(Nonfiction) We don’t know names, on our street.
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.
“What have they been feeding you in here?” I ask.
“A bunch of bullshit!”
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.
The professor should have burned the letters. He had no right to give them to a stranger.
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.
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.”
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.
Whenever I heard “Michael Cohen” it was if it were a name not my own.
Sometimes pain blunts my memory of myself.
“The safest way for you to golf is with a physician by your side,” he replied.
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.
Her words were tender, but raw in intonation and contained the kind of truth you can come to only after having lived through something.
We recited vows as poems, while our hippie rabbi strummed his guitar and hummed nigun that…