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.


He indicates that she should get on the train before him. It’s a courtly gesture, inspired, I’m sure, by her tiny cut off shorts baring the length of her smooth legs. I’m admiring her thighs too, it’s hard not to, when I notice that they run into calves that are several inches too short. It’s a feeling not unlike suddenly running off the road. You are going along there, and then suddenly, there is simply not enough to go on. Perhaps she has them so exposed to over-compensate, or to just put it out there and make you deal with it. That would be in keeping with her tattoo, a wristwatch of “Brooklyn” in gothic script.

That would be useful if you were drunk and needed to tell the cabdriver where to go. I can imagine thrusting it through the scratched plexi partition, a soundless demand to take me here. Otherwise, I would find it hard to forget, or at least, I don’t need to be reminded that I have already pledged my allegiance, found a home here in this raucous brawl of a place, when it still brawled and was raucous. I pledged my allegiance every time I wrote my name on a deed, first for a box of air, then finally for the actual soil, the hard-packed dirt at the cellar floor of my house. Pledged my allegiance every time I swept up after a Friday night that wanted more than it could contain without exploding into slash, glass, glassine envelopes. And every Saturday morning on the stoop with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, nodding at neighbors and the get-along of daylight activities.

I could get a tattoo of Brooklyn inked to my wrist, but perhaps better would be to my shoulder, so you can see it as you come up behind me, decide how you want to close that distance. Take that as a warning, a magnet, an advertisement, take it as you will. You deal with it.


Post a Comment

<< Home