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Diary

The Abyss Diary 4. Living in the City That Killed Gil-Scott Heron: Why I Stopped Writing part 2

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New York City killed Gil-Scott Heron, he even wrote a song about it. Gil Scott was on tough dude. The usual response I get to this assertion has to do with crack, or HIV, and indeed these may have been factors. A New Yorker interview http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/09/new-york-is-killing-me depicted him using. He had reasons, mainly chronic physical pain. I don't want to delve into these technicalities to deeply; whatever the "cause of death was," New York City killed him.

NYC is a city that kills, a cancerous entity with tentacles reaching out in all direction, centered on a portal to the hell realms. It is, in the words of one trial lawyer whose name I will keep out of this, "Filled with things that swim in pools of excrement and gnaw on human bones." Although this remark was made in reference to the real-estate market, it applies generally. The first apartment we rented had indoor rain. We moved out when the lease was up, after having been exposed to multiple assaults on sensory stability, and physical and mental health, including electricians leaving the first apartment covered a fine lead and asbestos laden dust.

From flickr.com/photos/57849797@N00/18975278119/: Woolworth Building, NYC and clouds MOwner: decibel.places at flickr.com/people/57849797@N00/
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Woolworth Building, NYC and clouds MOwner: decibel.places at flickr.com/people/57849797@N00/ License: Attribution-ShareAlike License (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/) made with @nocrop_rc #rcnocrop
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People who live and work here, and are not among the "1%" have to be strong, and to some extent, as heartless as the city itself. I have no one to blame but myself for being here; there were other options, but NYC is where I ended up. My wife's near-superhuman strength kept her fighting, even as one job disappeared, and a series of temporary assignments passed, until she landed a job with the benefits of the S.E.I.U. 1199, which included health insurance for all family members. Again, through the strength of this woman, and this labor union, my own miserable ass was saved, my medications were paid for, and I was even able to start treatment for my chronic Hep-C, using one of the new and very expensive drugs. All of this was good luck for me, and not the result of any real tenacity or ingenuity on my part. There are many ways to die though, some faster than others, and not all involve falling down immediately. New York was, and is killing me still killing me.

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It almost killed my desire to write. If I want to live, I have to start writing again. The Abyss is never far away.

 

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I was born in NYC in 1959. I grew up in the DC area, the product of suburbia and liberal parents with doctoral-level educations. I dropped out of the public school system in eighth grade, and from all schooling by the age of 16. My life rapidly (more...)
 

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