It’s Okay

“It’s okay if you lie about me,” I whispered. “In fact, I like it.”

“You like it?”

I pulled her closer and kissed her hair once more, still marveling at the fact that she was in bed next to me at all. We had moved from exaltation to exhaustion more times than I could count and our bodies were sore and battered. Each time I thought we might slow down or sleep there was a whispered word or the movement of a thigh. Something as simple as a breath would draw us back into each other’s sticky embrace and once again time would forget what it was supposed to do.

“You’re so honest and kind,” I said, pausing to kiss her lips and look into her eyes. “So I like anything at all that makes you go against your values.”

She buried her head in the crook of my neck and shook it back and forth, her hair in my mouth in an instant. I squeezed her hand, wondering if for just a moment I had said the wrong thing. When she finally looked up at me again she was grinning.

“I think this might work out well,” she said before kissing me once more.

-gny

Metamorphosis.

I awoke one morning to discover I had been transformed into a human.

It was a remarkable thing, and as I rolled over in the bed I found I had two hands each with five fingers, two legs and feet each with five toes, and a taste in my mouth that was akin to a smoldering camp fire. I wiggled my appendages, yawned deeply and stretched my new body as long and deeply as it could go. Between my legs was a cock which was curiously hard and the cool sheets against it felt like a summer breeze at night time.

My eyes could open and close on their own, and when I pursed my new lips a sound came out like the cry of an unfamiliar bird. I touched my face. Then my chest. I ran my fingers over my muscles and fat, marveling at the contours of skin and hair. I touched the hard thing between my legs to find it too was soft and firm at the same time, and a strange sensation of light shot down my leg in an instant.

I smelled coffee although I’m not sure how I knew what it was, and my stomach growled with a new hunger. The room was full of clothes I knew I should cover my body with, and yet when I finally stood and stared at my new self in the mirror I felt no desire to cover up at all. I turned this way and that marveling at hair and spots. I leaned left and right watching skin stretch and rolls form where they had not been.

I climbed back into the bed on all fours. I arched my back and shook my head. It took long moments to realize that the sound coming from my throat was laughter.

I smiled in the early morning light. I shook myself one more time before I fell onto my back, the laughter growing stronger until it was indistinguishable from tears.

— gny

Tags: new york prose

He Knows Nothing

Out of all the people I know I am the least kind to myself.

 

I have never met another human, or dog for the matter, who would say the things to me that I do on a regular basis. I have never met anyone who could look so closely into my deepest fears and concerns and push and prod until my whole self is raw and open. And I’ve never met another soul who could so casually and fully invicerate my good qualities with a laugh and a joke.

 

But I’m learning to tell myself to fuck off. I’m learning to look in the mirror and shut down the voice that tells me I’m less than perfect, and I’m learning to laugh right back at him with a grin, reminding him that he knows nothing.


It is hard. And it takes time. But if I know anything about myself, I know that I’m good at this shit.

A Million Things

I can go from crying to coming in less than an hour. Maybe less than fifteen minutes if I put my mind to it, and if you suck my cock like you did last night.

I walked in with my face a mess and my body covered in slowly drying sweat. I smelled of smoke and lunch, and you wore nothing but black lace around your tiny hips and a smile on your face as you leaned back in the kitchen drinking wine. I poured it all out (not the wine), because you allow it and ask for it and let it be what it is. The tears slowed down, the wine sped up, and within ten minutes we lay on the bed, your head in my lap as I slowly grew hard.

We fucked slowly. Within seconds our bodies were once again covered in sweat, but we moved inside each other, feeling everything, and wanting nothing.

That’s not true, we wanted, but we lacked a goal. We lacked a future at all. Instead you held me where I was, I slid inside you when it felt best, and we moved exactly as we needed to pull the most pleasure out of a fucked up world. We whispered and nibbled, we pinched and slapped, but in the summer heat we mostly fucked, escaping everything and leaving nothing behind.

There are a million things that can make sex hot, but very few that make it easy. Love helps, but it’s not always enough. Kindness can do wonders, and a willingness to listen and try are life changing. But there’s nothing that changes sex more than complete and utter acceptance; a willingness to let everything be as it is and feel as it does. A trust that each desire will be met with love and each need will be matched by a similar honesty.

We came with fingers inside each other. We came with simple words and slow touch. We came without any fear at all, letting each other be where we needed to be: in tears, in love, in compassion, and in hope.

-gny

Enough

I never dealt well with her longings.

In the evenings, on the stoop of her building, when we sat smoking cigarettes and drinking red wine from plastic cups, she often grew quiet and thoughtful in a disturbing way. I could see the lines in her face change, and her whole body shifted into someone I didn’t understand.

“I don’t want to live a normal life,” she said.

“Who does?” I responded, as if that was enough.

“I mean I don’t want to live life normally. It’s not the same thing. I don’t mind going to work and getting up early on weekdays. I don’t care about the laundry or the bills. That’s not what I mean.”

“What do you mean then?” I asked, picturing the life of an artist, sleeping ‘till three with an obsessive lack of caring about the details.

“You should know,” she whispered, lighting another cigarette. “I mean, you do know, you just want to forget.”

“I remember everything.”

“Do you remember when we had sex last week in the morning? I started to cry, and you stopped and kissed my eyes and told me everything was alright?”

I nodded, because it was the only thing to do. She often cried during sex, and I moved instantly from thrusting to holding her tight. Life was fragile for us both, and tears required comfort more than lust.

“Should I have kept going?” I finally asked, hoping to break the silence that had gone on too long.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said, stealing the last of my wine. “What you did or didn’t do doesn’t matter. That moment? Those minutes of tears, sex, love, and confusion? That’s what I want. I don’t want a normal life.”

“I swear I’ll never understand you,” I said, leaning back and looking up at the darkening sky. The buildings across the street were silhouetted by the sun, and the streets were full of people longing for anything that didn’t involve tears.

“That’s okay too,” she whispered, leaning her head against my shoulder. “I don’t need your understanding.”

All I could do was kiss her hair, wondering if she would leave or stay. Wondering if it was true.

Wondering if any of it was enough.

Doc Holidays

The music is too loud

and the patrons are unstable

 

they wobble, of course

but their eyes also

shift about the bar

and I wonder that

violence rarely breaks out

 

the beer is nearly warm and the

tables lean back and forth with the

hipsters shooting pool

 

on the ceiling I can still

see the stains

of yellow smoke

from years ago when

ashtrays were furniture

 

the smell is worse in the summer

and the air conditioner chokes

as it struggles to fill the room

 

but after twenty years

I have too many memories

to let go

 

when I look up

to the wobbly men

their shifty eyes no longer

seem nervous

 

I see them smile

I hear them laugh

 

there are many names

for where

we call home

 

Shudders of Envy

She didn’t want to know his name.

It was important that I did, but anything more than that would move it from one thing to another. It was a ledge she wanted to sit on, and if there were too many things to hold onto, the excitement would vanish with the fear.

He was waiting in the room when she entered, and I could feel her heart beating through my grip on her arm. Her eyes settled on him in an instant, and for a brief moment I wondered if she might change her mind. By the time she stood in front of him, we could both hear her breath, and when I reached the zipper on the back of her dress a sigh escaped her lips.

“Would you like to see her naked?” I asked, stepping up beside him where he sat. We eyed her up and down, her lip trembling in worried anticipation. His nod was enough, and I marvelled at his composure.

Her dress fell to the floor in silence. She stepped forward, closer to him since there was no where else to go, and his hands moved instantly to her hips. When I unclasped her bra and removed it she trembled, and when I finally slid the lace off her thighs, she sighed once more. I pulled her hands behind her back an instant later, and she stood in front of him, bare to his wandering eyes and hands.

“I thought you’d like her,” I said, watching him take her in, even as I kissed her neck, my grip never loosening. “But tell me. Do you want to fuck her? If not, I’ll simply take her away.”

Without a word he pulled her onto his lap, her thighs parting as she straddled him. She leaned back and groaned, feeling him hard between her legs, and when my fingers gripped her hair she was nearly coming.

“Yes,” he whispered, his hands on her breasts, twisting and teasing her body in an instant. “I do want to fuck her. Now, in fact.”

She struggled to move, her arms still held firmly in my grasp as he undid his belt. She struggled not to beg as he pulled his hard cock from his pants, her cunt opening around him as her hips moved involuntarily, trying to take him inside her. I kissed her mouth as she groaned, and I reached between their bodies, opening her lips and pushing two fingers inside her. She was soaking wet, her want as urgent as his.

“Are you ready?” I asked her, holding him against her. “Are you ready to get fucked?”

“Please,” was all she could say, mumbling the word over and over again as she struggled against us both.

A second later and it was done. He lifted her up, wrapped his hand firmly around his cock, and then lowered her back down, thrusting inside her in one motion. Her head rolled back, her eyes opened wide, and the scream that left her mouth was animal and uncontrolled. I pushed her down hard as he pulled her to him, thrusting his cock inside her, as she grew louder and louder with each passing second.

“I want to come,” she moaned. “And I want him to come. Oh god, I want both of you to come. I want everything.”

She bit her lip as I stepped in front of her, my own cock in my hand as I watched them fuck. I leaned forward, pulling a nipple between two fingers, pinching her harder and longer than I ever had before as she called out my name over and over again. He didn’t once slow down, and it only took minutes before she began to clench around him, her whole body starting to let go.

When she came, she shook the room. When she came time stopped, the earth shifted on its axis, and the heavens shuddered in envy. When she came she drenched his body, her cunt letting go of everything, spilling her release across his skin.

When she came we both followed instantly, him deep inside her, and me covering her breasts and neck as I pulled her to me with one hand wrapped in her hair. He kissed her mouth and then I did, all of us shaking and moaning without any words at all, our bodies flooding each other in wave after wave of pleasure.

She didn’t stop, even after we did, her thighs clenching tightly as she lifted herself up and down, his cock still mostly hard inside her. She leaned in, his teeth now finding her skin as she came once more, this time lifting off of him, exploding everywhere as the shudders took her from head to toe. Her arms around his neck, and his face between her breasts, she held him there struggling to say a word.

When she looked up at me there was adoration in her eyes mixed in with relief and the desire for more. She grinned and she shook when I kissed her. She closed her eyes as he pulled her close, and he held her tightly as she gently rocked above him, their bodies soaked with release.

It was a long time before anyone said a thing, and then it was just one word. She kissed him slowly and firmly before looking up and pulling me close.

“Again,” she said, her eyes closing as her hips began to move once more.

 

Shredding Our Memory

in the morning she lies between us

her lips parted and her body still bruised

 

the room smells of honeysuckle

and sex with a hint of coffee

just beginning to brew

 

he opens his eyes and smiles at me

our minds drifting back

to just hours before

as she writhed between us

begging

longing

needing us to

fuck her harder with each

breath

 

I can see the mark he left on a shoulder

and her skin

is red from my come

 

when she rolls to her back

our eyes open wider

and we lose all restraint

 

our hands begin to move

and her thighs part

shredding our memory

and replacing it instantly

with now

 

when she stretches her limbs

her body waking from a dream

it’s with a whisper on her battered lips

 

more she says softly

I want more

-gny

A Thousand Letters

When I think about the night we spent together it all piles up in my head, and it’s nearly impossible for me to pull any single detail from the whole. If I could write about sex with her it would be one word, the letters of a thousand others bunched up on top, sitting in one place, ready to explode. If I could write about her, it would be a thousand voices all speaking at once.

I know that I asked her for a kiss, and I know that from that moment on all of our words were whispered in ears as we lost clothes, tugged and scratched skin, and discovered things about each other we didn’t know. I didn’t know how hard she liked to be pushed until she whispered it in my ear. I didn’t know she wanted me to fight back until I pinned her arms above her head and listened to her breath. I didn’t know she wanted me inside her until she opened her legs and closed her eyes.

There were times when I wanted to slow down until the sensation of our bodies was the only thing in the world. There were times when I wanted to stop and stare into her eyes without moving a muscle. But quiet wasn’t what she needed, and it wasn’t what my body wanted. It was my brain telling me to slow down. It was my thinking mind so used to worry and fear that it nearly shut me off without noticing.

But somehow I managed to avoid it, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t her lips. Or if I said it wasn’t her words. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t her skin and her mouth urging me to forget everything. And somehow I did. Somehow I forget to struggle and I forgot to be afraid.

Somehow I forgot to think at all.

 

-gny

The Mess

“I’m not monogamous”, sounds different to me than “oh yeah, we’re poly” — with a long ‘o’ and a rolling ‘l’ like David Duchovny talking about bloooooogs. Not to skew the sample, but clearly I’m having a word issue today. Aside from the problematic latin/greek roots issue, what bothers me is that it’s a whole lot more work than simply saying no to an insane concept of outdated structures.

The word polyamory implies a history of relationship styles with an almost required hierarchy that is hard to predict. It’s Dottie whispering in my ear that I should be fucking all my friends and it’s Tristan asking me which box I fit into to see if we can be friends. It’s married couples playing with singles while laughing about summer homes, and it’s pony tails and sandals that seem to imply making an effort is the latest sin. I can own my word baggage (I have after all, read the right books) but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Sometimes I think the word ‘honesty’ might be enough to replace it. If I’m being honest, I do want to sleep with that person. If I’m being honest I’m curious to see where it goes because this crush is going to strangle me in my sleep. If I’m honest I don’t want to come home tonight, and if we’re both being honest we’ve learned how to say no a whole lot, even though it’s nearly impossible for us to say no to anything.

But what’s worse than the self-righteously honest? Oh how quaint, we say with a laugh. Why don’t you try telling the truth?

If we’re honest as a culture, people cheat. And if we’re really honest, we understand that we’ve created an entertainment industry based on unhealthy and unsustainable models of love that leave out a whole spectrum of feeling. If we’re honest as a people we’re often afraid, and we desperately hope that the solution to our fear is to hold on tighter and close our eyes.

But instead of saying, “this thing we do as a culture doesn’t work, let’s tear it down,” we’ve said, “let’s create an alternative that feels just as safe but allows a bit more freedom”. Let’s create a new model that we can swallow without having to accept the reality of the mess. The reality that love isn’t safe. That relationships are volatile. The reality that love is always a risk.

There is little difference in what we all do, as much as we’d like to claim some moral superiority based solely on the amount of hours we’ve spent processing with our partners instead of sneaking out on the weekend and fucking a stranger in the park. Some people lie, some people cheat, and some people write contracts that detail every inch of their agreements. But it’s all messy. When we let ourselves fall in love without restraint, when we let ourselves be honest with what we want in both mind and body, and when we let ourselves stop seeking a safe harbor, it’s messy.

But trying to clean up the mess is a sisyphean task of ridiculous proportion. Especially when the mess is what moves us so hard to begin with. Especially when the mess is the part of love that refuses to play our game.

Especially when the mess is the part of love that is bigger than ourselves.

-gny

Sunshine and Shadow

“I want to fuck you in the sunshine,” I whispered, pulling her closer to me. She was standing in front of me, my arms around her waist, in a dress that was so short even the squirrels were looking. She arched her neck and nibbled my ear, her voice teasing and firm.

“What’s stopping you?”

“People, the police, children, insecurity, whatever you have on under this dress. All the normal things,” I said, my hands on her thighs and moving up. The park was crowded, the sun was hot, and there was nowhere to hide. There was nowhere to slip off to and nowhere duck into.

“So, does this help?” she asked, easily wiggling her panties down beneath her dress and stuffing them into her purse. “I mean, that’s one of five. What were the other reasons?”

“I’m not sure I remember,” I whispered, my hand between her legs, feeling her warm and wet from more than just the sun. “And maybe that’s best. Would you stop me? Can I just fuck you right here on the grass, right here in the park, right here in front of the world?”

“You mean in the sunshine?” she asked, turning and facing me, her hand pressed firmly against my hardness. “Can you fuck me here without being afraid? Here without hiding? Here without caring about anything but how much you love and want me?”

“Yes,” I said, struggling to kiss her. Struggling to let the world go, and struggling to not care.

“Don’t be silly,” she said, stepping away. “There are children and cops, and people and stuff. And besides, who has the nerve? I don’t believe you. Trying to fuck me in the park.”

I watched her laugh as she ran off into the brambles, her short dress hiding nothing. I counted to three before following, and there was no turning back.

“Someone is in trouble,” I said, when I finally caught up with her. I was vaguely trying to hide my excitement as I chased her down the path, but it was the least of my worries.

“I certainly hope so,” she said, kissing me once more as we fell to the ground in the shadows.

Loving You

I don’t know what I’m doing. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that, and I’m honestly not looking for sympathy, but it’s the truth. I didn’t set out to write an autobiography, and I hope that’s not what this is becoming. I haven’t lived long enough or deep enough to make that worthwhile, but I suppose most of us haven’t.

What type of ego is it that makes us believe we’ve seen a grain of truth that others might have missed? That we personally have some insight that is worth sharing with the world? I suppose any time an author picks up a pen he’s channeling some of that, and maybe it’s not ego after all. In fact, we’ve all been told over and over again that it might be our job to shine. It might be our obligation to shout every revelation we have out to the stars and see what comes back to us.

For a long time I was something of an individualist. Not in the Randian sense of the word, but I read the existentialists and I was obsessed with human potential. What could I do, all by myself? It was each of us against the world, struggling to be a voice in a vast and lonely darkness.

Somewhere in time, however I read other things. I sat in meditation, and I began to wonder if in the middle of that ego driven world was a myth that was had to overcome. What if each of us was not in fact separate? What if I returned to at least the basics of my early liberal theology and remembered that if god is anything, she is love? I devoured Tich Nan Han, Annie Dillard, and Alan Watts, and it all became clearer and less clear at once. We do not come into the world, Watts says. We come out of it. We are not people in an expansive universe, we are the universe, exploring itself through touch, taste and sound by being human. Just as my chair and my desk are made up of atoms, the only thing separating them being space and time, so am I a part of everything. You and I are simply separate tendrils of existence, all connected to one beautifully complex thing whose only desire is to see more. To learn more. To be more.

And maybe that’s why we like stories. My story is in fact all of our stories. Of course our lives our different, our experiences too, but it takes the totality of human existence to tell it correctly. It’s not a very practical philosophy, but I’ve never been the most practical man in the world. Realizing that you and I are the same doesn’t make it easier when we fight and it doesn’t make the stranger on the train platform any more terrifying on a dark night. But there are occasions when it makes all the difference; when I can pause just long enough to realize I am fighting with myself. I am afraid of myself. I, that is to say all of creation, am constantly looking inward and pretending it’s something other.

So if I ask myself again, what am I doing here writing these words down, maybe the answer is simpler than I expected. Maybe if I wonder about connection and struggle, if I question my ability to communicate and thus escape my loneliness, it’s much clearer. I’m writing this for the same reason I wrote letters in college. I’m writing for the same reason I got drunk and walked the street naked with old friends, and the same reason I kissed a girl in the rain and mud.

I do love you, you see. We are separate parts of the whole, cut off by our thoughts and our experience as a sensing creature, but we are one. And for all of my life I have been desperately trying to feel the truth of that in my bones and my blood. I’ve been struggling to look through the myth of our being separate, and experience instead the reality of our connection.

But of course, loving you maybe easier than loving myself…

GNY

(note: this is from a longer piece I’ve been working on for a while. It’s not my typical QNY fodder, but I wanted to share it anyway. Hope you don’t mind.)

Awake

We didn’t sleep all night.

It was hot, but we found our bodies touching over and over again, each time lasting longer than the time before. She pulled away when I caressed her arm, and I rolled over when her knee slid too high up my thigh. Early in the morning I watched, not feeling connected to my body or actions, as I leaned in and kissed her bare shoulder. When she turned to her back, her legs parted and her hand on her stomach, I didn’t look away.

When my hand replaced hers, neither of us moved it. When my fingers traced the edge of elastic neither of us said a word. Her leg pushed against mine, her hand felt my skin with intention, and I didn’t stop. She moaned when I touched hair, and she parted her thighs wider, seemingly holding her breath as I leaned forward until my hand was hovering above her wet skin. I kissed her cheek, my fingers barely tracing her, and she opened her eyes.

“Kiss me,” I whispered.

When her lips touched mine, my hand dropped, fingers opening her even as our tongues did the same. I pulled her to me, kissing her harder as she struggled with my boxers, pushing them down until her hand was around my cock. We moaned and squirmed, losing our few items of clothing until finally our sweaty bodies were just skin against skin and it was too much.

“I want you,” I said, climbing between her legs and pinning her arms above her head. “Now.”

“Yes,” she said, lifting her hips off the bed. “Yes, yes, yes.”

It took effort to penetrate her, and I finally had to reach between our legs and guide myself inside her. But when it was done, when we were as close as it was possible to be, time held still right along with us. I stared into her eyes, she slid her hands down to my ass, and then finally we kissed once more before we started to fuck.

She came within minutes, her legs wrapped around me body, her teeth pulling on my lip, and my cock buried inside her. I breathed her orgasm, never letting go of our kiss, even as she shuddered beneath me. I slowed down only enough to feel her around me, clenching and trembling as she came, and then I was fucking her once more, needing to join her in her release more than anything I had needed before.

When I came she was laughing, her body still in convulsions as I closed my eyes and arched my back, thrusting inside her over and over again as my orgasm ripped through me. My toes tingled, my hands went numb, and it felt like every ounce of life, soul, and heart filled her at the same time. I gave over completely, letting go of the world, and for a few glorious seconds I didn’t exist.

We kissed for a long time, my body growing soft inside her. Her giggles spread to me as I pushed her hair from her face and stared at her knowing eyes. She was prettier than should be allowed, and I loved her impossibly.

“Do you feel guilty?” I finally asked.

“No,” she whispered, touching my lips. “I feel stupid.”

“Why stupid?”

“Because, you silly boy. If we had done that earlier, we might have fucking slept.”

-gny

Messy Thoughts on Language and Sex

The time has come the walrus said to rethink the language of sex. Or maybe I should say the language of love, emotion, heartbreak and ciriosis, because Christ you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak. But the meaning of insert tab A into slot B is an old story, older than even that of Amaterasu, birthing the world from her fiery womb. So what does the moon say and how talks the sunset when blankets aren’t enough? And in the middle of the night, which shifts from decade to decade, how now do slippery limbs find entrance? If our oldest stories stop before the moment, because they might be too sticky to share in the light, then it’s up to us to write myths again that stop far beyond it. It’s only enough to to say ‘they lay with one another,’ if you don’t remember the three thousand-four-hundred-sixteen variations that comprise the universal book of how to fuck.

There’s a long history of language that describes a man doing something to a woman, and for maybe all of history it almost made sense. At least in the most mundane of instances, in the common and the mud, in the barns and the fields where rutting was the norm and slot B was indeed put upon over and over again, it might have made sense. But history is written by those who can write, and those who can write often avoid the squishy bits, because putting a thing down on a page is oh so different than doing it in the flesh.

And the winners are always uptight. Maybe there’s an ancient myth to tell this truth far clearer, but it’s a truth all the same. From the Pilgrims to the righteous commies throwing down the Czar, the winners are always uptight. So the story is written over and over again without the grunting and the thrusting, all which is left to the lower decks and the darkness. All of which is left to those with nothing to lose; those who can switch on nothing without blinking an eye. Between monks, priests, and politicians, the history of sex has been written by those with no experience of it, and the times it has broken through into the masses, it’s been snuck in like a horse at dusk.

But Lucretia didn’t ‘slip down between the sheets’ with her lover, and Marcus never felt the ‘rush of waves as pleasure was won and lost.’ They fucked and sucked, the overwhelming smell of human behavior lingering in their nostrils as they made a mess of everything in exactly the right way. Sampson didn’t ‘delight in the love nest’ of Delilah any more than Cuchulainn ‘spent his bliss upon the womb’ of his lover. There was come and sweat and tears, and for thousands of years we’ve drawn it, painted it, and then hidden the words in the dusty waterfront bars and brothels where no one has enough money to make up metaphors for something they do as easily as they breath.

But now the world has changed once more, and while our great literature still stops short of describing the divine with all it’s warts and blood, the light is brighter. We can write a million sounds and a million words, each one taking us closer to the truth, but we’ve lost the poets and the heartbroken. We’ve medicated our way out of romance and channeled emotion into anxiety that can be cured in so many different ways. We’ve abdicated our poetry to Bang Bros and Mandingo. We’ve let it go, as we’ve done so many times before, asking someone else to shine the light in the places we fear the most. And shine it they have, often too brightly to see a thing. They’ve shined it on piss and shit, on come and milk, and they’ve shined it on rape with a laugh and a nod. The light shows anger, fear, and guilt, and as small men watch while their wives are taken by big black fantasies, we pretend that it was never us at all. It was not what we meant at all.

But there are a million words for a million things and they change every day, allowing us to say new things that have never been said. Allowing us to say new things have that been said a million times again.

If the photographer shows us the reality of a thing in stark contrast, forcing us to see it for what it is without the comfort of a muddy imagination, than the poet talks around it, hoping that her language might be a finger pointing at the moon. This way lies bliss and exhaustion. This way lies exaltation.

This ways lies the things we do in the dark.

 

-gny

Last Night At CBGB’s

I was born the year Patti Smith released her first album, Horses. She had just played a run at CBGB’s and it was quickly becoming the cool spot for rock ‘n’ roll. It was almost a new bar, and the scene gravitated towards it even as she discovered how to make music. As a kid I didn’t know much about it, and even as a teenager it was something of a foreign thing. But as I grew older I found myself dragged along by cooler friends. The bar was so famous by then, that it was nearly impossibly to avoid, and while always feeling like we had missed out on a better past, we went anyway.

I don’t remember the first time I went to CBGB’s, but I do remember the last. My friend Chuck Scott was in a band called Baby fronted by Craig Wedren. They were a great band, and probably the only band a friend of mine was in that I actually went to see. They were playing at CB’s right before it closed, and I went to hear them one last time before they moved out to LA. I don’t remember much of the set other than Free Los Angeles, but I danced, or moved a little, and I didn’t leave the front of the stage until they were done.

After the show I noticed a guy watching the whole thing standing next to me, and I stared through the flashing lights trying to make him out. When Chuck came off the stage I gave him a hug and told him he was great, before pointing out the new guy.

“That dude looks just like Ed Norton,” I said, realizing finally why he looked familiar. Fight Club had come out a few years earlier, but it was still big in the culture sphere.

“Yeah, he comes to all our shows,” Chuck told me.

“No, seriously,” I said, “he really looks like him.”

“No, seriously,” he said back to me. “Ed Norton comes to all our shows. He’s a big fan. He’s totally cool.

I stood next to Ed later at the bar, but I didn’t have the nerve to say anything. He was mostly by himself and he looked a little lonely, but even at CBGB’s he also looked a little nervous. Like we might all just descend on him at once, or even worse ignore him completely. An hour later Famke Janssen came in, and since we had all just seen X-Men she was just as famous as Ed was. They moved to a table on the raised platform on the left and sat quietly together for most of the night while the other bands came on.

I used to tell the story all the time—the story of how I met Ed Norton—but the truth is we just happened to like the same band, and we drank a few beers after the show without saying a word to each other. But I told it anyway, and while part of me didn’t want to care about that sort of thing, I was stuck with it. I wanted to talk to him, hell, I wanted to be his friend. I hated the fact, but there it was.

But more than anything else, I wanted him to know who I was. I wanted him to smile and point and say, hey, I know that guy.

More than anything, I wanted to be famous too.

 

-gny