Excerpts from NO ONE YOU KNOW
"Now, she is hiding. On her days off, she says, she doesn’t come here, where we are."
2020 Best of the Net Nominee!
"From far off, I see a solitary figure coming toward me — the distance gives us time to contemplate each other."
"I don’t know what I can say. Or do. Or if I’m just crazy. So far on the outside of something I can’t really see it."
"'Do you want to cum over?'” someone texts me from Happn, a dating app that uses GPS to track people you pass in the street."
"I think about this sometimes, the things that fall between, the fragments of people we keep that they may not remember."
"I enjoy these slight errors in translation, as though he is saying that availability is a kind of proximity. Emotion, love, generosity just a matter of meters, miles, roads."
"Is that what happens on a set? The proximity to a larger fiction inspiring smaller ones? Everyone fancying herself a storyteller? Or is it just what happens anywhere, inventing yourself over and over again? "
"When there are no more details, when you’ve given them all up, they aren’t yours anymore. Your memory is no longer your own."
"After a while, he’s anyone else and so am I. I still don’t know for sure that it is him, if he too has traced the zigs and zags of such a small history. All I know is that each game is its own."
"Is this the work of the bridge, you wonder, expunging parts of itself it doesn’t need, littering out its life? Or is it full of holes?"
"Rubbing alcohol pools into centimeter-deep crevices in his palms. But it’s the best way he knows how to get clean—vital after hours of rummaging in vast networks of garbage."
"Eventually we stopped going, stopped guessing, we all got older. But it made its imprint as a kind of magic, as elemental as the heat of the bonfire once we finally arrived, its charring, burning wood alongside the coldest air I’d ever known up till then."
"We’ll probably never see each other again, but for an hour or so, we erect our own society."
"It was shocking, dreamlike; neither of us moved. We held each other’s gaze. Who knows what he remembered?"
"....each time I washed it, a little more of the decal would disappear."
"I think the girls are friends, though the way they talk about their friendship, it’s almost like they’re lovers, their intimacy treasured, a special thing to be guarded and protected—other connections pale in relation to it, they say."
"The reverie starts when I see the bell, purple and tilted mid-ring. I’m in St. Louis again and it’s nine years ago, after midnight..."
"From a distance the crown almost looks like solid gold. But as I walk farther up 30th Avenue in Astoria, I can tell there is something not quite right about it."
"Like Blanche DuBois, exit pollers depend on the kindness of strangers."
“His tours get at the idea that “history” is too often taken to mean large, distant events and not the fabric of everyday life. But history is everything—it is us."
"Before they were sold, the men and women in shackles had to turn their backs to prove they bore no marks — no one wanted a defiant slave."
"A former Chicago Bull, beaten down and broke(n), ventures to a foreign land. A group of ex-NBA stars take the court with diminished ball skills. A rotund despot lurks."
"At its highest level—not just fans wearing dry-cleaned jerseys to games but the brand-building superfans in greasepaint and foam rubber and such—NFL fandom is brutal, almost Hobbesian, and both trivial-seeming and wildly grandiose."
"When I ask what he’s worried about, he gruffly replies that I might want to put a hit on Lucky, that he might owe me money and I’m seeking him to smash out his knees with a baseball bat."
"The mall is perhaps the last place one would look to find a street poet, so to blend into the Galleria, Henry Goldkamp told security he was an H & M model promoting apparel..."
"He started reciting years' worth of small talk, all saved in some mental bank account. It was surreal, even shocking. It was like he was reciting a ballad of my life."
"My Spanish is not fluent and I must have misunderstood what he said next. I thought he said that he had once been a hornet, perhaps in a past life."
"So, my banter is lackluster. You think Jordan was chatting away before a NBA Finals game?"
"The mirror waited for her at home. She pulled back her lips, like a wolf bearing fangs at itself."
"'C’mon,' says the Clyde figure, tapping on the window in erratic fits, his Bonnie pulling strands of her hair out under the mask, and damn, how does it all just slip away?"
"I heard it on the basketball court, after someone missed a shot. No more pianos. I heard it on 30th Avenue, after someone wouldn’t give any change to a beggar. No more pianos. I heard it everywhere. One night my roommate asked me how my day went and I heard myself say it. No more pianos."