Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Heat of the Summer

July 19

I’ve got a lot to do today to get ready for my four days going to coming from and being in West Virginia. I just worked on three questions about integration for the Coalition website, and that felt good, I always like these concrete tasks with beginnings and middles and ends. I’ve got a lot of those tasks today: cutting the grass in the front of the house, cleaning the parakeet’s cage, etc.

The heat has broken, although I’m still pretty hot this morning: a sunny day up in the eighties. Deaths in Iraq now hitting over a hundred a day.

To all those who said: Aren’t those poor Iraquis better off with Saddam Hussein gone? I say: ask the ones whose children and mothers are dead in the chaos over there what they prefer. Maybe they do prefer war lords and religious militias over a brutal dictator. But did anyone ever ask them? In particular, did our administration ever ask?

I'm going to make a dash to Shinnston, back soon, but no blogging till I'm back.

Photo of Shinnston from High School Hill looking north by Phyllis WIlson Moore.

July 16

We've got a heatwave coming at us. I sort of wish we didn't have accuweather, or maybe I just wish I ignored it. Maybe if you grow up in the city or the suburbs, especially if you grow up with air conditioning (and have it now! or work in an air conditioned space!) you don't pay any attention. But, maybe honoring my dear departed father, I always check the weather, so now I know we're going to have high nineties the next couple of days, and I'm going to be up in my office at least one of those days sweating with my online class. And if I didn't know, would I just then greet each day with hope and expectation of pleasant skies? Proably not.

Friday, July 14, 2006


July 13

Speaking of poetry, Phyllis Moore paid me the high compliment of using some lines from this blog as found haiku!

Found Poems: 3 Haiku created from words on Meredith Sue Willis’s blog
July 12, 2006 2006 Phyllis Wilson Moore

Speckled white and brown
Beautiful bean seeds on dirt
Winter’s protein meals
Passover Seder
Gentiles outnumber the Jews
Make matzoh ball soup
Lost in cyberspace
Two large chunks of yesterday
Reward to finder
Then here is one of her own with a photograph by her husband Jim Moore:

On the Frost Line
Sentinel pine trees
Bereft of left branches
Speak to me of loss
And finally, one more Phyllis Moore poem about Sex and the Nineteen-fifties!
Phyllis Wilson Moore, 2003
Part I
She thinks of the 50s,
those pre-pantyhose, pre-Elvis days.
Marilyn Monroe made it big in the 50s.
Playboy pictured no pubic hair.
Masters had not left his wife for Johnson.
Dictionaries did not contain the F word.
In movies, married couples
slept in separate beds.
Deep in the jungle, Jane
wore a bathing suit.
So did Tarzan.
Virgins didn’t ride boys’ bikes
or use tampons.
Discrete druggist dispensed condoms
from under the counter.
The “Pill” was an experiment
on women in Mexico.
In high schools,
soon-to-be fathers
knocked home runs.
Knocked-up girls
aborted their educations.
Part II
In the 50s
when boy met girl, girl set the rules.
No drive-in movie on a first date.
No kiss until the third date.
No hands beneath the sweater.
Going steady meant parking,
necking, petting, and eventually French kissing.
When the sun went down,
doing it was not an option.
My best friend said girls walked differently
after they did it.
I remember watching the way friends walked,

July 10

I'm reading Bill Zavatsky's new book of poetry from the wonderful Hanging Loose Press (celebrating its fortieth birthday this year!), and most of the poems are on the long side, although very readable, but I liked this short one:

What skeletons most want
is to have their lips back
so that they can stop smiling
that horrible bony smile
of eternal dead teeth
and can kiss someone
or something once in a while,
a cheek, a key, a flower,
while they hang around
waiting for the rest
of their bodies to grow back.
Bill Zavatsky in Where X Marks the Spot

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Summer Treats

That's Andy and me on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

July 7

Andy and I had a lovely day at the museum-- a Raphael exhibit focussing on what the Met has in its collection, a lot of nineteenth century engravings of Raphael work showing his incredible popularity, also stories of who collected the works etc. Then, for something completely different, one about a queen of Egypt Hatshetsup in the mid 1400's B.C.E. who became a king-- co-king with her nephew, who, after her death, destroyed most of her sphinx monuments and other statues. So exotic, so distant, so strange. People who believed they were gods. Who were those people? They made the serene other-worldly madonnas and fat baby Jesuses with Cousin St. John seem like the family next door. Then we had lunch in the fancy fourth floor dining room with a view of central park, very expensive, a nice treat. Then went out on the roof garden for the view (see photos above) and also an exhibit of work by Cai Guo-Qiang. My favorites were his two fourteen foot resin crocodiles, thoroughly realistic, suspended at eye height, and pierced by dozens of shart objects confiscated at air port check points! scissors, dinner knives, carving knives, the works. Very funny and grim. Gosh I love art-- it always seems to me to be the most direct way into the lives and concerns of whatever culture it is a part of.

July 6
Here's a funny column on cell phone use done in the form of ten commandments. Now that I'm a cell phone user myself, I'm a little more tolerant, but overall they certainly are annoising-- especially when I'm trying to take a nap on the train.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Stasha's wedding reception

Stasha Hughes' wedding reception yesterday at St. Marks in the Bowery, that wonderful 1799 church that I had vaguely thought wasn't really a church anymore, but it is, along with poetry and theatre and all kinds of cultural events. The party was in the actual sanctuary, tall and splendid, after hors d'oeuvres out in the garden, with Greek food, wine, coming-storm breezes, sirens. The main meal was Middle Eastern, delicious, toasts to the young people including in Greek from the groom's father. Arthur and Lainie, Ingrid and Jay, all reading poetry saying nice things. I got to meet Ingrid’s sister Nora at last, and also saw her brothers. Stasha gorgeous in a strapless ivory sheath gown, hair the same ivory color as gown, a superb silver bracelet of peas in a pod gift of the Mellissis family. I talked with Ingrid's Jay about fantasy fiction (he turned me on to Philip Pullman) and also some length with Sondra Olsen and Jean Verthein about state of publishing, reactions of people to 9-11, still living in New York, still afrair or not. I sat with Katherine Sorel and her husband. Katherine a childhood friend of Aaron Hughes, Ingrid's friend now. She teaches third grade at an alternative school in Carroll Gardens. Lots of talk about schools, about poetry, especially with Myra Shapiro whose memoir about coming to New York to write poetry is going to be published, and she and I talked about the difference in poetry and prose: she kept speaking of poems as something you can hold in your hand and also eat, which struck me as most interesting, that she conceives of poems not as something that comes out of her but as something she puts into herself. Novels, in particular, to me, are rivers you push your little boat into--so I suppose you put all of you into them in a way.

Myra's husband Harold and I talked about Israel: he flies over frequently, works with Peace Now and other pro-peace groups. Yay Harold!

And then, afterward, walking in mild rain, end of the storms, hurring across Manhattan once again to catch a train.