Earshot

Tell me, what are you supposed to do when you’re strolling on the Highline and the couple walking behind you decides to break up within a span of ten blocks?

You’d only been vaguely listening to their chatter — the benefits of graduate school, someone’s weird party, ways to poach an egg. But then you hear the woman say I think we should end this. You pause for a moment to wonder if you heard it right, and then you realize that the man has paused too so you think This can’t be good just as he’s asking Did you really bring me up here to say that?


An emphatic Damn nearly escapes your lips and you can feel the rhythm of their steps keeping time with your own. She coolly answers, It’s as good of a place as any. You’re dying to turn around and see who these people are but you can’t — one of them is bound to be staring at your swinging ponytail at this very moment. The boardwalk is too narrow and crowded to move to the side and you don’t want to risk losing them in the stream of people.

The conversation turns to I’ll take my stuff out of the apartment and Some of my books are probably mixed in with yours. You think That’s it? It can’t all end, just like that? The silences hurt and you feel like a kid whose parents are getting divorced. But you aren’t their kid, you’re just another person caught within earshot.

In the space between strained mutterings you grow self-conscious of each step on the wooden slats, keeping your gait even and wondering if they suspect your involvement. As you’re passing a stairwell that leads down to the street you hear the man’s voice: I’m going to go. I’ll see you at home, I guess. You hesitate but you can still sense her behind you so you keep walking. She might be crying, you don’t know. You only know that he’s not there anymore.

The Highline is less crowded at this end; it’s your chance to look. You stop for the old tie-your-shoe trick but you’re wearing sandals so you just scratch a mosquito bite on your ankle. When you look up, there are several girls who could be her — young and alone, just like you.

Ankles in the Hudson

The boys took off all of their clothes and ran into the Hudson River. It was like a scene in a coming-of-age movie, except we had all already come of age. They splashed around until I couldn’t hear them anymore. I cracked open a watermelon in the dirt and didn’t have to worry about flies because the wind was so strong. The lights of the bridge and its massive steel beams took up most of the sky and I couldn’t stop staring. I stayed, waiting for the boys to finish playing, to escort me out of the park, back over the Henry Hudson Parkway to the surety of city streets. I was used to signs and lights and going about on my own. But stranded on the wrong side of the highway, the noise of the cars up beyond the trees, I watched them in the river and thought about how easy it would be to swim to the other side. Later, while they warmed themselves at the fading barbeque and ate the flesh off dirty watermelon rinds, I went over to the bank and took my shoes off. The sand was eerily soft, not like beach sand, but like mud or memory foam. I walked in to my ankles. The muck helped me stand my ground. I got dizzy. The currents. They begged me out, into the pull of the river, the bridge, the shores of New Jersey.

Dark Water

I feel soft sitting on the beach, watching the dark water roll in.
The wind is cold but the sun makes it okay.
She is sleeping now. Her body is coated in sand
Like a chicken cutlet drenched then dipped in breadcrumbs.
And her dress is hiked up, exposing blue cotton underwear and dark swirls of hair
On her upper thighs. Hand tucked under her chin and thumb pressed
Against her lips as if she were about to suck it like a baby.
I get up to wet my feet. The hem of my dress grazes the waves and when I come back
I look at her again, nestled into the beach like any dune or patch of seagrass.
She’s repositioned her arms, and there is a
Thumbprint of sand on her lower lip
From where her hand used to be.

A Conversation with Javier Marías

maybe humanity in general sucks but you have to admit, they’re pretty fucking adorable

art is supposed to bridge the gap between language and emotion…
– but get this! mankind has been thwarted.

under that bridge, there is a troll.
he frequently quotes david foster wallace and often delves into rants
about the death of post-modernism. he watches art movies
and likes blink-182 ironically.

he has no friends. he is severely depressed.
sometimes, he does drugs with other friendless, depressed creatures.
they all feel lightheaded and gratified for a few hours.
the troll even makes knock-knock jokes.
everyone laughs until the drugs wear off.

after that, they go back to being friendless and depressed.

one day, he gets bored
so he kills God to make a statement.
it was a publicity stunt, the critics start saying.

they’re wrong – he just did it because he had nothing else to do.
but that makes him sound like a bored failure
who uses art as a pretext to waste his life away.

he wants to want attention
so he says nothing and just keeps blogging about his dumb life.

nitrous

if we were rational animals, we’d be enjoying ourselves as much as that coked-up guy in jean shorts playing “holland, 1945” by the corner
but we have put away childish things

we have renamed our playlists “shit we liked in high school” on spotify

it’s sad. i am 18 tomorrow & still can’t understand the world’s subtler machinations
but hell, william james could only understand hegel under the influence of nitrous oxide

none of that is really important right now.
i’ve decided that the only important things to think about are the things that make me happy
like or share if you agree

i want you to call me out for the dumb things i say in front of the entire Whole Foods parking lot
i’m ready to face God
i want all my past deeds to be judged and then receive a bullet-pointed Quality Improvement Report from the Divine

i want you to imagine a teenage william james inhaling whippits before reading hegel
now imagine him furtively returning the unusable Whip-It bottles to the family refrigerator before his parents find out

if you think this is funny i think we will be friends

even though i don’t miss you

a documentary directed by Chelsea Martin and Elizabeth Ellen

my house is the reddest of all

insanity is an energy
so is softness
frozen heart trail
cobweb necrophiliac
your absence made them worse
your presence made them worse