The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘love’

My Nothing to Hide

September 5, 2013 | by


I tried not to look. The couple couldn’t see me but I could see them, day and night, if I chose, and often enough I did. It’s a benefit or drawback of urban living that our sight lines in the tight geometry of New York City drive us into the lives of others, into private moments not meant for spectators, if we do not pull the blinds, if we don’t look away or past what’s on offer.

I lived in Brooklyn Heights, as I still do, but at the time I found myself on the third floor of a jumble of an old building on the main drag, Montague Street. It’s a street more plaintively commercial and less pretty than the rest of tony Brooklyn Heights; it is more alive with neon and the coming and going of chain stores, salons, restaurants. And with noise, too—from the meals eaten, booze served, and the resulting high spirits, and then those ancient garbage trucks, circling and circling, their brakes screaming.

I stayed too long in that one spot probably, but the rent was affordable, the Greek landlord fatherly, a friend who often treated me to dessert and stories, and I felt safe then in what I described as a garret but was merely two small rooms that vibrated from the ventilation units from the restaurant below.

The front of my apartment looked out onto Montague. The rear faced an accidental courtyard, the back of the restaurant, Mr. Souvlaki, featuring a fountain that usually didn’t work, a small fenced-in patch of scattered plantings, and the backside of a few apartment buildings. The buildings were close, less than fifty yards from what was my combined kitchen and living room, and the apartment in which I came to see so much was slightly higher than my own, so my vantage allowed me to peer up and in, as if that one living space directly across the way was up on a pedestal.

I can’t say when the couple moved in because when they did I’d been in love and my eyes were diverted inside me, charting the ways in which I felt discovered, opened up, prized, or to the moments I’d be near him again, inside the gold of his skin, the wiry lengths of his arms, or to the future of more love and his lips on the back of my neck and shoulders, his tongue writing messages there, everywhere, reaching inside my insides. And there was the pull of his intoxicating smell and even of his home, not in Brooklyn or in New York state, but further north in a place by the Atlantic dotted with sea roses and overrun with green so dense, during the season I met him, that it seemed in revolt, poised to take over. Read More »


Happy Birthday, Mary Frances

July 3, 2013 | by

Image via Gourmet

Image via Gourmet

“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it … and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied … and it is all one.” —M. F. K. Fisher, The Art of Eating



To the Letter

June 19, 2013 | by


“More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”* —John Donne

*Not those of first cousins, except in the platonic sense.



You Two Just Crack Each Other Up

June 10, 2013 | by


I first saw my future wife drinking a beer on the porch at Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs. A common friend had told me Erin would be there and had gently nudged us toward each other, though she’d warned me Erin was a California-style Catholic handwringer, one who anguished over the plight of the downtrodden. Sometimes she had a good sense of humor, the friend said, and sometimes she was earnest and touchy, so I should watch my mouth until I figured out whether my, uh, particular sense of humor meshed with hers. What I saw, looking at the woman I would marry, was a tall, attractive woman with an open face and a jolt of curly hair off her forehead. Unlike the folktale Erin, she looked eager to laugh. In fact, hers was the face of someone who gravitated to laughter the way other people gravitate toward good looks or the palpably powerful. I decided to go with my instinct, rather than our friend’s warnings, which I’ll admit were more catnip to me than a red flag.

She had a name. Erin McGraw—a name so Irish it might as well be Ireland McIrish, and when she told me who she was, I immediately asked if she’d heard about the Irishman who drowned in the vat at the brewery.

“No,” she said.

“They knew he was Irish because, before he died, he crawled out twice to take a leak.” Read More »


Ululating to Air Supply

March 19, 2013 | by

Greatest+Hits+Air_Supply_Greatest_HitsShe of the Karaoke Tribe, from the Archipelago of the Interminable Love Song, where Karen Carpenter never goes out of style, has not asked me to prove my love, but when she says she wants to go with her Filipina émigré friends to Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, Iowa, to see Air Supply Live! in concert, I seize this as an opportunity, after twelve years of marriage, akin to a renewal of vows, and as close to sacrificing my life for her as I’m going to get. It’s a card I will hold in reserve. “Yes, I cheated on you with your best friend, but don’t forget, I went to see Air Supply Live! with you at Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque.” 

Hard work, marriage. 

You remember Air Supply and what they sang. Of course you do. That song. And the one that sounded just like it, and that other one, too. Yeah. Those. 

If I seem as enthusiastic about the concert as a zombie at a baby shower, then that’s twice as enthusiastic as I mean to seem. I embarrass easily. I’m overly self-conscious, and when someone does something really stupid around me, such as wearing a fake deer head to get attention, as I saw recently on a commuter flight, I feel that it’s me wearing that deer head. The same holds true at an Air Supply concert. I feel as though it’s me belting out stale lyrics along with the audience. Read More »


Low Boil

February 27, 2013 | by

CongeeTo the hundreds of thousands in Asia who start each morning with a bowl of congee—and who, every evening, set their rice cooker to a low boil so that more congee is ready by the next day—it would probably seem strange that I’m about to spend so much time talking about the dish. It’s like someone rambling about corn flakes here. But in Manhattan, congee’s hard enough to find north of Houston Street, let alone beyond city limits. My tiny corner of the world feels like it’s in the perpetual midst of a congee shortage, and sometimes congee’s all I want to eat.

Topped with some mix of scallions, ginger, peanuts, and cilantro, the savory white-rice gruel (or more flatteringly, porridge) is often served in cast iron bowls, sometimes ladled into smaller portions and shared among a group. Read More »