Thursday 31

Persistence is a Must. Driving home to Northampton, Massachusetts from Consumer's Reports in Yonkers, New York where I had a serious and interesting--and friendly appointment, I got to thinking about persistence. The famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar wrote and spoke extensively on this subject. He said many roads and qualities lead to success, but sheer, dogged persistence is one hallmark that everyone can employ and use.

Goethe put it this way: "Austere perserverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails its purpose, for its solid power grows irresistibly greater with time."

Persistence, obviously, is not the only factor in success, but the intriguing thing about persistence is that the longer you persist, the more focused you become on the objective you pursue.

Persistence enables you, through various experiences and failures, to uncover talents and develop a creativity that first astonishes you, then delights you, and finally brings you material rewards far beyond your initial expectations.

People who quit when they encounter the first obstacle never develop the creativity that is the ultimate reward for keeping a commitment and persisiting until you reach your objective.

Wednesday 30

A Day in the Life.

A baby was born on Birch Lane
This morning, early, outside
In the cool May air a fawn
Fought for her life on my
Lawn, the mom running
Away into the woods
All day I looked at her
Brown, tan, spotted white
The size of a small stuffed
Animal quiet on the green
Grass, I leaned over
Whispered and Daisy
Licked her nose and she
Seemed to stir to life
I understand sometimes
The mom returns later
With food for her fawn
Who yet had no scent
If she had survived
We would have seen her
Leap through the woods
Stand silent listening
For Daisy and I out
Walking on Birch Lane
Alive and full of life
Wonder and death
Still somewhere
Far down a different
Road or path
Into the woods
Where she will
Never run wild

A long time ago I fell in love with the gril who lived next door to my brother's girlfriend.

Tuesday 29

The Street Lane Sign:

sign3.jpg (100654 bytes)

The Lawn Mower. I talked to a graphic artist this morning about my art project (I like the way this is shaping into a collaborative project), e-mailed Alaina about her photographs, and Helena, went to the cleaners, dropped off some b/w film at the photo store, made phone calls, talked on the phone with the president of my company about my impressions of the direct marketing show last week in New York City (favorable) and  bought a new lawn mower; which got me thinking about how I met my then future wife, Betsy, when I was mowing the Darlington Cemetary lawn in Ramsey, New Jersey with my brother, Dennis, one day in June many moons ago. (to be continued; with photos)

Monday 28

Amber Waves. And Art--again.

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountains majesties Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea.

Yesterday I worked all day--in my mind--on my art project for Judith's "20 Things. 20 People. 20 Days." It became so clear, so obvious what I would create.

Sunday 27

As If Memory Were Life Itself. Is all I am a memory? Is my faith based on a presence or on a foundation of a memory? What is it I remember? Remember this?

"Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."

-Philo of Alexandria, an early Jewish philosopher

Saturday 26

Self-Portrait. I am cleaning the basement. I am unpacking boxes and boxes of books, books that would not fit on the three large bookcases in the study, and looking at them, remembering who I was when I read them; here's May Sarton's "Journal of a Solitude," which my friend Brecon gave me: "For a long time now, every meeting with another human being has been a collision. I feel too much, sense too much, am exhasuted by the reverberations after even the simplest conversation...I have written every poem, every novel, for the same purpose--to find out what I think, to know where I stand. I am unable to become what I see. I feel like an inadequate machine, a machine that breaks down at crucial moments, grinds to a dreadful halt, 'won't go,' or, even worse, explodes in some innocent person's face." God, what was I thinking when I underlined that passage?! Oh, look, here's an issue of Flaming Carrot Comics: "Having read 5,000 comics in a single sitting to win a bet...this poor man suffered brain damage and appeared directly thereafter as---The Flaming Carrot! Champion of Justice! Master of Adventure! Dreadnaught of Chicanery!" And an early issue of......from the streets of Cleveland comes "American Splendor." Ah, and in the same box Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther:" "Oh, my dear friend, would you like to know why genius so rarely breaks its bonds, why it so seldom bursts upon us like a raging torrent to shatter our astounded souls? My friend, it is because..." and look here are two boxes of Lionel trains from my childhood, last seen choo-chooing 13 years ago when I made a dinner of recipes from "Dinner in the Diner, 300 Recipes from America's Era of Great Trains"  for a friend who was a writer and worked at the train station in Hoboken, New Jersey; this about the time when I was featured as "Cook of The Week" in a New Jersey newspaper; "Indian Food in Hoboken" reads the headline and the story begins "Bruce Barone may be one cook who has to have a hand in every pot. That doesn't just apply to situations, such as when he spends seven hours by the stove preparing nine-course Indian food meals for his guests--it appears to be in his lifestyle as well." The reporter, Elizabeth hayes, continues, "Though a writer by trade, Bruce's tastes in the arts appear as varied as his interest in cooking different things. His Hoboken apartment, which he shares with his wife Betsy, is a mini-gallery of artwork, varied music, diverse reading matter and photographs, which Bruce skillfully took himself." I find an issue of the journal "Sulfur," which has a long essay about William Carlos Williams in it and poems by Paul Blackburn and John Taggart and John Yau (I bring this upstairs to read). And here is a broadside of the poet Carolyn Stoloff's (damn--I wish I could find the one of Adrienne Rich; I would send it to Helena for her birthday). Stoloff writes (part II, from Triptych):


by tide or intent

from shell

in haste

to recreate

to make ends meet

head down his passge booked into the steaming kettle

from the pot claws pegged he's held until all agitation

stops Segmented

he who knows

the depths


on the plate

The Patron

finds the meat

uncooked not

to his taste

and leaves

him forked

and boiled

upon the table of the world and eats the bait

And look at all these contact sheets; twelve 3-ring binders, thousands of negatives, pictures of Betsy and New York City street scenes, and here are a few of The Clash, and Maggie at Tin Pan Alley and Susan Ensley, and Nan Goldin  and Brian, and our bus trip to D.C. to protest the U.S. involvement in El Salvador and look here's Ken running naked on the top of a mountain in Hatfield, Massachusetts with his dog following; and here is a framed poster of my college senior project, an art exhibition, "William Blake; The Apocalyptic Vision;" I must show this to Daryl tomorrow so he can understand why I was excited to see the Blake show at the MET; and letters, a big box of letters, letters going all the way back to when I was in kindergarden; I read a few and must come back to read more; there's hundreds if not well over one thousand; letters from Micahel, from Carol, from Joanie, from people gone but not forgotten (where are you friends?):

Friday 25

Art and Tomatoes. I am on the train heading home to Northampton when I hear from Judith via e-mail that I am part of the group of people participating in "20 Things, 20 People, 20 Days." I start sketching in my pad; a photo; a broadside; a book; a portable museum. When I get home I tell Daryl about one of my ideas; about further developing "The Field of Dirt" and he asks a lot of questions; I take this as a good sign but I'm not sure if I want to send dirt; there is a dirt museum, by the way, in Massachusetts; named, what else, Museum of Dirt, housed at Planet Interactive, a Boston multimedia development company. But I will not be working in the dirt this weekend; traditionally I plant my tomatoes, basil, and  peppers Memorial Day weekend, but rain is forecast for the entire holiday. I guess I will work on my art project. And clean the house. And the basement where somewhere there is a darkroom waiting to come into focus; if only all those empty boxes and boxes of books can find a happy home.

Thursday 24

Banzai Pipeline. By midday I knew I would not be going to the ballet this evening; my feet were sore and swollen and I needed a good kick; a pick-me-up. His name was Bonsu Osei, taxi license number 048360. I called him Banzai. License number 007, license to kill. I feel as if I am surfing the Banzai Pipeline as we head down the cavern of Fifth Avenue; I can see nothing except a flurry of color, heads seem to turn, cars and trucks and taxis are at a standstill; I wonder if and when I will wipeout. We come to a screeching halt at a red light and a cripple, oh, I mean a man in a wheelchair wheels himself over to Banzai's window and says "spare some change?" and Banzai gives him change and I wonder if the man in the wheelchair is a man Banzai once ran over surfing the streets of New York City.

Before I went surfing today I saw Julie Hedrik's new series of paintings, which she has called "Temporal Motion" at Nohra Haime Gallery. I love her work, which seems to draw from vision and dream--and history, recreating it through modern eyes and a primal desire to unravel the secrets of the earth and universe. Turner, Cole, Blake, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Artemisia and others resonate in her paintings, which are layered thick with earth tones, creating depth and substance; great glowing skies abstracted; atmospheric paintings that have a meditative quality. Commenting on her work, Julie has said:

I can point to what informs it; the inquiry of space-time, relativity, energy, light, sounding and silent sources dwelling among the poetic and the sacred......the color of the sky, earth, rain......voices......a synthesis of forces intangile. What occurs then, in paint, is the transmission of elements that remain mysterious, unnamed, perhaps unnanable.

I also saw the Richard Maury show at Forum. The unifying traits in Richard Maury's paintings are an unparalleled use of light (every painting is made in natural light), exquisite rendering of detail of ordinary objects and people and a secure and unique compositional ability. I loved looking at these paintings; a marvelous self-portrait and a beautiful nude, an old woman at a bureau, another on the phone. Quoted in American Arts Quarterly, Maury says:

We are all repositories of all aorts of visual memories. I have spent a good deal of time looking at paintings which I love. Very much like memories, these things are part of the me that selects subjects to paint. I am doing no intentional selection in regard to the making of a painting. It is only, I am certain, to make something beautiful.

Ah, but back to my friend, Banzai. Where was I going? I was going to hear Maceo Parker at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. Maceo, a fifteen-year veteran of James Brown's legendary JBs and a pivotal member of the Parliament/Funkadelic empire, is a tenor saxophonist who can rock. As he said "98% Funk, 2% Jazz." The joint was jumping. And the intro music, Prince's "Purple Rain." And I asked myself: is there a better album than this created in the past 20 years? Maybe, but it certainly ranks as one of the best albums of all time. During his set, in fact, Maceo played a song Prince wrote ("Everything with Soul?")  for him; part ballad, part funk; it was beautiful--I wish you could hear it. The show started and never really stopped; one song rolled into another; and he sang "Stand By Me," "Cupid," "Charlie Brown You're a Clown" rolling them, too, into a symphonic sound of funk. "We're goning to get higher," he said. And so we did.

Wednesday 23

The Woman at the Bar. I am sitting next to a woman with long blonde hair at the bar at The Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City. I am sitting next to her because it was the last unoccupied bar-stool. I come here because I do not have to talk--except to James, the bartender, who will greet me by name and "Bruce, we haven't seen you in a long time. How are you?" Her phone rings and I can hear her say "fuck" and "funcking" repeatedly during the course of her ten minute conversation. Now, I am still silent, but curious, and I say, turning to face her, "What's the problem?"

"It's my fucking boyfriend," she says. "He won't divorce his wife. I mean, tell me, how much time do you need? How much time should I give him? Six months? It's already been six months. I told him one year. If he doesn't get a divorce in one year I'm out. I love him. I like all the gifts. But fuck. There's a lot of available men in New York City. Shit. I shouldn't be telling you all this. But I'm so fucking mad. He calls me ten, fifteen times a day. 'Where are you?' 'What are you doing?' 'Who are you with?' He's driving me fucking crazy. And how fucking stupid can his wife be? I mean doesn't she smell my perfume on him and his clothes? See my hair all over his clothes? I'm so fukcing mad."

Daryl IM's me and asks me to call home so he can tell me about the recent Dark Angel episode. I excuse myself. She buys me my drinks. I thank her. I wish her well.

Later I start a new poem (not for the woman at the bar):

If it was
Not or is
Not a lie
You and I
She said she
In truth and
Beauty, all day
I have been taken
apart, piece
By piece, word
By word, what
I want to say
A voice dead
I heard her
Singing and it was
A lie but
You and I
Are not one
Lie, no, yes
We are two
In search of
What, truth, yes
Beauty, love
It is what
Comes our way
We have come
too, to this
Place where there
Is still light
It is what
Is within
You and me
It is what
We are is
It not

Tuesday 22

Susie from St. Louis. I am high above New York City. I am on the 39th floor at 666 Fifth Avenue; formerly called Top of The Sixes--now it is the Havana Club, a private bar and restaurant. I am here for a party for a friend who is dying of cancer. I have not seen him in 32 years. I enter a room filled with cigar smoke. He is bald and big. It takes a few minutes to see the boy in his eyes I once knew; the boy I knew in Junior High School; the boy I played football with; the boy I sometimes got in trouble with. And then he spoke and slowly I saw him through the smoke--the boy I once knew. But I must excuse myself after one martini to meet Susie from St. Louis for dinner. I met her at our booth at the direct marketing show and I promised to take her out for dinner and then take her on a tour of Times Square; this is what I enjoy; to show New York City to someone who has never seen the city. It is raining but we walk along Broadway and I point out what has changed over the past twenty years. I take her into Virgin Music. We walk down 42nd Street.

Monday 21

Duped and Confused. Off to New York City for four days; no updates till Friday.

"Liars share with those they deceive the desire not to be deceived"

-Sissela Bok, "Lying"

If, like truth, the lie had but one face, we would be on better terms. For we would accept as certain the opposite of what the liar would say. But the reverse of truth has a hundred thousand faces and an infinite field."

- Michel de Montaigne, Essays 1

"The truth makes us free but first it makes us miserable."

-Sandra Wilson

Sunday 20

Pomp. Sitting in church this morning I know this afternoon I will be sitting in the quad at Smith College watching Jessica graduate, and I will be watching January and the other young women, too. I will arrive early and I will bring a book to read. I will bring a pen and pad. I will bring peace and love and best wishes for a bright future. This is a perfect day. This is a day of sunlight and blue sky and birds singing. This is a day the Lord has made (rejoice and be glad in it). This is a day of good cheer and sadness; of hope and memory. The minister talks about a resevoir of peace within  me; that I should let it flow wherever I go and bring peace wherever I go. He quotes Toni Morrison saying "God is only interested in love." Is life in the spirit boring? he asks. No never, he answers; a peace that flows like a river. As Betsy and I open the front door our our house, Danielle screams. "There's a bear in the yard." And so there is. A small bear walking through the backyard. It is a sign I am sure I think as it ambers off into the woods toward the wildflowers upon hearing the bark of Daisy. Galway Kinnell wrote:

Somewhere out ahead of me
a black bear sits alone
on his hillside, nodding from side
to side. He sniffs
the blossom-smells, the rained arth,
finally he gets up,
eats  a few flowers, trudges away,
his fur glistening
in the rain.
--The Book of Nigthmares, "Under The Maud Moon"

At Smith College on this bright day there is cheering and clapping, trumpets and bagpipes, crying, talking, screaming, whispering. There are dreams: the the class president talks about remembering the "small things of childhood;" she asks each graduating student to look beneath their chair and find a block, a gift, a remembrance, a symbol of life; this block of wood a tangible symbol of how each young woman has the control, the power and will to build a future; she inspires each to use her imagination, to turn this block of wood, this symbol, into a dream and let it soar. She tells us life is about people; like these blocks of wood, she says, we all fit together. And she tells the young women "each of you has already accomplished something very commendable--you have graduated from Smith College." In her Commencement speech, Toni Morrison told the graduates she would not give the usual commencement speech filled with little bits of wisdom, "like food stamps to the needy."

"Wisdom is a quest, not a plateau," she said. "I can't pretend to stand on a nonexistent mountain ledge ..."

Instead, Morrison preferred to reflect not on the past, but to caution students about the future:

"I am not certain nor should you be that somehow a burgeoning menage a trois of political interests, corporate interests, military interests will not prevail and literally annihilate an inhabitable humane future," she said.

She told graduates that this state of affairs was the doing of her own generation, but unfortunately was now a problem for them to solve. "The poem I was reading was not yours," Morrison said. "It was the splayed hand of my generation; and there is no generation that has a complete grip on the imagination and the work of the next, not if you refuse to let it be so."

She concluded by telling the graduates "no one is you. No one has your memory. No one has your story......I am a believer in truth and beauty. I see your life as already artful...waiting for you to make it art."

Saturday 19

Illumination Night. Tonight on Birch Lane there is little sound. There is only the robin singing itself to sleep. A cardinal, too. And a hawk still screaming overhead in the clear purple sky. My dog breathing. Soon we will drive to Smith College for Illumination Night where center campus is candle-lit with thousands of chinese latterns, strung like pearls along the paths and walkways--a giant ocean liner , bright, colorful, dreamlike; a Fellini ship here in Northampton at Smith College; jazz music and acappella groups, children running and laughing, boys and girls hand in hand, women and women arm in arm, older folk walking along the string of pearls stopping here and there for a photograph. Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year.

Friday 18

Dinner Guests.

The true philosopher and the true poet are one, and a beauty, which is truth, and a truth, which is beauty, is the aim of both.

Eternity is very long. Opportunity is a very little portion of it, but worth the whole of it. If God gave me my choice of the whole planet or my little farm, I should certainly take my farm.


Daryl and I sit in the study next to each other; he at the computer and me at my desk; together we play with my wireless web phone, testing it's instant messaging capabilities; I IM him and he IM's me--and we laugh; it so fast. Soon we grow bored and tired with this game; we are killing time, waiting for Jessica and her family to come over for dinner. We look at all the fojm photos and Daryl asks me what sites do I like to read. I tell him about one that at first I hardly noticed. But then if she did not write I'd worry a little. I tell him I think she's going to be a famous novelist; a Joyce Carol Oates or Toni Morrison.

Thursday 17


The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalms 23:1-6

I left Northampton yesterday at 5:20 a.m. for New York City. I was nominated (an I accepted) to serve as one of three Directors of the FMA and I felt I should make an appearance at the Board meeting which was scheduled for 10:30 at The Grand Hyatt. I have been associated with the FMA for a number of years and served as Membership Chair for 2 years; helping to increase membership quite substanially and then getting Stacy Ciaravella (of Reader's Digest at the time; now at Fitness Magazine a Gruner & Jahr publication) to follow in my footsteps and, I might add, doing an even better job. For the past three years I have been the Holiday Party Chair and have helped to make this annual event a wonderful success.

Wednesday 16

His Obsession.

"It is no secret prints choose whom they love and there is then no salvation but surrender."

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1917

Seen at "Frank Lloyd Wright and the Art of Japan, The Architect's Other Passion," The Japan Society. From the catalogue:

Japan and Japanese art were important to Wright throughout his professional career as an architect. When he died at the age of almost ninety-two, there were six thousand Japanese color woodcuts in his personal collection, not to mention some three hundred Chinese and Japanese ceramics, bronzes, sculptures, textiles, stencils, and carpets, and about twenty Japanese and Chinese folding screens.

......he appreciated Japanese prints as designs and collected images of enormous graphic power, whose color, composition, and linear rhythms struck him as inherently modern. He often asserted that "intrinsically the print lies at the bottom of all this so-called modernism."

......he once explained to his apprentices how he was consumed by the collector's passion to see more and more of these masterpieces, and by the artist's curiosity to learn from their secrets of design.

eveningshower2.jpg (26287 bytes)

This color woodcut is by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858); "Sudden Evening Shower over Ohashi Bridge and Atake," detail, from the series "One Hundred Views of Famous Places in Edo," 1857. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tuesday 15

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by...

If you smile
With your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile if you'll just...
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you'll just...

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by...

If you smile
Through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you'll just Smile...

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you'll just smile

Chaplin - Turner - Parsons

Monday 14

Restless. I am like a hungry tiger in a pen at the zoo today: I walk from room to room; sit at the computer; drink coffee; return the movies to the video store; eat a toasted bagel with cream cheese, red onion and tomato; walk some more; walk outside with Daisy; watch CNN--and can't believe the news; back to computer to read The New York Times and find the R.K. Narayan obit;  India's prolific storyteller, dies at 94.

Narayan wrote in his book, Malgudi Days:

A short story must be short...Speaking for myself, I discover a story when a personality passes through a crisis of spirit or circumstances. In the following thirty-odd tales, almost invariably the central character faces some kind of crisis and either resolves it or lives with it. But some stories may prove to be nothing more than a special or significant moment in someone's life or a pattern of existence brought to view.

The only thing that holds my interest today are comments about "discipline" and "allowing space for the unexpected"  and comments about products, profits and the economic downturn--and photos from Helena and Alaina.

Later, at night, after Betsy, Danielle, and Daryl were in bed--and Daisy was sleeping,too--I started to write:

In Amherst, Massachusetts

I watch my daughter play

Lacrosse on a field where

Other children are running

Track, playing baseball

Danielle Danielle

I call to her Danielle

Danielle do you hear me

There from here

Worms and ants burrow

Below her feet, above

The blue sky grows

Black and the rains come

Down, while I waited

During timeouts

I read a word here

There, forming

A book of poems;

She writes "your ceramic
skin still taut upon your
cheekbones and thighs,
your stomach shifting off
the Louisiana coastline
like a bouy."  Suddenly
I am called back, there
Is a whistle and Danielle
Scores the first goal

(to be continued)

Sunday 13

Mother's Day. The Dedication Ceremony.

In church our minister tells us Mother's Day is for everyone; we all have a mother. This is true, but we all do not have a mother who loves us and cares for us and cherishes us. I know my mother loved me. I miss my mom; I would give anything to see her again, to talk to her, to hold her--to see her smile; she would always say, and sign her hundreds of letter to me, "keep smiling, Bruce."

MomIdeal.jpg (25021 bytes)

My Mom--The Ideal.

During the afternoon, Betsy, Danielle, and I attended the "Dedication Ceremony for David Squint Valenta" at Sheldon Softball Field #3 in Northampton. Daneille was one of the featured speakers. The field was dedicated to the memory of Dave, who coached Lassie League softball for 10 years, and umpired for over 8 years. His untimely death has left a void in the Northampton softball communiity. Writing in the program for the ceremony, Lorry Decorie, Former Pittsfield Recreation Tournament Coach and Pittsfield High School Softball Coach said:

There can be no more fitting tribute for Dave Valenta than the naming of this field after him. It was on the field where he touched lives, taught life's lessons, raised self-esteem, maybe lost his temper a few times but also gave smiles of encouragement.

I'm sure Dave did his share of grooming and preparing fields in order to play games but what he was doing was preparing his kids to play the game of life with good sportmanship and fairness. Dave exemplified those qualities everytime we played against each other in summer tournaments. Competition was keen but always respectful. Whenever we met off the field away from the game he was a gentleman and a friend.

May this place witness many more coaches and umpires of Dave's caliber and may many more young people who step on this field eagerly learn of his legacy.

Saturday 12


She asked me what I thought of her moving to New York City:

Dear Katharine
Southeren Belle
Lettres, bright
Light, what I see
Journal/May 2001/ NYC Haiku
Fifth Avenue, Forty Second Street
And all the colored girls go......
Central Park, The Plaza Hotel
Fifty Seventh Street, Tiffany
Drinks at The Four Seasons
The Statue of Liberty
The Empire State Building
Buildings multiplying, Bryant Park
The New York Public Library
Museum of Natural History
Museum of Modern Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Guggenheim, Whitney, J.P. Morgan
SoHo, Battery Park and
Wall Street, Bleecker Street
Beautiful women in their summer dresses
The canyons of Park Avenue
Sixth Avenue and Chinatown
Christmas at Rockefeller Center
Macy's and FAO Schwartz
Wise Men Shop Here
DIA, Chelsea
Lincoln Center
Opera, Ballet, Music
Birdland, Hello
Katharine Hello New York

(to be continued)

DarylHospital.jpg (40615 bytes)

Daryl in great pain after his appendictimy because there is no MTV available.

Friday 11

Who are You, Really?

Sun in Pisces, Moon in Leo

I am a somewhat contradictory person,
alternately aggressive and reticent, and at all times
overcoming a fundamental timidity
which my rather expansive personality belies
if I do not look below the surface. I have private fears,
forebodings, and worries that do not find expression
in my apparantly fearless and competent manner.
There are deep wells of my consciousness
that few people are aware of
and of which I myself am not completly aware.
I am sociable, many times, when I would rather be alone
and contrariwise, I am frequently discontented
when I am alone and long for companionship.
I can, in a very genuine sense, be alone in a crowd
not for lack of personality or popularity;
I tend to withdraw into myself. I have great abilities,
mental and artistic, which do not find expression.
I give the impresion that there are many things I could do
if I wanted to. I fail to
because of a fundamental lack of willingness to engage
in competition. My apparent success is a manner
rather than an actuality; I have
great admiration for accomplishment in others
but probably won't try
to equal or surpass what has already been done.
When I am not in a mood or a dejected state
I am excellent company with a lively sense of humor,
kind and considerate of others, generous and charitable,
broadminded in my outlook. If I ever become cross,
snappy, or ill-tempered, it is because in some way
I have been reminded of my lack of sureness;
I am putting up a defense against some real or imagined
enemy of my emotonal security. Emotionally, I am a romantic,
imaginative, impressionable, sensitive and loyal--
loyalty is fetish with me;
my affections once given are never withdrawn.
I am very needful of affection, sympathy, love
and understanding; I will be the devoted servant
of anyone who gives their self to me.
This position is indicative of considerable luck
in life. Part of my nervousness is based in fear
of the loss of security. My hardest lesson
is the cultivation of inner poise
to match the outward manifestations
of courage and convictions. My effort should be to see
the world as it is
rather than as my apprenhensive spirit tends to imagine it.
Realism is my safest and surest guide
and I should avoid tendencies to metaphysics, spiritualism,
and psychic research, which can gain a dangerously
strong hold on me. I had
my horoscope read. I read my horoscope.
It was what I feared
(as I thought I would)

I think I have grown since I wrote this poem years ago. I have matured. Have I gotten any wiser? Maybe. I would like to believe so. Today is brilliant, blue, and bright and I am reading on the back deck when Daryl appears at the side door and calls "Dad, the toilet is clogged" but the sun light has blinded me and when I enter the house I poke around in blindness for a second or two before remedying the problem and then return to the beach chair outside to continue reading and listen to the birds singing and watch the leaves. Green. Green. Now everywhere I turn I see green; green sugar maples, green birch trees, green grass--and violet flowers at the top of the lilac on the far side of the house; I can smell them from here where a green hose is coiled at my feet and below my feet, below the deck a chipmunk scurries; in the woods a noisy squirrel; and there is parsley growing and peppermint next to the deck reminding me of all the planting I want to do Memorial Day weekend; in the old sandbox where Daryl once played, albeit only a few times--Nintendo was more fun--with toy tractors; now the sand is gone and it is filled with peat and dirt in which I will plant basil, lots of it, and tomatoes, and probably peppers, although they never seem to want to grow and ripen for me but I refuse to loose and the butterfly bush I clipped down to the ground is growing and so, too, my beloved rose bushes--I must buy and plant more rose bushes. Today Daryl is resting from his operation. He is downloading software on to the computer. He is listening to songs off Napster. He is playing a game online. One summer Daryl and I tried putting in a small golf putting green in the backyard; we mowed the lawn as low as we could mow and dug a hole in to which we put a coffee can. Another summer it was volleyball and badminton. And 8, 10, 12 kids playing in the backyard in the summer night sprayed with Off to protect them from those pesty female mosquitos. Another summer day it was 30 or 40 kids and their parents at a surprise baby shower party for Besty; two small pools, two barbecues on the deck, beer--lots of beer I recall--and soda, hotdogs and hamburgers and salads and cakes and music--the Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead, The Talking Heads, Frank Zappa (maybe; I would like to think so). Where did those 12 years go? These memories today are like prayers and pictures on an unravelling scroll and the more I unravel it the more of life I see and hear; there is the time Danielle runs naked through the sprinkler on the front lawn singing; the night after night after or before dinner of Danielle practicing her softball pitching with Betsy, a ladder halfway between them so to perfect her arc; Danielle and I dancing in the living room to the Talking Heads. A yellow butterfly seems to shake itself out from the woods to the lillac where two chipmuncks nestle on a branch and seem to kiss. Is it possible to love , to have love, for someone you don't know? Like love for an unborn child--there only as an idea, a question, a wit, a voice and if this idea goes undeveloped, the question unanswered, the wit lost and the voice unheard what then? Today all is green. Sensual. Alive. Growing. It is powerful. It is a beautiful day.

Thursday 10

Appendicitis and Mosquito Lesson. Tonight the mosquitos hacthed and invaded Birch Lane and Daryl is recuperating from his appendictimy,

Hello, Mr Barone?
This is Betsy the school nurse at JFK.
Daryl has been a real tropper today. He's been in to see me three times complaining of stomach pains and would like you to come over and pick him up.
I'll be there in ten minutes.

At the hospital, where it was cold and quiet last night, Daryl was given morphine to kill the pain while he waited--falling in and out of sleep--for his operation which was scheduled, we were told, to start at 8:30 and take approximately one hour; and Betsy and I waited, too, periodically getting up to talk to him, not really with him, but to him, touching him, telling him we love him; and reading; Betsy "For The Love of a Good Woman" by Alice Munro and me "The Century of Artists' Books" which I was starting to tire of and picked up a copy of Analog that I found in the lobby--I didn't even know this was still being published--and decided to read Ursula Le Guin's new book. At ten we were called into the recovery room to see that he was, in fact, recovering; alive and well. We couldn't get him to wake, though, and Betsy and I and the two nurses kept screaming his name, DARYL! DARYL! to no avail; he wiggled, though, and we took that as a sign, not from God but from Daryl that "yes, I am in here but can't wake up. I am okay." Betsy spent the night with him and I went home to sleep, returning to the hospital the next morning at nine to find Daryl watching "Regis" on tv. He was in pain and had difficulty smiling and pointed out the mirror in the room to me for a fojm opportunity; I decided it wasn't a very interesting photo and simply took one or two of him him in bed pretending to be in greater pain than he was. Soon the good doctor visited and asked Daryl if he would like to see his appendix. "Yes." The doctor left the room and returned ten minutes later, his hands in his pockets, from which he took a small bottle within which was a three inch worm-like creature, bloated in the middle and grey. "Wow," we all said.

A few notes:

Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix, a small portion of the large intestine that hangs down from the lower right side. Although the appendix does not seem to serve any purpose, it can still become diseased. If untreated, an inflamed appendix can burst, causing infection and even death. About 1 in 500 people has appendicitis each year.

Acute appendicitis is the most common reason for emergency abdominal surgery in childhood. Despite strong emphasis on early surgical intervention, the morbidity and mortality of acute appendicitis in children remain high.

The appendix is a wormlike outpouching of the cecum (the beginning of the large intestine or colon), which is several inches in length. It is located in the lower right portion of the abdomen. Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. The cause of this inflammation is usually an infection behind a blockage of the appendix. This can be caused by a piece of hardened stool (fecalith) which gets stuck in the appendix. Alternatively, lymph tissue in the appendix becomes inflamed and obstructs the appendix. In many cases, the specific cause of the inflammation is not known.

And I learn some interesting facts about mosquitos in the May issue of Yankee magazine:

Songwriter Jonathan Richman once asked a profound queestion: "well now, little mosquito, there must be/Well some reason for you that I just can't see." Some say they teach us humility, or that they keep parts of New England free from development. They do pollinate flowers and provide food for birds and bats, but probably not enough to be critical. No, the primary purpose of the mosquito, one expert explained to me, is to "control populations by spreading diseases."

An estimated one trillion mosquitos inhabit the planet in more than 2,500 species. Of the 50 or so species that live in New England, only a handful bite humans, and even those would prefer other hosts, like deer, horses, or birds. Every time you're bitten, you are a second choice.

NOTE; no deer or horses on Birch Lane last night!!!

Only the female mosquito needs blood--not for food, not to annoy, but for the ordinary laudable task of producing children. Vertebrate blood contains proteins and sterols she needs to develop her eggs. She doesn't actually bite you; six stylets equipped with serrated edges inside her probosis rip away at the small capillaries just below the surface of your skin, creating a pool of blood--about a millionth of a gallon--to the mosquito's stomach. In one feeding, a female mosquito might increase her weight by 250 percent. There or four days later, she'll lay her eggs in her species' nursery of choice, and go look for another meal.

But if a mosquio's first meal was on a crow infected with West Nile Virus, or if her mother had a virus and it survived through those eggs, you could be in trouble. That's because while feeding, she doesn't want your blood to clog her pipes. So through one of her stylets, the mosquito injects you with her saliva, which acts as an anticoagulant....Mosquito saliva is what causes the bite to itch: Your body has an allergic reaction to it.

Mosquitos predate the dinosaurs...A mosquito's single pair of wings beats 300 to 500 times a second, or ten times faster than a humingbird's. This produces that horrible high-pitched wail you hear in your ear at night when you're trying to sleep...male mosquitos find a mate of their own in part by heading for the most delectable whine. The female mosquito flies into a swarm of males and mates immediately in midair. It generally takes from four to forty seconds and is far too disgusting to describe in a family magazine, as it involves grappling hooks on the male's feet, pinching claspers, hairy plates--you don't want to know...When she's finished with him, she gives the male a kick with her hind legs and heads for more blood.

Wednesday 09

Spirit of BirchLane. This morning I woke up 1) singing the song below, 2) thinking about the dimensions of BirchLane (this I owe to Jouke; the weblog, the on-line zine, the printed matter--the journal/artist books, the publishing and distribution company), and 3) contemplating purposeful work.

It's nature's way of telling you something's wrong
It's nature's way of telling you in a song
It's nature's way of receiving you
It's nature's way of retrieving you
It's nature's way of telling you something's wrong

It's nature's way of telling you through the breeze
It's nature's way of telling you dying trees
It's nature's way of receiving you
It's nature's way of retrieving you
It's nature's way of telling you something's wrong

It's nature's way
It's nature's way
It's nature's way of telling you something's wrong
It's nature's way of telling you in a song
It's nature's way of receiving you
It's nature's way of retrieving you
It's nature's way of telling you something's wrong

"Nature's Way," Spirit, 1970 (by Randy California)

Spent much of the day thinking through a new sales and marketing plan and this came to me also:

There was no grass when I bought the lawn sprinkler there was dirt and seed and there was hope and Dano was yet to pitch a softball white and round toward home plate where the umpire called out encouraging words to her and this morning his sister calls me to ask if Dano will say a few words this Sunday at his tribute she says he really liked her and it would mean a lot to me it would be an honor she says she would be very happy if she would say a few words like those printed in the memorial program that she once wrote dust to dust ashes to ashes he would say to me she's such a great kid and great pitcher and the ball would arc over the green field of dreams strike he would call she was a young girl and she liked to play softball she liked it because it made her happy one year she pitched for the All Star team I would wave to her from the fence and then she stopped being happy the lawn mower repairman tells me a blade of grass never grows in the same direction year to year this is today Wednesday morning I am studying artists' books on one page I learn about Velimir Khlebnikov a Russian vagrant poet who often kept his poems only as crumbled sheets of paper stuffed into his pocket For the Voice 1923 Mayakovsky and Ledentu  by Zdanevich and Zang Tumb Tuuum by Marinetti I can not see the sprinkler but I know it it there on the other side of the house doing its purposeful work on this clear bright Wednesday may morning

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Cover, For the Voice (Dlia golosa), design by El Lissitsky for Mayakovsky, 1923

Tuesday 08

Art in America. This is not the mirror photo--that photo I am saving to send to FOJM. This is The Field of Dirt in Northampton, Massachusetts at the Oxbow of the Connecticut River and the soccer playing fields.

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Below is a painting by Thomas Cole, "View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts after a thunderstorm--the Oxbow," 1836, oil on canvas, 51 1/2 x 76 in., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC:

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Monday 07

glamAsher.jpg (17035 bytes)

Look Here:

Sunday 06

What? More Dirt? The soil of the earth kind. After my dream yesterday afternoon, I pick Daryl up at a party near The Field of Dirt and:

"I had a dream, Daryl."
"Remember when you said too bad it's not a mirror photo?"
"Yeah, so what?"
"Well, I dreamed how to make the field of dirt a mirror photo."
"Where are we going?"
"To take a photo. I need your help."
"Oh, Dad. C'mon. I'm not going to help you."
"Yes you are. Do you want your portrait painted next time we're in New York City?"
"Well, then you have to be my assistant. I really had a dream about this."

Minutes later we arrive at The Field of Dirt.

"Dad, I'm not getting out of the car."
"Daryl, you have to."
"What if some of my friends drive by?"
"Here, at the Oxbow. C'mon, please"
"God, Dad, hurry up. I feel like such a jerk doing this."

Two fast photos of The Field of Dirt and we're back in the car driving home to Birch Lane.


This sentence is true. Lucy White became a member of Edwards Church this morning. I think the following, entitled "Tits," is one of her paintings.

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I like this painting. It reminds me of Duchamp's altered book, Do Touch, with the female breast on its cover, which I was reading about yesterday afternoon before my nap in Johanna Drucker's book, "The Century of Artists' Books." Maybe she would design the cover of the first issue of Birch Lane, a journal of art and ideas. Or Jouke; he'd create a great cover. I like this, too:

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And contributions from: you and you and you.

Saturday 05

Field of Dirt. I just woke from an afternoon nap and in my dream I found a way to--oh, I am getting ahead of myself; let's start at the beginning. Yesterday when I was driving Daryl to soccer practice at the Oxbow in Northampton, Massachusetts, I looked out his window at a field of fertile, sensual dirt; a place where the river had recently retreated from the snow run-off; a field of red, orange, green, brown dirt. And it was  beautiful. "Daryl," I said, "Look. That field of  dirt. It's beautiful." And he answered, "Yes. It is. Too bad it isn't a mirror photo." And this afternoon I dreamed a way of making it one and I am returning, now, to The Field of Dirt, to take photographs.

Friday 04

Emerson's House. "Please sit on the couch over there while I tell you about Emerson," said the docent at the Emerson House in Concord, Massachusetts.(still writing this one)

Thursday 03

Roots and Rocks. I am perfect example of someone for whom the computer has created a need to use more paper and I leave today for New York City with pages and pages of words of Jennifer's and Katharine's and a speech by Jouke---all to read on the train. "Like driving with the windows open on a summer afternoon down a southern highway. I know what that's like at least, even if it isn't love." I close my eyes. Sleep. Almost. Dreaming of what she writes. And then I am on Broadway in Times Square and I have lost my son. Daryl. Where are you? I must wake up. I am only on page 7 of 23. Forty-five minutes to Grand Central Station. Then what. I have my camera. And hope. I still have hope. A friend writes "every person is an opportunity, a potential revolution." I wonder if she meant "revelation."  It occurs in less time than it takes to blink an eye. A wonder it is all connected. From teenage innocence to loss of youth to--what--grey. Steel. Inpenetrable. On Sunday, October 1, 1967, Claes Oldenburg, at that time know as a Pop sculptor of garganuan yet flaccid household goods in plaster or vinyl, produced his first outdoor sculpture, It was a 6-foot-long, 3-foot-wide, 3-foot deep trench that was dug in New York's Central Park by professional gravediggers. The work was temporary and it consisted entirely of negative space. Officially titled Placid Civic Monument, the work was also referred to in Oldenburg's journal as Hole and Grave. Last week at Michael's Bar Mitzvah the rabbi spoke of the importance of puposeful work as it relates to human dignity. And in church on Sunday the minister spoke of what--God, I can't remember; and it was only a few short days ago. Page 12. 125th Street. Watch you step please. Grand Central Station next. Last and final stop. Today's New York Times reports on Jinx, which is one New York version of a large and loosely organizedd global netwrok of urban explorers--also called infiltrators--who penetrate tunnels, abandonded hospitals, missile silos and other forbidden places. I am hungry. So lunch first. Then MOMA. A stop at EasyEverything, the world's largest internet cafe. Then my appointment at American Express. Heat. Take cover at MOMA and find a wonderful show, "Collaborations with Parkett, 1984 to Present." Boy outside show; t-shirt reads: I don't look for trouble it just finds me. Todat is August in May. I am thinking of that wonderful short story by Irwin Shaw; "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses." Lunch. Estiatorio Milos; wonderful Greek restaurant on 55th off Sixth Avenue. Emphasis--fish. Page 15; "We all deserve love." So I eat. Grilled Bay Scallops with Pink Grapefruit--simply and to perfection. This writer I am reading thinks of sentences no one else will: "Continued my march towards the full consumption of the Smart Pop supply. I am like the popcorn Sherman, you see." She is a wit. Ah, Heaven, my Mediterranean Loup De Mare. And for a minute I am Heminway on the shores of Greece. We all want to be loved. Don't we? Once I drank vermouth and soda for weeks on end (The Garden of Eden). When I worked at Hearst Magazines it was the Negroni. I had read about it, of all places, in Cosmo Magazine. Now it is a Martini. Water. And wine. On the way downtown to American Express the a man crossing between traffic is brushed by my cab which is going fast. God I say; what a jerk. He was almost killed. And the cabbie says "You should have seen the woman I hit a few weeks ago." Oh, Dear God, get me safely home. Roots and Rocks? When I get home the lawnmower repairman drops off my two repaired lawnmowers and says "Look at this" handing me a badly mangled blade. "Must have hit a root or rock." (and comments re: Jouke's speech)

Wednesday 02.

Thanks Heather. For this:

friend of jezebel's mirror28 new FOJM. "Earlier, while waiting in the lobby for his appointment (at Playboy Magazine), Bruce said to Daryl, his 12-year-old-son, 'Daryl, I think you should put THAT magazine down.' 'Oh, c'mon Dad, I heard it has good articles.'"

New and returning FOJM include Stephanie, Ed, Alex, Steve, Jenny, Asher, Greg, Damon, Mike, Bruce, Judy & Baby Eska, Bethany, Greg, Phineas, Brian & Shannon, Ling, Joe, Karl, Tony, Anke, Jeff, Kate, and Leia, Amanda, and Maggie (the dog).

Tuesday 01

Crash Test Dummies. The computer kind. Our computer crashed last night. And Betsy, Danielle, and Daryl went to bed angry, and I went to bed angry, too--on the couch; this after we all huddled around the computer trying to raise it from the dead and we spoke:

"It was those one thousand three hundred Napster songs
"No, it wasn't. It was Dad's web page.
"I don't think so. I bet it was that Austin Powers download.
"It's all those pages you've opened at Google.
and on and on and on and on and on to bed

Ah, but that was yesterday when the lights went out and neither Bruce, nor Daryl, nor Danielle (Betsy is not guily of this) could escape to the blog, to Instant Messenger, to Google; and today was a bright new Spring day. Betsy spoke to someone at Smith College who recommended that we call Keith. And I did. And no sooner than it took me to eat lunch, he was at our door. (Does anyone really make house calls anymore? And there's a great business model here; home computer repair at a resonable price--and a smile). Back a few hours in this movie: of course, Betsy, Danielle, and Daryl had all saved their important files just a few days ago--no mp3 files but school reports and Microsoft Money; me, I didn't save anything. So my fear as I laid on the couch cursing quietly into the morning was that BirchLane disappeared. Ah, but Doctor Keith not only saved BirchLane, he saved all the kids' music files--and he did this with a smile. And he waved a magic wand or two over and around ou computer and voila! God bless Doctor Keith. All you need is love. Love is all you need.