Sunday, April 29, 2018

Consideration for the Vulnerable

I have arguments in my head with drivers as I ride to work. 

"Why are you parked in the bike lane?" I think. and I peer in the driver's side window as I go around them, hoping they notice my disapproval (they usually don't). "What makes you think that your parking is more important than my safety?"

"The thing is, if you don't park there, you might be a little inconvenienced, but I go out into traffic, I might die."

Saturday, April 28, 2018


I step out of the liquor store into the cool Brooklyn dusk, the tiny bit of gin from the tasting just making its way through my veins. Memories of sips of communion wine Sunday mornings, an opening of my chest, heart relaxing.

I float down the sidewalk, and there's a soft light around everyone, touching the earth that everyone is walking on. I breathe the air that touches all of us, I am a part of this world, and that's as close to God as I can imagine.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Error 404

We've adjusted the doge's meds so she'll sleep through the night - her issues seem to be primarily increasing dementia and anxiety, and she was waking up all hours, barking and whining at the terrors in her head.

She is a stubborn dog, though, and like most creatures who prefer to be in control, she does not like being stoned, so when she was halfway into the kitchen to eat the cat's food when the drugs kicked in, she just sort of sank to the floor with a whimper, and fell asleep.

"The doge melted, gotta get her back in the fridge," said Katie, hoisting Coco's limp, peaceful body into the bedroom and laying her gently on the floor.

"404, doge not found," I said.
One year ago: Not Their Type
Two years ago: Creative
Three years ago: All In My Head

The Miracle Of Birth

"A Quiet Place" has been living up to its name, and it's been tense and engaging enough to shut up even the what-I'm-assuming-are-siblings who were telling each other to "fuck off" before the film started.

Onscreen, Emily Blunt is in the bathtub (spoilers? I guess? even though it's in the trailer but some of y'all might get salty about it so STOP READING if you're sensitive about that sort of thing) about to give birth while the monster climbs the stairs. And since it's a monster there's horrifying monster sounds and the thing is ripping up the walls and Emily Blunt is wracked with contractions and trying her damnedest to keep from alerting the monster to her presence and I'm gripping the armrest between us and my heart is pounding.

Katie leans over in the dark and whispers, "I just sort of assumed that every birth was like this."
One year ago: This Old Thing?
Two years ago: Resonance
Three years ago: Formalities
Five years ago: Sympathy For The Elf Locks

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Architecture At The End of Capitalism

Copy room at this temp gig smells like a dentist's office: astringent and medicinal. There's a couple of pieces of large wall art in the reception area, and they're pretty good, with riotous, brightly-hued squiggles surrounded by multicolored grids of dots, but they don't stand a chance against the aggressively barren late-capitalism-modern decor - white walls, fluorescent lights, reflective surfaces, chrome accents. Nothing for the eye to catch on, nowhere for the soul to come to rest.

If the flow of money had an architectural aesthetic, this would be it, a place for things to move through, like a faucet, or a piece of PVC pipe.
One year ago: Spring Cold Prevention
Two years ago: The Acoustics of Wealth
Three years ago: Dinner Table Conversation
Four years ago: On The Boundary Between Public and Private Life
Five years ago: Eternal Arm Bar
Ten years ago: In Which I Find Out That, In Fact, It Is Not As Dire As It Seemed

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Coming Back

I'm feeding the cat - prepping the cat's food, really, while she waits with determined patience by her dish - when I notice that I haven't spoken to anyone in almost a half-hour, other than to get Katie some allergy medicine. The kitchen (bright, sunshine-yellow walls, counters in need of a swipe with a clean sponge),  gets very sharp in my vision as I sort of come back to reality after having been God-knows-where up in my head, and I start to pay very close attention to what I'm doing.

I pull the cat's dish with her food on it out of the microwave where I put it to take off a little of the chill from the refrigerator and pivot to where the cat is sitting, a little in front and to the right of the fridge, and she watches me expectantly. I bend over, holding the plate, with my other hand face toward her, and she sits up on her hind legs and bops my palm with her paw, in a facsimile
of a high-five that I taught her.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Accompanying the Aging Solider On Patrol

Katie is dressed in pajamas and boots to walk the doge with me tonight, and wearing the long overcoat she bought for me on our honeymoon in Venice. The coat is stylish and trim on me, even sharp despite being many seasons out of date and worn so much that the silk lining looks like it's been mauled by a bear, but on her it's comically huge, like the Little Tramp, I tell her, which makes her smile.

The doge meanders back and forth across the sidewalk to her favorite pee-spot, and Katie and I watch sort of solemnly while she squats and does her business. She turns around a little too quickly to make her getaway from the scene of the crime, which causes her to sprawl out completely, like Bambi on the ice, limbs to the four quarters, while Katie and I smile affectionately and help her up, whereupon she rights herself and shamble/trots over to each of her other favorite sniffing spots to read the news of the day.
One year ago: Inadequate
Two years ago: Rich People Medicine
Three years ago: Freedom/Invisibility
Four years ago: They're Not There
Five years ago: The Cat and I Are Having Feelings

Sunday, April 22, 2018


In the booth at the flea market where I'm working, the woman who wants to buy the big metal sign that reads "Brooklyn" needs approval from somebody back in her home country, so she grabs the sign and me, and makes the man with her take a  picture of us. It's been a long day, but I manage a smile and then make my apologies to finish packing the truck so we can leave for the day, figuring that's the last I'll see of her.

But about a half-hour later, she finds me and hands me the money, saying, "I sent your picture all the way to Korea, and my friend liked it, so I buy the sign."

"You have made me immortal in your country," I say grandly, and this seems to tickle her.
One year ago: Oneness Into Oneness
Two years ago: Where Does Depression Hurt?
Three years ago: Mistrust
Four years ago: Flags and Bags
Five years ago: Leaking Light

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Keep Moving Morning

About a half-mile into my ride to work, I give in and put on my gloves to fend off the cold that's starting to make my knuckles ache. The streets are mostly empty at this early hour, save for the occasional delivery truck and the buses carrying people like me who've already started their day.

As I catch the downhill from 29th Street or so and start to fly past the quietest green and stone of the cemetery, I can see the Verrazano Bridge, way off in the distance, mounting up from Brooklyn and sailing over the river to Staten Island, pale blue steel against a pale blue sky. A truck at a stop light waits for me to pass, even after the light turns green, and I give a wave over my shoulder in thanks, but I never slow down.
Two years ago: I'm Kinda The Worst
Three years ago: Fanboying
Ten years ago: Sinus Redux

Friday, April 20, 2018

How To Run A Scam

"Coco Flaherty," the pharmacist at Rite Aid reads off the prescription, then looks up at me, confused. "Is this..., for a pet?"

"Yeah, it's for my dog, she's crazy old and demented, and hopefully this'll help with her anxiety," I reply with a shrug, and she shrugs too and goes to fill the order.

If I was running a scam to get drugs, though, that's totally how I'd do it.
One year ago: Ah, Youth
Two years ago: Sleepy
Three years ago: Turn Down For What?
Four years ago: Keep Your Vestment On
Five years ago: In Which I Find That I May Not Be As Awesome As I Think I Am

Eat 'em All

My dad emailed me about yesterday's Cheeto post, and subsequently called me later on wanting to discuss. He figured we could sell something like what they use to train children how to use chopsticks  to the snack companies, include one with each bag, make a few bucks.

When I told Katie about his idea, she said, "Yes, and then you can have a little thing on them so you can use them like a chip clip, to reclose the bag."

"But really, when you open a bag of Cheetos, you're gonna see the bottom, so I'm not sure how useful they'd be," she added.
One year ago: Stepping On My Line
Two years ago: Platform Shoes
Three years ago: I Speak For The Trees
Four years ago: Flowers
Five years ago: Angry Dance

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Remaking the World

To the woman walking down the street with her friend, eating puffy Cheetos with chopsticks, I want you to know I see you.

Sometimes, the seismic moments of history happen writ large, across the screens of the world, in front of millions of witnesses.

And sometimes they happen on an avenue in Brooklyn, beneath a sunny blue sky, as a young woman, an innovator, nonchalantly fishes a puffy, orange, packing-peanut looking snack from a brightly colored bag with a pair of chopsticks, thereby sparing her fingers the unsightly stain of corn starch and cheese, and no one would ever need suffer messy-snack-related shame again.

Your friend laughed, but you and I made eye contact, and as you put the Cheeto in your mouth as delicately as a slice of sashimi, I knew I was witnessing something I might never see again: the world I thought I knew was gone, and a new one took its place.
One year ago: Pause
Two years ago: All's Well That Ends
Three years ago: The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei
Four years ago: Adultery?
Five years ago: You Make My Life Better
Ten years ago: Making "Friends"

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


"Do you own a car?" asked the older woman standing by the curb with groceries from the co-op while the doge sniffed around a tree.

Her hood was stuck and she couldn't get it shut, so I reached in and felt around until I found the latch, lifted it and let it fall shut with a satisfying slam.

"Actually I haven't owned a car in over twenty years, since I sold my last one to move here," I explained, wiping my hands on my jeans and retrieving the leash from her.

"Well you must have been a young one when you did," she replied flirtatiously.
One year ago: Undead
Two years ago: Let Me Know How It Works Out
Three years ago: Translation
Five years ago: Like Caesar
Ten years ago: Yeah, Me Too Kid

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Different Skills

"I saw that I got some on my hands," I say as I examine my ink-stained fingers while Katie bends close to the bed to scrub the comforter, "but I didn't know it went anywhere else."

She alternates between scratching the spot with her fingernail and rubbing it vigorously with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol, then looks up at me with pity.

"Do me a favor," she says. "Never commit a murder."
One year ago: Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen
Two years ago: Relaxing
Three years ago: Getting it Done
Four years ago: Just Keep Doing What You're Doing
Five years ago: Literature Saved My Life (or at least my day)
Ten years ago: Couches and Comics

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Her Mother's Sister's Son

"So did you see family when you were in Trinidad?" I ask Charmine as she snips and trims my hair.

"Well, my whole family lives in the same town I grew up in," she says, moving around to the other side of the chair, "so my mother's sister's son lives on one side, and his sister lives on the other."

"If I look out my back door, another cousin lives in the house behind ours," she continues. "And if I step out the front porch and go like this," she cranes her neck like she's peering around the corner, "I can see my brother's house."
One year ago: Holy Saturday
Two years ago: None of Your Business
Four years ago: Brush My Hair
Five years ago: Are You Sure That Was Me?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Not Rising to the Bait

The beefy white dude with the crew-cut and the FDNY t-shirt digs through the box of buttons at the booth of a friend I'm working for today. The buttons are emblazoned with slogans like "Fuck Trump" and "NOT My President."

"Guess you don't have any 'Fuck Obama' buttons," he says, looking up at me provokingly.

"I'm so sorry," I say, giving him my warmest, kindest smile, which seems to confuse him so badly he walks off.
One year ago: Good Friday
Two years ago: Facebook Disagreement
Three years ago: This Calls for Wisdom
Four years ago: The Wisdom of Children
Five years ago: Home Is Where You Don't Need to See
Ten years ago: Seriously? Fuck Darth Maul. And Muggers

Friday, April 13, 2018

Which Isn't Exactly The Same

"Well, since you're an organized person, let me ask you a question," Reina says as she drives Katie and me back to the subway station after our visit.

I begin pretending to frantically looking around the car as if I'm trying to find the person she's referring to. "I think you may have been lied to," I say.

"Scott's not really organized," Katie says, "as he's good at organizing."
One year ago: Hidden Messages
Two years ago: Unfair Advantage
Three years ago: Under My Breath
Five years ago: Negotiating Alone Time
Ten years ago: Duly Noted

Which Direction

Dan leads me out on the old dock. Many of the weathered gray boards are missing, and as we step over them, I can see down to the dark green water surging many feet below.

“That guy built a new dock, and it just ruins the view,” he says, pointing down the shore to a concrete and steel monstrosity stretching across the water. On the other side, the sun settles down into a bank of clouds.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


"I have trepidation about tomorrow," Katie says as she sits down next to me on the couch.

I pause playback on the music I've been working on today and look at her seriously. "Is this one of your... feelings, or is it more just general anxiety?" I ask, but she shakes her head noncommittally, still looking stricken.

Later, as she's getting ready for bed, she suddenly looks at me, wide-eyed, and says triumphantly, "We have to print out the label to ship that piece tomorrow morning!"
One year ago: Learning to Distrust Yourself
Two years ago: Too Cheerful
Three years ago: The Back Catalog
Four years ago: We Made a Deal
Ten years ago: Probably Ought To Get Those Taxes Done

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Success! Or Something.

The problem with writing about sticking your hands in ice water is figuring out a way to justify doing something so completely pointless without sounding like a loon. 

The actual problem with sticking your hands in ice water is figuring out how to justify it yourself while you're doing it, because it's incredibly painful. 

I'm watching the timer tick down to zero from two minutes while my hands convulse and the top of my head feels like it's going to explode. 

I don't really know how to end this one, this is just something I did today because I wanted to see if I could.
One year ago: One With The Pavement
Two years ago: Validation
Ten years ago: Hanging Bike

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Work Harder

"Have you taken your contacts out?"

"No," I say, sheepishly, since I clearly haven't started writing my Four Each Day, either. "Should I work harder?"

She looks up at me from the floor where she's trying to get the dog to fall asleep and says, "Yes, I think you should."

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Approximate Knowledge

"You better stay away from my greens!" I rap enthusiastically as I pull out the bag of baby spinach and baby kale for sandwiches.

"Don't ever never ever mess around with my greens!" Katie raps back without looking up from cutting tomatoes.

"I have approximate knowledge of many things," I say with a shrug, and she stops.

"Sondheim wouldn't write that."
One year ago: Isaiah 14:12
Two years ago: Time Flies
Three years ago: Timing
Four years ago: Speculations on a Past Life (With Tuna)
Five years ago: Sins of the Alpha Male
Ten years ago: Shoes

Saturday, April 7, 2018


I'm sitting on the newly slipcovered couch (which has been transformed from a catclawed and slightly stained fawn color to a lovely, velvety purple) when Katie's cousin arrives home.

"Has... the couch changed?" he asks hesitantly.

"No," I deadpan, but, when he looks confused, I relent and confirm that, yes, in fact it's now a different color.

"Thank you for not gaslighting me," he says with relief.
One year ago: At The Museum
Two years ago: Daily Goals
Three years ago: Why Would That Work?
Four years ago: Disrespect
Five years ago: Share the Glory
Ten years ago: Flowing With The Tide

Dinner for Breakfast

"I'm really sorry I got tomato sauce on your shirt that was hanging on the door," I say yet again.

"It's okay, I got it out," she says. "It must have happened when one of us was carrying the plates down the hall," she adds, miming carrying a plate at about the height where it would brush against the shirt.

And that, kids, is why chicken parm for breakfast when you're really still just waking up is not always the best idea.
One year ago: Communication Issues
Two years ago: Momento Mori (Again)
Three years ago: Back and Forth

Friday, April 6, 2018

Too Much Absinthe

I walk down the stairs, Kevin walking behind me. “And that should be my four each day,” I say.

“Your what?” he says.

But then, when I get home, I’ve had too much absinthe to remember what I was thinking.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Feeling a Little Old

I'm down on my knees, cleaning the toilet. The band on the radio is doing an interview while I do my chores, and the interviewer asks them when they really started to love music.

"When I bought Nirvana's greatest hits - the black one with the band's name in silver - I guess I was about eleven or twelve, and I didn't really understand it...."

I turn the program off.
Two years ago: May I Have Another?
Three years ago: Race Relations
Four years ago: Giant Pustulant Anal Sore
Five years ago: Mama's Boy

In Which A Life Is Saved

The tops of the buildings are shrouded in clouds, and the gray Brooklyn rain has soaked everything and leached the color out of the world. My cousin Ryan and I walk up 4th Avenue on our way to a reading at a cafe.

"Don't die," I say to him at a crosswalk, and he rocks back on his heels as a car beeps at him and plows through the intersection.

He gives a friendly, but slightly aggressive, wave to its back, and we finish crossing the street, and think no more about it.
One year ago: Hybrid
Two years ago: Trains Are Heavy, Possibly Also Your Mother
Three years ago: Hierarchies
Four years ago: Can't Stop. Won't Stop.
Five years ago: Why Do They Still Call Them "Straphangers?"
Ten years ago: Knight of Pentacles

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

I'm Dangerous

The dog sniffs around the plastic newspaper boxes lined up on the corner, taking her time at each one to read today's messages left by dozens of Brooklyn dogs while a waning moon looks down on us, the only ones out this late.

I turn my head at the sound of quick footsteps, to see a woman walking by us, within a few feet. She sees us too and, startled, breaks into an awkward run and doesn't stop running until she's safely across the street, where she slows down to a normal pace again.

I sigh and turn my attention back to the dog, who didn't even bother to look up.
One year ago: What Cats Love
Two years ago: Impatience Pt. 2
Three years ago: Clouds (4 - Hedgehog Moon)
Four years ago: Never To Young To Start?
Five years ago: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Monday, April 2, 2018


"You gave away my line," Katie says from her spot on the other side of the couch, and her nose is a little stuffed up from the cold she's been nursing all day, so it sounds like, "You gabe away my liend."

"I did?"

"Yeah, 'hacking the banks,' that was my line," she says matter-of-factly.

"I'm sorry."
One year ago: An Age of Miracles and Wonders
Two years ago: If A=B, and B=C, Then A=C
Three years ago: Clouds (3 - Head As Thoughtful As An Empty Sky)
Four years ago: Can't Fight What Isn't There
Five years ago: Lucky
Ten years ago: Not An April Fool's Joke

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Hacks and Hackers

"I got hacked just a couple of weeks ago," our driver says as we drive down Eastern Parkway. "Got my bank info, my credit cards, everything."

"Let 'em start hacking the banks, see what happens," he continues.

"That's when the guns come out," I say from the back seat.
One year ago: "There There"
Two years ago: An Angry New Friend
Three years ago: Clouds (2 - Are You Paying Attention?)
Four years ago: Baby Love
Five years ago: Which One Is Reality, Though?
Ten years ago: And Then Comes Starbucks