I call out for her still into the death of a black ghetto night.
I will tell you know now, most dear tovarish, a story of our times. For if in the past I have written you of things that were and things that also could be; of fanciful alternate lives; or perhaps of wars or magic beyond your range of site and passions beyond your range of feeling. I have now set pen to paper to put down the events of our common year 2016, 5777 in the year of my tribe the Ivory. Known in your argots and crude vernaculars as the calendar year of the Hebrew people, the loathsome Jews.
We found ourselves in that year in the City of New York, a city where no one I had grown up with could live anywhere near the center for a mass of aristocrats, entertainers, money handlers, robber barons and oligarchs had pushed us all into their service living in the districts that ring the rivers East and Hudson. And in that year I was surrounded as was my way with former and post-Soviet gangsters, with newly arrived immigrants, with various Muslims and mystics, with Caribbeans & subversives, with ambulance workers, with jazz musicians with those who live the life of night. The right composition of any good dancehall party.
And then, living most precariously in a string of south and central Brooklyn apartments, making the kind of small talks I’d made for years, small talks of very, very big things I was reminded of an Old Russian saying, the words of some bathhouse mystic; that:
‘If I saw the size of my blessing coming, I would understand the magnitude of the battle we must fight.’
Someone said that to me in the Winter preceding the Labor Day Rising.
And, for years I had been part of a little embattled Otriad, a small group of idealists and EMTs, of visionaries, malcontents and perhaps also some hard radicals, a group of paramedics and their sympathizers that had on an island off the Coast of Galilee, Rhode Island pledged their meager resources to building a resistance movement. A movement which we certainly did not begin and will not perhaps unlikely see the freedom and equality for which we have prepared to lay down our lives and accepted as our duty to act upon.
On Labor Day of 2012, we participated in failed and foolish uprising in the borough of Brooklyn and most of us were killed.
I told my brother Benny in a letter, ‘that I do not know if the resistance is now 40 or 4 million women and men. I have not spoken to my commanding officers since 2007. I do not know where Commander Solomon is, if she is even alive. I do not know where General Avinadav DeBuitléir is building his secret army in Mother Africa, if still alive.’ I told my expatiated brother, that ‘I took my orders from Tel Aviv in the fall of 2001 and have attempted to carry them out to the best of my human agency, despite so many setbacks and perilous dehumanizing conditions we all have faced.’
Shortly after publishing a manuscript about the events of the uprising and uprising, as I remembered them the secret police dragged me off the street, into an ambulance and I spent some five weeks in the camps. And then was released, as if nothing happened, but everything was different.
I then, broken and despondent I met a woman on the roof of a club that night, which changed everything. For this was the most important woman of my life. And I was to battle and die for her, over, and over and over again! Tragic hero made me! She was and is the bravest one. I play along. How now, this was to be the story of her future and my past.