From "Wake" by Daniel Elkind

Everyone has to get up and get up from somewhere. Eventually, you can’t be from everywhere. No, stuck-struck, knowing I can go anywhere, the red rucksack in my closet for the wide countryside, the fast, the slow, for the short and long; the pack on my back for the strange corners, the sticky floors, the random shift of lobbies and stations. There sending my simulated heart from a terminal, composed from the hard drive of my surveillance. A waste. In the street you froze off your hands for no one, remember, for no one’s benefit. In a room you sat avoiding no one’s glance, wanting a prayer to resound bus depot and bank, off-license and highway: I’d be a thief, a prostitute, a bum if they accepted me as I am. You took a trip once, to a foreign city from a foreign city. You stayed at the apartment of a girl, friend of a friend. You couldn’t believe her disinterest: here you are, a living resource, your fire hands ready. In her bathroom, thinking it over, all of it, in parts, you finally rested your attention on her toothbrush lying on a shelf in the cabinet with a feminine disregard you knew well, almost intimately, and rescued at that moment as something familiar. Or was it the feminine disregard you sensed in the overall shabbiness of the bathroom, of the peeling-paint cabinet in particular? Of what was missing there? In any case, it is not any properly feminine disregard but what general disregard and casual neglect become in the hands of women that so impressed you. The sudden humanness of haste, of being too tired, of being preoccupied, and a world ripening out from that root: of doubts, deficiencies, confidences, mortgages, pregnancies, debt, pills, sickness, plans, phone bills, toilet paper, arguments, betrayal. Human, meaning as beat up as you. All the older female graduate students you’ve ever seen walking in front of their backpacks. Frazzled, late. You think it is because your mother was a librarian that you are fascinated by women brushing their teeth.

Photo by Ahron Weiner - Lodz, PL, 2004