Saturday, October 21, 2017

Poem for Saturday and Battery Park

Refusing at Fifty-Two to Write Sonnets
By Thomas Lynch

It came to him that he could nearly count
How many Octobers he had left to him
In increments of ten or, say, eleven
Thus: sixty-three, seventy-four, eighty-five.
He couldn’t see himself at ninety-six—
Humanity’s advances notwithstanding
In health-care, self-help, or new-age regimens—
What with his habits and family history,
The end he thought is nearer than you think.

The future, thus confined to its contingencies,
The present moment opens like a gift:
The balding month, the grey week, the blue morning,
The hour’s routine, the minute’s passing glance—
All seem like godsends now.  And what to make of this?
At the end the word that comes to him is Thanks.

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I had a boring chore-filled Friday morning because I knew the Pokemon Go Halloween event was beginning at 3 p.m. and wanted to be able to go to Cabin John Park to meet raiding companions, though I actually encountered the first one near an elementary school where we had heard there was a perfect IV Pikachu, which we both caught. Now I have five Gen 3 ghosts and a witch hat Pikachu, too.

My parents have been in New York taking care of my uncle's apartment and accounts so we didn't do our usual Friday night dinner at their house. Paul and I watched the start of the lovely Astros-Yankees game, and now I am subjecting everyone including the cats to more Yuri on Ice. Here are some more photos from the Battery, including the ships and the Statue of Liberty:

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Poem for Friday and New York Aquarium

Stingray
By Jennifer Harrison

Nothing is in its place. I alligator roll
through the dumper, come up
with sand in my mouth
the clean grit of summer.
These grains, sharp crystals
irritate the skin
until everything fluid
grinds in the groyne of my mind
a pocket, now a fracture
swept apart by imagery.

Black Drummer. Black Cod. San Souci Dolphin.
On a good day, Mnemosyne sees
clear to the trilobites ten fathoms down.
Nights are for busters, the bruising of rain.
How easily Stingrays camouflage
themselves in the sand, she said later
striking out for the channel, forgetting her name.

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I'm trying not to be cranky or boring at least one day this week, but it was kind of a boring work day and I don't have much to report beyond being visited by my cats (who would like the heat on now that it's below 75 degrees) and neighborhood cats (who would like their butts rubbed). I had a minor disaster with a bottle that shattered in the bathroom, requiring a lot of cleaning, and I broke a bracelet so I turned it into two new bracelets with wire, glass beads, and pliers.

Paul now has the same cold I got from Adam, so we had soup and bread for dinner, then we started to watch Thursday night football but didn't really care and really what was the point of watching the Dodgers-Cubs game after the third inning. So since I'd been subjected to so many sports, I figured I should subject Paul to one and made him watch some Yuri on Ice. He even mostly paid attention, kind of. From the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn:

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Poem for Thursday and Battery Park

September Tomatoes
By Karina Borowicz

The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.

Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.

It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.

My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.

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The Washington Post's food section article "Fall isn't just about pumpkin spice" quoted this poem this week.

My Wednesday was chaotic and some upsetting stuff happened but it was less crappy than Tuesday, at least superficially. Maddy (who was having a hard day since it was the anniversary of her mother's death) had plans with Alice, but Alice had a bunch of family obligations come up and Maddy had to move the time of her hair appointment, so although I had expected to see both of them, I actually saw little even of Maddy except in the car. So I got a reasonable number of chores done and I visited with Rose, who came to see the cats.

We watched the Supergirl we missed (love the Supercorp but I'm already sick of the overwritten mom-and-daughter stuff) before Designated Survivor, which was my favorite of the season so far. Here are some more pics from the Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan, including views of the Statue of Liberty and the ferries and ships that sail around her, the Immigrants monument, the exterior of Fort Clinton which was the first U.S. immigration center, the Navy memorial, and some of Wall Street's buildings:

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Poem for Wednesday and Seaglass Carousel

Beach Glass
By Amy Clampitt

While you walk the water’s edge,
turning over concepts
I can’t envision, the honking buoy
serves notice that at any time
the wind may change,
the reef-bell clatters
its treble monotone, deaf as Cassandra
to any note but warning. The ocean,
cumbered by no business more urgent
than keeping open old accounts
that never balanced,
goes on shuffling its millenniums
of quartz, granite, and basalt.
                    It behaves
toward the permutations of novelty--
driftwood and shipwreck, last night’s
beer cans, spilt oil, the coughed-up
residue of plastic--with random
impartiality, playing catch or tag
or touch-last like a terrier,
turning the same thing over and over,
over and over. For the ocean, nothing
is beneath consideration.
                    The houses
of so many mussels and periwinkles
have been abandoned here, it’s hopeless
to know which to salvage. Instead
I keep a lookout for beach glass--
amber of Budweiser, chrysoprase
of Almadén and Gallo, lapis
by way of (no getting around it,
I’m afraid) Phillips’
Milk of Magnesia, with now and then a rare
translucent turquoise or blurred amethyst
of no known origin.
                    The process
goes on forever: they came from sand,
they go back to gravel,
along with treasuries
of Murano, the buttressed
astonishments of Chartres,
which even now are readying
for being turned over and over as gravely
and gradually as an intellect
engaged in the hazardous
redefinition of structures
no one has yet looked at.

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Let's not even get into my Tuesday except to say that it was near total frustration and the only thing I accomplished of note was getting groceries bought, which I did with Paul in the late afternoon, though when we went to the deli beforehand, they served me egg salad with celery after assuring me that the egg salad did not have celery and I ended up having a bagel and cream cheese for dinner after having had a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast.

And, again, that was the really GOOD part of my day. My evening was, at least, mostly quiet, involving The Flash which is kind of boring me (relationship stuff too cutesy, villain stuff too mean) and a bunch of family financial paperwork, plus a long letter I wrote to a specific person and realized it would be much smarter for a whole host of reasons not to send. Here is one of the nicest parts of my past weekend, the Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park, best experienced live!

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Poem for Tuesday, Miss Austen Regrets, Zoo Animals

Visiting EM Forster
By Debjani Chatterjee

"But Forster doesn't live here any more."
I knew that of course. He died the year before
– before my passage. I told "Raised Eyebrows"
that I only wanted … to see his room,
to see the view. Why else would I have come?
"But this is not a museum, you know."
(Cambridge, not a museum?) I nodded.
"An ordinary room." Ordinary
is what it takes. I remembered my coach
journey from Canterbury. "I have come
all the way from India. He was my friend."
It worked. The brows subsided, defeated.

A bemused stranger occupied the place
– half apologised for everything changed.
The room was functional, anonymous:
he could not have lived here long. "I'm afraid
even the furniture is not the same."
What did I care, standing at the window.
Olive groves beside the forget-me-not
Mediterranean rolled below, with
a dust haze veiling the Marabar curves.
"It is the same," I said, "nothing has changed."

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I spent Monday decompressing with Cheryl, which was awesome. We picked up Elevation Burgers (and cheese fries and milkshakes) and watched several great British films, including Miss Austen Regrets, which I had never seen (like most Austen biopics, it was sad and a bit too obsessed with men, but also very well acted), and two very longtime Merchant-Ivory favorites, A Room With a View and Maurice.

Apart from a brief trip to the mall to buy the last two Harry Potter rings at the Alex and Ani store, that was our day. After Cheryl went home, I had faux fish sticks for dinner with Paul and Maddy, then we watched Monday night's The Gifted and Sunday night's Madam Secretary because the sports scores were not pleasing us. From the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn on Sunday, some of the indoor animals:

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Greetings from Prospect Park

We're back in Maryland after Uncle Larry's memorial service, which took place at a Jewish funeral home in Brooklyn and was lovely and sad -- he was very involved with the Boy Scouts for most of his life, and several of the people he'd befriended and mentored over the years spoke about how important he was to them. Nicole, Harris, and two of their daughters were there as well as my parents and several of my uncle's friends.

Earlier in the day we visited the Prospect Park Zoo, where my mother and her brother used to go with their father as children, and had lunch at the Bagel Pub, which is apparently the hip place to have bagels and was very crowded and very delicious. We stopped for dinner at a Subway near the Maryland House, which was even more crowded and had long waits, and dropped Adam off in College Park on the way home. Since I'm very tired, most on all this tomorrow.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Greetings from Park Slope

I am in Brooklyn with Paul and Adam for my Uncle Larry's funeral on Sunday. We picked Adam up in College Park, stopped at the Delaware House for lunch, and arrived in New York late in the afternoon after a brief stop at a mall to get Adam a dress shirt and tie since he thought for some reason we were going back home before continuing north so he could pick them up there.

Since we still had a few hours of daylight, we went to the Battery, which I don't believe I've ever visited before. My friend Mary had posted pictures recently of the Seaglass Carousel and I was dying to see it -- and ride it! I also hadn't realized there were such great views of the Statue of Liberty, the Staten Island Ferry, and the clipper ships that launch nearby.

We went to Tomato and Basil for pizza and had a funny experience, in that we were in line in front of actor Ben Shenkman whom I knew I recognized but thought he might be someone I knew from college or something. (The pizza was excellent.) Adam had some homework to do, so we spent the late evening watching Days of Future Past at the hotel. Here are some pics of the carousel and park:

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