instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


Kitty Wells

I've been listening to an extended bout of Miss Kitty Wells for the first time in ages—possibly since the early, turbulent days when there was a lot of fussin' & fightin' between Johnny & me. "I can't stop loving you" & "The lonely side of town" & "I gave my wedding dress away" & a zillion more set the tears raging. Her twang (the way someone sounds flat—in tone not pitch—when singing with headphones on) bites right into the heart and you feel like she knows what's killing you. Even though she was widowed 33 days before her 74th wedding anniversary, she's the queen of heartbreak. Listening today is making me cry all over again—I suppose in relief of what no longer is. Or is possible.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Arctic dog

It was so bright in Central Park yesterday, and my cousin Julia & her husband Patrick had real cameras, so I didn't take the time to find a good place to stand where you could even see the statue, & anyway, you can't get the dog & the caption into one picture, but why is there even this memorial to a sled dog in NYC?

Patrick, from London on his first visit to New York, had a lot of questions I couldn't answer. Where's that steam coming from? When was the best era in NY's history? Where did the land come from to make Central Park?

I thought it wasn't settled but I was wrong: "Creating the park required displacing roughly 1,600 poor residents, including Irish pig farmers and German gardeners, who lived in shanties on the site. At Eighth Avenue and 82nd Street, Seneca Village had been one of the city's most stable African-American settlements, with three churches and a school. Read More 
Be the first to comment

Boys & girls

I teach karate to kids 4 through 15. It's easy to tell the boys from the girls with the little & older ones but for some reason I often guess wrong on the 6- through 8-year-olds. I'm always saying to Kyoshi Greg: "Is that a boy or a girl?" The kids with long hair & toenail polish, dead  Read More 
Be the first to comment


Happy palindrome year on the Jewish calendar. I hope that the confusion, anger, frustration so many people are feeling will be washed away by the clear light of peace, understanding & Torah. I wish for good health, joy, adventure, art, love, meaningful work, peace. I wish for an end to useless conferences, backbiting, narcissism, pedestrians walking 5 abreast & not moving aside, pedestrians wandering in the bike line, bikers cutting too close, landlords who think 2 tin cans & a wire constitutes an intercom system. I wish for everything to get a little bit better.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Josephine Tey

Best known for The Daughter of Time, a defense of Richard III, Tey's mysteries are a great pleasure. When I come upon a line like "the yelling crowd asparagus-packed into the long Georgian room," I know I'm going to have fun.

Josephine Tey's funeral was held the day I was born.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Monday, nothing

Working drains the brain.

Tuesday a little more nothing.

I can only be smart for a couple hours a day.

By smart I mean "pay attention."

What's for dinner?
Be the first to comment

Pluses & minuses II

I didn't go to the People's Climate March, mostly out of claustrophobia but also because I nonchalanted the morning away. I didn't go to the dojo or the gym or for a bike ride. I didn't have lunch. I didn't write a poem or a letter. I didn't stand on my head, eat lima beans or wet my pants: I wasn't ever  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Pluses & minuses

Two moments of honesty in the big city:
* When I got to work this morning, a piece of my keychain, with a thumbdrive & some pharmacy discount cards, was hanging on the gate.
* I forgot to lock my locker at the dojo, in fact left it hanging open.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Long day

I spent all my time & writing energy today on an article. I'm really happy with it but I've got nothing left for the blog. If I hadn't sworn to post every day, I would skip it. This is gonna hafta count.
Be the first to comment


Worldwide, women between 15 and 44 are more likely to be injured or die from male violence than from traffic accidents, cancer, malaria, and the effects of war combined.

And isn't war an effect of male violence?


(By the way, that stat is from The New Yorker, which gets fact-checked up the wazoo, so I did not independently verify it.)  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Dante Primavera Stanton Nauen

I wish I had known that he was communicating when he blinked at me. I wish he were alive, this cat who loved me. I wish he hadn't had to go through dying without me & ahead of me. I wish he had had a better personality. I wish you could have seen his regal beauty. I wish I hadn't tormented him. I wish I'd known it was love that made him bite my eyeball. I wish I had known it was OK to be loved that much.  Read More 
Be the first to comment


Bird Sense

Stay away from hatters
Eagle-eyed for a cockroach
Big as a mouse

July breeze lifts the skirts
Heavy embroidery in a pleat
A bosom like a shelf

No one wants what comes next
Can you make a salad?
Sit up straight Vespa?

A handlebar moustache
A notebook
A door that won’t open

Fly away little one
Say goodbye to
No one to say goodbye
 Read More 
Be the first to comment

Coming soon!

3rd & A
Soon the East Village will have everything.
No more going above 14th Street.
No more Brooklyn.
Hey, Dr Dave!
Be the first to comment

Computer hell II

Now I can't upload pictures to the blog. Stay tuned.

Be the first to comment

Computer hell

No post yesterday because my computer was busy dying, & the new one seems to be a lemon. I'm using an old computer that is pretty shaky.

I know what day it is! But it is also the birthdays of several friends & cousins. There is plenty to be grateful for (tho lack of sleep is not among them).  Read More 
Be the first to comment

September 11, still

Here's what I sent out as an email on September 12, 2001

Dear Everyone --
First of all, I am fine and so is everyone we both know. I decided to write one letter to a lot of you, so I could answer faster to the many e-mails I’ve received. Thank you to everyone who  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Disciples of Distress

Thoughts on me from 30 years ago—how much lovelier than I remember being & a better actor. It's me, it's not me, it's me, it's not me.
Be the first to comment


A Dirt Road in France, 1912

A hundred years is not so long
Change a baby to a man & back

Take off your goggles - fly down the road
I came along later & why not

The mystery is we’re all here now
You who love cars & France

Change a girl to a torrent of wrinkles
Change a road to a loitering rink  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Thinking & asking

Does the fact of any country's (probably) violent origins have anything to do with its existence now? Is there a founding that invalidates a country's existence?

Let's say that I agree that Israel did this or that, even the one-sided claims of my left-of-Hamas friends. What then? What does that mean right now? In other words, where does the story start? The Jews were displaced 2,000 years ago, so does that give them prior claim, if living on the land is your criterion? My father was thrown out of his country  Read More 
Be the first to comment


Dinner selfie
Johnny & I had dinner together last night.

At home.

It's probably 5 years since we sat down together at the kitchen table. I cleared away the cat, found a second chair, and made sandwiches with heirloom tomatoes & burrata cheese (yum!).

We're planning to do it again before the books once again overwhelm us. Although I suppose we could make do with one plate.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

By way of contrast

Not Idaho!
A photo of the front door of my building, The Ezra Pound, circa 1980, was made into a postcard. Our entryway is dark and looks commercial, so our super put that sign up. Oddly enough, it worked.

We have a yuppified door these days, and the liquor store on the corner is long gone. The drunks who once used our stoop as a toilet have given way to frat boys who might, but so far haven't done the same.

I don't miss that aspect of the East Village, but I do miss the anarchic 1970s, when we were our own little enclave of artists & families, scorned by the more settled areas. It felt more like a neighborhood because you only came here if you lived here.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Ongoing Idaho

The mountain with the trails in the background is the one we took a ski lift to the top of earlier that day. It was so cold up there that it was impossible to believe it was August. I got a little altitude sick too. But it was beautiful.

As was the wedding. Their vows were so specific and connected that I have no doubt that like their parents, they'll be celebrating their 40th anniversary at their own children's weddings.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Words are for knowing

The dictionary I consulted defined LEGBONE as “the bone of a leg.”
Be the first to comment



All countries that have lost their legends will be condemned to die of cold.

My apartment is the same size as a 1950 Greenland igloo, minus the seal gut window, babies & peat walls.

All countries that mock their elders will buy apartments in Queens.
Be the first to comment