Day [of Repentance.]

matisse 10

All right, here I am.

Someone next to me is wearing stonewashed jeans ironically, but I’m still okay.

It’s going to snow here tomorrow.

I totally abandoned you while I was tangled up in my own problems.

Here’s what I know, though:

That is:

1. No one can tell you who you are.

2. Clothes make the man.

3. Buy someone a tuxedo, that’s a really nice thing to do.

Spring approaches quickly, quickly, wait for the warm rain.

Day 11.

matisse 10We need Lent to be sad.

Today I was angry about 2 of 3 classes not getting with the program, into their lesson, which was a fine lesson, indeed, we read a bit of Tupac, they acted happy about that at first, but then ran off the rails, speaking of rails, I was angry my train wasn’t going home. The L won’t get me anywhere. Okay, the F. Sit with the gathering crowd waiting for an F train that may never come. More, and more of us. I’m not even reading.

Get to coffee, where I have been looking forward to writing all day, open my laptop, there is a big white stripe down the middle, there is a little white stripe across the part where I need to click whatever the Chrome icon looks like, I wouldn’t know, it is gone.

On Monday, I shakily pressed “purchase” for a new laptop of my own (my own was fried last August), and then got an email my credit card was short just $25 to cover it.

I paid my credit card bill.

It will take a week for my new laptop to be delivered to the Apple store, despite the fact that I live in the capital of everything where every fucking thing is, at least that must be why no train can go anywhere.

Angry, angry, angry.

These, of course, are not the problems, the problems are that no one sees me, I am invisible completely, and that my grandma suffered deeply, consistently, for years, before she was, with difficulty, able to surrender herself to death.

Also someone told me about this guy who shot himself in the head yesterday.

It’s a wonderful time to be sad ,now, Lent. Even when it looks like spring outside.

How alone you feel, even when you’re with people, even if they love you, sometimes, how loving, smart people still make awful decisions, say terrible things to you, how my grandma suffered deeply, consistently, for years, before she was, with difficulty, able to surrender herself to death.

I vent, I sit with my coffee and a brownie that is not worth any of the butter in it, and I’m not sure if it helped.

I went to church. Someone chanted in Latin, on and on, everyone was quiet, the cross was covered up with purple cloth. I wasn’t angry, I was sad, no one sees me, my grandma suffered deeply, consistently, for years, before she was, with difficulty, able to surrender herself to death.

Nice things happened today, too, and I’m not going to think about any of them, just be sad.

Ten years before she died, Grandma told us she and her friend were worried they might have Alzheimer’s, or get it, so they asked their doctor, and their doctor told them, and they told no one what the doctor said.

Three years before she died, she told me she watched the dementia unit being built across the parking lot, and she hated it, and she was afraid she might go there, and she asked me if she had Alzheimer’s.

The last time she spoke to me, she said something quiet and terrible about how hard life was.

One of my students today I shook her hand because I knew she has had bad mental illness and has been back at school two days in a row. Another one raised his hand, I went to him, he said quietly, “I want you to know, I’m dealing with a lot of bad stuff, but I’m trying to smile and be cheerful.” I know. He lived in a shelter. I know.

“I know,” I said.

Today it’s all right to be sad, and I won’t tell anyone to buck up or distract himself.

It’s all right to be sad, even if all you can allow yourself is sadness about your own pettiness. That’s fine, too.

We use Lent to be sad. Go ahead.

12 Days, All I Have For You Is A Few Handsome Cats.

matisse 10 Today I feel annoyed, everything conspired to annoy me, and only one animal can help.   I hope I have not reposted this. You have learned my interest in internet videos is neither deep nor wide. Two rubs exactly. Just watch it again as my cat pulls her water dish around in an attempt to do something… no doubt sad in tone, philosophical in foundation, and French in bitterness. There you go, much better.

Wait , one more thing:cat red dot

13 Days, although it feels like spring, honestly, it could so quickly turn on us.

matisse 10

Had I any idea how blech this winter would be when I began this, wow, it’s good I didn’t.

A few words from a few excellent writers, three to be exact:

I smoked Gauloises after Gauloises, grasping the blue package as if it were my ticket to immortality.  I drank coffee, black as the eyeliner I wore.  I went out alone.

-Anne Roiphe

It’s wonderfully bracing to be disapproved of by the French.  You know you’ve been taken seriously, that life is affirmed as a serious matter of form, not simply a business of messy content.

-Patricia Hampl

If it be correct– as my Copenhagen director, of blessed memory, did hold forth to me– that woman is to man what poetry is to prose, then are the womenfolk we come across from day to day poems read aloud with taste, and please the ear….

-Isak Dinesen

7+4+5, or, Happy Purim.

matisse 10Yes, it’s snowing copiously in New York City.  Yes, it is March.  Yes, it is Purim, and I wore no costume, consumed no sugar cookies, did not play Purim BINGO (P, Haman’s horse; U, Grager).  Did I tell truth to power?  Nah.  Still, I had a great day.


Yesterday one of my students hosted this open mic at the school.  We have this Dream program there, and this was her Dream.  One of the security guards agreed to sing if he could stand behind a door with the speaker on the audience side.  He took the mic, he ducked behind the door, and sang, “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye.”

Today when I saw him, I said, “Oh, hey, MISTER MUSIC!”

And he laughed and he said, “You gotta do something.”

For the holiday:

Do you like videos with people in Biblical gear (bathrobes)?  I know you do.

Q: Is there a lot of snow in Persia?

A: Don’t be obnoxious, it’s a great video.

17 Coincidentally Is My Favorite Number

matisse 10

Today someone said to me, “We just need one more big snow to get to a real catharsis, to really hit rock bottom,” and I did not slap this person, which goes to show what self-restraint I can exhibit.

Something beautiful (a poem by cummings I once read to my university classmates and someone told me afterward, “When you finished, I felt like we should bow our heads and say Amen,” one of my favorite compliments ever):

a clown’s smirk in the skull of a baboon

a clown’s smirk in the skull of a baboon
(where once good lips stalked or eyes firmly stir
my mirror gives me on this afternoon;
i am a shape that can but eat and turd
ere with the dirt death shall him vastly gird
a coward waiting clumsily to cease
whom every perfect thing meanwhile doth miss;
a hand’s impression in an empty glove
a soon forgotten tune a house for lease.
I have never loved you dear as now i love

behold this fool who in the month of June
having certain stars and planets heard
rose very slowly in a tight balloon
until the smallening world became absurd;
him did an archer spy(whose aim had erred
never)and by that little trick or this
he shot the aeronaut down into the abyss
-and wonderfully i fell through the green groove
of twilight striking into many a piece.
I have never loved you dear as now i love

god’s terrible face brighter than a spoon
collects the image of one fatal word;
so that my life(which liked the sun and the moon)
resembles something that has not occurred:
i am a birdcage without any bird
a collar looking for a dog a kiss
without lips;a prayer lacking any knees
but something beats within my shirt to prove
he is undead who living noone is.
I have never loved you dear as now i love.

Hell(by most humble me which shall increase)
open thy fire!for i have had some bliss
of one small lady upon earth above;
to whom i cry remembering her face
i have never loved you dear as now i love

19 Days, That’s What I Said

matisse 10Hello from the Atlanta airport.  My flight has been delayed two and one half hours.

We are still going to be all right.

I paid a nice lady to massage my shoulders.

I got a latte.  I am pretending I am “having coffee,” sacred ritual of coffee and reading and writing.  They have a stool for me here, so it’s easier for me to use my imagination .


The third in our Bert & Ernie triad, “Maybe you were using your imagination”: