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.


This street is corrupted. It is broken, with gouts of water flowing over cracked asphalt. The repair vehicles stake their claim, spangling the walls with white and yellow warning lights, irritating oncoming traffic into squeeze and weave, spurt and brake. Waiting for the signal to change I keep well away, jigging left right left right over the stream running against the curb.

Farther up four cop cars converge on the corner. The clockers are displaced and they saunter falsely casual, falsely innocent. They will lose business for an hour or possibly an evening, and in retribution for the indignity they yell, jockey, menace the sidewalk. So I take notice of the empty pint bottle of Smirnoff by the gutter. I know to grab it by the neck, swing it against this wall, crack off its body and turn it into a vicious rose blooming from my hand. I know the sound of this, the sudden danger cascade of breaking glass, is sobering and will turn me from a lone easy mark to a hard scarred street scrap.

Tonight is an easy run, head up, chest up, and with an inner eye turned towards rough shank I will eat this pavement like a seven layer cake, dig in my heels, thrust my hands into it up to the elbow, tear it apart and leave it behind me.


Post a Comment

<< Home