[She will love them when she sees them/They will lose her if they follow
And she only means to please them/ And her heart is full and hollow
Like a cactus tree]
I walked sixty blocks tonight, late, after the shops had all closed-even the chains. And though I know my mother would pale at the thought, it was either that or get wildly inebriated; the two have the same effect on me these days. I walked past the forced intimacy of the embassies, into the seedy muzzle of the upper thirties, beneath the soft underbelly and patriotic glow of the Empire, right by the razor clavicles huffing in the unflattering glare of the all-hours gym, near my favorite cart selling lemongrass summer rolls (still open, emitting steam), around the unicyclists and fishnets and steel-toed boots of Union Square. I believe in wading through the city like this at least once a week, without a time limit or a direction. It’s the only thing that grounds me.
Around 23rd St., Joni’s Cactus Tree came on at the exact right moment—I think she wrote the near-perfect song about what it feels like to be a woman in this city some nights, or at least the kind of girl that traipses around after hours by choice, just the pavement and the faces, new and gone at the same time. That, or when A.D. said “I was bored, you were bored, it was a meeting of the minds.” Take your pick.