Let's Worm

Red Night, New You

Red Night, New You

It isn’t mine. Was never mine, this place. And yet, here I sit, all red lit in breaklight, thinking I have a tale to tell. A tale for sale. Something I’m not willing to give away for free. Look at the pylons blowing smoke on the avenues that run straight up to midtown, on a night that’s oddly grey, or green blue, inside this yellow cab, even though they’ve all turned lime green – that’s so you know who’s headed to Brooklyn, but there’s not as many lime-greens as people feared – did people fear? They don’t like change, not here on the mainland. The island sits heroic, its own hero, in between a quadrant of feelings, of equal belongings. Everybody’s a native, because next to no one starts here. That’s not true. Just another excuse.

I took a bike to work over the blue bridge. I call it the blue bridge like a badge of honor, like our private secret, racing within the gated pedestrian lanes, so less fancy than the long walk on the more beloved bridge nextdoor. Who am I to talk shit. Icon next to icon. It’s like picking a David. Maybe that’s what they’ll name these two, the two Davids that connect lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. Our babies won’t know we ever called it this. It’ll get a makeover eventually, even if we have it our way. Like the Triboro. Why change the name of a perfect thing, a thing that explains itself so succinctly, a name that announces, proclaims, and maintains its very reason for being. The Triboro Bridge always had a job to do, connecting things one from things two, and things three too. And if you didn’t wanna pay the toll, Willis Ave was always just around the corner.

What’s a hot dog stand but red hot and Grey? What’s a Papaya joint but a dope spot for a late night steak sandwich. I want to ring every scrawny new neck I see, and shout, this was all meaningful, more meaningful, more deeply meaningful to all of us forever before you showed up. We who grew to know every subway stop without a cellphone and learned our neighborhoods by street signs and landmarks and street smarts. Try to keep that bitter pill to yourself. Swallow back. I try to keep that bitter drink up on the shelf, don’t wanna slip too hard and show ‘em what I’m worth. Don’t want to hold my belly anymore, or talk about cocktailing on 1st and 1st.

I have a trick on the new moons. When I feel most myself and the boys flock at me, come for my new moon energy. I have a trick about those nights when the sky is empty, and the city is gray on the outside and the only light is electric, when anybody could mistake it for a night when the sky was full – who’d deny the moon wasn’t there at all? I have a trick I pull where I get to be brand new. I press a sticker on my wall, just before I turn the latch and let me out, and the trick is real easy, a simple twist… I’m whoever I want to be.

It’s not my trick, something I picked up from some moonworshippers. I was a temporary member of their coven, or whatever you call weekly hangouts with witches. We liked to howl and scream and talk shit in our knit sweaters and high wasters. We were all really feeling ourselves. But I had to take some exit-stage-left steps when the claws came out, when our cycles merged, the energy became too shared, I started to feel like I did in college, when I left the dorm and everyone else stayed. When I picked up strays and let them take me back to theirs. When I brought home strays knowing my roommate would be across the hall because that’s where they all sat, every night until late, blowing weedsmoke into toilet paper tubes stuffed full of dryer sheets. We were all always fooling someone.

But who’s left to fool? Just fools. Just me, being foolish again. Who’m I feeling, but myself? Quit looking back. In anger. At history. While trying to talk. I throw myself away each month. I clean the slate. But whose slate? Why waste my days worrying about whether people are gonna remember things my way? What was my way? Not enough to change a goddamn bridge name.

I want to do what I would want, bring myself into fruition. I want to smoke cigarettes and drink myself into oblivion, but have enough in my coffers to order a new nutrabullet in the morning, or a pair of heels, or a pair of flats. I want to quit everything and everyone, just to focus on the sounds of my muscles stretching, to hear my own rhythmic breathing, to chant naked on my rooftop, to go back to the witches and burn the ones that cast me out, because I didn’t leave them, I got the distinct feeling I wasn’t invited anymore, and I could hear it in every we missed you, in every Hey Tina, come back. I want to be nothing and everything. I want it all. I want it fast.

But also, and maybe most important, from my place to the bar, from the park to the porch light, I want somebody to keep a light on. I want somebody to tell me the truth, even if it means the end of a thing, just so long as we could both look forward, and let’s say we hated each other, and let’s say it’s getting late, and let’s say we’re saying it straight, that’d be a little more commendable than complacency. Maybe pressing the button one last time would mean no more at-will more-or-lesses.

I have fancied myself a great knower of things. The things I love have changed, and the way I love them has changed, and I’m trying very hard to keep the light on for myself, but I have to start at knowing nothing, I have to believe that I can start at nothing, I have to convince myself that I can believe in undoing, I have to undo every certainty to light this match, to light this way, to forget my footsteps, and all the dumb doors I’ve closed to head home. If I forget me. If forgetting me means beginning again. If begin again holds me upright, and holds me laying down, and holds me sideways. If begin again can mean what it says, I’d shake its hand, I’d forget it all, for a break from this state.

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