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Six Bucks a Life

I am slowly realizing my current hometown of Jersey City, New Jersey is quickly becoming Murder City, USA. Yesterday, I discovered the going street price of a life in Jersey City is $6.66 as the murdered bodies of a woman and her two children — a boy aged six and a girl aged 13 — were found stabbed to death in a Greenville apartment. They died Monday.

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Drinking in the Bits of Them

On the fourth anniversary of 9/11 I would like to direct you to an article I wrote for GO INSIDE Magazine a year after the world fell called Celebrate the Dead, Mourn the Living:

….We all were breathing and smelling the fiery ashes of 2,800 corpses as their flesh filled the sky. It is a smell you will never forget. When you cannot escape the evidence of murder as it fills your lungs every day you turn inward to memorialize the reality in a positive manner so the horror of it all won’t eat you alive in the quiet times.

I decided inhaling the ashes of those who died was a way of reanimating each of them by giving them life within me. By drinking in the bits of them blowing in the wind, I became greater than myself, bound by their hopes and sobered by their dreams, and I was making all those strangers a part of me….

You can read the rest of the article here and then come back here to share your feelings and memories of 9/11 if you wish.

You can read all the GO INSIDE Magazine coverage of the first anniversary here where you will find some moving and memorable takes on the events of infamy from the rest of the staff.

Death by Crushing

Yesterday I was out for my daily walk along Palisade Avenue in Jersey City when I heard sounds 50 yards ahead of me I had never experienced before: Tires screeching on asphalt; a thump; crushing metal. Ahead of me people leapt out of their cars and from their porches. A cop on his lunch hour bolted from his parked cruiser with a sandwich still in his hand.

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Word Trade Center Killing Grounds

I have been sitting here for three hours trying to find a way to begin this blog entry. Where should I start? How do I bring it all up again? There are some things you don’t ever want to recall. Forcible recall is treacherous.

Yesterday, for the first time since September 11, 2001, I returned to the killing grounds of the World Trade Center. I returned, not by choice, but by the happenstance of mass transit. In my GO INSIDE Magazine article, Celebrate the Dead, Mourn the Living I reflect on what the World Trade Center meant to me and to a city. I have been uninterested in returning to “Ground Zero” because I have no interest in gawking at the empty space where once stood giants.

Yesterday, I had a meeting in downtown Manhattan and I decided to jump on the PATH train and get off at the WTC stop. Now, “WTC” has always meant “World Trade Center” even when it was not operable for four years, but WTC has always been a destination, and not a place, in the minds of many who ride the PATH every day. The recently re-opened WTC stop on the PATH brought the end-of-the line back to Manhattan proper and, I while I was prepared to get off at the WTC stop, I was unprepared for what I was about to witness.

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Murder in the Jersey City Heights

Over the last 12 months there have been seven murders within a one block radius of where I live in the Jersey City Heights neighborhood. These killings, I have discovered, are an unfortunate part of the fabric of living in Jersey City.

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Things Left Unfinished

As Rosh Hashana draws near, literally hours away, and I have yet to finish this article, it occurred to me that there are many things that I have to finish, things which I began or planned to begin which never have come to fruition due to time constraints or, more likely, my own personal disorganization. Here are but a few of them.

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