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New York Smells Like Weed Now – For Dad

New York smells like weed now. 

Covid’s still here, but people seem to collectively be coming to the conclusion that it’s done its worst. It killed Aunt Sheila.

The cold war turned hot, but I don’t want to talk about it much because I know you’d be rolling in your grave, if you had one. You were cremated. So was mom. 

What am I supposed to do with your ashes?

I did get to Chernobyl and Kyiv before it happened.

Funny speaking of Ukraine I caught Covid there but it was alright. It might have changed who I am permanently though.

New York smells like weed now. As in, that is the dominant smell in New York City. Strong enough to overpower the trash and urine, at least in Manhattan. 

New York again seduces me, but I don’t want to pay the price right now.

Staring down the difficult visas and shithole countries, I’m no longer sure I actually want to visit every country in the world. No longer sure what I want to do at all. I emptied out my Burning Man storage, that phase is done. 

Now I am emptying out the storage with your things in it. Sent your library to Lex in France. Sold the audiophile equipment. Gave the ayahuasca and salvia to a healer. I’ll take a few of your things. 

Sold the car to a nice young Vietnamese couple that lit a candle for you at their church. I told them you protested the war. 

Went to see the remains of the Ashkenazi Empire this fall. Saw my maternal grandparents’ birthplaces. Dad, I learned so much from being there. 

I just arrived in Serbia when mom died.

My Croatian friends made sure I had a Serbian friend to spend time with, so I wasn’t alone just dealing with my grief. Serbian ended up being a rockstar who sold me weed and gave me rakia. I thought about the guys that worked for you, and the tension, and how you taught me (through that story about when they each punched you for the same) not to call it “Serbo-Croatian”.

New York smells like weed now, no, I mean everywhere. Teens vaping on the subway. 

Wish I could tell you about Bulgaria. Transnistria. Finland and Estonia. I know you’d love my stories.

I’m using the money you gave me to invest in myself and my writing. I kept my job. I’ll likely buy some real estate. Over half of it is going to where I won’t touch it to accrue interest greater than the inflation. I used Julius’ guy.

I lit candles for you in a labyrinth in Barcelona with a lover.

I drank to you in a park in Oaxaca city with my friend who gave me a bottle of mezcal with special wood in it that is meant to make you happy. It’s for grief. 

The healer gave me kambo, also burned some wood to pull the grief out of me.

I’m okay, but I miss you.

New York smells like weed now. Amazing that legalizing changed the face of a US city. At least the nose of it. The city that made you. I wish you were here to smell it, too.


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