By Rosanna Warren
Morning: smells of serious cooking float in the street.
Onions give up the ghost, flesh sizzles, a metal spoon
clinks on a dish. We've lived here for eight hundred years,
we're still hungry. Ancient mosses nibble the stones.
We found such fierce ways to love.
A demon for each, carved in limestone, squirms in the church:
Despair, Luxury--they tangle in vines, ride lions, gape.
Adepts at pronging pitchforks into the gut.
You saw light leak from my eyes. I saw you turn.
On the tympanum, Christ barely balances
in his almond chafing dish, Pentecostal fire
hurls out to the Apostles left and right,
they're microwaved. They were about to eat.
In the market, I bought lettuces as frilled,
scalloped, unfurled, and rainbow-hued
as rococo chapels—Batavia, Tarantelle,
Reine des Glaces—and the sun touched each sweet leaf
till it trembled and spoke in tongues.
I have spent a very lovely day with my family in New York, starting with an early morning subway ride to Columbia University and Riverside Church, where Daniel's choir group was rehearsing when we arrived for their performance at the music festival. (Subways are such amazing things; we were riding under the city with a law student, a woman with a little dog in a mesh carrier, and a woman who looked at younger son's t-shirt for Montgomery Science and told us she'd gone to high school in Montgomery County...my high school, as it turned out.) We listened to the critiques by the adjucators of the high school choir, which were fascinating, and ended up eating lunch in the very good and comically inexpensive church cafe, whose curry soup we could smell as we walked from the nave to the rooms where the musical instruments were being kept for the orchestras. Ulysses S. Grant's Tomb is across the street, so we visited that too.
After lunch, we took another subway in the pouring rain to Central Park, where we ignored the thunder and went to the zoo. We had the place practically to ourselves due to the weather, which had some real advantages...we were pretty much the only people at both the sea lion feeding and (more importantly) the penguin feeding, where we got to see many Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins competing for fish and attention. The rain had let up by the time we left the most excellent rainforest exhibit, where we spent more time than expected because the Victoria crowned pigeons were playful (they wander around on the same paths as the visitors -- again, we were pretty much the only ones) and the flying foxes were awake and grooming each other, just like the snow monkeys outside.
We walked through Central Park on the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, though Adam, who had gone to bed late and awoken early, was not feeling terrific. He made it through the Egyptian galleries and the part of the American wing that isn't being renovated -- the Tiffany gallery and the Frank Lloyd Wright room, my two favorite things, were both open -- but then wanted to sit down, so we took him to the cafeteria to get him a cup of tea. Once he smelled the tilapia, he decided that he was ravenous, so we ended up eating dinner there (the Thai-style fish was in fact excellent) to sustain him through the American landscapes, Armor and Weapons, Medieval, and part of the Post-Impressionist galleries. By then we were all pretty exhausted though very grateful the museum stays open till 9 p.m. on Fridays, so we came back to the hotel to crash!
Daniel's high school choir at Riverside Church.
Who's buried in Grant's Tomb? No one.
Oh, fine, that was a trick question. Grant and his wife are in sarcophagi rather than buried in the ground.
Central Park Zoo in the rain, looking from the sea lion enclosure toward the high rises.
But of course we went to see the penguins!
Here is the Alice in Wonderland sculpture in Central Park.
And here, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the Temple of Dendur...
And the living room from the Little House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Saturday we are going to Brooklyn to see my uncle Larry, and to visit the aquarium, while Daniel is on a cruise and visiting the Empire State Building with his school group -- he was at West Side Story tonight. Must sleep now.