BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Bibliomancy, Queens, Uncategorized, Vaticinate

On Thursday, February 27th, I waited to board my plane to Minneapolis, at LaGuardia. To kill time, I went, as I often do, to look for books, to stack a poem with the titles sold there, gently rearranging the bookshelves. Browsing the shelves at CIBO Express, this poem emerged:

The Night Window

Since we fell we were
the lucky ones,
the perfect couple
lost in the cabin
at the end of the world,
becoming the border,
the brink

It had an ominous ring to it. It left me a bit uneasy. Having done this at all types of book venues, from libraries and private homes, to independent and chain bookstores, titles offered at airport bookstores often fall in one of four categories: hot business, hot politics, hot romance, and hot self-help. The poems I stack there often have a level of anxiety that aren’t necessarily mine.
Once in Minnesota I stayed at the home of friends’ friends, a psychologist and her husband. I shared the poem with them and their friend, resulting in a delightful conversation. I implied I might rearrange some of their books. They laughed, and I gleaned from their response that they wouldn’t mind if I would. The guest room was next to her office. On the wall hung a framed photo of a group of campers, with a title: “I often think something marvelous is about to happen.” That text was an invitation for a book poem to be built on. Needing little impetus, I did. The office shelves were packed with psych books and children’s books, a potent combination.

I often think
something marvelous is about to happen

I’m a frog
singing the living tradition.

Where there is no doctor
cure the little prince
thinking in systems—

the whisper—
the way things work
stumbling on happiness
where the sidewalk ends

To my surprise this poem echoed the sentiment of The Night Window, an answer perhaps, or at least a continuation, more upbeat, but also with an open-ended last line, that begs for a sequel yet again… What’s next? If the first poem alludes to a proverbial mythological dark forest, its sequel might hold a key to emerging from it, to reenter the secret mysteries of our universe, our lives in it. Be well.

Daydreaming at dawn

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Brooklyn, Vaticinate

The city that never sleeps,
deserted streets and shuttered shops.
I dream of those dear nearby.
The sirens incessant roar,
then total silence returns.
I dreamt of fields golden skies, when time will come and nothing dies.
Wildflowers and cloudless days,
Nor fear, nor weary, no more tears.
Of Joys gone by,
The simple pleasures will remain.
Each day matters.
A sweet refrain,
Spirits soar.
Courage they say,
this too shall pass.
Melancholy fades,
a glimmer follows.
I wait till dawn,
Soft sounds of morning and gentle light enter the room,
Much to my delight.
Birdsong, a distant bark,
The fog horn sounds.
All settles down.
Another day in this old town.

the quiver of bone and the rings of a tree trunk

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Georgic, Manhattan, Rete, Umbel, Vaticinate

I don’t remember much from high school biology. What I can recall is that a bone’s capillary network is arranged in a series of concentric circles. This means that at the microscopic level, our insides resemble the rings of a tree trunk. This shared architecture has been running my mind. The trees on my block are just beginning to flower; the budding branches are tender and bright. As for myself, after weeks of eating chips and festering in my apartment, I am growing sour and more bloated by the day. How dare you! I think, glumly staring at the view from my window. Nobody is flourishing right now, but spring is a reminder some things are certain. The sun rises, flowers bloom. With each passing year a tree gains a new ring around its trunk and grows stronger, all the more able to weather what comes next.

Sea Level Inferno

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Brooklyn, Vaticinate

Long before 9/11, long before now, I prophesied that religious figures would try to destroy NYC by fire.

This short version of a concert-length version features pre-recorded music by various groups. The original was a silent video projection created for the composer/drummer William Hooker. In 1999, that 50 minute film was seen at the New York Underground Film Festival, the Texaco Jazz Festival, Tonic, The Anthology Film Archives, Real Art Ways, and about a dozen venues in the Pacific North West.

Actors in the film are: Michael Wiener, Carleigh Welsh, Michael Portnoy, and Beau Van Donkelaar.

The High Line, September 2018

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Culminant, Foudroyant, Georgic, Holus Bolus, Manhattan, Vaticinate

I love coming to know a city through walking. When I was last in New York in early Autumn 2018, I travelled by foot almost everywhere – from Mid to Downtown Manhattan, across Brooklyn Bridge to the Time Out Market and from Brooklyn Heights down to Carroll Gardens. Amongst my many photographs mapping these treks, are a series of short audio-visual clips on The High Line. In the late, warm afternoon sun, walkers meander lazily, casting their fleeting shadows on the trees and foliage of the Line. The moving imagery and sounds are now traces of a fully breathing city, in temporary slumber, waiting to dazzle again. 

The High Line, September 2018

VATICINATION? What did the kid know?

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Brooklyn, Vaticinate

Julie Peppito, a Brooklyn artist whose work is very much driven by her concern for the environment, lead a collage workshop to toddlers and pre-teens, making a collage with broken toys, images and various craft materials. It was President’s Day, 2020. Fantastic works were created by dozens of kids. I photographed several of them. One gave me pause, the one with the gas mask. I thought “Oops, did we supply that image in the trove of materials we presented?” I moved on and forgot about it.
With the Coronavirus lockdown I prepped my studio for working from home, clearing off my table, sorting files, setting up office. Organizing my computer’s desktop was next. I created a folder for this and a sub-folder for that, I deleted ancient files to free up gigabytes of space, and I hooked up the external drive I brought home. As I brought order to current projects, I categorized recent photographs, like those I took of that workshop and the works her pupils composed. The gas mask! There it was again, yes, I recalled my pause. However, not until now did I spot the doorknob in the piece. Was this kid on to something? What did he know? The coronavirus had crossed our borders under the radar of presidential denials. Had the kid read between the lines? Did he attend the workshop with Purell in his pocket? How would he have answered, if he’d been asked “What would you want to share with the world?”

No one could vaticinate this.

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Brooklyn, Vaticinate

There were scientists who warned us, be we didn’t listen. There were doomsday shouters, but we didn’t hear them. I sit in my house looking outside, through a piece of film, like rose colored glasses, allowing me to see what I want to see. I cannot vaticinate today, cannot prophesize tomorrow. I know enough to know what I do not know.

Could you vaticinate this?


BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Queens, Vaticinate


On the local train

the seer in the corner rhapsodizes

to all, but really to himself, he knows

what is good and true, but he’s lost sight. 

He sleeps fitfully splayed across the bench

a waking dream, recurring nightmare,

the lullaby of Next stop

36th Street

and Steinway

and Northern Boulevard. 


I’m going home,

I’m going home.

Melanie Daly

A Return to Charlotte Street

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Bronx, history, Information, Places, Vaticinate

Bronx Density MapOn his land use and transportation blog, Starts and Fits, Aaron Donovan, examines Charlotte Street, and the effort to bring suburbia to the Bronx in “New Hope in the Bronx.” The post is from 2006, but thoroughly examines the history of development in the area using detailed maps and diagrams. If you’re interested in urban planning and Bronx history, it’s a fascinating read. While on the site check out his other posts on locations from St. John the Divine to DUMBO, and browse the Planning and Urbanism link collection.