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.


Heading home from work at 2AM I would sigh into the back seat of this cab but the rain-fogged side windows keep my eyes focused front. The driver’s ID has an American sounding name but this is no American Dream story I want to hear. His eyes in the rear view mirror are tiny and sunken into swollen flesh. His has some kind of unfortunate black Hair Club for Men thing going on, paired with government-issued cheap plastic glasses from 1988. It’s raining harder now, but I can’t hear it over the vigorous rustling coming from his intense re-arranging of crinkly plastic bags from the bodega and I wish he would pay more attention to his job as I feel how bald the tires are, more than a bit of sideways sliding along late wet streets. When he finally stops with the bags and stops at the light, music shimmers from somewhere up front. “Hotel California” and I am more than half expecting the smell of sulphur, a puff of smoke, the appearance of horns.


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