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
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
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
"I NEED YOU ANNA!"
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 stares...no 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
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.