As we enter the rink, I crane my neck and peer over the contained space awash with faces and bodies; typically reserved for ice skating, it has recently become the new home for open air concerts. Jam-packed already, lucky ticket-holders are crammed like swollen feet in undersized shoes, and probably would smell as such if not for the pungent herbal notes wafting through the stifling early-August New York City air.

I am 16 and supremely bummed; it seems we are going to see our heroes from a distance, equivalent to a football field’s midpoint. That this is the first time…


“Ex-teachers still coming through to me,
tough kids don’t stop trying to kick me to the ground,
I don’t care,
Go on just do what you do to me,
you look so sick when you’re pushing me around
You’re nowhere.
See me, hear me,
Don’t you know you can’t get near me,
you can only hope to hear me on your radio.”
– Joe Jackson, “On Your Radio,” 1979

Maybe it was the naïveté and restlessness of youth, but when Joe Jackson would sing that lyric in 1979, I’d consider it a call to power. In 5th grade, though —…


Not the beam of the overhead fluorescent lighting, nor the smell of burnt charcoal-flamed burgers, not even the static conversation of others in the booths around us was going to ground me, give me the comfort I needed. Nope, regardless of how I approached it, this wasn’t going to be easy.

I eased into the conversation with all the subtlety of a slammed door. “So, Dad, what the hell’s up with mom?” I wasn’t known for my subtlety.

Lifting his head from the plate of food in front of him enough to notice the urgency of my question, he replied…


This is your brain on drugs. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America must have thought themselves quite clever with that public service video from the 1980’s, yet all it looked like to us was a delicious egg frying in a pan. We didn’t make the connection. In fact, their efforts had an adverse effect, inspiring us to smoke more pot, which gave us the munchies and the raging desire for late-night greasy spoon antics and the satisfying comfort of an egg plate or an egg-related dish. …


This one took me years to reconcile. Still haven’t fully. Others like it still hang in the balance. Bureaucrats in positions of power supplant the relentless bullies of my youth, whose redirected sexual and emotional ineptitudes, like tiny grenades — lopping off a finger here, an earlobe there — would grow in size to heat-seeking missiles, the stimulus for years of therapy and unfulfilled measures of revenge. A ping of trigger remains in reaction to disregard, complacency or insolence, against myself and others. Fortunately, I’ve been able to channel all of this turmoil into a successful career helping others with…


From the bottom mattress of my bunk bed — the one I slept on as an only child until I was 14 years old, the one which, when pressed for an answer as to who the top bunk was for, my mother glibly replied, “Nobody, one of you was enough!” — I can see my bedroom closet, its careening door ajar. It’s filled with the type of junk you’d find in a typical pre-teen closet: board games, electric guitars, trading cards and in the corner, baseball bats, the latter never far from view.

My Louisville Slugger of choice was wooden…


I open the box brimming with old cassettes; most are clearly labeled with familiar half-legible scribbles, the style of which I chose when I was old enough to do so, in revolt to those who cracked my knuckles with a ruler if my cursive wasn’t up to snuff. Other tape shells remain blank, anonymous, suspect. Not having looked at them in a while, they seem curiously out of step with digital technology, yet their warm familiarity draws me in full tilt, as if through a time machine (music cue: ‘Set the Controls for The Heart of The Sun’ by Pink…


The claustrophobic walls of my 12x12 bedroom are forcefully squeezing me out tonight, like my pores to the abhorrent acne that would take residency in and scar my yet-to-be-tainted adolescent face in 2 years. I’ve just finished dinner and flipped through my latest subscription of Circus magazine — October 31, 1978 — Linda Ronstadt adorning its cover, featuring a concert photo of Boston’s Tom Scholz on his knees, which I am especially taken with. We’ve agreed to meet on the corner of Hamilton Avenue and DeSoto Place in a little while, just a few blocks from where I share living…

Allan Day

Working, writing, fighting for social justice. Multifaceted Artist. Punk. Vegan. Fanboy. Lifelong outlier.

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