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April 10, 2005

New Orleans Diary: Day Two

It's 4:20 in the morning and I can't sleep. I thought I put down enough OH to keep me knocked out, but for some strange reason, perhaps the shouting in the street below and the boomin' system, I am wide awake and parched. I dreamed about a sentence fragment, but then I had a better dream.

It was New Orleans, artificially small. I kept seeing the same people and they kept wearing the same clothes. So I couldn't be clever or snide. They would know it was me; they would see me again. I was narrating a PBS documentary about a girl named Cinnamon who worked the McDonald's drive-thru window. Except that she did it while singing rhymes on the center divider. She had a face like Halle Berry. I dreamt up my insomnia. I suddenly had the voice of Billy Ocean, or Peabo Bryson or Jeffry Osborne and so I sang a song about lost love to the apartment block. I sang that everyone was lonely and tossing uncomfortably in bed. And I could see everyone watching me out of their bedroom windows, wide awake at 2am. It started at closing time which was 1am and so I sang that song, they finished their whiskeys and beers, and marched off like zombies to the apartment block, all just as lonely as they started.

There's Aquafina on the table near my baseball cap. Maybe a swig will help me sleep. I fell asleep to Whoopi Goldberg's latest HBO Special. The first third of it was retarded. The second third of it was brilliant. The final third was excellent, but I had seen it before, and it was too sentimental. I don't like ordinary celebrations. Birthday cake in and of itself doesn't make me happy. So a story about a physically deformed woman who gets to have a disco pool party wedding doesn't do it for me. It's still an excellent bit, but I remember it from her first act which was almost 20 years ago.

The dent in my thumbnail has almost completely grown to the edge. I hammered it several months ago putting together the desk in the living room. I'm noticing the way that I age. I still have the skin of a young man, but I don't know why I can't sleep. Maybe it's this refrigerator. It's empty and loud. I am completely sober and thinking about my children who are off cruising on ships, as I tap alone in the wee hours in the city where my mother was born.

Posted by mbowen at April 10, 2005 02:23 AM

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