Steve Carey (1945-1989) was a wonderful poet & loving friend. We would hang on the phone every day for an hour, sometimes chatting, often doing our own thing together. I still can hear the boom in his voice when he called: NorNau! I was thinking the other day of how terrific he was in Bob Rosenthal & Johnny's play Our Version of Heaven, especially reading Ted's poems.
From the vault
Had tickets to the Yankees game but woke up woozy & didn't go. My first game in THREE years & I couldn't make it. What a disappointment! Yanks beat the As 5-3. I've almost forgotten how to watch a game, how to be at the ballpark. This summer it WILL happen. It's still only June. It's on the list of 22 things I intend to do in 2022. Still got about 19 to go.
A hard time
Ukraine... the gutting of reproductive rights... guns... climate change... covid... estrangement... death... fatigue... deadlines... the rogue Supreme Court. It's tough for everybody right now. Let's be hopeful, as much as we can. I voted today & galvanized someone else too: hopeful. I had intelligent reminiscence: hopeful. I will go in a little while to teach karate to adults with learning disabilities: they kick ass! Hopeful.
As the daughter of an immigrant & a refugee, I love this country without taking any bit of it for granted. I was a little embarrassed in the 70s not to be ashamed of the United States ~ I felt like I was the only one of my friends who relished the gorgeousness of our people & geography, who preferred to hitchhike through the 50 states to taking a bus through Afghanistan to India. That feels a bit nostalgic right now rather than passionate & determined. I hope hopeful will stick around.
What I'm reading
I can't be the only one who got Greene's Travels with My Aunt mixed up with Patrick Dennis's Auntie Mame, can I? I'd seen the movie of the latter & was expecting a madcap social butterfly. Nope. Greene's book is funny but quite dark & satiric too.
Eggrolls & Carlina
I didn't actually see any eggrolls or egg creams at the Eldridge Street Festival this afternoon, or Carlina either, though I did get cards handed off to me from her husband. And then I handed them to as many people as would let me put it in their hand. She's running for Congress in a new, redrawn Congressional District. She's the real deal. Knows the neighborhood, works hard, listens hard, learns. I disagree about making the dining sheds permanent but other than that, I'm down with Carlina. Given everything that's going on in the country, it certainly behooves me to get as active as I can.
From the vault
Who sent me this? I don't recognize the handwriting! And the list of people who knew to pay homage to my birthday was as long in 1986 as it is now. It was fun to find, I will say that. Even if they were off by 2 days.
Out & about
With a few exceptions, many even most of the people I know have locked themselves down following the lockdown. I know I have. I got so used to saying I can't that I almost forgot to say yes. But yes is the word of the week, & I've had so much fun going to dinner, a grade school graduation, with more dinners, galas, walks & even a ballgame (first in 3 years) coming up in the next few days. I'm seeing my friends again, relearning how to have conversations & a good time, & finding that my schedule & sleep accommodates all this nicely. Just say yes!
Pet Peeve #331
This is a complicated one, maybe. Here's an example: A guy didn't show up for a small task. I said I don't mind him not making it but did mind that he never explained later. He proceeded to explain why he hadn't made it. That's fine, that's how it goes sometimes ~ & not what I'm talking about. He then gave further extenuating circumstances with an offhand not-quite-apology for never being in touch again.
The pet peeve is both not listening to or acknowledging what I clearly explained & defensively excusing himself (I was sick!) while subtly blaming me (I didn't think you would want me to show up & give everyone the flu!).
Just as gorgeous old as new. Like a lot of us!
What I'm reading
Child is Judy Goldman's memoir about her lifelong relationship with Mattie Culp, the Black woman who worked for her family as a live-in maid in Jim Crow South Carolina of the 1940s and 50s. It's about a world I knew nothing about, & it's about love, secrets, & family. Recommended!
Poem of the Week
Carlton Fisk er mitt ideal
Han har på seg en vakker halssmykke
ved siden av den vakre nakken hans
i motsetning til Worthington-slakteren
Bradford T. Fisk (slaktere
er alltid i forelsket til meg), som ikke engang kan bestille kalvekjøtt
bortsett fra i hele ben av den.
Å, beina til en catcher!
De setter seg på huk i en holdning
det er selvfølgelig en indre, fornektende orgasme
men Carlton Fisk, jeg kunne
modellere en hel holdning til våren
på ham. Og han er en hopper!
Som Walt Frazier, eller bedre,
som den eneste hvite hopperen,
jeg glemmer navnet hans, i ABA-enes
Slam dunk-konkurranse for All-Star-kamper ved pause
i år. Jeg tenker på Carlton Fisk i hans
beskjedent hus i New Hampshire
hele tiden, elsker jeg lyden av navnet hans
nekte orgasme. Carlton og jeg
ser ut vinduet på vårens første
nordøst. Han bærer en stør helt
over verandaen til huset hans til meg.
(Han har ikke helårsjuletre
som Clifford Ray som behandler ballen
som en banan). Vi spiser og ser på stormen
slå knoppene some forsinker på trærne
og dekker det grønne på gressets
som min søster tror er nytt gress.
Det er fortsatt fjorårets gress!
Og fortsatt er det ingen vårtrening
mens jeg skriver dette, 16 mars 1976,
året for snøstormen som beseglet vår kjærlighet
opp i en stor haug med orgasmisk jord.
Kasterhaugen er en lynhaug.
Pudge vi se raskeballer i vinden
meskalinarmen hans strekker seg til banen
Han har på seg en halssmykke
Han tar ballen i tenner hans!
Baller faller med et pent slag
inn i skinnhansken han tar på seg
å kjærtegne meg, som fortalt til, i lavsesongen.
Plutselig hopper han fra sofaen,
en ekte ball har kommet gjennom vinduet
og er på vei mot pingvinene på genseren hans,
en av dem har mistet ballongen sin
som svever opp i himmelen!
~ Bernadette Mayer
translated into Norwegian by Elinor Nauen
Lucky me! My friend's wife was too sick to go so I got to see Paul McCartney at MetLife in NJ. (And get a ride from my corner, no less.) I was never the Beatles' hugest fan but wow! That was in the top 2 of all-time concerts. Not a nostalgia act at all. McCartney seemed so un-arrogant, when he's the most untouchable person on the planet: iconic, famous, rich. He acted as if he had something to prove, when he could have phoned it in & people would have loved him just as much. At one point he said, We know you just want to hear Beatles songs but we don't care, we're playing what we want. He said that with integrity ~ we'll give you what you want but we are doing it our way. He turns 80 tomorrow & he played for 3 hours without a break.
Is his voice all there? No, not quite, but he is such a great performer that that didn't matter.
He did a duet with John Lennon - not creepy, but sad. I noticed his Liverpool accent got thick when he talked about John. He's from the same part of Liverpool — Walton — as me mum.
The list of great songs he didn't play - Yesterday, Here Comes the Sun, Penny Lane, When I'm 64, & more - is almost as long as the list of what he did.
For me, it peaked when he brought out Bruce Springsteen for two songs ("Glory Days," "I Wanna Be Your Man"). I love the Boss (He's the other top 2 concert.)
There were even fireworks.
I suppose it was this exact date, a hundred years ago, that saw the publication of Ulysses. Yes? Shouldn't someone be reading it out loud from start to finish right about now? Call me up ~ I'll read ya a page or 2.
A friend of mine asked why people are so bothered that Lauren Boebert has a GED and no further education. "Level of formal education isn't necessarily an indicator of intelligence (even though it does seem to be in her case)," my friend wrote. Why aren't people more bothered that much bigger eejits than her have Ivy League degrees? I suppose if you're an autodidact, you have to prove that you learned something along the way, but if you have a degree people assume some larnin' must have stuck, even when it's clear that it hasn't. Would Boebert be less stupid if she were more educated?
According to the Congressional Research Service (2020), more than a third of the House and more than half the Senate have law degrees. Roughly a fifth of senators and representatives have masters. Four senators and 21 House members have M.D.s, and an identical number in each body (four, 21) have some kind of doctoral degree; 95 percent of House members and 100 percent of the Senate's have a bachelor's degree or higher. Only a third of Americans do. Is that important?
Is there any connection between educational level and morality? Between education & effectiveness as a legislator? Between having a degree & having a broad-minded interest in the world around you?
I'm not saying I'm not all for education. I am! I only have a high school diploma myself, but had a very good secondary education & I value learning. I had to convince people over the years that I could do the job, given that I didn't have the obvious credentials to point at. That sharpened my game.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Just asking questions, I suppose.
About 20 years ago, when I and 6 million teenage girls were in love with (& in my case married to) Derek Jeter, someone gave me a box of Derek Jeter cornflakes. I never saw them for sale. One is advised to discard mementos of one's ex, so in the trash went the empty box.
We take almost all the decisive steps in our life as a result of slight inner adjustments of which we are barely conscious.
~ W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz
Or slight outer impulses that don't seem all that important? It does seem that surprising or small things turn out to have been decisive. Is that what he means?
No other flower puts me on a relational footing. Is it your inconsistent, wavelike personality, which I see as my equal... see is my equal. Did I never bring you indoors from the ant-draped bushes along childhood driveway? is it your not-perfume, not-merely-fresh scent? These are the last of the year, the sign at the market said. When else do announce that?
Went to a beautiful small show, Pompeii in Color, at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, a department of NYU up on East 84th Street. I vividly remember going to the actual Pompeii with my late friend Bonnie, who was fearless & could charm her way into anywhere. Somehow we got a private tour of areas not open to the public. You really do feel in media res there. It was, it wasn't. Time hasn't passed but stopped.
Yay for the wonderful Authors Guild & in particular a shoutout to the unflappable Hector (formerly of Hector & Abigail, who is still connected to the AG but not in the same capacity), who has responded with good humor, patience & skill to my various disasters over the years. They got this blog up & running again.
I could have been writing posts while I was off but I didn't so I'll start up again for real tomorrow. Today's is in the nature of a test, but it seems to be for real.