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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 (9/26)

February 26, 1991

Choose a different dreamscape

12:30am finds me on a grimy subway platform waiting for a late night 1/9. Bad feeling from a ragged black man w/a wad of bills. He crosses behind me, I slide in the other direction. Across the tracks (4 sets of tracks; 2 local, 2 express), through a lattice of girders + murk, a blond, female cop stands on the opposite platform. My man hisses. His voice low and scraping and very distinct across the silence of the near-deserted station: “Hey pretty!” Pause. She looks at him. 30 feet distance, both of them separate and safe… except for words, tone, an entire history of separate evolution floating over the tracks, between the girders. “Hey, pretty! Maybe next time we meet on better terms. Maybe I take you out in candlelight then…”

Her look never varies, never wavers. What does she feel? Is she used to this kind of thing? She’s a cop! She doesn’t have to take this shit!

My man coughs laughter. I’m tempted, for a flash to join him in that. He turns away, showing teeth, pleased + amused. Did he plan all this? Did he go over, in his mind, what he would say? I don’t think so. It popped, extemporaneous, from his disposition, his mood and a long history of interacting with cops, and women.

So I proof-read for 7 hours from a computer screen at the Am News. Easy, really. Kind of cush and kind of cake. Or pie. $80? I have yet to see any money. Tomorrow, again, I don the yoke and the harness. Proofreading Am News.

It snowed. All day. From a slate gray sky. Succeeding, finally (midnight), to turn the streets a slushy white. Rather unpleasant these thick wet flakes. I became thoroughly uncomfortable, trudging, lost to Amsterdam News, wearing the wrong shoes, at least wrong for the weather if not the job. Probably the job too, if I’m honest. Though nobody there seems the least concerned with attire.

But it snowed + snowed and still snows now, and when, beneath ground, in the city beneath the city, on the platform beside the worm, I raised my face to the wetness which drifted through the black, grate, ceiling, I could see nothing… just the black grate, but I knew I was down in the roots of the city.


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Comments (3)

  • New York in 1990. I was living on lower east side between 1988 and 1991. Did you ever go to Ludlow Street Cafe?

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