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There was a lot mumbling and muttering (or whatever the equivalent is in written form) about NYC during the Das Boot section, and whether or not Jay would end up there next. Well, sure enough, in these pages we find out he did. This section takes up almost directly after leaving the boat, and tracks his efforts during the first months to navigate the city and find a job and, maybe, love. Continues for several months in this fashion.

Hello, NYC! i (11/26)

March 7, 1991

Choose a different dreamscape

Perhaps I was rewarded… or maybe tested. If the latter, I’m sure I came up short. “Blood on her chest. The younger: a newer stranger. We could be having a sacrifice… or starting a religion.”

There I was at the top (more or less) of the world. Good god! We could see the whole river below… all of Riverside stretching up toward Columbia and the Riverside Church. In the other direction, downtown modulated + stacked, blocky and orange, glowing like a sunrise or a nuclear pumpkin bulging beneath the surface. Gray 2am sky turned ovaltine above the immensity of the power which churned and groaned + creaked + bulged from the ground.

The foundation is the subway: a flat + continuous rectilinear plain upon which the city was built. Of course, that’s not it at all… just ask Kim, the geology major, or Debbie (E. Asian Studies) or Cam (heaven forbid) the self-termed “feminist girl.” (A feminist girl, imagine that!) 

But did I maintain my… SELF throughout the evening? Or did I crumble, servile and whimpering like a puppy half-starved for treats and attention? The trick, I propose, is to keep the question (nay the notion) of sex, or sexual attraction, outside the equation. Which I determined steadfastly to do all night long. I refused to acknowledge the elephant in the room, so to speak. In fact, I still do. It’s simply not part of my analysis, no component there, sorry. Although, Debbie, it’s true, had a certain, shall we say… joie de vivre… and perky little breasts poking through her sweater. 

But I held steadfastly to my principles and philosophy of successful coed interactions. Kept all that other stupid stuff safely tethered and stowed away where it wouldn’t make me stumble and trip. And did that, then, make me ‘one of the girls?’ I think not. ‘Cause Debbie did rub her perky breasts against me as she guided me through the window to the roof. But perhaps that was because, as the situation stood, I was the closest ‘male’ thing available to rub against.

But LO! The city laid bare + recumbent below us, arms and legs spread and waiting for a hug, all sizzling and rose-hued, for us to… what? Leap? Hell, I for one was tempted, in metaphor if not literality, as I’ve been trying to do since arriving, leap into the void…

Artistic action by Yves Klein | Leap into the Void | The Met


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