drugs and daydreams: the book

I carry these maps while wondering how to stage a jailbreak from their deception.

          The journal pages written here, the shoeboxes of grainy photographs taken with disposable cameras, only make linear and underwhelming the convergence of so many coincidental explosions, the way the photo album is guilty, over time, of replacing the memory it seeks to preserve.

          Inside any given city there are countless more.

          Is it possible to be infatuated with a place with the same sort of feeling that one could be taken with a person? That one could bare his or her vulnerabilities or questions to a place and expect a response? Can one find in different locales an independent and unique set of filters of introspection and [self] reflection in the way that the visible blue of daylight varies so greatly across separate geographies?

          In my own life, I notice that recalling specific events leads me to remember them as being during the period of a certain relationship, or during the time of living in a certain place, as if the timeline of my own memory is marked by these two infatuations.

          A story is told as much by what is absent as it is by that which is present. A map as revealing by that which is omitted.

          I want to undo the damage of the maps; to be able to place more emphasis on being than understanding.


Halloween day. The Captain meets me at Bowery Manor and we join others in scavenging the rooms full of old theatre clothes for a costume. We then set out for food and a bike ride through Riverside Park to the Cloisters.

          We stopped to look over the Hudson, at the site of what was once Palisades Amusement Park.

          I wondered how much longer it could all last – living within the cracks, the overlooked corners. Thinking aloud about the relentlessness of the developers, the chain stores. Of how when one manages to create the space that one desires, there still remains the fear that another will fight to take it away – to build condos on it, to open another Duane Reade or Gristedes in the space where there was previously an independent business, to brick up a vacant building that others had turned into a home. Often the tables are slanted in their favor to begin with. Was it possible to continue living fulfillingly in a way contrary to seemingly every present convention? Within a landscape that wants you to shut up and buy, that would take the magnificent days and paint them into shades of gray?

          Palisades Park was deemed more valuable if the land was sold to developers. The city re-zoned the land for residential highrise towers, and the Ferris wheel and lights that crowned the New Jersey palisades were dismantled and removed. In their place was built three unextraordinary residential towers.

          I imagined the cliffs with their Ferris wheel lights and roller coaster screams, a scene that sparked romances and songs, shimmering across the mantle of skyline that composed the horizon for this empire city.

          I looked at The Captain, who was looking at the ground. They can tear down the amusement parks, I thought. They could brick up our vacant buildings, fire tear gas into our impromptu street parties, post uniformed police officers near the exit of every corporate retail store in town. We’ll make our own amusements, find another way into the buildings. If the corporations want to manipulate and exploit the communities and landbases that we’re a part of, we’ll live at the expense of those corporations. And if they seal some of the cracks, we’ll find others.

          The demolition of the amusement parks don’t destroy imagination, but only one commercial outlet of it. And the corporations, no matter their ad campaigns and greenwashing, are destructive by their very nature. Despite some people’s good intentions and ideas, no city is sustainable. All of this will crumble one day.

          Maybe living as scavengers can last, I thought. Knowing that not everyone can do this, but if we can, then we have a responsibility to strike at capitalism’s vulnerabilities. And all of our wits and creativities not dulled by numbing work weeks and banal distractions exist for the sake of us living out our wildest dreams, of us putting a stop to those entities that hurt those that we identify with.