We knew there was more, round into round, swirling, ribbons twining.
Crisp crack of snow iced over, sun dazzling a sea of white, disrupted by horizontals, trees and bushes, lumps of cars, useless old barn, never painted, wood rotted, windows without glass, dodging holes in the floor, rusted cans and junk and bare earth below…
Tracks, an adventuring dog, not quite regular cut-along-this-line trail passes into winter fields.
Painfully clean arctic winds advance behind snow like polish.
This is Sunday. Quiet.
I’m up first, hoping for something, expecting something.
Morning, bright and clean, square in the middle of infinity.
On the bare hill, sunrise spread like a veil, down to the creek, water gurgling, bubbling under ice. I see without looking, twisted shapes where currents carve a route, snow hanging over raw, earthen banks, fallen tree carves the current into rippling channels.
There’s more, stretched like forever in a gap between this and that summer night forever tickled with Sandy’s laughter, laughter just to be silly, shared secret with her girlfriend, Danny and I baffled outside their loop.
And the gap widens.
We fill it in.
We fill it in from dreams to skyscrapers.
We fill it in with lined, three-ring paper, bought for school, abandoned on my desk.
“Fuck ‘em,” better things to do, to daydream, to look out the big windows at green leaves jiggled by sun, to play music and sing with it, imagine the safety of love, wonder about sex, play baseball, write unfinished novels on lined, three-ring paper intended for assignments dished out in classes where I learn what I already know, and so want to be nothing more than free to follow the distant, unmistakable call we’re taught not to hear…
Rolling up 2nd Avenue, acid blossom of exhaust fumes, trucks with addresses like Maspeth and Totowa competing for lanes, taxis dart in, dart out.
Once, I saw a bulky woman, her car rear ended by a cab, swing open her door, get out and, without closing it, walk back and punch the cabbie through his foolishly opened window. Had enough of New York City’s fucking chaotic traffic. Another time, on Park Avenue, a disgusted cabbie threw an inadequate tip, all coins, at his departing riders, a dad shepherding wife and kids toward the sidewalk.
New York’s alive with this.
“I don’t believe what I’m seeing,” sighs a woman standing next to me, waiting for a WALK signal on 3rd Avenue, down around 28th or 29th, where Albuquerque used to serve those huge hamburgers and Steve and I treated our upstate visitors.
Unkempt man, long hair, filthy clothes, pisses, nodding our way, into a curbside drain.
At the time, so many killings in New York, ten every day, most never break as news, even in the scavenging tabloids.
But there was always more.
And you could feel it, walking through MOMA, into the room they used to fill with nothing but Matisse, Matisse and more Matisse. My wife’s love for Matisse rejiggered by visual orientation, juicing it for more, to discover more, to feel it poured out beyond the canvas.
Down a long corridor, a room devoted to Monet, pulsing blues and purples and greens. New York, New York, all its murder and mayhem and always making space for Monet and Matisse…
Up 5th Avenue, room after room of Bonnard, Van Gogh, Vuillard, Cézanne, Degas. Blocks away, killings by the day, drugs, rape, children destroyed, always so much more.
Walk south through the meadow. Midtown towers too large and too many to be real break the end of the park. If you walk through at dusk, the colors soften all contrast, hues wavering as they change, reinventing the universe, moment by moment.