Tuesday, June 19, 2012

All Morning in a Chelsea Elevator

The door is streaked with scratch marks, clearly some have tried to claw their way out. Nine silvery buttons, with tiny holes that blink red like drugged eyes. Eight naked bulbs, illuminating the cubizoid space in perfect light. But silvery walls distort images, my reflection is emaciated and bowed, like a bean pod, at times I cannot even find it. I hallucinate, I gasp, I rant. I pace dizzy squares on the floor, which is marble and sketched with sand and dust, detritus of those who have come before. And in a bead of water, I finally catch a clear glimpse of my reflection. What horror! Up, up, forever up, zooming up, to a vast honeycombed orb, the mother ship, where await the alien surgeons. 

Others join me. A girl in yoga shoes with wet hair. A man in a cream colored coat with a brochure about Art Basel. A man in a shirt camouflaged for war and baby blue Nikes. A man in a thick black suit made of sweatpants material. He has a leather backpack slung over his right shoulder and a bushel of salt and pepper hair tied in a ponytail that is more like a knot. The way the colors of his hair blend together reminds me of those dirty melting glaciers in Alaska. The man has a calm Buddha nature but is steeped in great sadness, a professor who has lost his way and now eats out of cans.

Many are relieved. “Phew,” says a black man with a pink collared shirt and pot belly. “Phew, phew, phew.” “Phew,” says an Asian woman with mousey shoes and a backpack the color of gum. “Phew, phew, phew.”

Many complain. “He has the air conditioning going full blast,” says a woman in a beret and high heels with faces printed on her umbrella. Her body is ravaged by old age but her face looks 40. The man she is speaking to has an opposite face, thick-skinned and rubbery, with a large fleshy nose.

Many don’t show their faces. A woman with hair like a witch and bright blue umbrella turns towards the door and never turns back. A platinum blonde with saggy trench coat and large rigid purple purse, ragged on the bottom as if chewed by a cat looks down and never looks back up.