The Book of Laughter and Remembering

Metropolitan Museum, Sculpture Garden, NYC

The sculpture garden at The Metropolitan Museum, New York

(For Kay, who wanted me to post a review of my cry-fest locales in NYC, as they say you’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve cried in public here).

The other day, I walked by a coffee shop in my neighborhood, in which I had cried my eyes out some time ago before going to a day-time orgy. I had buried my face in his chest, trying to avoid eye contact with strangers, but of course they noticed, and either tried to look at what was happening out of the corner of their eyes or to avert their gazes uncomfortably. I didn’t say many words at the time, or at least not many coherent ones. I didn’t need to. He knew what had happened. Continue reading

Cruel Intentions, Great Expectations

Placebo, Brian Molko, Joseph Llanes, Rolling Stone

Brian Molko, Placebo’s frontman, rocking it out in Los Angeles. Photo by Joseph Llanes.

I recently saw the British alternative rock band, Placebo, play a concert in New York and fell in love with them all over again. So many of their lyrics speak to me on a deep level and at the same time, they’re so simple, that I think, “I could’ve thought of that myself!” But I didn’t think of that myself. That’s the thing about great literature, poetry and song writing: the writers find ways to concisely articulate something we’ve been feeling for some time that we haven’t yet managed to put into words quite as well.

Seeing the concert reminded me of how I get introduced to them: I heard their song Every Me Every You play in the opening of the movie Cruel Intentions, which came out in 1999 (when I was 16). Both the movie and the song really resonated with me at the time. The beginning of the song went like this: Continue reading


blue circles

The brown sign above the door reads “Aroma” and next to it is a drawing of a coffee cup with steam rising from it. We walk in, looking a bit delirious as always. In the morning, the aroma here, instead of the one implied, is always that of lemon-scented Pine Sol. It’s 8 o’clock. We sit at the same round table with tired eyes, tired hands, and tired thoughts, having been typing all night. What for?

Our waitress approaches—the same one with washed-out red hair—looking more tired than we are. Tired from working in this place her whole life. She must be in her forties now. She smiles like someone forced to say “cheese” for a photograph and comes to confirm that we will be having “our usual.”

“Two black coffees and plain bagels with cream cheese, toasted? Right?

We both nod. You grunt something that sounds like a “yes, please” in addition.

I stare out the window. There is a young couple walking by, holding hands. The two of us have stopped doing that long ago. They are dressed all in black with their long unbuttoned coats flying behind them. Hair loose, wavy, and unruly, down past their waists, also flying in the wind. They look like a cross between hippies and goths—not quite sure which way they want to be different. They are staring straight ahead, not talking, walking fast, with immense purpose. Seemingly unaware of being on this street, in this city, in this country, on this planet. As if they are from another world. I wonder where they are going; what their story is. No, no more stories. I’m tired of stories. There are already too many of them running amok in my mind and fist fighting one another to be written. Continue reading