09 November 2008

room in brooklyn

It was in the summer, there was no school. His parents had gone someplace for the weekend and I was spending the weekend at his house, which was near Coney Island, in Brooklyn. We lived in Brooklyn too, in those days, but in a better neighborhood than Joey's. I think we had been lying around the beach, swimming a little and watching the near-naked girls pass, whistling at them and laughing. I am sure that if any of the girls we whistled at that day had shown any signs of responding, the ocean would not have been deep enough to drown our shame and terror. But the girls, no doubt, had some intimation of this, possibly from the way we whistled, and they ignored us. As the sun was setting we started up the boardwalk towards his house, with our wet bathing trunks on under our trousers.

And I think it began in the shower. I know that I felt something - as we were horsing around in that small, steamy room, stinging each other with wet towels - which I had not felt before, which mysteriously, and yet aimlessly, included him. I remember in myself a heavy reluctance to get dressed: I blamed it on the heat. But we did get dressed, sort of, and we ate cold things out of his icebox and drank a lot of beer. We must have gone to the movies. I can't think of any other reason for our going out and I remember walking down the dark, tropical Brooklyn streets with heat coming up from the pavements and banging from the walls of houses with enough force to kill a man, with all the world's grownups, it seemed, sitting shrill and disheveled on the stoops and all the world's children on the sidewalks or in the gutters or hanging from fire escapes, with my arm around Joey's shoulder. I was proud, I think, because his head came just below my ear. We were walking along and Joey was making dirty wisecracks and we were laughing. Odd to remember, for the first time in so long, how good I felt that night, how fond of Joey.

When we came back along those streets it was quiet; we were quiet too. We were very quiet in the apartment and sleepily got undressed in Joey's bedroom and went to bed. I fell asleep - for quite a while, I think. But I woke up to find the light on and Joey examining the pillow with great, ferocious care.

"What's the matter?"
"I think a bedbug bit me."
"You slob. You got bedbugs?"
"I think one bit me."
"You ever have a bedbug bite you before?"
"Well, go back to sleep. You're dreaming."

He looked at me with his mouth open and his dark eyes very big. It was as though he had just discovered that I was an expert on bedbugs. I laughed and grabbed his head as I had done God knows how many times before, when I was playing with him or when he had annoyed me. But this time when I touched him something happened in him and in me which made this touch different from any touch either of us had ever known. And he did not resist, as he usually did, but lay where I had pulled him, against my chest. And I realized that my heart was beating in an awful way and that Joey was trembling against me and the light in the room was very bright and hot. I started to move and to make some kind of joke but Joey mumbled something and I put my head down to hear. Joey raised his head as I lowered mine and we kissed, as it were, by accident. Then, for the first time in my life, I was really aware of another person's body, of another person's smell. We had our arms around each other. It was like holding in my hand some rare, exhausted, nearly doomed bird which I had miraculously happened to find. I was very frightened; I am sure he was frightened too, and we shut our eyes. To remember it so clearly, so painfully tonight tells me that I have never for an instant truly forgotten it. I feel in myself now a faint, a dreadful stirring of what so overwhelmingly stirred in me then, great thirsty heat, and trembling, and tenderness so painful I thought my heart would burst. But out of this astounding, intolerable pain came joy; we gave each other joy that night. It seemed, then, that a lifetime would not be long enough for me to act with Joey the act of love.

But that lifetime was short, was bounded by that night - it ended in the morning. I awoke while Joey was still sleeping, curled like a baby on his side, toward me. He looked like a baby, his mouth half open, his cheek flushed, his curly hair darkening the pillow and half hiding his damp round forehead and his long eye-lashes glinting slightly in the summer sun. We were both naked and the sheet we had used as a cover was tangled around our feet. Joey's body was brown, was sweaty, the most beautiful creation I had ever seen till then. I would have touched him to wake him up but something stopped me. I was suddenly afraid. Perhaps it was because he looked so innocent lying there, with such perfect trust; perhaps it was because he was so much smaller than me; my own body suddenly seemed gross and crushing and the desire which was rising in me seemed monstrous. But, above all, I was suddenly afraid. It was borne in on me: But Joey is a boy. I saw suddenly the power in his thighs, in his arms, and in his loosely curled firsts. The power and the promise and the mystery of that body made me suddenly afraid. That body suddenly seemed the black opening of a cavern in which I would be tortured till madness came, in which I would lose my manhood. Precisely, I wanted to know that mystery and feel that power and have that promise fulfilled through me. The sweat on my back grew cold. I was ashamed. The very bed, in its sweet disorder, testified to vileness. I wondered what Joey's mother would say when she saw the sheets. Then I thought of my father, who had no one in the world but me, my mother having died when I was little. A cavern opened in my mind, black, full of rumor, suggestion, of half-heard, half-forgotten, half-understood stories, full of dirty words. I thought I saw my future in that cavern. I was afraid. I could have cried, cried for shame and terror, cried for not understanding how this could have happened to me, how this could have happened in me. And I made my decision. I got out of bed and took a shower and was dressed and had breakfast ready when Joey woke up.

I did not tell him my decision; that would have broken my will. I did not wait to have breakfast with him but only drank some coffee and made an excuse to go home. I knew the excuse did not fool Joey; but he did not know how to protest or insist; he did not know that this was all he needed to have done. Then I, who had seen him that summer nearly every day till then, no longer went to see him. He did not come to see me. I would have been very happy to see him if he had, but the manner of my leave-taking had begun a constriction, which neither of us knew how to arrest. When I finally did see him, more or less by accident, near the end of the summer, I made up a long and totally untrue story about a girl I was going with and when school began again I picked up with a rougher, older crowd and was very nasty to Joey. And the sadder this made him, the nastier I became. He moved away at last, out of the neighborhood, away from our school, and I never saw him again.

james baldwin. giovanni's room. 1956. pages 6-10.

24 September 2008


it's our conviction that watching these will make you a better sapient creature. only you've gotta watch them all in order, in one sitting, and you have to watch them in full screen mode [in high quality (if available on youtube) or in detached video mode (on mtvu)]. don't forget to maximize volume level as needed. mission orders relayed. over and out.


15 June 2008


copernicus crater

john coltrane - like someone in love [jimmy van heusen]
adam green - when the pretty face
heliocentrics - flight 583
amon tobin - ever falling
elbow - one day like this
black spade - she's the one (20's love song)
man man - doo right
the kooks - mr. maker
masta ace - good ol' love
max roach - tender warriors
mark ronson with kasabian - l.s.f.
patrizia and jimmy - trust your child, pt.1
elliott smith - figure 8 [bob dorough]
air - left bank
klimek - ice storm
laura veirs - lake swimming
the white rabbits - untitled (daytrotter session)
the ruby suns - oh mojave
goldfrapp - eat yourself
cut copy - eternity one night only
guillemots - falling out of reach
roy hargrove with common - freestyle
kelley stoltz - put my troubles to sleep
fleet foxes - sun giant

amaranthine haze

brad mehldau - wonderwall [oasis]
the black keys - work me [junior kimbrough]
grandaddy - where i'm anymore
nina simone - you'll never walk alone [rodgers and hammerstein]
fleet foxes - innocent son
the dodos - red and purple
spiritualized - yeah yeah
islands - to a bond
bon iver - for emma
charles mingus - hobo ho
clinic - the witch (made to measure)
man man - whalebones
animal collective - cuckoo cuckoo
radiohead - 4 minute warning
shearwater - sing little birdie
immortal technique - open your eyes
immortal technique with diabolic and raskass - the payback


dosh - kit and pearle
emc - leak it out
fleet foxes - he doesn't know why
the french kicks - all our weekends
eliot lipp - the area
portishead - the rip
vetiver - hurry on sundown [hawkwind]
bun b with mya - good II me
cold bleak heat - pound cake
future sound of london - lifeforms (path 1)
times new viking - teen drama
shearwater - all the pretty horses [traditional]
erykah badu - me
vampire weekend - one (blake's got a new face)
death cab for cutie - you can do better than me
q and not u - everybody ruins
wolf parade - fine young cannibals
m83 - midnight souls still remain

cross-fade appropriately.

03 February 2008

the bioavailable five

"Brainerd between Commonwealth and Cambridge St. is a sine wave of lung-busting hills through neighborhoods Tiny Ewell had described as Depressed Residential, unending rows of crammed-together triple-decker houses with those tiny sad architectural differences that seem to highlight the essential sameness, with sagging porches and psoriatic paint-jobs or aluminum siding gone carbuncular from violent temperature-swings, yard-litter and dishes and patchy grass and fenced pets and children's toys lying around in discarded attitudes and eclectic food-smells and wildly different-patterned curtains or blinds in a house's different windows due to these old houses are carved up inside into apartments for like alienated B.U. students or Canadian and Concavity-displaced families or even more alienated B.C. students, or probably it looks like the bulk of the lease-holders are Green-and-Bonkesque younger blue-collar hard-partying types that have posters of the Fiends In Human Shape or Choosy Mothers or Snout or the Bioavailable Five [241] in the bathroom and black lights in the bedroom and oil-change stains in the driveway and that throw their supper dishes into the yard and buy new dishes at Caldor instead of washing their dishes and that still, in their twenties, ingest Substances nightly and use party as a verb and put their sound-systems' speakers in their apartments' windows facing out and crank the volume out of sheer high-spirit obnoxiousness because they still have their girlfriends to pound beers with and do shotguns of dope into the mouth of and do lines of Bing off various parts of the naked body of, and still find pounding beers and doing bongs and lines fun and get to have fun on a nightly after-work basis, cranking the tunes out into the neighborhood air."

footnote 241 : "Popular corporate-hard-rock bands, though it shows where Bruce Green's psychic decline really started that, except for TBA5, these bands were all truly big two or three years past, and are now slightly passe, with Choosy Mothers having split up entirely by now to explore individual creative directions."

david foster wallace. infinite jest. 1996. page 582.