March 31, 2017

Seriously, is it ever going to stop raining? I already have mushrooms sprouting in my hair & my last dry pair of pants, yep, got soaked this afternoon.

"Good for the farmers," someone was sure to intone back in the agricultural heartland where I was raised. But this much rain? Is it good for anybody?


March 30, 2017

Yesterday during the warmup before fight class, I felt or heard my left knee snap or pop. It was so quick & unexpected & alarming that I couldn't say, even a moment later, what had happened or what sense was involved.

I was afraid but a moment later, when I dared wiggle it, it felt fine.

In fact, (more…)

Reasons for admission

March 29, 2017

This is from the late 1800s & is from West Virginia’s Hospital for the Insane also known as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Open these days for tours only.

I think these might be contributing factors not causes, & I'm sure it's a complete list, so that every symptom anyone suffered from is on there.

Intemperance & business trouble
Kicked in the head by a horse
Imaginary female trouble
Immoral life
Jealousy & religion
The war
Mental excitement
Novel reading
Over action of the mind
Decoyed into the army
Fighting fire

What if

March 28, 2017

What if you could (legally) change your birth day? Would you?

(Not the year.)

(Or maybe the year?)

What date would you prefer to your own?

Me, I think February 18 can't be beat. Plus a different date just wouldn't be mine. I sometimes dream I'm married to someone else & living in a different home. (more…)

Found photo

March 27, 2017

Another (see February 22) photo that was lying on the steps outside my office.

I hope they are still together.

Design for living

March 26, 2017

Williamsburg at night, near A/D/O. I neglected to take a picture of the studio's periscope—you lie back on a couch & look up to see the street, Manhattan skyline & roof.
Was fortunate to attend the second Phil Patton Memorial (sadly) Lecture at the A/D/O designing studio in Brooklyn, thanks to an enduring friendship with Phil's wonderful wife Kathleen. This year's speaker was Dejan Sudjic, director of London's Design Museum, who made me see past my usual careless unconcern for anything but function (except when it comes to cars & Apple products). I bought & am reading his book of essays, B is for Bauhaus, Y is for YouTube: Designing the Modern World from A to Z. (As always, I'm a sucker for an abecedary.)


March 24, 2017

Sleeping, that's my day.

Back Sunday.

Joanne Kyger (1934–2017)

March 23, 2017

My goodness, it's been a bad week for cultural icons.

Just last Friday this was my Facebook post:

I'm belatedly "occupying FB" with poetry. Joseph Massey gave me Joanne Kyger, who I love, but more in a big heap than in any separate poem, since every poem she writes is atypical yet somehow add up to one beautiful work. So it took a while to find when & then I picked this one because it's timely, which isn't a great reason but here it is: (more…)

Another little memory: Driving a bargain

March 22, 2017

Johnny and I once bought a coffeemaker entirely because it came with free filters. We had no interest in any other feature or price, just the filters.

Which turn out to cost 99¢.

A Texas tale: Judge Austin of Austin

March 21, 2017

I could grab a paragraph like the following 10, 20, 50 times a day from every newspaper, website, & magazine. Imagine! Every single one of these stories should be the biggest news of the month, but most will whiz by without a breath of notice.

From Texas Monthly magazine's daily newsletter:
Remember when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rounded up about 50 people over the span of a few days in Austin last month, and publicly characterized the raids as simply “routine” enforcement actions? Well, turns out the raids were not “routine.” Instead, Austin was targeted as retribution for the Travis County Sheriff’s sanctuary policies. On Monday, (more…)

Chuck Berry (1926–2017)

March 20, 2017

I often am cheered by the thought that Chuck Berry is still alive.

That's over.

Johnny says white people like him because you could understand what he was saying.

Wasn't it the backbeat?

I don't have more to say. Chuck Berry!

The Two-Ingredient Cookbook

March 19, 2017

I never thought of myself as a cookbook author, let alone a cook, but I already have 2 great recipes for this collection. I made up this one:

Bell Pepper Soup
Cook 4 red, orange, &/or yellow peppers till soft, liquefy in blender at highest setting, add a small container of crême fraiche or similar & a dash of salt. Serve cold.

I had this in Maine: (more…)

Sweet dreams at last

March 17, 2017

Tags: Amazon, Lasership

New sheets!
Yesterday I spent hours trying to track a package. Not only was I on hold for a total of almost two hours over two days with the carrier, the horrible LaserShip, they gave me different information every time I called. It will come this afternoon, it can't come till this evening, it'll probably be tomorrow, it was lost (they didn't tell ME this, Amazon did), & so on. This is after they already hadn't delivered the package for a week.

Naturally, a supervisor couldn't be found to speak with me & no one returned my calls. At one point I said, This is when any trained customer service rep would apologize. And he just said, Ma'am, this is the information, in the most irritating passive-aggressive manner imaginable.

Contrast this to Amazon, (more…)

A little memory

March 16, 2017

When I was a kid I was given a record, a 45, that played “Happy Birthday.” I wondered how they would know to say “Happy Birthday, Dear Elinor” and was disappointed & chagrined that they merely sang “Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday.” Was it that they weren’t following the format? Or that I hadn’t anticipated how they would manage? I think I thought they cheated, more than I was disappointed not to hear my own name.

The Dark Years IV

March 15, 2017

Tags: Jean Guéhenno

French garden.
Since the 18th century, the means of subjugating people have made the same progress as the means of killing them.

If I knew something useful to my country which was ruinous to another, I would not propose it to my prince, because I am human before being French (or, rather, because I am necessarily human and only French through chance. —Montesquieu

The new great men of these new times—Hitler, Stalin—are great mass men. Back when I studied Lenin, I was struck by that character. A great man in civilized times was great precisely because of what set him apart from the mass: intelligence, willpower and culture, the delicacy of his mind or heart. These new great men (more…)

A bust

March 14, 2017

Tags: snow

Snow plow, Union Square.
This was my Facebook post:
East Village report: gym is closed, dentist is closed, laundry is closed, B&H (wheatgrass, baby!) is closed, Block is closed, & I am exfoliated from walking around in the icy pellety wind finding out.

Came home exhausted & didn't go out again all day. Whew!

WillisWeather® [Spartanburg, SC] explained: It was looking so promising, but it's weather. A storm yes, a blizzard (more…)

For real?

March 13, 2017

I almost gave up hope when it was in the 60s last week, but I didn't, & I believe amen. Blizzard tomorrow! The New York City schools & my dojo & lots of other places are already closed, & I'm going with the crowd on this one. Of course it won't be official till I hear from WillisWeather®...

Disclaimer: I know many people hate the snow & slip & break bones & have heart attacks from shoveling. But I take great pleasure I walking around hardly breathing till I get too cold then drinking tea & looking out the window as the world becomes a new one (just what we need, right?). My personal pleasure isn't caused by, or causing, your suffering, OK?

Politics here & there

March 12, 2017

Why is it that in the United States one "runs" for office & in England one "stands" for office?


March 10, 2017

Every Friday they predict snow, & every Friday it never snows.

However! Despite it being 60° yesterday, it IS snowing right now. Nothing major but gosh, so friendly to have the air around me filled with silent white.


March 9, 2017

I found out that a longtime (now former!) friend is a Holocaust denier. He posted a long rant that said there weren't enough Jews for 6 million to have been killed, that those skinny prisoners were all actually Russians, & it's only because the Jews control the media that this lie hasn't long since been exposed.


International Women's Day (prize edition)

March 8, 2017

Tags: International Women's Day

I sat here staring at this hed & wondering what to say about IWD & mostly thinking about its being the birthday of my niece. Decided I would go downtown & get my big reward for being an official Senior Citizen: my half-price metrocard. Whoopie!

Ha ha, my favorite story: I was on the subway a few months back & noticed a handsome young man making eye contact with me. Exactly at the moment I was telling myself, Yup, you've still got it!, he said, (more…)

From the Vault: XIV

March 7, 2017

Pierre, or, the Poets

Pierre or the what?

The ambiguities

What’s that supposed to mean?

Ron: “The first 10 pages were so great I couldn’t read anymore.”

Ben: “Jack says I don’t have to read it.”

Simon: “Yes! That’s all.”

That's all.

Fun fact

March 6, 2017

Tags: Spearfish SD

Spearfish, South Dakota, holds the world record for fastest recorded temperature change. On January 22, 1943, at 7:30 in the morning, it was 4° below zero. A Chinook wind swooped in and TWO MINUTES later it was 45°.


March 5, 2017

2 months into the year & I have been running out of steam (pep, joy, optimism). Went on a long walk yesterday with my friend & accountability buddy, & decided I need to plan a 5-minute (or longer) fun break every day. I have been compiling a list of things I like so that I don't fall into the slough of despond without being able to respair myself. (Respair being (more…)

Prose Pros

March 3, 2017

Tags: Quincy Troupe, Hettie Jones

I don't know why I don't write more frequently about the series Martha King & I have been hosting for 10 years now. Last night the readers were Quincy Troupe & Hettie Jones. Quincy read from his memoir Miles and Me (he also wrote Miles Davis's autobiography) & a short piece about doing the last interview with James Baldwin. He's a wonderful writer & reader, and the nicest person. I have read with him a couple of times & always enjoyed talking about our midwestern roots (South Dakota, St Louis) and poets & poetry.

Hettie read from her new book of letters between her & the artist Helene Dorn. Even though Hettie emphasized (more…)

Joel O

March 2, 2017

Tags: Joel Oppenheimer, Anne Waldman

Happy to have been present at the Poetry Project for the launch of Lessons: selected poems by the late Joel Oppenheimer (1930–88). He was underappreciated in his day & is neglected now, with most or all of his books out of print, so it's particularly wonderful to have his substantial collection.

Joel was a big reason I moved to New York. I was living in Maine, at loose ends, while he summered there. He famously didn't drive & I was a car guy, so somehow I ended up driving him around. He was more than 20 years my senior (to the day!) & I see now was amused by my being (more…)

Tunnels of New York

March 1, 2017

Near the East River.
One thing I like about Manhattan is that everything—a storefront, a bit of sidewalk—has fans. My favorite tree, for example, is sure to be thousands of other people's favorite tree. We New Yorkers share. But there are also views & buildings that I feel belong to me in particular, like this, maybe because I never see anyone else when I walk down there. I like that moment of solo possession too.