jolie laide: Lessons in Global Domination

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.


Lessons in Global Domination

At this construction shed erected on East Broadway, three 10-year-old boys are playing. One has climbed up the braces, “I’m the king of the world!” he hollers from his perch. “I’m the king of the world!” His two friends are weaving in and out of the uprights, playing a dizzying game of chase, they can’t be bothered by his exhortations to royalty, so he amends his claim, “Or, at least the king of this country!”

He is the prophet of Key Food on President Street. His is the Church of the Bent Spoon, scriptures written on the insides of eggshells. He will importune you from his milk crate on the corner and when his alms add up to a beer, he will go inside to the redeemer. A holy ghost passing all the shiny brightness, he is heard to say “An ounce of prevention is getting heavier every day.”

Meanwhile, the lovers on the train fit themselves together like puzzle pieces, her forehead along the stripe of his nose, the hands on the clock at old Jewish Daily Forward building are still revolving, and Knobs is leaning on his broom and waiting for the morning ballet of opposite side parking.


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