Posts tagged "city/urban"

The Train

My beeper went off at 4:00 am. It vibrated across the night stand until I reached over and grabbed it. The message read, “Sally Card-pregnant-bleeding-passed out-407-648-5101” Sally was the lab tech in my Ob-Gyn office. She had no high risk factors. Her sonogram did not show placenta previa, a condition that causes bleeding. Placental abruption,...

Our Neighborhood

When we walk our dogs at night we see a blue ten-speed bike locked to a telephone pole in our neighborhood.  In the morning it’s locked to a different pole. The neighbor in the enormous house behind ours is a lawyer named Shambie who rides his European bicycle or gathers pomegranates in his back yard....

After the Sun Melted

inspired by Aftermath by Elane Johnson After the sun melted on the top hat of the Mad Hatter with Alice, outside the window in Central Park; after your doctor refused to talk to you, when you were behaving crazy, because the tumor had spread to your brain; after the doctor told us there was nothing...

Things are Meted Out to People and Then They Leave

At fourteen I got my first real job from a woman named Cia.  When she spoke she lisped a little and gutted her words with curses; on breaks she sat outside the kitchen on a milk crate, long legs planted far apart, bright mouth pulling on a cigarette like it was keeping her alive.  Cia...

First Apartment—Brooklyn, 2002

Loaves rise, engorged as dangerous moons, all through the night. I ring the bakery’s back-door bell, buy Pumpernickel for a dollar. No matter the after-bar hour; the late-night bakers always take our neighborly buck. The dark street’s swollen with the smell of bread—intimate, in-folded—like the small humidity behind an ear, between the toes. I carry...

Sobering

In the early ’80s, I would make drug runs to New York City in my dented blue Nova. I drove from a small town in Pennsylvania at my friend’s request. I felt superior to my friends in a way that can only come from being the single person in a crowd of like-minded people to...

Go

We’re sitting on our bikes and staring down the small alleyway made by fenced-in yards backed up to one another, and one of the kids in our groups says, “Go,” and like a pack of dogs we charge the space, pedaling hard and gnashing our teeth. Ahead the path narrows, and what started out as...

Wall Painting in Chicago Bar: “Richard J. Daley, Mayor”

It’s three blocks from where my Cantonese in-laws live since they moved out of Chinatown.  Bridgeport, so-called: no bridge, no port, but working class.  I’d thought the neighborhood tough—afraid to go out, lock your door at night.  But one couple on the corner stools, who could be Torres or Rodriguez, toasts me with pints of...

White Guy

I was in Walmart yesterday, swung around the end of one aisle where a five-foot-high cardboard-display edge stuck out about eight inches and, like an old fuck, caught it with my chest. Back up slightly, proceed on toward the Life Savers.  Halfway up the aisle (around the Life Savers) this black guy, twenty-five-ish, slightest smile...

Evelyn

Her name is Evelyn. She’s lived in her house since 1960. She was born in 1915 or 1916, near the Nooksack River, which still floods its banks. These are the facts. This is the mystery: a 91-year-old woman and me. She can’t hear me, but I talk with my hands. Evelyn’s surname is also a...

Duplex

The person on my voicemail was a man. His voice was high, higher than most men’s voices I’d heard before, and he spoke slowly, as if reading off of cue cards. I didn’t know when the call came in. My cell phone never rang. Rather, in that late morning, the phone vibrated, informing me of...

Closing Time

Pedro the dishwasher told me about how his sister died. We were drinking gin at a table by the window. He dried his hands off with a towel, ran his fingers through his black hair and described the way the hot water was still running when he found her hanging from a cord in the...

Tuesday Evening at the Rue de Fleurus

Evening drops into the courtyard like a black cat lowering its back.  A muted clink of dinner spoons spills from open windows into the courtyard, where the concierge’s dog yips en francais at a pair of American tourists who have found their way to 27 rue de Fleurus.  I sit and smoke a cigarette between...

Sketch

I notice the guy sketching even before I sit down, but it’s not a strategic decision at all. When I have a choice I try to sit facing the eye candy, and this guy’s not even close to handsome. But it’s the only available chair in the coffee shop, so I end up facing the...

A Bear in Tel Aviv

I saw the bear on a spring night in 2004 while walking with some students in Tel Aviv. We were on our way to a restaurant to meet the group that had accompanied the American writer who that afternoon had talked endlessly about basketball to the seminar. I didn’t know this part of the city...

Cairo Tunnel

I nudge through the turnstile, putting the stiff yellow ticket in my pocket and crossing a footbridge to the other side of the tracks, where I head toward the cluster of women on the platform. It’s rush hour. Morning salutations compete with beehive intensity. I scoot forward and back. Soon, the Metro barrels up, and...

Summer is Over

When you step outside you will notice summer is gone. The chill of the air will frisk you through your cotton t-shirt and jeans. Your exposed toes will be sort of cold and you will know then that summer has turned its porch light off. And it will feel like a North Carolina autumn evening,...

Cathy or Katy

The rain fell through bus headlights, getting us ready for the big lie.  We spent the weekend in New York City, my heart beating up through my neck in the gold glow and enormous doors of the Mayflower Hotel.  Eric and I, when the urge to crawl out of myself toward her became no longer...