WHERE TO FIND ME
I couldn’t sleep so I got in the car and drove as far up Mount Baldy as possible without losing sight of the city lights -- this quiet valley facing turn-out is a favorite escape of mine. From a reclined driver’s seat in my rented Yaris, when I squint, the moon overhead with its glowing, pre rain halo looks like Saturn, the lights below flickering supernovas. The Weeknd’s XO is playing softly from the rear speakers. Wheels parked 3,000 feet up, lights off, front two windows down, heat on low. My body temp all night has been difficult to get right with the moisture thick air, something I'd expect in New York City but not Claremont. Hot, cold, hot.. the good news is California is about to get wet and needs it bad.
A large flock of flamingos en route to Lake Natron prelude the coming storm. Entering my midnight horizon from left of frame, they create waves in Saturn’s blurry rings with each sturdy flap. One set of soft crimson wing for every lie I’ve ever told a lover, I think. One crest for every second chance I didn’t care enough about. Their displaced air makes its way to me and laps my goosebumped second skin. I’m getting tired, but am happy to be awake realizing we’re not all that different this fleet and I. We're just busy birds in flight, alive and seeking happiness.
“Hipster nights downtown and your daddy don't know you're out,” Abel sings. ‘Hipster,’ or is it ‘Daddy’ that snaps my attention back. His lyrics poke my brain sometimes. He finishes, ““Hipster nights downtown and your daddy don't know you're out, If they don't let you in you know where to find me."
Well, not a single person knows where I am and whether that makes me happy or sad is unclear. Dots of bittersweet, heavy mist begin to coat the inside of the car; each drop softens my raised exterior and normalizes my erratic degree. Before I rev up the engine, my head is out the window to taste the accelerating rain.. it’s good, but was probably sweeter in the clouds. A memory creeps in from a New York summer when I was 20, a kiss after a fight on Lexington Avenue in an unexpected downpour.
Now the wings are almost out of sight. Waves have become smaller and slower. The moon, it looks like the moon again. It feels too possible that I could speed off the cliff and follow the flamingos, but I won’t. Maybe next time I’m here you can be with me, both hot and cold, with wet lips, watching a cosmic migration to paradise.
"What is there to be typed in a note to oneself about getting older?", I write from a joint where I'm not the oldest one but definitely one of the oldest ones. 12:44am, Monday night. Deep Bushwick. Jazz effuses from a how many piece jazz ensemble. People mingle and to be honest I'm just here for the tequila. Joking? Why I'm here is because after dropping Muse Victoria off at the Wilson Avenue subway I did need "a drink." Her story of a recent four-wheel ride to an eight-wheel, two man Grecian lovefest in Mykonos -- that lasted a chipped tooth and however many minutes -- both tired and inspired me. The rest of the details are hers in a chest and mine with a skeleton key. I'm being honest to the soundtrack of a man with two dreads singing 'happy birthday', wondering... what is poison and what is youth? Fleeting, yes both of them are fleeting. I ponder getting a tattoo that says 'Not all snake bites last forever'.
Stoned and antsy, sometime after 5:45pm, I set my sights on Myrtle Wyckoff a good mile away to soak up Bushwick last light and colorful evening life. My mood the last few days has been off, motion sickness maybe. See, a creature of habit, I've always thrown myself about 30 mph faster when I hit 100 and it always comes back to haunt. This time was no different and when it caught up with me, the low was really ugly. So then, dazed but on the mend, my feet took me west, energized for the first time in three days. Corner parties, kids screaming playing sports, neighbors with bbq filled my sight. Music from Metamorphosis played softly in my headphones and regret for time lost rested quietly on my mind. Myrtle came quickly. I walked fast to get there so for a moment I idled and took it all in. Deviated champagne colored sun filtered between train tracks to the street below. Cars honked. Trains came, went. People zig zagged between all of it talking on their phones. Then, a flash of white caught my eye across the street after a bus zoomed by. I saw myself planted, frozen between lines of a cross walk, happy in broken shadows. Palladium boots. Black denim. Black and red short sleeved, light weight flannel. Round frame Ray Bans -- a gift from Aunt Karen in California Christmas two years ago. The white that caught my eye: a white denim jacket with red roses embroidered on both sleeves. This version of me that wasn't be but also was me stood oblivious to my fixed eye, soberly, pleasantly calm and courageously at peace. A hologram but not a ghost. Snap! A rubber band belts the back of my neck, a reminder from someone I once knew to assume my reality and get to work. Thinking a lot can happen over the course of one summer, I feel my feet motor up, heading north towards Cypress Avenue.
Made For Lovin' You
A deli owner started singing at me in a language I didn't understand. In a good mood, I mimicked him. Though it was entirely something else, his melody, to me, sounded like "I was made for lovin' you baby, you were made for lovin' me." We hummed together while I paid for my bottle of water. Settled up, I left and took a sharp turn down subway stairs that would take me to deep Brooklyn. I climbed down the first of two flights half-singing my song, but for a second I paused for a brunette, bearded guy leaving the station, just off his Rockaway bound L. When he was a few steps above me I started singing again, and as he climbed up into the light of day, in a unexpected sexy low baritone, he started singing too.
Man on the Moon
The man on the moon had to close both his eyes.
He couldn’t bare to watch us imploding.
Eloquence sank in the fizzling tides.
We tried hard but lost our compassion.
Resuscitation needed far too long.
Automated with no warning.
Planned obsolescence and so we complied as long as we had our vices.
Fires burned wide and Earth bellowed out.
Friends died in alleys in Philly.
Whales by the numbers lost out as the powers that be became cowards.
Holding our own hands instead of our friends, we did not change fast enough.