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.


It hasn't rained here in months. There is a summers worth of urination layered along the side of the building, rich, vile and potent. At the corner someone has vomited orange and chunky onto the crumbling edge of the faded movie palace. A few doorsteps down a streeter is listing slowly to the ground. He got the pick of the used men's clothes from his shelter this morning, a good pair of suit pants, a good pair of dress shoes. He has no socks and is talking into a cellphone which may or may not be a geniusly elaborate pantomime. I am waiting at the corner for the light to turn when an ambulance comes screaming the wrong way down Market Street. The subject of that attention is standing in front of my building, supported by two policemen and I am relieved that there is no blood, no yelling, and by the time I get a large half-caf coffee with skim milk from the open air stand, he has been bundled away. DIstance from parking garage to office: one block.


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