grey marble

June 30, 2008

Falling up

Sunday morning a dog tied to an iron gate cried like a gull to its owners watching over their child in the park. They cautiously pushed and pulled against each other, swinging the child back and forth in its swing. The dog cried on. The day broke a grey underbelly of the bird. The day threatened rain.

I met Yw in the afternoon. We had lunch at a diner and then crossed the street to PS1. In the courtyard we sat on cut cardboard tubes. Black rubber stretched over their mouths; you could alternately beat them like a drum or let yourself be cradled by them. We chose the latter and sat until the sun emerged from the haze.

In the museum, we toured the Olafur Eliasson exhibit. His forms and photographs lined the walls of the galleries that surrounded a main central room. In the center room, a circular reflective surface rotated on the ceiling. Visitors lay on the floor, looking up at their reflections, which appeared stuck to the ceiling. Yw and I lay down. Then we began to recreate hieroglyphic forms. From there we traced shapes with our bodies, moving slowly between them like synchronized swimmers. We spent an hour lying on the floor, looking up at the tableaux we created.

Downstairs, we admired a lit curtain of falling mist in an otherwise darkened room. It looked like smoke running in reverse. We walked through the curtain and watched people from behind, their heads lit from above with the single bulb.

A light rain had begun to fall. We bought drinks at the museum cafe and sat on the patio under a white tarp. We faced the courtyard and watched as lighting streaked across the sky. Soon the skies opened and the rain and wind lashed at our meager protection. We waited out the storm. Desaturated flags flew from the museum roof, and we admired their grey and white designs against the grey skies.

At six o'clock, the museum closed. The rain had stopped and the staff ushered visitors off the patio and towards the gates. We walked to the river and sat on the piers jutting out into the Hudson river. We made plans to come for the 4th of July; Yw cautioned me about the crowds.

Couples and families wandered the pier, out on a walk or walking their dogs. Two puppies began playing and in the course of their rough-housing broke free from their owners. They ran down the length of the pier and then back again to their owners' relief. Once they were separated, they seemed to forget about each other. The sun set slowly behind the city, the haze softly diffused the light.

An Indian family gathered behind us, the women in saris, the men in short sleeve polo shirts and slacks or shorts. We admired them and watched them take family portraits. Looking back towards the shore, we saw a storm collecting once again and decided to head back. The coming night matched the dark clouds to the sky.
Posted by eugene at

June 23, 2008

Coney Island baby

Sunday morning looked ominous. There was an 80% chance of showers and thunderstorms in the forecast; the sky rolled with clouds. Yw called and asked if I was still interested in going to Coney Island. I said it might rain. She said we could meet in the afternoon and play it by ear. I said okay.

As I waited in front of Prada, rain began to fall. I ducked into Dean & Deluca and searched for samples. By the time I had made one revolution of the store, the sun seemed ready once again to emerge. I stepped out and waited in a doorway, reading the Times magazine. The sky cleared and the sun lit up the street.

Yw had brought her kite, a sheet of blue cloth rolled around two dowels. She told me a planet was embroidered onto it. We had a quick lunch in chinatown and then rode the train to its terminal stop. A strong wind blew off the ocean.

We walked through Astroland on our way to the beach, pausing to wonder at the Top Spin. One boy sat through the ride wearing his ipod. I didn't think I could take all the spinning. My stomach dropped just watching it.

On the beach we unfurled the kite. Launching it into the air, it would fly for a bit then tilt to the right and dive into the sand. I fashioned a longer tail out of the New York Times sports section and we tried again. Now it would list to the left but keep itself mostly aloft. Occasionally it would dive into the sand, but then rise up again. After a while, we found a good patch of wind and while the kite flew sideways, it kept to the sky.

Once we were certain of the kite, I lay down in the sand, my hand tight around the cardboard tube around which the string was wound. The kite flew on.

The afternoon drifted. After a while, Yw suggested we ride the Cyclone. I drew the kite closer and closer and closer until it was in my hands. It seemed reluctant to leave the sky; it never again dove towards the earth.

The line for the Cyclone was non-existent. We bought our tickets and boarded the roller coaster. A few people remained in their seats from the last ride, including a boy in front of us. We soon pulled away from the boarding area and climbed to the first drop. I was nervous and excited, though as we rose, I calmly surveyed the surroundings. Until we reached the summit. From then on, I screamed almost continuously. The boy in front of us assured us we'd be ok. I could hear Yw's voice beside me, but her words disappeared in the wind and the rumbling of the wheels against the wooden frame.

At the end of the ride, I stumbled off. The boy in front of us held up a five dollar bill in his hand. An attendant took it and he settled in to ride the Cyclone again. We watched as he wound his way again through the turns and drops and then we walked to Brighton Beach for some Russian pastries.

We stopped at one stall and asked two boys what they were eating. They suggested a meat bun and we took them up on their recommendation. The boy ordered for us in Russian. We took our snack and some orange sodas and ate along the boardwalk.

By now the afternoon had turned cool. Clouds threatened on the horizon, and I could see the occasional flash of lightning, hear a peal of thunder. We made our way back to the subway and boarded the last car. The train coiled us home like kites on the end of a string.
Posted by eugene at


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