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 hours between 5am and 7am, I call the Pancake Hours. They are the hours that I will flip myself over, now curled on my left hip, now curled on my right, over and over, restless, too awake.

I try to find ways to soothe myself back to sleep. Throw my leg over a pillow, run a lazy hand over it, like a lover. Put my hands along the top of the bed, where the heat from the register flows up. Turn on the BBC, and maybe those modulated voices will softly send me back to sleep.

I can’t blame being awake on the dawn, because a winter 5am is well before my windows start to lighten. I killed the mouse that was creeping and crinkling on my kitchen counters in the night. I am awake already for the mosque’s first call to prayer. I am awake already when the elementary school teacher upstairs’ feet hit the floor, her shower goes on, she eventually clatters down the hard wooden stairs and slams the front door.

This morning I awoke to rain, some mechanical noises from the grocery store behind my windows. Awoke angry, because I was dreaming and I did not want to stop. I was dreaming someone was touching my collarbone and it was so, so sweet. I awoke before I could find out who it was, return his touch, draw him in. It is now hours later but I still feel the loss of it.


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