Friday, September 30, 2011

A poem to NYC by Elizabeth Bishop

Found in a friend's farewell email to his NYC friends:


In your next letter I wish you'd say
where you are going and what you are doing;
how are the plays and after the plays
what other pleasures you're pursuing:

taking cabs in the middle of the night,
driving as if to save your soul
where the road goes round and round the park
and the meter glares like a moral owl,

and the trees look so queer and green
standing alone in big black caves
and suddenly you're in a different place
where everything seems to happen in waves,

and most of the jokes you just can't catch,
like dirty words rubbed off a slate,
and the songs are loud but somehow dim
and it gets so terribly late,

and coming out of the brownstone house
to the gray sidewalk, the watered street,
one side of the buildings rises with the sun
like a glistening field of wheat.

—Wheat, not oats, dear. I'm afraid
if it's wheat it's none of your sowing,
nevertheless I'd like to know
what you are doing and where you are going.

Elizabeth Bishop

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/11 Memorial

Just a few days after it opened, a friend from work got preview tickets for the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero. I haven't followed the site plans closely despite biking past the area with its high fences for the past several years. I was surprised at how affecting the memorial is.
Water constantly rushing down is both peaceful and urgent, but the hole is threatening - you can't see it's bottom and the walls cut sharply down for both - it feels like a threat and loss, a tunnel into the underworld. I found myself choked up at the grouping of names by one of the airlines, where someone had gone through and put a small set of airline wings into the names of each of the flight attendants or pilots, and for the three unborn children they had carried.

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