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.


The run out is a long slog uphill. A brilliant clear night with the moon again so still and close. Everything feels good and on the turn it's downhill all the way home. I shouldn't. I have to. I really shouldn't. I can't help it. Streetlights are making the dark sidewalks glimmer silica, the moon is whole over my shoulder, there is an orange streamer of construction tape and it's my parade and I have to let go, fly down this street, fierce beautiful joy I love to run. I love to run. I love to run.

Running loosens something in my head and flash speed makes images zip by like birds that just graze your fingertips. I tried to capture the flow of last night's run, and it went something like this:

I am ferocious. I am proud.
I may not be beautiful, but I own beauty.
I have nine diamonds of disappointment I wear on my leading hand.
They will knock you out and I will steal your front teeth.
They will rattle in a jar I've slung across my hips,
act as percussive to my days here, echoing off
these cracked walls,
this decrepit catwalk,
this relentless restlessness.
You want me to sip you but
I'll probably spit you out into this glitter sick gutter
because I am racing the moon home,
slamming the gate behind me,
slowing my breath, and
imagining how I could be if only.


Blogger Dr. S said...

I love those diamonds and that rattling jar--those are the moments when this comes alive for me.

9:06 AM  
Blogger slickaphonic said...

i'll buy your book.

9:45 AM  
Blogger ttractor said...

Dr S, is that what makes running come alive? or writing? I keep thinking of the photo you posted, the red-headed, ash-covered snake of destruction. Then of Oroboros, the snake that eats its tail, and where does the artist end and the woman start and who is eating who?

Slick, I will give you one! Actually, I was thinking of making small books on my upcoming vacation...

10:27 AM  
Blogger Dr. S said...

I felt bad later, when I thought about having told you that that's where your poem came alive--as if it wasn't alive elsewhere. But those nine diamonds of disappointment were so great and then the stealing of teeth and keeping them in a jar were such surprising details that I found myself really responding to them in a different way--a more aesthetically struck way--than I had to the rest of what you wrote. I was thinking of the poem, not the running, though now that I think of it, this feels a lot to me like those walks (which sometimes broke into running) that I took this summer, when I felt too fast for my own skin, and too unstill to sit.

12:37 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

Dr S, please don't feel badly. I was not hurt, just curious. And I did think about you and your unstillness this summer which is why I had to ask.

The images surprised me too! But facing down traffic on Atlantic Avenue, steeling myself against the harshness of cars, concrete, chill, had my fight up, I think. And the bouncing of lights from and off of so many surfaces makes the black and whiteness a trippy blurred run.

Thank you, as always, for your comments!

1:11 PM  
Blogger cherrydragonut said...

"Imagining how I could be if only"....if only I was a presence in your life, and then I could call...if only they were a presence in my life, so it would feel normal severing ties with people who no longer come around instead of feeling like the relationships are ongoing, permanent even in their absence. Imagining real estate, pristine dwellings and people who I want to spend time with....if only I didn't choose my solitude....if only I gave up my New York apartment

2:26 PM  

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