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every other man

The light outside the main entrance to our building has gone out again. The heavy metal door swings wide as I pull a hat down over my ears. In the darkness there are maybe twenty teenagers standing still. My boot scrapes across the ground, slowing down. Their hands in pockets, shoulders hunched, I look for a space to pass between them. A voice appears, saying hello in English, with an obvious accent. I am all instinct, sayingpivyet as I pass, not looking back, wondering who said this. There was a boy that was an extra in Blackbetty that lives in our building, but he is too young, too short for it to have been him.

I look back, navigating the puddles in the street. It does not make any sense.

N is with V, making their way home. I meet them, pulling V into my arms as she chatters about her day, about dry leaves and princesses, about her grandmother's apartment and what she ate there. We are going back home, and I try to explain the odd collection that stands outside. As we pass th…

the princess and Potempkin


I don't know when the windows changed. I had grown to ignore the velvet displays, empty in the early morning when I walked E to school. In the afternoon, yes there were diamonds blinking in the shadows. I never saw people going into the Princess jewelry store. There was a plaque on the corner of the building, reminding any passerby that Eduard Tisse had been born there, the cameraman for Eisenstein on films like Strike, and the Battleship Potemkin. Sometimes I wondered if anyone in the street knew who he was besides me. On this stretch of sidewalk there are mothers with babies in strollers, old women carrying plastic bags of groceries, workers who plant flowers. 

Now, the windows are covered with images of a woman wearing nothing but diamonds. She stares at the empty street, and traffic. Eyes painted, lips pouting, blond hair curving and frozen under layers of hairspray her eyes never blink. I wonder if the store does not have enough diamonds to display in the windows now. I wonder if she is the trophy wife of the owner and this is some compliment he has paid her, the photo shoot, the stylists, her standing topless in nothing but jewels as the strobes flash. 

A security guard stands behind the door, face close to the glass. I see his cheap shiny suit, his hands shoved in his pockets. He looks scared, angry, worried. 









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