Ether of your skin

Three More Expediencies:


Everything is connected. Same familiar cadences of names, places, colors, sounds, rhythms, poses and regrets. I used to work for this couple, they were industrial designers. They had an office at their home in North Africa, one in Paris, and one with the studio they kept in NYC. I managed the New York studio. Part of my job every Monday morning was to go to the flower shops on west 27th street and pick out two bouquets of flowers: one for the entryway to the studio, and one for the vase in the conference room. I worked for this couple for about six months. Altogether, they spent about a month in New York. That did not matter: I was to buy a fresh new bouquet of flowers every Monday morning and throw the previous week's flowers away. The designers who worked in the studio, constantly in video chat with the designers in Africa, would tell them if I had not bought new flowers. When they hired me, I told the girl who was training me (who I was to replace) that I knew nothing about flowers, could hardly choose a new variety every week on my own. Was there, perhaps, a favorite kind of flower? Or a favorite color, which the head boss designer mistress preferred? No. I was told that it had to be a new arrangement (two new arrangements) every Monday morning. Only that I was never to buy any roses or carnations. She hissed. As if I should already have guessed this. I was told that the flowers were a rare opportunity at the position for me to express some of my creativity. It was all up to me. It could be whatever I wanted it to be, as long as it was right. As long as I got it perfect, all on my own, with no intervention, or correction, or input; I was set.

Shopping for flowers every Monday morning became a recurring stress-test. I hated it. It was the bane of my existence. As I said, the owners were rarely in town to see whatever weird flowers I ended up with (I chose a different kind each week, figuring I'd eventually stumble onto something nice). I remember once, when the couple was in town, I came back with an armful of dahlias and I put them into the two vases and I watched my boss wait for me to sit down at my desk, get from her desk across the room, and with a swift single motion, grab the handful of dahlias out of the small vase in the conference room, throw them in the trash, and walk over to my desk. She tapped a pair of $20 bills onto the table and said "I feel like something yellow, instead."


- Be ungenerous.
- Teach them a lesson (a thing or two) about pain.
- Measure everything twice. Cut it twice also.
- Worry/be scared.
- Don't do anything to upset anybody, ever. Ask for permission. Ask again.
- Remember everything. Keep track. Hold grudges.
- Don't dawdle.
- Everything matters and everything counts.
- Stop. Close your eyes.


FABLE: Kid from the suburbs reads in a magazine/sees photos on the internet of glamorous overpaid NYC model kids, fresh from college dorms, flocking downtown to engage in a chic new form of drug use or self-mutilation. Kids grinding up expensive glasses and mixing them into their food. Applesauce, mostly. Vodka. One girl in Belgian fashion magazine is seen crunching a spoon full of glittering strawberry yogurt, all curdled with blood. She's sitting in central park and behind her is the Dakota and it is standing ominously. So the kids transmit the idea that this is the good cool thing to do: eat ground glass.

Poor kid from the suburbs wants to instantiate something beautiful, takes a bus or college education to get to New York. Orders expensive glass bottles on credit card and takes them to his shitty rented room in the ghetto on the outskirts of town. Plays a new rock and roll band's CD some faggots swaggering singing in cockney and poor kid from suburbs carefully, cleanly (he thinks) grinds up glass bottles like he sees in TV and spreads it over his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Just like his mom used to make but now he moms himself yum yum. He eats it with a glass of cheap red wine chilled by the draft from his apartment. The slumlords don't turn on the oil for poor kids. He stares up at the moon as he eats the ground glass sandwich and thinks for the first time that it's so close, everything in the Universe is getting constantly closer and more possible. Kid from suburbs in new Big City feels a strange and unfamiliar, glamorous exciting ache in the back of his throat, as the glamorous ground class shreds him from the inside. Bang boom dead. Compost, the kids in magazines call it. Getting back, they say, to nature.


There is no sound in outer space (it's silent-- there's no air out there, so there's no sound).
Probably there is nothing worth hearing or saying out there, either.

1 comment:

rbtsps said...

That's pretty damn nice. I think about a lot of that a lot.