A forgotten doorway to my past

binLong-time readers know what these are. For the benefit of new readers, [I have new readers! Thank you, WordPress migration.] this is a storage bin  filled with journals from when I first moved to New York as a young, scared, lonely boy. There are hundreds and hundreds of single-spaced typewritten pages and many books filled with shaky, unsure handwriting. I had completely forgotten about them for many years but they resurfaced not long ago. I occasionally crack one open and post an entry. I offer these without edits and with the caveat that I was an emotionally immature, crude and not very nice person. Especially to women. But I’ve since learned a thing or two and I have forgiven my trespasses. I hope you do the same. I am in a constant struggle with whether or not I should destroy these. I don’t want any of the ladies in my life to read them.

When we last saw our hero, he was in the throes of a crisis of his own making (as they almost always were). An extraordinary woman he was seeing, Bonnie, had given him his walking papers. He had spouted off at length about how the work of avant garde artist John Cage was dull, unimportant, lacking structure and, worst of all, pretentious. Unbeknownst to him at the time, Bonnie, an older sophisticated architect, wrote her thesis at Yale on the career of John Cage.


August 30, 1992

In an effort to better educate myself and repair the damage I wrought with Bonnie, I invited her to a concert of John Cage’s work at MoMA. Bonnie asked if I was paying penance and I said, of course I was, so she agreed to go. The concert was just awful. Honestly, it only confirmed my suspicions but I’ll never admit that to Bonnie. I still want to sleep with her.

They had a lot of nerve calling it a concert. It had very little to do with music. The opening and closing numbers used traditional instruments—violin, viola, flute and a few others. They would each take a turn playing a long, sustained note. They’d occasionally overlap for texture but it was little more than a drone. The middle piece was three guys standing in front of a microphone crumbling and then un-crumbling pieces of newspaper and then slowly ripping them into long strips. This was accompanied by a man tapping a plastic plate, a woman pouring water and someone tapping two plastic tubes together. We heard some people in the back laughing, so I know I’m not alone in my mystification. There was a beautiful Steinway grand piano on stage but the only sound that came out of it was some guy occasionally plucking a string or slapping the wood. I listened with all sincerity but all I heard was someone ripping newspaper and beating up some poor piano. It didn’t mean anything to me. At the conclusion, the audience erupted with wild applause. I don’t get it. But I think I might be back in her good graces, so that’s good news. (Note: It didn’t work. Things were never the same again.)

September 1

I just got off the phone with Bonnie. Apparently, it’s not enough that her business is failing and she’s teetering on bankruptcy and might lose that spectacular apartment. She said, “Mark, I had blood coming out of my rectum. I thought it was just a simple hemorrhoid but I went to a doctor and he’s sending me to have tests done.” She’s at Cornell Medical Center as I type this. I told her I’d accompany her back home but I’m being spared that horror, thank heavens. I feel awful for her but it’s disgusting to hear about it in such graphic detail. I’m completely turned off. She said I could stop by later today but I’m wondering if she’ll be too out of it to receive guests.

Bonnie is sick. Joan only wants me to look at an apartment in Chelsea that I can’t afford. Klinger is in Miami. Colleen wants to see me, but I think she’s getting the wrong ideas. Cindy is in Arizona. I haven’t heard from Jennifer. I can only see Laura if I pay for everything and I’m broke. That leaves a city full of strangers. And my cats.

September 2

Bonnie got back from the hospital late last night and sounded awful so I didn’t visit. She’s going to be okay, thank God. Hemorrhoids. What the fuck is a hemorrhoid, anyway? Remind me to look it up later. Her doctor thought it might be colon cancer. They knocked her out with nitrous oxide, lucky duck. I’ll bet they didn’t have go to the Key Foods and empty all the Reddi-wip canisters, like I have to. I’m happy she’s okay but all I can picture is blood flowing out of her ass. I don’t think I can sleep with her again. Maybe if she goes down on me I’ll be okay. We’ll see.


Quite the charmer, wasn’t I? I’ve created a new category for my other journal entries, but THIS ONE is the best of the bunch so far. It’s amazing how you walk around thinking nothing is happening when the truth is you’re having the time of your life.


Another big blankey of snow this week. No surprise there. On Tuesday, I heard Irish author Roddy Doyle read from his new novel (and got a signed first edition, OF COURSE). He said the Irish winter he left behind was typically cold, wet and gray. He’s absolutely thrilled with the snow. Wait until he tries to fly out. See how much he likes it then. Here are some shots of Central Park. See…it ain’t all bad.




This is how I lost her

In the last paragraph of my previous post, (Three weeks ago. I know. But when I get the I-don’t-cares, the first thing I stop caring about is this stupid blog.) I mentioned a long-ago dalliance with Bonnie. Go back and reread that paragraph and then come back here. I’ll wait…

This is how I lost Bonnie.

*     *     *

Bonnie was way out of my league. She knew it and I knew it. She was a successful architect and a Yale graduate who had a bitchin’ apartment right across the street from the Museum of Modern Art. She was a Renaissance woman. She dabbled in stage design and performed in a modern dance troupe when she was young. I, on the other hand, had just gotten out of the Coast Guard and had begun an exciting career as a word processor.

She was significantly older than I was. I don’t know by how much because I was never gauche enough to ask, but it was quite a few years. On the surface, you’d think we wouldn’t have anything in common. But I know what she saw in me (aside from my youth). I had an insatiable hunger for experience and knowledge. I hadn’t attended college so I had a lot of catching up to do and Bonnie made an excellent Sensi. She guided me through the literary, artistic and theatrical classics. She taught me all about New York City, which was quickly becoming the love of my life. It fed her ego, which was fine with me. And we were passionate. She still had a dancer’s flexible body and I had energy to spare. We were Bogie and Bacall in reverse.


We would attend functions together and knew that her friends were talking about us behind our backs. We’d take mental notes to ourselves of all the sideways glances and whispers, retire to her apartment, lay in bed, compare notes and laugh our asses off at them. We were awfully, awfully fond of one another, but never in love.

*     *     *

Currently at MoMA is a Post Modern art exhibit. The feature piece is the manuscript of avant-garde artist John Cage’s 4’33. In this piece, a pianist walks up to a piano, sits down and does absolutely NOTHING for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. The “composition” is whatever ambient noises occur in that period of time. Floorboards creaking. People coughing. Programs rustling. Cage was pleased at the premier in 1952 as, according to him:

“… people themselves made all kinds of interesting sounds as they talked and walked out.”

Here’s what the sheet music for 4’33” looks like:

cage-2On August 12, 1992, John Cage passed away. There was a front-page obituary in the New York Times. I was over Bonnie’s apartment and let her know, in no uncertain terms, that I thought Cage was a pretentious fraud and that a front-page obit is wholly unwarranted. I told her that nobody *I* know or listened to was ever influenced by Cage (certainly not Rush) and that four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence is neither music OR art. It’s just lazy. I prattled on for several more minutes and finally ran out of gas. Bonnie looked at me.

“Are you done?”
“My dissertation at Yale was on Cage’s career.”

That was it. I blew up the bridge. That distance between us was never traversed again.

*     *     *

I bumped into Bonnie in the summer of 2012. I was seeing a play with My Bride and she sat several rows behind me. I leaned over and whispered, “Hey, I think that’s Bonnie! Do you think she’d remember me?” I couldn’t concentrate on the play. At intermission I got up and walked to the lobby and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Bonnie get up out of her seat. I stopped her as she walked past.

“Hi, Bonnie. Do you remember me?”
“Oh…I remember you, alright.”

Bonnie ended up marrying a multi-billionaire. You’d know his name if I said it. They were married for a short period of time and then had an amicable divorce. She always wanted to be traveling and on the go and he just wanted peace and quiet. They threw a lavish divorce party for all their friends to show there was no hard feelings. The wheel spins, doesn’t it?

*     *     *

Several people have written to say my Follow button does not include an option to add my site to a WordPress RSS reader. No doubt this accounts for my low readership. It can’t possibly be the content, right? To add this site to a WordPress Reader, go to your reader, click on Edit and add my URL. Conversely, I’ve moved an email subscription widget below the photo of dear St. Lucy and her plate of eyeballs. I blame Obamacare for my Follow button kerfuffle.