March 31, 2015
He LOVES physics.
As a lifelong learner (aprenc tant existeixo: I learn, therefore I am), I've been taking Coursera classes on economics, language, physics & more. I'm not sure how much I'm taking in—let alone retaining—but I do like how enthusiastic the teachers are & how much they want us to appreciate their subjects. This physics guy ("How Things Work") can't believe how cool these formulas are: don't we agree?!!?! I barely passed the first test, even though I was paying attention. That was yesterday, & if I had to take it today, I doubt if I could still remember velocity, mass, acceleration, the newton, & how they interact (or do they?).
March 30, 2015
According to a wonderful article by Mark David Kaufman in the Public Domain Review (which finds & writes lovingly about all sorts of oddball bits from the past), 27 cartoons were made about Private Snafu, starting in 1943. They were intended to educate GIs what not
to do: sleep under a tree without your gas mask, stick your rifle in the mud, (more…)
March 29, 2015
I feel withered & delicate, the neighborhood & its terrible destruction, the helicopters, the gawkers. Instead, a poem, which I wrote for a reading I was invited by Diana Rickard to be part of last week at St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn, in conjunction with an art exhibit called "Home Again."
if you lived here, you’d be Home by now
1) Sioux Falls
March 27, 2015
They’d thought no fatalities but now say 2 people are missing. Three buildings from the corner in, on the west side of the avenue, are down. A few blocks of Second Avenue still closed to traffic, foot or vehicular. Dozens of people homeless. Some hero (more…)
March 26, 2015
I tried not to even look, I didn't take photos, too many people doing that, what? what? is it "news," as though it's not suffering? relief that it was someone else's tragedy? do people just like being close to something out of the ordinary? I think this is why I like big snowstorms: that same impulse but largely benign. I have a headache like crazy, don't listen to me.
It's around the corner from me & the same block, Second Ave between 7th & St Marks, where B&H is. "Tanky God we ok B&H is fine next bulding of us drop down so sad." I love those guys.
I'm home now, suffering, having breathed terrible acrid air. Shaky.
March 25, 2015
Maggie & I went over to NYU this afternoon to talk to someone at the library + a guy who's writing a book about punk & poetry, and wanted to see & hear about KOFF magazine. He also wanted us to watch a video of a reading at a laundromat from the summer of 1977. Eileen said I was in (more…)
March 24, 2015
Remember how condescending Joyce is in Portrait of the Artist
to a friend for remembering something by thinking back to where he was and what he was eating when it happened? It is so like some
Irish Catholics I know to have that condemnatory attitude toward the body (not you, Lal! & not Johnny either). They dismiss the physical self, live in head and heart as though there were no body. Your mind is part of your body: Isn’t that most clear when you have a cold & your brain is fuzzy? Or is your brain woolly, therefore you get a cold? Does foggy thinking cause illness? A dampness of the brain that settles in the lungs? Am I getting sick because I can’t write a stupid article for a stupid magazine? Does the Nobel Prize prevent (cure) illness? Which Joyce never won. AND he was a terrible hypochondriac. QED.
March 23, 2015
I’m reading Shakespeare’s sonnets in a 1961 Cambridge University edition I got from a dead friend’s apartment, with a cranky intro by a blind editor. Pages fall out as I read, which reminds me of a story about an old woman who read one page of the Bible every morning in the outhouse, then used that page as toilet paper.
March 22, 2015
Charters I only met once but of course knew his work on behalf of the blues. Musicians I listen to all the time I only know of because of him. I met him when he was reading with Aram Saroyan at the Nuyorican Café. I was the only person who showed up! so the 3 of us (more…)
March 20, 2015
O Danny! The smartest, most tireless, most infuriating, most persuasive person I've probably ever known has died of the horrible pancreatic cancer. Far too soon. His biography—radio "News Dissector," journalist, activist, filmmaker, author—could be that of half a dozen overly energized people; look him up. I am only going to (more…)
March 19, 2015
Where is Chris Christie when I'm feeling like a good political scandal? I've noticed that I have to check to see if what I'm reading is from The Onion, so much seems exaggerated: 47 U.S. Senators who openly commit treason. Government panels and committees about women with no women members or experts. The straight arrows are just as bad as the corner cutters, ideologically driven as they are and unconcerned about exceptions or weakness. I can remember when it seemed like politics had sunk to an all-time low with Richard Nixon, who I still blame for the disgrace & disrespect in public life.
March 18, 2015
Once again I was so happy to be with a person that I forgot to take a picture of him or of us. This was Mike (now Michael, of course) Sellz. We've known each other since 9th grade, I think, when we were both in a Jewish youth group in Cornbelt Region of BBYO: Sioux Falls, Omaha, where he's from, (more…)
March 17, 2015
On my kitchen table are these books, all of which are in my "read immediately" stack: the correspondence of Elizabeth Bishop & Robert Lowell; the autobiographies of William Carlos Williams and Yehuda Amichai; 2 or 3 Pot Thief mysteries; 2 new (used) books I got in the mail yesterday: Flight of the Maidens
by Jane Gardam (more…)
March 16, 2015
Johnny: "Watch out! Don't you see that old lady?!"
Me: "Why's she walking across the street? Why's she so slow?"
I have some of these on my bike but it's not the same. I miss having a car.
March 15, 2015
Johnny got called on to be a contestant in our granddaughter's high-school production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. When they asked him to spell ptomaine, he instead sang "The Alphabet Song." One thing I like about that man is how uninhibited he is. Put him onstage & you never know what will happen. He doesn't either. If he could ever do his spontaneous performance twice, he'd be a great actor.
March 13, 2015
Not sure what this picture shows: that I can melt cheese on a whole wheat burrito? that it can form a suggestive picture? that it's Friday & I'm fading? that my new glasses give me a headache but that I keep trying to get used to them? that I have to go the library right this minute, or the next? that I might not make it to black belt promotion after all? that my desk is not as cleared off as I like it to be on Fridays? that I'm sad (& chuckling) thinking about my late sister, whose birthday is today? It's like modern poetry: there's a lot more here than meets the eye.
March 12, 2015
I went to karate class & I ate a carton of yogurt & was shocked to read about an Arkansas state legislator who gamed the adoption system, then abused the girls he & his wife had taken in. It was so windy I almost couldn't move forward on my bike & I got whacked by flying gravel and paper. I found out that (more…)
March 11, 2015
Working on a project that involves the union of the future. Work will be different then as it is different than it was when I had all these jobs.
Spring Forward Fall Back: A work about work
2 days: 2 gas stations: fresh out of high school, washing windshields, adding oil, pumping gas
2 semesters: Michigan State library where a girl named Mickey said, “These are the pants I wore at Woodstock.”
4 months: Kryptonics polyurethane factory in Boulder, where I was a sandblaster & met my first junkie. Would have been second but (more…)
March 10, 2015
Sometimes I'm inspired or invested in this daily whatever-it-is, sometimes it's a chore, sometimes I surprise myself with how experiences or observations come together to make more than the sum of their parts. Kind of like my days in general, although many times my life is more (more…)
March 9, 2015
In 1980 we called him Uncle Tim.
His nicely ruined American beauty.
We were in love with all Irish face.
Memphis voice calling games
knew why it rolled & how to do it all.
His fingers have more knuckles than ours.
Everyone still in love with everyone
Everyone still alive & we had uncles
we didn’t even need.
March 8, 2015
I must have poetry dysmorphia. I have been pretty much burying my most recent work, thinking it academic rather than engaging (although I have been loving writing it)—only to find it well-received when I had a couple of readings this week. The audience (mirror) laughed & listened. How strange: Next I'll find out I'm not 6'2" & my confusion will be complete.
March 6, 2015
Is it pathetic that I feel more accomplished finishing my laundry than just about anything else? I'm not even short on clean underwear. It's mostly that now I don't have to do it again for a couple of weeks, when the bag is as heavy as I want to haul.
I'm probably misquoting but it's a line of Maggie Dubris's that I always liked: Change is instantaneous, the way when you take off your shirt & throw it in the corner it becomes laundry.
This makes me think of spontaneous combustion. I'm the optimist's daughter. So much can happen with the snap of a finger.
March 5, 2015
Wonderful snow! I walked miles in it, relishing every white star. The first time it snowed as much as I was promised. Didn't shut down the city, although one of our Prose Pros readers got stuck in Detroit A plane slid off a runway at LaGuardia, preventing her from landing at JFK.
When I said how happy the snow made me, a friend said, "I feel like we do not live in the same universe."
March 4, 2015
This is not my year!
First of all, we haven't had a lot of snow. Our storm of the century missed Manhattan by 30 miles. Then, every time it's snowed at all, it's either been the middle of the night or I was on deadline, and then only a couple of inches.
Many people I know are saying "enough already!" and talking about spring, while I'm still waiting for winter.
March 3, 2015
It seems some humans left without feeding the tiger. When I got home, Buster had knocked everything off the tub top, including the bag of catfood. Which he had ripped open—without managing to find the food.
March 2, 2015
Does Patsy's have the best pizza or is what's so great the ritual of driving up 1st Avenue to 118th St to what was once Italian Harlem on a Saturday evening with Sharon, trying to find a good place to park, ordering without looking at the menu, being recognized (Sharon) by the waiter, reminiscing about our other trips up there, links in a chain of coal-oven pizza nights at Patsy's. All of that & just knowing about a New York semi-institution, a place New Yorkers go.
March 1, 2015
Several non-Jewish relatives and friends at Henry's bar mitzvah and since then have pointed out that there is no ceremony like it, at least that they could think of, in most other cultures. He learned & then sang in a foreign language (& alphabet) plus researched & delivered a short, serious talk.
My friend Barbara's 13-year-old grandson (more…)