I continually strive to write the poetic equivalent of this — layered, assymetrical, audacious, theatrical, aggressively feminine and not entirely utilitarian:

Went to see this remarkable sartorial creation by Vivienne Westwood yesterday at Cooper-Hewitt, where it was part of a show called “Fashion in Colors.” If you have an interest in fashion, textile, or color, do not miss this show! It’s small, but organized according to the spectrum, with special sections for black, white, and multicolor, and it’s an experiential immersion akin to an exhibit you might find at San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

My day continued New Yorkily as I rode the M4 down past a building in Central Park festooned vertically with lights that changed from red/green to red/purple, past the Hotel Pierre, to 59th St., where I got off to be a tourist in my own city fighting for space and sensation with all the other tourists. The windows at Bergdorf-Goodman blew my mind — I found them in some ways even more impressive than the Cooper-Hewitt show:

I don’t have my own digital camera (a pointed birthday hint), so I couldn’t take pictures (this one’s a link) of all the splendor, in particular the shimmering gold peacocks and another of a curio room full of travel memorabilia and a giant OSTRICH. A pure white peacock at a jewelry store a block down echoed the theme. Fifth Avenue is filled with peacocks! I didn’t care for the hoopla and claustrophobia around Rockefeller Center — a big tree, who cares, or the white reindeer just a step up from what you might see on a lawn in Bensonhurst (although I must say, in Bensonhurst, they are campily splendid).

Always needing to slake the visual thirst…

Urbi et Orbi

Here’s a true story that people tell me should be on Katie Degentesh’s blog:

On Friday I got off at Union Square and headed towards my dance class, making my way through crowds of people buying stuff at the holiday crafts stalls. A nun in full habit carrying a shallow tin pan was walking through the crowds as well pleading for money for St. Francis Orphanage.

I must have given her a look that she found less than friendly, because, as she approached, and tried to pass me, I distinctly heard her say, “Excuse me, CREEP.”

I was stunned, and so was another woman who was browsing the chic fleece jackets that are always on sale this time of year, who looked at me and said, “Did I just hear that?”

So I thought to myself a minute, and I realized it wasn’t right, that I shouldn’t have to take abuse from a nun.

I decided to look for her and confront her on her misdeed. I found her by the subway entrance, where three young people were handing her bills and change.

“You just called me a CREEP,” I told her.

She replied, in a kind of abrasive caw, “How dare you LIE?” The three young people scattered, muttering “I’m not going to get involved…”

And right to her livid, hornrimmed face, I said: “I think you need to talk to your god about this.”

Merry Christmas!

p.s. A quick Google search turns up lots of St. Francis Orphanages, but none in NYC.


(Continuing only for a short time;
not enduring; fleeting; evanescent. )


The body is dependent on the body’s resistance.
The higher the body’s resistance, the less likely harmful current will result

When you feel the body’s resistance, talk to it. Cajole it. Reassure it.
Only firm willpower can squelch the body’s resistance and get it to comply.

The body’s resistance should be respected, since it is useful feedback.

Distant effects will arise when the body’s resistance has more or less broken down.


The body is dependent on the body’s resistance.
The higher the body’s resistance, the less likely harmful current will result.

When you feel the body’s resistance, talk to it. Cajole it. Reassure it.
Only firm willpower can squelch the body’s resistance and get it to comply.

The body’s resistance should be respected, since it is useful feedback.

Distant effects will arise when the body’s resistance has more or less broken down.


Amused by DJs playing “Cool Operator,” “Love Train,” and “Walk on by”…

It’s inconvenient, but yeah, I like a strike.

Wouldn’t it be cool if this were the tipping point that sent us into a new era of worker resistance and empowerment?

We Women Who Write

We women who write are a special breed. In us the creative urge takes on unique forms. We see possibilities in practically every scrap and remnant. A stroll through our thoughts brings on a state of euphoria impossible to induce even with happiness pills. An unusual phoneme or a sequence of extraordinary tropes may set off a chain reaction which ends only when a poem or book or drama is built around this rare find. There is always a file drawer or hard drive or brain circuit bulging with odd lexical fragments which we couldn’t resist collecting. These grow old along with us before we can bring ourselves to cut into this heavenly stuff. (It may be years before a poem comes along that is really worthy of it) A color, a texture, a line can bring the same inspired glint to the eyes of Miss Eighteen or Mrs. Eighty. Before the epiphany of one poem is attained, we are already dreaming up something new.

Most of us write because we love writing of great beauty and because we enjoy the experience of creating. However, creativity is often blocked by dependence on commercial poems. As the hours of looking through poetry books mount, so does our frustration. The creative artist in us has visualized something which we cannot find for all our looking. What we are really searching for is our own design idea, which, of course, is not there. So we begin apprehensively to take liberties with poems. We timidly attempt to combine one poem with another. But we are too fearful to make much progress. How we wish we knew more about poems! How we wish we could make our own!

This book is intended for the woman who had reached this stage in her poemmaking activity. The principles of poem construction are really neither too mysterious, too numerous, nor too difficult for the home writer. Any woman who can work her way through the labyrinthian directions for writing which accompany the commercial poem can surely leam the comparatively simple and clear rules for poem making.

I am neither an inventor nor a discoverer, except in such manner as all teachers are partly both. I did not originate the principles which govern poem construction. I am greatly indebted, in fact, to those who did develop the theory and who laid down the rules long before I was even aware that this information existed.

I am a teacher. The teacher’s job, it appears to me, is to make her subject clear, its mastery attainable, and its learning a delight. Any measure of success I have been able to achieve in this book (and in my classroom) I hope can be considered a contribution to this field.

after Adele P, Margolis

I really do not think that “ludicrous irony” is “a trap” that ends in the writer’s own “[self-?] incrimination.”

I mean, what is the inverse? Somber credulousness? Now *that’s* a trap.

A riveting reading Saturday at Segue by Norma Cole, who looked somehow more French than ever in her mod haircut and olive-green trousers. Also more delicate and stronger than ever.

The final piece she read was a tour de force: a catalog of words and phrases she has found it most challenging to articulate since her stroke, which left her, for a while, speechless. So… poem literally as therapy, rehabilitation, challenge, bullfight almost, and struggle to articulate — useful, necessary, performative, and demanding total attentiveness. That feeling of watching someone fight to “come back” out of a twilight space. Or watching someone learn (I was reminded, at moments, of my job). Certain particularly hard-to-say words she flubbed, then wrestled with until, “there, she said it” — a feeling of concern and wonderment and vicarious triumph on the part of this listener. Right there with her uneasy rhythms, her upright tenacious form.

I was about to write that I don’t remember the last time I was so moved by a reading until I remembered how palpable was the yearning in the reading Alan Davies gave just last month.

Oh! These humans! These human poets! How bravely they write through life.



To a long eel from the sideburns
I spoke how unclean widows weaving
A thousand clowns the muddle, was it
To irritate you as you wriggled we poked

If there were thought and thought,
Hunger and hunger, will… and will…
We might have impatience
Memory, memory, mine-filled

Clown through “I knew” — that
Platypus arranging milk “I know”
And the red thread wrapped what
We met I lost through Taschen decades

— Glam words alone sponging —
God, filled without spoonbill
elongated, making them
And us not just “one”

At the top as through a dark soda fountain
Just enough syrup
That meant spitup, de-sire, stalactite
Pool or tinkling fountains of sprite.