The September Project

Thursday, September 30, 2004

9.2.04--2:28 a.m.
(really 9.1.04)

first day at work since republican national convention
walked up 8th avenue
and was stopped at 30th street
and told to head up to 9th avenue
took 9th avenue to 35th street
and was told to go back to 34th street to head east.
once there the sailing was fine.
later on i went out to grab lunch
and it seemed like one of those august days
where a chunk of the office has gone on vacation,
only the chunk was almost all of the office.
tomorrow i'm taking a side exit of my building,
heading toward 9th avenue before they tell me to.

9.3.04--3:06 a.m.
(really 9.2.04)

my roommate Tom called.
he didn't have work tonight.
was i going to watch bush's convention speech on tv tonight,
could he watch with me.
i told him sure
and 90 minutes before the speech he's back in the apartment.
80 minutes later, bush about to go on,
Tom goes out onto the terrace,
hears the protesters in the middle of the three blocks separating
the apartment from madison square garden,
and says he's got to go, he'll be back in a bit,
grabs his reporters pad, and leaves.
i flip to watch bush's speech,
and 40 minutes later Tom gets back halfway through it,
as we open the terrace's sliding door,
helicopters and protestors joining the president.

9.4.04--1:51 a.m.
(really 9.3.03)

they've reopened 8th avenue
the Republicans gone to all points
there's still one police officer in front of an empty tent at 34th street
near concrete barricades ready to be forklifted away.
and the just ended four-day long convention
and Labor Day on Monday
has kept the neighborhood quiet this Friday.
Hopefully this weekend my complex's grounds crew
will remove the neon orange plastic netting that surrounds all of our grass,
the no trespassing signs,

9.5.04--2:35 a.m.
(really 9.4.04)

asleep last night at 3
awake this morning at 8
all day i need a nap.
figuring on taking one in the early afternoon,
but then i see that FX is showing a Beverly Hills 90210 marathon
including the Kelly Taylor gets raped and kills her rapist story arc
and the two-hour series finale.
so i lay on my bed and watch
until 6 o'clock when the 90210 marathon is over,
watch the end of the Rutgers-Michigan State college football game,
and set the alarm for 8:24 p.m.
before night time.

9.5.04--11:59 p.m.

i left the apartment today.
nathaniel came over
gave me pictures he had taken at my recent events
showed me others from his poets for peace reading
he mentioned dinner and a movie
and i checked the apartment radius
the two theaters on 23rd being as far as i'll go,
and it was garden state or brown bunny
and brown bunny it was
as the blow job film wins every time.
and dinner was out
as it was 630 and the movie was at 720
so i grabbed a two-liter bottle of diet sunkist,
threw it in my knapsack,
and we walked to cvs,
where he bought a coke and some milk duds,
and a huge bag of m&m's for me,
before we grabbed slices
at what used to be a regular pizza place
but has been chelsea'd up to be a brick oven pizzeria.
and then brown bunny.
i've only walked out of a movie once,
Top Secret starring Val Kilmer,
and if I didn't know that the end of the movie included a lengthy Chloe Sevigny on Vincent Gallo blowjob
I might've been tempted to now.
instead i sat through a movie that may have included 100 spoken words, if that,
and lengthy shots of Gallo's character driving his motorcycle cross-country.
Nathaniel and me crack wise to each other throughout the picture,
so do the couple in front of us,
the guy saying to his girl
"Vincent Gallo is so important."
And finally,
after he ends up in L.A.,
him and Chloe's character meet up in a hotel,
and she services him,
porn style,
topless, deep throat, veiny cock, and all.
I kept thinking while getting hard
I wonder what other academy award nominees for best supporting actress have given head for real in a movie,
i mean, other than meryl streep.
and then the film was over,
and we went to pee,
and i wiped a little precum off before i let loose.

9.6.04--11:34 p.m.

i called ray's pizza for dinner at 10 p.m.,
eggplant parmigiana with ziti and garlic bread,
and then resumed cleaning up the august project in quark,
and im'ing erica,
when i realized i changed my therapy appointment
from today, labor day,
to some time this week.
so i went to my nightstand
and grabbed my memo pad
and saw written down
Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.
and let out an ugh,
and a dinner's coming
and i'm eating two hours later
now that i'm going to bed two hours earlier,
hopefully, ugh.

9.8.04--12:17 a.m.
(really 9.7.04)

up as late as i can be in the morning, 815,
to still make 9 o'clock therapy appointment
no shower, again,
for ninth day in a row
so i put the clean black jeans back
and get the dirty blue ones
figuring no reason to put dirty body in clean jeans,
figuring i'll call the laundry later to wash these jeans and rest of my dirty clothes.
but at night i'm too tired to call the laundry,
after a labor day saturday into sunday spent watching all sorts of tv,
climaxed by a chips rerun until 530 in the morning,
and i realize that it's ok not to call the laundry
that the holiday weekend
and my exiting my home only once during it
has saved me two days worth of clothes,
two days later to call the laundry
(really three, as the outfit i wore to the movies on sunday with nathaniel
i wore again to work on tuesday,
excluding the boxers and socks).

9.9.04--1:50 a.m.
(really 9.8.04)

i took a nap after work
snooze alarmed for 40 minutes
and then woke to boog
working on newspaper while tv jazz or sitcoms played in back
grabbing some nonfat, plain yogurt,
throwing in some grape nuts and raisins for dinner
then printing out proof pages
cranking the tv jazz louder
and going to kitchen to mark them up
drinking caffeine free diet pepsi, a lime squeezed in,
eating the rest of the bag of grapes,
before readying for bed
to snooze longtime in morning
and then make changes electronically
and send to printer,
another issue done.

9.9.04--11:35 p.m.

for sander

they made me take a cubicle at work today.
i called my printer six times today
(i never call my printer six times).
i bought chips and pretzels and sour cream for dip,
and pepperidge farm chocolate chunk cookies.
erica kept showing me pictures of her with all the frogs in the office,
and stopped answering work questions that related to the recently quit rachel
as rachel will be in tomorrow,
and then erica won't be anymore.
andy roddick just got upset in the quarters at the u.s. open,
at 14, if that was mcenroe, i would've died
worn my black and blue nike tennis outfit to school the next day in memoriam.
i answered old emails tonight that i hadn't dealt with in a while,
searching my inbox for emails i'd preserved as unread
(though that's a bald-faced lie, a bald-faced lie).
after all the printer calls
who knows when boog city is to be ready,
though not to be distributed to my event tomorrow evening regardless.
and it's not the rabbits that fail me
or the beatles lyrics in the margins.
the milk tasted nice tonight
after having had four cookies dunked in it,
the milk tasted nice.

9.11.04--1:47 a.m.
(really 9.10.04)

time to sleep,
or get into bed anyway,
and channel surf for sports shows, ’70s reruns, and lifetime movies.
it's funny how when there's so much on your mind
you can't write about any of it in detail
the gloss:
may throw roommate out because he doesn't pay the rent so well
might've been rejected by a friend and found out on her blog
was supposed to read tomorrow, but never was told
my printer told my distributor i hadn't paid for the issue, although i had,
so she paid, too
the band for tonight's event didn't have their shit together, so no music.
it's time to sleep,
or get into bed anyway,
and channel surf for sports shows, ’70s reruns, and lifetime movies.

9.12.04--2:18 a.m.
(really 9.11.04)

if you play elliott smith's "needle in the hay" on permanent repeat
does that mean you want to kill yourself?

the royal tenenbaums was the last movie that i paid to see twice in the theater,
the first time in long island with my parents.
they got the headphones so they could hear it better,
but they were itching my mom's ears
so she handed them to me to hold.
when i heard "needle in the hay" come on,
during the scene in which richie tenenbaum attempts suicide,
i put the headphones on,
cranking elliott even louder into my ears,
it was one of my favorite movie experiences ever.
and then i saw it around the corner from my old apartment with risa,
and not since.
it's one of those movies i've refused to rent because i want to own it.
the only premium channel i get is sundance
and it hasn't screened there.
and last sunday it was on basic cable for the first time, fx,
but i didn't watch because there are some films you don't want to see edited.
and tonight again on fx
and i flip to it occasionally,
looking for the "needle in the hay" scene,
judging when it's going to take place by the hair on richie's head and face,
watching the film Pop Rocks on the abc family channel,
about a dad who was in a hair metal band in the early ’80s
but has never told his family
and now, 20 years later, he needs the dollars a reunion would bring
and is still trying to keep his secret.
and i wound up missing the elliott scene,
which is okay because i want to see it in the unedited, uncommercial interruptioned movie.
and i go to to look up something about Pop Rocks
and at the bottom of the page it says
if you like this title, we also recommend
The Royal Tenenbaums.

9.13.04--10:10 a.m.
(really 9.12.04)

mets game with Jean-Paul,
who i discovered friday night now lives in my city.
so nice to have poets who like sports, and who i like, in my city,
so nice.

9.14.04--12:30 a.m.
(really 9.13.04)

there's always that moment when you know it's time to look for a new job.
today, with the co-worker who answered the phone the most now gone,
i've been answering the phone more.
one bosses' wife called,
and the intercom didn't go through since he was on another line,
so i walked to his office to tell him.
and he thought for a minute,
and then he said to me,
"ask her if the call is important,
or if i can just call her back."
i'm not sure if it was when being told this information by this boss
or when relaying it to this bosses' wife
that i realized it was time to move on,
but i know i did
realize it.

9.15.04--1:33 a.m.
(really 9.14.04)

rent is due at my co-op by the 10th of each month,
carrying charges they call them, actually,
and then you get a small late charge after that.
my roommate has paid consistently late,
and i have sent those late charges his way.
and now i have a court date because of his lateness,
so my plan was to tell him yesterday that we needed to meet today,
me trying to figure out how to ease him out,
to exchange someone i know and like
for someone i don't who pays the rent.
and that evening an email from him,
saying he got the job at the new haven advocate
and will be moving to connecticut,
telling me he'll be staying until the end of the year,
so i'll get three months notice
and have ample time to find a new roomie.
today on the phone i tell him he can move as soon as i find someone,
no need to stay for three months,
me trying to get a steady payer in right away.
no, that's ok, he says,
he doesn't want to leave at all,
and don't worry,
he starts at the advocate in two weeks,
and the pay will be steady.

9.16.04--3:35 p.m.
(really 9.15.04)

how to write last night?
jazz in the background doesn't seem like it will match the violence
but i'm at my folks' house
and the only music of mine on this iMac
is Elvis Costello and the Attractions' This Year's Model,
which is getting me there.

any time there is a reason to visit my sister's family
we always worry
not because of her or my niece michelle
but because of their husband and father.

it's been this battle for years,
this wonderment as to why my sister,
this strong, intelligent woman
remains with this abusive man.
i've never witnessed the physical violence toward my sister
though she has told me it has happened,
but i have been attacked by him as he held a cleaver.

but the verbal abuse toward anyone in his path has been relentless.
last night starts with him drinking wine at the festive meal,
wait, i forgot to mention last night was erev Rosh Hashannah,
the night leading into the Jewish New Year.
so he's getting lit a bit
and then talk turns to my niece's Bat Mitzvah,
and how now you need to book the hall two years in advance.
So he starts talking about everything he wants to have at the Bat Mitzvah
--steaks, champagne and caviar, ice sculptures, a band--
and then my niece says she wants it to be a dairy affair,
catered by her favorite local appetizing store, Bagel Boss,
and with a d.j.

Now my sister was telling my niece that her ideas sound great,
whether she was ultimately going to finesse her in a different direction or not,
but her husband just started arguing with his 11-year-old daughter,
vociferously and non-stop,
it was like i was watching one of the many lifetime movie's i've seen,
only i've seen this one on permanent repeat for nearly 15 years.

My niece got all worked up,
crying and hyperventilating,
until my sister finally calmed her down.

A little while later,
my sister's husband went upstairs to bed,
leaving her to clean up after the meal for six she had cooked and served.

A little while after that he began yelling downstairs
"I don't want those motherfuckers staying here.
They better get the fuck out of here
or I'm going to slit their throats while they sleep."
It's hard to resist kicking the shit out of someone,
especially when you know they need a beating,
"He's pretty brave from upstairs," my dad told me.
I just realized that the only fights i've had since i was 15 were with her husband,
and how the last fight i had as a kid, at 15,
was because one of my classmates had called my sister fat,
and so, well, i kicked the shit out of him.

But see, here's the thing,
every punch in her husband's face
may translate to two at my sister,
where the bruises aren't visible,
once we leave,
so my father and i resist.

Then my sister asks us to stop talking,
for fear that her husband will hear something,
make it into something bigger,
and this will all escalate.

So her and her daughter instead tiptoe about,
gathering their things to fill overnight bags
so they can stay at our folks' house.

My sister's outfit slightly changed,
standing in the front doorway,
she yells up to her husband,
"We're leaving."
"Your leaving with them?"
"No, I meant they're leaving.
We're just gonna take a little ride around the block."
"If you side with them, if you leave with them,
you're never coming back into this house."

At this their daughter freaks out,
starts crying more,
has to be convinced that they have to leave,
and they do.

We meet in a local shopping center's parking lot,
her minivan pulling up next to my folks' Jeep,
where there's not much light,
and my folks convince my sister and her daughter that this is the best thing for them to do,
my niece michelle freaking out about maybe moving out of her town,
of losing all her friends,
my father whispering to me,
"They won't have any friends if they're dead."


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