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Monday Quote

One belongs to New York instantly. 

One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.

~ Thomas Wolfe


I can't believe I never say this quote before. It's exactly what happened to me, although I think it might have been 10 minutes. I had never been to New York (or any city, really) & then, snap, I was a New Yorker. That first trip I asked someone who lived in Brooklyn for their area code (which at the time was the same as Manhattan's) & he said, You've been here 1 day & you already know that Brooklyn isn't New York. I loved that. I was a New Yorker. Instantly. I never once wanted to live anywhere else once New York found me. 

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From the vault

Why didn't I make notations on photos? Why didn't I date my poems? I guess I expected to remember everything. Here, Janet & I are goofing around. Why all the sunglasses? Where were we? I think I loved that sweater but whatever became of it? If I had to say, I'm thinking mid-80s, Maine or maybe Nova Scotia. My hair is tucked away ~ that was a good clue for many years: it was calico, creamsicle, magenta, blond. 

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Righteous indignation

I don't usually go to Houston Village Farms on 1st Ave & 4th Street because they were overcharging ("profiteering") during the pandemic but last night Johnny wanted ice cream & it was too hot to walk over to Ave A or 2nd Ave. I was with June & not paying close attention & when the ice cream ($7.99 for a pint + $3.50 for an individual for June) came out to $12.93 I put it on my credit card rather than pay cash. 


When HVF emailed my receipt I discovered that they had charged $1.44 ~ 12.5%! ~ for "tax & fees." I went back this morning & politely told them that "only government agencies, educational institutions, utility companies and rental establishments can charge credit card convenience fees" on AMEX and that New York prohibits credit card surcharges and convenience fees, except for a purchase under $10. I didn't even get to the fact that even if a fee is legit, it's capped at around 3%. 


Nope, they said they could charge whatever they want, it was my fault for not noticing the fee, that I could return my purchase (fat chance! long gone!). Absolutely refused to refund my piddling $1.44. Or give their names for that matter. 


I feel a little sorry for them now. Not only did Amex kick it back right away, but I filed a complaint with the NYC Dept of Consumer Affairs. Turns out their license expired in 2019.... For a really small amount of money, they are likely about to be in big trouble. 


Although truth be told, I would probably still have filed a complaint if they had fallen all over themselves apologizing & refunded the whole $12.93, let alone the $1.44. 

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In the neighborhood: tar beach

Our beautiful new reclining lounge chairs, on the roof of the Pound. But the other day someone took? stole? trashed? the table, TV & other chairs. They're not out back & don't seem to be in the dumpster so I don't know what happened to them. 


It is brutally hot today & I may never get up from in front of my fan. 

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O this universe!

As the Sun said to Frank O'Hara, "you ought to look up more often." I ought to widen my gaze, and here's something the James Webb telescope brought back: worlds in formation. 


This photo shows "sun-like stars being born in Rho Ophiuchi, the closest-star-forming region to Earth. Webb spotted around 50 young stars, many close in mass to our star, giving us a glimpse into the early life of the Sun and allowing us to better understand our own origins."

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In the neighborhood

I too sometimes believe I live in a concrete jungle, but really, plants, trees, flowering bushes, flowers are everywhere.


This is across the street from me. 

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What I'm reading

Fatherland: A memoir of war, conscience, and family secrets is this New Yorker writer's well-written & moving account of coming to grips with the life of his grandfather, a Nazi functionary. Like all too many, both in that war & at any given time, he was part-hero, part-dupe, & part all the other things that make any of us normal human beings. Better than we could be, worse than we wish we were. Recommended: I was forced to think of Nazis as (somewhat) sympathetic, or at least think through their actions with a more open mind than I usually have on this topic.

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Memphis Seoul

A new restaurant is opening up the block, Memphis Seoul, "Southern cookin' with a Korean kick." Yeah, hmm, maybe when Willis is here. Much as I love a traditional "meat & 3" restaurant, not sure I'm ready for this. It's not open yet so I have time to get my stomach & mouth lined up...

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TGI Catday

Meet Alaska & Niko, the newest cats on the 4th floor of the Ezra Pound. That makes 5 on our floor, all male, although these two are more male, at least at the moment, than Lefty, Harry & Jojo, if you know what I mean. They are 9 months old & it sure is fun to play with kittens & watch them learn things. I took care of them for a few days last weekend. Should I make every Friday Catday? What's a blog without cute kitties, after all.

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Computer half-woes

A screenshot of this entry....

My practically brand-new computer is wonky. I spent an hour on the phone this morning with the tech people & it didn't really help & in fact there's new issues, like weird jabs of color when I type in Chrome (like now). Broken letters that filll themselves back in. Damn! I don't have time for the rest of the week to address this.

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Some are my cousins because they are my aunts & uncles' kids. 


One is my cousin because her mom is almost related to my sister.


One is my cousin because when we were traveling together in our 20s, it was easier to explain than "just friends."


One is my cousin because I didn't want the guy I had a crush on to think he was my boyfriend. 


Cousins are the sweet spot between family & friends, the best of both. 

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From the vault

After spending 5 months cleaning my house, I found a corner I hadn't touched ~ for almost 20 years, judging by the half dozen magazines that were leaning up against a wall on a shelf next to the bed. The best find in that stack was an assignment from a class at City College circa 1980 that I believe it was on half a dozen 19th-century writers & thinkers. I'm sure we were supposed to in some way compare one of the novelists with one of the thinkers (Dickens? Nietzsche?). My 11-page essay: "Jude the Obscure by Karl Marx." The professor called it "charming and delightful," pointed out a "similar historical sensibility in Hardy & Marx," and gave me an A. 


Side note: The paper I typed it out on is so thick I doubt it could even go through my printer, & the plastic binder is likewise a lot more heavy-duty than is available today. 

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Monday Quote

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
~ Kurt Vonnegut


I'm in a rut, a trough, a slough. It's tough to climb out of the familiar. Someone needs to push me off a cliff or my wings will atrophy. 

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Poetry in China

Out of the blue, I got a message from someone named Ma Yongbo, who is a Chinese translator & poet. He has translated 3 anthologies, Moby-Dick, & lots more. He sent me images of some of my poems. One is about baseball. Is that familiar in China? Yes, there is a small but genuine interest, it seems. China had a professional league from 2002-2018. Still, does it translate? Another baseball poem of mine (or possibly the same one) was translated into French for an anthology there & my fluent friend made many corrections of nuance & fact. Anyway, it's pretty cool that people in China have access to a little of my work! 

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Sei Shihan Jesse

A tough & protective & guileless man, a designer & artists, a good friend & karateka. Died in Maine, not clear exactly what happened. Drowned? We'd been talking about Maine a few days earlier. Go to the Farnsworth, I insisted. He loved the lake, & wasn't sure he would leave it, even to see great art. We started our outdoor karate review when he was going for a promotion a couple of years ago & we've kept it up ever since. It's become such a tight family-within-the-Seido-family & he was still very much a part of it. A good guy. 

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She stuck needles in my ear, & my hip loosened up, & I slept hard. Is she a witch? No, an acupuncturist. 

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One good cloud deserves another

As Member 16,394 of the Cloud Appreciation Society (there are at least 3x as many now), I almost can identify this cloud. Cloud watching is the least demanding hobby I can imagine. All you have to do is look up once in a while. I'm fine not knowing the names of the clouds. Like them, I drift along mild & aimless. 

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On the roof

At last a breezy day when we could sit on the roof. The nice thing about my new reclining chair is seeing so much sky while I'm comfortably stretched out. Today it's back to intense heat & humidity. Oh well, one glorious day was worth a whole summer of gasping.

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Monday Quote/What I'm reading

In 2009, Kalaallisut became [Greenland's] one and only official administrative language. With this move, Greenland achieved a unique position: the only country of the Americas, from Canada all the way down to Chile, where the indigenous language doesn't play second fiddle to that of its colonial master. 

~ Gaston Dorren

Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages


I love this kind of breezy, quirky survey. So many languages I've never heard of, right there in Europe. 

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The Tubbs

The summer that Ted died (1983), Alice (widow), Anselm & Edmund (sons), & I (driver) somehow became the family Tubb. We stayed one night at a motel in Bridgehampton, what we thought was the cheaper Hampton, but after we paid for one room for the 4 of us, we only had enough money to sit by the pool & get a single order of fries. I guess we were Tubbs because being ourselves was too painful that year. Or did we go out there to see his grave in nearby Riverhead? Was that the time we went bowling? We would get in my big Ford LTD late summer nights & drive over the bridge & across Brooklyn, counting up the fried chicken stands: Kennedy fried chicken, Place fried chicken, King Royal fried chicken. We never stopped at any of them. 

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Even hotter

Apparently I was a little overly optimistic yesterday. It is noticeably & horribly hotter today. The air is turbowarm & heavy. Did I run a marathon? Felt like it but all I did was walk 3 blocks. I can't go on

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Two days ago, I read, was the hottest day EVER in the history of the world. I forget how they know that. Not doubting it. Ever summer gets less bearable & I live in a moderate zone. Or so they say. Will there soon be none of those left? People really don't "believe in" climate change? Well, you don't have to believe in something for it to ravage you. 

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I, Patriot

I've always been somewhat out of step with my friends on the left, who seem to think patriotism is the same as nationalism. That flag-wavers are by definition conservative. (Why should they coopt all the symbols, damnit?)


When I say I am grateful to live here, they call the U.S. a shit country. When I encourage people to see the USA, they buy tickets to Europe. My father would almost certainly have been murdered if he hadn't managed to get here ~ how can I feel anything but gratitude? The U.S. takes in far & away the largest number of immigrants of any country. Why do so many people from so many places make such an effort to be here? Despite our problems (yes, of course I see them: a patriot isn't a fool), I believe in our democracy, in our human bonds, in our natural beauty, in our willingness to change, in our efforts to right things (too slowly, too timidly, too little but we try). 


The reason they speak with such disdain, I think, is because their familial and individual education & wealth, provides them with the kind of privilege that always seems to blind people to their advantages, in this case making it possible for them to imagine emigrating to places most refugees & migrants can only dream of. That's the only reason they think they can do better, because they don't need America the way most of the world does.


This is the start of a discussion, I would say. Putting it out there so I can keep thinking. 

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The glorious fourth

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith at the Whitney.

40 years ago, July 4, 1983, Dave Righetti pitched a 4-0 no-hitter for the Yankees against the Red Sox & Ted died. 


The heart stops briefly when someone dies,

a quick pain as you hear the news, & someone passes

from your outside life to inside. Slowly the heart adjusts

to its new weight, & slowly everything continues, sanely.

—Ted Berrigan from "Things to do in Providence"


A week or 2 later I dreamed Ted called me & said it was boring being dead & he was done with it & what had he missed. I could only think to tell him about Righetti's no-hitter. And how desperately sad everyone was but I felt shy to say that now that it was over. 

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Monday Quote

I have lived long enough: my way of life

Is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf;

And that which should accompany old age, 

As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, 

I must not look to have. 


It's too hot. The air is bad. I'm planning to find some reasons to keep going. Any minute. 


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An obituary & an opportunity

This is so lovely. A quiet life. A life well lived & well written about. You'll be glad you took a look.


It was Austin Kleon who brought it to my attention & it's what made me subscribe to his media empire. He has a really good free newsletter too. He writes breezy, encouraging books about being an artist. I like him. 

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