24 February 2009

Smoking a short and talented cigar and listening to Dylan's "Mozambique". She left me a love note on a sliver of graph paper inside one my sterling silver repoussé cigar cases. I opened it up and it exploded. "One more cup of coffee before I go". A quarter got you a handful of chocolate covered coffee beans at the old magazine stand on Saint Marks. I remember the way the wood groaned as we browsed. A handful of cheap gold looks like Hanukkah gelt. More coffee and rye toast. My throat burns like seltzer in the middle of the night. I remember the sweet summer clamor of ice cubes in coffee and plastic covered furniture on 17th Street. Yankees on WPIX and Phil Rizzuto "Holy Cow" on a giant oak furniture television. Now I'm thirty years old upstairs at one of my favorite restaurants and she has all my friends waiting to surprise me. I used to stand behind my grandfather and pretend I was a train conductor. I'd call out the stops on the Double R. "Union Street, 9th Street is next"... "Prospect Avenue, 25th Street next, stand clear of the closing doors." It's New Years Eve in a snowstorm and I'm laying on my back in the hospital where I was born and I can't breathe. Watching Jack and Jill chase each other up an old tree like a barber pole. When we landed in Adelaide the air smelled fresh and sweet like eucalyptus and honey. "He pushed the table over to protect his family Then he staggered out into the streets of Little Italy."