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Nurses & others

You do know I can only use pictures I take or free ones, which are generally old ones.
So Johnny's in the hospital, his reaction to a routine-ish prostate biopsy was to bleed uncontrollably for two days, somewhere in there making it to the ER & being admitted. Many procedures & guesses—this was unusual. Not a good thing. Complex & common is as bad as you ever want your loved one's health crisis to be.

A huge shoutout to every single person at NYU Medical Center, from the medics (actually from Mt Sinai) to everyone in the ER, like the guy from Huron who hung around & chatted about South Dakota to me & basketball to Johnny, the nurse who found me a sandwich after we'd been there 8 hours, the doctors who invariably acted like they had all the time in the world to explain, which they did clearly & patiently, the wonderful, beautiful, kind, fun nurses who leapt to wait on Johnny (& me!) hand & foot—mood lighting! pineapple flambé! It was more like being at a spa, except for the suffering. Even the guys who took him from the ER to his room were totally chill. Do they pipe pot into the ducts so everyone is high 'n' happy?

Update: He's home! And fine! Now I'm fighting my feeling that he was safer confined to his bed, surrounded by doctors & nurses. Read More 
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Bad driving

1) Woman on bike runs light. I am in crosswalk (my light, not even blinking the countdown). I point out that it is not nice, or legal, to run people down. She screams, Donald Trump is president & you care about getting hit by a bike? She continues to scream till out of earshot: I'm watching you! You had better never  Read More 
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The Messy Truth

I was fortunate (thanks to my connections to the South Dakota mafia) to be in the studio audience last night for Van Jones's CNN show called The Messy Truth. The best thing he said was while all this recent activism & resistance is great, where was everyone when it would have meant something? While most of the people at the March probably voted, he said, did they volunteer at phone banks, go to swing states, raise money?  Read More 
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A little song, a little dance

Tomorrow I'll pick up again with the Dark Years diary, but now I'm sitting here crying about the death of Mary Tyler Moore. I'm thinking of how my late dad loved to watch her in the Dick Van Dyke show, his sweet crush, shared I'm sure by all the men of the day, and obvious even to very young Elinor. I don't have any special insight about her as an actor, just admiration for the way she let my generation see that it was possible and fun to be a spunky, single career woman. She opened the door & we shoved on through.

I bet she was a good friend. No higher praise.  Read More 
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The Dark Years

Street singer reservists, Paris.
Thanks to Todd Colby for recommending the remarkable Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944: Collaboration, Resistance, and Daily Life in Occupied Paris, by writer & intellectual Jean Guéhenno (1890–1978). I don't think it's melodramatic to see the parallels to what's going on right now in America, judging by a couple of excerpts:

Yesterday's barbarian is merely today's celebrity: people want to see the circus.

Stupidity and hypocrisy reign triumphant—the Moral Order, the virtue of the rich. The bourgeois ladies are rejoicing. In the market, they won't have to compete for chickens with  Read More 
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The march II

Suffragette city! But how come everyone except one person is wearing the sash in the wrong direction?
The day began with my rabbi reciting the Pledge of Allegiance & quoting Abraham Joshua Heschel: Today we are praying with our feet. And I thought, everyone should be out here, no matter what their politics, to stand up for human rights and love.

And that was the kind of day it was: mellow, determined, kind-hearted, excited. I liked the young man whose sign read: Marching for my mother, my sister & my niece. I said: And for yourself. He thought for a moment & then smiled big. And many, many other signs of hope & peace.

So glad I joined millions of people in hundreds of marches around the world.

And now? As someone somewhere said: "One day to mourn, one day to march, then the work begins." Read More 
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The march

I have mixed feelings about it. Will t.Rump & his merry band give a hoot or will they see it as a waste and diversion of our energy, time, money? He certainly appears impervious to public opinion. And will it galvanize us to devote energy, time, money to stopping his plans or will folks feel like this was it, this is what they did, this is all they need to do? I know people who fall on either side of that line, so it's hard to say. All too many people think reposting witticisms is activism.

Part of my reluctance is Read More 
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I sometimes think other people see things that I don’t.

Yeah? Like what?

Oh, stop signs.
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Con Ed owes me money!

This is my itemized list, which I tried to get Con Ed to pay for, of my losses in the 1977 blackout.

My indignant letter:

As stated in "Your Rights as a Utility Customer" insert with my most recent Con Ed bill, I am claiming damages in amt of $_________ for food that spoiled July 13–14. Itemized list follows. And if you appreciate my prompt payments so much, how abt returning my deposit.

Pretty sure I never sent this.

Why in the world did I have a gallon of milk in the house? Read More 
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Financial Tool

In case you can't read the small print, this "multi tool wallet" has a bottle opener, scraper, 3 wrenches, standard & metric rulers, Phillips & flathead screwdrivers, & a tape cutter—all this and a "high strength stretch strap" to hold your money. It was $11.65 (with tax) at a truck stop (TA or Travel America) at the O'Donnell Road cutoff, on the edge of Baltimore, where you catch the Chinatown bus back to New York.


Also, the taxi driver was speaking in a language I couldn't place. Not Latin, not Germanic, not islands... Turned out to be Yoruba, & he was happy to tell me about the 3 main languages of Nigeria (Yoruba, Ibo, Harussa), the many dialects, & that everyone speaks English.  Read More 
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Financial Tool II

Here's a picture with money. Alas, their $20s.
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Baltimore II

Classic strip mall bowling alley in Wilmington, enroute to Maryland.
I didn't remember Baltimore much, as expected, except for those great skinny but roomy row houses. Not a walking city & anyway, there was icy rain whenever we had the chance to get out & about, so we didn't do much beyond the bat mitzvah that was the reason for the trip (it sufficed!). Johnny ate crab, & I talked him out of trying octopus: fun-loving sentient creatures!  Read More 
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We're headed there for a bat mitzvah. My old stomping grounds, sort of. When I lived in Severn, we really only went into Bawlmer for stereo components. Annapolis & D.C. were the cities, also Silver Springs for their excellent health food store. Not surprisingly, given that I easily get lost in the neighborhood where  Read More 
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From the Vault: XII

I know this isn't as hilarious as it always seemed to me. Its confident inaccuracy is simply not as funny as it was in 1980. Also, none of the references are in people's minds anymore.

Tongsun Park

Republican Convention: 1972:
in Tongsun Park the
young are voting with their bodies
against Nixon. Blood
flows in the streets just
like the lies that flow from
Nixon’s mouth. Mayor
Daley’s Miami pigs
stick out their piglet tongues
and catch some rays
which are radioactive even
tho nobody cares about that

Maria Mancini
6/80 Read More 
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From the Vault: XI (someone else's vault, actually)

I found a score of poems clipped together but not identified. It's a Jersey poet—or at least they are largely set in NJ—& there's this one in there for me. Ed Smith? More likely Joel Lewis.

I always think I remember everything until I find evidence of how little is in here. Good thing I write so much down. That way I can go back & see exactly how much I've lost. Read More 
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From the Vault: High finance, 1977

I'm not sure what was so confusing to me in this stab at organizing my money situation. I had never really paid a regular rent before. Apparently dividing a monthly expense into a weekly was beyond me. It's still hard to follow.

In case the graphic is too small or dim:

as of Feb 5 $193
savings $90
cash on hand $40

owe $230
rent $115/mo
phone $30/ 1st mo then $15/mo
Con-Ed $20

so if I save $40/week I'll be able to pay all my bills — is this correct?? I hope so. I don't know how to figure it out.  Read More 
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Too cold to work in my office... paint fumes give me a headache at home... too lazy to get dressed... starting my yearly feud with Rite Aid, the unneighborly store that refuses to shovel (the 5th Street sidewalk) & are eye-rollingly rude about it... I keep finding bits of old writing, letters, poems, all in my handwriting that is both completely familiar & achingly ancient...

I got this far then jumped up! got dressed! went to the store! came to my office!


Got hold of a senior Rite Aid person & supposedly it'll be taken care of now... The threat of calling an executive vice president doesn't seem to loom as large as it did a few years back, when everyone snapped into action after I did.  Read More 
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Memory fail

I remember coming back from my father's funeral to an excited phone call from a friend: "Did you see The Nation this week? You're singled out in a review."

My memory is twofold: sad that by the time I was able to turn my attention away from my dad & to this nice news, it was anticlimactic; and that it was in a review of Andrei Codrescu's anthology Up Late.

The former still holds although it's the faintest breeze of a feeling 30 years later.

The latter was plain incorrect. The review was of zines & I was mentioned for something I published in Baseball Diary. How long have I had that wrong? I wonder. Was there a later Stuart Klawans review of Up Late where he did mention me? Maybe I'll find it as I continue to browse through the infinity of folders in my office. Read More 
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My (bad word) landlord

OK, it's not in the same realm as cutting off the heat but it's so ugly it's making me nauseated (that's also because he is using oil-based paint). I see the ugly bullying power play: "I can get away with it, it makes no difference to me, but if I can bother someone else, I'll do it." He's a mean, mean man. He doesn't grasp that I live here, that I have moral equity in this building. This is my home. It's just money to him.  Read More 
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My door

John Schlesinger painted this in 1983. The last bright spot in the building.

Now brown like everything else.

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This is the beautiful front door area that he covered with misshapen bricks. He built a stoop that is convex & makes my knee ache every time I step up.

He is charging around $2,000 for a sloppily renovated studio.
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From the vault X

I don't remember seeing this but it's definitely my handwriting. It wasn't even typed. Well, yeah, easy to see why. I'm more easily charmed now than 30 years ago, it seems.

Art & Pete: A play

Setting: Cross-country automobile, a 66 Olds Dynamic 88, somewhere in Kansas.
Characters: Art & Pete, Art driving

Well, ain’t I modern!
[He does a wheelie.]
Turquoise no longer!

Pete [sings]
Irish, Irish, buried 50 years
Irish lad, name o’ peat.

Hark! A hitchhiker!
[He pulls over.]

The hitchhiker is an iguana wearing a day-glo purple afro wig & a straw skirt. Hitchhiker gets into the back seat.

Well, hell-o, boys!

The End Read More 
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Ms Attention Span

I was starting today's post, when someone knocked on my door—a rare occurrence. It was my neighbor having trouble with his key & would his boxes be OK for the few minutes it took him to go around the corner to the landlord. Of course!

Now, what was I about to say?

Was it  Read More 
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Love the one you're with

That's my motto for 2017, I think. I'm trying to not get distracted, not wish I was doing something else the minute I start doing something.

My other motto, in line with my intention to focus on my main goals is: First things first.

Other years my mottos have been:
Just say yes
Art First
Go around the iceberg
Don't drop the ball on your head
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Starting off right

Sam & Jack Berrigan offer a fresh perspective at the Poetry Project Marathon.
Some things I can't find:
• A long orange extension cord that's always been in my office

• My favorite green burned-velvet scarf

• My sister-in-law's email

• The why. The words.

• The time.

• A calendar for the house. (I have Steve's garden calendar at my office.)

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