June 7, 2020


We’re still living through a season that requires the suspension of disbelief, but perhaps it’s possible to believe we’re heading somewhere better.

June 5, 2020


Tonight I came across Tolstoy’s three questions, and they feel especially pressing in these overloaded and disorienting days.

June 3, 2020


The silence was stunning. It had presence and weight that nearly muted the birds and the steady beat of three choppers in the sky.

June 2, 2020


I say hello to an old man with a power drill and a bucket of screws. Everything’s coming so fast and ugly this year.

June 1, 2020


A news anchor said, “We are descending into something that is not the United States of America tonight.” I’m not sure if this is true.

May 30, 2020


The presence of the police introduces the prospect of violence like a promise, and that promise came true by nightfall.

May 28, 2020


When I flipped on the news around midnight, my concerns about running, writing, teaching, and everything else felt stupid and indulgent.

May 27, 2020


The amount of incense smoke that darkens a temple’s ceiling demonstrates the popularity of that particular god.

May 26, 2020


I’m fantasizing about a sprawling network of night markets and bazaars that reclaim the streets and devour the cars.

May 24, 2020


Riffling through my small box of family memories, I came across a note written in an unfamiliar hand.

May 23, 2020


Thinking about the blurry line between media consumption and my soul.

May 22, 2020


Time is a concept. Time is a flat circle. Clocks only measure other clocks.

May 21, 2020


Each morning I wake to the imaginary babble of fully-formed news reports and television clips while skating across sleep.

May 20, 2020


I write and work. I step outside and look at the sky. Sometimes I go for an ugly run. I make phone calls. I tend this journal. Repeat.

May 19, 2020


I remember watching the darkness in my bedroom when I was small, hypnotized by grey-pink flecks while I waited for sleep.

May 18, 2020


Maybe we’ll have a vaccine soon. Maybe the president will poison himself. Things can go either way these days.

May 16, 2020


We might remember crouching on the sidewalk, frantically trying to gather the teeth falling from our mouths—not the circumstances that led us there.

May 15, 2020


We spent a few hours in the park because it’s almost possible to forget this pandemic while hiding in the grass beneath a tree.

May 13, 2020


I’m writing these things down tonight because I want to look back in a few months and see if any of these dire predictions came true.

May 12, 2020


Someone down the hall has been practicing “New York, New York” on their piano for the past hour.

May 11, 2020


The triggers for fear are largely universal: loud noises, fast-moving objects, and the sudden loss of orientation. The loss of orientation has been sudden this year.

May 10, 2020


I find solace in these instructions from Epictetus: do not say something is lost, only that it is returned.

May 9, 2020


Time feels like an increasingly fictional concept as these weeks and months bleed into one very long day.

May 8, 2020


“I will create a world from the past,” she said, and she painted an audience on the walls and danced for them every Saturday night.

May 6, 2020


It’s becoming a nightly habit: scrolling through desert scenery while fantasizing about horizons, speed, and possibilities.

May 5, 2020


People keep talking about a return to “normal,” as if there’s such a thing.

May 3, 2020


There are advertisements on street corners and bus stops for events that will never occur.

May 2, 2020


I wonder if I’ll ever get accustomed to the uneasy combination of sunshine and masks, as if we’re afraid of a perfect spring day.

May 1, 2020


You can never see further than your headlights—an old slice of trucker philosophy that makes more sense with each passing year.

April 30, 2020


I’m beginning to understand why so many novels and television shows are set in the past.

April 29, 2020


Night walk to the corner bodega and I nearly forgot to wear my bandana.

April 28, 2020


The smile is the expression that can be seen from farthest away.

April 27, 2020


Tonight I miss sitting in diners and listening to people murmur and jive, scraping their forks and stirring their coffee.

April 26, 2020


Maybe I should work on my resume. Instead, I press on with reading The Plague, dropping the book every few pages to marvel at its resonance.

April 25, 2020


Strange how something you’ve heard a thousand times can suddenly knock you over.

April 24, 2020


Sometimes there’s poetry in anger, and I saw it scrawled across the street this afternoon.

April 23, 2020


Flipping through an old notebook last night, I came across a page dedicated to the first time I saw a painting by Hubert Robert.

April 22, 2020


There should be a clinical term for the sensation of wanting to look at my phone while looking at my phone.

April 21, 2020


I remember the sound of white thunder, that bone-shuddering crack as another piece of a glacier fell into the sea.

April 20, 2020


My eyes stutter and loop through the words before me because my attention span has been chewed up by the news.

April 19, 2020


I find myself frequently returning to a century-old line from The Surrealist Manifesto: “Let yourself be carried along. Events will not tolerate your interference.”

April 18, 2020


I thought I’d dreamt about standing before my bookcase and picking up a copy of The Plague by Camus.

April 17, 2020


I can’t stop staring at this photograph. I study the woman’s mouth, teeth bared and jaw dropped, probably wrapped around a word like tyranny or freedom.

April 16, 2020


Maybe I could become a Zen lesson in the art of presence, but it feels more like I have the attention span of a goldfish: understanding the world only nine seconds at a time.

April 15, 2020


Time blurs. Every day feels like it’s either Monday or Saturday.

April 14, 2020


I remember walking through corridors of jumbled neon and thinking this was the poetry of the nation: the grammar of dead casinos.

April 13, 2020


I stood at the window and watched raindrops slide down the glass like I was six years old again.

April 12, 2020


This season of suspension will forever tint the thoughts of all who survive it. Bright-line moments from recent memory cannot compare.

April 11, 2020


Consider the word “ecstasy” in its strict sense, a Greek word that describes standing outside of one’s body.

April 10, 2020


It seems like a tragedy to go through life not knowing the names of the lights overhead.

April 9, 2020


Last night I dreamt about a god who was angry because the noise of humanity prevented him from sleeping.

April 8, 2020


These days I walk to the market like I’m about to commit a poorly-planned crime.

April 7, 2020


And so much space there’s nothing to think about except something resembling god.

April 6, 2020


Dig the old lady who cut a tiny hole into her surgical mask so she can keep smoking her Benson & Hedges.

April 5, 2020


We wear bandanas and scarves across our mouths like a haphazard gang or makeshift religion.

April 4, 2020


Sirens and cheers, these are the sounds that shape our days.

April 3, 2020


I thought I’d devote my energies to becoming pure and benedictine, brand new and all-seeing. Instead I scroll and refresh.

April 2, 2020


Now they’re saying the virus spreads by talking and breathing. We can kill each other just by being a person.

April 1, 2020


Passing each other on the sidewalk, we hold our breaths like children in a graveyard.

March 31, 2020


Don’t shake out your dirty laundry, the television says. You might release a viral cloud.

March 30, 2020


There’s the guy I’ve always wondered about, the one across the street who leaves big chunks of bread on the fire escape for the pigeons.

March 29, 2020


Meanwhile, I’m reverting to the diet of a five-year-old. All I want to eat are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

March 28, 2020


Each headline is more disorienting than the last, and these pandemic days are breeding baroque conspiracies.

March 27, 2020


Every night the Electrifying Mojo would sign off with the same message and I want us to hear it in our heads now, delivered in a slow baritone with a grin around the edges.

March 26, 2020


The optics feel wrong, more like a simulation than reality; it’s eerie to see New Yorkers so evenly spaced apart.

March 25, 2020


I hear the undoing of a lock and her voice calling behind me. “Thank you, darling. Pray for me.”

March 24, 2020


A deeper hush fills the city, a sense of bracing for an unseen blow. We know things will get worse.

March 23, 2020


This is dedicated to the nighthawks and graveyard shifters, you beautiful enemies of sleep.

March 22, 2020


I spent the morning scrolling through images of empty highways and blank parking lots that look like a new form of land art or maybe a message to the gods.

March 21, 2020


Once this is over and we’re allowed to gather outside again, I hope we take to the streets for all kinds of reasons.

March 20, 2020


There’s a blush of dopamine, an uncoiling of the nerves: the smudged memory of doing arts and crafts in a classroom while a storm beats against the windows.

March 19, 2020


Tonight I sympathize with Will Durant’s wistful sketch of Rousseau: “He escaped from the stings of reality into a hothouse world of dreams.”

March 18, 2020


There was a time when I would count how many words I said each day. At night I logged the number into a notebook. Sixteen. Twenty-three.

March 17, 2020


These are long days of suspension. For a moment I convince myself that everything is just fine. That I must have imagined the whole thing.

March 16, 2020


Riffling through an old box of keepsakes, I came across a note that I wrote to her five years ago.

March 15, 2020


I run through Central Park, passing joggers with balaclavas and kerchiefs wrapped around their faces like they’ve been throwing Molotov cocktails.

March 14, 2020


I needed to work with my hands today. To be reminded that I can make something that takes up space and serves a need.

March 13, 2020


I’m beginning to understand the street preachers and late night radio voices who root through arcane numerology and biblical verses that implicate Wall Street, Hollywood, and the United Nations.

March 12, 2020


The streets hum with a hunter-gather energy that brings to mind the days before a hurricane. Except there is no storm, only the prospect of staying indoors.

March 11, 2020


Meanwhile in New York City, we’re told the subway is safe although we should avoid taking it.

March 10, 2020


A note on Barnett Newman’s portrait of “the agony that is single, constant, unrelenting, willed—world without end.”

March 8, 2020


Went to an exhibition about the countryside that felt like walking into a Wikipedia entry written under the influence of heavy-duty stimulants.

March 7, 2020


The brittle energy of coronavirus anxiety commingled with ritualized decadence. Face masks and champagne stations.

March 5, 2020


We wash our hands constantly like we’ve done something wrong. We try not to touch our faces.

March 3, 2020


Another chapter in this endless season of passive-aggressive battles in hotel lobbies and gyms, their flatscreens cycling between Fox News and CNN.

March 2, 2020


Tonight I crave the cadence of the desert. Groom Lake. Chocolate Mountain Gunnery Range. Devil’s Hole. Epic names that speak of salvation and redemption.

February 29, 2020


“The beginnings of Dada were not art but disgust,” said Tristan Tzara in 1918. Each day the rationale for Dada’s rejection of logic makes a little more sense. But cynicism is a cheap dodge, isn’t it?

February 28, 2020


A woman was visibly upset in aisle six because they’re out of antibacterial hand-wipes. “But when will there be more?” I’m still thinking about the look in her eyes.

February 27, 2020


A consultant from Brussels asked everyone to draw the shape of their lives on a Post-It note. I made a scribble and people began approaching me as if I’d scrawled a cry for help.

February 26, 2020


Ash Wednesday and people walk the streets with smudged crosses on their foreheads. A beautiful ritual, ancient and haunted.

February 25, 2020


Instructional videos at the train station teach me how to behave in 2020. If there’s gunfire, take cover. Silence your cellphone.

February 24, 2020


Meanwhile the television says things like “jawbone damage may occur” and “America’s most trusted home surveillance system.”

February 23, 2020


She scrolls through websites that sell protective face masks while I half-watch a conspiratorial documentary about our hyper-mediated world.

February 22, 2020


The machine says tens of millions of people will flood into Las Vegas as well as Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, and Houston.

February 20, 2020


A man studies yesterday’s horoscopes on the train. He carefully highlights a line that says today is the day to take action.

February 19, 2020


Debate night in America. We tune in because we need to know: Who can withstand the punishment of live television?

February 18, 2020


I remember sitting in a cathedral on a snowy February morning and watching an elderly couple hold hands.

February 17, 2020


Sharks have a transparent membrane that allows them to see despite the blood and carnage that fills the water when it attacks.

February 15, 2020


Why are so many visions of the future cast in cool tones? Blues and greys, whites and silvers.

February 14, 2020


A vaguely human-shaped slab of bronze staggers into a ferocious wind, its body on fire, determined to walk.

February 13, 2020


The first gods must have been born while we slept.

February 12, 2020


Nearly every advertisement on the subway trumpets the virtue of having your favorite meals, outfits, entertainments, mattresses, and toothbrushes delivered straight to your door.

February 11, 2020


Waking up this morning, the world doesn’t feel much different from the illogic of sleep.

February 9, 2020


I catch a glimpse of a beloved actor from the 1980s smiling across three flatscreens in an empty lobby, encouraging everyone to triple reverse-mortgage their homes.

February 7, 2020


I scroll down the aisles of the office supply store, soothed by the racks of folders, binders, and containers that promise an organized and efficient life.

February 6, 2020


‘Civil twilight’ is an elegant term for the moment just before the sun sinks beneath the horizon. It might be a fitting name for these strange years.

February 5, 2020


My eighty-year-old German neighbor and I picked at our omelettes while a television in the corner of the diner delivered the vote count.

February 4, 2020


New York’s skyline stopped me in my tracks this afternoon, reminding me that I live in an increasingly alien city.

February 3, 2020


Walking down street tonight, I find myself paying closer attention to shadow and light, reminding myself that yes, this is plenty.

February 2, 2020


I wonder if deep down each of carries a fantasy of one day becoming an ascetic or a mystic, some hardwired notion of stripping our lives bare and praying in the gloom.

January 30, 2020


These are destabilizing days when there always seems to be a screen playing something upsetting in the room.

January 29, 2020


Finding lightness becomes the job. And if it cannot be found, it must be invented.

January 28, 2020


The mathematical precision of these birds looked improbable. Maybe it was a sign of some cosmic change, a hidden pattern made visible.

January 27, 2020


I closed the book and watched everyone on the subway swiping and scrolling, hunting for something. Or escaping.

January 26, 2020


We talked about not staying in New York. We talked about finding a way back to Helsinki and we discussed moving to Taipei.

January 25, 2020


The turbulence began the moment we entered American airspace. It was hard not to read this as an omen.

A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful

An installation of 50,000 anxieties and desires—and a widescreen portrait of the American mood.