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  • annacopacabanna

Time Capsule 2003 "To Look For America"

A little something I wrote July 12, 2003

On my 1 year anniversary in New York City, I am woken

up by a warm, mixed-up body. He takes longer showers

than I do. It is hot and the air conditioner is

louder than the endless construction outside. We kiss.

We roll around, and mumble "don't wanna go to work",

but we get up and I wear my red spotted tie with my

plaid shorts and knee high stripey socks. It's a little

cooler than we thought.

"Goodbye" and I walk out to 34th street. My street. The

Empire State Building's street. This is my wave good

morning and the huge sign on the other side of the


"new yorker"

It's real huge.

I pose with my hands over my face for a well known NY

Artist. He pays me cash and tells me about Italian

horror directors, plays me the Rolling Stones and

Cranes, and says my eyes are a great shape. Some

people have eyes that just blend into their face but

my eyes are a definite shape, he says. I look at the

drawing and my eyes look CRAZED. All that horror movie

talk. He drew his father the moment that he died. He

tells me ever since his father died, NYC has not been

the same.

I have 60s yellow nail polish on.

I run to catch the subway downtown, and buy fabric for a

psychedelic dance costume on the way. I pass out

flyers for the Rififi psychedelic party I dance for. The

sleazebags whistle and call me "mommy".

"Eat my shorts", I say to myself. I'm wearing shorts. I

talk to myself like a madwoman, but everyone does


so delete the madwoman.

Eat my red and blue plaid shorts, Motherfucker.

I work at a second hand clothes store on St Marks

Place between a tattoo store and guitar shop. I stand

out there with the guys from the other stores when

business is slow...we wolf whistle each other and "talk

shit". Leon upstairs yells at me that I am playing

THE SONICS too loud. I sell some fun vintage clothes,

curse at some cheeseballs who want to buy trucker hats,

and then Marie Claire photographers want to take my


They'll never put a girl mixing polkadots with plaid in

their magazine. Come on...

The photographers cry at me "never too much colour!!"

41 yo punk rocker Arianna bursts in


She gives me a dancing gig for Sunday night at the

infamous MOTOR CITY bar ...anniversary party from 4pm

to 4am. The theme is Vegas. All old school rockabilly

and garage music to dance to. She rants and raves for

an hour about the state of NYC. Says NYC

is full of young people with no soul. She tells me I

am rare but to be careful...because people might try and

steal my "style".

I nod, smile, close the store and run home to change.

He's wearing stripes and I wear a red and yellow plaid

jumpsuit with red knee highs and lace up platforms.

There's a red ribbon in my hair and we go dancing at

UNION POOL. Outside there are bright lights from an

Italian feast, stinky garbage, and a Brooklyn Eminem

yelling at me.

No one is dancing so my Go Go partner Colleen and I

get up and shake our THANG . DJ WHITESHOES

plays 4 songs in a row about Go Go Dancing gals and

Colleen and I dance and dance. We are smiling and the

rest of it is white. Blurry. Just two girls smiling

like it would hurt if we stopped smiling. We danced

and we danced and we knew that nothing else mattered.

No one could take this away from us. That we were the

Go Go girls of each song- even the French one. We were

in it...everything beyond that bend and kick was FADE TO WHITE.

I can't tell you. I can't tell you what it

means to dance with this light protecting you.

No one else matters.


We roll over skateboards and a small shower of rain

to get home.

Something tells me to stay here. When people say I

look like Madonna. When people say New York is so

"hard" but the grass in Central Park is so soft.

I know that the balance, the scales are off here. I

know enough about NYC to know it needs several trips

to the analyst and quite the massive chill pill

and what has it done to me?

From observer to participant and initiator of the very

definition of the big apple- the city that never


I don't rest. Nothing about me rests here. I can't.

The city doesn't rest and I won't sleep through the


The weather. The tension. The love. The fragile stand.

The exuberant dance. The need to paint the town my

colours. Falling over- I have the scar on my knee to

prove it. I never stop screaming at cab drivers and I

never stop raging against 80s fashion and I never stop

laughing at the joy.

Is it possible to plant joy into the shitty pavement?

I live with an Artist. No one can say his name right

and we live on the same street as the Empire State

Building- halfway between Times Square and flamboyant Chelsea.

I strut downtown to the soundtrack of a movie star-

the gasps, whistles, come ons, "Fuck You"s. The

beeps and the one rests. The judgements

nor the accolades. Sometimes I feel like the

quintessential New Yorker, and sometimes I feel like

the loudest, most prominent alien and why can't I just

run to Coogee Beach..climb one of those old rocks and hide

a while. The water and the sound of the water.

And we have been punished for Bush's sins..the longest

"most bitter winter in years", a flooded spring, an

economy weak and ashamed.

New York- the eternal manic depressive goes from despair to

excitement in a second and so do New Yorkers.

Do I still love NYC after war, dry winter hair,

blizzards, Electro-Clash, and lack of manners?

The constants remind me of the individual's WILL. Why

people come to NYC. Not the models, hipsters,

scenesters, jokers, but the Basquiats...the man who sits in the 14th

street subway on 8th avenue every day and just paints.

One painting after another. How he grins.

The constant "have a great day" war cry.

The Korean food, and the way I make people laugh.

The steady murmur of an old woman's hymn on a street

corner, and the need for rock and roll to EXPLODE.

Riding down the Hudson River and talking to a skeleton

building from the other side of the water. Dancing

like the poor Madonna and rolling on Central Park

grass- feeling the bugs like the seeds planted of all

the confused enlightened poets who lay there before


who has time to rest?

There is a part of me that cannot bear to let this go.

This New York City...crazy people who don't ever shut

up...who make me feel appreciated and understood...make

me feel young and silly. I want to get lost in Central

Park every day! I want to ride my bike and eat

spanikopita from the place on 9th avenue, and I want to see people

dance on the corners and

sing because they don't give a shit.

I grow into a new skin, watch The Monkees, and cry because Al

Pacino is such a good actor.

And another part of me feels like this America is

always going to be a distant cousin. I can't live in a

country that seeks out war. Did I feel so so lonely

when it escalated? Did I feel so alienated? So unsure

of where I should live?

But I am


Learning. More

people stay to watch than turn away from me.

I hide to immerse myself in the great big apple.

To learn more and be more, I hide

but everyone finds me.

They know my real name.


Anna xxo

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