Friday, May 22, 2020

It was my turn to present my song parody concept to the breakout group that would be singing it with me. Larry David was in it, as well as a couple others. The idea was “Why Am I Always Eating Food That’s at War?” sung to the tune of the doo-wop classic “A Teenager in Love.” The catchy opening line would be “babaganoush,” and the song would catalog Israeli and Palestinian foods and how they’re both delicious and if you live in Israel, how hard it must be to love these foods from two sides of a conflict. I hadn’t sorted out the specifics but I figured, falafel, hummus, couscous on one side, shawarma, tabouli on the other. I’d do some research. I thought I was doing a good job explaining, singing the Dion & the Belmonts original and making sure they remembered it. But they were distracted by something on the array of televisions hanging around the space. A soccer game of some importance. I had to abandon their attention. I found myself looking up, too.


Friday, May 15, 2020

Corvette was a proud English company. Its president had worked on the atom bomb in the Great War.


I got on a bus and found a seat in the back with a footstool. I began reading a gigantic novel.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

I observed the city of Hartford, near where I grew up. I was watching it, like a film. I thought of its past. The old department store, G. Fox. You had the feeling of a living city.

In a maze of shops and restaurants in a vast mall, I lost Jackie in the crowd. I’d been distracted by some pointless, narcissistic thought. Now I was plunged into panic and guilt.

I was watching a movie. It had been billed as a thriller but it was actually a self-referential Hollywood tale. Famous actors and directors playing themselves. S. appeared as a drug addict. I was stunned—when did she have time to do this? To make the connections, get the gig, learn her lines, rehearse?

I was on a cruise ship with S. and Jackie. We drew close to some beach hotels and restaurants and I could see us, the three of us, sitting at a table. I said, “Look, that’s us!”

I went for Easter brunch at a diner, a place I knew from better days. I remembered going there with friends I don’t see much anymore, a rousing song on the jukebox. I told a waitress I was meeting people and wanted to check if they were there. She pointed me to a long line outside. There were lines to other lines, separated so passersby could get through. People sat and mingled, forming a spontaneous community. A drug dealer conducted business in one corner of the lawn.

Friday, April 03, 2020

There was a work party downtown, in an old manufacturing building with big loft spaces. Everybody getting drunk. Non-work people were there too—P. C., Lis. I tried to explain to someone how much the area had changed, how there weren’t so many bars and music places anymore. He didn’t seem to agree. Finally I realized why and said all the places I knew when I was single and going out all the time, years ago, were now closed—but maybe there were new ones I didn’t know. Still he didn’t react. He was on his way out the door and I realized I was detaining him with tiresome chatter. Back in the party rooms there was talk of an after-hours. Someone brandished a bottle of tequila. Though I was tempted I said no, absolutely not, that would be a bad idea. We all made our way home in the rain, some in cabs, some waiting for the bus.

Friday, March 20, 2020

I was watching a movie, and I was in it, and I was watching it, and I was in it. A classic I recognized. I tried hard to fix it in my mind so I’d remember it when I awoke—I somehow knew it was a dream. The thing that I knew would identify it was that Albert Brooks was in it. When I did wake up I realized it wasn’t a real movie—not “Broadcast News,” not “Lost in America,” not whatever. It was a madcap road movie in which a group of friends play banjos in cars as they head down the highway. It was playful and poignant. Other things happened that I can’t remember. Later, I was given heroin gumballs. A handful of them: red, blue, white, yellow, green. I chewed one and began to get high.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

I was in a van with J. P. going to some kind of adventure in the woods, like a zip line or God knows what. We were in Mexico or Costa Rica or something, and the activity was run by locals who accompanied us on the way. One of them busted out some coke on a big mirror and passed it around. It was a beautiful chalky, pale blue. I smashed some rocks with a credit card and made myself a fat line. I snorted it with some difficulty, clamping my nostril shut to keep it in. One of the local guys chuckled.

When we got to the location I was directed to sweep up the pile of coke and hand it to the woman who had driven the van. Evidently there was a risk the authorities would see us, so I was warned to be discreet. I stood around with the coke formed into a ball in my sweaty hand. There were two women standing around and I couldn’t tell which one had been the driver. Finally a man held out an opened paper bag and I dropped the coke inside.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Donald Fagen needed a title for his new novel.

“Candyland,” I proposed. However, we agreed that as the setting for the denouement was a theme park of that name, it was a little on the nose.