When John Thompson Morris of Philadelphia turned forty-four, he took early retirement from the presidency of his father’s Iron Works to pursue other interests. Morris, unlike his father and uncles, preferred the role of benefactor, one who reaches into the past and buys up rare objects, then donates them for public edification.
When I was a junior in high school, I got a job at a flower shop. I worked there for almost five years, scraping money together for SATs and prom dresses. On the weekends I roamed South Jersey roadways and highways in the shop vans.
On my last day of radiation, I sat eagerly awaiting my release from six months of treatment. In anticipation, my eyes scanned the fluorescently lit, crowded waiting room of Abramson Cancer Center. As I waited for my name to be called for the last time, I thought about the young girl—about five years old—who I […]
Hearing Big Audio Dynamite or Tori Amos, I’m transported to the passenger seat in my brother Manny’s golden pickup truck when he drove me to Ithaca for a college interview. I was 26. He was 23. On the highway, two state troopers pulled us over alongside a stretch of browning cornfields.
Frank Ewing only ever lets me into his place because he has to. It’s right there in the lease. “I ain’t ever signed off on that,” he tells me through the crack of his door the first time I knock. “You show me where it say that.” I pass a copy across the threshold and […]
Grace and I met six months ago. Mutual friends who had been conspiring to get us together finally succeeded.
Nestled in the back corner of my classroom
The work submitted to Philadelphia Stories for this year’s Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry was ambitious and exciting.
We lived in the ethereal shadow of the Divine Lorraine only for a year, but it stands out in my head, still as bright as the neon lights dancing underneath its towering signage. An abandoned, graffitied, majestic husk of a hotel, it dominated the skyline where we lived at 15th and Fairmount. In particular, I […]
Now, six years after her death, at 57, from cancer, comes Paul Lisicky’s memoir The Narrow Door, which meditates upon their long friendship