Wednesday, April 26, 2006
7am, time to rest.
Despite my desire, I can no longer justify calling this an evening - the light has risen on yet another day and the birds are tweeting in what would usually be a charming manner, but at present it just reminds me of the fact that I am still WIDE AWAKE and it's 7AM.
Oh the joys of jetlag. This is my third night that has passed into daylight without a wink of sleep, and I've been told that I must break the cycle and set my alarm for 9am sharp tomorrow and get up, by hook or by crook.
I have diligently set my alarm for ten (well, 9 is just plain ridiculous), and will be dragging myself up in a couple of hours to meet the morning instead of stumbling into the outside world just as it is returning to its rest.
So after reading, listening to 'calming music', meditating, lying on my belly, lying on my back, arms by my side, arms flung out, swiveling 180 degrees in the bed for a change of scene, I am up and back at my computer - the one thing NOT recommended for a relaxing release. But fuck it, at least I'm getting some writing done.
I think somewhere underneath this somnambulistic state, I'm grieving. Yes, it is possible to grieve the loss of a city as much as any person, to feel a bond with it the same as one feels with a lover or kin.
Saturday night I made love to New York for the last time, stomping up rain drenched streets in unsuitable boots which got quickly soaked, cool liquid eating up my socks, creeping all upon my skin. A wild night, a beautiful night, where the wind came from all directions and the rain was all consuming. New York was sublimated, taxi cabs came and went, and I was adrift, timeless, a black halo bouncing in a room of light.
I will never forget the first time I set eyes on her. The plane had begun its descent towards Newark Airport, the air was grey as a dirty rag, mist swamping the distant landscape. And then, there she was, out of the corner of my eye, one of the strangest sights I have ever seen. New York, one of the biggest cities in the world: a giant, a deep complex force of laughter and aggression, splendid, unanswerable. But here she was beside me like the cutest toy town, her skyscrapers not menacing, not awe-inspiring, just strangely, disturbingly, endearing and small.
Shrouded in a charcoal mist, she looked so dirty, so smeared with grime: she was to me a filthy graveyard, her tombstones ludicrous and enchanting, blackened epitaphs to the pain of this city which was all I could see. The Statue Of Liberty was a stunted figure of mockery, looking out to the ocean from deserted swampland. And I knew, from this initial sight that this was a mystical city, born out of time and within it, built on dirt and grey, filled with the emanence of light.
I had told Chall a place we could meet in the city. We were to meet next to the painting "St Anthony In The Wilderness" in the Sienese section of the Met. A great, ambitious idea, I had thought, but as I strode with my weighty backpack in the rain and up inside the Museum doors, I was bluntly informed that I could not enter with such a large bag. And so instead, it was to be a first meeting beside the bins in the rain outside the Museum. As I waited for Chall to come out, I couldn't help finding the idea of this amusing. Finally he loped out, in a fawn coloured jacket, a stranger who had become a friend, who was still a stranger.
We went and ate a sandwich nearby. I felt ebulliant, he ate quietly, a pendant in the shape of a bird hanging from his neck.