Lost (Bozo)

October 31, 2017

On a lamppost, 3rd Street & First Ave.

Our 14-year-old grandson from New Jersey thought it was the funniest thing ever.

Happy Halloween.

Spain in my heart

October 30, 2017

Tags: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Because of my visit not long ago, & because of my dear friend & native barcelonina Mercè, I have been following the Catalan independence saga closely. Nonetheless, I don't know the ins & outs enough to have a firm opinion, but it seems part & parcel of what's going on in so many places: people rocking their pretty comfortable boat for an idea, & seem sure to be worse off no matter how things play out.

One instinct is to rush to visit before it becomes impossible (war?!?!), the other is to stay far, far away & not risk getting trapped in any trouble. I mostly don't think anything will happen but....

Tough birds

October 29, 2017

Tags: fighting birds, Cornell Bird Lab

Sub-Antarctic birds.
I love that someone (the Cornell Ornithology Lab) had the idea—and figured out a way—to see how birds ranked at bird feeders. Who holds their place, who gets pushed aside?

Aside from the obvious—turkeys are the largest, so they never get kicked off feeders, & vice versa for sparrows—the researchers found:

It turns out that doves, buntings, and grosbeaks are less dominant than we would expect based on their body size, whereas crows, jays, woodpeckers, and blackbirds are more dominant than we would expect based on their size. These findings mean our intuitions weren’t so far off: doves really are peaceful, and jays really are feisty.

Thinking about quotes

October 27, 2017

I am happy to have come up with a new wrinkle on my blogging. I've felt a little bogged down this week, what with all the work & social events. None of it seemed important to write about in the face of the horrors. I try not to be overwhelmed but occasionally it gets to me, the monster in the White House & how easy it's been for him to co-opt so many. I'm glad I've never wanted power or money or really anything that would lead me to act like that. (I would have done it for poetry if I had had any idea how.)

Quote IV

October 26, 2017

The things of the eye are done.
—Robert Lowell
"Myopia : a Night"

Quote III

October 25, 2017

love exists, love exists,
your hand a baby bird so obliviously tucked
into mine, and death impossible to remember
—Inger Christensen

Quote II

October 24, 2017

He loved this country for the run of its hills, the shape of its elm trees, and the way the heather, running uphill to the skyline, meets the blue of the heavens.
—Ford Madox Ford
Parade's End

Quote I

October 23, 2017

The unconscious is that which we know, or have experienced, but for which we do not have a name.
—Walker Percy
The Message in the Bottle

Paying the price

October 22, 2017

None of the photos do justice to what it's like to be "riding of the rolling level underneath him steady air."
Wonderful day with my sister on Friday, going up in a friend's 4-passenger Cessna. O Manhattan how I love thee. Late night.

Saturday was a Seido party, another late night.

Today a birthday brunch with a dozen smart, interesting, kind, talkative women.

There's a poetry reading in an hour but I don't think I can motivate over there. Fading here....

Always in a rush

October 20, 2017

By tomorrow I'll have reliable wifi in my office, after several months of intermittent service. Then I'll be able to work more attentively & write better. I'll be taller too & better looking.


October 19, 2017

It's exciting to get a new passport, because for the last couple of weeks, when it was about to expire & then when I'd sent it off, I felt grounded, not that I had any plans for international travel. But now! A couple of years ago I made a vow to leave the country every year & so far I (more…)

Diet of Worms

October 18, 2017

Diet of Worms

When I
become a
I’ll get

Headed out

October 17, 2017

Flying back to NYC this afternoon. Will try to substitute a real post for this, but if not ...

We like pie!

October 16, 2017

Relaxing drive to Osseo, home of the Norske Nook. Altogether we ordered 7 slices of pie, although we couldn't even finish one, & 3 we didn't touch at all. Fall colors, Grant Wood-y hummocks, little towns with handsome brick houses, a historic courthouse with a hexagonal cupola in Ellsworth, a man who said JFK was "eliminated" because he talked too much about aliens (the outer space kind), & a million laughs with my sister.

Subway story

October 15, 2017

Tags: exhibitionism

This happened quite a few years back.

I was in a pretty empty car on the F train, writing in my little notebook. Without looking up, I was aware that a man was standing too near me, given how few people were on the train. I assumed, with my poet's brain, that he was (more…)


October 13, 2017

Through the magic of internet time travel, I can be writing this note now (thursday, October 12, 2017, 8:00 a.m. on the nose) & it will appear on my page sometime tomorrow without my further intervention.

I'm headed to Minnesota, may or may not get a chance to update the blog before I'm back late Tuesday.


October 12, 2017

Very happy to note that Eileen Myles's book about her late pitbull Rosie is now out. She read from Afterglow last night at the Poetry Project, along with 3 other dog memoirists/writers. I read it in galleys & told her it's the best thing she ever wrote. I love to see an artist getting better & better throughout her life.

The Third Throne of the Millennium

October 11, 2017

Dang it, great title & I ended up having to delete every word of the poem, after I had combined 2 disparate poems with an idea that I could fool myself into believing that 2 bad halves somehow would make a tasty whole. I was going to post it & hope it wasn't a failed poem but it is. It was a real poem, though, & sometimes failed poems aren't even poems.

The least egregious lines: (more…)

Another old friend

October 10, 2017

Semi-out of the blue, an old friend—since junior high—called me this afternoon. We haven't spoken in many years.

We reminisced a lot about our 4 years of Latin together. He passed because he did Miss Skaff's banking & bought her cigarettes.

What?! He was brilliant so I'm sure that's not the whole story.

Coppock always said he got through because (more…)

The Orchard

October 9, 2017

This is just a building I like & hadn't noticed before, although I'm sure I've walked past it a thousand times.
Pretty much whenever I don't feel like enough is going on to blog about (or too much: cf Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Donald, & more), I think about how much I love living in the East Village. It really is a village—there's the pleasures of running into people, of seeing the brand-new and the familiar, of being a thread in the fabric of the neighborhood. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not grateful to be here. To have found a place that's mine, among people I like & landscape that appeals to my eye.

Olden days, modern times

October 8, 2017

Had breakfast this morning with my college roommate—we hadn't seen each other since we were 19, when we left for the summer after freshman year & didn't come back, or not for long. We lost touch, as people did in those days. But we refound each other, as people do, and we started right up with just as much laughing & seriousness as ever.

My favorite thing Pam said was telling me about hitchhiking several hundred miles, by herself, to visit some boy whose name she could no longer remember. That seemed like the ultimate '70s sentence, so emblematic of what those times were like, especially for young women. The vast networks that mattered then scattered. The independence & willingness to step out of line. The way we figured out how to have thrilling lives despite the strictures.

Lovely days

October 4, 2017

Doing my work, sitting on a bench reading my favorite book, running into Carmine, Stu, & Hettie, having good conversations with each, working on my manuscript & not hating my poems, maple yogurt, olive bread from Eataly, getting bowed to as a sandan, anticipating an evening with my darlings Sylvie & June, finally getting my passport sent off (more…)

"Underwater and over the limit"

October 3, 2017

Tags: fish

Fish can make alcohol to replace oxygen if need be, according to a short piece recently in The Economist. They have spare proteins that are activated by low oxygen levels into "what might be thought of as a cellular distillery... Blood-alcohol concentrations of crucian carp in icy ponds can surpass 50mg/100mL—above the drink-drive limit in some countries." But is that fun for them?

Long ago I read and loved (& still have) a book about fish, written in that fable-like way natural history writers once employed (I'm looking at you, W.H. Hudson): The Life Story of the Fish: His manners and morals, by Brian Curtis (written in 1938). How do fish sleep with their eyes open? was one question. How do we sleep with our ears open? the author asked in return.

It's been years since I've looked at that book but I went directly to the paragraph I remembered: (more…)

I Am When I See

October 2, 2017

The way the wind where I grew up blew through the corn, rattling like crickets
The fireplace behind our house on Summit where we crawled in & looked up to try to see stars during the day
The treehouse it took 3 years to cobble together enough boards to build
Jim Lowell our milkman who would let us kids ride in his Lakeside Dairy truck, very slowly to the corner, standing up in a moving vehicle
Hank Williams (more…)


October 1, 2017

I'm pretty happy—& tired—today. I finished my promotion & have been awarded a third stripe on my black belt. The picture is me with Kaicho, the grand master of my school (Seido: strict traditional Japanese karate).

I'm at least as happy to report the success of a YAI student I teach, only the second YAI student to earn a Seido black belt. YAI is a program for adults with learning disabilities, & Andre has struggled for years for the opportunity to do this promotion. He did great! He not only kept up, he was the best student in his group—he knew his material, & fought with great heart today to finish the promotion.