Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Queens conversation

I was volunteering this morning at a tailgate party at Sunnyside Gardens Park this morning, working "security." My boss is a big cross-eyed Irish marine named Jamie. I was talking to him and a man from Turkey named Ahmad. We started talking sports, what else at a neighborhood tailgate party. Ahmad started talking about crazy Futbol fans in Turkey. Jamie launched into one of his famous stories. "Turkey's a rough country. I remember when I was there with the Marines. I was at some little hole in the wall with my guys and I had my wallet up on the bar. All the sudden they were closing the bar. It was only 12:30 in the afternoon. They were closing the bar because of a public hanging. So we all went outside. And all of the sudden we realized we had been pushed to the front. They were trying to show us Americans, 'This is what we'll do to you, if you're not careful.' I looked at my guys and told them, 'When the body drops I want you to cheer and scream full of bloodlust. Because we wanted to show them." Then Ahmad, with a big smile said, "There's never been public execution in Turkey in my lifetime. It must have been some other country you were in." Jamie countered with, "Well, it was a small town." Ahmad was resolute, "I'm from a small town." Jamie, "But you cut off the hands of thieves over there." Ahmad, "No we haven't done that for a long time either." Jamie, "I'm going to get some coffee, do you guys need anything?"

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Making it up

We found a little Zen fusion restaurant, completely out of place in the Poconos, vegan. I said to Genevieve, doesn't it sometimes seem like you are making up the landscape as you go? On the menu was coconut oatmeal, which we had just had ourselves that morning.

Also Sophia said well she was on the trail, "I'm brave like Miyazaki." Recorded this on my phone but it got translated into, "I'm brave like me a Rocky." I thought that was a pretty good mistranslation, but then when we got to zen fusion place I noticed that Rocky was playing on the flatscreen and it all fell into place. Making it up as we go.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Utter Bliss of listening to Caspar babypants and then vampire weekend in the car on the way to Amanda and Bill's. And the exquisite blue and pink colors over the lake. The stars. The weird sculptures. 

And then reading Bone, the comic book, to the girls. 

Wondering how to fully enjoy myself when so much else is wrong. And then thinking maybe the greatest wrong might be to miss all this beauty right in front of me. No, the beauty, as great and good as she is, is not the whole truth. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Put the babies in the White House

Near perfect day See Ma

Today I succeeded at living. I did yoga, then took care of my girls, made everybody breakfast, lead everybody in gratitude, made lunch for the girls, took them to children's museum of art, spent hours there with them, made many great works of art. witnessed my 5 year old daughter writing a genius lunch haiku. "Eddie Eddie says he's sweaty/ so he goes to the Ferris wheel." On 1 on way home had to run to the end of the train to find a place to get the stroller on with the girls, total drama, action movie climax. Watch 2 crazy dance routines in the subway at the 7/1 intersection, the second one a midget Michael Jackson impersonator. Made it home at 6 PM in by 7 had made a curry sweet potato cauliflower tofu soup. (One fail was not testing the strength of the curry spice before feeding it to Lucia.) brushed off my wife's neggo-criticisms and general work-crankiness. Engaged her. Ate with family, had good conversation. Wrote for three hours after dinner including a story about the "children's museum of art" for my dada blog. While Listening to early Pink Floyd. And then working on a manuscript due August 1 for KrupskayA. I am happy with it. A rare hard won feeling. Then off for 2 beers and a weird electronica space jam and an intense convo with Quinn and Estaban down the block. Quinn said I looked like his dad, who he never knew. I said it must just be just as hard to miss what you missed as it would be to miss what you knew. The sublimation deepens.

Then home to chocolate and caramel. 

What a near perfect day. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Last night we were at the Father's Day camp out in Sunnyside Gardens Park, watching ET. In two minutes span of the movie there are references to Star Wars, Star Trek, Space Invaders, Sesame Street and Jaws. Spielberg's cross reference with his own film Jaws is subtle. Elliot is playing with a toy grabber, a shark on the end of the stick. I remembered seeing one of these before, in the 80's movie The Sure Thing, where John Cusack picks. One up on his way into Daphne's unique is college dorm roomwas Shirleyreferencing Spielberg referencing jaws. And to practically prove it, earlier that day I listened to Kuzak on the nerdiest podcast, talking about his favorite quotes from jaws. That is 40, and one way to take the tears of the deep and blend them with the heart of Drewberry more. Drew herself so perfect in the movie, as well as being simultaneously a link to the entire history of the cinema

Thursday, May 28, 2015

When Marnie Was There

The evening was a date night, serendipitously, all Japanese. We started by shopping for clothing staples at Uniqlo, then we went to IFC theater to see the final Studio Ghibli film "When Marnie Was There" is the most exquisitely beautiful film I've yet seen. It has the breadth and depth of the most enchanting summer vacation you could imagine all somehow compressed into two hours. And it's also a master lesson in psychological acuity.

(Marnie, connected in my head with Marley, Maryn and Maya. Like the movie was written for Maya. And Hitchcock's Marnie too.)

Afterward we googled best Sushi in the area and were lead to an incredible place called Neta. Perfect.

A perfect night followed by a perfect day seeing the new Whitney with Catherine and the girls, followed by another perfect night, a reading at Marlene's with Kristen Gallegher and Joanna Sondheim.

Followed by a weekend in CT. Yeesh, what a life. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

New free library finds

Blank slate for girls

Sonnets for me

Proust for ?

Founding brothers for a brother

Poe for me

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Light show

Today I was laying down in a gently rocking docked boat belonging to my father-in-law, listening to Vivaldi on the boat's sound system and riding along on the vibrant rollercoaster of strings. I had a straw hat covering my face and through the holes of the hat were streaming pinpoints of light. Inside those pinpoints I could see tiny worlds full of soft blurry irridescent pastels. At first I thought I was just imagining that these swirls of color were dancing in time to the music, but then as I watched a little more closely I saw I wasn't imagining this at all, that the floating sea of lights really were vibrating in rhythm to the varying pulses inside the piece. I realized the loud music that was coming from speakers about 3 feet away on either side of my head was creating sound waves that were pushing the air above my head and in turn affecting the light as it was streaming through the tiny magnifying apertures in the hat. It was a spectacular natural light show.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Come together

At Marlene's for pynchon's harmonica. 

Between Tyler Burba's music, the density of thought and history in Christian's essay on Pynchon and the harmonica, the odd chaos and resolution of the discussion afterward sparked by my step father's question, an exquisite night. Also KC being there, Ana not letting me pay for my drinks, timelessness of the venue, Markene's. Just perfect.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Overheard at Cervante's,
"Demonology is the root of Judaism! You're clogging the satanic system, bitches." Okay back to the music.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Running sneaking into the pool Brian Jamaica
It isn't the fancy flying it's the fruit
Rome. Bus window for revenge run its! Trying to keep up

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New Yorker notes, March 16th, 2015 issue

The article on Sappho in this week's New Yorker is worthy of its subject. Daniel Mendelsohn builds masterfully toward some incredible moments. The last lines of the essay: "Where, exactly, does the "Old Age Poem" end? Was it a melancholy testament to the mortifying effects of age or a triumphant assertion of the power of beauty, of the "finer things" -of poetry itself- to redeem the ravages of time? Even as we strain to hear this remarkable woman's sweet speech, the thrumming in our ears grows louder."

I was reading Werner Herzog's incredible book of reflections on the making of Fitzcarraldo, CONQUEST OF THE USELESS, and came across a mention of Vargas Llosa. Where had I just seen that name? Oh yeah, in this week's New Yorker. So I went back to read that article and stopped in my tracks when I read, "Mad Peru hurt Vargas Llosa into fiction long before it pushed him toward politics. In fact, his pursuit of the first probably assured his failure at the second, since, as he himself has argued, "good literature always ends up showing those who read it...the inevitable limitation of all power to fulfill human aspirations and desires."

Streets of Coolidge

I was very sad I couldn't make Coletti and Coolidge's reading tonight, especially not to hear Deep Code live. The morning of the reading I was walking down 4th St with Anselm Berrigan, after finishing touches on my book, and ran into Clark and Susan Coolidge waiting to cross Ave B. Serendipity. We talked for a minute, notably about the action figure Butthead that I saw hanging on his wall in Petaluma when we went to visit him there 15 years ago. He told us Beavis and Butthead saved him that year. As we were leaving I apologized that I wouldn't be able to make the reading, because I had to take my mother to the airport. They both laughed, which was great.

Vargas Llosa

I should start a new blog just listing synchronicities. Just ran across the name Vargas Llosa in Werner Herzog's reflections from the making of Fitzcarraldo (given to me by Anselm Berrigan) called conquest of the useless. Earlier today I skipped over an article in the New Yorker about the same man. So obviously I have to go back and read it.

And I should start another just for dreams.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

8 pt. mission for conjugal acceptance

New personal goal

I want to be beloved of my wife most of all. Even if it means giving up some of my own dreams. (Though never entirely. They should dovetail!)

Here's the first part of my plan. To groom myself to Jony Ives perfection.

I think this came to me in a dream. 8 step program.

Like, start by shaving myself, carefully.

2. Lotion! Better and better and better. Gen's brothers would be the best to ask. Matthew. Both Matthews!

3. Fashion, endless variations.

4. Daily workout for at least an hour.

5. Business strategizing for one solid hour.

6. Cooking dinner (cutting edge)

7. teeth whitening

8. Step up my barber.

Monday, February 2, 2015

barnes treasures

Top five highlights from the Barnes Foundation collection in Philadelphia.

7.  Cezanne's Leda and The Swan painting, the way she is listlessly in the power of the swan, the swaths of rectangular blues making up the roundness of her body.  

6. Picasso's sublime painting, Peasants.

5. Van Gogh's Postman. The way the swirls in the beard matched the wallpaper. The way the uneven eyes showed the sympathy of and for the man. The way it wasn't a portrait of someone rich or royal.

4. The never-before-seen Rousseau paintings, especially the poetic narrative of "The Unpleasant Surprise."

3. De Chirico's Swan. The psychedelic cartoon swan amidst the bland workaday table.

2. The spatial hallucinatory effects of Rubens, "The incarnation as fulfillment of all the prophecies."

1. Titian's panoramic landscape in "The Sleeping Shepherd" and especially the boy waking up in the middle.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

So it was a perfectNew York weekend. Went with the girls to the Brooklyn Museum on Friday then Saturday watched Mary Poppins at home with the girls Saturday night went to see Hedwig and the angry inchwe went to dinner at dodgy before hand and then lamb. On the way from dinner we met up with Genevieve's chic boss. Then met friends who had just seen Hedwig 7 o'clock. Then Sunday went to see Anselm and Eileen miles read. Fell in love with both of them afterward. And love. Life almost too perfect. Had awakened me, almost as amazing as that!

Let me try that again.

This is about gratitude, no?

I always want to share the amazing thing.

I don't know why. I'm trying to learn to just share it with myself. Because really, no one else is experiencing the amazing thing. And why should anyone else necessarily care.

So, get this though.

Thurs I took the girls to The Brooklyn Museum. Best day of my life. So boring without being there. And I could write my ass off trying to get you there and not sure if it would come close.

The reading tonight, Anselm Berrigan and Eileen Myles. SOOO much happened to me before the reading, during the reading and after. Just really a volume or two. Could it possibly matter?

Here's one thing. An old problem area, re-examined. I listened to Anselm and Eileen on the floor. After the reading this beautiful young girl sitting next to me on the floor turned to me and said, "Those were the perfect seats."

-Oh, watching the reading from the floor? Yeah, right, especially when Eileen got up on the chair.

-Yeah, it was like she was talking down through the clouds. Is that a sky light up there?

-I don't know, if it was its been boarded up.

"Here, have a sip of liquid courage," hands me her drink. I take a sip. Wonder if I need any courage?

She says, I had a sky light growing up in my room

-that must have been amazing, to see the clouds and stars and sun and moon above your bed.


-and there was Eileen Myles reading poems from above the clouds.

-yeah, and I baked a loaf of Challah this morning and it was cloud shaped


On and on like that, with that kind of flow and rhythm and excitement.

She lured me in further. Tells me a story about liking older guys.

But I didn't go there, because I'm not dumb.

She was 23, half my age, she pointed out. I said I'm double you. She made a W sign with her hands.

Friday, January 9, 2015

lost weekend found

to Patton Oswalt:

I went to a roast last night for Karen Marder's 40th. Karen is a Queens native, a poet and teacher who is dating my friend Tyler Burba. It was one of the most bizarre and amazing parties I have been to. First of all, throwing yourself a roast is brilliant. You know the dirt is coming from your friends, so it gets raw and mean, which is hilarious, but it's spoken with this backbone of forgiveness and understanding. It paints the portraits of the roastee so well, especially when it's a character like Karen. She comes from a family of Borscht Belt comedians and you could hear it, the whole Jewish tradition of humor. It was great to witness the queen JAP of Queens in full flower when it was her turn at the mic. The party was in a new high end Mexican restaurant in Astoria and they just kept pouring wine into my glass until I found myself wobbling home, whistling Dean Martin songs.

This morning I started out hung over, and listless, keeping myself propped up while cleaning dishes by listening to Part 3 of the 5 part Hardcore History podcast series on Ghengis Khan. I really felt for a moment what it must be like to kill mercilessly, to feel bloodlust, to be part of an efficient and disciplined military machine, but also felt even more keenly the other side, the sadness, the seemingly endless sadness for those who suffered.

Meanwhile I let the girls watch SciGirls on Netflix while they ate breakfast, part of the current Science Friday regimen.

Afterward I took them out to the park to play in the fresh powdery snow. Sofia said the empty park full of snow was like having a wonderland all to ourselves, and it was.

We followed some rabbit tracks around the park for awhile. So cool the way all four rabbit feet close together make one big paw-like print, each paw print spread 2-3 feet apart. It's a kind of natural optical illusion because it looks like a giant animal hopping forward on one paw.

I talked to the park keeper, Ivan, for awhile and heard a great tale about a headless redtail hawk he found there last week. Ruth was there and told me they buried the hawk in the community garden.

Sofia was making snow angels and said, "the clouds look like close-up skin."

Later, when Sofia went to her Pre-K class I tuned into 99 and Barry's Afternoon Sound Alternatuve on KGNU while I organized and cleaned my dresser drawers and Lucia watched "Sid The Science Kid."  A sad Mongolian folk song came on in the mix. I thought of the Khans again, and the millions slain and raped and tortured by them. I realized that I must have this blood in me too, bits of it, from both sides of the battles, this genetic memory. I feel an infinite sadness down deep in my bones. I could fully feel it in the music, all of it. I took my phone and plugged it into the speakers for Lucia to hear too. We danced to the music. I swung her around and around, slowly.  Lucia has a bit of a Mongolian look to her, especially her eyes, from her mother's side. At one point as we were dancing she told me she was a princess. I could totally see her as a Khan's daughter. Her life would have been full of insecurity and pain back then. Now she is a princess of a much luckier kind, a sci-fi princess of the future, and at least for awhile she can relax and dance with her father to the old music of the Steppes in relative peace. The perspective of time is a trip. I was there, now I'm here, voila.

I made a special dessert for the girls after dinner, banana slices with raisin on top and a chocolate chip. Served with "magic garden" tea. Meanwhile we watched Pee Wee's Playhouse on the iPad Mini. I could hardly believe how funny and imaginative that show is. The girls totally got it too.

I read a good New York Times about Miyazaki, and several more too, including excerpts from scripts of Oscar contenders; Boyhood, Inherent Vice, Birdman, etc. Also a Patton Oswalt reading list in the Book Review section gladdened me. Turns out he's a Wallace Stevens geek too. I love Oswalt, like Steven's rabbit. Oswalt the rabbit. Thinking how great it would be to do a podcast with him about poetry, get wired and do close readings of some of those mysterious masterpieces, just delve in deep. It would actually get a decent listenership too I bet. I'm gonna message him on FB and see if he's into it. 

I also read somewhere in the paper about a perfect wool shirt that keeps you super warm on freezing days. We are having an arctic chill. I need to get one of those shirts.

After dinner we took a bath. I asked Sofia what kind of music she wanted to hear during bath time. Maybe Fleet Foxes or Luluc? But she said, no, something jazzy with horns. Hard to believe the girl is 4. So I had the bright idea of putting Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" on the turntable. Sofia loves that song.

Tonight we wound down by watching Fantasia on the projector. (Made the connection with Sofia that the Sorcerer's Apprentice is a similar story to Elsa's in Frozen, both of them about learning to control the magic.)

Then I put the girls in bed and sang them a long song while I played guitar. I was exhausted, but managed to come up with a good song I think. And it did the trick, got them to sleep. It was a song about La La Loopsie and My Little Pony taking a boat to an island where they meet up with Max, kind of the wild things. And it made perfect sense.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years day

Now I'm on a train down to the city reading a book I found in free library and listening to corresponding music on spotify. Life is good.