Sunday, April 20, 2008

saturday: "milk", grits and a fried egg

sunshiney saturday spent in the slope.

my lovely friend
zovig and i decided to check out the takashi murakami exhibit at the brooklyn museum. it was "cuteness!" for sure. i'm not at all a fan of the louis vuitton collaboration, but those "superflat eye love" designs were quite appealing on a larger scale...i especially loved the color combinations in the "eye love" and jellyfish eyes series, on's all so much more striking on that fabric...i also liked milk, 727-727 (i actually loved all the paintings that were "sanded" ), cosmos (1998), and this daruma (i open wide my eyes but see no scenery. i fix my gaze upon my heart, 2007). the exhibition is bright and cheery and ominous and overwhelming...odd and funny and is, to a degree, kid-friendly, if you're prepared to deal with questions about anatomical correctness/distortions. we had a little "overheard in ny" moment while standing in front of inochi (boy--maybe 7 years old: "mommy, his penis is on his stomach!" mommy: "why yes, it is..."). ha.

walking into the "vuitton exhibit/store" and taking the kooky wallpapered staircase to the floor below, which is a funhouse all its own--toys and t-shirts and other collectibles, all impeccably sorted and contained-- it struck me what a kick this show must have been to put together--and how sad it would be to have to watch all come down (show ends on july 13, btw)...

if you're as interested in behind the scenes stuff as i am, check out the terrific flickr slideshow that the museum has posted on its site...

and if you'd like a peek into the kaikai kiki studio sanctum, check out this ny sun article and its accompanying slideshow...

after the museum, zovig and i moseyed over to fifth ave...and stopped for brunch at stone park cafe. it took me about 3 seconds to decide that i wanted the hangtown fry: eggs, oysters, bacon and vermont cheddar good does that sound?! but then...i took a longer look at the menu... i saw that they had grits, with shrimp and a fried egg. i remembered being deeply envious of the shrimp with grits at bar americain, which my sister ordered the last time we brunched i changed my mind and went for the "anson mills white grits, with shrimp and fried egg."

the fact that the grits' brand name was proclaimed on the menu--as if i should recognize it--aroused my curiosity, so when i got home i did a little research. there's quite an interesting story to tell! turns out that the anson mills white grits come to us thanks to one man, glenn roberts, who was so deeply interested in the history of the south, especially its culinary history (cheers!) that he set out to revive--by organically growing, harvesting, and milling--varieties of corn, rice and wheat that were nearly extinct. he was able to find and harvest a "famous" carolina gourdseed white corn (that was "revered for its high mineral and floral characteristics, and its creamy mouthfeel"), which dated all the way back to the 1600s. this is the white corn that was milled into the grits that became my brunch!

and they really were creamy...i've only had grits a couple of time in my life (LOVE the cheddar grits at freemans...ooohhh. those are very different...toothsome...GRITTY) but this dish was nearly like a pudding. thick and rich and creamy, completely indulgent. i will admit, a little smoky, salty bacon would have livened it up. but it was very, very good.

anson mills white grits...
Originally uploaded by

Friday, April 11, 2008

art and leisure...(read a good poem)

perhaps one night i will write about a friday night at a rad party downtown, where i rubbed asses and elbows with some cool cats, and was ever so elegant, all the while sipping unlimited top-shelf liquor...perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

but this friday night was more like:
a leisurely walk home from work, with a detour through the grand central marketplace, for veggies and some cajun catfish and stuffed brook trout from my favorite fishmongers (wild edibles).
then my dad stopped by for a quick chat...and then...i ran around the block to the morgan library, which is free on friday nights, from 7pm-9pm (love free admission!). i was pleased to catch “close encounters: irving penn portraits of artists and writers” (it closes tomorrow).
(i can cross 2 items off my new year's "to-do" list, as i have finally made it to the morgan musem and scandinavia house.)

i'd never visited the morgan library, so i have no sense of what it looked like prior to the renzo piano expansion. but i love the feeling of standing in the glass-enclosed central atrium--there was classical music resounding, courtesy of a cellist and violinist from the mannes college of music, and there was that wonderful, curious museum "buzz" (but without the awful crowding that's typical of most museums here, especially during "free admission" hours). there is a cafe in the central atrium, too, which is strangely not cordoned off. nevertheless, i imagine it's lovely to sip tea or a glass of wine there in afternoon.

because the main entrance was so terrifically roomy, i was surprised by the hearty numbers in the smaller east and west galleries. but it was still relatively easy to make a little space for oneself and linger over the work.

my favorite photos from the exhibition cannot be found online (i've been searching for the past 3 hours, so far, no luck):
edward albee, photographed in new york, 1962 (my absolute favorite from the show. albee here, as mark feeney notes, is "all cigarette and eyelashes");
vladimir nabokov (chasing butterflies), northern italy, 1948;
joan miro and his daughter, dolores, photographed in tarragona, spain, 1948 (penn's homage to the balthus painting, joan miro and his daughter dolores).

(you can see some of the photos from the exhibition, courtesy of the nytimes; a related slideshow is hosted by men's vogue ... )

and then i dropped a load on a few "sale" books about toulouse-lautrec, bonnard and vuillard at the store (so much for my "free" night at the museum), reminders of my recent trip to paris.

i made it back home in time to watch the last four innings of game 1 of the yanks/red sox series at fenway. chien-ming wang threw a complete game, two-hitter. final score: 4-1.

rather sedate, but not too shabby a friday night, all the way around!

more on the renzo piano expansion, which was completed in 2006, here.

and lastly, tonight's poem (another from babette deutsch): "string quartet."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

read a good poem: "gentle as silence"

day's end. lourdes.
Originally uploaded by

"Need" from The Collected Poems of Babette Deutsch
Babette Deutsch

What do we need for love—a midnight fire
Flinging itself by fistfuls up the chimney
In soft bright snatches? Do we need the snow,
Gentle as silence, covering the scars
Of weeks of hunger, years of shabby having?
Summer or winter? A heaven of stars? A room?
The smiling mouth, the sadness of desire
Are everywhere the same. If lovers go
Along an unknown road, they find no less
What is familiar. Let them stay at home,
And all will still be strange. This they know
Who with each heartbeat fight the fear of change.

this is the first poem by babette deutsch that i've read. found it, somewhat randomly, tonight. i was immediately drawn in.

did a little googling, and uncovered a few tidbits. i am officially fascinated:

she's a new yorker...attended barnard (like me!)...and she, along with her husband, avrahm yarmolinsky, translated pushkin's eugene onegin, one of the finest, most treasured gifts i've received, from a great love of mine...

i love the reviews of her work (not "genius," but poems show feeling and integrity...ah, genius is overrated!)...

and i rather love this remark of hers: "the poet ... like the lover ... is a person unable to reconcile what he knows with what he feels. his peculiarity is that he is under a certain compulsion to do so."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"it's more difficult than you think to make charcoal"

i can barely keep these eyes open.
but, before bed, i share a little something:

"In Favor Of One's Time" - Frank O'Hara
from "The New American Poetry 1945-1960."

The spent purpose of a perfectly marvellous

life suddenly glimmers and leaps into flame
it's more difficult than you think to make charcoal
it's also pretty hard to remember life's marvellous
but there it is guttering choking then soaring
in the mirrored room of this consciousness
it's practically a blaze of pure sensibility
and however exaggerated at least somethings going on
and the quick oxygen in the air will not go neglected
will not sulk or fall into blackness and peat

an angel flying slowly, curiously singes its wings
and you diminish for a moment out of respect
for beauty then flare up after all that's the angel
that wrestled with Jacob and loves conflict
as an athlete loves the tape, and we're off into
an immortal contest of actuality and pride
which is love assuming the consciousness of itself
as sky over all, medium of finding and founding
not just resemblance but the magnetic otherness
that that that stands erect in the the spirit's glare
and waits for the joining of an opposite force's breath

so come the winds into our lives and last
longer than despair's sharp snake, crushed before it conquered
so marvellous is not just a poet's greenish namesake
and we live outside his garden in pure tempestuous rights


lots more o'hara to come. perhaps after i read this?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"dark wine reminds me of you..."

Originally uploaded by

i spent the day (full of meetings) looking forward to the night (full of merriment!) ---a drink to celebrate the birthday of a former co-worker and friend. a few of us took the subway to canal street, and walked west, to church lounge at the tribeca grand.

for as long as i've lived here, i've held an affinity for that little stretch of city, where tribeca becomes soho.

and when i am there, it is 1991, and '92,' 93, '94...and i'm walking home from my job at the da's office. sometimes wiping tears, overwhelmed by life and love and loss and lost love... sometimes huddled desperately against the wall of a brick building, with winter winds kicking around me, trying, failing, trying again and again to light the cigarette that i feel i need more than anything in that precise moment to keep my sanity...sometimes giddy and skipping...sometimes, like a real grown-up, new york gal...but always, i think--i know--always quietly amazed and aware of how lucky i was that "this" was part of my daily life. "this" being that simple act of walking home, on that particular route (west on franklin st, north on church, past canal, north on west broadway...then north and west--many different ways--to jane and hudson...) ...the walk offered clarity and inspiration and peace (yes, even the canal street part!)...the neighborhoods, the buildings, the streets felt historic but full of art, and promise...

all that i miss.

i missed it more acutely today, and was even more nostalgic tonight, perhaps because of the hour...

but nostalgia did not overwhelm the current joy of my every day life--my friends. i work with some dear, dear people. and i was happy to be in that "old neighborhood" of mine, with them.

(though the argentinean malbec i had there? rather terrible....ah, well.)

here's tonight's poem:

"Vino Tinto," in
Loose Woman.
Sandra Cisneros.

Dark wine reminds me of you.
The burgundies and cabernets.
The tang and thrum and hiss
that spiral like Egyptian silk,
blood bit from a lip, black
smoke from a cigarette.

Nights that swell like cork.
This night. A thousand.
Under a single lamplight.
In public or alone.
Very late or very early.
When I write my poems.

Something of you still taut
still tugs still pulls,
a rope that trembled
hummed between us.
Hummed, love, didn't it.
Love, how it hummed.

Monday, April 7, 2008

signs of spring

signs of spring
Originally uploaded by

"April Lovers" from Ants on the Melon.
by the extraordinary
Virginia Hamilton Adair, who published her first book of poetry at the age of 83...

Green is happening.
Through the sweet expectant chill
Of a northern spring
We have gone without will,

Without fear, without reason,
Trusting to the power
Of a fickle season,
Of a passionate hour,

To mature, to sustain
Till the plan uncovers
In the sun and rain.
Early lovers

Never question much
What is quietly beating
Through the music and the touch
And the mouths meeting.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

read a good poem (what was i thinking?)

ever go back and read the dog-eared pages of a favorite book? there are times when i skim these marked pages, and can remember exactly why i did it: how i felt when i read a string of words...who or what i dreamed of when i read it...what secret thought of mine it proclaimed...

but then there are times, like tonight...(was looking for a poem to share and i pulled Sonnets to Orpheus, By Rainer Maria Rilke from my shelf. i'd only marked one page, the one with
sonnet 10:

You, who have never left my feeling,
I greet, antique sarcophagi,
whom the happy waters of Roman days
flow through as a wandering song.

Or those so open, like the eyes
of a happy awakening shepherd,
--full of stillness within and bee-balm--
whence flittered enchanted butterflies;

all those whom one wrests from doubt
I greet, the mouths once again opened
that already knew what silence means.

Do we know it, friends, do we not know it?
These two mold the hesitant hour
in the countenance of man)

and i was i thinking?
what was it i liked about this?
was there ever i time i really understood this?
(i must have been a lot smarter--and deeper--years ago...)

i do love the first line:
You, who have never left my feeling...

i also like:
full of stillness within and bee-balm
but as to the meaning? a mystery...

feel free to send me your thoughts.

i'm going to bed, will dream on it...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

read a good poem: "every curd of cloud, clotted cream of cloud..."

driving home
Originally uploaded by

i really love the food imagery here...

"highway five love poem" by ruth l. schwartz, from dear good naked morning.
for anna

This is a love poem for all the tomatoes
spread out in the fields along Highway Five,
their gleaming green and ruddy faces like a thousand
moons prostrate in praise of sun.
And for every curd of cloud,
clotted cream of cloud spooned briskly
by an unseen hand into the great blue bowl,
then out again, into a greedy mouth.
Cotton baled up beside the road,
altars to the patron saint of dryer lint.
Moist fudge of freshly-planted dirt.
Shaggy neglected savage grasses
bent into the wind's designs.
Sheep scattered over the landscape like fuzzy confetti,
or herded into stubbled funnels, moving like rough water
toward its secret source.
Egrets praying in the fields like
white-cloaked priests.
A dozen wise and ponderous cows
suddenly spurred to run, to gallop, even,
down a flank of hill.
Horses for sale, goats for sale, nopales for sale, orange groves for sale,
topless trailers carrying horses,
manes as loose and lovely as tomorrow in our mouths,
and now a giant pig, jostling majestic in the open
bed of a red pickup

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

read a good poem: "the abandoned pie..."

it's not pie, but it's a diner shot...metro diner, nyc.

you can sign up to receive a poem-a-day...and i will post/link to a new poem every day as well...

i'll start things off with a favorite of mine.

it stuns me every time i read it. to me, it's like a hopper painting, or a scene in a noir film...
more than anything, i love the every day, ordinary day intimacy of it...
this is the kind of moment i love to steal and savor.

hope you love it too. feel free to share your thoughts...

by X.J. Kennedy

Whoever dined in this café before us
Took just a forkful of his cherry pie.
We sit with it between us. Let it lie
Until the overworked waitperson comes
To pick it up and brush away the crumbs.

You look at it. I look at it. I stare
At you. You do not look at me at all.
Somewhere, a crash as unwashed dishes fall.
The clatter of a dropped knife splits the air.
Second-hand smoke infiltrates everywhere.

Your fingers clench the handle of a cup
A stranger drained. I almost catch your eye
For a split second. The abandoned pie
Squats on its plate before us, seeping red
Like a thing not yet altogether dead.

find "pie", and more, in the lords of misrule...
brief x.j. kennedy article (from 2006) here...
even more daily poetry via writer's almanac here...