Saturn at equinox

“No, I’m actually a year older than you” she says from across the table during lunchtime while forking any remaining stray fries on her plate. It’s past two p.m. and we have probably lost all track of time altogether but I figure to hell with it, I haven’t really seen this girl in what, say one or two years.
She lays down the fork with one last lone fry still on it, uneaten, and looks back at me with a smile so open, so beautiful, really, that I could easily mistake it for something else entirely: “But you knew that already, didn’t you?”

I frown and don’t say anything, wondering whether there’s actually any flirting going on in here, and if so, which one of us is actually doing it.

I make some stupid half-assed remark, supposedly funny but not really and clearly out of place. She rolls back her eyes a bit, disapprovingly. “Either way, it’s not really like we can postpone the decision for so much longer” she continues, “Else I’ll get to that age when the woman has got to start considering freezing her eggs or something.”

“Like… why?” I ask, completely missing the point.

“Because there’s an age limit, see, a safe margin,” she says then drones on about the risks and hardships of human fertilization after a certain age and all that but to tell you the truth it’s kind of lengthy and she makes it sound so serious and grown-up and stuff like that, that I end up zoning out of the conversation altogether and only get to pick a few scattered bits here and there.

“By the way, how old do you think Rick Astley was when he did that Never Gonna Give You Up video anyhow?” I ask her from out of the blue.
She says nothing, bows down her head and starts playing with the golden ring around her finger for a long while, slowly.

Silence reigns absolute for the next full minute or two.

“What…?” she finally says and looks up but not to me but to the pleasant sunny afternoon outside the restaurant: It’s still the last month of Winter, though, and it’s one of those years in which there’s an extra day until the Spring equinox comes along.


Like potshot guessing at a worldmap

Note on the following text: This is a little experiment in which I’ve tried to combine the different writing styles of two of my favorite authors: the terse, emotionlessly-vague sentences of Bret Easton Ellis, with Jack Kerouac’s bop-like spontaneous prose-- then taking it to the max by forfeiting the use of punctuation altogether, kind of like Kerouac on steroids (or benny!).

It’s not so bad when you read it aloud to yourself, you know. It kind of worked…


It’s a cold morning there around 7am two weeks ago and Zee and I are waiting for the bus to work kind of sleepeyed bummed nothing else to do but throw around some meaningless casual conversation then she says she’s taking some days off from the office pretty soon and going on vacations but she’s got no idea to where she’s supposed to go to which I say maybe you should just like take potshot guessing at a worldmap I suggest like in that movie The Last King of Scotland or something but only the guy never really went to Scotland but somewhere else entirely and I don’t think a girl like you would you know actually enjoy going to such a place to which she promptly responds yes I know that film but she halts for a while as if savoring the taste of her own reply in midstream but without really smiling see and it’s a little unsettling when she does that but a good cute unsettling then finally continues the sentence by saying yeah that I’m right and she’d never actually enjoy going to such a place indeed anyhow and I think one of us ends up suggesting Argentina or Canada or wherever but I’m not really sure which one of us because I’m not paying much attention to what we’re saying but in fact only to herself because look at her willya she’s way too classy for this class clown antics of mine.

The conversation ends just as it started in the first place and I pretty much forget about it for the next couple of weeks and I’m pretty sure I don’t even get to see Zee again in those intervening days maybe except for the odd scattered note left on Facebook or Messenger or something but that’s strictly incidental.

Either way time passes and it’s a slow day at the office so I’m fooling around Goggle looking up sites on Reductive Art like you know like Minimalism and stuff like that and sort of trying to either remember or discover the name of this really cool painting by I think this either Swiss or Swedish artist I once saw on an exhibit at the park near my place one summer a few years ago and it was a painting with red and pink-hued parallel bars stacked against an all-black backdrop but I’m sort of momentarily distracted when this tall gorgeous brunette with the implants walks by my desk and what I end up typing on the search engine is a bunch of utter rubbish say random letters all bundled up so when I press enter Google Images flashes up these magnificent photographs of red and pink-hued sunsets over beaches in Bali Indonesia instead which suddenly takes me back to the conversation with Zee and I start to giggle because it’s funny kind of like when crazy people say they get orders from the devil to do something or go somewhere but let’s just face it if you’re like me and you don’t have a purpose or place to go to in your life because the whole gig’s pretty much shot after you turn 30 anyway you’d pretty much start taking up suggestions from anyone or anything or anyhow wouldn’t you say?


Three haikus

Maybe, then, tonight
walking home at two a.m.
-—tomorrow beckons.

This girl I know, see-—
she will stop in midsentence
Like sunlight through dust.

Let it rip, he says,
and smiles in his black denims-—
Outside it's August.


Big city serenade (Broadway Boogie-Woogie)

It’s a little past four a.m. on a very cold Saturday morning and I’m leaning with my back against this tree, out in the darkened streets, now just a few blocks away from home: Eating this chocolate bar I’ve just bought at the convenience store at the gas station where the attendant told me I was not supposed to lean with my back against the gas pump for a change: “I’m like, sobering up,” I told him, but maybe slurring just a little too much.
The streets are all quiet and empty outside and you can almost touch the silence as it drapes down over the bleak reddish skies, invisibly crisscrossing the ether in-between the buildings like a ragged, thick old comforter. The city opens its arms wide ands draws me in: I take a deep breath and don’t fight the ebbing away.

I’m looking at this specific ten-story apartment building from the mid-sixties as it protrudes from behind the flower shop at street level, across the street from the tree I’m standing against, particularly mesmerized by the way in which two prominent broad brown-colored strips akin to bas-relief protrusions run down the façade and sandwich a third line in the middle, pushed back about a feet into the structure, in off-white—the elevator shaft, maybe.

There are minuscule windows peppering the brown columns like squared portholes, and at this time of the night—of the morning—only two or three of them are lit: It reminds me of this painting I once saw when I was a kid, I think it was ’91 and I was in New York with my parents: We were at the Museum of Modern Art and I vividly recall escaping my father’s obsession with the Modiglianis, then standing transfixed before Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie-Woogie for a long while: My father asked me if I was really that much into abstract art. I told him that it looked to me as if someone had frozen an Atari game halfway into the playing.
This very building now, see, some twenty years later, also reminds of that painting.

If I close my eyes tonight and let all the silence crash in, the imaginary sounds of the chocolate bar breaking apart in my hands then melting away under my tongue become the very chorus of this lullaby I’m humming to the city: Like a thin, lean Buddha soaked in vodka under his own private Bodhi tree, praising these cold 4 a.m. empty streets—baptized in the champagne and oysters over the checkered tablecloth at a French bistro downtown, somewhere—meeting with the godhead at the dance floor of a nightclub or another—communing with the spiritual glitterati fellaheen standing in line for a table on Sunday evenings at some glass-walled temple of nihilism and great pasta—making half-honest starcrossed confessions of lost loves to whoever listens to drunken rambles at the tail-end of a party—trudging these silent streets forever, into infinity, like the Wandering Jew of old—but not really cursed, more like blessed in ignorance—with a heart bare of purpose or intention, no drive of our own but some sheer deadbeat momentum carrying us home, to bed, sometimes alone, sometimes not.


Quoting from Ginsberg to Kerouac in a letter, '52

"None of us are strong enough to battle society forever, really; it's too sad and gray."

Allen Ginsberg in a letter to Jack Kerouac, 1952.
Excerpted from Carolyn Cassidy's memoir, Off the Road.