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the smell of young tomato vines

I’ve got a patch in a communal garden across the street. In it is a rose bush that came from a small cutting taken off an aromatic climbing rose belonging to my friend Lily (now dead) that flourished for years on her terrace on the Isle of Hydra in Greece. It’s miraculous annual flowering reminds the olfactory me of the many(…)

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Banging heads against the wall

What I was told to do by my mother when I was a child: Geh shlog dein kup en cant! (Go bang your head against the wall!) I didn’t know if she was kidding so I’d study the off-white wall, or the striped wallpaper. Did she mean my forehead? Or the crown of my head? At other times I heard her say about(…)

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Calm

Memorial Day Weekend about to kick off. Recollections prickle, musical first, icons like Come On Baby Light My Fire, (the Doors summer of 1967) and (much later), Every Time We Say Goodbye (Annie Lennox, 1990, from Cole Porter’s lyrics), reminders of buoyant times long gone. As pre-summer peeks around the corner, that familiar wave (as always) rolls in. It’s book-ended by(…)

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New addiction

I’ve a new addiction. It crept in quietly, relaxed my mind; now it’s got me by the throat. And: Yes, I never thought it could/would happen to me. It’s a ‘match three’ game like (but not) ‘Candy Crush Saga’ accessed on my iPhone. My main game is ‘Fruits Mania’ but sometimes I also play ‘Lollipop’ or ‘Honey(…)

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Iceland

It was dark when we arrived, and the fields of black lava were covered with snow from the largest snowfall ever recorded there. My two sisters and I had discussed taking a holiday together for years. With the clock ticking faster now, we figured we’d better do it soon and chose Iceland in February/early March. We drank coffee(…)

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In a pickle

Glad you’re in this pickle jar with me, old friend. You too, new friend; and you over there and there and there and across the sea and over (also under) the rainbow. In a Pickle We’re in a pickle We are, we are And what’s worse is The pickle’s in a jam   And then we wonder(…)

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Playing hooky

Last night I spoke at an event inside grand old St. Bart’s on 50th and Park. Afterwards I began meandering and (though I hadn’t planned to) eventually walked the entire way home, about four miles. It was winter, a bit blustery, stimulating; the streets weren’t crowded, late-working folks were leaving work or heading somewhere, hurrying decisively, criss-crossing to and fro(…)

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From Belarus to New Zealand

The instructions were: Pack lunch/dinner and snacks and bring water Make sure you are hydrated Get a good nights sleep the night before No back-packs or bags – exception: 1 clear bag 12 x 12 x 6 gallon, one bag 8 x 6 x 4 Bring cash Bring credit card Bring cell phone battery back-up Bring(…)

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Milosz in Krynica spa and tonight

I first read Czeslaw Milosz while hiding out in Krynica spa in southern Poland at a hotel called Paradiso. I read him again now while hiding out on the twelfth floor – 12F. Milosz encountered strong headwinds through his long life, especially during the Warsaw years. He wouldn’t mind, I’m sure, if I borrow from the ballast he acquired(…)

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