Thursday, April 07, 2011

Fifth Avenue at Night

If I described to you a city scene of eyeless, suited agents of doom...

...and seated, unmoving, mocking mobsters... to enormous, cracked and broken eggs, which had hatched... least one ostrich, clutching its purse in its beak, startled-looking, uncertain which way to flee...

...from the headless drones descending a staircase, just so,...

...and women with such poise to frighten any man...

...and a lower-case a, suspended in air -- what would you say?

If I were to describe Fifth Avenue, and told you of a Goliath of a man, near-nude, hoisting a globe...

...and of outdoor tables and chairs -- or were they enormous blossoms grown in my dreams?...

...if I told you thus of my night time walk up Fifth Avenue...

...where lights burn through the eyes like tracer bullets...'d call me mad for being here, and vow to never set foot in...

the city that never sleeps again.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Jan Hus

Recently I have been re-acquainted with Jan Hus, a figure from European history from hundreds of years ago, who was burned at the stake for his heresies in 1415. He is viewed as a Protestant Martyr and a precursor to Martin Luther.

My meeting again with Hus as a figure I remember from history classes at college, came about because I walked past the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House on the Upper East Side.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

we real cool...

We Real Cool


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Gwendolyn Brooks

I've been reading the above book by bell hooks. Her writing is not always easy to follow, I think because she is constructing an argument, and  a very urgent, present, "now" argument, though her topic in the broadest sense is an age-old and timeless one: man's inhumanity to woman, and the bigotries and hatreds (racism, homophobia) that are the spawn of that fundamentally unbalanced, dissonant relationship.

The title of her book is taken from the poem (top) by Gwendolyn Brooks, with the familiar colloquialism contains a darker meaning of course, that when we are all dead, "we real cool." The chapter in which she dissects, with telling ennui, the hip hop culture which is presented as some sort of victory for black culture in general, is very good. 

Sunday, April 3rd, 2010: The Same Stretch of Washington Square Park

A Horse's Head Was Too Expensive

Congressman Pete King of Long Island is upset after he received a pig's foot in the mail -- what does one have to do to please some people!

Authorities intercepted a parcel this morning addressed to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) containing a bloody pig's foot and a derogatory message, a source has confirmed to CBS News.
The parcel was intercepted at the Congressional mail facility in Landover, Maryland, where mail sent to lawmakers is screened for security risks.
The U.S. Capitol Police and U.S. Postal Service confirmed that there is an open investigation, though would not confirm the details of what was contained in the parcel because the investigation is ongoing. King's office, which did not see the parcel, referred all questions to the Capitol Police.
According to the Postal Service, a hazardous materials response team tested the parcel and found it to be non-hazardous.
Last month, King held hearings on radicalization in the Muslim-American community that critics suggested unfairly targeted Muslims, though it's not known whether this incident is related to those hearings. Muslims are forbidden from eating pork products.
Ibrahim Hooper, National Communications Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations - a target of King's hearings - said he found the situation confusing. He said his organization regularly receives pig-themed hate messages, including letters smeared with bacon.
"My guess is it was an anti-Muslim bigot, and bigots not being brain surgeons they probably got their signals crossed," he said.
UPDATE: A source on Capitol Hill told NBC News that the note "contained anti-Semitic ramblings" and referenced the radicalization hearings. King is Roman Catholic.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Timing Is Everything

I have been slow with new posts lately. My apologies.

In other news, a 60 second delay the other evening as I was exiting the subway, meant that I just missed walking into an armed robbery taking place. Instead, the men with guns hurried past me and hared away up the street. Three minutes later, I found out from the bruised and battered and duct-taped resident of a nearby building that, well, they were the men with the guns...