It started to rain, but Lester's from Queens so he didn't care and Maya had been a New York dog so she would have been just fine with the West Side Highway up our butts and the so-called clean Hudson in our noses and full-geared weekend bicyclists zooming around us.
So, with an eye out for cops who might stop our little illegal spreading of her ashes, we took turns sharing about how Maya was the sweetest dog in the world, generous with her cuddles, wouldn't have wanted the pink candle, she was a girl, but a butch one, and how one day she let Lester know he had fucked up by looking him straight in the eye and then right in front of him pissing all over the floor.
And one night in 1994 the words "The Sad Air btw NY & Philadelphia stretches for years" tumbled out of a ball point pen.
Sixteen years later, after many rewrites, stretches of writer's block, and too many rejections, THE SAD AIR BETWEEN NEW YORK AND PHILADELPHIA, the second part of the WIRE MONKEY TRILOGY has come to completion.
And on June 30th at 7pm, I will read a chapter at the Writing House Reading Series at Kettle of Fish.
Please join me. THE WRITER'S HOUSE READING SERIES KETTLE OF FISH 59 Christopher Street June 30th 7 pm
She's a regular at this Irish sports bar and restaurant where all the locals clinging to their neighborhood go to.
The waiter knows her name, her favorite booth, and the fact that she has been having trouble sleeping.
Even though she comes in almost every night and even though it is a casual establishment, she still dresses for dinner. A sharp suit, carefully selected button earrings with a matching necklace and bracelet and a very nice purse she obviously has had for years.
This bar is loud with jovial voices and announcers shouting scores and the clatter of burger platters, potato skins, grilled chicken, onion rings and fries. The waiter leans down to hear her describe the new sleeping pill her doctor gave her. He then helps her to her feet, kisses her good night on the cheek and guides her through the crowd of all the other regulars from the neighborhood, one where everyone knows everyone's name.
It's been over a year since I've offered a free screenwriting workshop. The time has come for another one:
If you haven't sampled my workshops yet and are wondering why everyone is raving about them, this workshop is free and open to the public. If you've attended my free workshops in the past, I've made many changes to my presentation and you're in for a treat.
Writers at all levels of experience are welcome to attend.
TIME: Thursday, July 1 6:30-9:30
PLACE: University Settlement Community Center 184 Eldridge St, Manhattan, NY
When the younger one was dying, even with her life filled with tons of decades fully rooted in a loving, embracing community in a city she wasn't born in, she wanted her older sister. They weren't on the easiest of terms or necessarily best friends. But even if nothing was left to it except her older sister holding her hand the younger sister wanted to go back home.
Years later, when the older one, in a California nursing home that looked like a country club, began to forget things like how to eat or why it was even important to eat, she would greet her brother every daily visit with the same question. When would they be going back to Henry Street? When would they be going back home? A cold water, rat-infested tenement. That was home.
He now clings to a spiderweb of little lists that are his daily memory. What doctor when. Who is coming on what day. Where did he put what he can't remember he was looking for. Yet siting on the couch uncertain of the last five minutes or the next five minutes, home becomes sharp and specific and stories about Home like those of his sisters come tumbling out.
Ed, Mary and their dog, Butta hanging out on their stoop old school style the way the old ladies and sometimes the old men did on Grand Street in their beach chairs talking to everyone reminding them hey you are in our neighborhood you are in your neighborhood I'm your neighbor so I'm gonna talk to you whether you like or not and sure enough just like the old days in old neighborhoods all over the city, everyone talked back with Ed, Mary and their dog, Butta.
Sunday Memories: In three acts G dies in Manhattan in 1993
He’s at Cabrini on 19th Street.
The nurse who loves him the most is six feet tall and has just finished becoming a woman.
She could pick Frazier up when he was bigger and now, as he dwindles into the bed, she still swoops him up into her arms and we can all see how much he has left from how small he is in her arms.
His family comes in from Queens to visit. Four of his six brothers are wearing his suits. They are either too tall or too short, too thin or too fat for the suits. Looking at them in Frazier’s clothes is like looking at Frazier in funhouse mirrors.
When they leave, Frazier turns to Michael. “Couldn’t they have just waited until I died?,” he asks.
I turn the corner onto 14th Street to go to the wake at the funeral home and see the big straight brother who hates gay people beating the shit out of the thin delicate gay brother who in his own words is “a screaming queen”.
Somebody calls the cops.
The gay brother’s suit, formerly Frazier’s, is ripped in many places.
It’s the day of the funeral. I turn onto 14th Street to go to the church across the street from the funeral home.
Cop cars line the street. My heart sinks. It’s only 10 in the morning. More trouble already?
When I get to the steps of the church I find out it’s just Law and Order setting up for a shoot later on in the day.
Encore posting from the early days show the more things change, the more things...
Thursday, April 24, 2008
He Could Say It In Four Languages If He Wanted To
Rush hour, everybody rushing home.
Except for the nicely dressed lady lying on the ground by Greeley Square. Between the serious men's clothing store and the Dunkin Donut.
There are a lot of people over her making sure her shopping bags and her purse are O.K. There is a cup of something by her and the security guy or police chief or whatever he is is talking into a walkie-talkie.
Me and two guys hang out on the curb by the flower pots and watch a skinny homeless guy shout at the crowd. He looks like the guy who kicked me in the ass when I bumped into him on a rainy day. Wouldn't be surprised if it were. This is his neighborhood.
The two guys said that she began to fall and the homeless guy caught her and was shouting GET HELP GET HELP and once non-homeless guys showed up and shooed him away he got upset. After all, he was there first and just because he was homeless didn't mean he was less of a hero.
The daily convoy of twenty-five blaring police cars roar up Sixth Avenue. None stop.
"She fell. Her heart, her blood pressure or diabetic. They give her an orange juice with some sugar. Look, she is fine."
A third man joins us. His patter sounds like poems made of rain on a roof. When I ask if it is Arabic, his friend nods. "I speak Danish too. And Spanish and English and Arabic."
We look across the street at the woman again. Two ambulances come as she sits up and talks on her cell phone.
One of the guys says to me, "We are nothing. A heart or something and we fall... we are nothing."
Stairwells were the subways to our classes, filled with pushing and shoving, the dreaded chance collision with the boy everyone had a crush on, the bully everyone feared, or news of the big people's world like the older brother who came back from Woodstock covered with mud (we were all really interested in the mud part).
It was on that last day, everything draining out from the school these old walls and stair emerged into view.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.