August 14th

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wow, it's already the 14th.  Oh, man.  Here are five things:

1.  I missed the super moon because right after I put on my shoes to go look at it, the baby woke and I helped him get back to sleep.  Then I was too sleepy to go see the super moon.

2.  Robin Williams died.  I remember that the night Mork & Mindy premiered I was being babysat by a friend of my mom's and that I made it very clear that I would require a television tuned to the appropriate station at the appropriate time.  I remember crouching in someone's attic apartment in front of a tiny black and white television, watching Mork through the snow (bad reception).  I felt then that he (Mork) was a representative of the kids, somehow, and that I had done my duty.  Later I had the doll and the suspenders.  I went as a "weirdo" one year for Halloween.  I'm not sure if I was wearing the suspenders, but I was wearing a button that said "WHY BE NORMAL?" and a toilet paper roll decorated with stars over my sideways ponytail.  Somehow, I now realize, this was an homage to Mork.  As an adult, I preferred his serious moments.  The sadness peeking through seemed real and human and vulnerable.  And, yeah.  I guess it really was.  I guess we're supposed to be as loving and gentle to each other as we can.  An homage.

3.  I don't know what's happening in Ferguson, MO.  My country.  This is us.  Part of who we are.  All of it.

4.   Here's Lauren Bacall singing "How Little We Know." 

5.  The fifth thing is the unknown.  The shakiness of that.  The mystery.  How good changes are coming.  How change is difficult.  How it is wondrous. 


August 8th

Friday, August 08, 2014

At the playground, E. became fascinated with a little girl whose mother was selling snow cones, and the girl and I chatted briefly while the baby checked out her bejeweled gladiator sandals and tried to cozy up next to her.  She told me that she's seven.  I told her that the baby thought she was interesting.  "Your baby has an interesting mind," she said. 

Another thing

Thursday, August 07, 2014

"I would like to be inside the lights

of these peoples'
houses (with our ancient nostalgia for fire) but not

inside these lives." 

--Eleni Sikelianos, The Book of Jon

August 7th

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Somehow I missed a day in my August posts.  Oh, well.

Here's an observation for today:  I had to go to a doctor's appointment on 59th Street this morning, and as I walked into the building and toward the elevator, a woman emerged from the elevator wearing what might be described-- anywhere other than Manhattan-- as a "get-up."  Somehow in that moment I very much enjoyed the performance of her:  Huge round black and rhinestone sunglasses, a fur stole of some kind, high cork platform shoes, hair smoothed back into a tight bun.  It was hard to say what age she was.   I suppose she could have been anywhere from 25 to 45.  As I looked at her, she clutched at her stole, gathering it more tightly around her shoulders.  Even that gesture pleased me. 

August 5th

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Photo from

My observation for 8/5:  Going to the Barnes and Noble at Union Square always reminds me of the time I saw Brigid Berlin there.  It was my birthday two years ago.  I only recognized her because I had just watched the documentary about her.  We shared a table for a few minutes.  She was eating a lemon square.  We didn't talk about the Factory.

August 4th

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

photo by Joe Pan

I get the baby to sleep and rush to the reading. At first I get into a car I think is the car I called, and the man asks me if my name is Mia and then says he won't take me there because my name is not Mia. Then I get into a car that will take me there. It still isn't the car I'd called. That car has NOT arrived to pick me up within seven minutes.  It has been much longer than seven minutes.  When I get out of the car I did not call, the man says, "Merci beaucoup," and I look at him for a second and he looks at me for a second.  Then I say thank you and get out of the car.  I read in the back courtyard of the bookstore, half standing on a  wooden plank on some gravel. I am lit up, but the audience is not, so I cannot see who I am reading to. I hear chuckling about half the time I think I'll hear chuckling. I realize I expect chuckling. Above my head is a string or two of lights in that funny plastic casing, half of it one color and half another color. Weeds press in around us. Or just stand there. The weeds stand there, threatening to press in. Capable of doing so over time. The last poem I read isn't the one I mean to end on, but I end on it anyway. I listen to the singer-songwriter after that. He has a good sense of song structure and also a sense that something bad is about to happen, at least according to one of his songs. Something really bad.  Before I leave, I talk to a man I talked to at a party the first year I lived in New York. After that, I didn't talk to him for a while, and then, a few years later, he edited my book. He seems cheerful and friendly as I talk to him this time, as he did the first time I talked to him. I'm not sure what I seem. I may seem so woozy-tired as to appear mildly drunk. Then I leave for the subway. On the way there, I try and fail to take a good picture of a creepy animal figurine menagerie in front of someone's brownstone. Anyway, it was a fun reading.

August 3rd

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Last night, I had a dream that my friend Anna and I were going to explore some catacombs somewhere in France.  No one knew what was down there, so we braced ourselves in case we found rows and rows of skulls or hollowed out spaces in the walls containing dessicated bodies.  What we found instead was an exhibition on the fashions of the Middle Ages behind glass display cases.  So that was a relief.  (If you have read Pattie McCarthy's poems, which I was reading before bed, you might understand why I hold her partly responsible for this dream.)  

Today Elias and I met Anna, Kari, and Kari's kids at the American Museum of Natural History on 81st Street in Manhattan.  The baby and I got there later than everyone else because of nap schedules, etc, so they watched a movie about dark matter at the planetarium while waiting for us.  The poster for it that I saw said it was about how we know what 5% of the universe is made up of, but WHAT IS THE OTHER 95%?  Now I will never know.  (The answer, according to Anna, is that if they don't know what it is, they call it "dark," which is typical.)  Incidentally, the only part of the museum that E seemed to like was the Hall of the Universe.  

I've known Anna since I was 13 and Kari since I was 15, and I don't know when the last time was that the three of us were together.  It's been years and years.  And now we are all mothers, and my baby seemed to accept them as alternate mothers when they picked him up and comforted him after he became fretful and tired in the fossils and the mammals.  And I didn't even get a picture of us all, just this picture of a flyer on the subway.

MRS. TAYLOR   and she says .......  DON'T GIVE UP.

August 2nd

Saturday, August 02, 2014

1.  I received these gorgeous books by Pattie McCarthy in the mail.  The photo isn't great, but trust me.  Gorgeous.

2.  I saw two friends from MFA school who live in Midwestern/Western states.  Seeing them made me glad but made me miss them.  At least we can do fake rituals to strengthen each others' energy fields from afar.  I think we should.

3.  The way the couples' counselor pronounced "garbage" like the French (to be funny, I guess) was sort of endearing.  "Garbazh."

4.  Before I was born, Peter Cooper was spending all the money on books!  And my mother said, "Peter!  We might need money for baby shoes!"  And Peter Cooper said, "With books, we could learn how to make our own baby shoes."  I'm pretty sure he never made me baby shoes.  I did come to learn, though, that the one thing my mother would always buy me if I asked for it was a book.    

5.  My grandfather once grew a full beard and then shaved half of it and had himself photographed looking skinny and young on the couch.  (Is that a couch?)  I'm not sure why he did this.  Perhaps I should ask someone who was there or knows the story. 

6.  I was oddly proud when my baby learned to say "moon."  He says it as if he is swallowing the word.  Say "moon" without opening your mouth.  That's how he says it.

7.  I feel that I should put myself into a trance in order to retrieve some far-fetched thought, an echo of ancestral knowledge that doesn't reside in the conscious mind, and allow it to bubble up in a slightly familiar, slightly foreign musical cadence and record it here for you.  But I have limited time left to be conscious today, and I will read a few of Pattie's poems instead.   

August 1st

Friday, August 01, 2014

I thought I would try to post something on my blog every day in August as a way of paying attention (and, perhaps, of trying to get some writing going). Above is a picture of my son.  (Strange still that I have "a son."  But it's becoming less strange that an Elias exists because he's becoming more and more his own Elias.)

Below is a list of books I have read so far this summer.  The books I said I would read are listed here. My contribution is toward the bottom.

1.  Faithfull: An Autobiography by Marianne Faithfull
2.  Composed by Rosanne Cash
3.  Part of Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross
4.  Part of The Whole-Brained Child by Daniel Siegel
5.  Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
6.  We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
7.  Reading Shirley: A Novel by Susan Scarf Merrell
8.  Reading The Tatters by Brenda Coultas (I read most of this a couple months ago, but I'm trying to go back and actually absorb it.)

Also, Pattie McCarthy and I have traded books and I'm eagerly awaiting reading her books Nulls and Marybones. I can't wait!

Here are five more things:

1.  My mother and stepfather came to town a couple weeks ago to help take care of E. while I got a small surgery.  (I am fine, thank you.)  The best part was that I had brunch and went to see a movie (in a THEATER) with my mom.  We saw Boyhood at BAM.  At first I wasn't sure I would like it, but then I did and thought about it on and off for several days afterward.

2.  The baby knows many words-- well, several-- but you sort of have to know what he's saying.  He also understands a great deal.  Today I said, "Can you please go get the small broom from the closet for me?" and he did.

3. I had a dream last week that a voice told me not to look for God below my feet or above my head because, the voice said, God is within.  Pretty good, subconscious.  Pretty good.

4.  ". . . a door, the color of fog,/ opens-- life-deep." --Ocean Vuong

5.  I sang "Que Sera, Sera" to the baby before his nap today.  I don't know.  I can never tell how I feel about that song.  But here's Corinne Bailey Rae singing the Sly & the Family Stone version.  Where was I just reading something about that version?  Again, I don't know.

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