Of All The Days

8am, I look over at the clock and realize I am late yet again.  As I lay in my bed in the front part of the house, I listen for the sounds of my brother leaving for school, my sister making breakfast, and my 2 year old niece crying.  Silence.  Is it possible that no one is home?

Making my way out of bed and towards the hallway, I turn on the television my dad bought for me the Christmas before he left. Early morning cartoons were still on, yay I didn’t miss ‘em.  Wiping the sleep from my eyes I head to the bathroom across the hall from my brother and nieces room, to for my first urination for the day.  All the lights are off confirming my earlier theory of a vacant home.  I sigh in relief realizing that I wouldn’t have to rush to get ready for school; in fact I could probably stay home for half the day before anyone returned home.  I walk back to my room and turned on Pepper Ann…”She’s like one in a milliooooon…” I love that theme song. At the second commercial break, my stomach starts to rumble, time for some breakfast.

I walk down the narrow lavender hallway, and into our tiny kitchen.  It’s a mess, the sink was full of last night’s dishes, and once again the food had been left out.  I pick at the rice and beans on the stove, and decide to have a bowl of cereal instead.  As I fish through the sink for a bowl and spoon, I feel a warm softness against my ankle.  The cat had returned.  I want to pet her but then I remember that I don’t recall the last time I saw her, and that she was probably living in some ally, which meant she most likely had fleas, so I option to kick her instead.  Unlike our last cat she doesn’t whimper, rather she thinks this is a game, and insists on touching me even more.  I feel disgusted by this mangy cat, so I ditch the bowl and grab the box of cereal as I run back to my room, closing the door behind me.  I plop down in front of the television hoping to catch the second half of the show, when the TV turns to static.  Ugh what now? Irritated, I began flicking through the channels, until I see two parallel skyscrapers on the screen, one of which appears to be smoking.  In the background of the program there is a newscaster speaking in a monotone voice. What is this?  This is…this is, boring.  I guess I’ll just take a shower, and go to school.

As the steam from the water fills the bathroom, I remember that LaToya and I were supposed to cut school today.  She was going to take me to the World Trade Center mall; I had never been to a mall and didn’t believe that they even had any in New York.  I guess I’ll call her after I’m done getting dressed.  It’s 9am when I get out of the shower.  I’m super late.  It’ll take me at least an hour to take the train from my South Bronx home to my high school in Chelsea.  At the rate I’m going I might be able to make it to third period.  I walk back to room and realize the same show is on.  Great, and here I thought I’d be able to start the day on a high note.

As I stare at the screen, watching the most boring news program on earth, I watch a plane fly into the second the building.  The second building, these two buildings, parallel and identical in appearance, stands two buildings in downtown Manhattan, they are…oh shit, they are the Twin Towers.  Oh shit this is happening right now.  My phone begins to ring, oh shit it’s my sister.  Oh shit, I’m supposed to be in school.  I hurriedly get dressed and pack my bag.  She is expecting me to be downtown, she’s expecting me to at school, and she’s probably on her way home.  Before rushing out of the house, I grab a blank tape and push it into the VCR.  I’m still not sure of the seriousness of these events, but I know that it’s not good.  So I press record and run out of the house.

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Brain Farts

I’m not sure if I know how to love.  Is that a crazy thing to say?  Because I know I loved my mother, and I know I love my father.  Sometimes I’m not so sure if I love my siblings, but I’m pretty sure I do.  I thought I loved my friends, but I find it so easy to let them go.  Or at least I pretend to.  I went to a shrink once or twice.  Who am kidding I four times, but the one I’m talking about was a British woman.  I picked her because she was British and like all American’s I am predisposition to believe that all British people are more refined and therefore smarter than us.  She told me I had an active brain, and I should act upon all feelings that I had no matter the consequences. This was in the summer of 2007, and has been dubbed the summer of terror by my friends.  My catch phrase for that summer was “This is how I feel, and my feelings are valid!”  I don’t think she was a very good shrink.

Gotta Catch Em’ All

There were red ones, blues, and greens, yellows, purples and orange ones.  We sought to collect them all like Pokémon.  On our rainbow covered playground, we danced.  On 84th and 5th, the border of central park, was the Aztec park.  It was filled with pyramids to climb in and on, when in need of a place to hide from your hide and seek enemies.  Ropes for swinging across alligators, so not to be lost at sea.  Sand pits, for buried treasure, and tires to swing to your destination.  It was the park of all parks, and each time you walked in, your entire word was transformed.  Like pirates off to sea, in search of buried treasure, we’d hang off the jungle gym, climb up the slide, swing to the highest of all points, to find these colorful wonders.  What do you have? I have ten blue ones; I’ll trade you a red.  Pockets full of satisfaction we’d run to our mothers at the end of the day.  Look what I have!!  We’d scream.

“Get that filthy shit out of your hands!”

Smack, there went our treasure down to the ground.  We were being persecuted for being such good hunters.  A day’s work lost, all those pretty colors left behind for someone else to find.  Goodbye blue, goodbye green, goodbye red, goodbye yello………………

A year before they tear down this park, you’ll come back.  You’ll climb through the pyramids one last time.  Up the narrow tunnel of the ladder, you’ll reach and the top and look over the land you once conquered.  You’ll run over to ropes, and swing you final swings, making sure not to let your legs touch, you still can’t be sure of what lurks in those waters.  You’ll spin your last tire, and you’ll spin, and you’ll spin, and you’ll spin until your adult tummy is sore.  And On your way out, when it’s all said and done.  On your  way out of one of your favorite memories, you’ll be saticfied to have gotten one final good play out it.  You’ll be glad, that you bought two of your friends with you to share this memory.  You’ll be tickled that for one afternoon, they forgot about fashion, they forgot about being cool, and they played until they were out of breath.  You’ll say goodbye for a final time, but you’ll remember.  You’ll remember to check the ground for the colorful tops of crack vials you used to play with when you were a kid.

No Sleep

No sleep, one, two, three pills, no four.   What’s this acid, how many tabs one, two, three, no four.  Too much, ok have one back.  We should smoke, what do you have?   An eighth, a quarter, a half? Of what blue cush, green crack, that sticky icky, hydro, no Obama weed? Let freedom ring.  Empty your pockets. What do you have?  One, two, three, no four grams. Of what? Coke.  Sweet.  Empty your pockets, what do you have? Five, ten, fifteen, no twenty dollars.  Liquor store?  What should we get, gin, vodka, rum, no whiskey.  Empty you pockets, anything else? Mushrooms, molly, PCP, shit we’ll even take some salvia.  What do you have?  Where are we going? Queens, Jersey, the Bronx, Long Island, no Brooklyn.  Great.  Empty your pockets, metro card, change, credit card?  I’ve got nothing.  Hop the stale, don’t get caught, got too much shit in my pockets.  What train do we take? The R, the F, the M, the C, no the L.  Which stop do we get off on? Wilson, Graham, Bedford, Halsey, no Morgan.  There’s a loft party on top of a shady bar.  Do we know anyone? Kyle, Lori, Monkey, Dave, no Jose.  Sweet.  How do we get in?  Doorbell, knock, have a key, no we wait.

“Hey wassup, bra?”

“How do we get to the party?”

“Go to the second staircase in the back of the building.  Butchie should be there to let you in.”

“Sweet.”

Knock knock knock.

“What do you have?”

“Everything.”

Gimme a bag, gonna score.   With who? That chick on the floor.

“Hey, what’s your name?

“Jal”

“You party?”

“What do you have?”

“Everything”

“I like this band. White Stripes, Drums, So So Glos, White Horse, Black Tongue, no Panda”

“Open your mouth”

“What do you have?”

“Open your mouth”

Two pills, one tab, candy flip, candy trip, candy……….

“I feel great!! I love this song!! Running the fire, Into the night, Smack my………no, That’s not my name.”

Dance? I can’t dance.  Roll it.  I’m rolling.  Roll it, light it, smoke, pass it, relief.

“Do you have any water?”

No Whiskey. Jack Daniels, Jameson, Canadian Club, Jim Beam, Old Crow, no Fleishmann’s.  Let’s go, to where?  A bar.  Which one?  BCC, King’s County, Pine Box, The Morgan, no Wreckroom.  Sweet.  Should we bring her? What’s her name? Veronica, Melissa, Julie, Nina, no…………..

“Hey, what’s your name?”

“Jal.”

12′

Wreck

Over chicken nuggets and frosty’s we planned our futures.  We dreamed our teenage dreams.  Dreams to leave our god awful homes, dreams to travel, dreams to marry the lead singer of the band, or even the guitarist. Planning our futures in groups, so that we’d never be alone.

I walk past the Cube, the old pizza place where they now sell falafel.  I walk past our old both in McDonalds, where we collectively read the Village Voice.  I walk past the Kmart we used to steal from, the Dominoes we used to prank call.  That gate in Union Square where Dark Heart pushed Cammie over because she told him Pantera sucked.  The Pyramid club on avenue A, where we all met at every Thursday night, just so we could dance by ourselves.  That corner, the one where Ana gave Little Billy a hand job.  There’s some swanky restaurant there now.  Hetrick-Martin, Rubber Soles, Cassiopeia, Freaks, Mars Bar, Tasty Falafel, the Starbucks where we used to make free chocolate milk….Tompkins.  Where we all planned our dreams.  Our dreams, deluded with alcohol from the liquor store on 6th and A.  From the cocaine, weed, and heroine sold out of the basement of the vegan bakery on St. Marks.  From the acid and special k given to us by a man ten times our senior.  Our dreams demolished in the 21st century New York.  Our friendships deconstructed by time.  The area I once was so familiar with is now filled with ghosts.  Granted, there are plenty tourist, students, yuppies, and bros, but my street punks, my family gone.  I walk past the steps of Search and Destroy, and remember a time when I felt free.  A time so fragile, easily defeated by a capitalistic wrecking ball.

12′