Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shopping/Perfect Strangers

Even though I feel like the above Christian Krohg painting, I went shopping again today.

Looking at the various strangers waiting with me in the Essex station, I thought:

"I love you all. Bless you."

Sometimes it's so easy to love strangers. From afar (in terms of familiarity, not proximity), humans seem so vulnerable, with unmistakable insecurities no different from one's own. However, this doesn't mean they are really flawed. Nobody is less than whole, I believe-- it's only our observing ego and limited physical senses that falsely deem them so.

In comparison to the often-judgemental (despite my best efforts) manner in which I relate privately to others of my acquaintance, the way I view people I don't know is often ideal-- they are, in my estimation, perfect strangers. After hello it's all downhill, I usually find, but before then!-- each person is an unbroken vista of perfection and possibility. That familiarity breeds contempt is an unfortunate notion many have expressed before me, yet I still wish-- foolishly, perhaps-- that nobody ever felt so.

Anyway, although I am assiduously saving money for plastic surgery, apparently my need to buy home decor trumps all. I am so happy to be nearing the finish line in terms of making my house a lovely little nest that I just can't bear to stop now. Also, since I spend so much time in my house-- especially my bed-- the half-finished state of my surroundings is beginning to drive me mad. So. If my nip and tuck is delayed by a couple of weeks, so be it.

From my favorite Indian curio store on Second Avenue I bought a pretty cotton bedspread and a white, wicker-trimmed mirror missing half its curlicues (it wanted to come home with me, what can I say?) and, by a really Herculanean effort, managed to shlep the heavy thing all by myself from the LES to my home in Brooklyn. I suppose I could have gone with a friend or date, but I didn't want to see anyone. At all. I'd rather just take care of everything by myself right now.

Tomorrow I'm going back to that store to pick up a few pillow shams and some fabric for my bedroom wall. I need two goes at everything in life, it seems, including shopping excursions. I love to haggle with the proprietors of the store. It's so fun, in fact, that I'll be happy to do it for the second day in a row.

My body is starting to go limp now and then in the afternoons, especially if I leave my house. I feel faint and dizzy often. Lately my ankle sort of dips mysteriously and dangerously now and then when I dance. This week I almost lost my balance twice. If this is the onset of cataplexy, as I think it may be, I am in big trouble.

That's ok.

I have few ambitions left to be thwarted.

Is this despair or the inevitable malaise of maturity?

Actually I think malaise is totally avoidable, and the reality of the situation is I'm very ungrateful, and feeling the well-deserved negative affects of refusing to recognize my blessings.

"Have a good day, sweetie!" says the stranger as he exits the train.

"You made me joyful," the man writes in his email.

"I miss you so much." another man says via text.

I respond to none of them, though I am lonely, lonely, lonely.

So much adoration, yet they all run away when I don't have sex with them. For me, romance seems like one big exercise in futility, so I will be a really good hermit instead. At least I know I can excel in that capacity.

Locked Out

When we locked up the house at night,
We always locked the flowers outside
And cut them off from window light...
The flowers were out there with the thieves.
--Robert Frost

Friday night I practically kicked down my own front door trying to get my downstairs neighbors to hear me and let me in. It seems my keys fell out of my pocket at work, unbeknownst to me until I arrived home, upon which I proceeded to pound and then kick the door, trying to make enough racket to be heard.

I've rarely felt so pathetic. There's something about making an extraordinary effort to be let into one's own residence that makes one feel like a beggar-- as though the primary comfort and security of hearth and home were suspect of being as capable of cupidity and caprice as a lover of the inconstant sort...

This doesn't surprise me. I feel so separated from love, God, other people, my own emotions, my family-- life itself, really-- that the door churlishly deciding (I'm convinced!) to play its part in the latest miserable tableau on the stage of my life is far from shocking.

When paradise within is a locked gate, surely one's own terrestrial front door following suit is only natural. I suppose I shall awaken tomorrow to find my bed has collapsed. "No rest for the wicked" and all that...

Eventually I was let in by Senora Maria, the squat, redheaded mother of my close friend who owns the house and rents it to both of us. Her shrill voice generally annoys me greatly, as does the way she inevitably refers my very-occasional queries as a matter of course to my friend, never mentioned by name, but called simply and with weirdly smirking pride,"My son" (She's from Peru, and still definitely subscribes to its patriarchal belief system) but I still felt quite badly about scaring her by kicking so hard at the door that she had fear in her eyes when she opened it.

After all, the prospect of forced entry is enough to give one a heart attack--
ESPECIALLY in this scary part of the hood at night. Ah, Bushwick.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I polled a friend of mine who is devoted and admirably focused on his stand-up comedy career abut my own inability to write anything but this blog lately.

We discussed it via IM:

him: It's funny-- right before I start writing stuff I get bored with my own act and start not doing so well. There's this subconscious block, but I work though it and make something new. I think you're going through the same thing, and will come out of it the same way.

me: Could be. The thunderheads loom ominously, the rain comes down, and then the sun shines and one can make hay as diligently as before.

him: Is that a Bible verse?

me: Nooo I just made it up.

him: You should've written the Bible. Maybe in a past life you did, and now you feel like nothing can live up to that. Sorry, I've been getting into Carl Jung lately.

He's a very spiritual person. I'm very happy we're friends.

Everything Is Easy

Thanks for the reminder, Derek Erdman.

I miss living next door to you and your gallery/studio in Chicago.

Bye Bye Megan/Sanctified Joy vs Carnal Knowledge

"People are endlessly making up fictions... implying that the whole of nature is as crazy as they are."
-- Spinoza, "Treatise on Theology and Politics"

"Oh, how beautiful has your harlot been... Green was grass, and fresh was the flower, the bay tree spread itself, and the hawthorn, but the time is coming of fading; the flower will fade, and the grass will wither, and the whoredom and the enchanter must come to judgment."
--George Fox

I've been reading the doctrinal books of George Fox, who founded the Quaker religion. I want to go to a Quaker service, which is to say I want to sit in a room with other Christians and be quiet.

Megan moved back to Utah today. Earlier, she gave me a few things of hers, including this bamboo plant, which I like very much:

Before she left, she and I discussed being flush with spring fever, and how we have both been struggling not to pounce on cute boys on the subway, etc. lately. My sleep disorder has been making day to day living a challenge the last couple of days, but even severe exhaustion doesn't prevent me from imagining being entwined with a beautiful stranger I've yet to meet, his silken skin beneath my fingertips, biting my lip as he slips my ankles over his shoulders... sigh.

After my date with that Marine last weekend, I felt a few delayed ripples of lust wash over me while riding the J Train home. I shook my head and tried to distract myself with other random thoughts, which worked. After awhile, that is.

I thought about finding a date for this weekend in a normal way (ie not at the strip club), but I can't face the reality of dating at all. When I think about how much I dislike the way I look and how pointless my recent forays into intimacy have been, the daunting thought of trying again stops me in my tracks. In fact, I reject myself outright in advance, and do not care to involve another party in agreement, nor, conversely, dispute someone with a dissenting opinion of my looks.

In fact, I suppose I really shouldn't date till after I get my last little bit of surgery. Or maybe ever again. Nothing lasting or worthwhile ever seems to come of it, after all, and I hate wasting my time or anyone else's.

The one thing that makes me question really giving up the pursuit of a romantic relationship entirely and forever, is that I have a resource at hand, namely my young body, which is, except at work, being completely wasted-- in its prime of potency and ability to give pleasure, no less. I hate to squander the ability to love and satisfy a partner on a physical level, though it would be a pointless endeavor if said enjoyment stemmed from the purely sensual variety of love, rather than the "sanctified joy" that has always been my idea of heavenly sexual union. Lord knows I don't need to wrack up any more carnal knowledge, thank you very much.

And yet, here I am, a virgin, and so sick of talking about it as well as my career as a stripper that I bet I'll spend the weekend reading the Bible and buying some new shoes with lucite heels for work instead of going out, even with a friend...

Stripping is starting to absolutely overwhelm me. I feel as though I'm drowning.I'm going to take next week off if humanly possible. I need to think. I need to pray. I need to get away from that strip club for a minute.

PS Tonight I'm sad. I feel overwhelmed and completely cut off from reality, whatever that means. I'm lonely, but not in the way the presence of another human being can assuage or even touch. Faith and I also seem to have parted ways for the evening, but I cannot mourn our separation because I do not care enough to do so. In short, nothing matters...

PS 2 I wish I had someone-- father, mother, husband, etc. to take care of me. My friendships are wonderful, but they are generally not familial, and family is what I want so much right now. I could cry, I feel so separated from any sort of unconditional love. I feel pitifully abandoned, even as I acknowledge that my emotional state of starvation is self-imposed.

I must not be giving love. Otherwise it would flow to me in return. Although I know this misery is but a shallow fiction written in an artfully shaky hand by my own overly dramatic imagination, I can't seem to avoid believing in it for now.

I am so very unhappy I don't even know what to do. If I could just wake up I'm sure I could figure something out, but I can't.

I am so tired I can barely lift my head from the pillow to get up and turn off the light...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Civic Duty

"I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,
Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?
Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you. "
--Walt Whitman *

Interestingly enough, as soon as I began writing and thinking quite a bit about Jonathan Knight in his unbearably handsome and sensitive youth, I randomly met a tall, sweet, 21-year old Marine who looks quite a bit like him, although his skin is slightly darker-- a luscious combination of honey and olives. Like myself, said Marine (let's call him Alessandro) is also from Chicago, with grandparents who emigrated from Italy. He was here in NY for Fleet Week, aptly named because he is due back in North Carolina by the 28th...

On Saturday night we spent the most sweetly romantic four or five hours I have, perhaps, ever shared with another human being, appreciated by me even more because he risked quite a lot of punishment to sneak off and be (relatively) alone with me (it is mandatory for Marines to travel in groups of no less than four). Unfortunately, due to other restrictions he had to stay near the Times Square area, but we sat quietly together and held hands in Bryant Park, ate Korean barbecue, and went to my favorite candy shop. He utterly refused to eat anything there. Barring the times when my brother and his friends (who are professional athletes) were in training for a big competition, I have rarely been in the presence of another human being in such sparkling good health, and so disciplined in terms of his physical well-being. He was also innocent and sweet-- even angelic and ethereal, despite his two long tours of Iraq.

Indeed, I never met a person who was so tabula rasa. I felt I had nothing to fear from him, ulterior motive-wise. We were simply attracted to one another and feeling the romance of spring stirring in our young hearts. It was delicious.

Upon leaving Bryant Park we passed the building which clandestinely houses the old dungeon where I used to work I saw a zaftig girl with punk-rock highlights coming down the stairs. It was very obvious to me what she was, although I didn't know her personally. I paused, smiling, and told him to look at her as she passed.

"She's a dominatrix." I said, and explained my six month stint as a domme. When I shared some of the gory details of the medical torture sessions I had often conducted, he replied:

"I suppose you wouldn't have much trouble killing someone, then."

"No." I admitted, remembering the blood that had spattered my vinyl naughty nurse's outfit and the rush of dopamine I'd often felt pulling large-gauge needles out of a willing victim's flesh.

However, to satisfy my conscience, I added:

"Although it would have to be in the name of a worthy cause, not that I can think of one..."

"It's the same for me. I don't enjoy killing, but I'm not afraid to do it in the name of the greater good." he said without bravado. He'd put a bayonet through someone's throat before, he then mentioned in passing.

It's a funny thing. I do not believe in war, or murder, yet I have joyfully engaged in many acts of violence. Really, all such acts are equal in concept; the only difference is in the degree of expression. So who am I to judge a Marine, or any other soldier, for the sin of murder? Perhaps I am little better, though I fancy myself to be so because I made such choices at my own discretion, rather than at the behest of a commanding officer.

Outwardly angelic, yet both capable of bloody deeds, we had so much common, did Alessandro and I. I suppose it's a far from unheard-of combination of traits, although I rarely seem to encounter it in a man.

"Why did you join the Marines?" I asked him, suddenly curious.

"My mother has an incurable disease. So I wanted to fight alongside her..." he answered. My heart stirred. What a sweetheart.

"Why do so many men in the military get married at such a young age?" I wanted to know next.

"I'm not sure. It's so difficult to see your girlfriend any other way, sometimes the only way to maintain a relationship is getting married. And some guys do it for the bump in pay, although I can't imagine making a promise that big for a reason like that."

I hugged him about a dozen times for that one.

He told me when he's out of the Marines, he expects to join the SWAT team in Chicago, for he's never been "book smart" and doesn't feel college is right for him.

We met up with a warm acquaintance of mine to watch the Matt Serra/Matt Hughes UFC fight at the Playwright's Tavern in Times Square. I was introduced to his girlfriend, who seemed nice. This acquaintance is a brilliant actor, comedian and improviser I'd like to know better, although I felt a little strange when, after we parted so I could walk my date back to his friends, thereby to depart for their ship, I received a text, referencing my virginity, that said:

"For God's sake, don't lose it to a serviceman." which I thought was funny at first, if only it hadn't been eventually followed, despite my lack of response, by:

"I'm serious. Kiss him if you need to but don't be silly."

Wow. How weird and bossy!!! Not even a best friend would send me something like that. I wondered if he was being overprotective or had some other motivation. I never understand men.

Anyway, I walked my Marine down seven crowded, glittering, neon-lit blocks back to his meet-up spot, parting in front of the subway with an unavoidable sense of finality that indicated the Universe had somehow declared we wouldn't see one another again in New York, despite his most ardent wishes or mine. A little girl snuggled in the arms of her father passed by as we began our good-byes.

"She looks so sleepy and adorable!" I gushed.

"Like someone else I know" he said, surrounding me protectively in his strong arms. I was so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude at having met him that I kissed him a hundred times or so and bounced down the subway stairs, sending him off with a wave and, characteristic of me, no backward glances.

He couldn't get liberty to spend any more time hanging out over the holiday weekend, but I did get a text that said:

"On a serious note, I think I may be having serious feelings for you".


He hardly ever even sees women, so I can't take it to heart. The life of an active-duty Marine is often lonely, and I'm sure I could have been almost anyone...

I believe we'll keep in touch, but I don't think we're meant to settle down together, although having an unbelievably handsome and loving husband who is gone for all but major holidays would be a perfect arrangement for me.

Ciao, Alessandro... maybe I'll see you in Chicago on the Fourth of July.

PS I'm convinced we had the most innocent date a Marine and stripper ever had. Ever.

PS2 He'll be off to Afghanistan by the end of the year. I hope he comes back.

* This quote seems kind of mean, but I'm feeling very unattached personally toward all men just now. In my mind they are turning from a seething, unmanageable, problematic mass into a harmless collective vessel for experiments of Virtue and experience.

So It Goes

Whoever showed too much fight, and denied her lover,
He held her clasped high to his loving heart,
And said to her: ‘Why mar your tender cheeks with tears?
As your father to your mother, I’ll be to you.’

She, who is virgin, who hates Cupid’s darts,
Gives people many wounds, has many to give.
-- Ovid, "The Art of Love"

Spring is in the air, and, while I am aware this is a wonderful time to fall in love, with my annual round of April/May romantic try/fails now ostensibly behind me, I am settling in for another go at being creatively productive instead. I know the shape of my ideal relationship, and since it is not to be found at present, I shall therefore set my hand to the plough artistically, and be very grateful I have life and energy enough to share my love in another form.

The boon of maturity is perspective with neither rancor (which is, as Ortega y Gasset says, "An outpouring of a feeling of inferiority") nor regret.


In a very pleasant catch-as-catch can sort of way, I was dating a funny, broad, stunningly honest, good-natured person for a month and a half or so until, riding with him on the subway Sunday night, I realized, in a flash of insight, that it probably just isn't going to work out for the following reasons:

1.) The only relationship talk we ever had was sparked by his declaration that he "Didn't want anything serious". I said that was fine, no harm done, but that we'd never see one another again, since that's not what I need (no rush of course, but eventually an exclusive relationship is what I want), upon which he took what he said back. The whole thing made me feel depressed. "I'd like to keep sleeping with other women" is not the ideal sentiment I'd like to hear from a man when he is snuggling in my bed with me. I don't say,"No, no, no" to dozens of men a week (a habit formed long before I worked in the sex industry) to throw away my love and attention on a man who is still definitely, actively, enthusiastically weighing his other sexual options. I know it's sometimes difficult to be with me, considering my refusal to have sex. That's why my partner has to be sure of his feelings. Otherwise it's just a mutual waste of time, and I refuse to knowingly squander time or any other valuable thing. It seems sinful.

2.) His friends came first, in terms of resources and consideration. I would have been satisfied with a 60-40 split for the present, considering there are more of them than me, and they're already proven to be loyal and supportive, whereas any newcomer (namely me) is inevitably on probation for quite awhile. However, that wasn't the case at all. I certainly gave him as much consideration as my other friends and dates, never less. This one stings, I must admit-- it's a deep dig that affects a soulful part of my being, rather than my superficial ego. I guess it comes down to feeling, subconsciously, "You're not as important to me as the other people I like." Which manifested in practical terms as him saying, ""I have to save money, because my friends are coming to town next week." (meaning: so of course I'm not spending any on you, although, of course, it could be any resource, you come last, this is the precedent, and I'm setting it). Really? Red flag, full stop, very hurtful, unacceptable. I've re-arranged my whole schedule around him many times, and used my very last bit of energy to make our time together sweet for him. Maybe I didn't always succeed, but I did try.

3.) He will let me go without a bit of protest, I feel sure, even though he knows where I live and everything.

4.) I'm sure I did more things to make it an impossible situation also, starting with ever believing I am capable of attracting a loving relationship while I'm stripping.

I sound like a whiner (we had a nice time together, it wasn't forever, but what is? the end), so I'm cutting myself off, and devoting the rest of my morning to baking cupcakes and hanging pictures in my apartment. Some of them are sort of heavy, but I'll surely manage. After all, neither love nor manual labor universally require a partner in crime. As surely as a person can harmonize with the infinite, expansive joy that is true love-- with or without another human being-- so can a single girl make her home beautiful solely with her own capable hands if she so desires.

As Vonnegut said, "So it goes"...

PS Back to the strip club tomorrow. I don't want to go!

PS2 I already hung these shelves:

PS 3 Re-reading the state of affairs with this boy, I am shocked I let things go this far. I really seem like a sucker, ah well, live and learn.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Goodbye (for now), track weave...

PS When my extensions were clipped off and my hair was unbraided, I couldn't stop scratching my long-hidden scalp. The sensation was so unbelievably wonderful I practically purred like a cat. It's a shame I don't have a boyfriend because my hair can finally be pulled without reservation again.

PS 2 Although I have quite a backlog of significant (to me) experiences from the last couple of weeks I really ought to write about, I believe I'll save all that till tomorrow. Or another day.

PS3 I wonder if my earnings will take a dive now that my hair is so much shorter. Ah, stripping...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jonathan Knight/Dead Fathers

When I was a child I used to have a huge crush on Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block. I admitted this to no one, of course. Tellingly, the only figures in popular culture I would openly cop to admiring/adoring were:

1.) Shirley Temple
2.) General Patton
3.) Punky Brewster
4.) Bret Hart
5.) Saint Bernadette

About eight years ago I saw Mssr. Knight on Oprah Winfrey, having a panic attack and explaining his lifelong struggle with stage fright, depression, etc. I fell in love all over again. He is precisely the neurotic flavor of man I find most fascinating: talented, attractive and totally at the mercy of his fluctuating, punishingly intense emotions. On some instinctive level I probably recognized his issues all along, and, indeed, liked him primarily because of them; after all, I tend to be attracted to artistic people with depression/mood disorder issues as significant and longstanding as mine, even on a seemingly superficial celebrity crush level.

So. Lately I've been wearing this red enamel heart-charm necklace with Jon Knight's name emblazoned on it (bought on Ebay 5 years ago). Almost nobody notices. Even when I point it out, no one seems to care, sadly. I really want to see New Kids on the Block in concert. However, I don't have a single friend or acquaintance here in New York who would be super jazzed over the prospect of going with me. Everyone I know here has painfully good taste. Booooring. I need to make a new friend who shares some of the same guilty pleasures I do... come one, now, we can't go to Gemma and Film Forum all the time!

Today a repeat customer with red hair and freckles took me to the champagne lounge for a couple of hours. He recommended some P.G. Wodehouse works I always meant to read but never got around to checking out. Then he told me his father died Monday. It seemed sad. He didn't talk much about it, but apparently they were close.

"Tell me something good," he whispered in my ear.

After a moment's pause, I said:

"You are obviously a kind-hearted person, without any karmic roadblocks or sharp edges. I can tell you treat people well, and that means, without a doubt, you will receive the treatment same in return. You're going through a sad but very inevitable human experience right now, but I truly foresee a very happy life for you otherwise."

This seemed to satisfy him. I liked him when I met him the week before, and I liked him all the more after he spent a thousand dollars on me. Being in the prolonged presence of his grief, however, was not without its after-effects. A palpable veil of misery had been draped over me physically and emotionally. I felt as though I'd absorbed some of it by osmosis. The unpleasant sensation lingered the rest of the evening, but I shook it off by the time I stepped off the train back at home in Brooklyn.

Sometimes I wish I made less of a sincere effort to connect with customers on a genuine level, but it's my inevitable M.O. at the strip club or anywhere else.

I'm such a Pisces...

My own estranged father's last act after getting diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor (he was dead within a month of finding out about it, although the tumor had, in all probability, been growing clandestinely/insidiously in his brain for more than a decade) was to cut my brother and I out of his will and donate his body to medical science. My mother maintains that his dying acts simply proved the tumor made him insane. I think it just affirmed that he was an asshole...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Show, Not Quite

"An American woman who respects herself," said Mrs. Westgate, turning to Beaumont with her bright expository air, "must buy something every day of her life."
-- Henry James, "An International Affair"

This morning, for the first time in over a week, I truly woke up-- felt the wet carpet of torpor roll back and could once again embrace the prospect of living with a sense of renewed vigor, joy and energy.

The first order of business was to get my track weave washed and set. Sadly, I ended up spending twice as long as usual-- over two hours!-- in the local Dominican beauty shop due to length of time it took to dry out the moisture trapped in my too-thick under-braiding (note to self, never go to that African hair-braiding salon for extensions again). The braids under my weave are still a little wet, in fact, and smelling musty. Nasty-- I can't wait till after the holiday to get this weave taken out. I want to get the last bit of Barbarella mileage out of it this week before I go back to having short hair for a bit, though. It's good for business, if not my peace of mind. Or scalp.

My long salon delay ensured that, since I was more than an hour late, I had to pay the same 50 dollar fine at work as if I was a total no-show. Seems pretty unfair, but every rule for dancers is ultimately made for the benefit of the club, and they rarely cut anyone slack whatsoever. I took the train into Manhattan to explain my salon issue to the manager and pay it in person as well as to see if it was worth my while to stay and dance that day, fine or no. However, I just couldn't bear to get dressed and finish my shift, somehow. Instead, I scheduled myself to work the next three days in a row, sigh. I really made a particular effort to set things straight and be a responsible employee, but it's a losing battle when nobody ever believes anything one says, and almost everybody in a managerial position is a fucking bully, jerk or totally forgetful. NO SUPERVISOR I'VE EVER MET IN THIS INDUSTRY IS NICE AFTER ONE'S FIRST WEEK. EVER.

Note: this is the first time I've ever been late for work at Tryst and I didn't even get one iota of a break, nor did I expect one. Treating employees as disposable, to put it mildly, is S.O.P. in every strip club I've ever known.

Afterward, blinking on the sidewalk outside the club, and as happy as a dove who had flown her cage, I sat in the shady, mossy graveyard at nearby St. Paul's for a little while, ignoring Ground Zero a few hundred feet away as well as every other thing that reminded me that I was in the middle of an enormous city or ever had to work again.

Then I took a meandering walk down Broadway, ending up not quite by chance in one of my favorite stores, the mega-colorful French novelty shop, Pylones, and bought a few little things for myself:

These little plates are so cute I immediately felt compelled to have a romantic/fun picnic somewhere with a friend/date. It didn't happen. Day jobs make spontaneous daytime jaunts difficult for most other people I know. Booooooo. Plus my cell phone is really iffy right now, and I'm kind of loath to get a new one just yet. I like the idea of being progressively incommunicado, at least for awhile...

When I finally got home I called to book a plastic surgery consultation for next week... I can't wait to finish saving up for these little cosmetic procedures and get them over with so I can treat myself to shopping excursions more often, hopfully with my little brother by my side. Although I suppose I'll have to stop working when he's around, so money might be a problem then, sigh.

I was so happy not to go to work today my heart was absolutely singing. Maybe this means I'm in the wrong line of employment?

What else should I do with myself, though? Be my own housewife? Run away to Alaska? Marry for money? My rent is only 400 dollars a month, though, better marry for love. Eventually. Or never?

Who knows, maybe I'll die tomorrow.

Ah, I want to go on a picnic so badly right now!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009


I hung these shelves with tiny nails today. I wonder if they'll hold?

I may come back from stripping tomorrow night to find them on the floor.

As pants the hart for cooling streams...

"My little studio has never been profaned by superficial, feverish, mercenary work. It’s a temple of labour, but of leisure! Art is long. If we work for ourselves, of course we must hurry. If we work for her, we must often pause. She can wait!"
-- Henry James, "The Madonna of the Future"

Since I am working for Art and not myself I shall pause objectively and with good humor, trusting in my Muse's eventual return, rather than inwardly launch invectives of bitter self-reproach (today, at least).

I have noticed this capacity for objective thinking and prudent, pruned-in action emerges in me only when my emotions and physical impulses are at a very low ebb.

Example: I read 3 of the driest Henry James novels by 10 am today, and have no desire whatsoever to jog.

Other objective thoughts:

I have noticed that every time I date someone who captivates me physically, the focus and ardent attention I usually reserve for quiet union with the Divine seems to divert itself into entirely sensual channels upon which I concentrate instead.

Psalm 42 says:

"As pants the hart for cooling streams
When heated in the chase,
So longs my soul, O God, for thee,
And thy refreshing grace..."

Yet how easily does my mind substitute an inward-seeking "heated in the chase" longing for God with an outward-searching one for pleasure with Man!

Even so, I refuse to believe any interaction rooted in true affection (on my end, at least, I can confirm) is otherwise than blessed by, as well as the essence of, true Divinity.

PS It was my little brother's birthday yesterday. He is now 15. I hope to see his dear little self very soon, and figure out some way to do it which does not involve him finding out I'm an "Off-Broadway dancer for matinee shows" as a friend recently and politely termed my occupation.

PS 2 I just realized, with the exception of art modeling, which I did for 7 years, most of my other jobs have all lasted almost precisely 6 months apiece. I wonder if this will hold true for dancing?

Sunday, May 17, 2009


"We may take the stories least like poetry as our guide to the truth"
-- Plutarch, "Parallel Lives"

The romance of poetry holds neither appeal nor ring of truth for me in these times of exhaustion. I long for plain words, comfort food, also to give and receive service impersonally and efficiently.

In fact, all I wanted/was able to do today (so far) was:

Read short stories as well as Ovid and Plutarch, clean my house, eat junk food and sleep. Again.

Around 3, feeling as gray and gloomy as the overcast sky, I shuffled slowly down the 2-block stretch of Broadway that is my particular stomping grounds for groceries and treats here in Brooklyn and bought myself a bag of vegan Doritos. A friend told me about them recently-- a new flavor blissfully produced sans milk. Since I haven't had Doritos in 14 years being able to eat them again is quite a treat-- it's a repeat of the joy I experienced a few months ago, when another helpful companion told me Oreos are now vegan also, and I devoured them on a daily basis, dunked in soy milk, for weeks. These discoveries neither aid me in my eternal quest to lose weight nor curb my bouts of binge-eating, but whatevs.

Somehow, eating this kind of food makes me feel so AMERICAN:

PS I smooshed an avocado as dip, after waking up this morning with an unbearable craving for one. The cause was a vivid dream I had last night, the gist of which involved a fellow dancer I know, recently come back to Tryst after a month in Brazil, lavishly rubbing my scalp with "avos", which may or may not be the word for avocados in Portuguese as well as Spanish. That's the word she used in my dream, anyway.

In reality, it would take more than an avocado to fix my hair woes. If my hair were a person, I'd drop 'bows on him/her. My track weave, which has undoubtedly been good for business because, surprise surprise, men generally like long hair better than short hair on strippers, has become an enormous source of annoyance. No matter how much I wash, dry and style my extensions, the sad truth is they have begun to smell musty and look ratty. Gross.

It makes me want to shave my head, give up trying to be "attractive" and get me to a nunnery.

I hate my fucking hair. 600 dollars and counting since late February and it still sucks.

PS The "Tin House" volume I'm reading was given to me by the Asian lawyer on our last date aka his birthday. That night, trumping my efforts at gift-giving (cookies I baked myself, fish I drew myself, a card, etc.) he gave *me* dozens of expensive presents, with the promise of a puppy the next day, but, truly, as wonderful as getting to know him was, it had to end. I was just not attracted to him, and he deserves a fabulous relationship with a loving woman who wants to be with him for all the right reasons. So I figured I'd just remove myself from the picture so she could show up in his life that much sooner-- his last couple of emails are still unanswered in my mailbox, ah well. God bless.

PS 2 Re: me reading a lot of Plutarch and Ovid lately-- I know I'm really in the doldrums when I start resorting to my comforting childhood refuge of snuggling under a blanket in the pouring rain and reading Greek/Roman mythology/history. When I also start making Cream of Wheat I know a sad call to my mother is inevitable. But I shouldn't worry her. I'm just a depressed person sometimes. She can't solve that one for me.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Solitude/Sleep Hallucinations/Narcolepsy/Champagne Room

"Dreams are jealous of being remembered; they dissipate instantly and angrily if you try to hold them. When newly awaked from lively dreams, we are so near them, still agitated by them, still in their sphere..."

This week my sleep disorder became almost unbearable. I felt so totally spent I could barely breathe. The advent of spring itself may have triggered it, for in my experience the spring rain is more soporific than any poppy. Dancing so much and dealing with the overload stemming from so much time spent in the ever-chaotic, sexually charged atmosphere of Tryst are also factors. Truly, it seemed my body was worn as thin as ancient, tattered lace, and, in a fit of active self-abandonment, I longed to clandestinely fold myself into a forgotten steamer trunk in our attic, thereafter to enjoy a few dusty decades (at least!) of delicious, sleepy solitude.

In short I wanted to dream and be alone.

Eventually, for good or ill, like a shipwrecked passenger tossed too long on battering waves I simply surrendered, allowing my miserable sense of gravity to sink me like a stone till, translucent with exhaustion, my ghost lay dark fathoms below, on the cold sand with all the other bottom-dwellers unable to get in the swim of life... life which I am nonetheless grateful to possess, in as much as a vessel of water can be said to possess the greater seas..

Though I tried to still my mind and listen to my inner voice, no great inspirations seized me; however, when I meditated with Megan Tuesday night, we both feel strange, helpful forces stirring immediately afterward.

So I've also been having my annual/sometimes-seasonal spate of weird sleep-related hallucinations, which are symptoms of the aforementioned low-grade narcolepsy that is, apparently, my endless cross to bear in this lifetime... what happens is the split second I wake from my dream I retain the image of a figure or object which last appeared in it to such a vivid degree that I believe it actually exists for a moment-- much like the imprint of the sun one gets after a bold, unwise glance skyward on a bright day. Monday night I awakened in alarm, quite sure my dream's star figure-- a strange monsieur (rotund, fatuous-- a plushly outfitted gentleman I felt I had seen in a Monet canvas that probably does not exist who was holding a canary in an ornate cage identical to the ceramic bird my mother sent, which I decided to display in a little metal lantern I bought at Pearl River Market, one of my favorite stores in New York) was in the room with me, demanding a sexual service of some sort I was unwilling to perform.

At least I didn't scream aloud this time, and was fortunately spared, also, the ordeal of waking a boy sharing my bed with my sleep issues, which make me seem insane at times, though I am not. Yet.

Insanity is a family tradition that hits most of my relatives at age 29 or so, after all...

This week I felt, indeed, so worn out and overwhelmed that I could not bear to work at the strip club for the first four days of the week. I decided to call in for a personal day, a first since I started working at Tryst nearly two months ago (the bout of laryngitis that rendered me genuinely unfit for two shifts awhile back was a different matter entirely).

Using manual labor and color therapy-- the only remotely effective measures for managing my narcolepsy of which I am aware, since pills rob me of all my creativity and are therefore off limits-- I painted my home, frustratingly-vexing-to-tape wainscoting and all, for two days straight. By the end of my second 12 hour day I was calling it "The Bataan Death March of painting" to myself, which just proves-- months of regular meditation aside-- that I have an extravagant amount of disgusting self- pity in reserve yet.

After more meditation and prayer I am absolutely sure such unwholesome tendencies/expressions of ego-based sentiment will eventually be shed from me in the manner of, say, toxins held deep in pockets of fatty tissue which, poisonous though they may be, do come to the surface and dissolve after faithful adherence to a fitness regiment.

When I went in Thursday I made a grand total of 75 dollars, due to my 50 dollar fine for skipping work Monday as well as the pouring rain, which always spells a miserable vibe and lack of customers at Tryst. Friday I was also doing poorly until five minutes before my shift was over, upon which a ridiculously drunken heating/air conditioning apprentice who deemed me "way too good-looking and sweet for this place" whisked me up to the champagne room for 3 hours, which meant I made about 750 instead of merely 300 for the day, and therefore the week, not counting that pathetic 75 from the day before.... he told me to get dressed for the last hour and offered to "get me out of this place".

I told him I wanted to be a stripper for a little while longer, but if he wanted to really do me a favor he could buy me a p-o-m-e-r-a-n-i-a-n (spelled for the benefit of the reminder text he was sending himself) puppy in red or blue... however, I doubt he'll be coming anywhere near the club after he sobers up enough to cringe over that 1500 credit card bill...

PS I'm not over it yet. I am spending a large portion of my Saturday afternoon napping, or would be if my downstairs neighbor's banda music wasn't ridiculously loud today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I counted up the profits for the last couple of weeks of diligent, single-minded labor and laid them in hundred dollar piles on my floor last night:

My goal is to have enough saved for the plastic surgery procedures and veneers I want by June 1st, After that I must plan for my little brother's extended visit, which means getting myself nipped, tucked and reasonably healed before he shows up. It probably means taking a hiatus from dancing, too, which could be a great thing by then, considering I'm getting a little burned out working four long shifts a week, and may be downright crispy a few weeks from now.

Actually, I wonder if I'll finally have the desire to strip out of my system entirely by then. Lord knows I cannot-- seemingly-- be a writer and a stripper at the same time. All of the finer artistic impulses which require me to concentrate for more than an hour have gone by the wayside since I started earning my living selling lap dances in a nightclub. I'm ok with that, because I still enjoy being a stripper, but I will need a free mind and schedule again soon.

PS Sharita, a street-wise veteran stripper who broke up with her boyfriend of six years recently, gave me some sound advice about money and men the other night:

"Don't tell anyone you date you're a dancer right away. And afterward, NEVER give your man ANY of your money. A man who won't treat you on a date because he assumes you have a lot of cash from dancing-- or any other reason-- is not worth your time."

I find her permanently-dilated pupils sad, but she does have a lot of sage insight to share about the perils of stripping.

I do know I have reached a stage in my life that totally precludes me from ever going dutch or picking up the tab for my date. The occasional dessert, cab ride, etc. for which I insist upon paying is a totally different matter, of course, because it's MY initiative, rather than his expectation that dictates my actions. This does not conflict with my feminist sensibilities whatsoever. In my opinion, the fact that I no longer wrangle with my dates to pay my half of the check simply means I've learned how to receive kindness with grace. Although most men I've dated typically spend a couple of hundred dollar per date on me, mas o menos, it's the thought, not the amount that counts.

A couple of months ago I witnessed a pathetic exchange which solidified my disgust for men who expect women to pay for their half of a given date. I was at a cafe in Williamburg, when a boy and girl in some sort of unfortunate relationship began arguing. Shockingly, he began berating her for having to pay for their coffee.

"I bought dinner AND drinks last night," he said, unashamed of his cheapness and horrible manners. He truly thought he had a valid point. It was horrendous.

"What an asshole." I thought at the time, 100% sure he did not love her, and that no man who truly loves his lady as such would ever expect her to pick up the tab, let alone bring it up in public in such a humiliating way.

"The mortgage lender I'm dating won't even let me buy him a bottle of water." I added to myself, sure I had-- at least!-- assurance of his civility, if not his love. Our relationship was brief, but would have been a lot briefer if he had ever suggested I pay for dinner.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Deradoorian Review from BUST Blog

I reviewed the new (Angel) Deradoorian EP for the BUST blog the other day (May 5th-- am I ever on my game...). She's the singer from Dirty Projectors FYI... scroll down to read it there:

Mind Raft
Lovepump United

While ostensibly a record made ‘for you to do drugs to, or something,’ Mind Raft, the debut EP from Dirty Projectors singer/bassist Angel Deradoorian, comes across just as easily as a study in deliberate deconstruction. Deradoorian, who uses only her surname as her solo moniker, diffuses the occasional New Age tang by singing with a slightly more mannered, downward-spiraling inflection here than we’re used to, creating a self-described ‘gothed out’ vibe. Highlights include ‘Weed Jam,’ with it’s multilayered vocals that consist exclusively of an evolving ‘ooh, ahh’ and sounds like a cross between a Gregorian chant and an undiscovered Andrews Sisters snippet from the vault, and the sweet, pastoral interludes of ‘You Carry The Deed.’ New Yorkers should catch the Deradoorian CD release tonight at Cake Shop to witness the superhip spitfire live. Also, stream the 5 song ep here for free all week. -Robin Holly

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Swine Flu Is Not Sexy

My mother sent a care package with anti-swine flu supplies (God bless her alarmist Midwestern sensibilities) and a little yellow ceramic bird with a matching vase and egg as well as a few other small presents, including seeds for poppies of the same gorgeous saffron hue... I believe I will try to grow them indoors.

In return I sent her some pretty tea towels, a hand-made card, a movie and drawings of fish for Mother's Day. I hope she likes the things I chose. If she knew what an ordeal mailing anything from the Bushwick post office can be, she would probably appreciate my efforts much more. At least it isn't as bad as the one on 125h street in Harlem, where I used to spend-- literally-- hours.

As much as I enjoy living in Brooklyn, I've been missing Harlem lately. I wish I had the funds to buy a brownstone for myself in West Harlem, where I would ideally hole up for the next five years or so, enjoying a blissfully insular existence and eating vegan Rastafarian food to my heart's content.

PS At work yesterday a fellow dancer sneezed onstage.

"Swine flu!!!" immediately yelled Rose, a crass punk-rock Russian girl.

"Stop it, Rose!" I exclaimed in horror, looking at the collective cringe appear instantly on the customer's faces, adding:

"Swine flu is not sexy."

If swine flu does appear at Tryst, I imagine we'll all get it. There is little ventilation in the club, and if my time working at a Dungeon with a similar lack of fresh air is any indicator, no amount of personal hygiene can really spare one being infected with-- oh, anything and everything-- in such an environment.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Semiotics and Love

I was thinking about semiotics and love today, and drew this:

I'll be painting the picture frame white and cutting a mat soon...

Bled-White/Blood Red Sunsets

The more depressed I get, the more I seek solace in bleak landscape paintings which feature either blood red or bled-white sunsets...

Two images that fit the bill for me lately:

Victor Hugo's "Setting Sun"

And J.M.W. Turner's "Sundown Over A Lake"

Maybe dancing four days a week is too much for me, and all this misery is merely exhaustion...

Depression/Van Gogh

"The whore in question has more of my sympathy than my compassion.

Being a creature exiled, outcast from society, like you and me who are artists, she is certainly our friend and sister.

And in this condition of being an outcast she finds - just as we ourselves do - an independence which is not without its advantages after all, when you come to think of it. So let's beware of assuming an erroneous attitude by believing that we can do her a service by means of a social rehabilitation which for that matter is hardly practicable and would be fatal to her.

... And meanwhile I am in my own hide, and my hide within the cog-wheels of the Fine Arts, like corn between the mill-stones."
-- letters of Vincent Van Gogh

Every day I wake up at 7 and stare at the beautiful little study I set up for myself. I have everything I need to write, barring motivation and inspiration. I have an outline completed-- entirely completed in detail-- for a novella worth writing, if I could only manage to begin it properly. This period of stasis has been in effect for three weeks, and I am not exaggerating when I say it is crushing my spirit to an almost fatal degree. I am a stripper/artist creating no art at present, which means I am, right now, simply a stripper. And single. And relatively poor. At 28. Sigh.

The most difficult thing with which to reconcile myself is that I am secure in my ability to bring forth meaningful artistic output when I do work with a sense of purpose and energy, having done so before-- it is my inability to focus and make a start that is driving me utterly mad. Is it my dancing job that makes me so scattered and unfocused these days? I have a thousand beautiful words and images floating around in my perpetually exhausted brain. I have asked everyone for advice--

"Should I vary my process? What would you do?" I ask, time and again.

"Don't force it," they answer in universal consensus, often followed by:

"Maybe you need a new Muse."

Fine. Where is a reliable one to be found? After all, it's hard to know when a person, place or thing is going to suddenly be eclipsed out of one's life, or abandon one. I am here, open and waiting for the grace of God to deliver me from this state of unbearable tension. If I am created in God's own image, I must similarly be a creator, myself-- in capacity if not actuality (at present). I will pray quietly with gratitude that I have life, no matter if I am as a dam blocked by silt and rotting vegetation for the moment. Sadly, neither life nor the grace of God is granted the sensual, I am told-- I who dwell in the sensual realm more than in the temple invisible of the Holy Spirit these days. I must be the enemy of my own art. It must be so, for neither lack of God nor of opportunity is present.

This week both of my little fish died. I was feeling miserable before, but now I am also disgusted. Taking the rotting little bodies out of the tank was an ordeal. I couldn't eat and consequently felt faint at work, which was relatively very unprofitable for a Friday due to the rain pouring down in buckets.

I was propositioned by two married men in a very serious way in the span of about 16 hours, which made me sadder than ever.

I have taken to reading the letters of Van Gogh with great empathy. We apparently have much in common with a couple of minor disparities: he was a genius and actually able to produce works of art with regularity, despite his personal difficulties, whereas I am a dilettante who cannot do much except take my clothes off for money and elicit/solicit praise 24 hours a day.

Note to self: without his canvasses Van Gogh would have been just another poor, socially retarded redhead with a history of mental illness, somewhat similar to myself.

I must remember it's our work that defines us, and neurosis is never charming...