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NauenThen

97!

My niece Rachel & Joyce, a couple of years ago. If anything, she looks better now. 

Happy 97th birthday to my mother, today. 97 & still with most of her marbles.

 

What a trouper, aka trooper (both are correct! I looked!). She sailed through Covid (asymptomatic) in November. Her biggest complaint about having to stay in a separate room for 10 days was that she didn't get her newspaper & her pop wasn't cold. 

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The old days (South of the Border II)

I may meander south, light on a memory, & I may look for some photos of that trip. But I wanted to jump ahead to a half-awake dream I had the other day. We were somewhere pretty far south, maybe Honduras or Nicaragua, or maybe it was very southern Mexico, & the only hotels we could afford had no hot water. I was reluctant but too sweltering not to take a shower. What a surprise — & pleasure — the tepid water was. One of those moments when I knew my assumptions to be unnecessarily constricted.

 

An unrelated memory: I had brought a bottle of citronella oil from New York & left it open every night to keep away mosquitos. I didn't get malaria so i guess it worked. My magic for staying healthy was refusing lettuce ("sin lechuga!") & swallowing a clover of raw garlic every day. 

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My day (treason edition)

Johnny & I went over to Tibor to see some Rudy Burckhardt photos & films, where we also said hello to Trevor Winkfield & came home with his lovely Nine Portraits. At the corner of 2nd & 2nd two cars barrelled through the light, almost hitting a mail carrier. We did a little wowing about his close call & then had a sweet New York City post-moment chat, finding the people we both knew. "I took over this route from Eddie," Phillip said. "Bart is your carrier if you're on the Ave." Yep, I said, & we talked about Eddie & Bart & accidents & funerals. He thought the two cars were trying to catch up to a funeral procession. "But they're only a block or 2 behind, they didn't need to run the light at top speed." We didn't want to part. I would have gone to his funeral. It felt like a special day, to see a man not get run over! 

 

I came back to the news that one of the StoptheSteal organizers, a convicted felon (for theft!) said three Republican (of course) CONGRESSMEN were part of organizing the assault on the Capitol—Mo Brooks, idiot of Alabama, and Paul Gosar & Andy Briggs, both of Arizona. I can't imagine sinking lower than to want to destroy the government you work for, that you were elected to serve. Treasonaires. If it's true, & there seems to be video evidence, they should be expelled & tried.

 

It was a great neighborhood day & a horrifying national day. I am going out of my mind. All summer I had little problem avoiding the doom-scrolling that consumed so many of my friends. But this insurrection, sedition, riot, whatever you call it, has me riveted. I take it as a personal assault on my father, a refugee who loved & appreciate the country that had saved his life. I don't want to stop believing that's the country I live in. 

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The old days (how Mark became my cousin)

My Spanish wasn't very good. In fact, I somehow forgot that I would need Spanish. The only book I could find that seemed like it would help me learn was a bilingual Neruda. I got pretty good at naming body parts & talking about death, but not at asking for directions. So when people assumed that of course a young woman would be traveling with a male relative, I said, No, we're friends. And they would light up: Oh, we're very liberal. No no. We go to the university together 10 years ago, I more or less said, since anything but present tense was way beyond me. Finally, I just started calling him mi primo, my cousin, & that was all we needed. And you know what, it was true. Mark was the first of my many courtesy cousins, who are family without being related. All my friends don't become cousins—it's a relationship that comes along with a friendship & just feels right. 

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Monday Quote

The Beat Goes On

 

Say, Don Mossi,

When

O When

is Wilbur Wood's

birthday?

 

 

This strange little work is from ages ago. Don Mossi (1929-2019), a lefthanded pitcher, was famous as the ugliest man in baseball. I didn't say it! his nickname was "Ears"! In fact, today is his birthday. He was before my time, but I remember Wilbur Wood well, a chunky knuckballer for the White Sox who later ran a clam shack on Cape Cod (according to a "where are they now?" article). My brother & I always called our neighbor Dave Wood, Wilbur. Every Wood should be a Wilbur, doncha think?

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The old days (South of the Border I)

Mark & I about to leave the U.S., January 1981.

It's 40 years to the week if not day that I set off for Costa Rica. First I got a rideboard ride from NYC to Oklahoma to meet up with Mark. It was in a VW Thing, which doesn't have real windows only vinyl sheets. Whoever was driving had to do so half into a sleeping bag. I seem to remember that the driver stopped to get the heat fixed because it was so miserable.

 

In Tennessee I was excited to order biscuits with gravy, which I did whenever we stopped until the driver decided he had to try them. Ugh! he spat. No wonder crackers are so dumb. Which was a non sequitur as well as offensive.

 

Mark & I flew from OK City to Austin. His mother, I remember, dropped us off at the airport several hours early. There wasn't even a coffee shop there. We stayed with his uncle then took a Greyhound to San Antonio & from there to Laredo on the border. We crossed for the evening to Nuevo Lardeo (no fuss in those days) & I remember not being able to decipher markers of class: were we in a well-to-do neighborhood or a poor one? That was the beginning of my education. 

(to be continued)

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Seditious bootlickers

I'm fascinated by the Traitor of the Day,Josh Hawley. I can't quite understand how the Republicans manage to find one after another of slightly-not-terrible-looking entitled brats. Well, I do, obviously—they are all white dudes. Who will do anything. So clean-cut he has got to be kinky, & even that wouldn't make him interesting. Is it solely opportunism or is it that the Republic Party is the party of the guys whose only thing is that their families have money? Or is it where sociopaths find their place, like a high school with stoners, nerds, jocks, & theater geeks? Who did he hang out with in high school? Did he legitimately get into Stanford & Yale Law? I'm not fascinated by him personally, as much as that there is a never-ending stream of him all with the same intentions & sureness that they are annointed. An endless, craven sewer of sycophants, toadies, bounders. 

 

UPDATE: The Times gets there in"The Roots of Josh Hawley's Rage," which are that he wants to control us with his theological hatred. 

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A new day

Early morning on East Third Street. That's Most Holy Redeemer Church just past Ageloff Towers.

I know ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away, but gosh how I would like to have some time without tRump/chaos/Republicans in the front of my mind. Lock 'em up & leave us alone. 

 

Today the sunrise was earlier & sunset will be later than has been the case for a month or more. 

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Today

Raygun was ready! I got this within seconds of the second race being called. Whoohoo!

I think... let's pretend... that the only news today is that both of the Dems, Warnock & Ossoff, won their runoffs & it will be a BLUE Senate. That IS the important news & the coup (attempt) by tRump & his henchassholes will pass soon. Hopefully punished but tRump is truly the teflon don. 

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The old days (tubs)

When I moved to New York, I didn't know which neighborhoods were which. I didn't know that some were safe & some not. I only knew that if I lived near the guy I was in love with, I would probably run into him regularly. After all, that was true in the town where I grew up & it didn't occur to me it wasn't a universal principle. So I found a building on First Avenue, a few blocks east of Broadway, where he lived. The super showed me an apartment. The toilet was in the hall so I said nope. The next apartment had a flat-bottom slate tub. Too weird. The third (there were at least 6 vacant apartments at the time) had the toilet in the apartment & a regular tub. I paused. He impatiently said nothing wrong with this one. So I said yes. And how often did I run into that guy? Once in 43 years, way over on the West Side. 

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Monday Quote

Live to the point of tears. 

~ Albert Camus (1913-1960) 

 

This makes me want to go back to Camus, who always seemed like someone you should/could read at 19 & not as a mature person. Now that I say that, I don't know why I think that. I read The Stranger & The Plague & don't remember much except that I was impatient with them. So maybe my thought was that one should wait to read Camus till one is more worldly. 

 

Is this the source of Kerouac's famous passage in On the Road?

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!" 

 

Were the 50s more intense than we tend to think? 

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The old days (blackout of '77)

Maggie gave me the idea to write about the old days in the neighborhood so I'll see what I can remember. Early last summer, when the city was shut down, it felt a little like it did in the late 70s when I moved to NY. There wasn't anything to do, because I had no money to do anything & all I wanted to do was hang with the poets. We had all the time in the world, or so it seemed. I had a job as a messenger for Enroute, a gay-run messenger service. One hot July day, my first summer here, I had to drop off a truck (although I was almost exclusively a foot messenger) way on the West Side then walk back in the swelter to the subway. I got home exhausted, & went to sleep before dark. I woke up the next morning to no electricity & called a friend (because landlines didn't depend on electricity, which is why I kept mine till a couple years ago) to complain. He laughed & held the phone up to a transistor radio. And that's how I learned about the big blackout of 1977. I regret that missed seeing New York without lights. It was a fun day with no work, no movies, just rambling around running into people. My entire 20s seems now like a blackout. 

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Made it!

Yay to sweeping out the old. Yay to a beautiful new calendar, leading off with snow on the land I love, my friend Steve's place in South Carolina. Yay for the Poetry Project's streaming Marathon. Yay for old friends not dead yet. Yay for more chances. Yay for having lots of ideas last night in Maggie & my personal marathon of plans for the coming year, including my 2021 motto: BUST OUT. Yay for Lefty letting me sleep in. Yay to closing the door on 2020 & welcoming 2021. 

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