Not so new addiction – XXII

The Accomplished Guest (short stories) by Ann Beattie

The State We’re In (short stories) by Ann Beattie

The Island Dwellers (short stories) by Jen Silverman

Confidence Man, The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America by Maggie Haberman

The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Titlevsen

Five Tuesdays in Winter (short stories) by Lily King

Fen, Bog and Swamp by Annie Proulx

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Jerusalem Beach (short stories) by Iddo Gefen

Sing to It (short stories) by Amy Hempel

Exiles (three short novels) by Philip Caputo

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

Are We There Yet A Celebration of the Short Story by James Thurber, Annie Proulx, Martha Gelhorn, Eudora Welty, etc.

Everything Inside (short stories) by Edwidge Dantivat

The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

The Trouble with Happiness (short stories) by Tove Ditlevsen

The Mystic Masseur by V. S. Naipaul

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (short stories) by Haruki Murakami

Miguil Street by V. S. Naipaul

The Radetsky March by Joseph Roth (translated by Joachim Neugroschel)

The Cloven Viscount by Italo Calvini (translated by Archibald Colquhoun)

Marcovaldo or The Seasons in the City by Italo Calvini (translated by William Weaver)


Addendum to: Blog posting from 16 May 2017 on poet Naomi Replansky



Today I read that poet Naomi Replansky died  on 7 January at age 104. Such a long long life. But, still, her passing shocks and leaves me with an ache.

Following (in part) lines from her poem THE OASIS –

I thought I held a fruit cupped in my hand

Its sweetness burst

And loosed its fruit. After long traveling.

After so long a thirst,

I asked myself: is this a drought-born dream?

It was no dream.

Farewell Naomi!**

(see obituary by Margalit Fox in 1/11/23 issue of  The New York Times

** › margalit-fox)


(FROM 16 MAY, 2017)

The rain poured down. The separate umbrellas my singer/songwriter friend and I held over our individual heads didn’t shield us from getting wet, wetter, wettest. We were in a part of town I rarely visit these days. Splashing across 109th Street from the subway at Central Park West we turned up Broadway where we passed corners that pierced all but forgotten memory clusters. 109th and Broadway: An amorous (bold) encounter in a walk-up when I was twenty from which I couldn’t escape fast enough. 110th Street and Broadway: One of my first jobs (age thirty-two) as enthusiastic apprentice/assistant to a documentary filmmaker (Phyllis Chinlund) in a large residential building on that corner. Each day I’d get my son off to New Lincoln School then dash for the 57th Street crosstown bus to Madison and transfer to the uptown Madison Avenue bus. Once, during a transit strike, I peddled my folding bike up and back home from my job working at a flatbed Steenbeck editing machine, trying to keep the various plates straight, reconstituting trims. 112th and Broadway: On a second floor, (I think it was there), a favorite dirt cheap Cuban-‘Chinese restaurant were one could sit for hours – eat, read, gab.

At 113th Street my wet friend and I were relieved to reach our destination and get out of the rain.

The occasion was a reading by the poet Naomi Raplansky. For some reason libraries still smell the same as they always have and are, as ever, slightly overheated. So it was at the Morningside Heights Library. Only a few folks including the poet and her long-time companion, Eva Kollish (scholar and author), had arrived. In the basement room we met up with another friend (Barbara Lapcek) who’d saved seats – second row center. I pealed off my soaked jacket, realizing I was wet under it too; stowed my umbrella. Small puddles of water began gathering beneath my chair. As it turned out, we’d been lucky, since attendees trickled, then poured, then squeezed in; standing room only. For the next forty-five minutes Naomi delivered about twenty-five poems with a few off-the-cuff words thrown in. She declaimed rather than recited her spare and careful compositions, some quite brief, like:

Gray Hairs

crowd out the black

Not one of them

brings me wisdom.


provide no armor.

I still quiver

to anyone’s dart.



From five hundred miles away

jealousy can hear

the crumpling of a pillow

beneath two heads.

She reminded me of my Aunt Dorothy (see Lost and Found), both stalwart (loyal, hardworking, unwavering, tough, independent) woman who’d grown up in poverty, Dorothy in Brooklyn, Naomi in the Bronx during the Great Depression, children of eastern European Jewish immigrants. There was never enough and neither ever learned how to swim. In other words, Naomi could have been a relative; her manner, tone, concerns were comforting and familiar. With these familiarities came an ache for those long gone family members brimming with personality who’d been toughened by fate and would never again walk through my doorway carrying a paper bag full of still-warm bread.  Saying it all, Naomi’s poem, You Walked a Crooked Mile –

You walked a crooked mile

you smiled a crooked smile

you dropped a wandering tear

all in a crooked year

When there was one kiss

against ten curses

and one loaf

against ten hungry

and one hello

against ten goodbyes

the odds stalked

your crooked steps.

And you turned no corner

without heart-tightening

and against ten cannon

you had one fist

and against ten winters

you had one fire.

After the last poem ended, a standing ovation, then a cake with burning candles was brought as it was Naomi’s ninety-ninth birthday. She blew out the candles, her thick white hair billowing, a wide smile on her fully alive face.

Back outside the rain continued pouring down. Maybe even worse than before. My (also white) hair dripping wet, was plastered to my scalp.


Collected Poems of Naomi Replansky is available on Amazon and elsewhere. The book and the poet are described as follows on the site: ‘Nominated for the National Book Award in 1952, Naomi Replansky’s first book Ring Song dazzled critics with its candor and freshness of language. Here at long last is the new and collected work of a lifetime by a writer hailed as “one of the most brilliant American poets” by George Oppen. Replansky is a poet whose verse combines the compression of Emily Dickinson, the passion of Anna Akhmatova, and the music of W.H. Auden. These poems, which Marie Ponsot calls “sixty years of a free woman’s song,” are Replansky’s hymns to the struggle for justice and equality and to the enduring beauty of life in our dangerous world.’

I strongly suggest reading her poetry and receiving the blessing Naomi has on offer.

Long haul, heave haul – Long Covid continues

More than a year later:

Still can’t smell or taste properly

Rash on knuckle of middle finger

Rash above wrist on both arms

Shortness of breath

Exhaustion after going to my accountant – two flights of steps, two short subway trips – spent the rest of the day and night in bed.

New names for Covid-19-long-haulers: 1) post-acute Covid syndrome, 2) post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Support groups are springing up. Some are unable to work any longer …,.

Craving meat – beef or pork

Weak ankles; one weak knee

Ankles swollen

Calves hurting

Pores on nose widening

Out of breath


Some food taste strange, unfamiliar

Tender soles of feet – no fat

3/10/21 – went for 2nd vaccination – used a walking stick/cane for the first time in my life

Problems with right knee

pain in hands and feet

pain in ankles

strange swatch of (what looks like) dead skin on the side of my nose

strange swatch of sandpaper-like skin on right and left wrists



can, occasionally, smell things

Almost two years later:

rendered collapsed when it’s hot

rendered almost paralytic  when it’s humid which it’s been — lots

tingling in left ear



black moods

need for isolation from others

easily distracted

thinning hair on head

sudden-onset diarrhea (can’t smell own poo)

brain fog

much gas

terrible taste in mouth

Is  this a case of…?

“…. for whatever man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

….a woman read one of my blogs … the one about being a girl scout camper. She contacted me and told me she’d  been to the same camp as I had – Camp Laughing Water in Bear Mr. NY.  We exchanged phone numbers …. had a chat on the phone.  A month later she wrote to ask if I’d like to zoom with her daughter and herself and …. sing camp songs together? I’m ashamed of the fact that I declined …. I thought she had guts …

Do spiders sleep, the boy asked me.

More than two years later:

vertigo, bouncing off walls on and off through the day

tickle in both ears

have been advised that my birthday falls between the birthday of Modigliani (12 July) and Klimpt (14 July). Might this signify something …. anything ?

covid-induced asthma symptoms  have awakened now that the thermal cold has faded and humidity and rain have replaced it.

can occasionally smell things: garbage, garlic, fresh, cool air




A quote and two images

[image by Yosha Bunko]

[image by Johanne Randen]

‘The persistence of the past is one of those tragic/comic blessings which each new age denies coming cock-sure onto its stage to mouth its claim to a perfect novelty. But no age is so new as that.”

from The Man of Property by John Galsworthy

Not so new addiction – XXI

The Dogs of Tithwal (stories) by  Saadat Hasan Manto

The Short Stories of Rabindranath Tagore by Rabindranath Tagore

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Can’t and Won’t (short short stories) by Lydia Davis

Signs and Wonders (short stories) by Alix Ohlin

We Want What We Want (short stories) by Alix Ohlin

The Years by Annie Ernaux (translated by Alison T. Strayer)

Autoportrait by Jesse Ball

The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli (translated by Erica Segue and Simon Connell)

Modern World by Edward D. Melillo

The Visiting Privilege (short stories) by Joy Williams

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

False Bingo (short stories) by Jac Jemc

That Old Country Music (short stories) by Kevin Barry

Learning to Talk (short stories) by Hillary Mantel

The River of Doubt, Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

Barbara the Slut and Other People (short stories) by Lauren Holmes

The Dinner Party and Other Stories (short stories) by Joshua Ferris

A Very Short History of Life on Earth, 4.6 Billion Years in Twelve Pithy Chapters by Henry Gee [second reading]

The Tree by Colin Tudge

All roads lead to ….. acupuncturists

Intake: Initial visit – 9/15/22

Going: Uptown E to Lexington ave, Changed to Uptown 6 to 68th Street

Coming: Downtown Q to 14th Street, crosstown L to 8th Ave, Uptown C to 23rd Street

Sundry walking total: 1.9 mile

Visit #1 – 9/20/22

Going: Uptown C to 72nd (M72) Street, crosstown bus to 2nd Avenue

Coming:  72 street crosstown bus (M72) to CPW, downtown C home

Sundry walking total: 1.3 mile

Visit #2 – 9/27/22

Going: 23rd Street crosstown (M23)  bus to 3rd ave, uptown 3rd ave (M101) Bus to 72nd Street

Coming: 2nd Avenue downtown bus to 23rd Street, crosstown 23rd (M123) bus  to 8th avenue

Sundry walking total. 1.6 mile

Visit #3 – 9/29/22

Going: Uptown C train to 72nd Street, crosstown 72nd Street (M72) bus to 1st Ave.

Coming: Downtown Q train to 63rd and Lexington Ave, F train downtown to 23rd Street and 6th Ave

Walking total: 2.1 mile

Visit #4 – 10/4/22

Going: Downtown E train to west 4th Street, uptown F train to 63rd & Lexington Avenue, Q train to 72nd and 2nd Ave

Coming: Downtown Q train to 63rd & Lexington Avenue, F train to 23rd Street, M23 crosstown bus to 8th Avenue

Walking total: 1.1 mile

Visit #5 – 10/6/22

Going: Downtown C to W 4th street, uptown F to 63rd Street & Lexington Avenue, Q train to 72nd Street

Coming: Downtown to 63rd & Lexington Ave, Q train to 72nd Street, M23 to 8th Avenue

Walking total: 1.5 mile

Visit #6 – 10/11/22

Going: Downtown c to W 4th Street, uptown F to 63rd Street & Lexington Ave, Q train to 72nd Street

Coming: Downtown from 79th & Lexington Ave, #6 train, to M23 crosstown at Lexington Ave

Walking total: 2.0 mile

Visit #7 – 10/13/22

Going: Downtown E to W 4th Street, Uptown F to 63rd Street & Lexington Ave, Q train to 72nd Street

Coming: Downtonn Q to 63rd & Lexington Ave, F train downtown to 23rd Street, crosstown M23

Walking total: 1.2 mile

Visit #8 – 10/18/22

Going: Downtown C to W 4th Street, Uptown F to 63rd & Lexington Ave, Q train to 72nd Street

Coming: Downtown Q to 63rd & Lexington Ave, F train downtown to 23rd Street, crosstown M23

Walking total: 1.2 mile

Visit #9 – 10/27/22

Going: Downtown E to W 4th Street, Uptown F to 63rd & Lexington Ave, Q train to 72nd Street

Coming: Downtown Q to 63rd & Lexington Ave, F train downtown to 23rd Street, crosstown M23

Walking total: 1.1 mile

Final Visit #10 – 11/3/22

Going:  Downtown C to W. 4th Street, Uptown F to 63rd & Lexington Ave, Q train to 72nd Street

Coming: Downtown Q to 63rd & Lexington Ave, Downtown F to 23rd Street, Crosstown M23 to 8th Avenue

Walking total: 1.2 mile

Not so new addiction XX

The World in a Grain, The story of sand by Vince Beiser

Half Gods (short stories) by Akil Kumarasamy

The Boiling River Adventure and discovery in the Amazon by Andrés Ruzo

Where the Water Goes, Life and death along the Colorado River by David Owen

Disappointment River, Finding and losing the Northwest Passage by Brian Castner

Rabbit Ears Bible Stories; Moses in Egypt

The Hurting Kind (poems) by Ida Limón

The Hurly Burly and other stories (short stories) by A. E. Coppard

The Mountain (short stories) by Paul Yoon

Miriam at the River by Jane Yolan

Water, A Biography by Giulio Boccaletti

Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner

Shoko’s Smile (short stories) by Choi Eunyoung

Life on the Mississippi, An epic American Adventure by Rinker Buck

Girlhood (essays by Melissa Febos

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

The Hurting Kind (poems) by Ada Lomón

The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carse

The Mountain (short stories) by Paul Yoon

The Book of Eels (translate from Swedish) by Patrik Svensson

Swim Back to Me (short stories) by Ann Packer

Not so new addiction XIX

Ashes in my mouth, Sand in my shoes (short stories) by Per Petterson

Darkness Visible by William Styron

A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul (second reading)

The Aspern Papers by Henry James

A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth; 4.6 Billion Years in Twelve Pithy Chapters by Henry Gee

Good Trouble (short stories) by Joseph O’Neall

Slowly Down the Ganges by Eric Newby

Thereby Hangs a Tale (short Stories) by Jeffrey Archer

The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy Roberts

The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron

Beautiful Days (short stories) by Joyce Carol Oates

To the Lake: A Balkan Journey in War and Peace by Kapka Kassabova

The Braided River: A journey along the Brahmaputra by Samrat Choudhury

The Danube: A journey upriver from the Black Sea to the Black Forest by Nick Thorpe

Learning to Talk (short stories) by Hilary Mantel

The New York Stories (short stories) by John O’Hara

The Jealousy Man (short stories) by Jo Nesbø

Prayer for the Living (short stories) by Ben Okri

Gathering Moss: A natural and cultural history of mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Magdalena, River of dreams by Wade Davis

Not so new addiction XVIII

The Braided River, A Journey along the Brahmaputra by Samrat Choudhury

One Day We’ll all be Dead and None of this Will Matter (essays) by Scaachi Koul

The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories (short stories) by P.G. Wodehouse

The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley

Classic Women’s Short Stories by Kate Chopin, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield

The Garden Party (short stories) by Katherine Mansfield

The Stranger by Albert Camus (translated by Matthew Ward)

The Nightwatchman’s Occurance Book, and Other Comic Inventions by V.S.Naipaul

My Man Jeeves (stories) by P.G. Wodehouse

In Xanadu, a quest by William Dalrymple

On the Shoulders of Giants (essays) by Umberto Eco

A Way in the World (essays) by V.S. Naipaul

The Sinner and the Saint, Dostoevsky and the Gentleman Murderer who inspired a Masterpiece by Kevin Birmingham

The Essential Dylan Thomas (poetry and stories) by Dylan Thomas

The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal

On the Plain of Snakes by Paul Theroux

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby


Dylan Thomas, A New Life by Andrew Lycett

Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised  Life by Jonathan Bate

Vinegar Hill (poems) by Colm Tóibín