words written in the week of
May 12th to May 18th
in previous years.
This was 9 years, 11 months, 26 days ago

when I imagine rapid expansion, like text on an inflating balloon, I also imagine death valley, of cracks spread out uniformly as far as the eye can see, and then my footsteps, skipping from ice floe to floe.

but really, expansion isn't like that, this material metaphor leaks away; we can't compare physical expansion with this conceptual expansion, the word "expansion" having stretched these things apart. expansion is more like crystal growth, networks stretching, a spider leaping over there, silk in tow.

no matter. the point being. the past year has felt immensely rapid, stretching, transformative, in indescribable ways. knowing parts of my being that I did not know was there. understanding undercurrents. being more reflexive in response to my own being. things that did not make sense before now make more sense, a little bit more, and I can project my own understandings on to the world a little bit more and empathize a little bit more. I have a tiny bit of a taste of the scope of things, the nature of time, the value of patience, the depth of work.

maybe a good metaphor would be: I understand how many cups of water it takes to fill a bathtub; I know how many buckets it takes to scoop out water from a swimming pool; perhaps I can understand, not in numbers but in emotion (or in emotional numbers) the depth and intensity of how many branches there are in a forest. or: I can taste depth / time / value, just a tiny bit, and have an inkling of what it will be like as time passes by more.


the persistent question is: where, this all. when a friend dies, where do they go; where are you left; how many parts of their being have you seen, etc etc etc

spatial metaphors prevail. I think: if new york would cease to exist tomorrow, we would all reminisce over these vast different aspects of the city that we love. I may speak about these parts of brooklyn, these aspects of manhattan, how once-hated morningside heights now crackles with this warm humming energy, how I really can't stand soho or tribeca any more because of its sickly-green deathly pallor, how certain parts of midtown are still so other to me, how hell's kitchen has grown to become this familiar beacon, how bed-stuy is slowly changing, like watching a high-school friend change their name, parts of crown heights and prospect heights that feel like summer in full bloom and in sheer joy. that area of flushing that you stumbled out onto that felt like watching korean movies from the 90s, etc. dizzying multiplicative vinyl-sided buildings in bushwick, sounds of summer associated with beds, soft ceilings. that part of washington heights in a sticky summer reading don delillo and david foster wallace.

those are just some of mine. yours would be different. "fort tilden? oh yes, fort tilden. what about that time you biked around staten island?" and all of these other formations. they would not just be three blind men groping an elephant that is already there, if they could just take off their blindfolds, nor is it gibberish that is always having to be interpreted -- but the city is something else, something anterior to just pure knowledge waiting to be discovered, but more like a completely sovereign entity with more than enough agency acting on its own, moving, manifesting, rumbling, sometimes withdrawn, sometimes overly manic, but enough neighborhoods to harbor 8 million people. one's own relationship with the city is never totalizing, never complete, never desiring to be complete. I'm always happy to discover new places, but I also understand the way in which a new place may also happen nearby, nearby and new, newly on the next block, on that street you've rarely walked on, just a short ride away. and a great deal of my relationship with the city (or with travel) is that I understand it to be generated, partially with it, partially from a relationship with myself, as if the linkage between the city and me is another kind of entity. bruno latour may call these snakes, with the head standing for knowledge, the tail standing for 'the world', each linkage always a complex, tangled, intricate, and lively thing.

so. the city is there for you to use, and to discover, and to wander out, and to wander in. it is as much petri dish and blank page as it is culture and ink, as much substrate as it is organism, figure as it is ground, but not oscillating inbetween these two poles but the source of all complexities. unconsciously and consciously we celebrate being mashed up here together by collectively sharing locations, arguing over different interpretations, yet understanding at a base level that is what the city offers; that is what space offers. when we gather in the aftermath of a city's disappearance we're not trying to reconstitute the city through our collective recreations; we're not patching up puzzle pieces to recreate a whole to understand what was actually there. there was never any whole, nor a lack. none of that.

so maybe that is what this feels like. a city disappears, and you think, well, that was incredibly sad, and I will miss this friend and neighbor whom I was excited to have in my life for 4+ years, who I had a great deal of late-night or early morning conversations with, who was energy embodied, but also much more human than just a party figure, whom I could talk to about the pains of a building taking years, variances and all that, who wanted to wax about the process of building, of making, of manifesting it into the real, who told me to invite him over when my space was done, who met and talked about designing these series of stairs with, designing this facade. who generously opened his studio so I could host the first marx meeting.

and to others, other neighborhoods will matter, they knew other streets that I did not. we can say: how spectacular. how deep of a city. how winding its roads are. how many secret spaces it holds. how complex its ecosystems. how everything is made by people, made of people. how gorgeous people can be.

This was 13 years, 11 months, 24 days ago

from may 3, 2007.

If I look forward onto myself looking back, will I say, "I wish I had looked more forward, more often, thought about how much more I would have later looked backwards and wished I had looked more forward, more often?"


from may 8, 2007.

I'm up far too late. I should sleep. Before I do in this interim moment I realize the preciousness of this moment, my acute awareness of my presence, the clarity of focus I am awarded for my youth.

oh oh oh oh oh. oh. oh. oh me, oh this, oh that. oh the presence of mind. oh the diverging curves.

lately everything seems to come down to a point. what is this image? again, an armchair, an incandescent bulb, a wall of bookshelves, a frying pan.

This was 14 years, 11 months, 24 days ago

brennschluss is when I've been giving it all and I have half an hour to an hour until I'm done with this paper and the end of all of college. rockets stop firing, the moment just after maximum propulsion. the analogy doesn't make sense but it does. ideas moving through my head like sifting for marbles in sand. sisyphus is to physics as activism is to models of production? what? no no there's truth in there and an elegant statement waiting to come out. how do I grasp this.

what is the reason that all of my analogies involving paper-writing concern tactile interactions, sensations of touch? sift through things. formations coherent glass cold fuckin marbles to the touch hard solid sounds in between a clink and a thunk when tapped on tables. I'm trying to find this marble tap it on table crisp clink arrange it in rows. crisp crisp crisp crisp crisp

beautiful outside with bird chirps

this is like a perfect epitome; hey know this you, me in the future, coffee from pinnacle and bummed cigarettes and papers punctuated with trips to the bathroom and navigatings outside looking at other strangers in mute gazes people with red-dotted glows sliding from mouths to hip to mouth to hip, the smell of toner, uncomfortable congratulations of a beyayutiful sunrise and the ecstatic feeling of having said something worthwhile.

This was 14 years, 11 months, 24 days ago

sitting within this greeneried campus I sit speaking ideas into my phone when this girl starts screaming. clutching her phone and spinning herself around

-there's this three-pronged or tri-fold reaction I have - surprise, understanding, surprise. what's going on? followed by must have heard some very good news. followed by no, something more. she's screaming too hard, actions too exaggerated, I can't feel any elation in her voice, she's falling to the grass, this figure far away just a collection of dark-clothed limbs and a golden-haired oval composed in a gesture I haven't seen before really, really.

I can't remember the last time I've heard so much anguish and horror in these shrieks; I can tell (or I feel like I can tell) that her world's rending itself apart, turning itself over. there's a lump in my throat (for her) and like most everybody else nearby I'm looking over, us all frozen in action and gazing towards this girl. uncomfortably she's lower than us in terms of altitude, I'm on a bench, others on elevated steps, and the amplitheater-ish setting could almost feel like an event with the skeletal trappings of a play, but it's not. uncertain whether to go nearer or to look away with respect my decisionless ears take in this shriek less than my eyes do the image of this turning head-clutching to-the-ground collapsing girl for whom the world seems to have fallen apart and asunder, heart literally wrenched.

or so I conjecture and I also continuously remind myself that I'm not sure what's going on but intertwined with this is the desire to figure out. what could be the case, the impetus for someone to sound like this? phrases like 'cry of anguish' don't cut it, don't dial it far up enough. what? death in the family. more than just a death in the family - death of the family? end of the world? and yes, now that I think about it it sounds apocalyptic, eschatalogical, and so I check the new york times on a whim, less with literal hopes but more because a) I sometimes (irrationally) feel that the intersections of personal lives and broadcast news which really so often tells us what's going on are so disparate, so disjunct when really everything is so construed out of these personal lives, and b) there's this semi literary or poetic gesture that I realize I'm doing that I'm not altogether proud of that's just sort of checking, understanding in advance that the world doesn't align like these, my conjecture of this girl's world-shattering event all the more perceivable as more important and more dire and more heartwrenching precisely because these events are these things not on a global scale but on a micro scale, this absolute upending so emphasized because of its microscopic scale next to the monstrous workings of things. smaller but in no way less significant.

and then part of me now, a few minutes afterwards this all, after ambulances have come and the benevolent passersby lending their help lead this girl away, after I can't see or hear this confusion anymore but it just lingers around in my ears like it's stuck in tiny hairs on my cochlea, aural residue here and there -- part of me now realizes that it was literary, not as some ill-defined poetic beautiful romantic event but in that my understanding of this was structured the way that my understanding of literature is structured; the logic of events borrowing from the logic of fictions. I wonder briefly if this demeans or belittles or renders this girl into too flat and powerless of a subject ("I'll go write about this at home -- it'll make a good tale!") but discard that for later not because I've come to terms with anything but because I'm just feeling things out.

as always, as always I'm reminded of the way that perceptions and experiences of things are always more present than depictions of experiences, things plunge into you, you ask for spears to be thrown and to break your skin, interminglings of blood and atmosphere. not ruptures ex nihilo but conceptual departures from the way you think, from the way your world is structured. I have this image of atlas, or rather an endless number of smaller atlases. carrying their own worlds on their backs. vesicles of thought self-contained until they collide at which the exact moment of this collision is where things start, nuclear fission, mousetraps in an enclosed room-

This was 15 years, 11 months, 23 days ago

September 22, 2008. Roseland Ballroom, New York.

They got together. I got 2 tickets. I'm going!

This was 15 years, 11 months, 26 days ago

cafes to go to:
joe the art of coffee
grumpy cafe
cafe abraco
ninth street espresso

another late night.
another early morning.

the romanticism that I am so wary of never seems so bad in these wee hours..

"We dream and the dreams of a bad night are given to us as philosophy. You will say that I too am a dreamer; I admit it, but I do what others fail to do, I give my dreams as dreams, and leave the reader to discover whether there is anything in them which may prove useful to those who are awake."

Rousseau, Emile

This was 16 years, 11 months, 22 days ago

I should go to sleep, but haven't been able to.

taller skies, summer-ness, a lack of restraint and boundaries, safety nets existing but transparent. dopplered car vibrations descend in pitch and street number. here we will have these visions of summer: people having left, leaving, in limbo. humid warmth exuding humanity and people and sincerity, while at the same time summer darkness speaks of a lack of contact, intermittent conversations, errant syllables carrying far above the sidewalk.

good night.

This was 16 years, 11 months, 25 days ago

New York Design Week -- May 19th - 22nd
Various places.

Bill Viola -- Works from The Tristan Project
until May 15th, 26th st & 10th Av

New York Electronic Art Festival
May 12 - June 10
-- Special Saturday Presentation: May 19, Hisao Ihara / Karina Aguilera Skvirsky
-- 4 - 6 pm at 38 Park Row @ City Hall, free