I spend every morning on the net, looking for jobs. every morning, nonstop. i’m not fucking around. this is serious. yet, yet i can’t find anything. utter madness. pure and absolute. i simply can not believe how difficult it is to find a job, almost any job. i mean, i don’t want to do ‘shit work’ but i’m also not trying to be an astronaut. blah
i can never really understand why everyone in my house finds it so necessary to yell. all the time. -this morning, at eight, my father was yelling to my brother “wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up” and continued this for an hour. an hour! -my mother yells, as does my brother and father. because of this, natalie and i yell. and we don’t even want to yell, in fact we hate yelling. i need to live somewhere where everyone isn’t always so loud all the time. this is driving me right up the wall.
***being that pictures are worth a thousand words, and i really didn’t take many pictures while i was in new york, then this all makes sense. it’s a day by day telling of my trip to new york. i shared the details that i could remember : )***
DAY 1: Tuesday
The steep steps, taken from the train to the platform, were taken with caution. Fear teased me, despite the absence of danger. I pulled the straps of my unraveling bag tighter against my back and eased up the steps of Penn Station. The train was late, as was Vicky, so I stood near the KFC waiting for her arrival.
Most people weren’t moving. They stood staring at the times that told them when their trains would be arriving…leaving. It told the track number and the name of the train. Vicky and Devin emerged from nowhere after we discover the confusion of which KFC I actually stood near. We all shared hugs before we headed to Brooklyn, to a dinner with one of Vicky’s friends. Her name was Sarah, she was a petite brunette, celebrating her twenty-eighth birthday with a handful of very important friends, and also me. We sat in a cozy pan-African restaurant. It was lavish with decorations, perhaps unauthentic trinkets and small blue-bulbed lanterns that zapped bugs with a popping-snap sound.
We ate chips and salsa before we ordered meals. I ordered penne in a vodka cream cheese sauce. The food was delicious but not worth the price that I may have if Sarah had not covered the bill. Following the meal, we retreated back to Sarah’s apartment.
It was a small, comfortable flat that was suited for exactly one person. She had a cat, whose name escapes me. It was an unfriendly mangy little thing, enveloped in white fur. When it came near me, I eyed it until it moved far away.
We all ate terrific almond-peach vegan cake, and I stared up at Sarah’s leaning bookshelf that was plum-full of woman-enlightening literature. It was a feminist’s wet dream.
Afterward, we ambled, and headed to Queens on the F train and then the Q34. We walked toward Queens College where Devin lived, and where Vicky’s car was parked. We gave Devin our goodbyes and drove to Mineola, just a dozen miles away by car and 30 minutes by bus.
Vicky’s house was a quaint home, covered in bucketed and potted flowers and crisp front yard. We entered through the back, as not to disturb her family. We walked through the kitchen, the dining area and finally up the short steps to her bedroom, where we slumped unto the beds on opposite sides of the room and didn’t speak to one another again until the morning.
We woke ready to travel. The standing plan was that we were to meet up with Caroline at eleven, to go to a museum of Latin art. In addition, there was talk of a picnic in Central Park with wine. We climbed on the N22 bus that headed to Jamaica and off the bus, wandering down the steps into the subway, where we got on the F train toward Brooklyn. The train stopped, we climbed up and walked out into the early sun. We went in search of the museum, looking everywhere from the high flying Puerto Rican flags to the busy bodegas. We climbed up and down the avenues, finding nothing. We moseyed past parks without result and realized that we had been in search of the wrong location. We were supposed to be in Manhattan, near Central Park and discovered that we were in the Bronx. We walked the long dragged out path to find Caroline, who we’d given the same directions.
When we found Caroline, she was standing across the street from the train station, and she moved back across the street, toward us. We went down the steps and got on the right train, heading to the correct location and then decided that our picnic should go before our visit to the museum.
We stopped and bought Chinese food and vodka to accompany the French fries and wine that had already been acquired. We sat and talked about everything under the sun. Mostly, what we thought about our own bodies, other bodies, the male body in opposition to the female body. And we talked about secretion until Tequan sat with us. He was just in time to see three drunken women giggling, while he stared on, confused by our inside jokes.
We walked over to the museum, only yards away from our location. We went in with our Knox IDs, using them to cut our entrance fees by half. The art inside was beautiful, but not gratifying. Every image seemed to point me in a direction, but left me to find my own way. By the time the individual things in the exhibit seemed to show cohesion, it was suddenly over and we were shown the exit.
After this, we wander close to Washington Square Park. Caroline was going to a play with a friend, and so she parted from us. We walked through the body of the square, moving through the herd of people, past the venders and onto random streets, in search of a specific café shop. One that, even with all of our walking, we could not find. We went a feminist bookstore, Bluestockings, that usually had a café bar for general indulgence, but was closed. We left and stepped into an adult bookstore entitled, Babeland. It seemed to be the place where dildos were born. There where sizes, shapes, colors, styles and variations for every adult boy and girl. Tequan seemed uncomfortable, but Vicky and I seemed to run a visual checklist of all of the dildo variety. Pocket Rocket. Check. The Deep Throat McGee. Check?
Hunger settled in and the New York natives, Tequan and Vicky, thought that pizza would suffice. We stopped at a pizza place that wasn’t very crowded but had a host of entertaining people, including a dressed-down woman that got into a screaming match with the owner. The food was fair. We went to the train. Tequan gave me a hug goodbye, and then disappeared out of the doors of the train. Vicky and I made the trip to Devin’s place where we got dolled up to go to a gay bar.
When we were clad, we quickly made our way to the bar. The music inside was loud and kicking. The boisterous drag queen spilled words in sassy Spanish, and danced in quick cha-cha like she was born to do it. Devin, Vicky and I wandered onto the stage, beside some of Devin’s friends and watched her closely. After her second dance number, she introduced a faux-drag queen with a soulful voice. They had two exchanges and when the drag queen came back out, she called me out for not knowing Spanish, saying, “you can’t understand a damn thing I’m saying, can you?” I smiled and said that I knew about every fourth word. She pointed out my breasts and suggested that I was somehow competing with her. In any case, I think she won. We started off the evening, drinking beer, three dollar mixed drink and finally shots of Patron. When the alcohol settled in, our bodies made us move. We danced like our bodies didn’t know how to stop, and when our bodies did stop we rested on the back benches behind the bar and talked to one another about things that none of us can remember.
The trio, Vicky, Devin and myself, rushed away from the bar in a drunken fury. We were hungry and were ready to eat at that moment. There was an Afghani food stand on the corner and we consumed food anxiously. The gyro that I purchased was different than any I had ever had: it was much spicier, the meat was cut thinner and smaller, and was garnished with sliced carrots and cut lettuce. We ran to the train with the food shaking in our hands. Devin and I, out of our drunken minds, boarded a train, believing that Vicky was on it. We soon found out that she wasn’t and had to jump off two stops down. Alcohol running through me, and grateful for empty platforms, I peed in the corner while Devin stood guard. The train that was carrying Vicky came running down the tracks, and Devin and I had to pad down the platform to get to the train car that Vicky was in.
We all sat close and held hands. Fingers folded into one another’s while we rode the distance to Devin’s dorm room, where we retired for the evening.
DAY 3: Thursday
We woke and Vicky had somewhere to be. She pulled on her clothes and headed out of the door faster than we could say, “hangover”. Devin and I showered and got dress. We walked down the bus stop, boarded and jumped off the bus at 71st and Continental. There was a small Asian bakery with deserts for the cost of a handful of change. Devin and I stocked plenty and sat down to eat these treats with cups of iced lemon tea. His friend Mike soon joined, and we three headed into the city. We wandered the streets aimlessly for a bit, which seemed to be key to the quintessential New York experience. We then headed to FIT, better known as the Fashion Institute of Technology. It was an exhibit on environmentally friendly trends throughout the ages; and that was followed by impressive artwork that was done by students that attended FIT.
We left there and wandered forward, finding a restaurant in St. Marks that had drinks for three dollars during happy hour. We all ordered a drink, and then we’re given a drink on the house for being asked to move. I ordered the cherry pop. A delicious drink, think… Kool-Aid with a kick.
The restaurant also had a plethora of dishes, one being a bowl of delicious Japanese soup that was so large that three of us were able to share it. Once we were done there, we headed over to Stonewall, where there was a fundraiser being held for the dyke march.
Five dollars was the exchange for five raffle tickets. Two of my raffle tickets struck gold and I won twice, winning back issues of a magazine entitled, “Slit”, which shows quite a few women dressed in drag, penetrating one another with dildo’s –quite shocking. I also won a pair of vegan flip flops, which is not too shabby at all. The night continued on quite smashingly when Vicky joined us and we headed to another party. A drag queen was hosting, there was music and also a guy and girl dancing in little to no clothes. We all snuck into a stall to sneak down alcohol while we cackled; Devin and I ran Vicky to the train before returning to party. There for a while, we returned to Devin’s dorm room, and went to sleep.
DAY 4: Friday
Devin had to work that morning, and I had plans lined up. Firstly, it was the first day that I traveled on my own, and so adventure was sure to ensue. I was meeting Tequan at the Botanical Gardens, which I thought was in Brooklyn but turned out to be in Manhattan. He was attempting to talk me through the travel. When I hung up the phone, I was still confused. The small woman beside me sensed my confusion and she answered my series of questions. She told me that she and I were heading in the same direction, so she would help direct me. The whole while that we rode the Q34 and the 7 train, she told me about the city. Her name was Grace, and she was an architect/consultant, building homes and buildings in the city, throughout the boroughs. I got her card and promised to treat her to coffee before I left New York.
I got to the Time Square stop and met up with Tequan , taking the train to the Botanical Gardens. We walked around staring at the identical plants and shrubs, that in some ways were supposed to be to unique. Even if some were indigenous to some particular place, the difference weren’t drastic in most cases. The food being too expensive at the Botanical Gardens, we walked across the street to Wendy’s to eat lunch, and I consumed copious amounts of chicken nuggets. Around this time, I was supposed to meet Ryan, but per usual confusion, we decided to meet up on Sunday. So Tequan and I moved forward, hanging out near a park, contemplating the idea of a merry-go-round before walking around a house that was built possibly two hundred years ago. The house was an interactive place for children, crowded with wigs and costumes, horseshoes and stilts.
After this, I went to Penn Station, where I got on the PATH for Journey Square and I got off on the first stop in New Jersey. Jersey City was faux beautiful. It looked like it had been built within the past three years, thrown together near the water for those that were just rich enough to enjoy the luxury. I was visiting Morgan, who lived in Jersey with her mother, stepfather and four dogs. We started out with coffee from Starbucks, a walk to the liquor store and then started toward Hoboken, meeting up with two of Morgan’s friends. We planned to drink and eat. Jersey City bars and restaurants didn’t have liquor licenses, and so with this we were able to bring in our own alcohol. Our choice was a fifth of Jack Daniels, shared between just Morgan and me, while we ate Mexican food. I ate a delicious, non-filling. order of shrimp served with garlic mayo.
Properly drunk and the last to leave the restaurant, we decided we wanted to dance and there was no place to do it in Jersey, like we could in the city. We took the PATH to the Village, found a bar then a club, and we danced. Considering the amount of alcohol that I consumed some of that evening was rather blurry, but the fun had been unarguable.
DAY 5: Saturday
I woke up early and took a drunken shower, trying to massage away the alcohol. After we got dressed, finally up past noon, we headed into the city for breakfast. We sat down at a restaurant and I ordered an eggplant parmesan sandwich. Washed over by a sickly feeling, I decided not to indulge. My stomach felt like needles being thrust through it but a while of walking through the village, looking at small trinkets. I passed my hands over rings and necklaces. I marched along with Morgan and her family until they dropped me off at the subway. The train was already waiting, and so I boarded it quickly and made it over to Jamaica, Queens so that I could be picked up by Vicky.
We made ourselves cozy in her home and she made dinner for the family. We had an awkward dinner, but a delightful one. Even though there were plenty of events going on that evening, a plan that we started to look forward to was one which involved popcorn and an evening’s length of movies. That of course changed and we decided that we were going to get dolled up and head to Brooklyn for a fifties party.
We got dropped off at Devin’s job by Vicky’s mother, headed to his place for him to get changed, made our way over to the F train and rode it to Brooklyn. We stopped by a liquor store before heading the few blocks down to the party. When we made it down to the party, it was brimming with discomfort. There were no familiar faces, nothing of interest. We climbed into the bathroom and chugged away disgusting alcohol, which Vicky assured would build character. We drank until there were knocks on the door, and then we poured out into the hall before leaving the party, despite the five dollars that we paid for entrance.
We wandered onward down the street toward a party that a man hanging near a corner told us about. As we were heading toward it, we saw parades of people, avalanching down the street, screaming about violence at the top of their lungs.
We crossed the street to go to the club, which the furious crowd had just fumbled away from, and we arrived to discover that it was for 23 year olds and up. We left, and wandered a few blocks down toward a church. We searched the stairways of the entrances and sat down to drink our beer. We chugged away until we saw police cars racing by toward some unknown destination. We climbed to our feet and headed down the block, sitting on the dim-lit porch of someone’s Brooklyn townhouse. We drank down the beer as a small crowd moved by. One of the guys stopped in front of us, asking us if he could join us for the evening. His name was ‘D’ and he informed us several times that he had the only mini mansion in Brooklyn. We finished our beers, walked to find more beer and then drank on D’s porch step before going inside to drink. He fed us conversation and we used his lavatory. He flirted devilishly and I could have flirted back but I was drunk, tired and not really going for it.
We left and headed home. Well, we attempted to, instead we got pulled into a parade of train confusion that made it so that it took until seven for us to get back to 71st and Continental. After which Vicky drove us back to Devin’s place.
DAY 6: Sunday
I woke up past noon. Devin had to work, and I headed back to Mineola with Vicky. I showered and then left, taking what I thought to be the correct directions to the N22, but turned around, I ended up near the N24 bus and caught it to Jamaica. I then hopped on the F train, getting off at West 4th, and I was very late to meet Tequan.
When we finally met up went to Red Bamboo for dinner, a delicious vegan/vegetarian restaurant that had vegan chicken wings on wooden sticks, and super tasty cheese burgers. I indulged heavily, and then we wandered onward around and around, seeing a set of street performers, twins that spoke in sync and lined people up in preparation for an impending trick. The street performers were doing flips and hassling people in the park. It all made for a very good show. Of course they were taking too long to get to the flips, and I am easily agitated, so I got a tad sick of waiting. We then decided to go see a movie in theaters. We watched said movie and then went in search of Ryan, which was quite the feat in itself. Honestly, we might’ve wandered around for over two hours looking for Ryan, who apparently didn’t know how to effectively provide people with the names of streets.
When we finally met up with him, we went on a great search for a coffee shop. Passing several shops that was deemed too seedy or too expensive to go into, and so we moved on. We finally moved on to a small hipster spot that indulged my taste for white chocolate mocha, so we enjoyed ourselves. Tequan, Ryan, Ryan’s friend and I all sat and chatted about whatever, while also sipping our cool or warm drinks. Afterward, we all walked to the train. Tequan, Ryan’s friend and I boarded, and Ryan went to the 1 train. After telling Tequan bye, Ryan’s friend misdirected me, telling me that I was heading to Brooklyn when I in fact wasn’t. I then had to get on the bus after riding the train, and got to Devin’s place, just in time to be turned around and wake him up. He walked midway to meet me, and then we both made it back to his place in and went to sleep.
DAY 7: Monday
I woke up around ten, and when it was time for Devin to go to work, I called Grace from the bus station. We met in front of the bus stop in which we first met. She was there with her car and we took a drive down to the Queens municipal township, where she had to do a bit of business. After we took a long a drive over to Fresh Meadows, getting coffee at Starbucks and then we got headed over Boston Market where she grabbed lunch. She continued to give me a tour of Queens before dropping me off at Vicky’s place.
Once we were at Vicky’s place, we lay around for a long time and then I showered. We met Devin at his dorm and then I got dressed for day. For food, we decided to head to Flushing. We stopped by a Vietnamese restaurant, which Devin assured was delicious. I purchased the squid soup, which was anything but. It was a strange to my mouth. I sooner than later stopped eating that the soup and simply waited until Vicky and Devin were done with their food. When we left the restaurant we boarded the 7 train, heading to Time Square. Vicky had a party to attend and would not be meeting us, but we would be meeting Tequan.
We walked down the sidewalks of Time Square, taking pictures of random things. We moved forward to an indoor mall, and then watched a class practice Capoeira near the Columbus Circle exit of the 7 train. Then we walked into Central Park. The three of us sat on large stones and got bitten at by mosquitoes as we watched the park, while little happened.
When we grew tired of that, we walked for several blocks looking for food. For the day, I realized that all I had to eat was a piece of cornbread from Grace and the bowl stagnant squid soup. After a while, we found a restaurant with a sign in the window. It offered a dozen wings for three dollars, and beers for one. We didn’t trust the bargain, but we went inside anyway, and it was true. Well, the beer was three. Anyway, we ordered two orders of wings and beer then went to town on the food. It was rather delicious. After food, Devin parted ways with us, so that he could catch up with Vicky.
Tequan and I continued our walk around the city, taking rest near a fountain and then onward back to Time Square, where we then went our separate ways. I boarded the 7 train, heading back to Flushing, then after a long while. I climbed onto bus that took me back to Queens College. I waited on the couch downstairs while waiting for Devin to return, and once he was there, I fell asleep on the tall lofted bed.
DAY 8: Tuesday
I woke earlier than I anticipated, and sat in the corner of Devin’s dorm room, typing up the quotes that I could remember from my visit. When it turned about 10:30, Devin and I got dressed and headed over to Vicky’s place.
We lay around her place for a bit, and then drove to Flavor of India for a buffet lunch. This, by the way, was absolutely delicious. After we ate, Devin dropped Vicky off at her place and then dropped me off and I caught the F and took down to Penn Station, where I found my way to the Amtrak, and waited the long hour until my train came.
my dreams are pining because they cannot rest beside you
or beneath you, where they and you used to speak and breathe together.
my body remembers being pressed against walls,
heavy breathing and lips tied together like strings or
locked together like bolts;
it remembers attraction like magnets and metals;
when we met by mouth and hips first and
then pushed apart like two negatives,
hoping for something to bring us back together again.
in my sleep, i dream that we are in bed not sleeping.
i want to soak up your smell and your soul, inhaling you
deeply like sunshine; i imagine you in my daytime.
These observations are sort of sporadic, but also tied together. They are solid images, manifested from my surroundings, and i like them 🙂
Everything under its casting turns orange, under those street lights. I watch the nighttime as it skates by: first, the dark, and then a mill, then the dark, a home, the trees, the bulk of trailers sticking out of neck of someone’s woods and then the dark again. The nighttime goes by like a superimposed image on a silver screen.
Then we are stopped again in the middle of nowhere; somewhere where an American flag hangs beneath that orange light, beside a convenient store and two broken pick-up trucks. It is perhaps a town that Dorothy Allison wrote about, where she experienced her bitter life before she occupied somewhere greater.
Then the train is stopped, and I am frozen in time, like a man that is unable to stop his memory from draining down memory lane. When his mind takes him to that same stop again and again, the day his son died in the fire and the next morning when his wife drank herself to sleep.
The two police cars with the sirens spinning like the blades of a fan, rotating blue, white and red. They sit patiently at the level crossing, but they cannot get to their emergency because the train is still locked in its tracks. They stand outside their car, and make rounds around their vehicles until the train finally moves on. And, suddenly we are in a completely different place,
The three a.m. passenger that boards the train to New York lifts his things from the ground and slings it unto his back like it always belonged there.
I still don’t know what city that we’re in. And there is no one awake to tell me. Not the sleeping, elderly religious man beside me or the resting loud couple and their crying baby.
Apparent essentials to train travel: large bubble wrap as to lay out for comfort; head pillow, side pillow, neck pillow, ear plugs, inexpensive raincoats gained at a discount from garage sales, and a camera as to document everything.
We pass a home with a vineyard grown close to fences, near the shallow man made pond. It was only yards away from the cemetery.
The outskirts of any city, and their downtowns, and their tall buildings, and their shrubs and their industrial waste, are all identical through my eyes.
The woman moves down the hall of the train with the brown and watered stains because she has wet herself. She stops to speak to the woman in front of me, the one with the baby. The mother smiles, but the child frowns. The child perhaps smells what I smell. And the woman moves forward, but not without leaving the foul scent behind to stay with us for a while.
The older man that sat beside, the man that offered me advice about the bubble wrap as cushion, has disappeared. When we pulled into the station at Buffalo, NY, he strapped on his camera and told me that he was going to take pictures. From my window, I didn’t see things of much interest. That was two hours ago, and he still hasn’t returned. It was suggested that perhaps he went to the dinning cart, and perhaps he had. His bubble wrap is still unfolded, beside me, waiting for him to occupy the space.