Sixth Saturday

A dozen seagulls
Float calmly on glass water
Pecking at breakfast.

Three Brant geese fly by,
Shadows splayed on river’s blue,
Disappear at pier.

Single mallard swims.
Female left with another.
An old, sad story.

Fifth Saturday

Sky’s furrowed cloud bank
Echoing river’s ripples.
Water’s white and blue.

Ghostly half-moon hangs,
High over far shore’s towers.
Foreign planetscape.

Seagull tips his wings,
Floats low over piling field,
Circles in to perch.

I love New York

Best sight on the subway today. The rings, the bling, the hat, the shades, and the Rubik’s Cube. He didn’t put it down all the way uptown. I love New York.


Today’s NY Times

I don’t usually repost news stories, but there’s a lot of primo stuff in the Times today.

First, this: a piece about what happened to journalist Jane Mayer when she investigated the Koch brothers. I’m pleased to say I used to babysit for Jane Mayer back in the Jurassic and I’ve followed her career. Jane, you’ve made me proud!

Then this amazing story, about gay marriage in China. A same-sex couple is suing for the right to wed. In China!

And finally, this. is it for real, or just an enormous pr joke? Beat it, I say.

I love New York

Plumbers in and out for days. Latino guys, one speaks a little English, one almost none. I speak just enough Spanish to follow along. Little-English guy explains to no-English guy what he wants to do, in Spanish of course. Gets a confused look. Re-explains, and to check that no-English guy gets it, he asks him, “Capice?”

“Capice?” I ask.

“Sí, like the Mafia, I ask him does he capice.” Little-English guy presses his finger to the side of his nose.

No-English guy presses his finger to the side of his nose, too, nods solemnly.

I do the same.

I love New York.

Family tree

I have spent four days — FOUR DAYS — working out the family tree of Lydia Chin’s Mississippi relations. Its importance to the story means it has to be right but gack it has driven me nuts. I think I’ve finally got it. In its reduced form (a number of branches that don’t make it into the story have been left out) here it is. Now I can get back to writing the damn thing.


Snowzilla, the aftermath

Went out this morning early, in the bright sun. Lots of dogs and photogs: the day was absolutely gorgeous.


Car waits to be dug out

Wheeling the bike back into the garage (after she flopped into the snow to flatten a path)

Another bike to come back for

Be a while before this pile melts

Down by the river (Carlos Dews, this one’s for you)

This isn’t usually a pool, it’s a small inlet with a bridge over it about three feet above the water

Scrollwork on the back of my bench

Why I couldn’t sit on my bench this morning

Car, somewhere in there

Snow on low wall, against high wall

Grace is everywhere

Snowzilla, Part Two

Went out a second time about an hour ago. Snow’s blowing harder. Walked — okay, trudged — in the other direction, not toward the river but into the neighborhood streets. Went maybe ten blocks away. Out and back took an hour. Here are the afternoon’s photos. Now I’m done, settled in, about to go back to the book I’m working on and then watch the Knicks, who apparently made it to Charlotte last night although the airports were closed by the time they were finished losing to the Clippers.

Door as I was leaving the building

Statue in the park

Green means go but so what, really?


Sidelined sidewalk cafe

Snowplow oops

I think we’ll come back tomorrow for the bike

Rather Gothic gate

We NYers will take our icicles where we can get them

Hope the 6th Precinct doesn’t need that car

Or that one (the 24-hour pharmacy, by the way, is closed)

Pipe connection

This is a traffic-ticket vehicle, so you KNOW they don’t need this one


Citibikes going nowhere


Vines on the wall

Snowzilla, Part One, plus a manifesto

These are some of the photos I took this morning in NYC. Yes, I was out. I go to the river every morning before I start work, by which I mean, every morning. The exceptions are morning when I have some early appointment, but the exceptions are not weather. Weather is part of the point.

Because I learned this in a sudden epiphany years ago: gorgeousness and pleasantness are not the same. What happened was, I went with a friend to Storm King Art Center. It was summer, July or August, a very hot day. Storm King’s a vast outdoor sculpture park, conceived and operated to present, well, vast outdoor sculptures. We’d been roaming over the rolling hills for about half an hour, sweating as we ambled from diSuvero to Noguchi, when it started to rain. My friend was all for running into the small house they use to show small works. But this was just a warm rain, no thunder, no lightning, and we’d been so hot and sweaty. And a Henry Moore was glistening white and wet in the distance. My friend went in; I stayed outside, meandering around on the soggy grass, seeing the glistening Moore, watching drops plink into puddles in Noguchi’s carved stones. And I realized: physical discomfort is unavoidable, and everywhere. My back hurts after a couple of hours at my desk. I have to grab for air playing basketball. Nothing, as long as I live in this physical body, is without cost. So why not get wet in a fabulous rain near plinking Noguchis?

This philosophy has served me well. I got to see double rainbows in Mongolia after a cold wet night.


I tramped through — and fell down in — slippery mud in the terraced rice fields of Yunnan, and I saw this.


And I went out today in Snowzilla, and found many things.

Outside from inside, just before I left.


Snowplow tracks

The river near my bench

Light and its reflection


Sledding kids (what a good daddy they have)

Trees and wall



I wasn’t at the river alone

Hard-working building super

Fourth Saturday

Wind gusts, tires’ chains clink,
Snow tapping on jacket’s hood,
Snowplow’s mighty roar.

Horizontal rail,
Slanted snow, roiling river,
Twirling windborne leaf.

Sledding children laugh,
Spin down pine grove’s slippery hill,
Tumble into drift.