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S.D. Branitz: Stories & Essays

Deserve to Lose It

Posted on January 7, 2016 with 0 comments

I wish I could say that I waited until all three of them were dead before I began to sort through their stuff. I was battered and desperate and I needed to move past it all and so I began to donate this, discard that and sell the other with inadequate consideration for my impulsive self or for inevitable posterity. I needed to be unburdened and I needed for this chapter to end. But I should have waited.It had been a shitty thing to happen to the baby of my family. Ten and a half years since she'd given birth to my brother, my mother was having another. A nurse muttered that mom was crazy as she pushed and pushed, because for 1965, forty was old for delivering. Mom told me of her wanting to rip the thoughtless nurses' tongue out. I was breached and mom almost died from loss of blood she spilled when they had to cut her and use forceps to reposition me and drag me out by my head. The paralysis is obvious in my first few years worth of photos....a smile left crooked by nerve damage in my [...]
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Posted on January 4, 2016 with 0 comments
Gratitude does not come automatically to one who waits for the next tragic phone call. To one who spent years defending an intellectual stand for expecting the worst. It takes a forced statement or mediation on something "else". And it often takes what feels like heroic effort. To risk life and limb to search and rescue gems that hide behind my habit of hustle and strive and fail justify and criticize. To indulge in a break from momentum and trust that there will be a reward. Im sure that's a critical part of the secret for people who aren't graced with automatic sunshine. To search for the glorious and the adorable in the mundane and the sucky. I know beautiful things are everywhere. likely in greater abundance than the other crap. I know because I've taken part in this practice on and off for for a good part of my life. I aspire for this to develop into less of a job. To exchange my minds old, cruddy filters with fresh and more permeable ones that allow rose colored everything to breathe [...]
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Long Live Dee-Dee Ramone

Posted on October 20, 2015 with 1 comment
I was at a friends place in Jamaica, Queens,  twenty four, and recently clean.  Not long, but long enough to to recognize a hunger to make up for all the time I'd lost ignoring the call of my heart and the reckoning of my  spirit.  I was collecting courage to just leave without challenge when I spotted this badass punk dude who looked a lot like Dee Dee Ramone (promptly dismissed because I realize that I always think people look like other people).  He was climbing the walls, by himself, bopping up and down to some drummer in his head.  He walked past me and stopped, said a straight faced "'Sup" then looked anxiously around the room  when I returned a nod and involuntarily looked down.   That's when I noticed a large gaudy ring on his spelling out "DeeDee".  I was ferr-eeking out as the Ramones had been one of my favorite bands since Suzanne Vilchez had introduced them to me in seventh grade.  Suzanne had a Ramones [...]
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To Purr & Gag in LA

Posted on October 14, 2015 with 0 comments
The house that Ziv rented with his girlfriend sat at the very top of a series of Los Angeles hills at the bottom of which was a Salvadoran bakery. The half mile walk down seemed worth it when we were hungry but a mistake after eating the pastrys on the walk back and so the journey up the steep hills took twice as long and was less than half as enjoyable. Several mornings in a row, Adam and I got back to Zivs house, fought off the urge to go back to sleep after the late nite and the long, carby climb, and went to work in the studio.  It was 1996 and this was a good deal for us. We'd been playing together for a few years and we worked late into the nights, went to sleep, Ziv went to his day gig at a hip Hollywood recording studio, his girlfriend to her day job, and we'd do our best to wake up, do our own tracking of guitars or vocals, and wait for Ziv to return so we could resume the heavyweight sessions. Uninterrupted hours of free studio time. Awesome LA players happy to record [...]
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CBs Gallery, Parts 1 & 2

Posted on September 25, 2015 with 0 comments
Part one--CB's Gallery, The Bowery, 1998:  My big brother wants to hear me play. He's so proudof me and brings a friend to my show. Another friend to another show. They're similarly unsavory characters, each nice to me and I guess good people but all clearly messed up. Mostly my brother. He introduces me as a musical genius (I'm not). Says he taught me my first guitar chords (he did). Says that I excel at everything I do (I don't). Says that even though he's older, I can kick his ass...but that I shouldn't try (I do). Kisses me a lot in front of his friends. I don't know these people. But when we're introduced there's an instant, unspoken bond. Like we're saying "you poor fucking thing…you love him, too". He says bizarre shit and blows all his money on pay-day dope and eating out and showing off and he becomes brokeand broken within a day. That's when he dies again. Dead to our father. Dead to whomever he has befriended or tricks into believing that there can be anything [...]
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