Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Road

Your correspondent is on vacation for the next 8 days. Signal permitting, I'll share some of the roads I meet along the way. This one is Corning Road in Preston, Connecticut. Though I grew up (from 9 on)  in this little town in the southeastern corner of the state, I'd never been on Corning Road. I was following a sign from the main road out of Norwich (Rte. 165) for "farm fresh vegetables." A turn off from Long Society Road (no expessway itself) took me deeper into the woods and fields.

I finally reached the farm (above). "Is this Preston or Norwich?" I asked the kid working there. "Preston, but some people say part of the road is in Norwich." "I didn't know there were still roads like this left in Preston." "Shouldn't be," he said. Probably won't be for much longer, by the look of the McMansion I passed a hundred yards earlier on.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Paradise Cove to the Poconos

A few years ago, I saw a classified ad for a house trailer on a piece of land in the Poconos. The price was reasonable, somewhere around $13,000. It was on a pond or lake. I clipped it out and stuck inside the case of a CD--now buried in a stack somewhere or given away to Goodwill. Retirement plan taken care of.
Paradise Cove Road (Rockford Files pilot)
I found out about James Garner's death yesterday watching TV, where else?  I wasn't a huge Rockford Files fan but the show managed to imprint itself anyway. Especially the idea of living modestly (minus the Firebird) to be someplace beautiful. On the beach in Malibu, in the Poconos, or maybe Biscuit City, RI.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Everybody's Talkin' at Me

Perhaps it's time to introduce a few regular, rhymed poems into our summer series, Poetry vs. Motion (MTA Edition). Here's one I'd love to see on an F or G.
Walter Feldman (11.5x19.5in)
"The Bird" by Robert Creeley

What did you say to me
   that I had not heard.
She said she saw
   a small bird.

Where was it.
   In a tree.
Ah, he said, I thought
    you spoke to me.

This poem makes me think of so many conversations these days to which I seem to be a party. Someone is talking. Someone is always talking--often it's me. But is anybody listening? Am I? Not necessarily a New York phenomenon. And yet...

The image is a sample panel from Walter Feldman's marble mosaic, completed in Rome in 1956 while he was on a Fulbright Fellowship. Emeritus professor of art at Brown University, Feldman has collaborated with many poets in creating beautiful books.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cloud Hypotenuse

July, 2014
On the upgrade to the Kosciuszko Bridge. Lots of lines to contemplate while stopped in traffic.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Getting Rich on the BQE

Back on the BQE this week after almost a month away. The familiar slog through the Woodside Gully before you can even see the Kosciuszko Bridge--must less cross it. Yesterday morning, after a couple of rainy or overcast days, he sun broke out and I saw this NYS lottery billboard in a new light.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It Beats the Darkness

Your train sits in the tunnel. "Train traffic ahead," the conductor explains, "we apologize for the delay." Or worse, a sick passenger. Or worse yet, a police investigation. You slump into your seat or hang over those lucky enough to have seats.  Someone catches your eye. A bit unkempt but also somehow familiar. Did he perhaps go to your high school, dropping out without anybody really noticing? Or maybe he was the cashier at the car wash? He holds your gaze, and says to you, very quietly and calmly:

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.


"The Laughing Heart," by Charles Bukowski. Read by Tom Waits.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Little Noir Music

Rainy nights bring dark thoughts and, sometimes, great poems. One topic you are not likely to find on the MTA's Poetry in Motion series is crime. Well, no one wants to think about crime on the subway, or do they? Have we erased if from our NYC vocabulary? Does anyone even use the word "mugging" anymore? Gregory Corso's "Birthplace Revisited" is about that and a whole lot more.
I stand in the dark light in the dark street
and look up at my window. I was born there.
The lights are on; other people are moving about.
I am with raincoat, cigarette in mouth,
hat over eye, hand on gat.
I cross the street and enter the building.
The garbage cans haven't stopped smelling.
I walk up the first flight; Dirty Ears
aims a knife at me . . .
I pump him full of lost watches.
Corso was born in Greenwich Village in 1930. He spent time in orphanages, foster homes, Bellevue Hospital, and, at 16, was incarcerated at Clinton State Prison for theft. Allen Ginsberg wrote in the introduction to Corso's Gasoline (1957), "He's probably the greatest poet in America, and he's starving in Europe."