The Carpet Bagger's Journal — moving from NYC to Mississippi

December 13, 2009

New York, baby, this is the kiss-off

New York, we have to talk.

My ex, for whom I will always hold a certain sentimental je ne sais quoi

You and I have been living together now for twenty years, and that’s common-law, but I know you were always double-booking with eight million other people.  You never wanted to get hitched, not with me, anyway, because Manhattan is not the marrying kind.

You were always sexy, even when you smelled like sulphur and ash, and your sky scrapers — well, they say size doesn’t matter, but with all that concrete-hard loving, I beg to differ.  Your muscle and your attitude, even when I wanted to hate you, well, you always got the best of me, and I found myself seduced again by you.

But see, now, I have found someone who really understands my tender side, my need for permanence — with you, the fashion always changes, but with him — he loves me no matter what the hemline.  I always felt like you were edging me out the door with your increasing rents and your perpetual gentrification of the neighborhoods where we would sleep together,  not that you ever sleep, New York.  And I began to think about how I gave you the best years of my life, how many people I knew who are now sleeping in your cemeteries too young, and I realize — you don’t like growing old with people.  You’ve replaced me a million times with the latest “it” girl, I know it.  I’ve seen your telephone directory, and it’s filled with others!  I see the younger women with the impossibly short dresses this season — again with the hemlines — and I know it’s time to end it here and now.

New York, we’ll always have Paris.

I know that we’ve shared some amazing moments together, and here’s a list of the ones I know I’ll remember you by, knowing that we were lovers:

  • I once gave a passionate speech in Times Square with over ten thousand people watching me, and I made them cry and cheer with my words.
  • I ate elegant cake on Park Avenue with a Czech duchess in exile.
  • I was an honorary docent in the Egyptian collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning.
  • One evening at Merkin hall,  a Chinese woman with a British accent screamed words I wrote over an atonal brass orchestra.
  • I got tipsy one evening on champagne with the US poet laureate.
  • I made out one night in a club with a man who had beaten up a movie star who got mouthy with him.
  • I once shouted at an angry NYPD captain, “You want to arrest us?  Go ahead!  Make our day!”  and got away with it.
  • Jackie Mason once called me a “yenta.”
  • George Plimpton once wished me a good evening.
  • Quentin Crisp once told me I was very kind.
  • I once broke up a fight in a project school between two tough boys.
  • I went to cocktail party after cocktail party.
  • I attended a world debut at the Metropolitan Opera.
  • I saw the ring at Madison Square Garden, all deflated and folded up backstage.
  • I performed a mock-exorcism on the steps of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral with drag queens.
  • I saw Aretha Franklin after a concert at Radio City Music Hall get in a limo and watched the paparazzi chase alongside her block after block.
  • I did tequila shots with a professional dominatrix, who explained her professional techniques to me.
  • I have marched down your streets in nothing but leather and lingerie.
  • I held an altar call at a drag bar poetry reading.
  • I once made Rudolph Giuliani grimace.

New York, I have written about you as if our affections were always mutual, but you are fickle beyond belief.  I have finally found someone who will never change his mind about me, so I am leaving you.  See me packing in my apartment?  It’s over.

New York, I’ll never stop loving you, player, but I’m a player hater.  Talk to the hand, the one with which I used to hail your cabs.

Here’s looking at you kid.  And so, New York, as Plimpton did, I wish you a good evening.


  1. Dear Anne,
    New York is going to lose such a great poet. A poet that made her walls come back to life. No one is going to be able to switch from “yo, dude!” attitude to “oh, darling!” attitude like you do. No one is an authentic New Yorker like you are. New York is jealous form Mississippi because she get’s to have the wonderful you now. It’s totally unfair for New York if you come to think of it.

    In my personal opinion, it’s never about the city; it’s about the people who live in it. Yes, New York makes our hearts cold and makes us see the harsh side or life. But at least we have our freedom from all the nonsense that controls our lives in other places. I know that I have never been to Mississippi but one thing I’m sure of is that there is a lot of nonsense just like Egypt, right? People there might seem real, but you brought the best of everybody here in New York because of how genuine you were, are and always will be. I know and believe that when you go to Mississippi you are going to make a difference. Show them some New York muscle baby!! I love you and I’m going to miss you so much. Dude, yo, take care of yourself!

    Comment by Lylah El-Sayed — December 13, 2009 @ 4:29 am | Reply

  2. Thanks guys, I just about lost it looknig for this.

    Comment by Lyddy — June 22, 2011 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

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