Download 7.05 Mb.Pdf ko'rish
- Bu sahifa navigatsiya:
- June 30
- July 3 – Montpelier, VT
- July 11
- July 13 – Twenty Minutes to Paris
- July 17 – Chinon
- July 18 – Saumur, Piscine Publique – Afternoon
- July 19 – Dampierre-Morains
- July 19
- July 21
- July 23
Saturday, 7:57 a.m. He, the apparition, walks south on the east side of Eighth
Avenue, past the knot of people, mostly young, well-muscled gay men, waiting for the
health club to open. You spotted him almost immediately when you came out of your
building though he was a block south and across the avenue, and the sight had left you
no choice but to detour from your accustomed route to the café in pursuit. You
overtake him just as he turns east on 23rd Street. Probably Japanese, and approaching
middle-age, he wears his hear shoulder-length and dyed a color that used to be called
dirty blond. Affixed somehow to his upper back are large, white, feathery wings. With
one hand he holds a length of graying linen robe draped diagonally across one shoulder
that also serves to cover his nether parts.
There’s a pattern to his progress. Every fifty paces or so, he breaks his measured
stride and pauses, gazing into the middle distance. Not quite a thousand yard stare –
he seems to be looking at something with an expression both quizzical and pained.
Now he stands stock still, just east of the Krispee-Kreme donut shop awning.
Across 23rd Street, at Temple Emunath Israel, services will begin at nine.
Despite the proximity, you get the distinct feeling this angel will not visit the
Congregation in its prayers. But thinking about the temple reminds you that you
haven’t seen Mr. Litwin for a month or so, and when you did, he didn’t look so hot – his
skin white and papery. Make a note to ask Ruth how he is doing, hoping that indeed he
is doing. Unzip your backpack and pull your book and pencil out right here, otherwise
your impulse will get swept aside in the great rush of things, forgotten for days, until
some association spins it back into awareness. When you finish jotting, you stand for a
moment, watch the winged man walk on.
• • •
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 303
Ever since the dawn of crack, gunfire continues on routine in certain
neighborhoods. In the Bronx and Brooklyn, two kids hit in as many days by bullets
intended for others. Both sixteen. One holding her baby.
10 p.m. Gay Pride fireworks, probably shot off the 13th Street Pier – the highest
bursts visible to the southwest over the top of Building 3. Is it just your mood, or is
there something especially effusive about these lights – as though the rockets
themselves know they’re signifying the presence of an overarching generative spirit.
And suspended, for those who can see it there, in the smoke above the Hudson, the
sparkling charge of Brazil’s Copa victory too.
July 1 – Le G. – Early Morning
Open the New York Times and an advertising insert falls in your lap. Yeeech, the
colors – a violent confrontation between yellow and gray. Ah, the Olympic wanabees’
first shot across the bow. Unfold to find: THE OLYMPIC X PLAN for 2012 done up in
boldface stencil, like a message along the fuselage of a bomber, or inscribed on the
payload itself. On the verso, a map of the region viewed from way above. Upon this
terrain an X has been superimposed, with a host of athletic events strung along its axes,
everything from slalom canoeing in Queens to mountain biking in Staten Island. At the
very crux, an entity called Olympic Village has been plunked down in Long Island City,
just north of where Newton Creek flows into the East River. A wide circle reaching
nearly to the margins, denotes a ten-mile radius from the epicenter of the games. If you
looked at just the imagery without resorting to the text, you’d swear for all the world
this was one of those H-bomb blast and radiation charts from the ‘60s, a different
culture of fear and a time when Ground Zero meant something other than mass
martyrdom as preamble to sixteen-acres of real estate heaven on earth.
Lord, this is a singleminded map – strategic, not tactical – hence no arteries or
streets, no cemeteries, nor any identifying urban features. Only an elementary
distinction between land and water and the names of the boroughs. What’s labeled are
airports, Olympic transit routes, and proposed sports facilities. The whole of the region
lies denatured, neutralized – fallow land for domination.
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 304
On the recto side, a wide column of PR boosterspeil ramps up in the syntax of
assumed high Newyorkese. As you read, the words come across subvocalized in the
tones of a central casting hardhat, or cabbie, or hotdog vendor delivering up the
authentic and ineffable wisdom of the stoops. “Just think (tink): The Olympic games in
New York (Yawk). Can you (youze) imagine that? The world’s (woild’s) greatest
event…in our great city.” A ways down, the language shades into a higher tax bracket,
promising billions in revenue for upgrading parks and recreation facilities – all “for our
children.” And will this cost the taxpayer one dime? No siree, Bob.
Yo, yo – wait up now – this all sounds to good to be true. Ergo: “We know what
you’re thinking. Seventeen days of more traffic…more crowded subways…more of
more. But detailed plans have been made to ensure that you still have enough time to
get your iced latte before work.”
And then the closer: “Come on, New York…this is the Olympics…. Without
your support…fuggedaboudit… Become a cheerleader for the cause… Talk to friends
around the country… let them know how New York will have something great to
celebrate along with the rebuilding of our city…. After all, we’ve been training for this
At the very bottom of the page, the logo repeats in miniature the graphic on the
cover: a runner in blurred high contrast, female and seemingly black. Crouched to
spring into action, she waits for a DONT WALK sign to flash GO.
The map is printed in tones of gray, but darker by far are the forces behind it.
And nowhere do they identify themselves, this “we” who know us so well, who look
out so beneficently for our needs. These Olympics, and their sequelia, were they
happen here, would deliver a body blow to the city, far more damaging than the
destruction of the towers. These farpotshket dreams of abstracting out, of wrenching the
polis into Happy Host mode, would mark the dead end of the four century arc begun
when the Halve Maen dropped anchor in the bay. “This is a very good land to fall with,”
Hudson’s navigator observed, “and a pleasant land to see.”
Somehow, New York – the organism – has always marshaled sufficient Eros to
edge out a narrow victory over deathwish. But now? How long after the last electric
bulb blows out on Broadway, and Nasdaq’s ticker LCD flashes from zero to permanent
blank – how long will it take for a council elm to grow again on the spot the Dutch
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 305
the Canarsie Indians have gone.
• • •
By shanksmare toward Tobias’s office to drop off some books and your
apartment keys before flying outa Dodge for the summer. A Sanitation Department
sweeper vehicle careens past you heading west on 25th Street. It raises in its wake an
immense cloud of dust which, a few steps on, you find yourself engulfed. Swallowed
up with you in the particle storm, a lone workman trying to muscle a heavy wooden
construction barricade into position on tiny metal rollers. Get closer and you see his
rollers are appropriated chain-link fence poles laid down in the street like something
out of a speculative history of pyramid building. In the midst of the cloud you can also
make out a man on crutches, his legs misshapen, struggling to negotiate the torn-up
plaza in front of the Elliott Chelsea Houses – “A Proud Home in Our Community” – a
public project built around the same time as Penn South and more or less the same
towers in a park style. Visible in the plaza too, a blue portosan and a yellow bulldozer-
backhoe hybrid, whence came the construction debris along the curb whence came the
dust the sweeper whirled temporarily into momentum.
How much you can see despite it all. On the sidewalk you pass a middle aged
woman in flip-flops and her tiny black poodle. You keep walking through, in the
sweeper’s wake, like an animal that, in hot weather, bathes in dust to keep the files off.
You may not have begun as that sort of creature, but perhaps it’s your destiny to evolve
into one. A creature that one day adapts to writing in the dust.
Sneak away from the Goddard residency to watch the parade in town. Ranks of
men dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms march solemnly by. Every fifty paces or
so, they pause, set the butts of their muskets against their shoulders, and, as though
aiming at a flock of invisible geese, fire. Great puffs of smoke emerge from their
gunbarrels, and on the march, they rip open powder measures with their teeth and load
the breeches again.
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 306
Just behind the Minutemen, slouch two boys of middling teenage years, clad in
tee shirts and torn shorts, one stands out, with scraggly red hair and a braided goatee.
Between them, they hold a homemade cardboard sign: Let’s Kill All The Arabs.
Stunned silence from the onlookers as they pass. Nobody knows quite what to
make of them, they look so weasily, so unmilitary in their bearing. Then, down toward
the corner, a middle aged woman rushes out of the crowd and attempts to wrest the
sign from their hands. One of the boys half pushes the woman back, but the gesture’s
more like a rough turning away to deflect her. They walk on undisturbed. Behind
them stretches a long column of camouflaged trucks.
Coming into LaGuardia, you buzz midtown Manhattan in your tiny thirty-three-
seater USAir prop plane – passing over the Empire State’s spire – if you were Kong, you
could grasp it just like that.
What a grid, what a layout, what upthrust. You’ve always know from the
ground level that it was a real estate game, but you never saw the board laid out like
this before and internally a voice sounds, Yes! This is the playing field for which the skyline
is the alibi! Come play the game and try to live here if you can.
A dream in which one of your two cats reveals itself to be a human infant, while
the other remains a cat. “Katie!” you call in your dream, “How can we be going off to
Europe without our baby? And isn’t this amazing – we have a second child!”
Fields of Normandy below. Dawn in another part of the world, over a different
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 307
ABODE OF PEACE
July 14 – Jardin du Luxembourg
Once again, just like last summer, you and Katie circumnavigate the perimeter of
the children’s playground at a stroll, while inside, Gwen climbs the enormous
pyramidal jungle gym. Then she queues up behind a horde of other kids waiting their
turn to mount a low platform, cling to one of the knotted ropes that hang on rollers
from a metal track and swoosh round the circuit back to the starting point. For a kid
her age, it’s endless fun. She cedes her place to a smaller, eager child, then grabs a rope
and leaps into motion. In the time it takes to blink, the idea plays through your head
that this particular moment constitutes a déjà-vu and the intervening year has been an
illusion. It is still summer 2001. No three hundred sixty-odd rotations, nor a revolution
round the sun. Kronos never ate his children.
You scuff through early fallen leaves, mostly silent. But when you and Katie last
walked this path the talk between you had gone a mile a minute, congratulating
yourselves almost ecstatically on getting back to Paris with Gwen. What a difference a
year makes. Gwen waves, and you beckon that it’s time to go. Bargaining to stay a
little longer, she holds up five fingers. There’s the proof you needed: a year ago she
had a cast on that arm.
Ten years is too old for a pony ride, but apart from that, you complete, almost
ritualistically, last year’s tour of the Jardin: the carousel, then Théatre Guignol, where,
as before, our wooden and enamel-rouged hero saves the damsel in distress – assisted
this time by a dusky, mischievous little fellow named Zim-Boum.
• • •
Comes the evening and the three of you hook up with Rosemary and amble
down to the eastern end of the Tuilleries where the gravel covered ground slopes up to
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 308
gaze across the Seine toward the fireworks bursting alongside the Tour Eiffel in honor
of Gwen’s birthday and, incidentally, the storming of the Bastille. But she can only see
properly if you hoist her on your shoulders. Hop-la! She’s growing by leaps and
bounds even as your bones get older. Lock your knees and redouble your efforts to
stand straight. This may be the last time you’re called upon to do this particular duty.
Will you be able to turn your head tomorrow? Probably not. But tonight you’re
thankful you can still hold her aloft, through the final volley, the playing of La
Marseillaise, until the show is over.
South into La Loire. Pilgrimage to the birthplace of Rabelais. Not hard to see in
this terrain, fizzing with the life of the soil, how such an imagination could gestate here.
Back in the day, the custom of Touraine was to build into the farmhouse wall one
dovecote for every unit of land under the owner’s cultivation.
Pitstop at a local café, where you spy a poster for an upcoming event at
Discotheque Chinon: Election – Miss Tee-Shirt Mouillé. Now, how would Pantagruel
react if he came upon a host of tiny people frolicking so?
• • •
Nine hundred-odd years after the Norman invasion, the Brits, hectare by hectare,
proceed to conquer France. You’re staying the week in Dampierre-Morains, at a
medieval château owned by the parents of a London-born editor, now one of your New
York compadres. Strange to encounter, above the door to the guest bedroom, a baby
picture of your friend, hanging next to one of his brother. The two portraits, in black
and white, are mounted side by side, and nearly identical but for their poses being
reversed. Each infant faces feet inward, head out so that taken together their bodies
form a of U-shape – all vignetted innocence. Both C. and his brother lie on their
tummies, foremost legs slightly cocked as if preparing to crawl in opposite directions.
Their arms, nearly extended, support heads which raise off pillows to stare at the
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 309
that came from behind or beside it.
Against the bright white of the linens, the babies’ skin appears light gray, while
behind them, a cloudy backdrop, slightly darker, sets in relief the softness of their
lineaments. In these postures, somewhere between recumbent and rampant, the infants
appear almost heraldic – as though their combined image makes up the emblem of a
coat of arms.
Strong sun. The breeze ruffles the body hair you wish existed in inverse
proportion to that on your head. Into your mind floats the notion that you have come
to this spot precisely in order realize you’ve been lying here for a million years. No,
nothing that finite – rather a vast, unquantifiable stretch of time.
When you turn your head and open your eyes, you see to your left the children
and the mothers on the grass beneath the trees, or partly in the sun. To your right, upon
the bluff, a large château – a famed equestrian academy. If you blink, the scene might
shift and the château give place to a mill. From the ramparts of the château, flags fly
from the spires atop its towers. A weathervane shows, better than your body hears, the
precise direction of the breeze.
Close eyes. If you open them and see a mill, it will pivot to catch the wind, and
its blades will move counterclockwise. In this particular reverie, the same frame cannot
accommodate both a château and a mill. It’s one or the other, take your choice. But the
women and their children remain the same. The former wear their hair cut short or
long, depending on their age. Some dye their hair a version of Stephanie Audran red.
Their bikinis come in black or white. Their daughters look just like them in coltish
miniature and more colorful swimsuits, and their boys run bandy-legged through the
grass in diapers or naked, it is all the same to them. Where do they feel the breeze,
having no significant body hair? Over the tops of their intent little heads, maybe, above
which the clouds roll and the mill turns, or else the château flags snap in the breeze.
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 310
Every time you climb the spiral stairs to your bedroom, you look for the odd
little head of a man carved into the stone of one of the risers, near the narrow end of the
step. He’s hundreds of years old, and almost cartoonishly stylized, but so seemingly
animate that you keep expecting him to change expression or move a stair up or
downward, just to play with your head. But perhaps his trick is that he’s always there,
until one day, he isn’t.
Evening and you join your friend’s father, the lord of the manor, in what was
once the great hall. A soft, leather sofa. Above, the ancient jointed, pegged timbers of
the ceiling illuminated by warm overspill from the table lamps. Desultory
conversation, interspersed with bouts of reading the news – he the Financial Times, you
away is New York City? Your window looks out onto the ancient road cutting through
vineyards, the land this fortress was built to strategically control.
“This week, after months of discussion, the Lower Manhattan Development
Corporation, which is responsible for the site, unveiled six designs. These have
whipped up a tidal wave of comment, not all of it kind. More than forty million people
tried to view the plans on the LMDC’s website, overloading its server and slowing
down internet traffic throughout the U.S.”
If you knew R. better, you’d say something snide. Flip the pages instead to an
article on telecom giants gone bust. “’Today, there is no economy but the global
economy, no Internet but the global Internet, and no network but the global network,’
wrote George Gilder, a technology guru, in February 2001. He predicted two telecom
firms, Global Crossing and 360 Networks ‘will battle for worldwide supremacy, but in a
trillion-dollar market, there will be no loser.’ Yet within a year, both had filed for
Say goodnight to your host. And on the way upstairs, to the little fellow carved
• • •
A dream in which the WTC towers appear as two extruded cubes, like a doubled
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 311
Tapestries at Chenonceau show the Triumph of Force and Charity – the latter
depicted as an army led by the Virgin.
In the great Apocalypse tapestry cycle in Angiers, the white horse symbolizes
John, author of Revelation, eats what he has eaten – reports that it “tastes sweet
as honey, but fills my bowels with bitterness.”
One knows from experience that frogs’ legs can taste delicious. But, as the
tapestry makes clear, it is not a good thing to have whole frogs coming out of the
Incredible straightness of the Roman road from Loudon to Mirebeau.
• • •
Katie wanted the Dordogne experience, and this is it in spades. Intense
cultivation as at Dampierre, but of a different sort. Here are sheep and cow pastures,
corn, sunflowers, walnuts, and tobacco as one heads west toward Périgueux.
• • •
Janet and Patrick, refugees from the Lower East Side, have taken a tumbledown
farm complex in the hamlet of Chaumont and turned it into a home for themselves and
a guest house for the likes of us. The gîte is a former sheep barn, rubble stone and
masonry walls, ashlar door and window frames, tiled roof with a scalloped terracotta
edge below. Round about, in garden beds and climbing vertically on trellises, evidence
of Janet’s genius for placing her effusions of flowers. This is where you’ll spend these
next three weeks revising your imploded second novel, a gift of Katie’s imaginative
generosity. If not here, then where? Patrick helps you move a table into the bedroom
so it faces out the French doors. Spread a tablecloth and set your laptop down, but
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 312
social life of bees and lizards navigating the stones and wall-chinks. Literally, doves
coo in the eaves.
• • •
Grill duck breasts with rosemary cooked on a rack set over stones on the lawn
outside. In the kitchen, Katie stirs potatoes in a pan, filled a quarter inch deep with
duck fat. Parsley from Janet’s garden. Late, late sunset.
Kick a soccer ball about with Gwen. A shot goes wild – oops, hit the plum tree.
A rain of reine-claudes.
There was a tall stack of them on the book table at the Monoprix in Périgueux
and now you possess your very own somber, gray-covered copy of L’effroyable mensonge
– The Frightful Lie – a compendium of evidence by two French journalists that Bush
whacked the WTC. Lord knows why you bought this thing – from the little you can
decode it reads as strident and hysterical. Yet it called out as an artifact of the moment
of a kind one you’ll be unlikely to find so readily back home.
Evening and Janet comes over to report a TV newsflash of an explosion at the
Con Ed power plant on East 14th Street. Right near where Mickey lives. No one hurt,
apparently, that’s all that’s known. And the beat goes on.
Item in the International Herald Tribune: Prince Ahmed bin Salman, owner of War
Emblem, the horse that won the last Kentucky Derby dead of a heart attack in Riyadh at
the age of 44. And the horse goes on.
• • •
Night falling, the three of you pile into the back seat of Janet’s little red Fiat and
drive to a jazz concert in the Forêt Barade preserve. With the rest of the audience, you
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 313
ago, the château was besieged and burned, and its despotic seigneur put to the sword in
a peasant uprising led by the heroic child-rebel Jacou. When the concert ends, the
keeper of the château illuminates the structure from within, the door creaks open, and
in flocks the crowd – led by a troupe of wildly excited kids. This sort of treat doesn’t
happen every day.
The ancient keep is gutted – the walls still stand though, and form a vast atrium
partially roofed. Looking upward from the cellar affords an unimpeded view of a
succession of three successively shallower fireplaces, sheared-off and mantelpieces
jutting from the walls, each surmounted by the seigneur’s coat of arms, carved into the
stone. Stacked this way the whole of this monumental chimneywork appears as a
single contiguous tapering sculpture, yet sockets in the masonry walls show where
once, timber beams supported the floors. Winding upward, a steel scaffold’s been
affixed to the interior walls, and you ascend the steps to what was once the top of the
citadel, and then cross the see-through walkway spanning the chasm below.
Download 7.05 Mb.
Do'stlaringiz bilan baham:
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling