Boy Boxes Bear – Collected Miscellanea

Essays and Other Orphaned Scribblings

Deus ex Machina

The whine of a 56k modem signals for me the beginning of an age.

An awkward, rocky beginning of single landlines and “Get off the Internet; I’m tryna make a call!” Geocities webpages. Neon font. Crudely embedded images in Metallica tribute pages. At that point, DSL and cable modems belonged to households outside our tax bracket, so time spent on the Internet was precious, sometimes transgressive. The whine of a 56k modem will always be attached to an obsession with Dragonball Z, music videos with the aerial acrobatics of snowboarders set to Korn and Limp Bizkit, that time when Napster made mp3s fall from the cybernated heavens like manna for us Israelites. Occasionally, the Internet contained resources for research. A school project on Nord-Pas-de-Calais for French class. A slow-motion guide on how to kickflip into a backside 50-50 rail grind.

Back in the day, above all else, it felt like a gift. Read the rest of this entry »


The Plight of the Gentile, Or How to Deal with the Effects of Tear Gas

The pain will pass. When running against the wind, be sure to keep calm. Don’t touch your face. Do not rinse with water. Use Coca-Cola or milk instead to end the burning. If you are close enough to the police, they cannot use the tear gas on you. And in the event that you are without a gas mask, you can wrap a t-shirt around your nose and mouth and protect your eyes with goggles or something similar. The oblong teargas canisters are small enough that they can be hurled back at the shooter before too much gas is expelled. To properly douse them, be sure to arm yourself with a Poland Springs jug half-filled with water, and the canister that lands beside you, toss it inside, stand on the opening and wave away the remaining fumes as the device is extinguished. If there is fire nearby, toss the canister in the fire, and that too will neutralize it. Read the rest of this entry »

Boy Boxes Bear

Suspension. Expulsion. Leave of absence. Time off. Or a simple evaporation.

As the rhythm of classes resumes, as the vacuity left by the student’s disappearance refills, a certainty niggles: he couldn’t hack it. She was weak, and their weakness was some failure of personal constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

The Autumn Effect

In a recent conversation with the Girl, I remarked on all the errands I’d been able to run over the first half-week of my time in Paris. Insurance details, getting a working mobile phone, grocery shopping, prepping for school, meeting friends who’d been waiting for me here, buying some clothes, figuring out metro stuff, etc. And we both looked at the list, once enumerated, with wonder. I realized then that it’d have been impossible for me to do this all in New York, especially within this compressed timeframe. Her eyebrows rose even further at the realization that all of this was done in a foreign language. Read the rest of this entry »

Sketch: A Day with Animals

Yesterday, I watched my first live horse race and placed my first bets. Read the rest of this entry »

Second Draft: Because It Hurts

Ivory skin, ebony, flecked with sweat that detaches from exposed limbs when the arm, the shoulder, the head swiveling on the neck, when all of it blurs, when each item, each limb, each attachment swings or bobs or weaves or hits. Reflections of the gangly, sinewy, spry, agile, fumbling, tentative, over-confident adolescents in the mirror as they try not to watch themselves box shadows, as they try to lose themselves in the combinations they learned last week, as they forget how to move their feet or when they should, as they forget their minds and allow their bodies to move with sublime and unconscious grace.

Read the rest of this entry »

First Draft: Xavier’s Shadow, Or Stripper Booty with a Rack Like Wow


At a certain age, after enduring enough heartache, I started to see them differently. On one side of the canyon, the side where imprisoned lies the easily injured boy-child, they were luminous, impossible collections of flesh and bone and celestiality. On the other side, from whence the grown man-child occasionally glances back at his younger and more forgiving self, they’ve become bombshells or knockouts or stunners and if you listen to the way he talks about them, really listen, it is like they could really do him violence and injury, if they meant to. Read the rest of this entry »

First Draft: Feeding the Machines in Shadow Country

1. Corpse in the Bag

The biggest clue telling me I’m peeking into a childhood memory is that the stalks of grass I remember are overgrown, gilded in the sunlight to look like wheat, and they tower over my head. Juvenile visions when peered at through the spyglass of hindsight, twenty years long, can be rife with such distortions. Everything is bigger because you are so much smaller.

The possum corpse rustles against the plastic grocery bag. Read the rest of this entry »

Sketch: Coffee Leaf Rust

Sketches aren’t quite essays, and they’re, in my mind, a bit longer, a bit more detailed than vignettes. Another hybrid form that seems to have leaked out of me, and as I’ve nurtured hopes for this to become some sort of space where such homunculi are welcome, I figured, why not.

This one was written originally on 21 May 2013, four days before I left the country for the West Bank. Read the rest of this entry »

In the Garden of Good and Evil – Palestine, Pt. 8

This is the last in the series of essays written about my time spent in the West Bank. The idea was to present the non-fiction equivalent of a small mosaic novel, a collection of pieces that could be read in isolation but whose value is enhanced when consumed as a whole. I’ve much experience reading travelogues and perilously little writing them. Nonetheless, I hope the collection has been enjoyed and has provoked a bit of thought. This last essay was written originally on July 29, 2013, the morning that Netanyahu issued a plea in the Jerusalem Post asking for acceptance of his decision to move forward with the release of 104 Palestinian security prisoners held since before 1993. Read the rest of this entry »