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.


When he asks you, finally, the thing you have been waiting for him to ask you, it will be just another weekend phone call. The calls to sustain, to bridge, to try to build something out of air and words over miles.

He will be getting his oil changed, you will be stretching your calf after a morning run, and it will happen, just like that. And just like that, there is nothing left to say.

You will not continue the conversation. You will not squeal like an 8 year old at the final swing at the piƱata. You will not run up the walls and across that ceiling because that is a physical impossibility. You will not call all your friends, not dump a backhoe of soil on a single bloom.

You will walk into the bathroom to look at your face in the mirror because you will want to remember what this looks like. You will need to close your mouth, gone slack-jawed with surprise. You will go and check the mail. You will make a turkey sandwich with mustard, lettuce, nutty rough bread, no cheese.

You will read the weekend newspaper and you will not remember a word of it because it is really just a placeholder while the crews do their work. That question that was asked brought out the brain elves and cranium fairies and tiny mental miners to do an internal disassemble and rebuild. The hulking rusty and riveted structures rising in defense of disappointment, to dam the flooding seawater of loss, all need to come down.

It looks like a haz-mat clean up effort from a Disney film. Bluebirds, dancing bucket brigades, Bambi nudging rivets out with his nose, gamboling freakin woodland creatures. You will find this quite ridiculous and all rather joyous and you will carry it with you everywhere.


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