Saturday 24 November 2007

This bright morning

There's a car on seventh avenue that's covered in yellow confetti from the falling leaves of an overhead ginkgo biloba tree.

A black tomcat lies in a fenced off corner lot off 5th, cross-pawed and seething.

Leaves are getting kicked around by Lucy.

The Beatles are singing
because the world is round
it turns me on....

Lots of coffee is being made in the big jug.

When I lived in Denmark, every now and then, I would meet a woman in a burka while strolling on Nørrebrogade, my local big street in Copenhagen. She was young, dressed in a full length light black burka. The only part of her that was visible was her eyes, which were very heavily made up with black eye liner and mascara and heavy toned eyeshadow. Many layers of mask. She reminded me of pictures of elaborately made up Sicilian widows I've seen in the National Geographic. I always looked her in the eye, though, and she did the same with me. We didn't see each other a whole lot, but when we did, we always greeted each other. It was kind of an unusual arrangement: her burka rendered her both recognisable and unrecognisable. I knew her, principally, by her make up. She was a friendly face on my beat in København. Back to Brooklyn.

A woman is rolling a basset hound in a pram along 7th ave. She does not look insane or out of place.

A tiny little old lady is gathering up leaves on St. Marks ave.

Billy Bragg doesn't want to change the world. He's just looking for another girl.

A pair of skinny whippets are shivering in the cold as they pee on leaves.

A brown tortoiseshell cat is rolling around on a basement carpet in anticipation of her only chance at a bit of human contact today, from the woman who is coming to feed her and change her litter tray.

There's a carpet of leaves of different colours all the way along 3rd ave. and a Dominican woman is blissed out as she walks along it, dressed snugly in her winter coat.

A piano technician is fixing a pair of keys on Dean street, which were whacked out of shape by a fiercely improvising French pianist.

A woman is addressing strangers on 7th ave with the question, "Do you have a minute to stop global warming?"

I wonder what's happening in Red Hook. I wonder what's happening in Dumbo. I wonder what's happening down by the sea.

Thursday 22 November 2007

Stories on the eve of Thanksgiving

Thirty million people in the United States of America didn't have enough food in 2006. One in six new yorkers cannot afford enough food, that's 1.3 million people in new york city, who can't afford to eat. But I bet most of them have their rent paid.

I heard about a farmer who was native to the swamps of the Mississippi delta of southern Louisiana, and who went out for a ride one day on his horse, and found himself swamp-bound and horseless, in crocodile alley. Crocs everywhere, he did all he could do, which was to scarper up the highest, nearest tree he could find. And wait it out. Sweating. He wasn't up there long, in the scheme of things. He was local, so his neighbours went out searching, when they didn't see him. It took them three days to find him. He had a sandwich to eat in that time. But what made it fun was that, in the evenings, three big bull crocodiles came to sit at the bottom of the tree, looking up at him, their eyes glinting in the fading evening light, just sitting there. Licking their lips, occasionally. Waiting.

Your lips distil nectar, my bride
honey and milk are under your tongue
the scent of your garments is like the scent of lebanon.
A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
a garden locked, a fountain sealed.
Your channel is an orchard of pomegranates
with all choicest fruits
henna with nard
nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon
with all trees of frankincense
myrrh and aloes
with all chief spices
a garden fountain, a well of living water
and flowing streams from Lebanon.

Tuesday 20 November 2007

My favourite things

"Not so much dead as a prisoner", is the report from the kitchen. He's trapped a fully grown cockroach under the can of Trader Joe's fairtrade French roast. I hear a crash.

"He's dead now, right?"
"Yeah, I think so. I'm agin 'em but I can't get as upset as you do about 'em" he says, in his old timey way.

We've got roaches. I'm having the full new york experience this time. I spent a half hour killing them with my bare hands last night. I found where they live.

Up until then, there was just the occasional one or two crawling across the kitchen butcher block, they sent out their babies as scouts ahead of them, to retrieve information and food discreetly, using the cute factor for their reconaissance missions. But last night I found the hive. The boiler room. They lie in the door jamb, keeping warm, and alert for slim pickings from the kitchen table. The sight of them brought out the murder in me. Hands flew and bits of cardboard and roaches got squashed. Then I got the hoover out. Hoovered another twenty of them. Had to put gaffer tape over the nozzle so they wouldn't crawl out. There had been a band rehearsal downstairs and the drummer suggested I hoover up some raid after them, that's roach killer to you and a very good idea to me.

The hoover sits in the middle of the room, containing live roaches.