“tonight i was having a cigarette on bowery outside a congee restaurant where i was having a drink with an old friend who’s in town for a couple days and there were all these sheets of paper in the street, like someone had dumped a box of loose leaf. they were blowing around and i thought about that window washing article that was in the new yorker recently, about the guy seeing a whole connected stack of printer paper blow out a window of the empire state and fly into the air like a dragon. the paper on bowery was everywhere, whipping up in the lion wind, and i paused for a second and tried to make it an american beauty moment, to realize the loveliness and solemnity of some paper roiling in the air in the monday dark. but i quickly realized that was dumb, and that maybe in a general sense i should stop trying to find signs of things, of hushed literary moments of beauty, everywhere i look. so i put my cigarette out and went inside, as unpoetic as anything else. sometimes it’s just paper in the street.”

richard lawson