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From the vault

Tomorrow is December 1, 2018. This picture is from around 30 years ago based on Tara's size. What was going on? As usual, I'm not a good reporter of facts. I have a few things stuck in my head but the circumstances of this picture is not among them.

Yesterday Marion called to tell me she finally figured out why she could remember one random baseball name: Freddie Patek. She also had Davey Lopes in her head but that's because he played for the Dodgers, she said.

She had run across this poem of mine  Read More 
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I'm my own grandpa

What do these words have in common?

Sanction / Oversight / Left / Dust / Seed / Stone / Trim / Cleave / Resign / Fast / Off / Weather / Screen / Help / Clip / Flog / et al

They are all contranyms—words that also mean their opposites. Click on the caption for more.

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Hurricane poets

What if hurricanes were named after poets? These are all poets who've rocked my world.

A.R. Ammons
Bernadette Mayer
Charles Reznikoff
Doug Oliver
Elizabeth Bishop
Frank O’Hara
Gregory Corso
Ishmael Reed
John Keats
Kenneth Koch
Lord Byron
Michael Lally
N (I can't think of anyone!)  Read More 
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Ah, Norway

How easy it is to read Norwegian!
I ate the last treat I brought home from Norway. Just in time—it was definitely a little stale. But delish!
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Monday Quote

"Oh the monotonous meanness of his lust"
~ Robert Lowell
from "To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage," in Life Studies

Lowell died in 1977 but this line sums up so much of what is despicable & sad about tRump. Well, would be sad if he wasn't full of the ability & desire to do harm.

The last two lines of the poem:
Gored by the climacteric of his want,
he stalls above me like an elephant.  Read More 
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Maybe stalky

Maine has many birches, although this one was in Ed Foster's yard in Massachusetts.
There's this woman I was friends with when I lived in Maine but haven't seen for 40 years. I guess we only really knew each other a couple of years, although in one's 20s a year of friendship is a lot more than it is now. I lived not far from her sister when we Mainiacs were living at Idiot's Point in Prospect; she lived on Nantucket, still does, as far as I know, but came up a lot.

The thing is, even though I very well might not recognize her on the street, I can't forget her birthday. It's not something I try to remember: birthdays stick to me like thistles. Always have. It was my big party trick but thanks to Facebook it's no big deal these days to know everyone's birthday. I always try to think how I could make money in a bar with my idiot savant talent. Any ideas?

And yet, obsessed as I am with birthdays, the only poem I could recommend for my sister to read at a birthday party of a couple both turning 60 was a variation of Ted Berrigan's immortal:

the fucking enemy
shows up  Read More 
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The photo that almost cost me my marriage

I know, I know, it's hard to figure out what's even going on in this picture so how could it have (almost) ruined my marriage?

If you look closely, you can make out that it's a picture of a couch falling. It's a couch falling because we threw it out my window. It was aqua-green with a kind of nubby finish & no legs. It was curved too. Not comfortable & it took up a lot of room, given that only one or maybe 2 people could sit on it.

Johnny was new in my life & I had one of rare fits of home improvement. Or maybe I threw it out to symbolize the future. What a satisfying hollow explosion it made falling into the courtyard!
 Read More 
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Thanksgiving poem

My tiny apartment with many guests.
Today I'm remembering the mid-80s, when I hosted several Thanksgivings for 30 or more people. Everyone in the building made food. The years when Maggie had to be at work at 3, we called dinner for noon. We were late-night folks then & I remember sleepy guests & undercooked capons & chili.

I guess my holiday tradition these days is  Read More 
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My block, post-snowstorm

The snow was beautiful but wet & heavy, and the leaves still on the trees added their own weight plus held the snow. As I walked around, almost every block looked like this, where branches had come down. In no case could I see the wound on the tree or anything missing. How could that be?
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My neighborhood

This blue/wood wall is on the Bowery a block or 2 south of Houston. I like when I find a snatch of country life in plain sight in the city.

This is mannered & secondhand but it pleases me nonetheless.

I'm sure that signals something about my identity. Sociologists, want to weigh in?
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