Winter Round

To be sung by two voices in a round from Thanksgiving until March.

I'll get fat, you'll get sick
We'll make a trip to Whippany
My resolutions never stick
Come home and have a drink with me



Lucille Clifton giving me life for 2017!



The Story Is Always Unfolding

Mom and Dad drove me back to the city with boxes of Christmas decorations. I showed them how to take the Brooklyn exit out of the Holland Tunnel and end up on 6th Avenue, like I learned a few weeks ago on the Fall Foliage trip. Dad pointed out to a brick apartment building in the West Village to Mom.

"He used to live in that building."

"Who used to live there?" I asked.

"Alan - he was really the first gay person I knew."

I looked at them from the back seat through the rear-view mirror.

"Yeah, me too," Mom said.

"And he was old. I mean he was in his sixties...and his partner was about twenty years younger, and a black man."

"They were at our wedding, weren't they? But they didn't come together."

"He didn't come because he was sick, but Earl came, with a date."

"Of course Earl was a great dancer."

"Actually we knew them through Eugene."


What Would I Be

What Belongs to You, Garth Greenwell


White Wine in the Sun

Singing White Wine in the Sun by Tim Minchin in this year's NYCGMC holiday concert. Music, comfort food, wine, friends, family, and something to look forward to are how I am going to get through this week.



When I see you, I smile a Snow Day smile.


Family History

They want to know stories from before they were born. My niece prompts with an example: she is telling me about the time at the Chart House, when I squeezed a cherry tomato with salad tongs, and the tomato flew across the table and landed on my father's forehead. They ask for more, a polite request for the "funniest stories ever." I can't think of any. Later, when they are playing Airplane, shouting-laughing-toppling over, I say, "Your mama and I used to play that." They are interested immediately, asking questions, curious about any detail I can spare.


Batmans and Hawkgirls

At the swimming lesson the teacher divided seven students – five girls, two boys – into groups. The groups would set off from the wall at two different times to practice the specific skill the teacher had demonstrated: turning the head, circling the arms, keeping the body in a straight line. With each skill, the students got to suggest categories and the two names that would define the cohorts of swimmers. In the first round, one kid chose “candy,” and the students were divided into “Candy Canes” and “Cotton Candy.” The groups practiced their leg kicks. In the second round, another child nominated “superheroes” as the category, and the groups chosen were“Batmans” and “Hawkgirls.” The teacher assigned the boys to be “Batmans” and the girls to be “Hawkgirls." Watching from the bleachers, I was charmed to hear my niece ask if she could be a Batman. “Of course,” the instructor said.

The following category a child requested was “people.” “What, famous people?” A boy offered a name for one of the groups: “Barack Obama.” A girl proposed the name for the other group: “Hillary Clinton.”  So the Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons took turns swimming across the pool. And none of the children gave a thought to Donald Trump. And I felt optimistic about what this election meant for all the young swimmers.


Thinking About

Thinking about "make" when used to mean arriving at a place. Like "After Summit, this train will make Newark Broad Street," or "If we make Richmond by nightfall..."



Don't Forget

"Don't forget to do your kegels!" he shouted across Sixth Avenue.



John wanted to be an Air Force pilot back then. But he didn't think he would pass the physical. He didn't have 20/20 vision.


Rebel Rebel

I would ride the yellow bike around Nana and Pop-Pop's retirement community in Bradenton, pretending I was a rebel flying my X-wing on a mission to infiltrate the Death Star.


Grand Romance

A neighbor, or one of the cousins, discusses our grandmother’s failing health, and predicts our grandfather will die shortly after our grandmother passes, such was his devotion to her.

But he dies first. She doesn’t remember him. She lives another two years.


Weird You Out

"Does it weird you out when guys think your sister is hot?" a kid asked in high school.

"Does it weird you out that I want to fuck your brother?" I should have said.


Dream, 9/20/16

Samantha visited the house in Whippany. My father was cooking roast pork. He left meat marinating on the kitchen table.

A blond, bearded stranger stopped me in the street in an aggressive manner, gripping my arm. I tried to shake him loose. But then he said something that comforted me, made me think he was an okay person. Chaos followed: he was besieged by attackers, and the setting morphed into a park. The stranger emerged from behind a large rock and fired a gun. It shot out a tiny red-and-white ski hat that floated down and landed on a fence near me.

Dani played "Say Something" on a digital piano at a concert she held in the basement of a house. She asked a girl from the audience to play alongside her with one hand. Dani was emotional, lips and voice trembling. I saw Bob near the back. He was wearing a red baseball cap backwards. I walked over, and we looked at a poster describing cheeses of the world with Ray. After the show, upstairs, a black Labrador rushed into the empty dining room and jumped on the table.



In elementary school I read Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman. I don't remember the book beyond its title, but I will confess that ever since then tornadoes are the natural disaster that most scare the shit out of me.



His supermarket trips stretch for hours at a time, leaving the family to speculate on his whereabouts. Evergreens across the street cast shadows on the yard.


Shirts/Post 1000

I hang shirts so that the hook of the hanger curves towards the right-hand side of the shirt. JP prefers the hook to point to the left-hand side of the shirt. We do this small thing for each other when hanging the laundry. The end result is the closet looks like two opposing teams facing off, separated by a referee of belts and ties.


To Watch

I clicked on a friend's FB link to the PBS NewsHour interview with Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe. I'm now curious to watch the show/read the children's book.


Writing Exercise

An Encyclopedia of Every Literary Plot, Ever by Boris Kachka has resulted in a writing exercise where I try to find the plots in or near my life. Hashtag Narcissism!


Ideas, Lately

  • Pluto’s Republic is discussed in both The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner and Bluets by Maggie Nelson.  I like to note the moment when an idea appears in multiple facets of life.
    • Lerner: “Plato, in the most influential attack on poetry in recorded history, concluded that there was no place for poetry in the Republic because poets are rhetoricians who pass off imaginative projections as the truth and risk corrupting the citizens of the just city, especially the impressionable youth.”
    • Nelson: “For Plato, color was as dangerous a narcotic as poetry. He wanted both out of the republic. He called painters ‘mixers and grinders of multi-colored drugs,’ and color itself a form of pharmakon.
  • In Bluets, Maggie Nelson writes about the painting of the same name by Joan Mitchell. When I look up the painting online, an essay by Lydia Davis is returned in the search results. I read Davis’s book of stories, Can’t and Won’t, earlier this year, and I liked how it expanded my notions of what a story could be. (“The Cows,” part of which Davis reads here.)
  • In a similar way, I like that I do not know how to categorize this book. What are these propositions?
  • “156. ’Why is the sky blue?’ –A fair enough question, and one I have learned the answer to several times. Yet every time I try to explain it to someone or remember it to myself, it eludes me. Now I like to remember the question alone, as it reminds me that my mind is essentially a sieve, that I am mortal.”
  • Nelson writes about Saint Lucy, “patron saint of the blind, whose name means, ‘clear, radiant, understandable.’” Days earlier, I met Lucy, the cat born with no eyes, at the yoga retreat.
  • Donna, the retreat owner-instructor, quoting one of the yogis: “The reason we do yoga is to have a radiant face.”
  • Close to the end of Bluets, Nelson admits she mispronounced the word, and didn’t know it translated into plain old cornflowers. She thought she had never seen them before.
  • I had mistranslated the title of the book. I thought it meant “blueberries” in French.
  • I was ecstatic to find blueberries abundant in Maine and laughed at the coincidence of bringing a book called “Blueberries.” Ecstatic over a mistake.
  • Alexa’s t-shirt: “I’ll make better mistakes tomorrow.”
  • Then today, checking my French-English dictionary, it confirms bleuet means cornflower, but has a secondary definition applicable to Canada, where it can mean blueberries, specifically the lowbush species, common to North America. Google will translate bleuet as cornflower, bleuets as blueberries, and bluets as cornflowers.


Cooper Hewitt

I crossed an item off my New York Bucket List yesterday by visiting Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum. When you buy your ticket, the museum gives you a digital pen that you can use all around the exhibits, sometimes to draw or otherwise interact on tablet-like tables, and you can also save almost any object that you like to your own digital visit. The ticket comes with a unique URL for you to then retrieve that visit.  Here are the things I liked.


What I Am Working On

In second grade, I wrote a story called “A Dinosaur in Town.” My mother saved it and left it for me to discover in my desk back in the Whip, figuring my nieces would get a kick out of it. I was delighted, too, having no recollection of this class project. Clipped to the book was a beautiful letter from my teacher who had taken the story to a conference in the summer of 1989.

Spoiler: the last line of the story is “Even though I never saw him again I still remember him.” Which is the end of most stories I’ve written. It’s time to get a new ending, people.

What I am currently working on right now, as inspired by Austin Kleon:

  1. Running, on account of the upcoming Hood to Coast Relay
  2. Yoga. I went to a yoga retreat at Sewall House in northern Maine! I want to go back next year!
  3. Python. Via CodeAcademy.
  4. Journaling. This includes adding pictures. Which I rarely did before, but a convergence of forces (Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, Lynda Barry, and my second-grade project) made me wonder: why not?
  5. Disconnecting from Facebook to focus on other things
  6. Therefore reviving older technology to maintain contact with family and friends – notes, e-mails, blog?, meeting IRL??
  7. Befriending the New York Public Library
  8. To forgive and release the past and move into joy, dammit

I am on vacation. I am starting a new job in September. A memorable, if poorly documented, summer.


Who Are They?

Trump Days, by George Saunders.


This Is What Gay Parenting Looks Like

"What letter is this? E! E is for EAGLE. Like the gay bar. You go to The Eagle to meet a Bear-friend. B is for BEAR."


In a Nutshell

Rumpled clothes and wayward hair.


Carry On

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: MAGIC! VAMPIRES! A MURDER MYSTERY! A GAY ROMANCE! I enjoyed this book so much; I lost sleep over it. A perfect summer read!

Reading tip: in Book 1, I was getting frustrated with the very heavy parallels to Harry Potter. But I urge you to stick to it until Baz arrives. And now that I finished reading and have read some reviews and interviews (and now would like to read Fangirl), it is clear that this setup is deliberate. Carry on!


New Orleans

I love how it looks a little rundown, a little drunk, a little slanted, a little haunted. But is alive with art and music and food and cocktails.


“I don’t even need ChapStick right now, my lips are so greasy!”


In the sculpture garden at City Park, we came up with our own names for the art. Broken Rectangles. Deep Innie. Vacuum Attachment.

Then we sat under the Chime Tree.


Patty remembered the time we were in a hot tub before Jessica’s wedding and put on her Game Show Host voice for “Whose! Leg! Is This?!”


P: It’s like a little amuse-bouche.
R: What’s that?
P: To amuse your bouche.


“The Butt Cheeks is a good name for a band, though.”


“We don’t have enough biscuits in our life.”


We listened to Kermit Ruffins and James Winfield at Blue Nile.


In an old body shop turned art gallery, men were building a papier-mâché elephant.


R Train

Ladies and Gentlemen
After an earlier incident
My life is now running
With delays


A Spider in a Sculpture Garden

A spider built her web on the breast of a bronze sculpture of a woman, draping with lace the naked nipple and curve of the neck.


Stay Golden

This blog post is 2 years old but for some reason (driving traffic?) AV Club was linking to it on Twitter earlier this week: The Golden Girls Made Aging Fabulous.



I might watch Tegan and Sara's music video at least a hundred times a day.


Poem in Your Pocket Day 2016

Happy PIYP to you from me! This year I choose "Field Bling" by Ada Limón. (It's at the bottom of the page among other poems of hers. Also, there is audio!)



I first noticed his ears sticking out while threading my way through the lobby to him. "Brian. Strong name. Spelled wrong, though." I knew his name was Bryan from his name tag. I said, "Nobody's perfect," and searched his hands for a wedding ring. He did not have one. That must be a job requirement, I thought. His hair was straight and long. His hands were small and clean. He told me where to go and I went.


A Play Is What That Thing Is

So, You’re Thinking About Seeing a Play by Abbey Fenbert

Most plays produced are by white men named David because that’s how America is. In discussions about how to change this, some guy will invariably say in a cautionary tone “a play must be judged on its merits alone,” and it’s very awkward for everyone involved because… Yikes, David. Did you think white privilege was a merit-based system?
 “Yikes, David” sums up my feelings about a great many plays/everything.
There are like, twelve possible endings to plays, and eight of them are “someone’s pregnant.”


Book Spine Time

Today's NaPoWriMo prompt: write a "book spine" poem.

We the animals
head off & split.
Bon courage,
good people —
So long, see you tomorrow!


Shit Are We Lost?

Jessica Greenbaum reading Debora Lidov's "The Drama of the Gifted Hansel" in this podcast was one of the best things about today.



"America has always offered to drink anything for five dollars, no matter how disgusting." - Lost in Trumplandia, by Patricia Lockwood.


Current Mood

NaPoWriMo is back.  In response to the prompt for Day 1.

No more tragedy:
Shrug off snow;
make way for summer.

End it happily:
Gurl, give me
an upbeat number!


Neko Atsume

Why Am I Obsessed With a Cellphone Game About Collecting Cats? Reading the article was enough to make me download the game!


Reading List

I couldn't sleep and looked through my "reading list" on Safari. Side note: does anyone know how to get a reading list from an iPhone onto a PC?

Black Americans Are Killed At 12 Times The Rate Of People In Other Developed Countries

When We Mourn Paul Walker, We're Really Mourning the Death of Male Friendships

The Difference A Mutant Makes

And this tweet.



A prayer of thanksgiving based on an observation from our trip to the Philippines:

Our Fathers who both say grace,
And Our Mothers who manage the money,
Hallowed be thy names.


Rabbit Hole/TJ and Amal

Coming Out as Gay Superheroes --> adding Flutter to my To Read List --> readers also liked The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal --> Saturday afternoon laundry intermission.