Anser Journal

Pyjamas in the Snow

By Michael McGill

Free postcards were scattered all over New York then, filed in metal displays on the walls of clubs and coffee shops, and I’d collect them and tuck them away in my journal, stumbling around like a 1996 Hansel and Gretel reject, and it was January and everywhere was lit like a still from a Blondie video, and sometimes I’d order a Hazelnut Latte and a Sour Cream Mini Bundt Cake, and I’d write home using one of these postcards, back when home-whilst-travelling was a strange place, an exotic village elsewhere, a solipsist’s mirage, a narcissist’s daydream, and then I’d go to the Post Office on East 34th Street and watch these postcards take flight, because I was living life in Technicolor then, but, oh, that boy back at the hostel was a strange one, and he slept in the bed opposite mine in the dorm, and he’d talk about how much he missed ‘The Bay’ and I’d look puzzled, and he asked me why I’d never been to Ireland, and he laughed when I replied, “Because it’s so far away,” and he seemed homesick and lost, and very sad so I showed him my postcards, and one was RuPaul’s face in close-up, and he said, “She’s gorgeous!” - but he’d turn shifty most evenings when a note was stuck to the door because he was late paying for his bed, and the word ‘REMINDER’ would sit at the top of the page in cold black font, and then he’d disappear for a time and come back later looking dishevelled and used, and then the note on the door would disappear, and one day it was time to pack and head to JFK, and he wasn’t there so I left the RuPaul postcard on his pillow, and I never said goodbye - and back then Jackie 60 nightclub had a hotline you’d call, yeah, it was listed in Time Out, and one night I stood in a phone booth in the lobby of the hostel, and a recorded voice said the theme that week was Scotland and the dress code was ‘tartan tartan tartan’ and, oh, how I wish I’d gone to Jackie 60 in my tartan pyjamas, walking through Manhattan in the snow, but I never did.

Michael McGill is a poet from Edinburgh, Scotland who has recently been published in Lunate, Write Now, Dream Journal, 433, Lucky Pierre, Stone of Madness Press, Dreams Walking, Milly Magazine, Versification, The Daily Drunk, Rejection Letters, FEED, 24 Unread Messages, The Cabinet of Heed, and detritus. His overheard comments and photopoems regularly appear on Twitter @MMcGill09 and Instagram @michael7209.