Vans and Jams

November 10, 2007 – 2:23 pm

My grandmother slammed my head against the wall so hard that I required stitches. I don’t know what I did to deserve having my head gashed open, but I hope it made her feel better with all those bad decisions and impossibilities that is her existence. I can still feel the scar on my scalp. Much more visible now with my receding hair line. My grandmother is still alive. I guess she wins.

I used to skate and ride bike. It used to be the only thing I thought about from morning to night. I remember the anticipation for summer was motivated by more time to skate. More time to ride bike. Maybe I’ll get even better this year. Maybe I’ll learn a bunch of new tricks if I watch this H Street skate video 1000 more times…hey, now I can do a “43” like Ray Barbee.

I met a guy in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Tall black kid from New Jersey. Wealthy father who played on many professional jazz albums or something like that. Tyra was his name. Tyra had a problem with anger. Tyra was big. Anger was his masterpiece. Rage for the sake of nothing. Perfect. Tyra was also a great skater. He told stories of his half pipe in the back yard…something we always wanted but none of us had the required ambition to make it happen. I never quite believed Tyra and all his stories of skating ramps and tearing shit up with local pros. We weren’t allowed to skate in the hospital of course. So we could make up what ever we wanted to about our skills…I know I did, so I figured he did too.

Tyra told the truth as I found out one day a couple years later. Out of the blue Tyra calls me up and invites me to his Dad’s house, which was actually somewhat close to where my father was living at the time in Glassboro New Jersey. Tyra was an amazing skater. Tyra had the half pipe in his back yard and he torn it up with backside airs like Christian Hosio. Tyra wasn’t full of shit at all. I was.

Tyra is dead now. Overdosed on a mega mix of over the counter pills and cold medication and straight vodka.

He came to visit me once in Bowmanstown. My parents were scared because there was a black man in their home. My mother’s boyfriend refused to even look at him and actually made himself as scarce as possible during his entire visit.

People come in and out of this world like the flip of a switch. We’re born free but shortly that gets taken away by television, by your parents, by work, by the man in the street screaming for sanity. We’re born free but then it leaves us in the most sneakiest of ways. It slides out from under you when your sleeping, dreaming, pissing, working, breathing and most of all when you look to others to finish what you haven’t even started. This War, this world, these words, yours and mine, they will never find their way. They will never find their true purpose and we just keep on smiling, laughing, working, dreaming and sleeping and breathing.    Send article as PDF   

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