Friday, August 12, 2011

New York, You Beautiful Bitch

Letter to a friend who asked, "What is New York?"


When I first moved to NYC, the most cosmopolitan aspect of her reminded me of Valencia, Spain, the only big city, 4 million people, I've lived in, though I've passed through many. A philosopher from Baltimore made an overnight round-trip just to see Steven and my poetry reading in Brooklyn. He was confident he could navigate the madness, and in spite of his being a world traveler, he failed. I had to give him directions while 50 kind people awaited our reading.

"New York, madame, is a monument to a city," said a wise poet.

Here's a fat nutshell of my exploits, failures, and euphorias upon my Manhattan embrace.

Leslie and I both gained over 40 pounds after our honeymoon with NYC. We lived in a shoe box, 275 sqr foot studio, and worked opposite schedules. Our option to pursue our dreams with few excuses made us depressed and overwhelmed.

I'm stalling. Here's the raw reel.

I scrawled my dreams and nightmares on the toilet, on the train, in my mind in the shower, over barren souls, always, through everything, while working in the Moloch monoliths of Manhattan: 13th largest law firm in the world, D___ and _____, where my nose bled and I cried over malnourishment while proofing mergers and acquisitions of the ____, _____, and the late Michael Jackson's business exploits; the Daily News building houses the globe of the Daily Planet in the first Superman movie with Reeves, here I wailed through 20-hour shifts, editing medical material, going temporarily blind for reading reading reading; Les was in a robbery; I almost fought a clown who hit her; the move from Manhattan to Brooklyn was tougher than Tulsa to Manhattana . . . all the while, writing writing writing poetry, sketches, Transit Prosody, Walking Stiff Blues, songs, prayers, elegies, and reading Jung, Rilke, Nietzsche, the Gospels, Dostoevsky, Eliot, Joyce, Pound, WCW, Isaiah, Doty, Li-Young Lee, Goethe, Kant, Alan Bloom, Aristotle, and comic books.

Saw angels in the architecture, devils in the subway, duende in the heart, and felt the muse in my blood.

Leslie kept me sane, and I her; Midwest dreams and the North Woods of Central Park helped, too.

Courtesy of Craig Ruttle.

Miles Davis, Ravel, Dvorak, Radiohead . . . on the phono, the latter in concert, helped too.

The city heals me and kills me, and Christ and Leslie sustain me.

I've printed 4 lit journals, produced countless plays/performances, have a draft of 3 novels, made music events, made music, hung an artists' collective. One must go to the valley first, to the depths of the river of the valley, before one can enjoy ascending. I will slip and fall, but I'm enjoying the burdened climb to heaven.

If Christ is for us . . . devil help those against us. I feel like Paul, telling of his beatings, imprisonings, shipwrecks, and time on the rack.

All to His glory.

Say hi to the ____ crew. Love them.



  1. This is a great piece. Unfortunately it's the side most people don't share so thanks for doing so.

  2. Thanks, brother. It errs on arrogance/self deprication, which I'm loathe to share till I say, "devil may care".

  3. Love this Kyle. Highs and lows, gritty and vulnerable. Great writing!

  4. You've captured a life experience beautifully. Awesome stuff and an awesome life! Love you.

  5. Wow, I freakin can't wait to hang with you again, hopefully soon.

  6. Hey, Marc, yeah it's been a long while. It'd be great to see you again.

  7. Leslie was involved in a robbery? I take it she made a clean getaway?

  8. Yeah, she wasn't hurt, just shaken up a bit. She did have to view a police lineup, but she couldn't identify him.