My dear friend Laura C. and I were discussing the days back in the day, and I know what real East Village (NYC) she was talking about. The one that used to actually open your refrigerator when you thought you were dreaming, then stare out of your closet with luminescent tea saucer eyes at 5 in the morning. That East Village was already gone by the time Laura and I met at Sophie’s. The last time I saw it was at The Pyramid Club. A tranny with unshaveable legs and lennon glasses proudly displayed a triangular carpet patch in his control top, offering me a touch for only a dollar. I was impressed, but satisfied with the free eyeball sample. I followed the Village west on St. Mark’s and bought a remorselessly cold blow job for $5, just so I could say I had, at Bleecker and Mercer. When I got to the Ear Inn, I found I wasn’t the person I had been looking for, and wondered why a bowl of hot soup seemed to miss the place it was aimed. Well, my spoon was too long but the server wouldn’t’ve cared either.
Back to Sophie’s for another key bump, and the entrancement of yet another game of pool. I was tempted at first to write that the pool game was pointless, but it was not. Each shot was the point of animation for a web of projections that stretched out over a 10 x 6 block area. I bought all my coke there, and traded for it the dreams being slowly disembodied in my eroding health.
Now the players reserve their place in the table queue with quarters on the bankette; can you imagine? People would ask me if I worked there when I denied efforts to cheat on the clipboard waiting list next to Eddy’s portrait, but I just didn’t like seeing bullshit get over. I never knew if that disgusting old fucker really wanted to kiss me or just enjoyed watching my annoyance at the prospect. Maybe his deathday was the last time I saw the saucer-eyed demon. The last time I went looking for it was in June, 2010. I just wanted to know if the old feeling would come back. Maybe it did, but there wasn’t really anyone else around who would’ve known what I was talking about if I had tried to tell them.
One other thing. No one ever really liked that fucking demon. I didn’t. An old childhood acquaintance who had become a junkie used my girlfriend’s bathroom for 15 minutes and the part of me that hungers for soup felt soiled for two days. That’s what that demon was about. There was no romance in it. It was just the seed of hopelessness in foul flower. The reason we think we want it back is not because we liked that demon, but because we wish we could have the time back that has passed since then, and use it to properly develop the East Village the way everyone always wanted it to be. People held onto that neighborhood because they wanted a real place, where beauty could transpire and worthwhile futures be born. We wanted grass in the park, but not iron gates, eternal pervasive police patrols, and Israeli restaurant clones like bad Disneyland rides. We didn’t want a vesicle of exploitation, a putrid excrescence where the wealth of globalization could gather and gloat. There is nothing uglier, not even a saucer-eyed demon. We’d take that little fucker back any time, cradle it properly, scare the shit out of it with Clockwork Orange surround sound and a Mickey Mouse montage, and ask it what it would need to become something, perhaps anything, other than that.