Here Lives a Jew (Christmas with the Strines) 

The Strines were an Irish Catholic and Italian family of five who lived at the other end of the hall. Russ was a year younger than I and Tracy a year older. Beautiful Holly was a few years older and so we never got to be close although I always liked and trusted her. The three of us younger kids spent a large chunk of our childhoods' in each other's apartments or in the hallway hanging out together. We spent so much time that sibling-like spats were eventually common. But we'd get over it, come knocking…

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Bagels and coke 

A typical bagel oven has five shelves that rotate slowly so that you can load or unload one while the others remain suspended. Upon pressing the green button, the shelves resume their cycle and when you press the red button the next shelf presents itself to get loaded or inspected for doneness. The shelves rotate up and back, down and forward and each shelf has a certain amount of time in the 475° box before it comes back to the door where it can be dealt with.
In addition to my shifts at the bakery I'd…

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krishna das and harper 

For a long time my young sons went to sleep listening to the music of Krishna Das. Sometimes we'd dance a bit (we called it "getting our sillies out") and then we'd end in a cuddle. We'd dim the lights and the music would exert its presence and begin to do its magic. I'd hoped that the trippy, hypnotic cycles, rich harmonies and spiritual bent would invite my angels into the loving arms of slumber and give them a foundation for being happier people. I'd sit on one of their beds, listen with them and rub…

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charriots ablaze...parts 1 & 2 

Act 1.
1981
I steal my brothers 1962 Chevrolet Impala (Indeed the same car I replace with a Green Rambler--another family car--in the story and song of that title) and set it on fire in a parking lot under the Throng Neck Bridge in Queens. The circumstances are dire and while I know that I'm breaking the law--if not my brothers heart--and destroying a thing of beauty, I'm driven and I think I'm doing the right thing. An excellent thing, in fact. As I drive off in the back seat of my friends Trans-Am, a1981…

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Forgive me, Sammy-cat 

My mother was afraid of cats and of dogs and my dad had had a heartbreaking freak puppy accident as a boy, and we were poor and We lived in the project and was allergic.....so pets were limited to a little turtle and some fish that was that.  
But When Michael Shepard from the building connected to ours and who was my age and deaf and dumb invited me up to his apartment to see the litter his cat, Meow, had just birthed, I was in heaven. Five or six of them, all squished into meows big white belly and so…

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Deserve to Lose It 

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…

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Gratitude 

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…

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Long Live Dee-Dee Ramone 

 

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…

To Purr & Gag in LA 

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…

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CBs Gallery, Parts 1 & 2 

Part one--CB's Gallery, The Bowery, 1998:  
My big brother wants to hear me play. He's so proud
of 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…

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