And so, as I type this, we’re nine minutes into Halloween:
I went out to Bushwick tonight and sat for my friend Todd, who’s painting a portrait of me. He’s been petitioning friends to model for him, and I assented; actually it’s kind of enjoyable. Meditative. It’s not the most flattering portrait–he’s a real artist after all, not out to win me over via my vanity. But. He makes me a cheeseburger every session, and he has a way with cheeseburgers.
He dusts the cheeseburgers with an essence he got out of an Emeril cookbook. The essence is spectacular. I went to a bookstore last week, got the book off the shelf and covertly wrote the recipe for the essence in my notebook.
I came back on the L train. The Halloweeners started coming on in a trickle with each stop: the first, a Frida Kahlo, got on at Jefferson Street. A Steve Martin, with banjo, hair spray-painted silver, white suit, got on at Montrose Avenue. At Grand, there were a few more, and double that at Graham. By the Bedford stop the train was packed with costumed partiers.
It made me feel lonely. I don’t think I’ve worn a Halloween costume since I was a kid; you’d think I’d give it a shot, the way I look at them and feel a sense of yearning. At some point between Montrose and Grand, the Frida Kahlo looked over at the Steve Martin with a warm smirk. I wished I was a part of that.
I got off at First Avenue and walked downtown; there were revelers all over the place. The streets were really packed.
A fight broke out among a bunch of boys. I walked right into them. One tackled the other. One of them stomped off in a huff. They stood there, two cliques of friends (I couldn’t tell who was with whom), yelling at each other: WHY THE FUCK DID YOU TACKLE HIM?! FUCK YOU, WHY DID YOU HIT ME?! IT’S NOT YOUR FUCKING FIGHT, WHY THE FUCK DID YOU THROW THAT PUNCH?! They jabbed their fingers at each other.
One of them had had his shirt ripped off, and he stood there shirtless, with a big dirty pavement-mark on his back. They all seemed to have tears in their eyes, though nobody was weeping, just jacked-up to an emotional extreme. It occurred to me that maybe these boys jump into fights to access just the most modest hint of real feelings.
I may go to the Halloween parade tomorrow, and bring the camera. Although it will no doubt further this sense of melancholy.
Let me end this entry, in honor of the holiday, with my favorite Edward Gorey limerick:
A dreary young bank clerk named Fennis
Wished to foster an aura of menace.
To make people afraid,
He wore gloves of grey suede
And white footgear intended for tennis.
(That would actually make a good costume for me, wouldn’t it? I might have to xerox the limerick and tape it to my chest to make it look like a costume at all. Kind of like the Frankenstein costume I wore in kindergarten, which my Mom bought at Wal Mart–the prototypical 1970’s store-bought kid’s costume: a cheapo mask and a kind of plastic smock with a picture of Frankenstein on it. I was all like, What the hey?!)
Happy Halloween, everybody.