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.


"Are you listening to me?"
"Yes, absolutely!" I have taken out one of my earbuds so that I can. It is well past dark but I am just now getting home and starting to chop the results of the nor'easter off the front sidewalk. I am working my broad-bladed shovel on an intractable mix of snow, sleet, hail and rain, hard frozen and stomped down by the day's passersby.

When he had turned the corner I had flapped my hand at him in acknowledgement. I recognize him as one of the guys who hangs out in front of the apartment building down the block, one of a bunch of old-timers, rent-control allowing them to live off of SSI and small scale street hustles. The wave of my hand, the head bob, are not enough for him, though. Tonight he wants to talk.

"Are you listening to me?" he repeats, leaning in. The light has faded but I can see the space between his front teeth, smell his cheery drunkeness. I stop digging and grunting with my shovel, to give him the full attention he wants.

"I have been alive for 58 years, and this is what I know," he holds me with his eyes, and I meet him, let him, turn to him like heliotrophy. "You have to be prepared for the crazy. Because this is a crazy world."

I can only agree with him.


Blogger slickaphonic said...


2:43 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

I loved have to be prepared for the crazy. From a very possibly crazy man. To a somewhat off-centered woman.

2:58 PM  

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