Archive: September, 2011

My Friend Karen Nussbaum

Karen Nussbaum has a remarkable family — three beautiful (and self-supporting) children, a husband who’s only marginally obnoxious, and a father who in his mid-eighties is still one of the most compelling actors in American theater and film.  This week he’s compelling in Imagining Madoff  (yes, that Madoff) at TheatreJ in Washington, and it’s an Actors Equity production you shouldn’t miss. (More)

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9/11: a Cop Novel Begins

/I started work on this many years ago.  It’s now the first chapter in a new novel I’m working on./

                                                                    Best Friends

                                                                by Ray Abernathy

September 11 wasn’t the first time Rafe Holbrook had slept through his alarm clock with no thought to its consequences.  He’d done it all through high school, two tours of duty in Viet Nam with the 1st Calvary and 20 years with the New York Police Department.  But on this morning, neither Callie Bacon nor Tom Hale had called to wake him up.  That’s because Callie was back on Deer Isle where she’d decided to stay on after high school and marry a cranberry farmer and raise kids.  And Tommy, his longtime pal, sidekick, spear carrier, confessor and crutch lay buried under 200 thousand tons of steel at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. (More)

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9/11: a Poem

/I was in Lower Manhattan on 9/11/.  I wrote this poem two days later./

                                                                      Body Parts

                                                                by Ray Abernathy

 A hand lies trembling in the street.

             It has no mouth, it cannot speak;

             It cannot run, it has no feet.

Up they went,   hats and boots and legs and heads.

             Down they came, no shouts or screams, already dead.

Bodies was dropping everywhere, Daria said.

Me and someone else saw a shoe under a piece of car,

so we lifted it up  and there was a leg with nothing else attached.

There were strollers with babies in them, turned on their side.

I saw a rescue worker with his arm and shoulder blown off.

He was screaming and running and the policeman

was trying to stop him to help him, but he was panicked

because the blood was coming out of him.

I saw so many people jumping and falling out the building.

One couple took each other’s hands as they jumped.

Up they went, young and strong and full of heart.

             Down they came, broken picks and body parts.

A hand lies decomposing in the street.

            The living stare, but rarely weep.

            The dead look down, but never sleep.

/Scroll down for 9/11: True Stories./

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9/11: True Stories

Taken from video interviews I taped in March 2002.         

Bobby Gray, an operating engineer, was working on a project in Midtown Manhattan when the attack took place.

I was working as a tower crane operator about 50 stories in the air on Forty-third at Eighth and actually saw the first plane hit.  I know my perception was off a bit, but it actually looked like it was going to hit the tip of the boom [of his crane].  My first reaction was: “Why is this guy so low?”  Then, before I could even get that out, I was like: “And why is he over Midtown?” (More)

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September 6, 2011

Labor Day Revisited

I waited until this morning to post my Labor Day column, just so I could see if anyone else was writing that America’s labor movement is alive and well and doing good things for working families.  It seems I have an exclusive. (More)

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