Posts tagged "city/urban"
When a 17-Year-Old Checkout Clerk in Small Town Michigan Hits on Me, I Think about the Girl I Loved at 17

When a 17-Year-Old Checkout Clerk in Small Town Michigan Hits on Me, I Think about the Girl I Loved at 17

When it opened in 1908, The New York Times called the PATH train one of the greatest engineering feats that has ever been accomplished: perhaps greater than, they noted, the ongoing Panama Canal project, which wouldn’t be up and running for six more years. Spanning only three and a half miles, the PATH train from...
Gradient

Gradient

This morning a man jumped his car over a curb and emerged—silent, stoic, a phantom, someone said, he was so ghostlike as he moved—to stab eleven people with a cleaver. The man I love more than any other sat in his Yiddish Literature classroom, one building over from the stabbings, where just a week before...
After Losing 113 Pounds, Diet Alone is Not Enough to Keep the Weight Coming Off

After Losing 113 Pounds, Diet Alone is Not Enough to Keep the Weight Coming Off

So I ask Robert, the trainer who lives next door, what the neighbor rate is on a workout, and he teaches me to squat with my heels on the ground, to crunch with one leg bent high above my waist. He wraps my hands in tape and teaches me to stand with one foot perpendicular...
Crossings

Crossings

When Mom got sick I quit my job and moved back West, where the wide roads were choked with cars and no combination of busses and trains could get me from the neighborhood of old bungalows and new construction sites to the big hospital north of town in under two hours. Denver had exploded while...

A Review of Kristen Radtke’s Imagine Wanting Only This

Kristen Radtke’s graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This is a book about abandonment. Through Radtke’s beautiful and bruising images, we consider the ways we leave places and people, and the ways they leave us. We feel these departures deeply because of Radtke’s painstaking drawings, which allow us to experience the story for ourselves with an...
Toledo, Ohio 1977

Toledo, Ohio 1977

Fried chicken and sweet potato pie. Blatz beer on our father’s breath. That autumn Michael and I bagged leaves and burned weed with Anthony, walking house to house with a rake, ringing the doorbell and not running. He taught us how to ask for what we would be owed. We raked and mowed the small...
Beach City

Beach City

We talked about Miami Beach like it belonged to us, convinced that the tourists who came down to swim in our ocean and dance in our nightclubs were fucking up our city. We were seventeen, eighteen, nineteen-year-old hoodlums, our hair in cornrows, too-tight ponytails, too much hairspray, dark brown lip liner, noses and belly buttons...
Hospitality

Hospitality

is when she walks into your restaurant, a tired young woman in fading clothes, because it is the only one that is still open past midnight on Atlantic Avenue and orders the cheapest thing on the menu and then she starts scrambling to put together three dollars for a falafel sandwich from the dimes and...
I hoisted them, two drug dealers, I guess that’s what they were,

I hoisted them, two drug dealers, I guess that’s what they were,

crackheads, I exiled them is what I did, from my son’s basement apartment, they’d come to feast off of what was left of him, his entrails I guess, he’d moved into that apartment with such high hopes even though it was on the bottom floor, and no light, or very little light, there was a...
Milk for Free

Milk for Free

Item: “Did anybody touch you down there?” Down there, I understood, referred to the mystery below my waist, between my legs. A place where my mother  said no one should ever, ever touch me. My mother asks me this question, nightly, as she undresses me for my bath, until I learn to bathe myself. What...
Elegy with Ghosts, a Burning City and Many Special Effects

Elegy with Ghosts, a Burning City and Many Special Effects

In the filming of The Crow, the only son of Bruce Lee is shot and killed while making a movie about a man who gets shot and killed. Detroit is on fire. It’s Devil’s Night. Sirens everywhere. In the movie version of this essay, he’s resurrected and seeks revenge. In this way, he reminds us...
I Go Back to Berryman’s

I Go Back to Berryman’s

All of the streets in the trailer park are named for fruits or for dead presidents—Cherry, Lincoln, Peach, Garfield—and if you walk them and peer through windows with parted curtains, you will see love being made, hate being made, bodies being discovered, bodies being forgotten, smoking and drinking and swearing and Bible reading, you will...
Overpass Into Fog

Overpass Into Fog

One winter morning after dropping my daughter at daycare, I took the 180 overpass arching into thick fog and, though I knew it well, I couldn’t in that moment be sure where the road actually ended. Suspended between past and future, I disappeared into language and place, weather and love, and I wondered how close...
Poster Children

Poster Children

1. We’re in single file, led by an American flag with stars in the shape of a wheelchair, and headed to the convention hotel that I still think we’re going to picket. I can’t keep up. Someone steps behind me and pushes. I’m jealous of Eleanor on her scooter. We arrive and the driveways are...
Life in the Alley

Life in the Alley

I wasn’t old enough to go to school, and sitting on the front porch watching the cars go by on Fourth Avenue was the most of what I did, when I wasn’t looking down Zion’s Alley at the lives of black people, which I did from the upstairs window when I was sick at heart. (“Sick...
The Saigon Kiss

The Saigon Kiss

Hanoi drivers in their sunglasses and facemasks ignore ambulances and fire trucks—they won’t even move for a man in a faded white tank top, in a wheelchair he ratchets down the turn lane, a boy with shuttered eyes draped across his lap. Kid’s got to be at least nine, nothing looks wrong except for that...
Three Oranges

Three Oranges

I barely remember leaving work, or the transfer to the bus that takes me near enough my home to walk. I barely remember leaving the house this morning, or what’s happened during the day. It’s December. The days are short. I come and go in the darkness. It’s getting dark. A man materializes at the...
Afternoon Affair

Afternoon Affair

On the light rail after work I sit down next to a homeless man sitting next to his black plastic garbage bag stuffed full. He asks me for my name. He is friendly so I give it to him. He is Popeye, he laughs, I am Olive Oyl. He has the sour smell of the...