Advice for the fashion forward

I took a few helpful notes while I was in New York, so that those of you in the bass-ackward heartland could keep ahead of the fashion curve.

First of all: Queens is the new Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the new Manhattan. Manhattan is the thinking man's queens. The Bronx is the poor man's Westchester County. And Staten Island is the sportsman's paradise. Or something like that. Basically, Brooklyn: so 2001. Manhattan is, finally, where it's happenin'.

Second, for the ladies: thongs are out, nipples are in. So burn those bras if you've got 'em, and don't be afraid to show a little pantyline beneath your white skirt, micro-mini, or painted on jeans.

And, for the fellas: aviator glasses, guys, and polo shirts with the collar turned up. Short, spiky hair. Think Brat Pack. Think Risky Business. Think ahead. For the truly fashion forward, may I recommend matching athletic wristbands and headbands, the old person sunglasses that fit over your real sunglasses, and ponchos. Seriously. I've never steered you wrong before.


In which, a girl

There is a girl. Isn't there always a girl?

There is a girl down by the canal, where the barges dock. Among the sailors. Among the whores. Amid clouds of foul air and fouler language. She is, he thinks, like an anemone blooming in a barnacle colony. He has watched her on weekdays, hurrying, veiled, out of and back into a shop run by a brother, or father, or cousin, does it really matter? whoever it is would cut of his balls for watching like that.

It is a basket shop. She hurries out carrying baskets. She comes back empty-handed. She is a delivery girl.

Why can't he stop looking? Something about her changeable eyes, which remind him of the water, now blue, now green, now muddy. Something about her hands, which are small and quick and smart like birds. Something about the way the sun alights on her skin, as though it were merely returning to her after years of wandering.

He's helpless not to watch. On Sundays, when Dr. Demoto, struck by an unlikely, unlovely piousness, goes to church, he slips down to the wharf and wanders, hoping for a glimpse of her. She is the kind of girl you want to steal and whisk away in a boat. She is the kind of girl you want to hear laughing. She is the kind of girl of whom there always is at least one in a tale like this, as there is at least one in your life, reader, whether you are a boy or a girl, and whether you know it or not.


Hash Mark

Halfway through the summer, now, I've started to get pangs of that wistful feeling that time is slipping by when I'm not looking, as though I were "it" in a game of red light/green light. At moments of ferocious clarity, such as after a late night electrical storm, I turn and stare time directly in the eye and time stares back, still, to let me know both that it's leapt forward when my back was turned and that I will never catch it, that I might as well just turn around and let it do its thing, creep forward, lay a hand on my shoulder or calf, and replace me with some other "it." I want to be outside all the time. I want to be focused all the time. I want to listen to loud music and get drunk with no hangover and walk without an umbrella and eat tomatoes from the garden in the garden. Some days I want all this so much that I lie inside for a couple of hours, paralyzed. This leads me to believe that all this worry about how to pass the time makes the time pass faster, and that what I really need is to get absorbed in the game, get sweaty, and forget myself, and time.

But perhaps I'm starting to hit my stride. This weekend I went to Kaba's birthday party, and got loaded, at went to see my friend Olivia's band, the washington social club and went to dinner, and took a long walk, and worked on my novel, and started a one-act play called "Urinal," set in a men's room, and sat in the dark and watched a storm, and read some of bleak house, and got romantic, and listened to coldplay and swooned in the unseasonable breeze, and at points I really lost track of the itch I feel like I can't scratch. But at other times I was haunted by the sense that I should have been somewhere else, doing something else. Very much like Maqroll, come to think of it. When I, who live for summer, start despairing of its passing, I console myself with the notion that this is what it means to be 24. And soon I'll hit the road that leads to Manhattan, and the elusive, illusory heart of it all.

Slap me if you feel me, and let's make some sense out of this mess.