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 phone buzzes me at 2 am. It's trying to send me a message. I already have one this evening from the man I imagine in some loud dark place, his thumbs numb from the house's attempt to knock him down, it says, simply, "lots." I delete it to make room for whatever is coming through next.

Back in bed I am stroking the rump of this pillow, thinking it could almost be what I want, if it were bigger, if it breathed, if it had freckles, if there were a bone under this curve.

I saw that musician on the train again, the one with the broken teeth, the ruined voice, guitar strapped to his front, amp and car battery strapped to his back. He is playing the same way, a watery, warbling nod out, so slow you could drive a mule train through the space between each note, he's knock knock knockin on heaven's door. I am trying not to cry, I give him a dollar.

Sunday in the park we are lying on our backs in the grass, feeling the earth turn under a pair of Bloody Marys. The soccer players are kicking up a scrim of dust, picked out by the lowering sun. On the other side of the field the moon is coming up, facing off and beating the sun into retreat. That would mean it's fall, more than anything, and the chill coming down the hills says it's time to go home.


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