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Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur starts tonight & runs through tomorrow evening, 25 hours of contemplating what we could have done better in the past year. It's been such a fraught stretch that it is hard to take a whole day off to think about other things than the political situation & natural disasters.

But I will, & hope to come out of it refreshed.

A year ago we were just about to elect a woman president, or so I believed. And now, it's a "disaster day to day," as my old high-school & lifetime friend Becky says. "How can people still be in denial?"

It feels selfish & counterproductive to take so much time off to pray but if it renews my commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world), it'll be worth it.  Read More 
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Feeling overwhelmed by the news today, which means it is time to plunge into activism!
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Buster lets it all hang out.
My wifi continues to be unreliable so it's really hard to sit down & do things like write this, knowing if the internet cuts out I'll lose it.

I'll write fast & save often.

I love the Ludlow 99¢ store. Today I bought toilet paper, kleenex, hair ties, epsom salts, shampoo, washcloths, mouthwash (to soak my mouthguard) & what else? All for $28. Along the way got to hang with Jasmine at the hotel ("Hi, Varda's sister!") & the 99¢ lady.

Some work, a day off from karate, babysitting later. It's a wonderful life.  Read More 
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A Problem of Dramaturgy

The cops
are supposed to pretend
they are listening

and only then ignore
you and write
their stupid summons
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"Are ya braggin' or complainin'?"

I love fight-spawned bruises! I loved the fighting the other night, the last evening of testing in our karate promotion. It was all seniors who are good fighters, so I didn't have to be careful of anyone's frailty. I don't bruise easily so I'm rather proud of this one. The correct answer (to a question my husband asks when someone is being disingenuous): bragging! I am exhilarated that I could hold my own with some excellent fighters.

I'm not really a good fighter. My only strength is that I'm not afraid to get hit or to fight anybody at all. I don't know why but I always believe (all evidence to the contrary) that I belong in there. Not even believe—I think it's more that I don't think about it. They're there, I'm there, let's go!  Read More 
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Days off

Took a few days off for Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year. Hoping that 5778 will be sweeter, healthier, more peaceful, & art-filled for one & all.

Also finished the last evening of testing for my third-degree black belt in karate, which I will receive a week from today. Grateful to be part of the process with many friends & supporters, & glad it's over & I can rest up + get back to my usual routine.

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Modern slavery

Even though every country outlaws slavery (Mauritania was the last to abolish it, in 1981), at least 40 million people around the world are slaves today, and there are some 152 million child workers, according to The Economist, by way of the UN's International Labor Organization and the Walk Free Foundation. Women and girls are disproportionately affected, making up nearly three-quarters of this number. Slavery takes place everywhere, although disproportionately in Asia and Africa.  Read More 
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Detox time

Since I'm sickly anyway, I figure I may as well do my pre–Yom Kippur coffee detox at the same time.

Usually I sub in decaf & it's gradual but I didn't get to Porto Rico yet & now YK is less than 2 weeks away.

I may start retoxing early this year.
Like, this morning.
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Parade's End

I read a passing reference to "The Last Post" & immediately picked up my favorite and much-read book, Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End.

"Mrs. Satterthwaite interested herself — it was the only interest she had — in handsome, thin, and horribly disreputable young men."

"[Sylvia's] very oval, regular face had an expression of virginal lack of interest such as used to be worn by fashionable Paris courtesans a decade before that time."

Either you like sentences like these & want more (800 pages more, in fact) or you don't & you close Parade's End after the first 2 pages.  Read More 
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Poor pitiful me

Tonight is the part of testing for my black belt promotion (to 3rd degree) that I worry most about: weapons. I still fear a big stick coming at me & tend to cringe rather than react. Even worse, I have a small but exhausting cold. Which I think will keep me from fretting—the silver lining.
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1) You must read slower than me
2) My book is fatter than your book but
3) You are fatter than me
4) Stay on your side of the bed
5) Your belongings stay on your side of the bed/room/closet/shelf
a. My side is bigger than yours
b. My dick is bigger than yours.
c. My naps are longer than yours.
6) No facial masks
a. No funny makeup
b. No strange hairdos
c. No unusual hats
7) Half your dinner is mine
a. Ditto coffee (milk no sugar)
b. Also $$, shirts, etc.
8. Tidy at all times!
9) Fuck you
10) See what you made me do

transcribed by Elinor Nauen Read More 
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My Checkered Career

I useta drive a cab
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Vote early, vote often

In the 40 years I've been hanging around the church, I can't say as I've ever really noticed this window. It's in the kitchen, which leads me to think that the kitchen was something else way back when.

My neighborhood in general is so familiar that it's hard to startle me into seeing it differently.  Read More 
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Bob Holman takes on the art world! The lines of poetry in this 50-work show are his, the paintings are by Archie Rand. And the body, of course, is by Mary Shelley.

A fun show, on Allen & Delancey, & then we had paratha tacos & felt like we were Somewhere Else.
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Do you have a band?

Entranced to get my hands on Daniel Kane's latest book about the intersection of punk & poetry. Our magazine KOFF ("a publication of the Consumptive Poets League") gets a write-up. Part of what entrances me is how much intention he finds in what we were doing, when we thought we were just having fun & épater la bourgeoisie.

We printed, what?, 50 copies? 100 tops. Who knew that almost 40 years later we would be considered "the punk magazine" (Eileen Myles) & worthy of scholarly research. That KOFF would exist at all beyond us occasionally remembering we published the first-ever poetry magazine with nude male centerfolds of poets. And not the only! Someone since us did a much more (MUCH MORE) tasteful & artistic calendar of beautiful young English poets in the Lake District.

Ahem, I've only read the chapter about us, but I can assure you the whole book is totally worth reading!

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Have I redeemed this lame post by including a photo of my cat? I have MANY adorable pictures of him.

I took a picture but you can't tell what it is, a black growth on a tree trunk. Ben explained chaga is desirable in Chinese medicine.

I kept thinking I'd look into chaga, & I do like the name ("Hi, this is my daughter Chaga") but I have zero interest in herbs, unguents & the like.

I will post this on one of those days when inspiration has fallen below the minimum..... So if you are reading this, you should probably send me doughnuts or something.

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Dear Markos,

What are you reading?
I checked out Trollope’s How We Live Now
& am excited to start on it.
I seem to be a hypochondriac.
But maybe I do have cancer.
I eat like a pig and I lose weight and lose weight.
Who wouldn’t worry
with a best friend who’s

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Doorman, Overheard

No, Lucille, of course you’re going to be okay, honey, listen to me now, plenty of people, just a minute honey… that’s the 5th floor sir but no one’s in today… sorry honey, look, you’re not going to die… we’ll think about that later, don’t you be giving me your stuff, you’re gonna feel pretty goddamn dumb coming up to 24th street to drink out of your own cups, oh hell hold on again a minute— Read More 
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I sometimes think other people see things that I don’t.

Like what?

Oh, stop signs.
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City story

I got on an almost-empty bus & idly said, “Where is everybody?”

The bus driver said, “I don’t know! They get on & then they get off... Was it something I said?”

As we pulled up to the end of the route. I stood up and said, “It was something you said.”

“What’s that?”

“Last stop.” Read More 
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I have been thinking about the Italian artist Carol Rama (1918-2015) since I first ran into her work at a big show at the New Museum. I joined the museum so I could look at her work again & again, & have been back 3 times now.

I still can't articulate what grips me so much.

When  Read More 
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