Jan 5, 2017
Aug 1, 2016
Felt more of a shifting chaos
It's not bad or pain or sad
It's not angry or mad
I do feel like kicking
And I'd like to just punch
Swing and smack and smash
But it's all from a deep muscle feeling
Of not really belonging
But having nowhere to go
While knowing the life I chose
Jul 22, 2016
Jan 15, 2016
Dec 31, 2015
Dec 23, 2015
Dec 7, 2015
Oct 5, 2015
And you are soft and warm
And everything is quiet
And you hold your hand to my face and say everything that you didn't know how to say
And I say everything that I didn't know I could say
And we are held
This is the you that lives inside me
The you that you'll never meet
As real as the real you
As toxic and intoxicating as the you outside
I know there is a me in you
One no one could ever know
I want to approach him
I want you to approach me
Jun 21, 2015
you get on the subway. it shakes around a lot, because you're on a line in deep brooklyn that is woefully under-serviced. you can kind of feel the thirty-six minute trip go by even though you're engrossed in your book. you get a text message on your stupid smartphone. nope, not her. maybe someday. you pocket the phone. maybe never. you still won't or can't believe that that thing that mattered to you more than most things, that you felt with so much earnest care and strength no matter how much you tried to keep it on the level, has ended. you move to pull out your phone again, maybe to be the one to speak first. you pocket the phone hastily, shaking your head, trying to focus on your book. you have no idea how to make sense of what to do with your time and energy and mind, but you have to try. chapter thirty-six rolls on by, line by line, and you repeat the same paragraph thirty-six times. you finally close the book with a sharp snap - too sharp, because some people are looking at you with that standoffish glance that suggests that they are assessing whether or not you're a crazy. you look out the window and they immediately forget about you. you feel like a crazy but you're relieved that you don't have to walk out of the subway with another label from other people.
you weave through the throngs of people, bounce up the stairs, maneuver your heavy bag away from the trajectory of people who aren't paying attention to where they're going, and step back into the blazing sunlight. you maneuver through another throng on the sidewalk, ducking large men carrying important boxes, taxicabs with lightning reflexes, and well-meaning yet mouthbreathing tourists. you finally arrive at your destination, and see whoever you're meeting sitting at whatever table they've picked in whatever place this is. you get ready to talk about whatever thing you've both agreed to talk about in an effort to distract yourselves from how scary life can be. thankfully it'll probably be a movie that you'll work on together. that would be fun. as you sit down, all smiles and desperate attempts at chipping away the ice that's suffocated your enthusiasm, you once more try to remind yourself that it doesn't matter how strongly you felt. you meant nothing to her, it meant nothing to her, and she's already moved on. you probably should too.
Jun 8, 2015
Tomas was a successful transplant, indistinguishable from the native organs. So seamless was his communal integration that Anda wondered whether he might regard her with the same disdain that she held for so many.
May 26, 2015
I look around at the empty streets and ask her if she has anywhere to go. She says that she has an apartment, but that she doesn't know where it is. I say "hmm" and ask her if she can tell me anything about where it might be. She tells me that it's at the end of the G train in Brooklyn. I tell her that I'm taking the G also, so I could show her the way.
We take the train together and chat lightly until we get off at the end of the line. We're walking in the general direction of my apartment, because I want to go home, and we're both hoping that she orients herself here. We pass an unremarkable apartment building. "Here it is," she says. I say "oh good," with relief, and say goodnight. As I'm turning away, she asks me to come upstairs. For a drink. I'm more curious than sensible at this point so I follow her inside, up the elevator, and into her one-bedroom that she has to herself. Somehow I'm surprised that her keys worked.
We sit at a table in a room devoid of furnishings other than the table, and she forgets about the drinks. She launches into a lengthy account of how much she hates her job, but that she's sticking with it because she's pulling in a couple grand shy of six figures. She interrupts herself to show me scratch marks all over her legs, lifting her skirt so I can see. Then she asks if I can come into her bedroom to inspect for bedbugs. I ask her if we can have a drink first, because bedbugs probably are not interested in people with a higher blood alcohol content. She doesn't hear me and jumps into the tale of her broken home life, her isolation in New York, the hypothetical way that she and I would treat each other if we were in a relationship, her suicidal tendencies, her interest in having me stay over, and her belief in the all-power of the law of attraction.
I give up on the drink and say goodnight. As I'm leaving, she gives me her business card.
Mar 15, 2015
Half of the bliss, progress, struggles, conversations; no memory of the first time we said that we loved each other.
The helplessness that this fills me with is akin to scratching my way out of a room with no exits.
Feb 3, 2015
Jul 12, 2014
For me, the most potent is the minimization of ego-willpower. No one is watching, which means I am allowed to be simple. This is not a bad thing.
The similarities to an image you love, whether it is a film, painting, or memory, remind you of your own awareness of yourself. Solitude creates reflection which heightens one's sense of self for a short time. Strangely, there is a sharp drop in that self-awareness once too much time has elapsed. You become a stranger to yourself, your thoughts bouncing off of themselves in a swirl.
Jun 21, 2014
"Yeah, that's why they call it the Hell Train."
"Ha. That's funny, a funny name. Fuck this train."
"Yeah, sit down here, it's too small for me too."
ten minutes of silence.
"What are we doing first?"
"I'm hungry. We'll go see the Muslims, get some food."
"What kind of food?"
"I don't know. Cheap."
"We... We gotta get cigarettes first."
"We'll get 'em."
"Y'want to get some beers?"
"Yeah, we'll get cigarettes, food, and beers."
"It's funny, we're talking about food right now, because you know, I was so hungry today that when I got a sandwich... I mean, I got one of those sandwiches--"
"I got one of them and it was bad. It went bad, I demanded my fucking money back right then and there, and they gave it."
nothing for a few minutes.
"Hey, what kind of food do you want to get?"
"I don't know."
"Y'want to get some White Castle burgers?"
"Yeah, I could go for two."
"Yeah, we could get some White Castle burgers, and then go home, and get it bed, or get in-- get in Jennifer's new bed and give each other back rubs."
"Want to get some beers? I can buy 'em, I'll give you the money for 'em."
"Yeah, that'll be good."
"Yeah let's get a 12."
"We can't get hammered, we're working tomorrow."
a long pause.
"...We're working again?"
"Yeah, nine to nine."
she sat there for a long time without talking, until
"Well when are we gonna fuck?"
nothing for many minutes. man with a bicycle enters the train.
"Hey can I just touch the pedals? Can I just spin them--"
"Hey, stop. Just don't pay any attention to her, sorry."
"What do you mean don't pay any attention to me?"
"Just stop bothering people."
"I just want to look at the bike!"
"Okay, so fucking just look at it."
"This is our stop."
they both get off at Montrose Avenue. right after that, the train broke down in the tunnel. we all sat in the hot dark without good air for about an hour. the silence underground is startling.
a woman walked up and asked if the door opened onto the tracks. she was cold and lonely looking, waxed in makeup, sneering, unfocused. i said no, it doesn't, unless you open it. she didn't laugh, but gave the wolf-snarl that suggested i thought she should have. i didn't want her to laugh even a little, so she wasted that one.
Jun 10, 2014
Jun 9, 2014
Distant Voices - 100 Films.
Finding this list woke up a strange appreciation for calculated darkness that I didn't know I had in me. It's wild.
Jun 8, 2014
A few books - On Photography, The Piano Teacher, French Cinema of the Occupation and Resistance, Jean Renoir, The Second Sex, and Regarding the Pain of Others - arrived in the mail. Most of them were already old friends, because I never lend books.
At a right-angle to the red brick is the drywall and wooden support beams that hold up this weird culvert in the wall of my bedroom. Three naked screws on either side hold up a plank of wood that strains a little under the weight of hard and soft-cover Sontag, Bazin, Tolkien, and some weird books that came from somewhere.
I like to look at them almost as much as reading them.
May 9, 2014
Dec 16, 2013
It was the last day of a long week in front of each other. A good week, but a long week, and I was sick for the whole damned thing. Sick on her birthday. Took care of me for a week and then got sick herself. Stupid belated birthday joke. Faced the hard thing a little bit this week that happens when you love someone a lot, which is this: what do you do when you love someone a lot, but you just want them to fuck off for a second so you can be a person by yourself for an evening? She felt like that a little and I felt like that maybe a little, but I'm a goon and not too much bothers me I guess, until it does. And then it really, really does.
This was a good thing though. Talking about what you want and what you need is hard. All the time it's hard, it's never easy, it always sucks, and it always feels like you're leaning too far over the edge of your relationship's roof, but it always (always), ALWAYS feels better at the end. You shit out a bad thing and it's fine.
The snow had many moods. Chunky, slushy, soft, lazy, squishy, ice, rain, ice, soft. Toasters on the floor and belladonna fever dreams and uh uh baby oh
Sep 16, 2013
Each image in a sequence can be seen only once; but, in the very existence of that image, the foundations for the next image have been set. In our actions in life, we hold a trifecta of potential effects, always at the cusp of a decision. There is the moment preceding action; the action itself; and the effect.
However, if all of life is a sequence of independent actions with no possibility of repetition, then how does one make a decision about anything at any time? What if the decisions that we make, after careful deliberation, turn out to be the wrong ones? The heaviness of life and the options therein turn into a cancerous burden. On the other hand if, as Henri Cartier-Bresson stated, “life is once, forever”, then the lightness of being can manifest as an experiential immunity; the inability of one to be affected by the unknown possibilities of the universe.
But the lightness of being can become unbearable. Existence, human interaction, and even the enactment of desires can be seen as an empty exercise in frivolity. What can one do if one’s actions not only hold no weight, but neither do the relationships one fosters over the course of a life? How does one balance their desires with the knowledge that their desires ultimately do not matter?
The characters in Roman Polanski’s 1962 film Knife in the Water exist in a world that holds no promise of guidance. Every element of the film focuses on the transient nature of decision-making, while maintaining a level of objectivity that can only be sustained by the presence of the viewer; the act of watching the film shows us what transpires between the three characters in such a way that we begin to extrapolate what their future actions could be, with a level of objective understanding that the characters themselves could never possess.
Andrzej and Krystyna, a married couple, drive to a marina where their sailboat awaits them. The opening sequence shows a stillness between them that at first seems to be rife with bitterness; they do not talk unless they are in conflict of some kind. The conflict between them is never centered around any clearly tangible idea of contention until the end of the film; Andrzej’s explosive nature, in counterpoint to Krystyna’s overwhelming passivity, manifests its own struggle simply by the very nature of their interaction. Frustration and failure to communicate dominate their relationship, which makes it possible for the smallest, seemingly meaningless comments and events to take on a flavor of violence.
The opening shot - a long, drawn-out dirge of obscured vision through a heavily reflected car windshield - plays out with a strong resistance to being watched. The viewer is made to feel the distance between Andrzej and Krystyna by being separated from them twice; first by screen, and then by an obscured windshield. We are not let into their world, which they themselves struggle to participate in.
The dirge is broken by a sudden display of Andrzej’s aggression. Until later, under the presence of the hitchhiker amongst them, Andrzej’s attitude towards Krystyna is one of dissatisfaction, blame, bitterness, and control. The camera shows this to us by focusing squarely on Andrzej, in close up, whenever he raises a point of contention with Krystyna. His personal failings are directed at his young wife, and she reacts with an apathy that suggests many years of such interactions. Her unwillingness to meet his eyes in her own close up illustrates that she has long ago passed the point of exhaustion. She has been numbed by the monotony of her co-dependent relationship, and exists above it. Every inaction on her part is a decision; her relationship with Andrzej is thusly seen not as an invested course, but as a state of being for her body. Andrzej, on the other hand, deliberately places a weight to his unhappiness by projecting reasons and consequences on Krystyna; even if he does not blame her for the state of his personal life, he still directs his malaise at her, never realizing that his emotional disconnect is caused by this very attitude. Even in taking over the driving of the car can we see his inability to simply be. Unwittingly, he is fulfilling his own despair.
The sudden arrival of the hitchhiker throws Andrzej and Krystyna’s dysfunction into sharp relief, and the hitchhiker’s subsequent presence on their sailboat sets into motion the wild unraveling of a precarious state of being for the unhappy couple. From the very beginning of the trio’s interactions, a clear conflict grows. Andrzej flits between grudging acquiescence to Krystyna’s implied desire to help the young man, and condescending benevolence to the plight and inexperience of the hitchhiker. Andrzej’s caprice, Krystyna’s hands-off empathy, and the hitchhiker’s distracted countenance all highlight the weightlessness of their being. Krystyna has taken the state of lightness to an extreme; every action she takes, from expressing concern for the hitchhiker to swimming with a crocodile to her ultimate moment of passion with the hitchhiker, are not pre-meditated; they also do not seem to hold any special weight once enacted. For Krystyna, these decisions are merely moments that bring us to another image in the sequence, another action in the timeline. They are reality as it is - nothing more, nothing especially significant, nothing imperative over the rest.
However, this lightness of being eventually transforms for the trio into an unbearable state. What began as an easy and relatively carefree joyride on a sailboat quickly evolves into a battle of tension, with Andrzej and the hitchhiker both vying for the attention of Krystyna. While the antidote for this conflict is readily apparent (clearer communication), it is not easy to swallow. Clear communication requires a desire not only to be understood, but to understand your counterpart. Counterparts can take many forms; one’s spouse, one’s friend, the cashier at the post-office, the teacher and student, or the hitchhiker picked up and placed in your boat for the weekend. If one were only to care about themselves being understood by others, without a desire to understand others in turn, then aggression and rage would manifest. Violence erupts from these lapses in connectivity, which Andrzej and the hitchhiker demonstrate to great effect.
The boat becomes a prison for the trio. The disparity between desires and intention reaches a fever pitch when Andrzej pockets the hitchhiker’s most prized possession - a large knife. When the hitchhiker requests that Andrzej returns it to him, Andrzej antagonizes the young man. This conflict, set atop the floating cage of the couple’s sailboat, is the clearest indicator of the random and transient nature of the trio’s process of analyzing each other and their subsequent decisions.
The sequence in which the hitchhiker emerges from the bow of the boat is the breaking point for the trio’s journey. A standoff occurs between Andrzej and the young man, and in this flurry of shots it is made clear that there is no foundation of stability between them - they are literally floating, with no place to ground their power play. The shot/reverse-shot of Andrzej and the hitchhiker frames them against a cascade of clouds, and their positioning in each frame is unusual; they are set against the edge of the frame, weak and then strong, dominant and the defiant. Andrzej’s incessant, cruel toying with the knife finally results in the blade falling into the lake. In a flash, it is submerged - gone, drowned from view, as if it never existed. It simply ceases to be. There is no hope of retrieving it and no hope of making amends; immediately a scuffle ensues, and Andrzej flings the hitchhiker onto the sail of the boat. Krystyna, shocked into action by this sudden outpouring of violence, wildly attempts to hoist the sail back in and save the hitchhiker, who is suspended like bait above the water. His helplessness, whether a ruse or not, is keen in this moment; lying prostrate on the canvas and followed by the camera. The intercutting of Andrzej’s maliciously gleeful laughter at the young man’s plight cuts through the madness of the scene and shows us something else alongside the impending disaster; Andrzej is enjoying the moment of control. He is on a solid surface, his foe is flailing, and whatever consequence this action in the sequence may hold, it is far from Andrzej’s mind. In this moment, he is in power, and the weight of his actions is seen as meaningless and mean.
And then, just like the knife slipping into the depths, the hitchhiker is swept away, lost to the current. We do not yet know at this point that he can, in fact, swim, and neither do Andrzej and Krystyna. The apparent danger at hand quickly takes on the demeanor of a tragedy as Krystyna, in an effort to finally exert an active role in the sequence of events, rebukes Andrzej for his excessive use of force. She dives into the lake immediately to search for the supposedly drowning young man, and when there is no sign of him, the couple returns to three boat in the distance, at a loss for what to do. The boat has now become a place of conflict and discord; it’s original purpose is lost in the wake of the violence that has forever sullied it. Standing atop the deck, which is the scene of his crime, Andrzej is faced with the sheer magnitude of what he believes he has done; in an effort to escape from this sharply altered and corrupt reality, he dives from the boat and swims towards the distant shore. Krystyna is left alone, framed in the scene of the violence, the boat floating through waters which could hold the revelation of death in every inch.
This sequence clearly divines just how intense the unbearable lightness of being really is. Action, reaction; cause, and effect; Andrzej steals the knife, the lake devours it, blows are exchanged, and the hitchhiker is swept away. If one of the actions in this sequence had been altered, the subsequent actions would have certainly been altered as well, possibly changing the end result from one of total discord. This is not to say that each action is predetermined; A may equal B, but it may also equal C or D. But there is no way for any of us to know what could be. Seen in this light, the swiftness of this chain of events reads as insane chaos. Where once was a knife, there is a ripple, and where once was a hitchhiker, there is an absence marked by guilt. Andrzej, in his inability to reconcile with himself the finality of his actions, makes the only choice that he feels is available to him, and flees the scene of his crime.
The film ends on a note of total uncertainty. After it is revealed that the hitchhiker did not in fact drown, he shares the boat with Krystyna. They operate in a state of confusion and exhaustion, and then, while packing up his various effects in order to depart the boat, they find themselves upon each other in a kiss; the camera holds on Krystyna and the young man, sitting closely together while putting his things away, and then their hands touch while they both grab for the same item. The electric charge of their contact is seen immediately. They lock eyes on each other, the sail behind them undulates in a rhythmic pulse, and they press themselves together close and firm. Andrzej is not present, and so this action has no weight; they exist only in this image in the sequence, alone and separate, connecting for one time and then never again. There is only weight to this action when it ceases and they realize that their time together is over. Krystyna glides along the water in total kinetic unity with the momentum of the boat as the hitchhiker gingerly hops atop a scattered smattering of wood piles floating by the shore. His visual entreaties to Krystyna are unmet and fall into nothing. The boat is relentless in its forward movement, and the scenery whips behind the young man as he disembarks into unknown territory. The lightness of their time together is such that it has already dissipated; the sequence of actions moves inexorably forward, independent of their predecessors, and unbearably light.
And then the boat comes crashing into the dock. Waiting on the dock stands Andrzej, who makes not a mention of the young man or the damage to the boat, or to his guilt over what has transpired. Only when they are in their car, driving away, does Krystyna admit to Andrzej that the hitchhiker is alive, and that she was unfaithful with him. Andrzej refuses to believe her. Acquiescing his opinion on the matter to her admission of truth would be to relinquish his control over his situation and his tenderly honed sense of guilt, and as that is all that he can presently lay claim to, it would be unbearable for him to be swayed in his mindset. He remains determined to contact the police, but also remains motionless in the car at a crossroads.
The motionless car is perhaps the only indicator in the film that Andrzej and Krystyna have reached a point in which they will be able to consider the cause and effect of their actions. What could the next image in the sequence of events be? This is the weight of life and the weight of decisions. The unhappy couple, only a few days ago on their way to another repeated process in the unbearable lightness of their lives, have been stopped dead in their tracks. Is their dilemma lightness or weight? Is the paralysis of the self caused by the presence of a tangible burden, or the total lack of one? If Krystyna has seen life as maddening in its weightless silence, and if Andrzej has seen life as imperious in its aggressive weight, then here, at the end of the film in a motionless car with untold possibilities for what the next image in the sequence could hold, their minds have switched modes - however briefly.
Been feeling stretched thinner than the devil on doomsday these days. It's been an unreal few weeks. From losing my apartment to losing a great gig to losing my girl to losing sleep to losing my mind, I think I've had enough.
Sep 2, 2013
Aug 26, 2013
Aug 25, 2013
"You need an editing job? Bumped into this fella who is making a feature doc on Tagore. His previous editors were boneheads and cut together a shitty film. He needs someone to fix it, make it good, make it work. Rate is pretty good. Told him you could do it. Lied through my teeth about how much of an excellent, beautiful fuckup you are."
So I said,
"Hey, thanks. I'd love to. What's the turnaround?"
"About a week."
Here I am, one month later, and I'm half done (it isn't my fault, I swear). See, his previous editors were fucking goons; when they gave my client the project hard drive, they neglected to include about half of the files. I found this out after an agreement of pay had been made.
A typical conversation would play out like this:
Me: "I can't edit that shot in, because it's not on the hard drive that you gave to me. It's not in any of the folders. It's just not here."
Client: "Can't you just get the shot from the timeline?"
Me: "... Pardon?"
Client: "If the shot isn't in the hard drive, just get it from the timeline and cut it into the project."
Me: "How many of your AOL disks have you kept?"
Client: "How many do you need? Will they help?"
Me: "Okay, uh, an analogy for the situation is this: imagine that you're making dinner, and some of the spices (movie files) are missing from the cabinet (hard drive), so you go check if the spices are hiding on your dinner plate (timeline). It doesn't make sense. The timeline is dependent on the hard drive for its content - not mutually, and certainly not the other way around. You know what I mean?"
Client: "Ah, yes, well, um."
So now I am tasked with re-cutting this entire picture upon pain of forfeiture of payment. I've pulled more all-nighters in the past month than I ever have during school. Couldn't be more tired if I tried. Constant explanations of reality to the client, leading to rage. Glorious rage. After my client suggested (for the tenth time) that I put my entire life on hold and come stay at his house for a week so I can edit with him looming over my shoulder like a golem, I was forced to put my foot down very firmly on his fine imported rug.
Client: "My wife will cook you dinner for a week."
Me: "I will pack my bags and be there tomorrow."
I am easily undone.