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.


Work until 1AM means I am riding the train much later this morning. I'm in my own head-pod with loud crashing joyous music, so I am not able to hear his. He is small, stocky, swarthy, stationed in the middle of the car with a battered old squeeze box. Down the side, in glittery lettering it says "Los Bohemios" and I would give him money just for that.

But I only have a $20, no ones. I don't even have any change to prime the pump, to get others to dig into their pockets. I know that scouring the bottom of my bag will be fruitless because I did it yesterday. The spirited young girls at the cafe mugged me with their guilessness, charmed me out of all of my silver. As I waited for the enormous, ferociously tasty latte needed to work into the small hours, one of them went off shift.

Counter Girl: Bye, honey!
Going Off Shift Girl: Bye! I love you!
Counter Girl: Have a good day at school!

They are playing with each other, but their affection is clear. So I gave them all my change in appreciation of their goofiness and now I have none. But the guy adjacent to me gives the accordionist a bill, then another person does, and he winds up with $5 for just one stop. Not bad! He moves into the next car, and I hope he find the rest of the Bohemios and I hope he has a beautiful day.


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