Monthly Archives: December 2009

on missing the one thing to make it function

One Friday, I was riding the train. I was on my way to a sort of blind date. On the way, there was a man on the subway who caught my eye, not an uncommon occurrence in this city filled with with comely people. This time, though, it seems I caught his eye in turn. We spent the ride surreptitiously looking at one and other, and I even went so far as to smile. The train pulls into the Brooklyn station, we get off at the same stop, I am exiting one and he is exiting the other and we cross paths, meet eyes directly and both break into big smiles. I almost stopped. I don’t know why I didn’t, but I kept walking up the stairs. I stopped at the top of the exit to look down the street towards the other exit, and then walked on to what turned out to be a pretty boring evening.

The next morning, I could not get this man out of my head. So, I thought to do something that I have never done or even considered doing, I decided I was going to post a missed connection. As I am cruising the listings to see what other people write and I see that this man posted one looking for me! My stomach drops in that pleasant way. I draft a quick message and send it off.

He writes back lamenting that he didn’t talk to me that evening and a little about himself and that I looked familiar to him. I write back and as I am drafting my reply, he probably furiously Googled my name, and there is another message in my inbox that he put it together. He saw me perform and talked to me after a show. Which elated me, no one has seen my band really. I shot back that it was in fact me. And that was it.

End of story. Best experience of 2009, though.

on paucity

State Hospital Interior – Ed Kienholz, 1966

Before I left to go home, before I had to face the depression that has settled over my family, I had profuse and troubling dreams. Nights on night, I woke in a sweat. My shirt so wet I had to change it. My anxiety trying to bleed out through my pores.

One of these dreams had me in a dirty, monastic chamber with no decorations save the condensation rivulets carved into the caked dust on the walls. I was dying of AIDS, so weak I could not even turn myself from that filthy wall. So thirsty, but without the strength to drink and I was completely alone. There was only the dim hum of the oxygen machine, the only medical equipment in the room.

I woke up, shaking, wet, warm and so thankful that I could get up out of bed and quench my thirst.

It’s World AIDS Day today. I could barely think about this dream or articulate it last week, but today I want to have those who are suffering, waiting for the vaccine, for access to drugs and just hoping for some comfort in my heart and thoughts.