So I’m walking up Broadway today, beautiful afternoon, just Coinstarred some of the spare change I’ve gathered in my Manhattan phase, you know, crossing my t’s. And a few feet ahead an elderly Asian man is sweeping, with rather vigorous strokes, a broom in the doorway of a liquor store. And just as I’m about to pass him, he gives one final, violent sweep and something small and brown flies past my legs, brushing my kneecaps, and lands several feet away in the gutter. I turn, and there is a rat, stunned, its thick pink tail curled tightly around his body. I turn back to Little Mister Sweeper, and he looks back at me with wide eyes and cups a hand over his mouth. He looks both horrified and, well, amused.
When I start to eroticize Eastern European trapeze artists, it’s all over. I can only claim extreme mental and physical duress brought on by chronic sexual frustration. My Manhattan grad school life resembled not so much Sex and the City as it did a less successful episode of Monk. Let me cry you a river. Oh wait, I’ve been doing that here since 2001.
Of course I would appear far more Manhattan savvy if I actually called it Randall’s Island, and not Randall Island. But this merely proves my larger point; living in New York hasn’t made me any smarter, only given me a bigger mouth. San Franciso, I apologize to you in advance. But I will now use that mouth to promote a gay rugby tournament this coming weekend starring the scrappy (or scrummy) Jimbo, at Randall’s Island. You too can take the M35 bus, and thus reach the same rarified heights of cool as yours truly.
Speaking of cool, I saw the new Conor McPherson play, Shining City (which has a couple of great scenes involving escorts, always a crowd pleaser) last week, and any doubts that I had the city’s hottest ticket dissolved when I saw Frances McDormand out on the sidewalk after the show. I was like, this close to her. One of my fellow grad students works for her and her husband, Joel Coen (of the Coen Brothers) as a nanny to their four-year old son. She told me that once she was over at their place for breakfast, and the little boy, who obviously has grown up around many Hollywood types, drained the milk from his cereal bowl, wiped his mouth, turned to his mother and, apropos of nothing, said, “Fwances, I luv your work.”
How many of you New Yorkers have ever been to Randall Island? How many of you even know about Randall Island, at the northeastern tip of Manhattan? Or which bus to take? I am so fucking on top of things now, so in the know, now that I’ve been out there to see Cirque du Soleil. The new show was kind of an Italian-flavored dream; it reminded me of Fellini’s “8 1/2.” That’s the kind of piercing insight I have now that I’ve been through Columbia University. I can deconstruct circus narratives.
But yeah. Short European tumblers jumping around on brass beds. Girls twirling around on enormous spinning chandeliers. A flying bicycle. Even a pair of little people acrobats, which made me wonder. Being an acrobat is specialized enough. But a pair of little people acrobats? How does one find a job? Do they just scan the want ads endlessly until one day, “Oh my God, Agnes! Cirque du Soleil!”
We had crappy seats, at the very edge of house right. But this made for an interesting perspective. During the trapeze act the rest of the audience was focused on the lithe girls flung about, while I watched the flingers, especially one shirtless, muscular little guy, most likely from some obscure European country, who stood on a platform at the center pole, between the two side poles, and who acted as the flinging middleman. He had a casual, practiced air about him, particularly between bouts of flinging, where he’d lean back against the platform and nod his head to music he’d probably heard a thousand times. These casual moments were brief, a second or two, and then he’d straighten up, grab some chalk from a little bag, smack it against his thick forearms, rock back and forth on his feet, centering himself, reach down just at the moment where the next girl was flung to his waiting arms, and fling her forward. Then he’d lean back against the platform again, his chest gleaming with sweat and golden in the circus lights.
Less than two weeks and the dogpoet will be back with his dog on the Left Coast. For those that have asked, next up is finishing my thesis (that’ll take at least a year) and figuring out how to make rent, which, fortunately, is a fraction of what I’ve been paying here. For those of you asking how I will now make a living, believe me, my father has that question covered. Go ask him, bitches.
Caught Amtrak to visit my stepsister and her husband in their new house in East Boston. I believe they are now what you would call “gentrifiers,” though since it rained the entire time I was there, I couldn’t tell you much about the neighborhood or the city for that matter. But good meals, rain on the skylights, X-Men dvd’s. The simple pleasures of life. Speaking of which, I totally scored when my brother-in-law GAVE me, for free, a Prada leather jacket he acquired through a, well…long, sordid story. Kind of a fell-off-the-back-of-a-truck story which, since I’ve been watching the Sopranos on dvd lately, warms my heart. Those of you who’ve seen me in real life (and yes, I do actually exist) know that “Michael McAllister” and “fashion sense” are rarely used in the same sentence. But I likes to clean up good.
So. Resuscitating this here blog. Code Red. Stat. Eight millions cc’s of epinephrine. Etc. Cleaning up my links list. Thanks to those of you who stubbornly kept me on yours over the past two years. Been pondering my purpose here, now that most of my writing focus is on the book. Less and less comfortable knowing that early versions of some of the book’s material first appeared, and still appear, here, in rough form. Perhaps I should rethink my ambition? Reformat this site? Have a marketable, instantly identifiable web presense? Snort. Like that’s gonna happen.
Turned in my last paper yesterday. I’ve finished my coursework at Columbia University. Can I get an “amen?”