Tag Archive: anniversary


In September of 2001, many things in my life were new: I was the new Nights (7 p.m. – midnight) man entertaining on a little AM radio station in Nashville, Tennessee. I’d do my show and then off I’d go to check out some local DJs in my new Music City. Mostly, I checked out Liquid Lounge (before it became “Elements”) till about 3 A.M., looking for new club DJ opportunities and then go a short distance from my new downtown, back to my new little two bedroom cottage.

This was still the pre-cell phone era and I only had a land line and cassette tape- based answering machine which I based in my other room, across the hall in my studio room from my bedroom and had an incredibly long cord, which allowed me to be on the “princess” phone all over the house and even out on my little front stoop. I didn’t have my first home computer yet and there were still pay phones everywhere!

So I’d sleep from like 4 a.m. until maybe noon, unless I had some special morning interaction to attend or a gig; such is the life of the second and third shift radio man and many other alternative hour workers.

Then the phone rang around 10 or 11 a.m. I guess, and I heard the machine come on in the other room, and maybe my friend, Monique’s voice say something as I slept – and ignored it. Soon, the phone rang another time and I recognized her voice again! At this point I picked it up and my friend Monique says, “Turn on the TV!” I’m like, “No, I’m sleeping…” or something to that effect. She insisted and then I fumbled around and found the remote to turn it on. What I saw I thought was a movie, in the purple haze of awakening. “Why you want me to watch this movie, Mo?” I must have asked. She said something like, “No! A plane hit the World Trade Center!!” I began to sit up in my bed and just about then, the second plane hit the other tower. Shock. At that moment, I knew that this was no movie.

As I watched the coverage that fateful afternoon, I’d almost forgotten that I had a “show” to do that evening – and the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want to perform it. – I was bummed to the max! Calling my Mum in on Long Island, I asked could she smell the smoke and she said “Yes.” So I called my Program Director to ask him out of my show that night, but instead of empathy for my feelings, he replied, in, what I’ve learned is typical southern black American ignorance, “Aww man, its just a plane hit a building. G’wan in and do your show!” At that point, my respect for him, being in his position only because he was the station owner’s son, went from like and “eight” to a “one” on a scale of one to ten. How dare he condescend, knowing that my roots are at the base of the World Trad Center and having been in my house where I had a wall-sized poster of them and the whole southern tip of Manhattan above my bed!

Writing this now, I know that the rebel in me wanted to call out, but I think that my inner “Dan Rather” made me go in that evening, but not to do my usual “party” radio show. Instead, I opened-up the phones to my new Nashville local listeners, to let them air their impressions of the day’s attack. Many were initially sort of clueless, to my disappointment, but as my program grew into the evening, I remember that the discussions became more spirited and that many of my listeners knew that I was from there and expressed their empathy to me, if not for the national implications, for me as someone they only met through the radio who identified with New York City. It was the most solem show I remember in my professional radio career – I hardly played any music and we lived for the top of the hour network updates for five hours that night.

Last night, on the cusp of eighteen years later and trying to go to sleep, I wished I could listen to that show; probably taped it on a cassette which is likely in storage with much of my belongings from those days that I cannot get to it because of my poverty, having chosen that radio career path, which has imploded for me like those beloved towers fell.

In closing, I must remind you to carry the message that we have young people in school now who have no recollection of that treacherous attack. So it is super- important that we teach them the magnitude of that day like the Pearl Harbor surprise attack was for the generation of my parents was.

Since 2016 or thereabouts, we as Americans have lost that unity that came about in the wake of those horrific and cowardly attacks. I close by asking you, my dear reader, to help bring back that sense of togetherness-of-purpose-umbrella, which we all gathered under after September 11, 2001.

el-t-and-me-june-091
Six-twelve-ohh-nine

 On a sun-drenched afternoon,

One year ago as I dried my dreadlocks outside,

I called my “GirEL” to ask why she was so scarce,

After our recent one-year anniversary.

I missed her; we had dated for a nice year

That seemed like we knew each other forever.

She laughed and said something about something she had done,

That might not be “right”;

Then told me that “we have to talk”

“Can we meet someplace?” she asked.

I’d laid a similar gauntlet down a month earlier.

Wondering if she was just trying to get back at me,

I said,” Well I’m always here at the house…”

A month earlier we survived a summit;

This time from her flippant tone,

I feared we would not.

“Are you getting back with your ex-husband?”

She cackled into the phone a sarcastic, “Yes!”

At that point I knew to continue to sun-dry my hair out on my great lawn,

And pray that my intuition was wrong.

As a debility I let it slip, “I don’t want to lose you, GirEL,”

The needy kiss of death.

A year ago to the warm day,

From eyes of grayish-blue

She appeared to suddenly say,

The “magic” was no longer new.

Who said we had “magic” anyway?

Just a many great dates,

Some steamy sex that I am glad we took our time to get to

And an ongoing cultural exchange, is how I saw it.

Love takes work or the “magic” is tragic.

Today last year and tomorrow I didn’t want to live.

I still don’t half the time;

I guess the decision isn’t totally mine – yet.

Another year and the pain is often the same.

Maybe that is how it is in your late fifties as a bachelor man;

Is this how it will always hurt?

Or is that how good she was – or how mean?

 In this past year,

I have seen other friends come and die;

Many things I will never forget if I am the lucky one.

Like when she threw her right leg over my lap,

At the movies on Christmas night as we watched Meryll Streep.

Or the way she melodiously pronounced “hilarious!”

“You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me!?”

And “stop the fucking madness…”

American street slang with an accent from Minsk.

She didn’t know how much love to my ears,

Her voice would sing that way.

 

The green of the humid June air,

Reminding me again that I am a loser.

I guess I don’t do “love” very well anymore;

Even myself I do not often adore.

Thinking about her and me,

I can drift off into a zone of infinity.

Don’t get me wrong,

I am “ok” with it,

I have no choice even though choice is my staple;

Until and if my next – and last – romance occurs,

To finally hurdle my swooning June heart’s voice;

Turning memories ears away from hers.

Oddly better for the whole experience;

Except the empty way that it ended,

We began again briefly with a call from her for my help;

Lurched from the forest and with the late summer words “I miss you”

Almost repaired once more at a piano bar,

Only to finally fracture forever;

Texted and read by a mutual buddy now departed,

On a warm-then-suddenly-cold October night,

In a way, I am back beyond the time,

 Two years ago, in ’08, when we started.

I’ve been told that I wear my heart on my sleeve.  Let’s examine that expression first…Historically, I seem to remember that sometime in Europe’s middle ages, men would pin the name of their lovers or the object of their desire on their sleeves.  That line was also delivered by the character Iago in act I, scene I of the Shakespearean tragedy, Othello, “But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve/For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.”   I think it means I am a sensitive, emotional man, with  feelings  more “visible” rather than hidden, unlike most people who pretend to be unphased by the meanness of others or unwanted negativity that happens to me. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, in fact IMHO it is healthier to let stuff out than hold it in and eventually have a heart attack or blow like the volcano, and if I may attempt an Shakepeare-style  line here, “if I be not allowed to display my love upon my “sleeve” then where should I wear it?”

However, it can be tried to be used against a person by the dimwitted I guess.  Maybe my former girlfriend was sometimes dim-witted – it is as good as any explanation she’s given me for breaking-up with me suddenly last June because she stil has given me NONE.  Yes, with Valentine’s Day approaching, I’m back on  that  again.  Please indulge me my dear reader, this was the first lady to ever surprise me with a choice of one out of two ensembles to wear that she had selected for me to try on in the days just before Valentine’s Day.  I wasn’t even sure that she celebrated such a “Hallmark Holiday” going by our progressive, anti establishment and commercialization of our lives conversations.  I guess all women secretly have that romantic bone in their hearts in spite of protestations to the contrary; I was SO over Valentines’ until we met.  Why would a woman go to the trouble of picking out an outfit for her man and then jilt him suddenly four months later, giving him no reason?  This is what happened to me.  That’s right, “the Girl From Transylvania” hooked the kid up with a sharp outfit that included a tie and vest!  What did I get her for Val’s Day last year?  Well I fulfilled her sudden request to wear her hair in dreadlocks like I do, and paid for her to go to my “hair girl” and get her hair styled thusly!  It looked SO cute too…but we didn’t calculate the difference in hair texture and locking agent required, so it didn’t stay – but it looked sweet!  This post is dedicated to all of the women who I have met since I was jilted and who, sensing that there was another woman lurking in my consciousness, probed until I unburdened myself to them about “the Girl…”, and who tried to make sense of it from a female perspective only to give up basically saying, “Boy she really did a number on You!” or something similar.  It is also dedicated to my few long-time male friends who have counseled me to basically “forget her it was not worth it. The only thing she did was waste your time. Time is very precious to us all since we are all here for just a twink of eye. Just think of what you could have productively doing with your time if she was not in your life. Next time you meet someone, try to size them up immediately and find out what she is all about before committing your resources including time…” as Leo back in south Jersey recently summed it up.  I’m just not as “cool” as I used to be – losing that Playboy edge, I guess. <grins>

So: What kind of a woman goes out of their way to make you love them with gestures like taking you on a food stamp shopping spree on THEIR Food Stamps account without my asking her to after she found out that I had a particularly bad financial day?  Cooking and sharing copious dishes with you including Thanksgiving and Christmas; lets you bond with her two sons( from two different guys by the way), her younger sister and sister’s boyfriend, all who live with her in her nice multi-roomed house; takes you to integrate your Americaness with her “Belarusian” culture at a party; gives you a TV, an extra blanket to keep warm, and a really nice radiator room heater to make your space more cozy; makes a big deal out of our one year anniversary; treats me to a fabulously classy birthday dinner at an upscale restaurant; lets you finally give her a total body massage, while she has a degree in Massage Therapy; seeks out my hair stylist so that SHE can have dread locks hair style like I do -and I gladly pay for it for Valentines day;  creates a  framed wall picture collage of some of my recipes from my cookbook (that she in a fun way “stole” from it unbeknownst to me) with  some sayings like “you are so special to me” and a little haunting picture of her in the lower left-hand corner and a set of fine wine glasses for my birthday?   

What kind of lady parties with me unconditionally, was a great touch-dance partner whenever we went out, and even drank harder stuff than the wine I sip because of her culture (I guess); never says “no” to a date request; never has an argument or heated words with me? (the closet to an argument was a debate about cooking rice !)  I never cheated on her and actually brought my bachelor self closer to her lifestyle and sacrificed my man shit like sports and even showed empathy when she told me that she saw a “therapist” weekly (but never told me exactly “why” – I figured because of past husband abuse issues), showed understanding when she told me twice that she didn’t want to get close to me because of “panic attacks” [prior to our ever being intimate and we didn’t do THAT for about five months after we met], who then suddenly dumps me COLD  and without explanation forevermore?  Who apparently enjoys a romantic weekend to celebrate our one-year anniversary, finally leaves her new toothbrush and stuff in my bathroom (we know how chicks like to mark their territory like that), and then two weeks later tells me the “magic is gone”?

Even after the initial “dump” she would call me to rescue her late at night at a bar we used to hang at, enjoying conversation and adult libations once when she had ingested too much “Vhischey” (I loved her voice and Belarusian accent; the way she said the word “Hilarious!” was one of a kind).  Another time, after the fact asking me yet again to help her with her English homework and an appeal on her grade to her on-line English instructor!  Am I yet again this stoopid and naïve?  Yet again do I have reason to cease to exist because I am “too nice”?  I wasn’t always “too nice”!!  I tried to hang on and hoped she would drift back within my gravitational pull, unsuccessfully as she became even colder after telling me she “missed” me and agreeing to “reunite” within a month. And there is probably more great stuff she did that I am not remembering right now like the “ohh!”, so romantic way she admired my hands, of all things; how she’d examine them and hold them tightly when we went to the movies – I never go to the movies – and much other good stuff. In the early Autumn of 2009,  she kinda flirted with a friend of mine right in front of my face in his office!  He is married and we’d hung-out together at his house several times.  She did this in order to cut me out of future dealings between the three of us and get the perks of free tickets I had gotten for “us” because of the brotherhood my friend and I shared, I bet.  No shame to her game? Maybe just a little mean streak which makes me wonder how she can raise two “boys” who will  become “men” when she seems to have a contempt for the male species on some level.  As a group I grew up listening to/playing on radio, The Sylvers, sang, ‘I Wish That I Could Talk To You Baby…”

I suppose I shall revert back to being a “playboy” who goes for the “hit-and-run” affair , since a lasting “relationship” with a woman apparently is not in the “cards” for me as I hit my late-fifties stride. Naw, that won’t work! I think the self-service castration the better route.  Then, the subsequent back-up of blood to my other head will cause it to explode in a rush of misery-ending euphoria!

So, WHAT KIND of woman is this who just dumped me like yesterday’s vagabond?????  She asked me for, and I granted her a little “time alone with [herself] in order to think”, then perchance after three weeks of total cut-off, we fatefully ran into each other at a coffee shop where I was having a business meeting.  I told her I’d call her when I got the chance in a few days, and when I did, I joked, “Hey you’ve got to stop stalking me like that at the coffee shop…”  She said she was busy and to call her the next day.  When I did so, feeling upbeat I got her voice mail.

Her reply some hours later was this TEXT message: “…, I don’t want to hurt yr feelings but I’m not interesting in any relationships with you, even friendship as you call it.  So, do me a favor, stop calling, texting and writing me.”    Just like that, and when I asked “why”, I got no response. It wasn’t like I was stalking her ass or something; that is not my personality.  Please help me to understand this, because I am a good man and treated her with respect, love, passion, dignity and everything else possible in my intelligent-yet-caring arsenal.  WHAT…a colossal waste of both our times and supposed loving energies.  Part of me wishes I’d never even MET she who at this time last year, I thought was my new best female friend – outside of my Mother that is. I guess what I muse is how could a woman, on one hand, be the best I’ve ever dated and the worst heart-breaker on the other hand?  [Editor’s note: that friend she flirted with suddenly died at only 45 years of age, seven months later]

1. “Valentine Love” – Norman Connors; 2. “If My Lonely Heart Could Speak” – The Manhattans; 3. “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince; 4.”If My Heart Could Sing” – Marvin Gaye; 5.”I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” – written by Burt Bacharach/Hal David, sung by various artists including Dionne Warwick (probably the most famous version) and the late Isaac Hayes; 6. “I’ll Be Around (When He’s Gone)” – Marvin Gaye; 7. “Don’t Hold Back Your Love (Parts I & II)” – The Isley Brothers; 8. “There’s No Me Without You” – The Manhattans; 9. “Love TKO” – Teddy Pendergrass; 10. “Sad Sweet Dreamer” – Sweet Sensation; 11. “Love On A Two-Way Street” – The Moments; 12. “Break Your Promise” – The Delfonics; 13.”My Funny Valentine” – Rodgers & Hart; 14. “Goin’ Out Of My Head” – Little Anthony & The Imperials; 15. “I’m Out Of Your Life” – Arnie’s Love; 16. “Love Is A Hurting Thing” – Lou Rawls.

pickhitt: I’m only looking for closure, I guess – a REASON.

updatge 2/2011: time heals all wounds; Jah sent me someone MUCH better.

“There are many things that I’d like to tell you,

Like how I’ll never, ever forget you

If my heart, my heart could only sing, sing, sing.

-M.Gaye

Answer: “Self-deliverance” is always an option.

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