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 train station I exit to get to work is a deep one, the first station after the tunnel under the East River. Which is not really a river, it’s a tidal estuary, but whatever. I am climbing the four flights of stairs to the street, the escalator is not working again today, and that means I am leaving the station a different way than usual.

The walk this way has my right side rimmed with housing projects. The left side has tenements squeezed up to the narrow sidewalk, a school, the public hospital. In front of the hospital is a shuttle bus and people are lined up for it. Lined is not quite the word. These people are having a hard time holding onto the earth, it’s clear. They are listing, leaning, carrying burdens of illness, age, fear of illness, fear of age. They should not have to wait outside here, so vulnerable, for assistance. My outrage starts but it doesn’t get very far. I am carrying my own burdens this morning.

My physical self and my emotional self may as well be walking down two separate sides of this street. One for the hospital, one for the human warehousing. They are gesturing to each other, no, one is gesturing, the other is trying to ignore. They have already been in a fight this morning and left me with bloody knees and tears. They will make up soon enough, but right now I am tired of both of them.

I am thinking about the word “together” and wishing for more if it. The advertisement at the bus kiosk says “You are here. You could be in Mexico.” In my bifurcated state, I find this ruefully hilarious, as I am already here and I am already in Mexico. I don't need the bus kiosk to tell me that.


Blogger VelVerb said...

I'm stopping in to see if your physical self and your emotional self have made up. If mediation is necessary, I could help. Oh wait, that's meditation I'm trained in, not mediation. Well, never mind, knock their heads together and make them play nice.

(also, a request. Can you set your site up for feeds? I'd like to add you to my feed reader :))

11:06 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

well, right now they are sitting on way far sides of the back seat, eyeing each other through a truce. If it's not raining, I'm going to try to take them out running tonight, see if I can't force those two knuckleheads to forgive each other and make up.

I thought I had enabled feeds? Tell me, so I can check?

12:09 PM  
Blogger VelVerb said...

It's somewhere in settings. I don't know, I tried to add you to my feed reader (Netvibes, which is awesome by the way) and it couldn't add it.

2:17 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

I'm set to feed, I even feed myself! I am assuming it's working for other people, that those less than one minute ring-ons are feed downloads, and not people tuning it for mere seconds then turning away in disgust...or maybe that's it...naaaaaah.

2:33 PM  

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