Eventually, I began putting other things into the bag as well. First it was just pinwheels and French postcards, hundreds of them. Then I began putting in clumps of cat fur and shards of colored glass and archaic, functionless machine parts. Quickly I graduated to scarabs and Egyptian erotica, especially the manuscript fragments of the Heliotropic poets of Giza. My favorite treasures of all were the 27 gesture diagrams for one-armed clowns. It was quite a collection. I called it Paraphernalia for Defending Myself in a Nightmare and it served me well until recently when the bag broke on 161st and Broadway in Washington Heights. There was quite a commotion at first, and perhaps I underestimated the power of 35 years of accumulated chaos. When the bag split open there was no mystery left just a dry heat and a grey light. The purse was no longer in there. I had outgrown it.