“I can’t recalled how many buttcheeks and fronts I rubbed,” a “FAN” of Tropical 128 wrote on Yelp, about a January evening at the establishment. Some of those cheeks belonged to “hot chicks which was okay I guess.” Other cheeks impressed him less.

From this New Yorker blurb about my favorite bar in New York City. Ah, man, this takes me back. Er, uh– front? Hm.

The New Yorker, “The Big Uneasy”

Copeland has taught at Oberlin since the nineteen-seventies. He was puzzled by many things about today’s students—“They do not make eye contact! They do not look into your motherfucking eyes!”—but what galled him most was their apparent eagerness to go over their professors’ heads.

From this few-months-old article about the current college culture wars. I loved this quote because it evoked all my favorite professors and teachers from throughout my education.

Meanwhile, I may feel like I have a lot of trouble functioning, but at least I’ve got this skill down pat. I love eye contact. Like smiling during conversation, it’s such an easy way to trick people into thinking you care.

“This One” by Jane Shore

This One got to keep the Warhol.
That One got an S.T.D.

This One left & kept on walking,
making That One his Penelope.

Friends at first sided with This One.
Later they jumped to That One’s side.

Razor, pills, noose, & tailpipe
for This—or That—One’s suicide.

“Fifty-fifty’s fair!” shouted That One.
So This One cut their dog in half.

X marks the spot on That One’s cheek
where This One slapped his autograph.

That One drinks hot tears for breakfast;
This One whiskey-on-the-rocks.

When This One got the seven-year itch,
That One scratched her chicken pox.

Since This One left, That One’s singing.
How should they divide the pelf?

Now This One’s alone & so is That One.
Each One wants a couplet to himself.

I’m catching up on issues of The New Yorker. I usually skim the poetry (which is nothing compared to me completely blowing by the fiction section) but this one (“This One”) stopped me. My eye caught the dark real-life references, some of the modern ways we try to sublimate lost love, staggered through a rhyme scheme known for its simplicity and its association with Shakespeare’s sonnets. You can divide your belongings and try to excise your former lover from your life, but given Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, there’s no way to cleave your whole story any longer. Nobody gets their own couplet because nobody can defend theirs anymore; That One’s voice is loud enough to demand half of This One’s.

“Pelf” is a solid word.

The New Yorker – “Personal Experiments with Mind-Altering Drugs” by Oliver Sacks

I do not enjoy reading drugged-out accounts of how “totally real everything felt;” unless an author can maintain a reporter’s instinct under debilitating doses, (see: Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe) there’s no point to the exercise and it comes across as simple rebellion. I’m also not much a fan of scientific-spiritualists, like Timothy Leary and crew. Trying to bring higher powers into the equation still reads as so much wanking.

This piece (which you probably need a New Yorker account to read, but this tumblr was never about you lol) hits the sweet spot. Oliver Sacks is a still-practicing neurologist with many well-written books of case studies on strange brain disorders and other topics in relation to the mind. He writes with a clinical eye, and writes to understand, but even with those hazardous angles of approach his work is readable for anyone. It looks like, despite a long-running history with drugs, he chose to write about every other way in which the mind might be altered until he was recognized as an established author/near the end of his life. This piece offers his background, and is likely good preparation for his forthcoming book Hallucinations.