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.


There were so many amazing moments at yesterday's marathon. There was hoisting my neighbor's eight year old onto my shoulders for an excellent view of the runners, feeling the weight of him, him cheering with one arm wrapped around my head, blinkering me down to just the pavement in front of me.

Getting random at-first-reluctant adults and children to make noise with the all the bells and bangy things I brought. There was the group of kids from the projects, exploring all the sounds from the various hand percussion, gamboling and playing, and one boy who particularly rocked the cowbell with great panache. We were an excitingly loud small band there on a spot on the route were spectators are always rather thin.

First thing in the morning, its cold and grey still. The streets seem so wide and empty. No one is out watching yet, I am sitting on the blue police barricade by myself, and here he comes. The lead wheelchair racer. There are four cars in front of him: a police escort, a pace car, a camera truck and an officials' car. There are a pack of bicyclist escorts, left, right and behind, to protect and pace him. You realize how much he does need this protection, even with all the gear, with no legs, he is just so small. But he is also not small at all, his arms, torso, are enormously muscled, and they power him past so quickly. It is this tender entwining of fragile and powerful, this impossible, glorious balance of stregnth and vulnerability, that makes me blink back tears, looking up to the sky beyond the projects.


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