Wednesday, July 22, 2009


[As some of you may know, the last month of my life has largely been consumed in finding new accommodations in New York City, hence the sporadic blogging.

Now that I am living in Jackson Heights, and not waking up at odd hours, worried about what sort of chintzes will look right with my flounces, and other highly distracting decorative issues, I hope to return to the blogosphere with more fun-packed, thrill-packed adventure stories. Or poems. Or pretentious mental perambulations.

Perhaps the best thing I can do is plunge back into writing, in media res. Here is a post I started a few weeks ago, on the occassion of
the great total solar eclipse visible in Asia. ]


Syzygy, the word from whence the title of today's posting is derived, is one of those fantastic late Latin words which would be a gorgeous diamond necklace of a gift to a clever Scrabble player IF there were another Y tile included in the standard Scrabble set. Unfortunately there are only two Ys contained therein. And not a single wherefore to account for it. Ah well, C'est la vie. For our purposes today, the far more inferior syzygia (a far more Scrabble friendly word, you see) will have to do.

Wikipedia defines 'syzygia' as, "the alignment of three or more celestial bodies in the same gravitational system along a plane." Here is a little poem that describes how I was guided through my first experience with that peculiar celestial phenomena.


Thin flakes of the sweetest chocolate paint
Curled deliciously from our door trim;
I had a neighbor who would almost faint
When I pretended to be eating them.

She planted flowers with strange leaves—like hearts—
On either side of her gas meter. She
Had me collect their seeds in olive jars
Because I said they looked like bombs to me.

Her house was where I saw my first eclipse.
We gathered to observe it on the lawn:
Before one word of wonder reached my lips,
The birds stopped singing and the sun was gone.

My feet instinctively gripped the grass
When my grandmother squeezed my hand.
Why they told us, “Don’t be afraid,” in class,
She said she would never understand.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

13 days.

It has been thirteen days since my last post.

I have no idea why I have been so at a loss for ideas, even after spending 5 fun days frolicking with Yasu and Gonchan in the sun dappled quadrangles of Cornell. Surely a dose of Debussy and a stroll down by lake Cayuga should have done something to restore my imaginative spirits. But no. No revived spirits. No spirits of any kind. Not a sausage.

Then, this morning, that prickly sensation I get when there are the stirrings of an idea. I tilted my head and cracked my neck. I started thinking, 'Try something less ambitious than the Pushkin project now, just to get your bearings back. Why not something less narrative, more reflective, more purely lyrical?'

What could be less ambitious than
this? Yes, I hear Keats calling. I haven't heard that voice for a very long time. Maybe there was some sweet, slowly dissolving drug laced in the wine I sampled at Six Mile Creek Vineyard...

O for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvèd earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South!
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stainèd mouth...

I have a poem to write. I must think on't.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In the Beginning

Not much to go on here. Not very inspired as of late. Insipid summers will do that to a person. So will wasting your life in train tunnels. [Careful, sir, in that way madness lies; let me shun that.]

Still, what we have here might be the beginning of something. We'll see what happens in Ithaca this weekend, after I have a chance to walk the dog, explore Cornell, experience grass and trees, read and write.

I have put the Pushkin project on hold temporarily. I hope to return to it once I am in a better humor.

Anyway, the story so far:

A sharp Ticonderoga vaulted through his nimble fingers landing with a bony crunch in the lower right hand corner of his legal pad—just above the pale, penultimate blue line. “How poetic,” he frowned, turning the pencil back around and flicking the broken point away with his eraser tip. “He couldn’t take the pressure. Poor little nit.”

Although his page was still unsullied (apart from one black pit surrounded by a scattering of graphite dust) he tore out the offending page, along the pad’s perforated top. He needed a pristine canvas on which to arrange his thoughts. As far as these—his instruments—were concerned, like Lucifer, he was their General. Pencils, pens, erasers, reams paper—these demons—were the expendable elements of his artistic infantry. Opposing his him was a large window. Beyond that, commanding the heights, there stood a hemlock tree.