374Running X-country commentary thru a mazing interlocked tile vaults, X SSEY, the Phoenician aesthetic of what we take for granted parcours du jour

Dear I,

Back on the latticed grid of Maphattan (in a rut or groove U decide)... dealing w/ sum of the more technical route-finding yet ... for raisons of efficiency + lEast REDundancy ... mostly cuz Central Park biseX + we don't wanna spend too much time traversing back + forth xing a cross (only doing streets in our project, as legitimized by googlemap) ... so we split it into 2 chunks—upper upper West + upper upper East.

At least we're doing it ... if U stop to ask pourquoi too much U never get anywhere + all U can do then is criticize those trying to begin with, those laying down lines anyway knowing it's vain to tag space in such a linear bipedal fashion. On 8.4 we did UUW, streets 107 thru 97, about 8 miles ... not counting the distance to get there .... we were gonna take the subway to the starting point, but the 1 train sucks weekends w/ current construction (painting the platforms this time) + it wasn't running unless U go uptown further to go downtown. Here's the route we ended up taking:

Left breadcrumbs along the way ... haha, not literally, but in our minds. If we left breadcrumbs in the real world pigeons or rats would come along + eat them, good for them, long as their whole wheat. What we mean is that we leave little hooks in the space-time continuum, so if at a later date we happen on by we can re-attach ourselves to the memory of that time (italics mine) ... that's how Manhattan has become to us, when we walk the streets it all accumulates, all our past memories, sort of like language + the instances of a words, so much use + abuse it's too much to take in all at once + U sort of have to yet yourself just space out + absorb what naturally becomes absorbent (here it might be a good time to point out that almost all (roughly 9 out of 10) streets in Manhattan are 1-way). On a street U might see a fire hydrant or flagpole or restaurant that triggers a memory ... or on the other hand streets we've been but have completely repressed. Or maybe it's something we didn't even experience 1st-hand but saw in a movie. This is how a place gets to be the longer U stay in 1 place ... specially a place like islandic NYC, an accumulation of millions of other perspectives, not just currently but all that has amassed + piled + been tarred over, over the years.

Any hopes we had (as imposed constraint) to take at least 1 photo on every street were tossed out the window (to spare U, Internet, w/ the tedious blasé), defenestrated (the window being windowless since we're travelling on foot) ... but here's a few impressions «captured» (in no particular order):

fancy bldg on West End + 101 (+ boolean walking constraint)


Buddhist statue on Riverside between 95 + 96
that originally was in Hiroshima a mile away from the blast before being relocated here


Riverside + 94 circa 1890 (courtesy of NewYorkologist) ...


Riverside + 94 circa 2014 (courtesy of googlemap)(«What a terrible mess we've made, of our lives.»)


calamari squirting ink? (selectively seeing)

Stopped to eat at a new Mexican place called Chico Julio on Amsterdam between 97th + 98th ... had a few ceviche dishes + queso fundido, washed down w/ 6 different types of Mezcal, all quite yummy.

SSES-wise we've been marching on ... analogous route-finding, connecting the dots street-wise ... dotting i's + x-ing t's so we don't leave anything unturned. Finished episode 7 (of 23) ... analogously Ulysses is still chilling w/ the Phaeacians, which for us means we're still writediting (i.e. piecing shit together) from our brother-½'s p.o.v. of Guadalajara/Portland circa 1980-81 ... not that it's «about» or takes place here/then but helps us to frame his stories ... to find our way ... like U finding his way home.

Next up, The Cyclops + Lotus Eaters ... what that means is TBD.

In working on 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY', we've been dwelling (more) on the likes of Prefontaine + River Phoenix ... people who died in or before their prime. Probly thinking of River cuz we recently saw Her w/ his brother-½, Joaquin... 1 of the better films we've seen in a long while. Or at least that seems reflexive of the times ... what is this place he's trying to portray anyway (outside the OS)? L.A. where 1 doesn't need a car? Wishful thinking ...

+ also maybe cuz we read this article Blake Butler wrote on the fucked Children of God ... a cult which the Phoenix bro+sister's parents were members of. It's no wonder River was troubled + a surprise Joaquin has persevered + still has head on his shoulders. Phoenix od'ed a few years before our brother-½ did. When our brother-½ died he was working w/ Spike Jonze on some things (according to his journal entries anyway) ... imagining what our brother-½ would've done if he kept kicking ... weird, as we just wrote that, The Band's «Cripple Creek» just came on, «we had Spike Jonze on the box, she said "I can't take the way he sings, but I love to hear him talk ...». We're not even sure who the original Spike Jonze is that presumably Spike Jonze is named for? Think we read it somewhere + sure, we could google it, but isn't that in a sense cheating? At least in relation to how we used to roll (writing by hand sans all these periphery distractions). The times are what they are we suppose, but we sacrifice processing power when we leave such memory access up to the all mighty collective google ...

+ now, a song later, «Sabotage» by Beastie Boys just came on on shuffle, the video of which Spike Jonze made (we think, we don't factcheck here ... this is not journalism but journaljism) ... this could all be hearsay based on our RAM.

If U start surfing around your recesseSSES U discover all sorts of serendipitous things ... like we thought of Prefontaine probly cuz we were thinking of Nike (our brother-½'s brand of choice for running x-country), probly more of a geographical association than anything being that we grew up in Beaverton, OR in the 70s ... in the heyday of Pre + Nike. What we didn't know til yesterday was that the slogan «JUST DO IT» is a nod to Gary Gilmore ... evidently these were his last words (actually, according to U he said «Let's do it») ... before he was famously executed ... infamously in part cuz he was the 1st since the death penalty was re-instated).

It's no wonder Heaven's Gate (the cult that collectively commit suicide a few days before our brother) were all wearing brand spanking new Nikes. Déjà vu, we already blogged about River Phoenix, Blake Butler, Heaven's Gate + brother-½ all in the same post (#333) ... but these things keep resurfacing, still in our system needing release, as if the connections between them have been severed + they need to be re-realized. And if U write or read trope U start to feel it rather than just think it.

scene from Cremaster 2

In Cremaster 2, Gary Gilmore is seemingly trapped inside a labyrinth of conjoined '66 Mustangs (our 1st car incidentally ... also the year we were born, which always seemed significant: every 1 should drive cars made in the same year as the driver). Gilmore claws his way (w/ vaseline of course) + kills the gas station attendant (Max Jensen—backside above), ½ the crime for which he was sentenced for. Gilmore (in real life) asked to be executed, despite his mother + civil liberties organizations requesting stays on his behalf. + twice he tried to suicide while on death row. Rather than let him kill himself (seems the easiest solution), they (our government) of course had to be the 1s to execute him (by firing squad, which Gilmore also requested, over hanging, as there was less margin for error). But at least it was only 6 months after he committed the murders + a few months after conviction ... nowadays there's a backlog of some 25 years (what's the point then, really, just do it or don't do it) + when they do finally get around to doing it they seem to be botching them left + right. What a fucked system that will look back on 1 day + think what the fuck were we thinking?

Sometimes it seems the majority of «work» in our writing/art has to do w/ finding connections tween these things + mostly what we struggle with is stitching/glueing together the seams. Put perhaps it's better to not force continuity or contrive segues. Maybe it's better to take the David Markson approach + list out our thoughts as they come?

Like, according to the U in I, «Somewhat cryptically, in an interview after completing Ulysses, in response to the question "When did you leave the Catholic Church", Joyce answered, "That's for the Church to say."» Where presumably, Catholic Church = Home(to the interviewer anyway).

Yesterday (8.8) did the corresponding ½ to the upper upper west walk on the east— UUE—east 107th thru 97th ... for the sake of being orderly + «in line». Here's the parcours du jour:


Encore, convoluted route-finding to minimize backtracking ... in part cuz of all the NYCHA projects way east + tambien the elevated train tracks in the middle of Park prohibit a more straightforward zig-zagging approach. This UUE chunk was un poco mas intresting than it's sister UUW pedazo, pero todavia not much to write home about. Impressions (again, in no particular order):

103 + 5th ave (w/ some strange old woman w/ a crooked walking stick + purple cloak)


1 of many watertowers («told the teacher of life...» says the incscripted writing on the wall)


1 of many Botanicas


1 of many bodegas


1 of many scaffolding


1 of many fire hydrants (+ neutered dog wanting to pee on it)


Oh, ½-way thru we happened upon the Museum of the City of New York, on the north end of museum mile ... figured it requisite we take a break + check it out. There was an exhibit on graffiti in the 70s + 80s, from the collection of Martin Wong, w/ works from the likes of Keith Haring, Lee Quiñones, Lady Pink + Futura 2000 + all sorts of footage, photographs + movies of stuff now long gone, from the heydayz when subway cars were a living canvas. Lots of actual artifacts (walls or signs physically relocated within the museum space, suddenly on that «art» pedestal) ... other works by graffiti artists that also worked on canvas or paper.

untitled 1983 by FUTURA 2000


Bubble Self (1983) by Torrick Ablack

There was also an exhibit on the Guastavinos—the father-son architectural dynamic duo famous for their trademark interlocking-tile-vaulted ceilings used in 200+ bldgs in NYC, including Carnegie Hall, Ellis Island, Grand Central (+ it's Oyster Room) + Riverside Church which we see as always out our window as we write this ...

Guastavino's designs for St. John's ceiling (which we took in on a recent walk)

Then continued on our way, as if we were off to see the wizard ... (after zig-zagging down the east + up the west, finishing off the middle streets between 3rd + Park, stopping for dinner at Moustache Pitza on the hill of Lexington + 102nd).

tribute to Celia Cruz, by De La Vega


may as well mural it to keep graffiti at bay


in need of home improvement


an empty lot as home


Metro North where it comes out from underground



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