18 February 1974 / New York City

There’s a phrase often bandied about by philistine philosophers, that “there are two sides to every coin.” I suppose this means there can be two opposite views of any given situation. But this completely ignores the vitality of the third side of the coin—the one that stands on end and rolls and spins—the side that actually does something with itself instead of lying flat like a run over turtle.

My week of sleepless nights is proof of all of this. The past few nights, though I was physically exhausted and needed sleep, my mind has refused to slow down. Every time I shut my eyes, I was suddenly an architect feverishly designing my grand future, or having pretend arguments with people I’ve never met, but who needed a verbal thrashing (I was particularly focused on Joe Namath for some reason).

The first night I spent in this state I alternated between savagely punching my pillow and head butting the headboard in an attempt to knock myself unconscious. The next night, I admitted defeat, sat up, and began writing down these magnificent plans that were zipping around my brain. Yet, again, this action only made me angrier, as these plans, once put to paper, were utter garbage (at least as far as my standards are concerned--I suppose I could have donated the notes to Cornell for study). Two options, two sides of the coin, head and tail, both proved useless.

So last night, when I encountered more sleepless mind racing, I turned the coin on edge and decided to get some fresh air. Already wearing my Arabian salwar pants, suitable for both sleeping and entertaining, I had only to slip on my babouches, waist sash, and turban (since it’s February), and I was out the door before I had the chance to change my mind.

Like one of this city’s famed night creatures I became, as I roamed the dark streets. I had forgotten the sense of mysterious wonder one feels here when the familiar grows ever-deepening shadows until it's something new entirely--something strange, where at any moment you could find yourself in the middle of some odd encounter that would never occur in the daylight hours. And indeed, just as I was thinking this, I found myself tussling with what was either a homeless person or Andy Warhol.

It was then that I heard a peculiar rhythmic thumping. It was faint, yet still very powerful, like a sleeping bull’s heartbeat. I shrugged off whatever it was I was tussling with, and followed the sound.

It grew louder as I rounded corner after corner until I was standing in front of the source: a non-descript building with various night creatures milling about outside. There was a symbol I’d never seen before posted next to the door. Some sort of secret society, I thought. I had to find out.

I moved to enter but was stopped by a man, a marathon runner judging by his shape and attire, and was asked for my invitation--some sort of password I assumed. I whispered the universal password I learned from Mailer, and he took one look at my turban and let me through. In I stepped, directly into the ceremonial room.

It was a mass of writhing bodies, men and women, ritualistically dancing to some mix of music unknown to modern man. At first I gagged at the bizarre combination of joyous bass, violins, police whistles and off-beat high-hatting. This is all wrong, my mind told me. All wrong! But my body… my body felt it. It was something primal. Before I could stop them, my buttocks were jutting side to side to the intense rhythm, and soon the rest of my body joined in.

Suddenly I was in the center of the floor, under the waving tinsel and amongst the throbbing crowd, dancing without abandon, initiating myself. A circle formed around me as I continued to gyrate in unconventional and frightening ways. The dancers watched me in my flashy Arabian attire with awe. It was clear I was the leader they were waiting for.

With a barrel roll and a spin, I snatched the microphone from the Master of Music’s hand and beckoned everyone to follow me. “I AM THE GENIE OF SOUND! EVERYBODY GET DOWN! HOOAH!” I shouted, as a line of followers humped and jived behind me. I led them around the floor, high-stepping and hand-chopping, as I called to them and they whooped with joy, all in time with the raucous beat.

Eventually, I was given a ceremonial cup to drink from and the next thing I remember was waking up on some couch across town with a half eaten burrito on my leg.

I walked home, refreshed, invigorated, and anew. I had finally gotten the sleep I so desperately needed.

(Editor’s note: It’s rumored that a recording of Bent on this night was later found by DJ Nicky Siano, and in turn sampled by Kool and the Gang.)