Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Poem Interlude


From the mother I came from came
one-half the mothers or fathers
of my grandchildren, as an upside
down tree’s branches become
its roots. I want my inverted self
to be as different from myself
as I get, but it’s through the glass
that all the sense starts to make
itself so. My inverted self is no
different from you, my left
eye your right, myself no different
than the strange progeny looking
down time to find me, waiting
to be given whatever’s theirs.

Thursday Night

Tomorrow night, at 211 Ainslie @ Manhattan, everyone who's anyone will be talking community, at the first NAG organizing meeting of spring.

What's happening, you ask?

We're all pulling together to stop subway and bus cuts, fight for new parks, save affordable housing, make streets safer for bikers and pedestrians, and preserve community diversity and character in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

Also, for those who want some fresh air in the coming days, know that East River State Park is back in business, thanks to the efforts of Assemblyman Joe Lentol and others.

Come on out.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Me: Chilling Out

Current music: Cold War Kids, Robbers and Cowards (2006).

p.s. Shoveling compost, unbagging leaves, and breathing the new spring air was very therapeutic on Saturday. And, speaking of compost...Crest Hardware is now accepting kitchen scraps.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

All Along the Day

The Obamas are planting a garden on the White House lawn. Covering 1,100 square feet, the garden will provide vegetables for the family's meals and serve as a locavore model for all of us.

Speaking's community-supported agriculture (CSA) season, and there's a new farm in town. The Southside CSA will offer produce grown on MimoMex Farm in Goshen; along with shares of vegetables, fruit, and eggs, the farm will offer two types of wine share (ostensbily New York City's first), both of which include regular wine tastings and food pairing suggestions. Pick-up for all shares will be on Monday evenings at Bridget (Broadway at Kent, "the place is organic in the best sense of the word.").

(MimoMex farmers; the photo is not mine.)

Meanwhile, the North Brooklyn Story Project and North Brooklyn Compost Project are kicking off their own seasons soon, and spring, generally, is springing up in the most unexpected places (not just E Street)...

Finally, what goes better with spring than birds...and especially Andrew Bird, whom I'm getting to know thanks to D.

He writes things like, "I was getting ready to be a threat / I was getting set for my / accidental suicide/ the kind where no one dies / no one looks too surprised / then you realize / that you're riding on a para-success / of a heavy-handed metaphor / and a feeling like you've been here before / because you've been here before/ and you've been here before."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend Recap

Development is both stalled and not in North Brooklyn, as evidenced by lots seeded for ailanthus and newly poised cranes. On Saturday I sought images on North 10th. Saturday night was the second in a monthly dinner party series hosted by T, E, J, and myself, this one themed breakfast for dinner. I think the recession makes laughter (and French gimlets) all the more sweet.

I think she is speaking her heart, but she may not be speaking at all.

The building to come in this lot will block my view of Manhattan.

This building's days may be numbered.

Sideways heart with bricks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I See Your Doom and Raise You Happiness

Is it just me, or is the recession making people friendlier and life more serendipitous? Here are a few examples from recent days in the hood:

1. Stoop conversations with some of the long-time Italian residents on my block about job losses. "Do you have money?" Nick asked. I turned my pockets out: "Empty pockets." Pete: "Hey, that used to be a great bar in Queens."

2. A barista at Verb, my Sunday habit (bathroom art below), teasing me for my coffee-drinking skills when my cup kept dripping. I continue to maintain that it was a leaky cup.

3. Seven random encounters with Williamsburg friends (Tiffany, Keith, Janos, Daniel, and Rob, some more than once) on the L (did you know that between 1928 and 1967 it was the #16?), on subway platforms, and on the streets.

4. Another patron at Hana, overhearing my exchange with the counter guy (Me: I'm getting this eco drain cleaner 'cause I have cats. Him: Do you love your cats? Me: Do I what? Do I love my cats? Him: Yeah. Me: Ha ha. No, I HATE them.), saying, after I purchased Earthworm, "I couldn't help have cats. Me too. Organic products never work for this sort of thing." After which we had a friendly conversation that ended with my saying I would go home, make my drain smell like lemon and thyme, and return to spend more money on something toxic.

5. In the spirit of a reviving Bohemia, a Japanese fellow at Verb this past Sunday interrupting my poem revisions to say that I had tiny handwriting that indicated I was a creative. He turned out to be a painter and asked me to write a poem in exchange for a drawing, on the spot. His offering to me:

6. Standing on the corner of Withers and Union, with empty lots on three sides and trees, now against the sky, one day to be silhouetted on buildings. A girl walking a dog crossed to my side of the street, despite the late hour, and struck up a conversation. "This is Ella," she said, pointing to a black-and-white bulldog. When I tried to pet Ella, her owner said that she's afraid of people because she thinks everyone has a camera phone and is trying to take her picture. "Well, she's cute," says I. "She looks like a cat."

Signing off with Andrew Bird:

Simply Yay

And yay again. There's a lot of coverage of the project already. Don't forget to come out to NAG tomorrow for the kick-off meeting.

Poem Interlude


Ann got laid among vines
but her mind was all blue.
She’s painting a peacock
now, all childless plumes – see
how they catch the sky
and give it back? If sex
is a line, painting is the space
between, where color dwells
and climax lasts and lasts.

Photo courtesy RW.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Goodbye Gowanus

Working to promote the North Brooklyn Story Project, I just learned that Bob Guskind, creator of The Gowanus Lounge, died yesterday. This is a major loss for bloggers and blog readers alike...and a testament to the tight bonds of the Brooklyn blogging community: after seeing that Gowanus messages were going unanswered, Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn reached out to the Medical Examiner's Office, which confirmed Bob's passing. As a tribute to him and the wry, insightful posts he penned, let's keep up the good dialogue.

It's Happening!

What: North Brooklyn Story Project Introductory Meeting
When: Wednesday, March 11th, 7 p.m.
Where: Neighbors Allied for Good Growth headquarters: 101 Kent Avenue at 9th Street

The North Brooklyn Story Project is looking for people with stories to share about our community, and people who can listen to and record these stories.

The project is a new initiative of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), a community organization that has been serving North Brooklyn since 1994. The project was developed to get residents talking and listening to each other – to build a vibrant and friendly North Brooklyn community.

The first step? To find people interested in telling their stories and people interested in interviewing them. Together, interviewers and storytellers will create an archive of North Brooklyn stories that all of us can use to feel connected to our diverse neighbors and neighborhoods – past, present, and future.

No special skills or equipment required – just ears and a voice. If you're interested, please come to the North Brooklyn Story Project Introductory Meeting, on Wednesday, March 11th, at 7 p.m. The meeting will take place at NAG headquarters (101 Kent Avenue at North 9th Street). At the meeting, we’ll discuss an upcoming training to be offered to our group by the Brooklyn Historical Society, as well as your ideas for making the project a success.

You can e-mail me with any questions...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sound...and Another Cat

Just two more things:

This Friday, March 6th, at 7 p.m., "Resonance in Residence" will open at 3rd Ward. Asks 3rd Ward's Douglas York, "What happens when you put seven artists in a room and ask them to create a sculptural object focusing on sound? A collaborative installation combining 100 algorithmically-controlled, sound-generating motors and field recordings, of course!" could I talk about cats and not mention Devoe Street's very own Kittens Ablaze?*

*They're really making it! And their informal manager is a wonderful person.

Hiya Kitty

Mark Twain perhaps said it best, and I paraphrase: "Cats rule."*

And Williamsburg cats especially so. Here's a shameless plug for some new graffiti on Metropolitan and Lorimer and the two pesky critters that reside with me.

*"Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat."