It's my last day.
Chall left last night at about eleven pm to pick up his car in New Jersey and then begin the twelve hour drive back to Asheville through the night (crazy motherfucker). So we ride the subway back from possibly one of the best restaurants I've ever had the delight to be in, and he gets off suddenly at 14th to make his connection, hugging me briefly before jumping off, disappearing with the closing subway doors. I stay on, making my way up to Emily's place, jumping out at Times Square to make the connection...and there's this black guy with a voice like diamonds singing Otis Redding on the platform and everyone is joining in, singing along, swaying in time to "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay". I love subway riding. I take the C train uptown, get off, and walk back to Convent Avenue. New York is feeling like it is becoming mine.
God knows where the restaurant we went to was, somewhere around St Marks. We were taken there by Gelsinger after roaming the Metropolitan Museum Of Art for hours until we couldn't take any more in. What an incredible place, the highest ceilings, blossoms in the foyer. In the modern art section, I came across one of Yves Klein's Blue paintings, enormous, across a whole wall. It was startling, and a loud "fuck" escaped from my mouth before I could do anything about it. The rest of the Museum faded into silence, the Picassos and the O'Keefes disappeared into fine dust. I have never seen colour like that, an all enveloping blue, so beautiful, angels singing out from the resin and the pigment.
That's the trouble for me with art galleries and poetry readings (cinema and gigs are slightly better, your face is more easily hidden) - if I don't like what I see/hear then it's pretty tedious, but if I do like it then I want to be able to respond accordingly, and that sometimes is tears, laughter, the odd yelp, a bit of screaming. At the 'Howl' reading the other night I got a surprise bout of hysterical laughter and longed to climb out of my seat and roll around on the floor behind the back row to the sound of Ginsberg's gorgeous voice speaking of watches and alarm clocks, anal sex and opening antique shops. Instead, Chall and I sniggered like Beavis and Butthead while the man beside us pretended to be engrossed, but was snoring lightly. Outside, the Underground Literary Alliance got ready for a wig wearing/mouse trap waving hijacking of the Howl reading, in the name of the true rock and roll spirit of Ginsberg's poetry. Fantastic. Thank god they were there, (even if they were a bit silly). But I digress, and that is another story...so I stand there in front of this painting, and of course I cry.. it is like the embodiment of every line from Rilke, truly terrifying in its beauty. And it shocks me that in a world such as art or a land such as poetry, that, let's face it are full of eccentrics and crazy people, that I feel so self conscious about having a strong response to something that I presume is meant for, well, having a strong response to. And somehow the polititude of artistic appreciation feels alienating, wrong. Even so, I stifle my tears, turn my back quickly on the Rothko (just to be on the safe side), and try to give the semblance of an impression of a concrete human being.
So when Gelsinger said he knew a great Indian restaurant, but wanted to just check neither of us were claustrophobic, I did feel a slight wave of trepidation. When we arrived there, I could see this was no ordinary Indian restaurant. In fact, as we climbed the steps and looked through the front door, it became clear that it was totally insane. Gold and red decorations hung from every single space of ceiling, as well as strings of plastic chillies, beach balls, happy birthday banners, merry christmas banners, globes of the world, lanterns. As we entered, it was like going into a crazy gypsy caravan that was about to start rolling down the hill. We got seated at a very small, very cramped table by an Indian guy in a wide American flag tie, and the music was some fusion mix of Bhangra/funk/electro/gay-beat (!), and it was LOUD. Chall went off to the shop to get some beer, and the second after he left, all the lights went out (actually pulled out at the wall by one of the waiters), and this strange Indian camp version of "Happy Birthday" came on loudly over the stereo, everyone in the place began cheering and singing and clapping wildly, like some insane camped up dionysian rite complete with tinsel and drunkenness. And then, just as suddenly, the lights came back on and all proceeded exactly as before. We ate shrimp puri and samosas before being requested to move to another, even smaller table..
So today I am waiting for Emily to arrive back home as I have her key, and then I'm off to the American Museum Of Natural History to look at dinosaurs . I fly home tomorrow. But there's still time for more adventures before my plane takes off high into the sky. Fuck, there's been too many so far to begin to tell.