Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Collector

That strange little house in the middle? A hoarder lives there.

Across the street is my favorite neighborhood café. The people who work there tell me that they gather at the plate glass windows every time someone sounds the alert that the Hoarder's door is opening, hoping to get a glimpse of the interior.

The other day, walking by, I finally got my own chance to see the sun-starved marvels of an unhinged mind. The door was flung wide, almost defiantly wide it seemed to me. The Hoarder was on his step, verbally abusing a young man who seemed to be an assistant of some sort.

I glanced inside, in the studiedly casual way that all NY-ers have developed; there is a lot to look at, surreptitiously, on any given day in NYC: dramatic accidents, street brawls, supermodels and superstars, robed psychotics denouncing their particular demons in high oration, men dressed as horses, fabulous homemade shoes and unlikely pets on leashes. It is well worth honing that skill, the stealth assessment, so that one need not miss a moment of the glorious horrible insanity of the city.

What a revelation was the Hoarder's Collection. Teetering ceiling-high stacks of old newspapers formed a dark mad cathedral, the path between these pillars so narrow that I have a hard time understanding how a Brooklyn rat could pass through, let alone a portly old man.

What nightmare vision created his home, what nightmare sustains it? What chases this man down, forcing him in daily retreat further and further back into this cramped stifling warren of newspaper? I can only imagine that he is shoring up his days and ways against an onrushing tide of fear, in the only way he knows how.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Bones of the Father

It turns out that when you are cremated, not all your bones are burned to ash. I discovered this when, curious, I opened the box full of dad.

For a long time after he died, I wore his bone shards in a silver locket around my neck. When I finally grew tired of being haunted, I removed the locket and tucked it away. Today, seven years later, I found it again.

That endless wild roaring sea of grief (irreducible so I once thought) become the dry rattle of fragment against silver.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Call Bullshit

Of all the smarmy, overwrought, misguided memes to come to light on social media over the past year or two, this one has to be the most loathesome (it's a link, in case you'd like to view it):

"abused" woman takes photos "every day for a year" to illustrate how harrowing it is when a stunning model's pristine beauty is marred by some special effects makeup

I guess the generic piano music (which, by the way, can be heard on countless heart-wrenching meme-ish vids, my God that composer is getting royalty checks as numerous as crocodile tears) makes this somehow worthwhile? or is it the lonely heartbreak of the glamorous "victim," so lovely that we either want to help her or bed her?

Domestic violence is a problem, OBVIOUSLY, but trumped-up pretty manipulation isn't going to help one damn bit.

Battered women, like rape victims, suffer from this sort of portrayal. It's the difference between watching hot chicks in knickers get slaughtered in films, and going to the scene of a real murder. One is titillating, the frisson of horror is almost fun, hell you might even get off on it, and the other one...

well, the real thing, most people probably can't handle.

Hence the popularity of these attractively manufactured gut punches. I call bullshit.