – I feel like there’s so much story in a guys’ hips: discomfort, hope, frustration, ease. If any of you know him tell him I’m available. That face.

But then the kicker was later that night I saw the other one! The other out gay one I mean and yes I wrote kicker. I think I heard that most of the other ones are straight. Gay for pay. I was with J (a different J obviously) and he was like let’s go to the club even though I really just wanted to go home but she’s visiting from outta town so we went to get coffee at fucking midnight and well if I’m gonna do something I’m gonna do it all the way so I had a double espresso and we were singing Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks songs in the rain and this cute couple we had run into had to endure our caffeinated lunacy as we harmonized onto the train and we made it over into the Kingdom of the Hipeoisie and right before we arrived to the club J and I turned around to realize that we’d lost the couple and that was when I saw him arriving with some young friends, wearing a black t-shirt oh it had a word on it what was it fuck I can’t remember and he had on some very regular pants almost like cargo pants but not cargo pants but the same idea without the big pockets and that signature moustache and I thought about how J says that in Berlin people dress way down to go clubbing, which made me imagine being at home trying on successively less impressive t-shirts. With M, different than with J (obviously now I’m talking about another M but now also the previous J) there really was a direct one to one correspondence between who I saw him as on the show and who he was in person. Aura, character, everything. It was unnerving actually, the congruency. Inside he met up with a taller, swarthy guy who he knew and soon they were on the dance floor all up in it and I thought, good for him. I’ll admit that I grazed his ass with my forearm on purpose as I passed him, which was inappropriate and I felt weird about it then and I still do. That club was so silly. Like a club wearing the costume of a club.

People really talk about that show on the internets. I feel sorta whatever about it. I mean, I watch it, I like it. I feel only slightly guilty about it. It’s pretty as hell and I like the music, especially when it bleeds into the end of the episode and the sexy font of the credits comes up. It’s utterly inconceivable to me that, set in THAT city, these guys never cross paths with dykes or transpeople. I mean they say that city has changed a lot but please. It’s laughably myopic. When we saw M, J said slowly the politics of that show are. so. problematic. I mean of course. Maybe it’s some basic mistrust in me that says I should never expect what I see on TV to be realistic. Probably from a lifetime of not seeing “myself” on it, as if I even know what that means, as if I’m one thing anyway. Nevertheless it’s terrible that you get used to it, all these shows where POC, women, transfolk are peppered in like decorative cushions on the enormous sofa of white gay guys’ dramas. But I know that the show’s a vessel. It serves a basic biochemical function for me when I’m sitting in my kitchen at night drinking tea and pining for a bf or needing a good cry. I get seduced like so many others, suckered into believing in the coherence of cause and effect, even though I know otherwise. That’s why I love what I do, not telling stories. Well I’m certainly not telling one. I could never live up to a single story. They’re all incomplete. People want too much from them, put so much pressure on them. I do much better with confusion and fragmented myths where you get what you want or don’t or fill in the blanks.


ben stiller

I saw him again. What are the chances. Technically it’s only the second time we’ve seen each other. Or is it the third? No, he didn’t see me what am I thinking. It’s maybe the third time I’ve seen him and possibly he has seen me once but he wouldn’t know that because nobody remembers waiters.

I was on my bike. It was a hard day. Everyone was irritating me. From the moment I got to my training I was annoyed with people who wanted to talk to me. Even as I felt my annoyance at others I felt annoyed at myself for being annoyed. What is wrong with you I thought. Don’t be such an asshole. Sometimes I just want things to go a very certain way. Mine. My mood changed throughout the day. I got good feedback from the person I partnered with at the training. I felt like maybe I’m good at this thing I’m studying after all. Why is it so hard to accept being good at something? Or believing it. Everything I learned as a kid was about doubting yourself. I never got an unequivocal compliment from my parents. That must mean something. Meanwhile, my god this record I’m listening to right now is good.

I was thinking about how I almost ran into a car on that block earlier this year. I remember the look of horror on the driver’s face as I careened through the intersection. It seems like every time I ride my bike I have at least one near death experience. How do people do this drunk or stoned. There was some kind of festival or party happening in the park. Bands playing, people going crazy in the sunlight. It was just going to be a day where I rode by a lot of groups of people doing things that I felt alien to. It would be the same that night after the show. The rhythmic sensation of flying by vitrines full of laughter and impenetrable sociality. Right before I left my friend at dinner I felt a wall slide down inside me that signaled it was time to go.  There’s no not listening to it. My efforts to push past it come across as half-hearted at best.

He was hunkered over like a linebacker. Is that the guy who plows through the crowd? Now that there’s a gay football player I might learn the rules before I forget them again. I know they have to keep the ball moving at least ten yards at a time I think. My father once watched an action movie and shouted at the screen It’s just war propaganda! B had a duffel bag over one shoulder. That sounds absurd but he had the hunch of a person walking with a big duffel bag. A steely expression of determination. An unkind face. Leaving wherever he’d been or whatever he was doing to go on to the next thing. My whole fucking day. Why do I mostly see white ones? Mostly men. Is it an indictment of my eyes or my contexts? Both probably.

I googled “Rimbaud on loneliness” and found this:


Through the blue summer days, I shall travel all the ways,
Pricked by the ears of maize, trampling the dew:
A dreamer, I will gaze, as underfoot the coolness plays.
I’ll let the evening breeze drench my head anew.

I shall say – not a thing: I shall think – not a thing:
But an infinite love will swell in my soul,
And far off I shall go, a bohemian,
Through Nature – as happy, as if I had a girl.

Life out of balance

Philip Glass

I’ve been debating whether or not to include him, which led me to think about what justifies someone’s placement here to begin with. I realized that it’s about what happens to me when I see them – they take me out of my experience while somehow plunging me more deeply into it. I question the very fabric of what is real or normal. I step back from the situation to ask myself – is this happening? Am I here? And I record the moment. The time is noted, held apart and distinguished in some way from the millions of other moments I’ll have that day. I’ll remember where or how I was standing, how I steadied myself with the seat in front of me as I leaned in to make sure I was seeing correctly, which is exactly what happened in this case, because the flight was already in the air – we were well along our way over the ocean. I thought, how could I have not realized he was sitting in front of me? How could I have missed this? My friend E had called me right before I boarded the plane, so I must have been distracted, talking to her during the whole walk from the gate through the jet bridge to my seat. I was THAT person, gabbing away on my phone unapologetically. Granted I wasn’t as bad as the woman who got on across the aisle from me. She was talking to her dad about a work situation that must have gotten incredibly stressful because I overheard her hissing “… And I had already been sitting there for four hours in the meeting and now suddenly I had to deal with this?” while she turned to the window to hide, sobbing.

E and I talked about my show and I told her I felt pretty good about how it had gone and that for once I hadn’t fallen into a post-show depression, which was kind of true I guess, though I’m always waiting for the emotional shoe to drop and maybe it’s happening this week instead. Did I tell her about the boy I’d gone on a date with? The most perfect, awesome date with the cutest boy in NYC, which is really saying something because most of the time dates feel like job interviews for a position you know you’re gonna hate. Oh god I hate dates so much. One time I met this guy on that website, the one for people who allegedly don’t wanna JUST fuck, and I offered to pay for his dinner because he was broke and he showed up an hour late to the restaurant – the same one where I later had the really great date actually – and I had already ordered food and he got there and of course he didn’t look like the picture and he didn’t look me in the eye ever and it seemed like he was on anti-psychotics or something hardcore like that because he was sleepy and manic at the same time and he told me that his roommates were about to kick him out because they didn’t like him, which p.s. is just about the stupidest thing to tell someone on a date. I paid for dinner and then quite literally RAN out of there cursing myself, all of dating and all of mankind, went home and promptly took myself off of that site for almost a year before I tried it again only to find that it was pretty much as stupid and useless as before.

And I can’t remember if I saw P before or after I watched the movie about the future where the guy falls in love with his computer, which was good more for the idea than the execution, though it was definitely made the more haunting by the fact that the words uttered by the most pathetic character in the film were almost exactly the ones that I had told the boy a few days earlier on the date, words asking for promises so weighted with need, so fraught with a history that I had no business burdening him with, that when I heard them spoken by the movie character I felt my whole body recoil from the screen into my uncomfortable seat.

P was arranging himself to sit, having just come back from the bathroom. He was talking animatedly to his seat neighbors, two women around his age, a little younger perhaps, who may or may not have been a couple, or friends of his already. I was about to sit, too, having gotten up to get something from my bag, and in the ensuing daze after I recognized him I remembered my ex, who worked with him on a recent project, telling me that on tour he stays in his hotel room all day long working on music, which I took as evidentiary confirmation of my laziness as an artist because if I’m in my hotel room I’m usually just watching porn or serial television. I remembered my recent massage from J who told me that he could hear P’s kids yelling at him through his window because they live in the building next door. And I remembered walking up Second Avenue with my other friend J and seeing P who crossed us in the other direction and just about ten paces after the encounter J and I turned to each other and burst into ascending/descending “do-do-do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do-do-do!” scales which immediately cracked us up. All of these memories erupted before I sat back down, at which point I thought, fuck he flies economy class? If he’s in economy I’m fucked.

Come to think of it I saw him yet another time in that Polish restaurant, which renders this entire post truly meaningless. I shouldn’t be surprised at all to see him.

But that time twenty years ago, when C’s and my friendship was more real than conceptual, we drove around the Berkeley Hills at night, stoned, talking about everything, listening to P’s music, and the choral vibrancy of those scales transcended its tinny provenance of the crappy car speakers to soar into my still young, inchoate heart.



My mind keeps looping back to seeing her in that chair, watching the dance show (A dance show! Of all things. A wonderfully weird one at that). I was sitting in a high chair at the back of a cluster of seats – the seating designated an octagonal stage area with big exit corridors that the dancers kept leaving and entering through. There she was, sitting cross legged and content in her beige suede overcoat, tousled blonde layered curls and fancy boots. I was between S and M and I kept saying to S that’s her that’s her and S said that’s not her and I said yes it is you shouldn’t doubt me on these things and it went back and forth like this in the meaningless way that she and I usually converse unless we’re reminding each other how much we love each other, which is meaningful and also true. I didn’t bother to get into it with M because she never recognizes any of those people.

I mean really what the fuck was she doing at that show. It was the definition of incongruity. Did she know the choreographer? One of the dancers? How how how. I sound insistent now but at the time the question was held more gently, like a reminder you give yourself while walking around your apartment in the morning to not forget your keys. Her face is smaller in person. It always seems so wide on screen but maybe her co-stars have teeny tiny narrow faces. She’s very pretty, much prettier than I’d have expected but maybe with the way they vamp her up and the way she preens on the series and the movies I never thought that in person she’d look so very comfortable in her own skin. Surprisingly affable and down to earth. Oh whatever I’m going on like it’s so shocking but she is a fucking actress for god’s sakes. During the first few moments of the show she smiled generously but later her expression changed into something less legible. Was she confused, annoyed, cagey, what. I think the show had a lot of people going through those feelings. I had completely surrendered to it pretty much right away, loving its alien ritual strangeness and total detachment from any apparent need to be contemporary or marketable. K didn’t project a need to be on display even though she was in the front row of the circle and very visible to most of the room. For large swaths of time I happily forgot she was there as I thought about space, alien abduction (the joyous kind I fantasize about where you get to go up and come back and it’s all good the whole time), the future, hybrid mechanical-organic forests, composition and decomposition, priestesses, how perfect it was that the piece was being performed in a church, how beautifully my friends were dancing, how a couple of them are mothers, how nice it was to see grown-ups dancing. I felt very happy and unencumbered and intrigued by how unpredictably everything unfolded in the piece. I tried to avoid looking at my students for fear of getting caught up in whether or not they were enjoying themselves, but at one point one of them looked at me and just shrugged and threw up his hands as if to say, yeah I don’t know what the fuck we’re looking at, which for me is precisely what tells me it’s a good show.

After the performance I lingered for a long time saying hi to people. I’d been out of town for a while so it was nice to be social and get filled up with love and familiarity. I repeated to my friend look it’s her and she finally relented, oh yeah, maybe it is her, which was as close to a concession as I was ever gonna get.


Blythe Danner

It’s been an unusually busy time, which seems like a ridiculous thing to say when you live here because when is it not like this. Maybe it feels crazier than usual because of all the festivals and everybody running around trying to see everything. I’m seeing so much art but fuck I’m so broke. They finally announced the good thing that’s happening in the spring so I can talk to people about it but it’s funny because I don’t know if I can make it to the end of the month money wise. Meanwhile I can’t believe they charged forty dollars for that show on Saturday night, and even though I liked it, forty dollars for a dance show is just dumb. I thought I had a certain amount of money to make it to the end of the month and I mentioned it in a piece I performed on Friday night, where I asked the audience, is _____ enough money to live on till December and they all said yeah like I was stupid for thinking that it might not be but that was before I realized I only have half that. Why am I talking about this so much?

Oh I was on my way into the city, super fucking late for my training. Like, hours late. Who the hell am I to ever tell anyone else to be on time. I told myself it was ok to be late and I really settled into my acceptance of it so I felt good and relaxed. The night before I’d gone to the film festival party for a little while and it was packed and sorta fun but I felt old and invisible so I went home and watched a bunch of episodes of that show with the woman who tells everybody what to do and then cries all the time even though in the first episode they made this big stink about how she’s so tough and never cries. I have no problem with people who cry a lot per se but there are other ways of showing you’re vulnerable besides crying all the time but hey it’s not my show.

Anyway I noticed that the new ad on the train for the lottery says What will you think about when you don’t have to think about money? I went blank. Doesn’t everyone who wins a lot of money become miserable? Don’t all their shitty con artist relatives come out of the woodwork to squeeze them dry? That’s what I’ve always imagined. Are there documentaries about this? I’m always trying to release myself from the fucked up narrative that says deprivation leads to good art but if I won tons and tons of money I would probably feel weird. I might just get embarrassed and stop making stuff. I can’t be sure. I had an astrology reading once where the guy said that I’ll never have a lot of money but then he also said a lot of other stuff that didn’t happen. I have it on a tape somewhere. He said I’d live until I’m 84 but I heard that as when you are 84 you will die. Anyway now I know it doesn’t even matter when you die it’s those final fucking years that really clinch it.

I was in the midst of writing the following in my journal: Nobody cruises anymore. Not entirely true but not entirely false either. I have no time to go into the studio. It’s all I want to do. I have to clean my house. I have to get shelves. My mailbox situation is unacceptable. I don’t meet the guys I’m really attracted to.

And then suddenly she tumbled in and sat across from me in front of the ad. It was a great interruption. She had on a black suit with wide leg pinstripe pants, suede boots, pale and fancy trench coat, thick reading glasses with black frames. She’s definitely had a face lift but probably just one. I can always tell from the way the real face wants to push through and fall forward, yielding to gravity and truth from the outsides of the pulled part. Her hair was white and wind-swept, which I loved and which matches her name I think. I know I really like her as an actress but in that moment I couldn’t think of a single movie she’d done. She was texting and half smiling. I wondered of course if she was writing her daughter. It was an epic text. She kept looking up with that half smile and serving me profile like it was a reaction shot in a clever drama that has a scene between friends riding together somewhere in the big city on the train. Did she know that I’d recognized her? Maybe. She did look directly at me at one point and I didn’t drop my eyes. I wonder if she feels okay about her daughter’s success or if she resents it. She’s much prettier than her, though I’ve only seen her daughter in pictures. That name, that strange name which I can’t imagine saying on its own. She really embodies it. I can only imagine saying the first name along with the last name. They must do that in casting meetings, say the whole name I mean. Is it fake? Does she have money? Is she still in love with her dead husband? I don’t know.

She was still writing on her phone when I got off. On the platform I noticed the ad for the wrestlers show, and then I saw a lone black nylon purse on the wooden bench. I’ve been trained into suspicion by all the fear propaganda of the past 12 years, so it was ominous. As I got to the turnstile I wondered if I should tell the attendant. I passed a mother and son who were talking about just that. I should go get it said the mother but the boy said no mommy no let’s just tell them. I wanted to get the jump on them by being the one who told the attendant first. Let me be the hero, I thought, but I was torn. What’s so radical about ignoring it, I asked myself. If it was a bomb I wondered how far out from the bench it would affect people. Would it affect me as I walked up the stairs out onto the street? If you see something say something. Well I did but I didn’t.

Meteor Shower

Meteor Shower


I was changing in the handicapped bathroom again. I go in there because it’s bigger, private. Maybe it’s some vestige of high school anxiety about changing in the locker room or fear that if I change in the men’s room the door will open and a woman passing by will -eek!- see me changing and freak out about what I don’t know, but I prefer changing in there. Even as I write this it seems totally ridiculous. I change in public all the time. I think it’s just something about the sexless vibe at that place.

Coming out of the bathroom I was rushing a bit. I’m always rushing, which is ironic since what I’m studying there is a body/mind modality where you go super slow. I shuffled down the hallway in my socks like a little kid, the floorboards creaking in a raspy baritone. I was adding up my work/study hours in my head because I always forget to tell the administrator and then I get a huffy email about it. I rounded the corner and suddenly there he was, talking to my teacher. Boyish/mannish. Fresh-faced. Slight blush to the cheeks, like he’s just taken an autumn bike ride. It was so incongruous to see him there, standing in the middle of the waiting room against the braided nylon of the furniture and the beige wall. I walked past him into the big room to collect my notebook, sort of disconcerted and annoyed. Oh god this is the last place I want to run into them. It throws the whole thing out of balance. Not here please. He must have psychically heard my anxiety because when I went back out to put my sneakers on he was gone.


I had just finished teaching class at the university where they let me teach. I never finished college and now I teach at colleges all the time. Maybe it’s karmic. I figure if I never actually get a degree I won’t actually ever be hired for real in a permanent way. I’ll just teach at different places each year and I can keep this slutty thing with higher education going for the rest of my life.

I crossed the big street – I wasn’t riding my bike for those few days – and was heading into my bank to make a deposit when I saw him smiling and sneering his way towards me. That is the definition of a craggy face I thought. A maze of dry rivulets. He’s shorter than me, I think that means he’s very very short, ever since I found out I’m short. (That’s another story.) He was wearing a blazer, tweed maybe. That downtown arty hair length, long but not too long. Aging male painter length. I say sneering but actually he seemed very content, very at peace with himself and his day as he walked down the sidewalk by himself. It was inspiring. Maybe it’s all the yoga, if he still does it. People really get attached when they do yoga, but I wonder if that’s just something they do for a little while and then stop like most everybody else but since somebody saw them in a class once or they wrote about it in an interview everyone is still like, oh so and so does yoga.

paker posey

Riding in the city is always risky, dangerous. I like pretending I am cool and tough enough for it, though sometimes I get to an intersection and I’ve calculated the distance between cars incorrectly so I waddle my way on my tippie toes through an opening like a toddler. That day I was on it, though, and I was barreling down the big avenue like a pro when I saw her on the corner waiting to cross. She was wearing big sunglasses, a long coat. It was all just a flash but I keyed in instantly to the wrinkles around her mouth. She’s letting herself grow old without surgery – I told myself approvingly, like she gives a fuck about what I think. It IS a relief, though. Don’t you think it’s weird that we look at movies to see our emotions reflected or articulated and all these people have billiard ball complexions? Like, what is the accumulative psychological effect of all that? I recently saw that movie about the untethered astronaut and when they do the close-ups I’m just like, you don’t look that worried.

greg kinnear

I was racing up the street on my bike. It’s that part of the ride where it’s not clear which side of the street you should be on, or I guess I could say it’s the free for all part of the ride. Now with bike lanes there’s the suggestion of order, even though everyone knows it’s still a shitshow of power mongering between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Everyone’s on their cellphones by the way, but you already knew that. Distraction nation.

He had stepped pretty much into the middle of the wide avenue straining his neck to see if a cab was coming. I wonder if it’s any easier for him. It feels like it’s basically become impossible to get a cab, and then if they do stop, they ask you where you’re going, which I think is illegal according to the Taxi Rider’s Bill of Rights! Anyway he has that expression of being half caught in some pressing concern, even when he’s hailing a cab. I want to say I felt nothing, did I go to the left or the right of him? His confusion about the lack of available cabs did seem tremendously earnest.