Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Fairytale of Hoboken Part 1: Massacre by the Streetlights

Even though it seems counterintuitive, you should play this song through the videos. It's a thing. It's a composition.

Sleep accumulated Thursday to Friday: One Hour

On the eve of the end of things that used to be, I folded myself into a flying machine, which went up and up and up into the atmospheres, and threw me to the coast faster than a blackbird over powerlines. I left my friends and lovers behind for the thrill of strangers, and as we hurtled through the wet cold clouds, I thought how much more I loved the houses than the general population, quiet and suffering. The ice floes ripped the rivers, and the driveways stitched together the subdivisions, and like every time I transport with miracles, I fell in love with the industrial revolution. On the coast, I was picked up by a Queen of the Internets, and her handsome escort, who took me to their 3rd floor walk up. Oh, you know, they said abashed, it's Hoboken, it is what it is. Oh, I said, but it's Hoboken! It's name is known. Not for anything in particular, but for being. It's a prayer to trying to live in asphalt.

We're going to a party to celebrate the End of Everything That Used To Be, and you can come too. So slippy slide we four wheeled it to the liquor store, and everywhere in the streets were dogs being walked and cars buried in ice and people rushing to make out with strangers before they became people who weren't strangers, in heels and short coats, nails done, teeth brushed, chests out and pockets proud. Up and up and up we walked, to the court of the Lighting Kings. Did you know all professions hang out together, like tribes? There was a dog named Eureka, and every time we called it's name, a new idea was born. Once up in the clouds, at the fifth floor walkup up high next to the artificially lit lights, the one cracking away from the earth like a fault line, there we made drinks and I smiled at strangers and tried to be cute. We tied lifelines from ourselves to the fault line, in case it cracked. That's the thing you have to do for the first hour, until everyone has sucked down their drink. Then someone breaks out the very old licorice cows in tin that have been sitting on top of their fridge for years.

At first, the cows were peaceful, happy, farmlike. They each had their own family, and their own myths, sense of purpose. It was quiet agricultural heaven. It was the Valley of the Plenty.

Then a little cow was lost. The skies roiled and heaved with pain. And his family was very sad, and looked for someone to blame. There were rumours, raids in the night on other stables. Of course, there was no one to take the anger but fate, except fate doesn't allow retribution, and crops do.

The neighboring cows, across the river, took the brunt of the retribution, and formed a militia to defend themselves. They armed themselves with grenades, spears, strategy. They poured their village budgets into military spending. Soon every herd in the valley was trying to keep up, sending their own children to train, searching for meaning in the hidden radio messages that now crisscrossed the once clear rural skies.

Only a few spoke out. When their rational words fell on deaf angry patriotic ears, they ran to the Midwest and were never heard from again, until years later when their furniture became trendy.

It never ends well, you know, wars between land bound animals. And everything their ancestors had fought for was flung to the vast emptiness. Up to heaven, down to hell. Some of us opting to hang out in the middle.

But this was the End of Everything, so we laughed off the warfare and the loss and the hurt, and we listened to vinyl songs, and smiled at strangers. At the stroke of the End, the Italians blew up bombs, and the people like us gathered on the rooftops and yelled at other rooftops and screamed happily and we were all very happy to not be licorice cows.

The next morning, Elly made us collard greens and black eyed peas, to feed luck into our veins and ward off starvation for the next 35 days. We didn't leave the apartment for 11 hours, friends brought us wine and British actors played ukuleles and cats ate ham for the first time. Because This is Now The Begging, The Beginning.


  1. Wow. And I thought the cows were just gross. Show what I know.

  2. Shows you have no faith in me is what it shows. Geez.

    Also they were gross. You should tell that boy to stop hoarding gross candies and dried out pastries.

  3. I used to love blowing up bombs with the Italians. Now I have a new dog though, and he is very anxious about explosions and such so while the Italians were busy blowing stuff up all night to celebrate the beginning of everything new I was busy stuffing chicken treats into the poor dear's mouth to calm his fears. 5 days later his stomach is still gurgling from the excess and I find I really don't miss the black powder residue on my fingers. Oh well. BTW I love the photo of the ceiling light fixture - dramatic and lovely.

  4. I don't think I could ever not live in a city, because the illegal fireworks are my favorite part of any holiday.

  5. stale or no, i'd seriously like to know where i can get some tiny licorice cows that come in a tin. i don't even like licorice but i like tiny things and i like tins.

  6. Tiny things and tins are always adorable. And if the cows hadn't been 12 years old and flavored chocolate licorice, they might have been too.

    But other than the ones on top of someone's fridge in New Jersey, I don't know.

  7. That's why we never invite the licorice cows to our parties. It always ends up in hurt feelings, and sticky teeth.

  8. Loud noises make me very unhappy, and amateur fireworks terrify me. I can only even watch 4th of July non-amateur fireworks from a very significant distance. *shudder*

    I also, however, really want some tiny licorice farm animals, please. (And, in terms of the chocolate flavor -- I actually recently had some dark chocolate-covered hard salty licorice that I brought back from Iceland -- it was Icelandic Mystery Candy; I really didn't know what it was until I had one -- and it was shockingly good. But not shaped like tiny animals. And not in a tin.

    p.s. Happy 2011, doll.

  9. Miss B - you need to speak to Erin, who's somewhere around here. She's addicted to salted licorice.
    Also, we should never be neighbors, unfortunately, because I believe in the absolute necessity of amateur fireworks to my health.

  10. I love the stories you weave with your pictures.



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