Sunday, September 29, 2013

Letter From Hunter High

EARLY BURST OF FATHERLY PRIDE. Sara has been invited to sit for the entrance exam to Hunter College High School, "ranked as the top public high school in the United States by The Wall Street Journal and other sources for several years running." Now we embark on an academic mission that is both exciting and scary.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Summer Song

I WON A HUNDRED BUCKS for this poem, then entitled ¨Thermometer¨, when I was studying poetry writing under Albert Goldbarth at Wichita State University in the eighties. I think I spent all of it later that night buying drinks for everyone at Kirby's. Thank you, Kit Hathaway! I wrote its first draft, an exercise in synesthesia, in UP years earlier, and I thought this poem would post nicely this time of year when trees are in full glory and 100-degree weather is just around the country road.

A Thermometer On My Wall Bears A Flower 

A thermometer on my wall bears a flower;
the weight of the sun has tipped its scale,
by a mason’s fault where a tall old clock
shakes the room at the stroke of twelve.

The mercury flew inside the shafted glass
and wrote the fevered wind across its neck,
lit up its puzzled bulb, drank the morning
and attuned its ventricles to the sound of grass.

Down the hall of day, the silver instrument
marks the rage of hours; the silent riddle
runs in the numbered fuse, the artery of griefs,
and tells the singing weather to the belly of a goldfish.

A thermometer on my wall bears a flower,
and the horned toad sinks, and cicadas guess
the simple clue of love the mercury keeps
when summer bursts through the scabs of trees.

From Mikrokosmos, Spring 1989 (also published in Braille by The Braille Institute of America)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Big Bamboo

TO GIVE A TROPICAL feel to my Hopatcong backyard, I bought a cold hardy bamboo, Phyllostachys atrovaginata, to plant on the hill outside my kitchen. Not only can it withstand temperatures 15 degrees below zero; it also grows up to 35 feet, has the fragrant smell of incense, and produces sweet shoots in the spring. I wonder how many years I have to wait before I hear lawiswis kawayan and eat guinataang labong.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer Jobs In The Country

AFTER FINALLY SELLING the old summer house in the Adirondacks, I am ready to tackle the job of improving the Jersey house on Lake Hopatcong Heights. (I still live the rest of the year in Maspeth, Queens.) First on the list: change the house and water heater energy source from oil to electric. I would have preferred gas, but this part of town does not have natural gas lines due to the hilly and rocky nature of the terrain. I may rehire my Peruvian handyman from Flushing, NY to help me do the job (he did a decent job redoing the kitchen and the bathroom.) A bigger job that I don't want to think about yet is the roof and the entire second floor, which may need to be demolished altogether. (I want to convert the house into a ranch style home.) Other jobs include landscaping, rewiring the electrical lines and that fireplace for the winter. Big projects indeed, considering all the time lost that could have been spent fishing, lounging on the lake beach, or even writing. But I have a tall TV and FM antenna that catches broadcasts from the big city, including the Beach Boys!

The Deck
The Bay Window

The Front
The Kitchen

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gear Up For The Season!

THIS JUST OUT: The 2013 New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Digest. Get your fishing licenses, boats, tackles and baits at these Lake Hopatcong spots:

Lake's End Marina, 91 Mount Arlington Boulevard, Landing, NJ, 07850, phone: (973) 398-5707
Dick Dows Fishing and Boat Rental, 145 Nolans Point Road, Lake Hopatcong, NJ 07849, phone: (973) 663-3826  

Bait and Boat (no licenses sold), 13 State Route 183, Stanhope, NJ 07874, phone (973) 347-5797

Saturday, February 23, 2013