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2001-04-17

Joey Ramone
B. 5.19.51, Queens, New York/D. 4.15.01, New York, New York
Lymphatic Cancer

Did you ever see the Ramones perform in concert—live? Unfortunately no.
Nor did I. A source of regret?
Not really. No. Sometimes you just miss things.
Yes. Bought their music, though? Once. A used CD.
"Sheila is a Punk Rocker.” Marvelous stuff.
Performed quite often at the Rathskellar in Kenmore Square, didn’t they? At the Rat, yes. A place I never entered.
No. Saw the lines, though. Oh yes. Kids in black clothes all ripped and pinned with jangly straps, pointy hair, black and blue. Wary lines straggling towards those ultimate tough guy bouncers who blocked the door like a fist.
How many bouncers must Joey Ramone have known, if only by sight? Looking out from the stage through his bangs, some skinny kid going spastic-dance crazy, accidentally knocks away somebody’s beer, blows start flying—suddenly some satanic linebacker type grabs the kid by the neck of his black t-shirt, whisks him back to oblivion.
Every night. Joey Ramone, totem and point of transference—where the inchoate becomes rhythmic at least. Perhaps immortal—America’s northeastern San Simon.
Yes, let mannequins dressed and wigged in his image be installed in tiny chapels set up at every basement club. Let rockers beseech wishes and peace and protection from him in exchange for offerings of cigarettes and swigs of watered Stoli.

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