sometimes when i send my friends letters i include a creepy polaroid of myself glaring menacingly from within a void. these pictures are rare collector’s items……..,..

This is such a sick burn that only a 1950s weasel scumbag with a thick New York accent could pull off . . . I would be utterly pulverized if someone laid this on me.

Also: SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957) is an excellent film. The script is punchy and clean. Listen: It’s a good time at the movies! And best of all it’s on the Criterion Collection, which about half of you have my login for, and I can tell because my queue is a total mess. (There are like 500 quarter-finished movies in there! For god’s sake, will you people please get to the credits???)

Anyway . . .

GOOD-NIGHT ☆彡

I took this picture of Jess at her bar in Kreuzberg a few weeks ago, right before I left for Turkey.

DID YOU KNOW: Jess found me on THE INTERNET completely by chance? She doesn’t even know how she found me. One day she appeared, and we became good friends. I remember her calling me on my birthday before we even met in person. I thought that was so sweet. Then in February 2019, I did some little tour of the Midwest . . . I flew to Detroit and stayed with my friend Logan, then took a train to Chicago to stay with Jess. When I got to her house, she had a Hobbit-style dinner ready for me . . . vegetarian and everything! After I ate, we went upstairs to her weird attic room with her cat Binky and got drunk on wine and put on music and smoked cigarettes inside and danced around all night. Over the next few days, we spent a lot of time at her art studio, and she introduced me to all her friends, and we went to a bunch of restaurants and bars, all of which she insisted on paying for. And every night we would go back up to her attic room and curl up in her bed with Binky as snow piled up on the streets below, just a week or so after the polar vortex of 2019 had hit the region hard—a cold arctic air mass which had plunged temperatures to negative fifty below zero, making it the coldest place on the whole planet . . . and yet I could think of no place else I’d rather have been. When I recall this time now, just a tiny sliver of my life, I feel glad that I experienced it, all because a stranger with good intentions had reached out to me from the abyss. Wow!

(There is a story somewhere in here that I have never written about on my website that involves me being physically thrown out of a karaoke bar and onto the snowy sidewalk by a bouncer who was three inches shorter than me and built like Donkey Kong . . . a total misunderstanding that ultimately I paid the price for. Well, it involves someone I did not know very well handing me something I did not want. Oops!)

Anyway: I introduced Jess to my friends Hali and Mable, the Palombo sisters, and we took some pictures in a photo booth that I still have in a cigar box in my closet. We also went to a Really Bad gallery opening together. And I remember in the daytime Jess and I visited Mable at her coffeeshop, The Wormhole . . . and after she got off, the three of us walked beneath the L train tracks to get to a little diner. It was there that Jess told me she was moving to Berlin the following summer, and I told her I would be moving there a few months after her. And we did! Many years later, we’re essentially neighbors. I can walk to her part of our neighborhood in about five minutes. And anytime I want to visit her at the bar, she’s just a few stops away on the U7. If I take a shower before I leave, my hair is still wet when I get there. Ain’t that cute? Ah, the world! Oh, the world!

I NOW CONCLUDE THIS POST WITH A BUNCH OF PICTURES FROM THAT TRIP TO CHICAGO ALL THOSE YEARS AGO BECAUSE WHY NOT:

Back in April, I wrote about the year 2019. I loved 2019. Of it, I said this:

Were I to come up with some sort of metric to assess the many years of my (adult) life, it would quickly become clear that 2019 was the “best” one. What would be the criteria? I guess that means things like: 1) my house, 2) my car, 3) my job, 4) my friends, 5) my g-g-girlfriend(s), 6) things I did, 7) places I went, 8) people I met, 9) number of books I read, 10) number of movies I watched, and so on.

In which case: In 2019 I had a cool house and a cool car and a cool girlfriend. I had good friends who lived close by and who came over often, and had good friends from far away who stayed with me. I did a lot of new stuff and went on several trips and met a lot of cool people. I read a lot of books and watched a lot of movies. Yes, it was a good year, and probably the most amount of quote-unquote stability I’ve ever experienced. Nothing has ever really come close to it again.

Big surprise: I lost the house and the car and the job and the girl, and plenty more . . . but I also met Jess that year, and she is one of the many things that made it so good. And yet . . .

JESS REMAINS

Really, what more can you ask of someone? I love you, Jess. OK?

i can’t tell you how i knew—but i did know that i had crossed the border. everything i loved was lost but no aorta could report regret. a sun of rubber was convulsed and set; and blood-black nothingness began to spin a system of cells interlinked within cells interlinked within cells interlinked within one stem. and dreadfully distinct against the dark, a tall white fountain played.

for almost sixteen years, dante woke me up every day of my life. i would give anything to feel him lying on top of me and gently pawing at my face again. my life is so empty without dante. i cry for him every night. i still don’t know how to live without him