A blog begun upon returning home to NYC in 2010, after two decades away. Observations focused on Brooklyn the first two years, then extending from a new home in Harlem to all of Manhattan and beyond ~ from right outside my door to deep inside my head.
Come on in.
Published 22 December 2017 in Harlem, New York City by Anomaly Works Press NYC. A short story. "Less than a year ago she and I were sitting at the coffee shop with our laptops, searching. Causes. Symptoms. Treatments. Second Opinions. [...] “I’ve told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation.” - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Boy is that a lot of hot air, dear lady. [...] Yes, there is a time and a place, and no matter how efficient the search engine, it won’t provide that detailed information."
"Uniforms R Viral" was the last in a series of short stories issued by Anomaly Works NYC as part of the "Two Stories Up!" project, which featured T. Remington & AleXander Hirka spinning short tales which then traveled via postal mail to a selected list of interested readers. These stories were eventually also shared via their blog.
The collection of stories that make up what we call our identities is often divided into numerous, somewhat cohesive, larger histories. Within these mythic sections there are smaller chapters, whose various segments are interlocked with spun tales, adventurous episodes, dramatic scenes, romantic chronicles and mundane reports.
Held together by memory, that carnival house mirror, we adjust the pages and polish the cover, adding new pages with every passing day. Very few events, only those on the scale of births or deaths, truly shake up that basic narrative we carry of who we are.
In March of 2017, two tightly intertwined stories from many decades past, ones that I had assumed I would never know the resolution of, were suddenly pulled like rabbits from a hat. The revelations brought with them perspective-shifting joy, as well as shades of profound horror.
I felt the need to hold together these experiences, to bind them into my collection of life stories, and so have put together this small book.
Assembled from shuffled non-linear fragments, culled from the letters I wrote to my mother during 1970 and 1971, it is a simple glimpse into the innocence, fear, joy and quotidian diversions of two young people. The story begins on 8 February 1970 when I left New York City with my girlfriend Gail – me fleeing the Selective Service draft, her an abusive father - and ends, and begins again, in March 2017.
Fragments from the correspondence to my mother - Chicago to New York, 1970/71
Achilles' Heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can
lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to physical
vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities
that can lead to downfall are common."
March Came In Like A Lion . . . April Came In Like A Tripwire . . . On 7 April 2017 I was getting off the M72 bus on Amsterdam Avenue. My toes touched the curb, the rest of my foot went down to street level. Torn Achilles' tendon. First there was the cane ("Citizen"), then there was the stabilization boot ("Nancy") and then, when I developed plantar heel pain, there were the crutches ("Dali Sticks"). A difficult journey through the physical and psychological terrain of immobility; with lessons in patience and gratitude. The pain and crutches are gone, the cane comes along on occasion for confidence, and the boot comes off in two weeks. Then the already-months-long physical therapy process gets focused on rebuilding muscles and learning to walk right again. Meanwhile there is this current thing with a blood clot and extreme lower-back pain as I attempt to see doctors of every medical discipline in NYC. There's a visit to the dentist and eye doctor coming up. I wasn't told this was all coming when they gave me the 1/2 price subway/bus MetroCard when I turned 65 in December. But there is that healing carrot dangling on a stick ahead - in eight weeks we leave for Burning Man.
Click on images to enlarge.
My daughter Martha came to visit for a weekend and I hobbled around the city with her.