There are times when I look at this city from within itself and see nothing but a ghostly empire—luminescent, haunted, already fading. The views of grand palaces that dwarf Versailles; the limpid ponds and vigorous squirrels; the dancing sunlight; the autumn coolness in the air; the lethargic tourist families, collapsed on each other, eating hot dogs and ice cream, nestled under subway maps.
And something in me leaps a hundred years ahead, or back, and I become a traveller from a different time—some kind of cosmic voyeur. And to see leaves turn red from the tips as though dipped in blood, to hold chestnuts, smooth and fragrant, in the cool cup of my palm. And to watch an endless procession of persons marching past, all missing the view; I am alone here, hidden in the dappled shade, hidden in the notebook on my lap, hidden from the day and the night in this middle kingdom of evening.
God Wishes To Be Expected
the backyard is lush
rims of red in cups
and coffee from the morning.
The plants are hunting
inside themselves Continue reading
As we come to the close of another Restaurant Week here in New York City, I realize there are a few points that ought to be made to the general public. These points operate along the lines of getting along better with the people you come across, by accident or design, every day. They’re also designed to inculcate a deeper perspective on your own actions, however minute they might appear to be, and how they affect others, particularly those who are in your power.
I realize that this is a big city, with a long and exotic tradition of ruthlessness; that minor indignities are suffered by everyone in every job; and that one can go only so far to be gentle with the feelings of others without sacrificing the possibility of meaningful expression. All that said, however, there is far too much discourtesy shown to people in “service” industries. Everybody has his or her own equivalent to what I’m about to say, so you shouldn’t feel left out, or attacked. Instead, consider this a brief memorandum outlining a few basic ways that, without sacrificing any quality of experience, you can create quality in the lives of others.
(Deliberately omitted are childish lessons like “say please and thank you.” You know to do that. If you aren’t doing it, pay close attention to the following.)
The first is the most important, and it regards tipping. Continue reading
The Silence of Good Signs
It seems that one note can be more evocative than a whole symphony of them. How can the principle be applied to writing… Fewer words, chosen to resonate with multiple meanings. Poetry, in effect. But more, also. They say little except by assocaition with what is familiar. The meaning also occurs when the ‘signs’ of the piece, all intimately familiar, are juxtaposed in the perceiver’s mind. It stirs memories and associations that lead to complex moods. The displacement of the signs from the original context isolated them; they are not aspects of a scene but visitations from it. The whole dreamlike scenario creates a sense of meaning, and this the sensitive viewer enables with his or her presence. Art must remember where meaning occurs—not on the page, or in the paint, but in the viewer. It is most effective, then, when it says nothing but evokes much.
(duet with poem:)