jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


Some Tin Pan Alley lyricist, vintage New York urbanity and elegant cynicism said words that sound like an oak paneled room, a brilliantined head thrown back, cigarette smoke as punctuate in two forceful steams from the nostrils: unrequited love is a bore.

The Lower East Side smells like it has for a hundred years: rust, blood, garbage, fish, human waste. I map my walk every day to avoid thick green-gray puddles festering and stinking against sunken curbstones.

I lean back against a fence and watch the red storefront, red curtains pulled back on a red room and the jazz that leaks its way to me, the insistent driving hands of the drummer, the sax and its player bending and bobbing, a timeless scene.

Me, love, filth, music, the messy wonder of existence -- it is all as it ever has been.


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