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Seeing friends

Cliff Fyman, me, Greg Masters in Tompkins Square Park. Photo by Bob Holman.

How great to see these guys at Greg's impromptu publication party for his beautiful new book of collaborations (with the likes of Ted Berrigan, Allen Ginsberg, & quite a few others), with photos by Monica Claire Antonie. His plans for a do at the library of course were canceled so he invited a few of his fellow collaborators to meet in the park, where we kept a safe distance & were so happy to see (but not hug!) one another. 


Everything is a calculation of the odds. Safe to walk to the park? Safe to chat across the hall? OK to walk a block without a mask? 


In-person meeting: the most beautiful & nostalgic phrase of the month. 

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Monday Quote

It's hard to feel that everything is dire when this is blooming around the corner.

Change is certain. Progress is not. 

~ E. H. Carr (1892-1982), English historian, diplomat, journalist and international relations theorist, and "an opponent of empiricism within historiography"


And it's clear we don't have a whole lot of control over where & how change will come. 


And it's clear that what looks like progress isn't necessarily, that there seem to be as many unintended consequences as there are intentional ones. 


It's a great trip, though, & I'm happy to be along for the ride (even now).

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Safe in New York

People are taking this seriously. WE are doing everything we can to protect ourselves & our neighbors. I know how scary the map looks, with that blood-red splotch right on top of us. But block by block, we're careful as can be. I appreciate all the contact from around the world but please know that we are OK. As long as the ice cream supply can be replenished, that is. 

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East Village luxury getaway

Here is Maggie on the roof of the Ezra Pound, where we visit every day from a safe distance. 


I've been having a good day. I went to the market early, so I had a walk with a purpose, learning Norwegian along the way. Bought onions & potatoes so it looks very much like more soup migh be happening in Chez Nauen. I took an online karate class & meditation; found out that my lovely neighbor Louis is a car guy—he's from Detroit so I'm not surprised, but it was fun to talk about beautiful old cars with someone who likes that conversation; talked with my mother who is stoic about what's going on; had some ideas for projects; revised an old play; & didn't worry. A good day.

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Yes, the world is coming to an end

And yes, I took a picture to prove the preposterous claim. 

And this picture proves it. I cooked! Yes, I cooked. I made yellow lentil soup with carrots, onion & garlic. It was pretty good, but now it's gone & it looks like I may have to do it again. (Insert unhappy face emoji.)


I don't get why people like to cook. All that work buying stuff & still not having the right ingredients, chopping, measuring (well, I don't actually do that), & then it still isn't really tasty, & then it's gone. At least a poem, even a bad poem, MIGHT be wonderful while you're immersed in it. But food is just food. 


I know I'm a yokel. 


Update: I made soup AGAIN & was really struck by how you can throw together a bunch of inedible stuff, like beans & water, & it turns into FOOD. I might keep this up!

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Nonetheless, it's spring!

Someone suggested that my mysterious & incessant racking cough throughout January & February may have been symptoms of the virus. I don't think I had a fever, & didn't have chills, but I did have exhaustion & shortness of breath. Who knows? No one ever figured it out but it stands to reason that different people will have variants of the symptoms. A lung X-ray was clear but I've had compromised lungs ever since September 11 (pneumonia twice since then). I eventually chalked it up to allergies but who knows? On the one hand, I hope I had it without worrying that I might die. On the other hand, it's horrible to think that I may have been Patient 0.5 - an early spreader.Well, till I can test for the antibodies, I won't know & of course will continue to be careful. 


I know it's a bullet train into New York right now, as Johnny said, but it (surreally) doesn't feel like anything in particular is going on, just perpetual Sunday morning. Our population density means we can't really separate as much as we need to but everyone I see or know of is doing their best. 

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Found poem

Found Poem (Carol Halstead)



You forget


I walked right up

to someone to say


thank you

and then you realize oh


step back Carol

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Monday Quote

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done. 

~ Marie Curie


So much remains to be done, and some of us won't be here to do it. But the poetry will still get written, the music composed and played, the paintings painted, as well as the discoveries made, the lives begun & saved, and on & on. The world never quite manages to come to an end, no matter what happens & no matter what is predicted. 

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A friend wrote from Brazil to express surprise at the "jaunty" tone of an earlier post. Then he wrote to say he had misread something & withdrew the word. But it does make me think, as I have been: What tone does one take in the face of terror & uncertainty? 



Some people prefer? enjoy? knowing everything, or can't help reading the news all day long. Some people minimize, & each generation seems to be accusing the others of carelessless.


I'm with the ones who take in information but try not to get overwhelmed. Clearly this is a long-haul situation & we have to pace ourselves. I am most definitely doing everything I'm told: washing like a raccoon, keeping my distance. After that, what can I do but try not to melt into fear? What good does it do me or anyone to think about my loved ones I may never see again? 


"Jaunty" comes from 17th-century French meaning well-bred or genteel. I think it might in fact be a good word to use right now. It certainly is well-bred not to, oh, hoard toilet paper. For the band to play while the Titanic sinks. I always admired that Roy Cohn (otherwise the opposite of admirable!) famously & impressively kept his cool while waiting for results of a trial with his life/career on the line (I don't remember the details).


I hope the health-care workers maybe get a moment to relax & even laugh in the midst of tragedy. I've tried to be light with people who have it worse. I don't want to be the one who needs help. 


This is only part of the conversation. I'm sure some days I'll want only to cower & I may even find myself wallowing in — looking for! — the scariest news. But as many people as can probably should stay as normal as possible. 

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Where we're at

I skedaddled, didn't meander or dwaddle at all, from the store where I saw this sign, the pet store Whiskers on 9th Street. 


What happens when there's no one to grow / process / package / ship / sell the food? 

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