Bunny Embers A melody ponytail, a middle-name smile, an old-fashioned jig with the neighbors. A wipe of the windscreen, sunscreen. Gimme the Carter, the Marlowe, the town protector, the well-breakfasted, the special ones who spit This soil, this lonesome steak. The smokers steak. The cold song dance speakers I don’t like it but it doesn’t […]
I had to shit on someone to make this money! shrieked Lani, I need you to get me off! Now! Lani had translucent skin and tiny, spidery veins. Usually, I could find a place to hit her but she’d done some serious damage on a recent coke run, and her reedy voice was getting on […]
(Bus routes, train routes, walking patterns and thinking jags) Riding the #22 Clark Street bus north on a fall evening in Chicago, 1978, getting off at the Armitage stop, descending the few stairs to the oval expanse of park benches, just in front of the Natural History Museum, my eye instantly focused on an old […]
When you hitchhiked back then, before it was redefined as criminal trespass – and dangerous – you could get around OK and once in a while catch a ride with someone you would never have met in your regular life. [Do not take too seriously the image of my mother sobbing on her knees, clutching […]
An excerpt from “Scabvendor,” Jonathan Shaw’s memoir of his days at the top of the tattoo racket. Jonathan reminisces about conversations with his father, the legendary jazz clarinetist and bandleader, Artie Shaw.
Snow is falling on Sedgwick Ave above the Major Deegan highway east of the Harlem River. Barely light with no sun. The snow blankets the sidewalk, slushes in the streets and gutters and swirls through the gray morning air. Just past Tremont the road rises to meet a crossroads bodega, the local Loosey Spot where […]
Every night when the sun sets, I see her. Just over my shoulder like a blind spot in the rearview. Always. Been like this forever. I tell this to my best friend Al, and she laughs her giggly laugh, the one that makes me feel like I’m Johnny Carson. Al tells me I’m paranoid. Seeing […]
Cat woke me up. I immediately looked at my dollar fifty alarm clock. It was twelve noon, with the sun shining through our windows. My little sweetie was jumping up and down like a Mexican jumping bean, spitting and cursing in English and Thai, doing her loco bit at the Polar Inn, a second rate […]
On the Lower East Side in the 1980s, a naive young man finds that copping dope with his friend, the famous playwright, poet and actor (and hardened criminal) Miguel Piñero, ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
San Francisco, July 21, 1996 In the refrigerator are five cakes: carrot, lemon, raspberry swirl, three-layer chocolate, and some kind of tiramisu, or maybe it’s mocha. I can’t tell. Five large, heavily frosted cakes, a slice or two missing from each. Otherwise, the refrigerator is empty. I want a cheeseburger. I want fries. I want […]