Essays

Photo by Michael Meiser, licensed under Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 3:10pm

 

Photo by Michael Meiser, licensed under Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA 2.0).

1.
 

In May, I was abroad finishing a job, the kind that did not exist when I graduated high school. As I prepared to leave, northeast Ohio, where I grew up, came to me. I would fly down remembered winding gray roads. Sometimes I did this in my dreams. Sometimes the dream was different – I would drive out to the country but turn around because I didn’t know what to do out there, outside a car with only long grass and woods around me and no path to hike. The suburbs were my cradle. In the car from the airport to my childhood home, I realized that what I had thought of as flying was the feeling of the car tugging my shoulders in the backseat as we made familiar turns.

Photo by Author

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 3:12pm

Photo by Author

We lost a hive this winter. We’d set our two hives facing south on the roof of our Brooklyn home for maximum sunlight, knowing that in winter that would translate into maximum exposure to wind and cold as well. My wife, Hali, and our beekeeping consultant, Davin, dutifully taped up the cracks with red duct tape so that the bees would expend less energy over January and February with their self-composed heating system. Generally they cluster around the queen, vibrating their wings and shivering to keep her and themselves warm. It was a harsh winter in Brooklyn, however, and we’d gone up to the roof several times in December to check to see whether the hives were healthy.

Monday, January 13, 2014 - 12:41pm

A six-foot-high, foot-thick concrete wall begins at 8 Mile Road, Detroit’s northern border, known as the Line. The wall marches south for half a mile along the property line behind Birwood Street, cuts through a city park, and halts at a dead end street—a network of potholes and buckled asphalt.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Daniele Scott

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 10:31am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Daniele Scott

It is Red Cup season! Under halogen lights, red metal tumblers gleam and pinken plastic to-go mugs. Swirled teacups shine like candy canes. Behind the café counter, whipped-cream ski hills top the menu of seasonal drinks with a flurry of diamonds and snowflakes. In sizes tall, grande, and venti, towers of patterned coffee cups are plucked by red-aproned baristas, like ornaments off a tree.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 9:45am

When you’re a carpenter’s son there are things you don’t tell your mother. The old asbestos siding Dad had you driving nails into, for instance. Or the ceiling fan he wired without first shutting off the power. Or how you close your eyes when you bring the round whirling blade of the chop saw down on a length of spouting so you won’t get any flecks of aluminum in your eyes. How it just seems safer that way.

Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 9:31am

 

There was a short time, just before I stopped carrying a backpack to school, when I coveted a t-shirt with the words “citizen of the world” on the front. I signed letters for Amnesty International that year, but I never bought the shirt. A few years later, when we tired of the war in Iraq, many pointed out that six of ten young Americans could not locate the country on a map, although half couldn’t find the Empire State either.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user the camera is a toy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 8:45am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user the camera is a toy.

I no longer have a home in New York City; I will always be at home in New York City. I will always love New York City; I no longer like New York City. I am no longer a New Yorker; I will always be a New Yorker.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons

Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 8:56am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons

My mother walked toward the courthouse at her usual fast clip, and the smoke from her Marlboro hung over her head. My brother Bernard and I trailed her as we crossed Church Street, and the fall leaves, mostly auburn and pumpkin, crunched under our feet. Everything else around us was so still.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Shreyans Bhansali

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 8:45am

I moved back to my parents’ house in Philadelphia just over a year ago, when I found out my mother was dying from cancer. The day I found out was my first day of a part-time job at Columbia University in New York City, where I was a master’s degree candidate. My father called me at the tail end of my lunch break, while I was browsing discounted greeting cards at a gift shop that was going out of business.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 12:41pm

Excerpt from the forthcoming novel Mañana Means Heaven:

Wednesday, October 22, 1947

The workers couldn’t stop talking about it. Especially that whole first day after it happened. According to the paper, a “wetback” was found strung up in a sycamore tree near Raisin City. From his neck dangled a cardboard sign:

PARASITE

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