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Why Eritreans Are Such Fierce Warriors

FREE Read: My short story that was named a finalist in the Glimmer Train Press Spring 2012 Fiction Open

Sometimes when the parking lot is full, Jimmy-Z will stretch out on the old divan where he can see every corner of the lot, forty cars packed two-by-two east and west in each of four horizontal rows, horizontal if you face the lot head-on from L Street across from the headquarters of the uniformed Secret Service, with thirty additional cars in two vertical rows of fifteen each headed north out the back of the lot, vertical if you stand looking into their headlights with the Greencourt Health Club and Spa in back of your right elbow and the Green Door, a gay bar and nightclub, behind your left. Not an inch of asphalt spared. (More)

My Mother the Truck

Remember Stella?  No, not Marlon Brando’s Stella in Streetcar Named Desire.  I’m talking about my mother, Stella Eulalia Moore Abernathy, scourge of the Canton (Georgia) Nursing Center. Remember what I wrote last year as she was celebrating her final Mother’s Day? Turns out I was wrong (as usual) and she was right (as usual).  She amazed us all by grinding out another twelve months, then taking a neat star turn by chatting us up on her 94th birthday before giving in to pneumonia two weeks later. (More)

Obama Comes Out

President Obama didn’t just exit his self-imposed closet yesterday, he rattled all the shelves on the way out.  And you could feel the ground move.

 I had just driven back from Annapolis after visiting my friend Joe in a rehab center where he’s struggling courageously to recover from pioneering surgery, the severity of which the rest of us can imagine only in a nightmare of the most abject kind. (More)

A little help from my friends?

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature just published my short, short story “Valentine’s Day” online, and they are considering publishing my book-length SS collection, “All Head and No Ass.”  I’m trying to shine them on by driving some additional traffic to their website so they’ll know I’m a big-timer.

 Please honor me by visiting and taking a moment to read my piece.  If you like it, then don’t be bashful about sharing the link with your friends, family, colleagues, comrades, whatever.  I’m assured this is the way Charles Dickens started out, so help if you can!  And happy Valentine’s Day …..

Thank God for SuperPacs

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know: I told you I wasn’t writing anything about the looney Republican primaries. But then Newt finished up in Florida charging Obama with defunding Kosher meals for Jewish nursing home patients, Mitt was moved to sing “America the Beautiful” obscenely off-key, and we may have finally discovered a sure-fire way of curing the maldistribution of wealth in our country.

Honestly, Newt Gingrich could screw up a free lunch — you give him a free bowl of grits and he chokes on it.  And Mitt Romney? (More)

Occupying Teddy Roosevelt

Max and I are taking a romp in Central Park this morning when we overhear a super-spandexed lady of a certain age chatting up a much younger man walking three dogs.  “The first act was stunning and the stage went dark and there was, you know, like a long pause.  Then suddenly a rich baritone voice boomed out from backstage, ‘Occupy Wall Street!’ The audience loved it, but I don’t think it was actually part of the play.”  I give her a thumbs up and Max breaks into a dog-grin.   Is this a great city or what? (More)

Herman the Hypocrite

I’ve been looking for God for a long time, so far finding only ephemeral shards of him or her.  But I’ve always been a non-believer who believes in believers and even in some of their beliefs.  I’m making an exception for Herman Cain. (More)

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)

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)

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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Any newspaper, newsletter, blog or individual may reprint or publish this commentary without compensating me. Just make sure it carries my byline, by Ray Abernathy, and my website address,

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