Friday, February 17, 2006

Emily Haines



My pants around my ankles in a public toilet lit by searchlights from above, I know that New York loves me. The family man, standing in urine on a subway platform, spits right on the back of a rat on the tracks. The city gives him that, he's living on such luck. At regular intervals, disparate intersections merge and everyone feels everyone. I'm the rat, you're the family man, he's the public toilet. They're contractions. Everyone feels everyone until our genitals get nauseous, our cunts are queasy on the train until it's over. Our physical ruin is basic, you can't hide it here. Look down at the black galaxies of bubble gum stars. They're infinite.

I live in a loft on an industrial stretch in Brooklyn between the Poles and the Puerto Ricans, so I've always got a pierogi in one nostril and a deep fried pig's foot in the other. It's seven of us living here above the landlord's transfer company. Everyone working below's got a big diesel truck and a dirty tongue. They get started early in the morning, revving their engines and swearing at each other over the intercom. They're men. We're children. No one is disputing that.

Whenever I use the word 'loft' I think of a painter who hasn't painted anything yet but understands naming. It is winter. Broke and new to the city, the painter lays down all his money for a raw hole with huge windows. A visiting friend, dismayed by the remote locale and the lack of amenities, asks: "what do you call this?" All the painter wants is no breakfast nook, no den, no doilies. Living work. So he gives himself something to live up to. He pushes his thumbs through the holes in his pockets and calls the place what it will be, not what it is. With confidence, he calls his first-floor factory dwelling a loft. And it is one.


We've been looking at real estate, a horrible pastime. One agent had a dark orange tan and fine brown hairs covering her entire face. Her laugh was like a cough. Driving to one property, a toothless kid with a mouth full of white bread put his [squeegee] to her windshield at a red light and called her a bitch when she turned on the wipers. It got her on the topic of "eastern european squeegee women babies [hanging of] them" and her desire to have them deported. I choked in the back of her all terrain vehicle. The property was a modern loft that felt like an office with mandatory venetian blinds. The developer wanted to prevent people from draping colorful shawls in the windows, she said.

Emily Haines is a songwriter and the singer of the band Metric


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