A Tale of Love and Darkness

September 30, 2016

Tags: Amos Oz

I saw this movie weeks ago, and I've thought about it without really coming up with much to say about it. Natalie Portman wrote, directed & starred in it. I think I would choose the Amos Oz book it's based on, which from reading the first few chapters, clearly is more subtle & deep. Nonetheless, I liked the movie. I liked that she let everyone have their point of view even when it was clearly unrealistic, & you ended up being able to understand why they saw things that way. That's hard to do.

From the vault VII: "Poem"

September 29, 2016


I go to work
call my mother, my sister
a few others
watch Floyd fix the toilet
fret about my stuck hood
think about slapping a sign on the Pontiac: it’s yours
& never going near it again
I read a few pages of Shaw’s autobiography,
better yet Chesterton’s
& Quentin Crisp’s ditto
sigh & warble along with Patsy Cline
think about bills, snow, pills, Boston
the party this afternoon & Janet & Didier’s (more…)

A year of ups & downs

September 28, 2016

Talking to Pam sent me to an old notebook from those days. This is the first thing I found.
Three-quarters of the way through 2016 & I often feel like a person with one foot in the oven & the other in the freezer: on average I'm comfortable.

People I loved suffered, recovered, died. The loved ones of people I love suffered, died, recovered.

A short-fingered vulgarian is running for president. So is a woman I admire with all my might.

Two long-lost friends turned up, one from the House & the other, just today, my first and only college roommate, Pam. (more…)

Crazy roof

September 27, 2016

When it's late & Johnny's been sick all day & you want to rush home & make sure he's OK, & you're in the middle of two really good books & you're tired from class because your knee was bothering you, maybe all you can do is throw up a picture you took one day on the roof of (more…)

What I'm reading III

September 26, 2016

= Leap, Terry Tempest Williams (still—just a page or 2 at a time)
= Outlander, recommended by a friend, not sure how far I'll get, it's pretty overwrought!
= Where'd You Go Bernadette, Maria Semple. The person who recommended it called it the funniest book ever. I thought it was sad—funny a lot, but sad.
= Welcome to the Goddamned Ice Cube, (more…)

Twin Lights bike ride

September 25, 2016

I did manage to get a shot of the chocolate fountain at the second rest stop.
We saw the ocean, horse farms, masses of deeply orange flowers, churches, a really ugly stone house, thousands of other bikers, the blue cloudless Jersey sky—none of which I took photos of.

More About Buster

September 23, 2016

Do you think I post enough about my cat? He's the only cat I've ever known who is both dumber than me & doesn't think he is smarter. It's an excellent quality in a cat. Restful.

He sleeps like Ted Berrigan, with one (or 2, or 4) arms in the air.


September 22, 2016

Tags: Sylvie

For the first time, Sylvie, who will be 9 in 2 months, was allowed to walk alone to her piano lesson. Usually her mom watches from the stoop. The piano teacher is two buildings away, and there were texts to say she was on her way & that she'd arrived. I'm all for free-range parenting, & contemptuous of (more…)

From the vault VI: "The Indian Maiden's Head"

September 21, 2016

This poem is very familiar, but why the quote marks? when did I write it? I suppose it was meant to be an imitation of one of Michael's small heavy objects, but whenever I think I've written an homage, no one else does. I couldn't say within 10 years when I wrote it. I think I like it.

The Indian Maiden’s Head
for Michael Scholnick

“the middle class”
kicking around the reservoir
“is propitious”

Shofar so good

September 20, 2016

It felt good to blow the shofar at minyan this morning. It certainly woke me up, which is why we blow in the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah. I have my intentions & worries, but when I blow, I'm not doing anything else.


September 19, 2016

I'm thinking about a 5-year-old in California who got arrested, hands and feet in zip ties, for "battery on a police officer"... & the fact that what we consider success in our peewee class of 4- and 5-year-olds is if they can stand in line without wiggling for 30 seconds. The "worst" kid I ever had in class, & (more…)


September 18, 2016

I heard about the explosion last night in Chelsea (half a block from my dojo) thanks to a message from a high school friend, now living in Boston, who wanted to make sure I was OK. "Would never have imagined this would be something to worry about," she said. I suppose they still don't have homemade bombs in South Dakota. But they do have the kind of gun laws that make it just as scary.

Have we gone around the bend as a country? What can people possibly be thinking?

Even if the extreme right wing (more…)

The 1%

September 16, 2016

Two weeks ago, Johnny's urologist told him he had a 65% chance of having aggressive prostate cancer.

A week later he had a biopsy (glad I have lady parts).

Yesterday we got the results: (more…)


September 14, 2016

Tags: birthdays

The curse of the idiot savant is remembering birthdays of ex-boyfriends who I would rather not think about at all. And the birthdays of half of my second-grade class (I'm looking at you, Judi "October 12" Snook). And the birthdays of just about everybody who ever told me their birthday (unless they were born in July—those don't stick).

New bike

September 13, 2016

It's a lot like my old one, but with a fender! I've hated the wet butt part of riding in the rain & I finally have eliminated it.

Here's the economics of owning a bike in NYC. (more…)

ǝ Schwa ǝ

September 12, 2016

Tags: schwa

Remember the schwa?
What is it about schwa? Friends who are my age love the schwa, that upside-down “e” that represents the “uh” sound of an unstressed vowel. It was as much a part of a ‘50s childhood as the Mickey Mouse club. Seeing the word schwa the other day in an online scrabble game zoomed me right back to grade school.

Maybe it’s that it was my first clue (more…)

My neighborhood

September 11, 2016

5th Street, just west of First Avenue.
Look down!
Look up!

My neighborhood

September 9, 2016

Corner of 3rd Street & Second Avenue.
Greasy samosas, with a big lump of cauliflower, say, or ground chicken. I used to eat here, delicious but too oily, & I stopped eating that sort of food. It's a spot where taxi drivers stop. Even in the most urban parts of the city, trees.

My neighborhood

September 8, 2016

3rd Street mural.
Whenever I think I would rather live in Iceland or the Faroe Islands or Sioux Falls or just about anywhere else, I try to remember to pause & see where I really do live. I always fall in love with New York again.


September 7, 2016

I can't remember ever being yelled at before. It's shocking. I had a moment of thinking I'd triggered it, but when he said I "provoked" him into screaming, I knew he was a lunatic.

A run-of-the-mill I'm-the-man lunatic.

We're weekly colleagues in a volunteer situation. I'd expressed my displeasure for the umpteenth time with our work conditions, & he told me to calm down, something that is routinely said by men to women to try to force them to (more…)

Joan of Arc

September 6, 2016

All that work for one performance! A cast of dozens! Tap dancing! Dueling (with umbrellas)! Frances LeFevre as Orson Bean! Eileen Myles as the Mayor! A tableau vivant! Bands.

From the vault V: The Brave Little Poets

September 5, 2016

Joe & me, the only photo I have of this trip. I loved that hat.
The Brave Little Poets Go Camping

Elinor and Johnny
Marion and her 10-year-old son, Joe
Alice and Doug
Alice’s 16-year-old son Eddie

Saturday, 9-22-90

I wake up early. It’s raining. I call Peggy to ask hopefully, Is anyone having second thoughts? (more…)

Max Rose

September 4, 2016

Tags: Jerry Lewis

We went to see 90-year-old Jerry Lewis in Max Rose. He looks amazing (could that really be his own hair?) & was sharp & subtle in the role of a man who had just lost his wife (Claire Bloom) of 65 years. He finds evidence that suggests she had had an affair 50-odd years earlier & (more…)


September 2, 2016

Tags: Ted Berrigan, Tim Milk

Tim Milk did this wonderful window shade painting of Ted Berrigan. I don't remember who had it or where it ended up. I found this xerox the other day & it made me think of what a great poet & life force he was.

I often send these lines to people who are grieving: (more…)


September 1, 2016

Every year it's the same thing: Memorial Day, the next weekend is Fourth of July, the weekend after that is Labor Day, & the summer is over just like that.


Ha ha I wrote that & then realized I'd written the same thing, almost word for word, a year ago. I'm the Henny Youngman of (more…)