November 30, 2015
This picture demonstrates why I have hired an assistant. She hasn't started yet, & if all she does is stand over me while I toss & organize, preventing me from sinking into victorian vapors, it will be worth it.
November 29, 2015
It's strange when you know the author of the book that is blowing you away.
A book that's about your life.
A book that everyone who reads it believes is about their life.
I'm not deluded. They're not deluded.
November 27, 2015
Jugger-nut! East 1st Street, around the corner from my building.
Is this something likely to be seen in many other places? It'd have to be in a walking city or it would be wasted. A place that would appreciate the art joke. And a place that's not house-proud, at least not on the outside. One of the big differences between NYC and most other places is that many really nice buildings don't look all that different from dumps; you often can't tell from the outside that someone lives in a mansion. We're more casual about prettying up our streets, which are everyone's front yards and nobody's exclusive property.
November 26, 2015
I guess my holiday tradition is posting this poem, which I love & "stole" years ago from a friend's email, making few changes except line breaks. The grandmother, mother, & father are all dead now, the daughter married with several kids of her own. Whenever I think tradition means nothing changes, I read this poem.
Thanksgiving Almost Found Poem
Many years we go to my grandmother's in Virginia.
My mother, father, aunts and at least two of my brothers are there.
My son has a football game that morning.
My daughter is home, but needs to get back to school this weekend.
My wife doesn't want to ride for nine hours and turn right back.
Sometimes I have gone alone, but not often.
A couple of neighbors were vying for our company.
One of those my daughter’s boyfriend’s family,
Which we did last year and had fun.
But this year it will be another family,
One we have visited on two or three other Thanksgivings.
I have a turkey freezing in the garage.
Nothing to do with it.
November 25, 2015
A skeleton walks into a bar.
Bartender says, Hey buddy, what'll it be?
Skeleton says, Give me a beer... and a mop.
November 23, 2015
I remember starting off on a road trip many many years ago with this guy I used to know, Bob Hove. He had this private little smile & I said what are you thinking about. He said when I drive I like to make lists of things I like.
Now someone's made a website called Lists of Things We Like. Poets all love lists & it's exciting to see that lots of other people do.
November 23, 2015
Look at my pooping-owl trophy! Yes! Ja! Uff da!
I can understand or get the gist of a fair amount of what I read, but the speaking is a whole nother story.
It's "en god begynnelse."
November 22, 2015
No, I'm not the slut of Norway, "slutten av Norsk" means I'm coming to the end of my language course. Am I fluent? No, but a lot more than I was a few months ago. What am I going to do with myself? Glad you asked: the Catalan course for Spanish speakers just launched, so as soon as my Spanish is good enough, I can dive right into Catalan. Or should I do Norwegian again? Or Swedish? I'm in love with language!
November 20, 2015
It seems my ability to outsmart or outthink a 4-year-old is nil.
A chocolate croissant? And hot chocolate for your sister? Sure, since your mom gets you this every day.
Now her mom wants to kill me because I let them eat chocolate on a school night: no dinner; meltdown.
My strategy for our next adventure: I'll say, "I'm just going to call & double-check." Will they come clean? Any other ideas?
November 18, 2015
While the Hudson River front has been fancied up for a long time, the east side has been neglected for almost as long. All you saw down there were families barbecuing & softball games. We dodged potholes, fishermen & scary guys, all the while marveling that we did indeed live on an island. For many years the East River path was completely closed.
Not anymore. Slowly they've paved the sidewalks, planted ornamental grasses, added a green-roof program, and installed art. Still not crowded, though, & still has that just-us feeling of the end of the line.
November 18, 2015
The timelessness of kids on monkey bars. All of them wanting to be older. The scary thrill of hanging upside down. Leaves like party frocks, & that hair!
November 17, 2015
Clock is ticking—I'm going to see Rachelle Garniez in a little while, had a meeting this afternoon, & class before that, had to deposit my IRS refund ($1.12!) & didn't get this written, barely got my Norwegian studied, & no Torah learned (yet). Where did the day go?
November 16, 2015
Auntie Irene's daughter, my cousin Barbie, said they figured out Auntie Irene had had at least 10 proposals.
So why did you marry your (horrible) first husband?
"He was such a good dancer!" she said.
November 15, 2015
This is as good as 311. It's aimed at people without documents, but to erase any stigma, it's available to anyone who lives in New York City. They sweeten the pot by including a free one-year membership in 3 dozen city cultural institutions: the Metropolitan, the Museum of Natural History, Wave Hill, & more. Took 10 minutes to get.
I can't make a breezy transition to what I've been thinking since the Paris (more…)
November 13, 2015
I got waylaid in writing here today by the news of the horrible attacks in France.
November 12, 2015
1) It rained during class but not before & after, when I was riding my bike to the dojo & back.
2) I dropped my sunglasses, went back to where I'd locked my bike, & there they were.
3) I have work, but not today. A freelancer's favorite state.
4) I didn't have a heart (more…)
November 11, 2015
We were "Air Force hippies," our eyes opened to the unjust war in Vietnam only by doing as our fathers did, joining up. Or we were against the war, but thought the Air Force was different from the Army. Or we were antiwar protestors who reconsidered our contempt in order to be friends with soldiers. We were cynical about red-white-&-blue holidays but we loved our home ground & its people. We became friends then because of our politics & many of us remain friends now despite our politics.
November 10, 2015
How can I feel like doing anything?
Studied Norwegian adverbs, which are HARD.
Thought about going to the store, but uninspired towards any food at all.
Tried to clear up to-do lists from the past 10 days.
Did a couple of things then consolidated, so I didn't have as many days with items.
November 9, 2015
Perhaps I'll die.
But before that, I plan to cough my lungs inside out.
It was one of those pesky drain flies that sneak into your eyes, nose, & mouth.
It happened while Susie Timmons was telling me about her trip to Indonesia, & I finally had to hang up because when she made me laugh, (more…)
November 8, 2015
So much to take in & then you have to figure out what to do with it. Or maybe not: it's possible to watch hours of Big Bang Theory, say, every day for years & never have the urge to create your own sitcom.
But poetry leads to poetry, doesn't it? Does anyone read a lot of poetry without wanting to try their hand at it?
November 6, 2015
Whenever I go to lots of events, I fall in love all over again with New York. Most of these events would not occur outside of New York and a couple of other places, the way that people from Detroit grew up hearing a lot more Motown, non-hits, than the rest of us. I'm grateful to be in a nexus.
In the last week or so, I went to these literary events:
* A Prose Pros celebration of excerpts from Martha King's memoir (more…)
November 5, 2015
It was tucked in a corner lawn, looking over the Mississippi River in St. Paul. No signs or guidance. It didn't seem to belong to the building over there. The lines were burned into steel, marched up a column of fish, swirled in mosaics. River of sorrows, river of migration.
"to fields of ice & northern lights"
"your dream can become real"
November 4, 2015
I like pictures of Johnny almost as much as I like pictures of Buster.
She's a tenant of his building.
November 3, 2015
Why do birthdays cluster? I know lots of people born on November 3, none on November 2. Lots on October 21, nobody on October 22. And so on.
Could it possibly mean anything?
November 2, 2015
This is most of the output from Janet's garden.
4 cucumbers & a tomato.
In Maine she had so many berries—blue, black, rasp.
The only time I ever ate my fill of raspberries was off a bush near her place in Lamoine.
November 1, 2015
I'm kind of getting the idea of why I liked him.
Stephen Crane (1871–1900) was born on this date. He was my favorite poet when I was in high school.
A Man Said to the Universe
A man said to the universe:
"Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."
I liked that he got right to the point, that I could understand it while it still (more…)