Archive | City Matters

Taxi Driven at 3 Am

I went to bed so early last night that I was up at 3am watching Taxi Driver, quel meta. One of my first memories is of passing through that ratchet Times Square with my parents; the littlest me fell for its underbelly the way you get hung up on a bad smell. Scorcese captures its neon reds and blues, blurred and bolting–its cheap calories and cheaper sex–with Cadillac cars and a Cadillac score. And then there’s De Niro’s ex-marine outsider wandering and wondering, blood-shot with an ignoramus’s bravado. Which is to say: terror, especially when it comes to his unamused muse Cybill Shepherd and her very fine, DVF-clad ass. So loosely adapted from Dostovesky’s Notes from the Underground, this Scorcese-Schrader collab doesn’t endorse the basest attitudes about race, women, sexuality so much as inventory them as evidence of Our General Decline. It’s a portrait of a dangerously white male that could be stripped from today’s headlines except the macro-aggression isn’t just garish. It’s gorgeous.

Mercury Retrogrades, So Do We

Mercury went retrograde today, and immediately I went off-plan. All set for a quiet night with a fillet of trout and a certain permakitten, I was invited last-minute to the sumptuous Lilia Ristorante and–well, mama didn’t raise no fool.

As we were mawing mint artichokes, my companion said, “Isn’t Mercury always in retrograde?” and I replied that though technically the planet of modernity (communication, travel, multitasking) only goes retrograde every three months, it happens a lot to force us to unplug. In other words, when it starts moving backward, it’s kairos, or soul time, rather than chronos, or linear time.

The usual caveats apply–namely, back everything up and don’t stay attached to business as usual. Also keep cold hard cash around; banks and digital resources may get especially funked up . Since this retrograde is happening mostly in the sign of Cancer during an eclipse season that’s bopping between Cancer and Capricorn (the mom and dad of the zodiac, respectively), the big issue on the table is protection and nurturing–how do we take care of ourselves and others, how can we do better? I’m not talking “radical self-care,” an eye-roller of a term if ever there were one. I’m talking about investing in the crucial collaborations of our lives–releasing past traumas that block us from being fully present with others, embracing present alliances that can transform us into future champions. No one is pretending this month will be status quo, but so long as you take it slow, its long-term effect should be fabulous. Just remember to–wait for it!–go with the flow.

Mercury retrogrades are brilliant for tuning into the cosmos; schedule a Ruby Intuition session this month!

Notes on Pride, Luck, Lasses with Glasses

It will surprise no one who reads me that after finishing a film lecture upstate today I couldn’t bring myself to rush back to the city for Pride. Not because I don’t love my LGBTQ+ community but because I am incapable of abandoning a quiet green place for a crowded concrete one–at least before saying hi to every tree and bird in a two-mile radius.

So I sat by a lake and thought about luck once again. How unlucky we are to be living in the last few years of an environment that can functionally feed and hydrate and shelter us–or maybe how lucky we are to still have it today, given our abuse. How unlucky we are to be living under an administration that so brutally upholds capitalismcolonialismcockocracy–or maybe how lucky we’re finally forced to confront our country’s core of capitalismcolonialismcockocracy. How unlucky we are that so many queer community members–especially the gender-nonconforming–face mortal danger but how lucky that so many young people feel free to claim their sexuality given that when my generation was coming up, teachers were fired just for being gay.

And then there’s the personal stuff. How just yesterday I’d run into that stranger called my life for the first time in years only a few days after we’d messaged for the first time in years. And how a friend of K’s–a guy who helped me this dreadful spring for no reason except his general kindness–took suddenly, gravely ill.

The list goes on and on and woven into each item is our connecting karma, the Indra’s Net cradling each of us in its spidery, silvery arms.

I meditated on this for a while, sending everybody, and I do mean everybody, bright white light. Then, no joke, a gull came along and took a white bright dump on my blanket. It was the classic luck, schmuck conclusion, and I had to laugh.

But upon standing I saw a pair of glasses in the grass alongside me. Technically the abandoned lenses must have been there all along but of course I only noticed as I was feeling like I’d figured itall out. I only noticed the second pair–a half pair, really–on the curb as I returned to my car.

It’s like James Brown had hurdled back onto the planet in big preacherly robes hollering DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT? DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT? while Jake and Ellwood did sloppy somersaults and a very young Chaka Khan squirmed in ecstasy. Because, YES I SEE THE LIGHT AND THANKS FOR THE CORRECTIVE LENSES but also maybe I’M STILL NOT SEEING EVERYTHING I SHOULD!?

Gods and goddesses, send as many visions as you can.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy