Friday, April 19, 2019

plagues and prose

it's National Poetry month...yea!...a whole month to read the beautiful works of poets long gone and some just cresting the literary surface...and to be reminded that I am not writing much these days...and not too pleased about it...and tonight Passover begins...and so, as I observe commuting, and life in general, these April days, there are new plagues upon us...and so I bring you the new 10 plagues...10) construction...in the subway stations...one day a staircase is there...one day you're walking into a wall...not metaphorically...alternating almost daily...just to keep you on your toes...9) rolling luggage...tourist season...I'm home from college season...the wheels never roll on a fucking piece of Samsonite season...all zig zagging in front of you while attempting to make the train season...8) pasty leg season...that first and only 70+ day of sunshine and your legs look like two loaves of moldy Wonder bread...you roast in jeans...7) Citi Bikes...and the people who use them...riding against traffic...through red lights...without helmets...in flip flops...what could go wrong? 6) going to that play or musical with anticipation...smile on your face...then...Times Square...ten million people...all looking up...not moving...and four thousand fondle-me Elmo's...after which you watch "The Deuce" and become wistfully nostalgic for the old scuzzy Times Square of days gone by...5) walking on Fifth and no longer seeing Lord & Taylor...dreaming of Christmas windows...then seeing so many empty store fronts in Manhattan...a shiver runs through you in the spring breeze...4) this one, specific to LIRR riders...third rail construction...parking lots closing...months of crap coming...oh, and some fare hikes...3) Lori Loughlin's smirk 2) urinetown...aka NYC...an endless stream of consciously ignoring quality of life by the powers that be...and 1) true story...#1 train uptown to Penn this week...holding onto a center pole...two men sitting and chatting in front of me...and then I hear it...not once...not twice...but at least three times with full butt lift...farts to end all farts...everyone sits motionless...but you look at each other...oh yeah...gotta love NY...it's a gas, gas, gas...

Monday, March 11, 2019

Schticks and stones...

I was watching a movie the other day...from the eighties...comedy...I probably knew more than half the dialogue...certainly all the punch lines...and as I watched I realized...quite sadly...that the same movie could never get past go these days...it would never be financed...never open in movies theaters nationwide...ah, political correctness...which when it crept into the corners of our society years ago was actually quite necessary...but now it has rendered us mute and frozen...we stop writing, afraid to offend...we become shrill...defensive...and humorless...were we always so insensitive...did our laughs come at the expense of others...uh, yes...if you did laugh did that make you a bigot...you probably would say of course not...but isn't everybody...even just a bit...laughing when we shouldn't because of unease of what we don't know or understand...can you laugh at yourself...at "your own people" as easily...I remember the old line that sometimes it is best if the joke you tell is only about yourself, or "your own people"...but are we only safe if we stay in our own lanes...where does that leave us in this rich melting pot that is our country...there is a scene in Spike Lee's insightful and incendiary "Do The Right Thing" where the characters...each a different racial or ethnic group...face the camera and hurl every slur they can at each other...kind of harsh and cathartic in bizarre fashion...I wonder sometimes...next time there is a national debate...let them all yell at each other...all that bile and distaste...get it out...pause...laugh at the absurdity...shake hands with meaning...and get the hell on with it...just thinking...

Thursday, February 28, 2019

February made me shiver...

the sky was brilliantly blue today...sun so bright the sunglasses didn't cut it...it was a sky that made you feel life was ripe with possibilities...of course, I felt like a strapped-in mummy in the driver's seat...mummified in a down coat, scarf, gloves...ah, the trappings of a February chill...tomorrow, we slide into March...I am twitching as a remember what happened last winter...we sailed, save a January storm...and then it hit...the dreaded word on Long Island...four weeks in a row...Nor'easter...I whisper a prayer to the weather gods...please, no repeat...because my sallow complexion and flaking skin are crying for spring...I figure with the wind earlier this week...the one where we felt we were up in the cyclone with Dorothy...yeah, that one...well, that's it, we got all of March in two days...bring on early spring...I want to smell the leaves in bloom...send the coats and wool off to the cleaners...banish the boots...I sink into the couch with a cup of tea...ready for the torment of the news...but I daydream...tulips...and realize...that we will all be wearing green, and trudging through snow and rain in a few weeks...such is the way winter plays it last hand...the countdown starts...ignore Lee Goldberg's forecast...and pray Lonnie doesn't roll up his damned sleeves on Channel 2!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Ratatouille...

ok, so I've been slacking off on the blogposts...and the poetry...officially, a writer's slump...except kvetching to newspaper and magazine editors...that garners response...some published...but it's not where I want to be, from a writing standpoint...bleh...we are deep in winter...spring, not so close...and we are sliding towards the Oscars...yawn...after 9 billion awards shows, it's hard to muster enthusiasm...but going to the movies...nestling in as the lights dim...that is still my sweet spot...and so, I generally catch up with movies at the AMC that's literally within walking distance...especially with the weekday morning special of $6 and change...but the theater is rundown...there have been rumors for years that it will close...that if AMC moves forward into the yet to be approved and started entertainment complex at Nassau Coliseum...it will certainly shutter the dumpy multiplex by me...and there we were two weeks ago...on the weekend in theater 10, "On the Basis of Sex"...an earnest, yet strangely forgettable movie that should have been a September release so it wouldn't get trampled in the Oscar stampede...I digress...I was seated on the aisle...the theater smelled...not pleasant...more like eau de penn station mixed with stale popcorn...about 30 minutes before the movie ended, I thought I saw a shadow move in the aisle, towards the screen...nah...and then again...wait, was it Ratso Rizzo...Willard...Ben...omg...my pulse raced...with 5 minutes to go, I whispered to Mike...I think there are rats here...the credits rolled and we ran...ew...ew...ew...I called the AMC the next day and spoke to the 12 year old manager who was stunned...or high...I called the Nassau County Board of Health the next business day...they took all the information...and called me back a week later to inform me there was an abundance of evidence from their little stop at the theater...gross...how this resolves, who knows...but I am sad...I drive by and the movies call me...but not enough to squat in a ripped chair waiting for the carpet to move below...but really, what I want to know...are those little guys running underfoot AMC stubs members?...just asking for a friend!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

a day in the life...

I read the news today, oh boy...and had to share it with those I knew from way back when...NYU days...School of the Arts days..before there was Tisch...when classes and studios were in an old shitty building called "South Building"...where we joked that the tv studio equipment looked like it was dropped out of a plane...when film students bowed at the Scorsese shrine...way back before the Village and Soho became high-end shopping grounds...when you knew exactly where the back entrance to Chumley's was...when the bathroom was unisex at McSorley's...and when we were impossibly young...blessed with many talented professors, some not that much older than us...and so when I saw that obituary...Mark Chernichaw...there was a catch in my throat...my advisor...my teacher...my friend...I remember his laugh...his caring...I remember him barely holding back the tears as we sat around the morning after John Lennon was murdered...yes, way back when...before we became numb to murder and loss...and how in that morning I saw him as a peer...and it was awesome...such is the grace of creativity...with the torch passing forward again and again...I think of his family and I am truly sad for their loss...but I cannot picture as he was now only then...and when I think of him...that time in my life...I remember with joy how I was then...art pooling at my feet and the world opening wide and bright...and for that I thank you, Mark, quite deeply...rest in peace...

Thursday, November 22, 2018

let's talk turkey

I think turkey may be the only thing left we can talk about...well, that and that latest episode of (fill in the blank)...not NY sports...there ain't enough Zantac for Giants and Jets fans...Mets fans have to bite nails thinking about losing Syndergaard...which according to Mike, unless the trade would involve Hank Aaron, well you get it...we could spend three minutes discussing the weather...and whether we should kill all the weather forecasters...the divide is deep...it could easily rip down the middle of your beautifully set table today...so on this day...this Thanksgiving day...perhaps we need to look inside and what drives the divide...and mostly it is fear...fear of random violence...it is all we see and hear...it moves closer and no longer sits at the proverbial six degrees of separation...it is fear of losing that job...that check...the one thing that might separate you from that guy sprawled at the bottom of the subway stairs in Penn Station...or maybe you are getting older...seeing it all from new perspective...and your deepest fear is that there might be fewer hands to grasp around your bountiful table next year...so let's skip over the intensely politically incorrectness of a holiday rooted in the premise of how happy the Indians were that we took their magnificent land, trashed it, pushed them to near extinction, left them on reservations...ahem...let's just give thanks for what is around our table...and if the conversation gets heated...turn on the tv...turn up the game...pass the stuffing....Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

open your eyes, look up to the skies....

one of the most ironic moments in "Bohemian Rhapsody" comes when snippets of music critics reviews of the song flash on the screen...not very flattering...were they talking about the same song?...I had to laugh inside...it was just like the snippets of the movie's reviews...and for this hard core movie goer...critical many times...gotta tell you...when the movie was over the critics really didn't matter to me...and I saw every criticism glaring in front of me...like swiss cheese...and it didn't matter...perhaps there is another movie script out there...one that is less sanitized...rougher...created without the surviving members of Queen over a writer's shoulders...a film with one director...and certainly not PG-13...Freddie Mercury was not PG-13...and I'd love to see that one...but back to this one...perhaps you need to be of a certain age...an age where you vividly remember first hearing that voice soar from the radio...maybe you need to have actually owned "Bohemian Rhapsody"...as a 45...worn it to shreds...or the sheet music...what a beast for the piano...maybe you need to remember how as a society there was a time when we liked to keep our artists closeted...put them way up on pedestals and never thought what their personal life was like...how their needs to please us denied them that ultimate luxury...maybe you remember what it was like to toss off youth and become an adult in a decade of monetary excess...while horrific death from a disease that at first had no name slithered along...watching Mercury's genius, vulnerability and loneliness broke my heart...every note and lyric took me back in a way that few movies have...last week was a week in this country where pressure meds didn't cut it...blood in the streets and fire in the sky...but once there was a boy...not a "Paki" boy...but a boy with a voice that soared to the heavens...and sent shivers down my spine...still does...