Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week in Seven Words #28

Maybe it's a game for bike riders, to see how close they can get to a pedestrian without an actual collision. Maybe pedestrians seem to them like the figures in video games who always walk in one fixed straight line, never deviating a millimeter right or left for any reason - not to side-step a pothole or animal feces, not to tilt closer to get a better view of something, not to pick up something that fell out of a pocket, or to act in any other unpredictable human way.

This week they include a watery strawberry daiquiri at an anniversary dinner, and an imaginary cup of tea at a Tinkerbell-themed tea party.

Rodin sculpted pairs of hands that are craggy and uncompromising; in the sunny room, against a backdrop of pale walls, they are dark and stark and difficult. These are hands that can sculpt the air, snag the wind and twist it. They are often grasping at something that eludes them.

In one city they're clumped on a grassy slope, with the sun slanting on them as they pick at the grass and at their own feathers; in another city they they form an uneven line among the soil and shrubs that pad a concrete ledge. In both cities they settle on spots overlooking rivers. One time I look up from my book to find them flying heavily overhead, dragging their bodies through the hot air.

Under bridges the spaces are ponderous and dim, and cars howl vaguely above you.

Times Square - lights flashing and rippling, giant yellow Peanut M&Ms high-kicking, electric red horses bucking, and through a toy story window the sight of a two-story ferris wheel in slow glittering rotation. On the sidewalks, the people move around like molecules of gas.

It's a rainy weekday night, with few people around the fountain at Lincoln Center. At first there's only one woman beside it; she wears a white raincoat and stands in silhouette against the glowing plumes of water. She leaves, and in her place a man and woman emerge, sharing a broad black umbrella. For several minutes they embrace, and then the man lowers himself onto one knee.