Sunday, August 30, 2009

how things go

when i moved into my new place the previous tenant, a german guy named Toor, left me three plants. they sit on one of my windowsills, all in a row, gathering sunlight. they are all different species but the names of those species remains a mystery to me. i just know they look different. that one is sort of bushy, with long thin leaves. one is sort of typical looking, with larger, wide leaves that shoot up and dont hang. and the other looks like a small tree.

im not sure what kind of care should be provided to them, so i just give them water every time i think of it. this could be twice a week or once every two weeks, depending on how many times i glance in their direction. Toor didnt leave me any instructions about their care. he just left me a note saying i could do with them as i will. he really didnt care for them either way.

the middle one, the typical looking one, gives one of my cats great joy. sophie, the girl, likes to gnaw on its leaves and stalks. she has practically devoured the entire thing, leaving only two nearly lifeless blades hanging from their stems. in the bottom of the pot a collection of dead stalks jutting up with nothing blooming from them. both blades are fraught with holes where the life has wasted away. brown holes like burns that eat at what green is left. ugly spots of decay. constant reminders of neglect and abuse. it is shameful but that is life, or the end thereof, no?

id like to revive my plants, the bushy one has browned a lot. half its leaves hang dry and untended. the other, the tree looking one, stands tall but listless. im not sure the typical one can be saved. i think its a goner. i will water them but im not sure that will help at this stage. i feel ive diseased them, through my own disregard, murdered them. its unfortunate, and i wish things were different, but the truth is, my plants are dead or dying.

Friday, August 28, 2009

people (ugh)

im trying my best.

i answer my phone when i hear it, instead of ignoring the ring or declining the call. i consider taking up invitations, mulling them over in my head and sometimes, but not all the times, even accepting them. i email people. i reply to messages sent to me on facebook. i make myself available. i dont yet let myself get consumed in loneliness, though i do find myself enjoying my time alone. still, ive made steps to be social. normal. a functioning member of society that does more than just works and writes in between drinking and smoking.

but i find just putting myself out there isnt enough. ive noticed that simply engaging with other people wont entirely suffice. the main problem being that, at this stage in my life, i have little patience for people that i dont truly get along with.

im not saying i have to agree with a person on everything, in fact, im always up for a reasonable debate, but after spending a certain amount of time with a person, if their outlook or attitude or mannerisms continue to bug me, i suddenly have no more time and must make an exit. this surely isnt conducive to a healthy social life, but what can i say? people annoy me.

for a long time this crotchety approach only got in the way of having sex. usually, if i cant tolerate the conversation for long enough, i dont have the patience to have sex with a person. and on the rare occasion i stay the course until our goal is reached, immediately after orgasm the shameful realization that i want nothing more than to be rid of whoever is beside me torments the rest of the night (or morning). its not so bad though, things could be worse. so ive lived with it.

but now that im realizing this crotchety attitude has spilled over into my every day social behavior, that even meeting people for strictly platonic means can be burdened by my general disgust for meaningless conversation, its become sort of an issue with me. am i digging a hole for myself? am i separating myself from the rest of the world?

ok, im being slightly dramatic, because not only am i having sex with two girls, but im simultaneously falling for another (whom i cant have sex with because shes still got a situation with another guy shes going through). and i also have friends who i speak to online as well as those i have from the bar, not to mention the older ones from the record industry that i still talk with.

i guess its just contending with my own feelings of being alone, of wanting things i can not have, of being afraid of the things i can.

but what can i say, im trying.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

slow and low

it is summer and the heat is upon the city. it has wrapped itself along the borders and flooded all the streets. the sun sits, still and menacing, behind thick grey clouds hanging low in the sky. we all wait for the rain, the murky air suspended between us, glancing up with frowns and our hands shielding our eyes. a desperate yearning for the sky to break, for an honest wet to wash away the unbearable anticipation inside us. inside our houses.

because of the charming architecture from which my apartment is designed, i have not yet installed my a/c unit. it is too large, too grand, to just fit anywhere. i have bay windows in the living room. one faces the fire escape, one has my desk in front of it, the other a metal guard rail protecting me from intruders. the window in my bedroom would suffice, but it is just far enough away to make cooling the entire apartment -- or at least the areas in it i spend most of my time -- a burden on my electric bill. also, it faces my head, and the idea of an air conditioner blowing its chemical tainted wind on my head all night makes my throat seize up and my nose runny.

so yesterday it was ninety one degrees in my house. i sat in front of my computer, watching the city outside and typing sporadically, while beads of sweat pooled upon my naked chest and ran down my neck and legs. ive given up on wearing shirts inside, the air wont allow it. i cant even lie on the couch and let the television think for me without laying down a towel first, so as i dont dampen my pillows and cushions. the cats are beside themselves. they find the coolest spot on the floor and collapse there lazily. they let their hair fall away, all over everything, so i have to vacuum at least once a week. they refuse to sleep with me in the bed. cuddling is out of the question. they just want to be scratched behind the ears.

i had a girl over recently. we went to a show then came back to my place for drinks. the air inside was hot and syrupy. she asked if i would ever put in my a/c and i shrugged. we stripped down to shorts and tank tops and laid on my couch trying not to touch one another, even though we wanted to. i was nervous about my sweat and wouldnt let her lay her head on my chest. when we finally intwined it was late and we were half sleep and the sounds that came from us were slow and low and even our breath seemed hot upon our skin. i thought of another girl the whole time and then another girl after. we drank cold beers and she fell asleep before hers was done so i finished it for her while smoking a cigarette. it was all dark save the glow from the television and the smoke curled up and hung before me.

now i sit in my house typing this because i dont write enough anymore. the words just arent in me. or maybe im afraid. i can feel sweat trickling down the side of my body and there is no wind and no prospect of wind. outside is bright and grey and it boils. we all hope for rain. we want the sky to break.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

strange lot

there are two cops standing on my corner. i can watch them from my window but i dont. they do nothing. they just stand there. waiting for crime, i guess.

i havent seen much crime in my neighborhood, although just the other night, when i was dropped off in front of my corner bodega at 330 am, i saw an odd group of guys standing near the bulletproof revolving window, waiting to get something from the store. they were in their twenties -mid to late- and two were black and one was white.

the two black guys eyed me as i walked by, one sneered a bit or maybe it was a small smile, and his teeth glinted in the street lamps glow. two teeth were gold. the other one looked my way but didnt smile. they both wore jeans and one had a sweatshirt, even though its summer and the air was still warm.

the white guy wore khaki shorts and birkenstock sandals. he had his polo shirt tucked in and he was carrying a backpack. he wore a shaggy crop of hair and had a little pudgy face. he did not look at me.

i nodded at them all and went passed to a bodega on another corner. strange lot, i thought.

The cops on my corner look relaxed. one has his right foot up and is leaning with his back against the wall and the other cop is standing to his side, telling him something. maybe a story. maybe bitching about work.

the other day my neighbors were sitting on the stoop. two old ladies, gossiping in their clipped island accents. a cop van rolled up across the street and one of the ladies got up and folded her chair and pushed passed me into the building lobby.

"don' need de hassle," she said.

no cops got out of the van that time, they just sat for a minute, doing paperwork, then left without making even a gesture towards the neighborhood. the heat was still and thick and the old lady on the stoop wiped her forehead and cheek with a napkin. i stood at the top of the stairs with one hand holding the door open. my tshirt stuck to the sweat on my chest and back. the old woman looked up at me from her chair and smiled and wiped her forehead again. when she smiled her face swelled up and her eyebrows raised. the wrinkles on her forehead would darken and her silver hair lifted just a bit. it softened all her features. i smiled back.

the old man that lives next door to me came to the stoop and started walking up the stairs toward me. he had on his usual uniform. overalls and a hat and tshirt and boots.

"ay der neighbor," he waved walking past me.

"alright," i nodded.

the old lady stared ahead into the street, mopping her brow absently. i followed the old man in and wondered why the other old lady was so wary of the police. as i closed the door the old lady on the stoop put her hand out so i shut it softly, not letting it lock.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

getting in a groove

ive been trying to get into a routine but it hasnt really stuck. the only thing thats stayed consistent is i wake up every day and, unless i have specific errands to run or have to work, sit around wondering what i should do.

i go to the computer and i chat with friends. making jokes and sometimes flirting. doing small business. just saying hello.

i try not to turn on the tv but ive noticed that the sound of it comforts me, even if im not watching what is on. day time trash television or the news. self appointed judges scolding defendants or reporters posing questions that have a thousand answers.

i drink coffee and smoke cigarettes, thats consistent too. ive run out of milk, soy and otherwise, so have been drinking my coffee black. it makes no difference ive noticed. i dont really have a preference. i just sip it down and let the warmth of it help me wake but sometimes that doesnt really work. so i dump it in the sink and fill the mug with water and put dirty silverware in it, waiting for me to wash them.

im not sure if im lonely or bored but the unrest in me hasnt settled. a nervous energy sits in my chest and stomach like a secret or guilt. there is a dull sadness that wont go away but isnt so overwhelming that it paralyzes me. though there are times that i would just like to curl up in solitude and forget all the world existed.

i look around my apartment for things to do, things to fix. i clean up a little just in case someone comes over. i sweep the floor and pick up my clothes. sometimes i vacuum the cat hair from the couch or wash the bathtub. no one has visited yet, though ive invited them. i never push hard because im not really sure i want the company. i just like to appear social and put together, and i assume opening your door to friends is the normal, healthy thing to do.

ive met girls. that comes easy enough. one i went back to her place with and we had sex all night. the next day we smoked cigarettes in the sun on her balcony and when she asked if i wanted to have breakfast i made an excuse to leave and said id call her later. she was pretty and had red hair that fell down below her shoulder blades. she tried to come across as brimming with confidence but i could tell she was fragile and lonely by the way she would stare at me in silence with half wet eyes, waiting for me to say something. i was just there because i was lonely and horny and i knew she would let me in her pants. i didnt say much the whole night, just let her talk nervously, trying to gauge what kind of person she was. she is very nice, but i dont know how often i plan on seeing her.

my nights are late when i work at the bar because if someone ask if i want to go somewhere after my shift i always say yes, with no other reason not to. so we go to another bar and have another drink and when they call last call we meander our separate ways. when i get home i pet the kitties and fill their bowl and mumble things to then they cannot understand. it is not a routine, but it is all the same.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

new day

im in a new place in a new neighborhood. i live alone now.

the area is good, but a far cry from my old neighborhood of park slope. the denizens are darker and they all have island accents. the restaurants sell mainly jerk chicken and macaroni and cheese. i have yet to find a cafe and the supermarket around the corner from my house doesnt sell organic bags of lettuce. there is a bodega on almost every corner and most of them stay open 24 hours a day. though after a certain hour you can only buy stuff through a small bulletproof window. there is no where to eat when its deep in the morning, unless you want fried food or burgers with a lot of mayonnaise.

i live in an eight unit building and my apartment is on the first floor above the ground floor. the architecture is charming but the building could be cleaner. i think the super is lazy, or always busy, or just simply not around. ive only met him once and he was spanish and spoke fast and seemed to be in a rush to get back to his apartment upstairs. he has parrots in his place and i could hear them squawking when i went up there and knocked on his door once. it sounded like behind his door was a tropical paradise i would never see nor visit. the other day i saw him banging on my next door neighbors door trying to get them to open up. through the peephole i saw he was wearing a tanktop - a wife beater- and he kept running his hand through his hair filled with stress and frustration. they werent home and after fifteen minutes he just walked away mumbling in spanish.

even though there are only eight units in the building i havent met many of my neighbors, just the guy that lives directly next door to me. hes older, maybe close to sixty, and he lives with a couple women. im not sure if they are his wife and daughter or what. there is a baby over there too. he is very nice and always says hello and when i first moved in he introduced himself to me and then me to all the other neighbors. he would drag me to each person and tell me their name and position in his clipped island accent. i could only understand half of what he was saying but would shake hands with each neighbor and smile and say hello. they all smiled back and their breath smelled of rum and they would throw their head back and laugh and joy would boom from their mouths.

every morning a few old ladies post chairs on the stoop and sit and watch the city go by. they gossip and drink from their cups until the evening falls upon them. the men begin to gather as the day wears on and sometimes they bring a small radio and set it down and play dance hall or soca and wiggle their hips happily. they are always polite and neighborly when i pass by and you get the feeling that the entire block is protected by their jovial union. one thing i never am is afraid.

since she left, the kitties, who were initially disconcerted with the whole move, have calmed down some. they miss her and the love she gave and i believe they still wait for her to come home but time has eased on them a bit and now they just sleep and get in my way when im typing. i try to feed them in the same routine i did at the old place but my schedule wont entirely allow it. this means they get less wet food but thats ok. now i just save it for treats.

i spend my nights alone even though people try to call and bring me out. ive decided to be a hermit for a while because i think its the only natural thing to do. i watch movies and tv and read articles on line. i watch porno and masturbate and chat with friends. i drink until i pass out and try to wake up in my bed instead of the couch. i have bay windows and the sun pours through them and the heat suspends itself in the air, attached to everything. i try to fill my days with chores but sometimes there is nothing to do but sit and wait. i dont even know what im waiting for.
Creative Commons License
:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at