Tuesday, July 07, 2020

We’d bought a two-story house that was coupled with a 747 jet, kind of like the Space Shuttle was when it was ferried around the country. The jet was attached to the roof upside-down and at an angle, as though it could take off, tear the house off its foundation and flip over so the house was on its back. Otherwise it was a very nice house. I tried to rationalize the presence of the airplane. We’d never use it of course, but it was a curiosity. Maybe it would be interesting for Jackie to explore.


Monday, July 06, 2020

P. C. had discovered my writing notebook and accused me of “ironic pessimism.” I said what do you think, I’m gonna be an ironic optimist?


I slid down a ski trail on foot, wondering why more people don’t do this. It was easier than being on skis, slower, safer.


Friday, June 26, 2020

I was stranded on a tiny island with an open stone structure, floors and walls about head-high. It was cracked and worn like ancient ruins. There were window openings along the walls with square wooden inserts, or maybe cardboard, that I was trying to adjust and fix, pulling them out, putting them back in. I began to wonder what I was doing there and how I was going to leave. The Manhattan skyline was visible not too far away. But there was no bridge, no boats, nothing.


Tuesday, June 02, 2020

K. C. was visiting. I went with him to the liquor store. He had expressed an interest in margaritas and I wanted to buy him something. His basket was already full of various bottles. “Do you have tequila?” I asked. He said no. “I’ll buy you a bottle of Cuervo,” I said. “Do you have margarita mix?” He showed me some off-brand he’d selected and I insisted on getting the better kind. In the check-out line we stood in front of the UConn men’s rugby team. It was the last day of school and there was a festive, reckless mood. We followed them upstairs to some kind of party, not sure if we were invited. It was boring. No booze. Then we were on campus. K. rode a bicycle around while playing a fiddle. I chased after him on foot. I had my phone out, wanting to get good pictures of him and anything else but I never quite could.

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.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

I went with a friend to his apartment building and climbed the stairs. They were very narrow, steep stone steps and soon we were very high up. You could see out a window that we were hundreds of feet above the ground. I told him, “These look like stairs from a dream.”

Monday, February 17, 2020

I visited H. R.’s house, though maybe I was being summoned. His parents were there—though his mom died many years ago. She took me aside and reproached me of something. H. had been accused of killing a Native American in the woods some time ago. She reminded me how she’d contacted my family and me by fax because we were in possession of some information that might exonerate him. We never replied, and she was still furious. At first I said, “Mary, that was a long time ago,” trying to end the discussion. She persisted, and I realized with dread that she was right—my family—I—was always irresponsible about these kinds of things. H. had done his time, apparently, and never recovered, never got his life on track.