.

 

East River Unconsecration

I take my heart back from the East River.

Not long ago, the dust in my head finally settled long enough to dig a deep foundation for something new. I've looked at that foundation for a while, studied it, tested it, jumped up and down in it, written papers on it. I think it's going to stay there long enough for me to build something in it. Of course, you can't build anything without a heart. Which means, a bit more than a year later, I had to get my heart back from the East River. I'd committed it there in the hope of finding a new one. But I wanted the old one back.

I woke up early one morning and walked up Court St. to the Brooklyn Bridge. I walked out onto the middle of the Bridge. I was totally alone there. I spoke to the East River.

You have to give a reason, and the river needs proof of identification. I threw in a copy of my passport, and I yelled, “I want to give my heart to other rivers. Or maybe the sea. Or perhaps even other people. Maybe I'll even have kids. They'll need heart. Or I'll teach others how to do things, and they'll need heart, too.”

The Hudson, the East River, the Thames, the Liffey, the Mississippi, the Amazon, they meet in the oceans and tell stories of dead gangsters, sunken submarines, unlocateable treasure, fish, and pollution. They share raunchy jokes about estuaries.They love us, they hold our secrets and our hearts. So, with all the lore of the rivers swimming through it, all the waters mingled, the East River of course understood me completely.

There are a lot of hearts under the East River, and it took a long time for it to find mine. But eventually it was produced, and I put it right back. It felt strange there, like waking up with a big slice of peach in your mouth and no idea how it got there.

For a moment, all of New York was still and calm, and all the buildings transparent. I could see everyone in their beds, the mouths a little open, feel their cumulative breath warm my arm. Some of the breathers' eyelids were twitching in anticipation of the alarm, some had fallen asleep moments ago, after making love. Some had left the radio on. The sun was coming up in the east, over Long Island. I went home and sat on the bed for an hour, then I called my friend. She was just waking up. “Guess what happened,” I said.


[Top]

Ftrain.com

PEEK

Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.

FACEBOOK

There is a Facebook group.

TWITTER

You will regret following me on Twitter here.

EMAIL

Enter your email address:

A TinyLetter Email Newsletter

About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.

POKE


Syndicate: RSS1.0, RSS2.0
Links: RSS1.0, RSS2.0

Contact

© 1974-2011 Paul Ford

Recent

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

The Moral Superiority of the Streetcar. (1) Long-form journalism fixes everything. (2) The moral superiority of the streetcar. (3) I like big bus and I cannot lie. (May 4)

More...
Tables of Contents