(Nonfiction) We don’t know names, on our street.
“‘Chicago has nothing to be ashamed of in comparison with New York.'” (1918)
I loved her. But I never, ever felt close to her. The few times I tried to speak honestly to her as I struggled to understand how I’d come to see the world as I did, she was so hurt that it would have been cruel to persist.
In the city that some used to call the Seattle of Italy, nowadays you can only overdose on poetry.
“What have they been feeding you in here?” I ask.
“A bunch of bullshit!”
So here I am writing about it in America.
As children under Nixon and teens under Reagan, first-wave Generation Xers like myself have spent our lives watching the rout of the political left from power. Progressive reforms from the New Deal and Great Society were dismantled piecemeal to enrich a profiteering few.
It’s the last corner of paradise, here, evaporating like spit on a hot sidewalk.
Oak Woods Cemetery is located in the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Grand Crossing, and the Confederate Monument towers over the gravesite of the Chicagoan suffragist and anti-lynching activist Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, a former slave.
The professor should have burned the letters. He had no right to give them to a stranger.
In December 1989 in Romania, the crowds spilling into the streets chanted: ‘We will die and we will be free!’
Now, I sometimes want to go back to that time and say, “Goddammit, kid, what the hell is wrong with you? You don’t seek comfort in the same hands that dangled you off a ledge; you always keep your back up when around a person who’s low enough to attack you from behind; and, if someone cuts off a chunk of your flesh, you stay away. “
I asked why I was being taken aside. A woman in uniform and gloves told me I had to be screened for bomb paraphernalia.
“Do you speak English?” she asked me. This was after I had asked her why I was being taken aside, in perfect English.
I can’t conceptualize the poverty. None of us can. How do you make something of yourself in a new country when you came here with nothing?? When you’ve been starving for years in your own country and come here to a land with so much food, so much sweet smelling, fattening, beautiful food … and you with no money to buy it.
Almost seventy years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and while the Hong Kong protests continue, Richard Wirick looks back at the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the violent government crackdown.
It becomes increasingly clear, then, that the government does not intend to use its army as an institution of pure militaristic purpose. If it did, then it would have focused on quality over quantity, promoting a career in the army as something prestigious and sought-after rather than what it is now – a year-long fever dream between youth and adulthood for those who don’t do well on the national exams.
Imprisoned behind glass in New York City’s Jewish Museum: a sinister grin in graphite. Too big-teeth and hairy brows crowned with a jester’s coxcomb. “I wanted something visually exciting,” Jerry Robinson said of his concept sketch of The Joker. “I wanted something that would make an indelible impression, would be bizarre, would be memorable.”
Solve this problem: Your daughter’s playing with a doll, a gift she just received from a friend. The doll is white. 1968: John Carlos gives the black power salute Arthur Ashe wins the first US Open. 1970: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye the problem of “whiteness” as a standard of beauty Arthur Ashe wins The Australian Open. 1972: Bettye Saar The Liberation of Aunt Jemima 1975 the liberation continues Arthur Ashe outthinks Connors to win Wimbledon “no matter what I do, or where or when I do it, I feel the eyes of others watching me, judging me.”
Krystal developed into a first-string basketball player, and in junior high she’d been scouted. The acting-out years began and Krystal was sent to Elan, a residential school for troubled teens. It was here that the staff treated residents criminally. Often new students would be told that their throats could easily be cut in the night if they failed to get along with staff and other students.
When it became clear that Azar did not have the speed, synchronization or physical strength to filet an adequate number of codfish per hour, the manager moved him to the women’s line. He learned to find his station and turn on the intensely bright overhead lamp that would help him see if there were worms that had to be picked out from the flesh of the cod.
It is in this bed, after all, our bed, that I have most exposed myself, that I have been both sick and happy: secure, protected, and yet in the next moment, utterly, existentially alone. In a real dark night of the soul, Fitzgerald writes, it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.
It all seemed too much to successfully handle, but there was nothing else to do.
It isn’t genteel to point out, but spit can be beautiful. It’s an ordinary beauty—the parabola, the clearly practiced skill.
There’s a telephone. Three syllables, telephone, so it’s the kind with the handle—you could bring it from room to room only with the help of long cords, like a medical attachment of saline. Its speaking and listening parts imitated your own. Meeting in a kind of lonely kiss: plastic, teeth, cartilage, bone.
What is it about jazz that grabs me, calms my spirit, focuses my mind? I enjoy jazz almost every evening. It is my tranquilizer after the cares of the day. It provokes memory and imagination and relaxation. It shows that there is no monopoly on joy.
For no reason I can remember I happened to glance uphill to my left.
Tell jokes about “miorities” to “minorities” to show you’re “down.”
More and more, in late winter especially, I have the feeling that I am dying—or, to put it more accurately, that the best of my life has happened and my decline has begun. And this is a bitter feeling—wrong, too, I hope.
“These shows, and others like them, pulse with near-pornographic magnetism. It’s hard to pull your gaze away.”
“I’ve only been to France a handful of times since I moved away…and each time it gets into me with weird intensity.”