Two dollar hat. Old black stockings.

A Sunday, September 2017

The Bowery where I landed 30 years ago is no more as it was. The memory tricks are real though. There was a spot where I brought you a few times, Rui, nearby here. We only passed by, stopped for a bench rest, and moved on.

For me it’s a blue-bathed memory of a place where the brutal inequalities of our day had long been mirrored; where lost, broken, or abandoned persons passed, stopped, and moved on in time. On many walks through here, fences, railings and gates stood between me and stairwells, doors, rooms and closets, beyond which were chests, drawers, mattresses, upholstered chairs, broken locks, and men uncomfortably half-dressed against autumn cold.  Places of confinement as they were, these places have now vanished; I fear they’ve taken with them the knowledge they bore to us of what pillage and banks left in their wake. What is the sum of that enormity of passions that were spilled into these transient domiciles? There at least, the abyss stared back, refusing to be ignored.

I loved as well as feared this place. Families left the bones of their ruin here; glimpses of their psychic toll remained in evidence for eyes that looked. Things that I have learned and would always want you to know about our world played scenes against the backdrop of urban districts like these. The poetry of sorrow may have been overly common here; but these poetries are played on melodies that wounded love and longing build. Here, there was and is something of deep value to know about being human.

I miss walking with you. I miss you so, Rui.
Love, Daddy


While the wolf had her fangs
Deep in my heart
Who’s been writing the songs?

Who’s been singing?
And who’s been listening
Blue Eyes while you’ve been gone?

That two dollar hat and them old black stockings
Down on the Bowery
Hand in hand the full moon went walking
With Blue Eyes
Without me

And the tears used to sing them
And the cold wind would blow them
Down on the Bowery
Broken hearts were the only things listening
And Blue Eyes, I heard everything

That two dollar hat and them old black stockings
Down on the Bowery
Hand in hand the full moon went walking
With Blue Eyes
Without me

With blue eyes, without me.

(The song is Bowery by Jason Molina. Recorded by him with his band, the Magnolia Electric Company. No infringement of copyright intended on the songs and photographs.)

Brian March 2017

4 thoughts on “Two dollar hat. Old black stockings.

  1. It’s me, Justin Rizzo; we used to work together at Hunter College. Starting this off isn’t easy, but it’s all because I want to know how you are.
    I think about how before I left NY to come to Italy we sat in a bar together in Astoria and pretty much just talked about me, my decision to move and my family’s hard time with it. You sat and listened and I didn’t give you much in the way of company for what you were going through. I think of this every time I read your blog posts.
    I didn’t set out to write an apology letter; I know there’s not much I could have said. But time and how it passes just seems brutal to me and I think about you and Rui.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the solidarity Jason. Believe me, you’re not forgotten. The brutality… was from another source altogether. That one hasn’t changed. I remember that beer in Astoria. It’s sweet that you remember. I wasn’t the only one feeling under siege; that’s all. I hope things worked out for you there; I’d be nothing but pleased to hear more from you.
      Thanks comrade.


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