icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


Monday Quote

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. 

~ Ludwig Wittgenstein


And as I learn more & better words, my world expands. As i learn more languages, my appreciation of the world improves. 


Is this article connected? It's about reading in your dreams & suggests that only poets do so. 

Be the first to comment

Up on the roof

As the days get shorter, the entertainment options expand. Ya got your grill, ya got your high-class TV. Dang, we could live up here. 

Be the first to comment

In the neighborhood

ATM on First Ave & 6th Street.

One more look at some of the color in the East Village. It never gets old to see what people are up to. I like how mysterious so much of what I see is. They're not trying to communicate, at least not with me. Maybe none of this would be mysterious if I were in the know. I thought that sticker top left "SNKR" was short for the Norwegian word that means speaks, "snakker." I also this week started to answer someone in norsk.

Be the first to comment

My traditional Thanksgiving poem

I don't write many occasional poems, which I suppose is why I like to go with this one every year. 

Thanksgiving Almost Found Poem


Many years we go to my grandmother's in Virginia. 
My mother, father, aunts and at least two of my brothers are there. 
My son has a football game that morning. 
My daughter is home, but needs to get back to school this weekend. 
My wife doesn't want to ride for nine hours and turn right back. 
Sometimes I have gone alone, but not often. 
A couple of neighbors were vying for our company.
One of those my daughter's boyfriend's family, 
Which we did last year and had fun.
But this year it will be another family,
One we have visited on two or three other Thanksgivings. 
I have a turkey freezing in the garage.

Nothing to do with it.

Be the first to comment

In the neighborhood: good enough

This boarded-up door on 10th Street is the plumber's crack of handywork. I kind of love seeing the indifference of the workman, who's fine with getting the job done unbeautifully. I myself am like that about a lot of things, & come from a long line of women who throw stuff into the bathtub when unexpected guests arrive. 

Be the first to comment

In the neighborhood: Be mighty!

Arise. Awake. 



I am once again enjoying walking around my neighborhood, seeing the creativity bursting out. All the anons pouring their passion into these posters & more. 


Update: That phoenix poster isn't anonymous at all but was made by my old friend, the brilliant artist & printmaker Annie Silverman, who lives in Massachusetts. 

Post a comment

Monday Quote

The French language is a woman. And that woman is so beautiful, so proud, so modest, so bold, so touching, so voluptuous, so chaste, so noble, so familiar, so mad, so wise, that one loves her with all one's soul and is never tempted to be unfaithful to her. 

~ Anatole France (1844-1924), quoted by Ostler in Empires of the Word, who notes this as "characteristically self-conscious & self-regarding," I think of the French in general & not France in particular. 


I feel like I am more immersed in English when I study other languages, & see their influence & variants. It's really such a silly thing to say. Unless you're French.

Be the first to comment


I remember I thought the girls on the playground were joking until they told the strict teacher. I remember we got out early. I remember running home, so scared for my country. I remember it was the day of the funeral of my mother's friend, Estelle Steinberg. I remember my mother almost crashing into another car when she threw up her hands when the news came on the car radio. I remember knowing that the other driver figured out later that day what had happened & how my mother was an anonymous part of her story forever after. I remember my mother gasping when Lee Harvey Oswald got shot on national TV. I remember how everyone in the Midwest imitated & enjoyed Kennedy's way of saying "vigah," which probably isn't the way anyone in Massachusetts really says it. I remember not believing places like New England or D.C. were real but not having doubts about Texas. 

Be the first to comment

Poem of the Week

Tiny Instructive Poem


Between the cat & the fat

the claws & the jaws

all my clothes

are full of holes

Be the first to comment

A wedding in Cleveland

The most fun I ever don't quite remember having was at a Slovenian wedding in Cleveland in 1979. For years after, I'm told, people asked my friends about "that girl who danced" the polka without putting my feet down.

Be the first to comment

Dream job

My old dream job was to paint the George Washington Bridge.


My new dream job is to stop people on the street & offer to recite their favorite poem. 

Be the first to comment


I stopped being a vegetarian when I realized our chickens—this was when I was living in Maine—were dumber than carrots. I had no idea what criteria to use so I ate both vegetables & poultry. It now seems very urban that I used intelligence as the standard (I who had never been in a city at that point in my life). Should I eat my cat? He might be dumber than a salad, too. As am I, for that matter. Self-cannibalism? Is that a thing?

Be the first to comment

Monday Quote

It is hard to be finite on an infinite subject, & all subjects are infinite.

~ Herman Melville


Melville has the great quality of opening endless lines of thought in his writing while containing them completely. What a great trick! It proves that he's a poet. Alice Notley does the same thing. 

Be the first to comment

Sunday, Sunday

Happy birthday, Ted Berrigan. I liked everything better when you were alive. I would have brought you a book & a pill today. You would look at me. You liked women, you liked poets, you liked life, but not enough. Instead today I sneezed & napped & studied Norwegian. It is what it is. As you said, whatever is going to happen is already happening. 

Post a comment

I'm as corny as

I don't have the bandwidth at the moment to write at length about my attachment to corn. I can only say: This could be me!

Post a comment

Poem of the Week

Poem (I looked at you)



I looked at you

with the yellow eyes of memory

rosehips in the rain


We set off in a snowstorm

& came home to soup

& now we are old


what happened 40 years ago

that is still & never –

how is it I can swim in a whale's vein


And still not find my way

to log cabin,

fir & birch

Post a comment

Veterans Day

My granddad Charles John "Jack" Phillips, English soldier. He was gassed in the War & died at 50. My dad's dad also fought in WWI, but on the German side. I have never seen a picture of him. This is what I wrote about him last year. 

Armistice Night! That night would be remembered down nnumbered generations. Whilst one lived that had seen it the question would be asked: What did you do on Armistice Night? .... [from Parade's End, by Ford Madox Ford]


Did they feel jubilant & triumphant when the Great War ended? Or simply exhausted & relieved. Perhaps regretful at the huge waste. The world changes in an instant after an agony of dread & death. 



Be the first to comment

Drive, she said

We were coming back from voting when this utterly serious girl zoomed out of her building. I wouldn't say she was a good driver, exactly, if good is defined by going in a straight line rather than caroming off everything around you. But this was the coolest car & she gave nothing away. 

Be the first to comment

Monday Quote

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition. 

~ Adam Smith


For once I have nothing to add. 

Oh! except that it will be a pleasure to stop rebuking the Republicans with every quote. 

Be the first to comment

Today joy, tomorrow Georgia

I should be happier. Thrilled as I am that Biden-Harris have dispatched tRump-Pence, I am disturbed at how many people who did nothing beyond voting are not only taking credit ("we did it!") but clearly ready to go right back to their uninvolved ways. In her speech last night, Kamala Harris quoted John Lewis: "Democracy is not a state," he said. "It's an act." We must act. We must be ever-vigilant. We must let our respresentatives know what we expect & pressure them to deliver. We must pay attention.


Beto O'Rourke's close race in Texas two years ago galvanized the Republicans, & they took back the state in a big way this election. The Democrats seem to have assumed that once the move to blue was begun, it could only increase. 


Look, I could have done more. The places where I focused did come through Dem, so I can feel like my hundreds of phonecalls & dozens of postcards maybe were a drop in a bucket that filled up blue. But there is always more to do, & I don't know how to convince anyone that it matters that they participate (more than on Facebook!). 


Maybe I'm burying the lead by mentioning the death of Jonathan Sacks, the modern Orthodox chief rabbi of Britain, only at this point. While not in sympathy was some of his positions, I admired him enormously for his moral leadership & clear writing. His short video on antisemitism is an important reminder that we cannot let down our guard. We must pay attention. 

Be the first to comment

Looking up

As I write, Biden's lead is increasing in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada. PA alone would put him over. Looking good. 


But of course nothing is looking good. Tens of millions of people still prefer the cruel criminal. Why? So many theories & all depressing as hell. I'm sure anyone reading this has their own ideas & probably all or most of those ideas have merit. There simply ISN'T one reason for what's going on. It's mis/disinformation, education, expectations, personality, geography & you-name-it. 

Post a comment

Yeah, well

Johnny in the hospital after falling many times. The election another mystery. I am trying to access my inner karateka to stay positive but not totally succeeding. Don't know why I'm even posting. Well, yes, I do—I don't get a star on the calendar if I don't. Yeah, this counts.

Post a comment

Election day

I guess if you didn't vote, it's too late by now. Who could sit this one out? How can anyone sit out any election, for that matter. The right to vote is a privilege that people have struggled for, died for. Hoping now for an outcome that means people want peace, harmony, & an end to chaos. 

Be the first to comment

Monday Quote

Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it. 

~ Giacomo Casanova


I suppose that's true about freedom & liberty, too, or when we have the wrong idea about it. Or about a lot of things: marriage, art, love. 

Be the first to comment

Why So Glum, Chum?

Why So Glum, Chum?


where does it hurt, Burt?

is it time to go, Joe?

don't fall down, Nauen.

set yourself up, Pup.

will you pass muster, Buster?

ain't we got fun, Hon?

you still do the hora, Laura?

get you gone, John

back outta here, dear

please—more tea, Vee

Be the first to comment