Lorca as translated by Carlos Bauer. Lord how I wish I spoke Spanish.
It’s gotten colder and my dog wants to always stick his nose in my armpit while I write. Why does he do this? I wish he’d open his mouth just once to talk to me in words.
I plan things and plan things. Appointments for blood tests and x-rays and dinners with poets. Flights to cities with airport codes I’ve memorized. Reading assignments for the students I’ve yet to meet. My library card gets so much action.
Wednesday I wade through the Market Street river of orange-shirted bodies, armed with my pink totebag stack of Baldwin and Dickenson, Notley, Bersenbrugge, and Wright – both James and C.D. It’s a weirdly hot day for November and the people are walking on broken cups and crushed brown-bagged cans of Sparks. In front of the Blick off Sixth, a teenager – so skinny like a clapper in the bell of his wind-filled t-shirt – climbs a streetlight to either hang or tear down a black and orange flag – it isn’t clear which. Fifty people gather to chant at him and I can’t get through without holding the books in front of me as a shield or a weapon.
On Friday I bring mudcake to the bar and carve it up with plastic spoons and cocktail napkins. We play slaps and I bust my foot on the heavy wooden door. Nicole laughs her way through another birthday. The first girl who tries to sell us lighted silk roses from a heavy tray reminds me how much better it is to be writing a syllabus than to be treking up Broadway in heels. But then Saturday night comes and I’m gathering dollars from a hotel carpet. I’m riding the elevator with fur-collared tourists on their way to the Top of the Mark, knocking on the door of an 11th floor suite with Lilah beside me, and between us our bags of heels and costumes, rolled lights and wet wipes and sharpies and cans of whipped cream.
The bachelor’s single friends have brought girls up to the room. Female guests at a bachelor party can go either way – as Lilah and I are setting up I hear one of the girls say: “how much would you pay me to strip?” And I think: really? Do you go out to dinner and barge into the kitchen to show the chefs how well you can cook? But the girl turns out to be sweet and curious, if naive. Lilah and I lock ourselves into the bathroom to count out and the girl is in there with us, peeing. The girl says, “So how did you guys get started? Did you take classes? I want to go to your class.” And while I’m glad for the recognition that this job requires skill, I can’t help but laugh at the image of a girl in a four hundred dollar hotel suite asking the stripper where to take lessons.
In the suite’s bedroom, men who are younger than me smoke cigarettes out the window. They’re wearing khakis and button down shirts and they still have money in their hands. Outside, it looks like Gotham. Like every lonely hotel movie sequence. As we’re leaving, one of the guys, slurring over a plastic cup of vodka and ice, asks “Where do you girls go to college?” He turns to the guy slouched next to him on the beige couch and says, “All strippers go to college.”