Archive for October 2012

More Pix – New York Being New York-Crane Still Dangling on 57th Street

October 31, 2012

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Above pictures are from my walk/busride home from work quite late last night.  The tall building has a large crane which came loose in the storm and has been dangling over 57th Street, still night secured.  The buses had started and were free, but crowded.  The City seems very bright this morning though and limited subway service is starting.  Still no power downtown. I’ve not been home and am running out of clothes!  A minor irritation, but an irritation!

Some (Minor) Pix of NYC after Sandy

October 31, 2012

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Here are a few very minor pictures of damage and traffic.  I haven’t honestly been down to worst affected areas yet (which include where my apartment is located).   Getting around the City was quite difficult today as there has been tremendous traffic.  A lot of that has been caused by the dangling crane on the roof of a very high building on 57th Street.  Basically this means that everything going up to 57th is somewhat gridlocked and everything going down to 57th is blocked – but if you are going downtown below 57th (as in the right hand side of the picture above) you are okay.  More or less.  (Of course, I understand that there are no traffic lights below 39th.)

New Yorkers are great walkers but it’s a bit tiring.  Tomorrow some subway service will be restored. I have to applaud Mayor Bloomberg and city workers (and others) who have been out picking up tree limbs, etc. and moving ahead with the clean-up.

Hooked

October 30, 2012

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Hooked

A woman uptown
comes home to two children
stabbed.  All the next day I hear, silently,
her screams.

Then think, as I see caught fish pulled
onto the esplanade–of how we ache
for silver linings–slitted gills grasping desperately
at thin air, metallic iridescence belly-flopping
on stone–something to be made right, fixed,
bearable–and how, to a fish,
all upper surfaces must
seem silvered – ripples plated by sun
or mist, until whipped
into the sky, it finds
that the world is not as it
has known, that there are vast portions
where neither body nor
instinct can protect, can even
function.

So we too
forge ahead, with or against
the current, but still in the comfort of luminous
viscosity until some terrible ‘suddenly’
when we are pulled
onto a stone slab of rending gasp and bootless
throttle, where the grey of sky is at best
mercurial.

If lucky, we are thrown
back – and though our breathing may labor,
accordion halation un-keyed, we float at last lopsidedly, slither
at a slant.

But sometimes, some one of us
is trapped in that sharded air until, seemingly, the end
of days.

We gasp, spin, in the eddy
of their reverberating
pain, then, gratefully, guiltily,
swim on, faster,
faster.

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Hi–many of you know that I’m a denizen of New York City, specifically Battery Park City, and have been evacuated a couple of days.  This poem is not really about that, but something I’ve been mulling over since last week, a terrible terrible tragedy in which a nanny seems to have killed two children and then attempted suicide.  (I’m sorry; it’s a very sad story; my thoughts and prayers go to the families involved.)   I am linking it to dVerse Poets Open Link Night, hosted by the wonderful Tashtoo.I appreciate the concern of all about the New York storm.  We still haven’t gotten home but have been very well taken care of and feel immensely lucky.  The city is also in a good mood, friendly, relieved. 

Sandy Poem (In the Midst Of)

October 29, 2012

Sandy Poem (In the Midst Of )

Do you leave the windows open
(against a vacuum)
or closed (against
wet roar)?
Curtains?  Thin but, if pulled,
the mayor tells us, might catch
glass
shards.

Still cake
has just been made; life
lets us eat it.

A rich cake, moist (though in this warped/wet
night, it feels somehow
dry too, yellow straight-edged
wedges able to keep
their shape
like sanity, sun).  We’ve left

the windows
open–small apartment
needing air – and for a while it’s the images
from the computer sweep
us, floods
fled, though every now
and again and now and
now
the here/now wind
shakes with
scream-edged
harshness
everything, unsettling
that sliver of sweetness that sits
so light upon my
stomach, that extra pinch
of crumbs I sneaked
as part of
my serving, dumb
undeserved
luck.

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Trying to pass time in storm – I am the kind of suggestive person whose stomach gets more than butterflies.  Agh. So here’s kind of a poem.  So worried about my City right now – complain about it plenty, but hate to see it down. 

Sandy

October 29, 2012

Actually, getting pretty scary outside right now – only sounds – intense wind, every once in a while a shout or siren.

Sandy is not a good name for a storm.  It is the name of something friendly, soft, beachy, tanned.  Little Orphan Annie’s Dog?

So glad to have left Battery Park City, a wind tunnel on even a becalmed day.

 

Sandy – Uptown New York (Update)

October 29, 2012

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I hesitate in the middle of a big storm to mention clouds, much less silver linings.

But, as some limited compensation, these terrible situations can bring out the “friendly” in people.

Often in New York City, casual acquaintances (meaning the people you live near for years) nod (at most).  But yesterday, in Battery Park City (an evacuation zone), everyone in my laundry room, on the esplanade, or waiting interminably for the elevators, actually talked.  The big topic  – whether or not they were leaving.

If they were leaving, they talked of a friend somewhere;  if they were not leaving, they talked about how difficult it had been last year (during Irene) staying with a friend somewhere.

Dogs seemed to be a particular problem at friend’s apartments during hurricanes.

One guy (who was not leaving) explained that the brick he carried into the elevator was to be put in his water-filled bathtub.   (I never quite understood what the brick was supposed to do, but I did learn exactly which building site to go to to get my own.)

I personally had very mixed feelings about leaving.  Our building–as many stayers pointed out–is concrete.  Additionally, I’d bought a ton of food.  (Bottled water, I was to learn later, is extremely heavy.)

That said, if you wanted to leave by subway, you had to get out before 7.

So now, I am up  in Harlem (a far higher area of the City).   And people have been super kind – helping us unwedge the suitcase (with all those bottles) from the subway stairs, retrieving my necklace (from the subway platform) when my own unwedging efforts caused it to fall off.

And, although, I know there are difficult things going on – flooding down in BPC and a horrible crane dangling on 56th street–it’s been calm enough here that we could, at one point this morning, walk over to a nearby community garden, taking wet garbage for its composting operation.

Soil, I guess, goes on.

(Regardless of Sandy.)

PS – I was a bit irritated waking up this morning that we’d left BPC – the weather had been so calm at that point- but then I read about the flooding and, in the end, I really do urge people to listen to the authorities.  Terrible to make the lives of first responders worse in an already difficult situation.  That said, I know I’m super lucky to have a place to go, warm, dry, and with people I love (who compost.)  Good luck to all.

“Forced In Place” – Poem on Rape and Rant on “Rape Exception”

October 28, 2012

photo by Teresa Perin

Forced Into Place

Raped she was and sure it’s her fault,
self-assault.  That she’d been dumb
keeps her mum
till covered up, can sob
choked--could he again
shakes brain –hide, pretend–

Who she is now – raped.  And shell self
shields, with scraped-together husk,
self=disgust.
He’d pushed–but how to shush
despair? – her down, must
not tell
–she works hard her face–
forces into place.

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The above is my attempt at a Real Toads challenge by the wonderful Kerry O’Connor – to write in a quite complicated rhyming stanza developed by  Paul Laurence Dunbar.  The lovely photo is by Teresa Perin.  I appreciate that this may be a fairly intense subject for a rhyming form–and I don’t think it works very well – but rape has been (horribly enough) on my mind these days.

Here’s the thing.  The recent U.S. debate on rape has focused on certain GOP candidates who have advocated prohibiting abortion even in the case of rape, and others, who may be willing to allow abortion for rape, but have questioned its definition, making distinctions between legitimate rape and “other” (I guess “okay”) rape.  The odd thing about this debate it that it has managed to make those anti-abortion GOP candidates who would allow abortion in the case of rape seem almost moderate, almost empathetic to victims.

This is just not true.   Think about it.  Let’s say that Roe v. Wade were overturned, and we were subjected to a regime of no abortion except for rape, incest, and endangering the life of the mother.  How would this work?   Would the victim have to prove rape?  Would she need to go to court before getting an abortion? Would the proof have to be without reasonable doubt?   (And how long would that take?)  What would happen if she did not initially report the rape?  (There are plenty of reasons for this.  Aside from shame, loss of self-esteem, fear of further humiliation, fear of reprisal – there is also the fact  that many counties and states require women to pay for rape kits often costing over $1000.)

Such a “loosening” of the anti-choice GOP stance would not be a loosening at all; it is a guise.  A woman who’s already been victimized does not need a state legislature to hold her down.