On Top of It #1 by Lisa Martens

The Cube

I live in half of a living room in Harlem. My room calls it “The Cube” or, more preciously, the “open-plan Japanese-style abode.”

The Cube is roped off by bookshelves and generic Chinese screens, like in massage rooms. Sometimes the room separators fall down, so I have piles of books that I use as curtains. Atop one stack: Jurassic Park, Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl, and Slavoj Zizek’s God in Pain.

The Cube

The above photo of the screens show the view of my cube from the kitchen. The photo with the bed, desk, and painting of a feminine man tied up shows my cube when it’s clean (a rarity).

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The first and only time I had sex in The Cube was when I first moved in and literally just owned a mattress on the floor. I hope I provided a classy experience for that gentleman.

I got a smaller bed for The Cube so I could fit a desk, which is where I am writing from right now.

I moved to New York ten years ago. I lived in Long Island, went to Long Island University, then switched to NYU, moved to Queens, then Hell’s Kitchen (where I also lived in a living room), then back to Long Island, then to Costa Rica for a few months, back to Queens, then Harlem, then Brooklyn, and now I’m back in Harlem. I briefly lived in my old office, on Governors Island, and in the architecture building of CCNY. I’ve been getting through this city as successfully as someone walking through the Grand Canyon on glass bottles.

I’m on top of it.

My short-term goals include working for cash. Keeping my loans out of default is also relatively important.

Getting consistently laid would be nice, but really I want the INEZ by Lelo, which is the Masarati of vibrators.

My ultimate hope is to get Instagram famous and then get a book deal and then fade into obscurity. I also aspire to wear boots all the time, even when naked.

Maybe I’ll adopt a kid or two one day.

Right now, I’m as stable as Wile E. Coyote wearing a jetpack (if he had student loans).

I’m on top of it.

See you next Monday.


12067174_10100962425284175_628850930_nLisa Martens (Episode 22) currently lives in Harlem. In her past 10 years in New York, she has lived in a garage on Long Island, a living room in Hell’s Kitchen, the architecture building of CCNY, and on the couch of a startup. She grew up in New York, Costa Rica and Texas, and she’s still not sure which of these is home. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing from CCNY. Her thesis, What Grows in Heavy Rain, is available on Amazon. Check out her website here. Follow her on Instagram here.