24 Sept 20

Dad has bought me a cat, but it’s bluish white, longhaired, irritable, and very vocal. I ask Mom if she’s fed it yet, and she tells me she hasn’t gotten round to it. I point out that food is very important for cats. She tells me to feed it myself if it’s that important. I go to get the cat’s bowl, but it’s filthy — there’s a film grown over it. I begin to wash it out. While I do so, the cat is loudly complaining — and I realize it’s actually talking to me. “Don’t feed me, I’m not hungry! I don’t want that now!” it tells me. I suggest it might be thirsty instead and that I could get it some water. “Yeah, water sounds good. I’ll have that. Make me that!” I finish cleaning out the bowl and fill it with water, leaving it on the floor for the cat. I talk to Dad about this cat, and he tells me it’s very special, that it has Down syndrome. I didn’t realize cats could have Down syndrome, but I mention that, although I love cats, I’m really not so sure about this one. It seems like a rough situation; I don’t know why Dad thought it’d be great for me, but I’m not feeling too good about this at all.

23 Sept 20

Veronica calls an in-person meeting for as many bookstore volunteers as possible. We all show up at the store and listen as she tells us, distraught, that despite the social distancing measures we’ve all instituted, she’s caught coronavirus. I ask, “If you know you have coronavirus, why’d you have us all come here in person?” She isn’t even wearing a mask. The question passes unanswered. Afterward, talking to others there, I say, “This is a good example of what Freud calls ‘the sadistic quotient.’” Someone says to me, “You’re so smart, you seem to know everything.” I dispute that — recognizing sadism doesn’t really require that much brain power.

16 Sept 20 [fragment]

Jenn and I rush to catch a bus in NYC, to go pretty far downtown. We get on just before the driver’s about to pull away. On the bus, Jenn wonders if “Hillary’s back in town,” and I say, “If she is, we might as well get off and just walk back,” and then I sing “Take me to the river, drop me in the water.”

15 Sept 20 [fragment]

Aaron Copland tells me that, with the passing of Romanticism, certain kinds of silence have become inaudible. I think I know what he means.

28 Aug 20 [fragment]

“Enver Hoxha is the capital of Louganis.” Jenn and I are in a high school after closing time. We pass a janitor in one hallway and walk along unlit corridors. I say to her playfully, “Hey, you want to have sex here?” She says “No,” and we keep walking to wherever we’re going.

19 Aug 20 [fragment]

Regis Philbin repeats are playing on TV. He’s swimming laps really vigorously in a summer camp lake. It’s interesting that his death is not considered reason enough to stop running repeats of his talk show.

1 Aug 20 [fragment]

Someone tells me about the difference between preservation and conservation. I tell them I can’t tell the difference, even after they’ve explained it to me. I say, “If you’re talking about cat poop, either term just indicates you’re keeping the cat poop around, doesn’t it?” Got em there.

4 July 20 [fragment]

I travel beyond the places I’ve known and discover I live in Louisiana, toward the toes of the boot. I’d always thought I was in New York. It’s hot, though, and I need to learn to use maps. At home (New Jersey house), Jo comes upstairs into Mom’s room where I’m looking at myself shirtless in a mirror, flexing my chest muscles. He gives me an envelope with cash. I tell him “That’s not fair — you’re the one with the birthday!” He insists. I think we just give each other the same money back and forth. I wonder if he’s doing the same with Mom.

3 July 20

I bought 20 kittens to eat for $900 based on a recipe I found in a cookbook. I have them in my backpack and I’m going to a famous deli to see if they’ll prepare them. There’s a line out the door, and I’m worried about getting told off by the people behind me (why am I taking so much time?) and the person at the counter (why am I asking for something so off-the-wall instead of ordering something simple from there?). I’m not sure that the kittens are dead, and the more I walk around with my backpack full of them, the more profoundly I regret buying them for this purpose. I don’t know anything about cooking; I love cats and love taking care of them; I can’t eat anything exotic; I don’t have this kind of money to lose. I feel anxious even walking around that there’s something illegal about having this many kittens in my backpack, or commissioning someone to help prepare them. How did I get into such a mess? What have I done? Why am I here?

15 May 20

An early-season Tony Soprano speaking to his extended family: “These are the good years.”

8 Apr 20

In a large loft in the early 1980s, among gay artists and activists. We’re all going kinda crazy because everyone we know is dying. A woman says “Have you heard the news?” We brace ourselves. She mentions a theater artist we all know, then says “He survived.” In a strange way, that’s even harder to hear than if he had died. Because it revives hope, when everything is hopeless. How do you live with hope again after all this? Difficult.

31 Mar 20 [fragment]

Hillary Clinton gets a bunch of press for being in favor of a new war. I tell Louie I think it’s bullshit, that she’s only floating the idea to help Joe Biden get elected when he comes out against it. Louie laughs over the likelihood of this cynical analysis.

29 Mar 20

Some kids and I are being hunted down by Nazis. We go inside a large house we’ve never been in before, looking for a good hiding place or a secret way out. After a fairly thorough search, down through a Mondrian design tile floor to a basement boiler room, I think I hear Nazis following us. I find Nazi clothing in a closet — apparently one of them lives here, or has taken over this room — and I decide to dress in it and pretend that I’ve ‘caught’ these kids. It may give us enough room to get away from the Nazis following us, assuming my German is good enough and that my blue eyes are enough to distract them from my Jewish nose.

23 Mar 20

George has short hair and is wearing a white polo shirt. He tells me about a large Italian man who’s assisting two young men at a supermarket deli. The two young men appreciate the help, then affectionately call him ‘Spaghetti.’ The Italian man is deeply offended by this name. I say to George, “Just think how many ronies had to die before our people were given the respect they deserve.” We laugh.

24 Mar 20

Telling George about last nite’s dream. We laugh.

early Jan 20

Rockabilly song: “Meet Me in the Middle of the Sideboard”.

4 Dec 19 [fragment]

Going thru bad horror movies, at a video store and at someone’s home. I think we’ll end up watching Puppet Master II. I talk to a young woman sitting next to me about ‘psychoanalysis porn,’ where a guy is in treatment and ends up acting out his fantasy life to ‘cure’ him. “They made about 500 of those movies in the ’70s,” I tell her. Somehow I don’t think this factoid impressed her much, or endeared me to her. Oh well. Time to dig through a dumpster full of stupid videos.

12 Sept 19 [fragment]

I introduce J.H. Prynne to the poetry of J.H. Prynne. He’s a shrewd critic of poetry and finds it at least tentatively intriguing.

30 Dec 18 [fragment]
Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill conduct a comedy class. It’s boring, stupid, and unfunny. They’re going to have a guest speaker: Amy Sedaris. When she gets there, she pretends she’s crazy and full of herself — “You get to meet a comedy legend in person!” And she carries out the routine to its fullest craziness: she decides she’ll allow each attendee to suckle from her breast, and to take acid as they do. A woman starts this off. I go into a nearby room to have sex with a self-pleasuring woman in front of an audience. After the whole class’s craziness is dying down, I see Lenny and Danny Bloomfield among some bleachers, and I tell them I’m glad I decided to go into the other room. Personalized sex makes all the difference. Everything else retains at least an air of fear.

I introduce J.H. Prynne to the poetry of J.H. Prynne. He’s a shrewd critic of poetry and finds it at least tentatively intriguing.

9 Dec 18 [fragment]

Inside a supermarket as the food is going bad in 90-degree heat and no electricity. Who knows which things would still be edible? What are the telltale signs of bad capers, bad olives, etc.? This is a scenario discussed in a recording by Christopher Lloyd from the 1940s, about the dangers of relying too heavily on technology and the consumerist lifestyle. He went around the world with this warning message. I found this among some unfinished papers at a factory warehouse — there’s a balloon that’s losing its air, and when I try to expand it, it just loses air faster out its many holes.

22 Nov 18 [fragment]

Nightmare that our apartment door was wide open in the middle of the night. Couldn’t move to do anything about it. Couldn’t yell to Jenn to alert her or to correct the problem. [Woke up closed mouth screaming à la Harvey Keitel].

Kids next door discovered a hole in the closet they can get through. Two little girls crawl through to our apartment, pleased with themselves. Prior to this, an orphanage involved in a giant drug/prostitution ring has had its files discovered by law enforcement. They begin a vast and complex sabotage operation to kill off, injure, and destroy all people involved. I worry about infected blankets, etc. I even worry that the kids that snuck through the closet from next door might be suicide bombers. But they very likely aren’t.

Verity posts photos on Facebook of a lingerie shoot. Good for her.

25 July 18 [fragment]

There’s a millionaire funding a trip I’m taking that I don’t get along with. I think to myself, it’s dumb to get on the wrong side of the money man. Jenn and I are then riding on an open-topped cart. Three Latino men are in another open-topped cart nearby, with film equipment, recording. Jenn says something to me I can’t hear, then adds “You can’t deny that.” “I can deny anything,” I tell her. The guys recording smile as we both chuckle — they’ve evidently caught that. I think one of the men recording is the psychiatrist I visited the other day. I hope this turns out well — it’s hard to trust people who don’t express anything in return.

23 June 18

I decide I’ll need to be very careful not to stab my mouth while I’m trying to swallow a thumbtack. I succeed, then I realize it can hurt me much more once it’s past my mouth. I immediately regret doing this.

23 May 18 [fragment]

Meeting somebody’s parents for the first time at their ranch. Starts out as an email I’m trying to unsubscribe from, scrolling down through unnecessary photos of their car, their dog, their home. The email says something like “You can click unsubscribe, or you can sue us. If you sue, you are number ____ in line.’

11 Mar 18 [fragment]

Under fascism, people with pianos are required to either know how to play well or risk losing their instrument. There’s a lot of jazz pianist junkies just barely hanging on.

4 Mar 18 [fragment]

A teacher who looks like John Zorn has a clear plastic bag full of water with a large-eyed goldfish in it. He takes it momentarily outside the classroom door, in the rain. Then he brings it inside, to a large square fish tank at the front of the classroom. He mimes the problem of the day: if the fish is inside the fish tank, where can it hope to go? What is its incentive to leave?

25 Feb 18

I find a brand new coffin on the sidewalk. Smells good — should I take it? I want to — it’s sure to come in handy eventually.

The Bicycle Thieves screenshot