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 girl with the Waring blender tattoo is on my subway platform again this morning. I’ve got a week’s worth of images and moments to catch up on and I worry that before I can synthesize them, the onrush of the everyday will overcome them.

I can’t yet tell which is most important, there is so much, and I don’t want to indicate prominence by first placement. Unsure of international traveling and sufficiently cowed by bureaucracy I don’t understand, I am at the airport in New York very early. There is a paucity of viable choices at the bookstore. I pick Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking” even though I didn’t think it would be a cheery way to start a reunion with adored ones. It was worse than that. I used it to write notes to myself:

In the midst of death we are in life. We are surrounded by death-the death of ideals, the unquestioning swallow of media, her wrenching her child’s arm in impatience and anger at having missed the train, pretending to be asleep when your lover grazes your bare back with his hand.

from the muddy banks of wishful thinking. the phone rings. she twirls her hair.

We have been waiting for two hours in the dark. Now we depart, in a cracking lightning storm.


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