In February 2014, the Spanish poet Luna Miguel visited America and hung out with the alt lit writers of New York City.
Two thousand six hundred sixty-six (a summary of what I wrote in my diary during those four and a half days in New York City, world, galaxy, universe)
Tattooing ourselves is unnecessary. Why record on our skin what is already inside us. Why record those words if we don’t know them already by memory. Tattooing ourselves is unnecessary when our skin is already so powerful. When the words are so simple. When our love for those books has already scratched up our lives.
Kiss all the mirrors. Spit on all the buildings. The city is great and fearsome. The cold grips my veins. I am somebody and nobody. I eat and drink at all hours. I see Jacob’s tongue. I see Jordan’s hands around a beer. I see Gabby’s fingers, her cigarettes. I see Rachel’s long flowing hair. Stephen’s closed eyes, what is he dreaming about?
“I dream about death,” he tells me. “About death.”
And then he reads me this poem:
You know I listened to that song, “Human After All,” on the bus today.
Those life-affirming “robots.”
Human beings in costume, faces hidden. Standing on a pyramid. Crowds of thousands.
In order to establish a connection.
To create a memorable moment in time.
For no other reason.
In the summertime.
“Show me how to close my eyes,” I said, but we were already dead. In the living room, the cancers had been turned into songs. The songs had been turned into drugs. The drugs into cats: will I ever see them again? Sarah was drinking Blue Moon, Jonathan was caressing his own beard, Cris was dancing in a dark room, then two or three transgendered men threw themselves on top of each other, and then they ate chicken wings, and then I burned my tongue on some fries. Will I ever see them again? Elaine was singing Lana del Rey, Marisa was sad over a broken umbrella, Berta was absolutely beautiful, reading a poem by Dorothea Lasky. I hugged Dorothea. I hugged Tao Lin. I hugged David Fishkind. We survived the snowstorm. Poetry was stronger than the snowstorm! Everyone show me how to close my eyes, I said, but I was already getting into the taxi. Jet lag. Red eyes. Toilet water. And then, immediately, I felt like a better person.
I walk alone through Manhattan and see a theater where they’re showing a movie I have already seen: David Foster Wallace Takes a Stroll Through The Desert of Roberto Bolaño, the writer is Jordan DeBor. The movie shows us the two sad writers in a strange desert looking for milk and Diet Coke. Roberto and David holding hands. Roberto and David like two tiny heroes. Roberto and David dancing in the desert, on bare feet, burning themselves. But it is all a dream. I wake up alone in Manhattan and the air heater is making me sweat. There is a spider in the bathtub. Outside, the snowstorm.
I walk with Jacob. We buy clothes, we buy books, we buy magazines, we buy food, we buy Coca-Cola, we buy languages, we buy gossip and which writer fucked which or how many drugs this one takes and what they make, what they make, what these crazy kids make of their lives. Jacob is like a brother. Jacob is my brother. I know his kneeling silence as he knows my dead sailors.
We are dancing again. Look. There is a cat trapped under that chair.
I wear flower print dresses to obscure what I hold within. I drink something dark and miss my family. I wear flower print dresses to obscure the fact that I don’t know the language. How I want so badly to speak today. How I want just one bar of WiFi that would let me speak to him. But then he would already be in bed, curled up with our pets. I don’t know what time it is.
(Looking at Tutu’s menu and waiting for it to be 6 so I can order the cauliflower salad): I write just to write. Truthfully…what I am is hungry.
Things that I have not done and never will = eat noodles in Chinatown.
Things I have seen and never will see again = my Topshop shoes buried in snow, and Stephen intent on rescuing me.
Things that I wanted to say but could not find the language to say = Gabby Bess is the most talented writer that I know and I am profoundly in love with her.
Things I have eaten and would like to try again = the cauliflower salad because I waited until 6 for it.
Things that I imagined and would like to live for real = to make love with him in San Carlos, watching the snow fall, sweating to the powerful air heater.
I could invent a language right now. A language to invoke my loved ones. A language to write every possible poem. A language so that I could travel freely. A language so I could say what I don’t know. A new language, to think. The hands. The cigarettes. The beer. The bad smell from the street corners of Manhattan. The price of wine. The anchor. The long hair. The sound of our feet in the snow. The sound of Alt Lit rhythmically beating. The sound of the metro. The sound of Mellow Pages. The sound of the applause. The sound of the air heater. That which has already gone past. That which had scared me so much.
Translated from the Spanish by Luis Silva