the world & words of a new york city writer

gretchen is a writer in new york city

Category: miscellaneous (page 8 of 16)

I’m used to doors closing when I’m not supposed to talk anymore. 

I have six brothers and sisters and as the youngest I know how to take cues. Kind of like when someone puts a pointer finger to their lips to hush you.

Only I pay closer attention than that.

The first time I went to New York City I was nine years old. My neighbor Hannah was holding my hand and leading the way down fifth avenue. There was a gunshot. Someone yelled something about a pocketbook. And a man ran through our grip leaving me with no contact from Hannah for about thirty seconds.

I looked at the Christmas tree and smiled. I saw my reflection in the glass of a boutique with riches worth more than the wardrobe of my entire family. A man in a suit nearly tripped over me before apologizing.

Suddenly I was being led again.

There is a trick I taught myself to do when I get out of the shower. Close my eyes until they flutter, then squint as hard as I can. It makes my ears ring. Sometimes I practice outside on sunny days.

I find myself doing this after he closes the door. I’m not supposed to speak. But I can’t endure the silence.

I squint my eyes and listen and wonder if this is causing any damage. I assume it’s not worse than my damaged vocal chords.

So I squeeze tighter and listen to the bells.

Whenever an ambulance arrives at our apartment, it means someone else is dead. One of the old people. Usually over 80.

My ears are sensitive to the sound of sirens. I think it’s because of how my parents used to scream at each other. Now that I’m over 30, I usually have a decent control over loud noises.

Never sirens.

I painted my toes red and blue in middle school once for the fourth of July. Douglas Clark said they reminded him of ambulance lights.

I’ve seen seven dead bodies rolled into the back of white trucks from NYU hospital since I moved in two months ago. Eight now. I feel like there’s something comforting about dying near water. I picture transparent apparitions floating across the East River.

My lover’s chin wraps around my neck and the ends of his hair brush against my shoulders. It feels both soothing and lethal to experience this in the presence of death. Particularly when it looks like a crooked gurney with a lumpy grey sheet.

He doesn’t like when I stand silently like this next to the window. He knows what it means. Continue reading

the wish of a curse

Namaste blog tribe

Once upon a time this was “published” in a land that no longer exists, in a galaxy far… far away.

Enjoy. One day it will be a book, and what not.

I love you.

The Wish of a Curse

I agree to be hypnotized. I believe going deeper might slow my tapping foot. My left foot is always the first thing to unfold. My face gives nothing away.

Tennessee says horrible things about me. She waits to hear the clang of my car door after work before she starts talking. She tells everyone in the office that I fucked the Marketing Director to get promoted. I hate my job.

Tennessee doesn’t know my problems. I hope she finds comfort in the lies she spreads. When I go home and cut myself, I don’t think about things like this.

Tennessee wears short skirts with frosted pink lipstick. She turns everything into an innuendo. She makes jokes with men that turn my stomach, because I know their filthy thoughts. And I want to tell her, but she’d never believe me.

No one ever believes me. Continue reading

disregarded sect

disregarded sect

Gypsy sees road kill and says a Hail Mary. Death depresses her for different reasons than most people.

It’s because she knows there’s no such thing. It’s because she knows you’d never believe her.

I know you’ll never believe me. Please disregard.

Gypsy heard voices far before she was able to pronounce the word schizophrenic. She once read a definition for the term as “mental fragmentation”.

That didn’t really sound too bad to her.

She finishes whispering another prayer. She’s done this in certain instances since the words were drilled into her at catechism school by a cracked lipped wench who petrified the children.

Gypsy still recites the verse during certain rituals. This would spread a smile across her mother’s lips.

Roadkill. Ambulances. Car wrecks. Cow pastures. These are some of the times she repeats this address.

Gypsy stares blankly ahead, driving with half of her focus on the past.

She’s at the orphanage. Sitting in the front row of the bus. Watching an angry sister twist the key and cry, “See? I can’t start the car!”

“What do you mean?”

“The steering wheel’s locked!”

“Why?”

“Because God’s punishing us!”

Gypsy looks in her rearview mirror at the corpse of the half flattened squirrel. Her abdominal muscles tighten and flex. With no focus on the road her vehicle remains steady and straight.

She silently apologizes to the squirrel. No one should have to go out like that.

agnes. part three.

“Five for an elbow is too steep,” says Agnes shaking her head at Pedro while Duane studies the pair in disbelief. He legitimately thought he was offering them a deal. He’s not even making $300 out of it.

“Five is good ma,” he says. “I’m sorry yo. But it is.”

Pedro knows she won’t pay it. He knows she needs more than that. “Four or no deal.” Continue reading

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