Good-bye Hello in the East Village 1993

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Three tables down from Allen Ginsberg we sitin JJ's Russian Restaurant. My old friend,who's struggled for happiness, insistson knowing why I'm happy. An endto my troubles of the century? "Listen, Molly, if Ididn't know you so well, I'd think you werefaking this good cheer," she says, her eyesbright openings like a husky's eyes in its fur.(My friend is half an orphan. It's cold in here.)The East Village shuffles past JJ's window,and we hear Allen order loudly in the earof the waitress, "Steamed only! No cholesterol!""I could tell you it's my marriage, Nita,and how much I love my new life in two countries,but the real reason," I beam irresistibly at adog walker with 8 dogs on leashes in the freezingevening outside JJ's window where we sit,"is that I'm an orphan. It's over. They'reboth dead." Her lids narrow her eyes to a slitof half-recognition. "I couldn't say this," -- there!the waitress plunks two bowls of brilliant magentaborscht, pierogi, and hunks of challah-- "to just anybody," -- jewel heaps of food on Formica-- only to you, who wouldn't censure me,since you've witnessed me actually fantasizechopping their heads from their necks from their limbsto make a soup of the now dead Them to feedthe newly happily alive Me.

An old order is dimmed,just as the U.S., its old enemythe U.S.S.R. vaporized, disarms itself,nearly wondering what a century's fusswas all about ... what was my fuss about?But even a struggle to the death is levelledin the afterlife of relief. A bevelin the glass of America has connectedalong a strip of this life to the windowof JJ's restaurant connecting Nita and me, wedto the nightlife on Second Avenue, thoughin reflection only, the reflection that now perfectlyjoins Ginsberg with his steamed vegetablesand us with our steamy borscht and pierogito the ice-pocked sidewalk, God's table,full of passersby, pointing occasionally to Allen,joined now by an Asian boy, but more oftenjust hurrying past in the cold as we eatthe food of a previous enemyand find it brightly delicious -- it is meetand right so to do -- in the world now ours,the century's hours hurtling behindlike snow-wake off an empty dogsled.Old friends, we rest, not talking, well fed,since at this cold dark moment things are fine.

© Peacock Molly