the chuck essay is easily the scariest part of my book-to-be. telling stories about how i try to do right by other creatures is fine, i do that all the time, but in talking about him i'm just pan without his shadow. or am i his shadow? as a little scrap of night in a shelter in san francisco he had a himness i couldn't stop watching. i spent the thirteenish years of our lives together trying to learn what he'd always known, what he extended to me so gracefully and guilelessly.

every day, my heart, and more than ever.


we drove out to the south rim of the grand canyon in my in-laws' beleaguered old grey bmw. i had lobbied for us to take two cars—i like escape hatches—but i was overruled. the radio didn't work, and the seatbelt on the left in the back was busted. my mother-in-law took that seat on the way out to the canyon and tried to take it on the way back: "i can't let you sit in that seat, girl." joe's father has called him boy for as long as i can remember, but this was new. at a pub crawl in flagstaff with his aunts a few days earlier, you're part of the family NOW!

we steered my redheaded nephew away from the canyon rim as we made our way to a stately old hotel perched just where the transplanted california condors meet the sunset and the oldest of the ancient rocks (vishnu, brahma, and rama, thank you for having us). he is not a death-hamster—he is an aerial hunter like my cats, and we understood each other once i learned to throw things in his direction and present him with small treasures—but he is a young member of my pack and i want him to get taller in the absence of cliffs.


we are on the move again, this time to arizona, where my in-laws have gone unvisited for nearly two years. we keep trying to trick them into visiting us here in new york, but they run a bar by themselves and also i think get a bit itchy when they spend too much time in the city. so we will meet them in flagstaff, in a little airbnb where we will wear pajamas and watch television and no one will have cancer (take that, mother-in-law's cancer!). joe seems deeply invested in driving us to the grand canyon, which gives me pause; i have always suspected it would activate some dormant thanatotic desire in me and i'd become a helpless death-hamster. i have informed him of this.

i decided to wear red and a feisty pin and attend my weekly shift at ye old charity bookstore yesterday, since refraining from work that benefits some of the most vulnerable women in my city seemed like a questionable interpretation of what assorted activists were promoting. i was catcalled in my redness by someone to whom it was insignificant, and while i considered informing the caller of the position i represented i decided it was more expedient to hurry to the store, where about half of the female staff was missing and our manager, a man, wore an elizabeth warren shirt. i had to sneak out after an hour or so to interview a (female) doctor for a story i filed this morning. i made no purchases and ignored joe's request for me to pick up his laundry on the way home, and here we are and the world is like new, by which i mean scuffed in ways most of us tend to ignore.


is it clear that i would have pigeons if i could have pigeons? i would have pigeons if i could have pigeons. (our little cat's interest in the handful of pigeons he's seen on our balcony has made it clear that we cannot have pigeons.) they're dreadfully smart; they have an elegance that i have come to appreciate. they have a smell that i have come to appreciate; that dander is my dander, my people. when one has spent awhile at the bird fund one refers to the patients as people; i didn't notice my transition. i have started feeling important when i break for a sandwich after a couple of hours; i slip across the street in dirty scrubs and feel that i am in the shit. (i am not in the shit.)


Another obsession that alienates some new boyfriends is making jigsaw puzzles. I will sometimes stay up all night doing them, usually when I need to clear my head and get some inspiration about something I am working on. In a brand-new relationship where the man is looking for the screaming idol to hit the heights, this is often not tolerated. I love the big 1,000-to 3,000-piece puzzles that Ravensburger makes, and by the end of a project I will have a finished one. I always pick up a couple at Galeries Lafayette when I am in Paris, and in Piazza San Marco in Venice, or at Times Square in New York.


I would say to those women plumping up their lips and cheeks, Eat more pumpkins. Healthy skin begins from the inside out. The beauty products made from aloe vera—eat them, don't slap them on yourself. We've been eating that in Jamaica since we were kids. Red wine, honey. That keeps you going. Eating the pumpkin. The melon. Don't put all this shit on your face, eat it.


GRACE's dressing rooms shall be equipped with:

Dressing Room 1:

6 Bottles of Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne
3 Bottles of French Vintage red wine (e.g. St Emilion, Medoc, Bordeaux)
3 Bottles of French Vintage white wine (e.g. Sancerre, Pouilly Fuisse)
2 Dozen Findeclare or Colchester Oysters on ice (unopened)—(Grace does her own shucking.)
2 Sashimi and Sushi platters for 8 people
6 Fresh lemons
1 Bottle of Tabasco sauce
1 Fresh fruit platter for 8 people
6 Bottles of Coca Cola
12 Bottles of still and sparkling water
12 Bottles of fresh fruit juices
Wine glasses, champagne flutes, tumblers (all glass, no plastic)
Cutlery and sharp knife
1 Oyster knife
1 Make up mirror (no neon strip lighting, only opaque white bulbs)
Fresh towels, clothes hangers, clothes rail
3-4 Bunches of flowers—prefer lilys and orchids
Sofa and arm chairs

(grace jones as told to paul morley, i'll never write my memoirs)