May 25, 2018

I sat in the gravelly backyard at Unnameable Books, waiting for the reading to start, when I got hugged from the side—by none other than my niece Hannah, in town from Portland, OR. She decided to surprise me at my reading, since "if you post on Facebook, I know where you're going to be." What a great girl! In her honor I read a poem ("How Hans Became an American") that features her dad.

It was a pretty nice night—wonderful work from the young poet Tony Iantosca, & an interesting jam from musicians that included Eddie Berrigan, who I had dinner with beforehand. The day was gorgeous, too.

And so to bed

May 24, 2018

I always wanted to write a history of the bed, using Pepys's famous line And So to Bed as the title. If I ever do, I would talk about sleep patterns, like first and second sleep, and pillows (once thought suitable only for women in childbirth) (others put a log under their heads).

I was a good sleeper till Johnny made me aware of him every minute.

From the vault

May 23, 2018

I was an activist all the way back in high school.

And early to understand the usefulness of a concocted quote. We wrote that, the few of us "radicals" who were at the meeting, but I was the only one who would put my name to it. "My parents would kill me" is what I remember everyone else saying. After this article came out in the Argus, I got hate & "turn to Jesus" mail from around the state.

I remember around the same time going door to door in a driving rainstorm trying to get people to sign a petition to free? reconsider? Thomas White Hawk, in the state penitentiary for murder. People were very polite to a bedraggled baby-faced teen but no one signed.

So many memories of my early activism. A girl in my class who declared that all the Indians were drunk. "And don't think I'm prejudiced. I'm not—it's true." A fund-raising walk (for Indians from South Dakota and India, if I recall correctly) I organized and walked the whole route in—on crutches. Sneaking out with my boyfriend Ken to drive to Vermilion to hear Julian Bond. (more…)

Barbara Barg (1947-2018)

May 22, 2018

Tags: Barbara Barg

Oh damn, it happened so fast, oh damnit to hell Babs, what are you doing dying on us? I keep thinking of your sharp wit, your Arkansas drawl, your complete acceptance of who you are, your hilarity, how you made yourself into the charismatic singer of Homer Erotic, of you as one of the Joans of Arc in our play from 1979, of how rare & pleasing it was to truly surprise you, how long we've all known each other, another bit of the texture of our world thinned out. Yes yes I know it happens & will keep happening but so what. This is now. (more…)

Books books books

May 18, 2018

Every once in a while I am struck again by how totally great it is that there are endless piles of books that I haven't read yet. Great books, riveting books, illuminating books, books on subjects I'm amazed someone took the time to think through.

I once understood mortality to mean that life wasn't long enough for me to ever read Ivanhoe. (more…)

I heart my neighborhood (#516,218)

May 17, 2018

Joe, the "Santa Claus of bread," as he referred to himself.
I was hanging out in the rain in front of my building when a guy came by & offered James the belt man a baguette. He turned around. "How many more baguettes are in my bag?"

"Two," I said.

"Do you want one?"

I did indeed.

Joe lives near Vancouver, Canada, where he is currently in IT but is in NY for a couple of months to learn bread-making. He walks home every day distributing the loaves he's made during the day. A happy man making others happy.

Ready to go

May 16, 2018

The moment before the processional... is everyone ready? are you nervous?

The flower girl was stoic, the ring bearer reluctant, the marriage went fine.

I'd never seen anyone jump the broom before.

Albuquerque II

May 15, 2018

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park.
Random thoughts about New Mexico...

So clear & dry, I didn't wheeze the whole time I was in New Mexico.

Did the people of the pueblos have any idea that their homes would be abandoned? Do I believe that one day people will stare at the ruins of Manhattan & not believe the population estimates? ("It says here that over a million people lived on this one island. Ha.") I know it's true but it's hard to fathom.

I think there are the people who see something different—for both Mark and me as small children it was Albuquerque's Indians, sitting outside La Placita on blankets, selling turquoise jewelry—and feel the world get bigger & more compelling, imagining themselves as part of that bigger world. And some folks already know their place & don't have any desire or intention to see where they might fit differently—the world is other. I guess you are (more…)

Monday Quote

May 14, 2018

Tags: John Keats

Nothing ever becomes real till experienced — even a proverb is no proverb till your life has illustrated it.
~ John Keats (more…)

Alabama Av

May 13, 2018

To have lived in New York all this time & never been on the J.
To never have heard of Alabama Av
Or that there was an Alabama Av stop.

I was homesick for somewhere else.