Download 7.05 Mb.Pdf ko'rish
- Bu sahifa navigatsiya:
- Ides of February, 2005
- February 22 – Carvoeiro, Portugal
- February 25 – Faro
- March 3
- Ides of March – Afternoon
- March 21
- March 31
BRAVE NEW YORK
February 15, 2005 – January 12, 2007
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 634
One must have spirit in applying techniques,
Spirit makes the ears and eyes brilliantly real.
No matter that his hand flies like a swallow,
I can sense ants singing like the roar of a dragon and tiger.
—Ba Gua Song 36
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 635
Toward Ba Gua class in the not-quite dawn. Walk east down 27th Street, Fashion
Institute students still sleeping in their dorms, nary a light on. Only the jocular banter
among delivery men and security guards. Walking briskly on the street, the few
remaining printers, printer’s devils, East Asian and Subcontinental folks opening up
their wholesale storefronts.
Mudstep in a circle for an hour and change, the turns accomplished with ko bu
and bai bu steps: first hooking with the outside foot, then swinging out the inside, then
hooking back. Shvitzing like a pig. Afterwards, Tom B. shows the advanced ones all
sorts of terrifying moves with swords. You watch a while, then out the door.
Downstairs the neighborhoods alive. Everyone, their brother and sister, on the
way to work. Everyone’s holding a coffee, a cell or a cigarette, sometimes all three.
Some come running.
Walk west. Try to keep mudstepping, knees brushing. Drop your center. Easy
in this cold to pull your shoulders up around your ears. Twenty-seventh now alive
with student fashionistas.
On the agenda: move the Gray Ghost and sit in it until the parking space goes
legal. Noontime until whenever, parent-teacher conferences. Dinner with T. & M. at
Shah’s. Write in the gaps if any.
• • •
On the radio, BBC world news drones on, an interview with an expert on Islamic
fundamentalist something or other, Robin Lustig’s questions filled with entirely too
much self-satisfied and palpably false bonhomie. Out the window to your left, the
superbly detailed brick wall of the Seminary stretches all the way to Tenth, on the right,
rows of brownstone townhouses. The whole of it suffused with wan midmorning light.
“But honestly, do you think the Taliban have really established a…?” asks Robin.
The drums, bass and organ intro to the Brian Lehrer show, pops you out of
reverie. You’d been dreaming a variation on a scene in a movie, where the first of
several canaries, caged in a submersible turns color and drops, and in the way of
dreams, you were he, and at the same time, watching.
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 636
Air’s warmer on the way home. Sun’s making a game try. Lhude sing cuccu.
February 22 – Carvoeiro, Portugal
Escape, canary, spring the cage! Fly to Iberia. Here, on the road that runs
besides Colina Branca, doves coo most insistently. A cock crows, several other birds
offer varying high twitters. You climb to the turret at the very top of this house and
look out over water that’s not the Mediterranean – which lies east beyond Gibraltar –
but feels close to it, though a cooler blue, in quality of light.
When you drive west along the coast to Lagos you learn of the conquest, in 1415,
of Ceuta on the North African coast. Then Madeira in 1419, and a few years later, the
twentieth century when it was a fishing village, long before its discovery by the Brits
and Germans, and prior to the hewing out of huge chunks of the western bluff for the
vacation quarters to spread upward, leaving orange-ochre scars in the rockface of the V
that opens onto the beach.
Beyond, way beyond, on a particularly clear day, one is supposed to be able to
glimpse the Barbary coast. You’d like to think you’d seen that other shore, but that
dark line on the horizon is likely just the place where sea meets sky.
On the wall near the door of the A Taska restaurant, where you’ve just eaten the
most mind-expanding shrimp and cornmeal chowder possible under the sun, a framed
broadsheet, nearly filled with scribblings in a hundred different hands. At the top, in
large lettering, it’s labeled Quadro do Bem e Mal Dizer.
Now your Portuguese is even more tenuous than your Spanish, but this seems to
indicate a place in which one is invited to say all things, good and bad. And yes, there’s
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 637
still room, a little, at the bottom of the sheet and, from a string, a felt tipped pen
But what to write? Your thanks to Portugal for showing you in no uncertain
terms how Africa, Europe and America connect? That walking the gridded streets of
downtown Lisbon, rebuilt after the great earthquake of 1755, you came down with a
case of Candide flashbacks? Then, off the grid, into the Alfama quarter, its name sliding
fricative over the centuries from the Arabic al-Hamma, meaning fountain or bath.
And even as you soaked up strains of Fado, came images of the tiny burying
grounds in your own city, one of them just east of French Roast on 11th Street and Sixth,
the other in your neighborhood, a huge loft building to the left and rear and on the
right, a luxury apartment house looming above its tumbled gravestones. To these
cemeteries, well north of the old Dutch Wall, were carted, kan ya makan, the Portuguese
Jews who, driven from Brazil, died once upon a time in Brave New Amsterdam.
But you write none of that. Leave the space blank. Pour it into your book.
Fly away home to find, thank goodness, the house not on fire. Nor the child
alone, ‘cause she went with you. Took notes and wrote up the Portuguese voyages of
discovery for her social studies class.
Vacation’s fine, but now it’s culture-lag. 23rd Street crosstown. Eastbound, like
those navigators. No matter what they did, the winds kept blowing them toward the
coast of Africa. You read a bit of Beyond Cape Bojador, the Sea of Darkness, wherein
Gomes Eanes de Azurara, a chronicler of those days, records how Prince Henry the
Navigator “sent every year two or three ships… because he wanted to find out what
kinds of lands existed beyond the Canary Islands… and because, until then, in the
memory or in the writings of men, no information existed about the quality of those
parts beyond the cape.”
And this continued throughout much of the fifteenth century until, fitted out the
with pivoting booms to augment windcatching, the caravels made voyages further still
down the coast of Africa until, attempting out-tack the winds and round the southern
tip, they bumped into… Brazil. And thus, the seekers of slaves religatured in the minds
of men, two largish bits of long-fractured Gondwanaland. But this discovery the
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 638
Portuguese kept secret twenty years. Or perhaps the mariners on that ship didn’t
realize what they’d seen.
The bus jolts into motion. A gazillion passengers trying to squeeze on, some past
the bottleneck of folks clogging the middle. Down the aisle, precariously, a borderline
elderly fellow, avuncular, makes his way toward where you sit at the rear of the bus.
When he reaches the seat ahead of you he stops, turns a quarter turn and grabs the
handrail above. A teenage girl, very dark skinned, who, like the rest of her buddies has
been lunching from a collection of grease-spotted paper bags, half rises from the seat
beneath him and offers her seat, which he declines, with thanks.
And keeps the ball of good-fellowship in play by waxing rapturous over the
scent of what have got to be the raunchiest French fries in Christendom – “No wonder
I’m hungry for lunch, it’s almost three” – even as he checks his cellphone. The kids and
geezer share a larf. He speed dials. Starts talking to “Sir.” It takes you until this to
actually focus on him. Clean-shaven, slightly flushed, rounded face, pleasantly mild.
He wears a cap with an appliqué sewn on the front – the words Homeland Security
Service embroidered around some sort of eagle-ish symbol.
“Just want to let you know, Sir, all our flights were scrubbed due to the snow.
Yes, that’s right, sir. Yes sir. Going down to One Liberty, sir. OK, just letting you
know.” He snaps the cellphone closed, takes in a deep breath of fries. The girls smiles,
turns toward him and offers up her brightly-colored bag.
• • •
Bush’s otherworldy European bubble, case-hardened, entails: One presidential
limo, known as “The Beast,” nineteen escort vehicles, two hundred secret service
agents, fifteen sniffer dogs, half-a-hundred aides, five cooks, countless bottlewashers,
and, for a lagniappe, a Blackhawk helicopter to ride shotgun in the sky over the town of
Mainz – birthplace of Gutenberg’s revolution – which has been entirely emptied of
people so that this one weak and insubstantial man may shake hands with his feeble
German counterpart in a perfect political vacuum.
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 639
Swine o’ the times.
Walk through Central Park and witness the beginning of the Gates disassembly,
the loosening of the nuts holding the fixtures plumb, then the lifting up of the arch and
tilting down. Then the unbolting of the crosspiece from the stanchions. The heavy
bases scooped up, stacked in threes on forklifts. Sad, but only for a moment.
• • •
I cannot fix my object.
‘tis always tottering and reeling by natural giddiness.
I take it as it is at the instant I consider it.
I do not paint its being,
I paint its passage.
• • •
• • •
Need to reclaim the old Russian word Intelligentsia. Pare off the acquired
connotation of an intellectual elite, and endow it once more with the sense of
intelligence as an active social force.
Also require, in order to make it through this frigid day, a steaming cup of
hippocras, the spicy medieval wine named for Hippocrates.
• • •
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 640
A Sicilian word via Gioia: s’fuare, to get something out, off one’s chest, out of
• • •
They’re talking PEPs, those Navy boyz – pulsed energy projectiles – laser bursts
of expanding plasma that, fired from more’n a mile off cause excruciating pain. The
electromagnetic pulse, see, irritates the nerve cells most unbearably, yet leaves victims
“unharmed.” PEP’s set to go online by ’07, according to the researchers at U. Florida,
Gainesville, who’ve been zapping animals like there’s no tomorrow.
• • •
BUSH VERGOGNATI! Sign held up at a demo in outside the U.S. consulate in
Milan, in response to the fatal shooting, in Baghdad, of an Italian secret service agent,
and the wounding of his charge, just-released hostage Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter for Il
Imagine! Some of these silly dagoes think we did it on purpose. Why ever
would our boys go after a journalist?
Absolute lack of We-sense.
• • •
What was it about that submarine sonar that made those dolphins beach
themselves. Irresistible siren song?
• • •
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 641
reality in miniature, to constitute the center of a place from which the prince could
symbolically reclaim dominion of the entire natural and artificial world.”
So wrote Giuseppe Olmi.
• • •
When did we drop the vestigial possessives: Hudson’s River, Murray’s Hill?
• • •
Heteroclite, that which leans differently, such as a word irregular in its inflection,
or a noun whose declensions are good, but Oh Lord, please don’t let them be
misunderstood. Also someone or thing who deviates from common rules or forms.
Good name for a band: Eros and the Heteroclites.
• • •
Avalo-Kitehvara, a Tibetan deity described as “The all-seeing Lord with eleven
heads and one thousand hands.” Homeland Security, eat your heart out.
Like cream curdling the morning coffee, the Post headline “City’s ‘poor’ health –
Low-$$ women hit hard,” beneath which the latest official stats. Black women die from
AIDS-related illnesses at seven times the rate of white women, and twice as often from
How is that as the brutal asymmetries of the city become evermore extreme, the
less they can be reckoned with? Even the most manifest horrors seems somehow
incapable of pushing our political will toward different outcomes.
Move the car and while you’re waiting for the sweeper to pass down the block,
half-listen to the BBC World Service. Did the reporter say that Shanghai has banned
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 642
bicycles? All ears now. They’ve inaugurated a new magnetic levitation train from the
airport to the city. 235 mph top speed. Six minute ride.
China, moving like the wind. Still – is it possible? – a country with seven
hundred million farming the land.
Up rises the Isthmus of Panama rises and then a great drying out of Africa. Trees
thin out, opening spaces between too far to swing, so certain apes come down and
ambulate, warily, to forage on the new savannah. Dangerous opportunity. Some won’t
stand for it. Others do.
• • •
She, he, it, them I and you-topia.
Ides of March – Afternoon
Cold, but spring’s icumen in. Walk east along 21st Street toward Le G.
Something high and bright catches your eye. Must be twenty-five feet up, a soccer ball
wedged between the forked branches of a naked pear tree. Just like that.
No, not naked. On closer look, beginning buds.
• • •
A detail – how’d you miss it until now? St. Nicholas, the Greek Orthodox church
in the foreground on the cover of Don Delillo’s Underground, was crushed beneath WTC
2. Very small it was. Built in 1916. Did you dream or read about some yearly rite
wherein a boy from the parish leaped into the Hudson to retrieve an object the priest
had cast in? Too deep in your memory. Too daunting your clip files. Maybe it’ll
surface. Maybe you’ll have a look for it. One day.
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 643
Sprinkled with fascinating jewels, today’s paper. “Siem Reap Journal: Cruel
Race to Loot the Splendor that Was Angkor” tells of the arrest and conviction, in the
1920s, of André Malraux for stealing sculptures from the Banteay Srei temple near
Angkor. Sentenced to 3 years, but never serves time. A few years later, back in Le
Hexagon, Malraux is appointed Minister of Culture and head of the urban conservation
On a different page, another site, more recently sacrilized – this one a creature of
the west, and closer to home. “The most important thing,” says Helen Curry, Cass
Gilbert’s granddaughter, “is that 90 West Street is still standing.” And that is because
the architect (Gilbert) “designed it to endure.”
In this statement is she, perhaps unconsciously inferring that the trade center
was designed not to? In actuality, WTC 2 collapsed so nearly straight down that
Gilbert’s neo-Gothic tower, standing a little way off across Cedar Street got raked by
debris, whereas the church, a hundred feet closer, got buried.
Every gargoyle of 90 West has since been restored – all its fantastical detailing.
No more an office building though. It’s a congregation of condos now.
• • •
Some weird pleasure taken in the clarity of this moment. Wolfowitz guards the
IMF henhouse, González declares “no need for a special prosecutor” to investigate
torture – it just goes on and on. Never in your lifetime has the cat shredded the bag so
thoroughly. And what an animal! Not slouching, but racing full tilt toward Bethlehem.
See what a little catnip can do?
• • •
Them lions is ferocious and may bite!
When they get them angry fits,
They may tear you into bits,
So don’t go in that lion’s cage tonight.
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 644
When a verb ends in “n,” why not eliminate the “in” in written gerund forms
and just append a “g”? That way training could tighten up to traing, frightening to
frighteng, lightning to lightng, et cetera. Just now, outside the café, cats n’ dogs is what
• • •
A subway poster exhorts: LIVE YOUR MYTH IN GREECE. On first glance you
read: WATCH YOUR MOUTH IN GREECE.
A tall, respectable-looking guy around your age checks out a movie ad a few
yards down the platform. He whips out a pen and writes some fast words above John
Travolta’s head. The train pulls in and as it the doors open he bolts inside. You push
your luck long enough to scoot over and see what he’s written. SCIENTOLOGIST
to make eye contact, but graffiti man is stone-faced – retreated to his own world.
• • •
If there is one great collective soul of humankind, does it get stretched thin,
compromised even, when so many demand their share of it? Is there any way to
prevent its shredding? Or does the fabric naturally grow to accommodate us all?
• • •
Cafés con piernas (legs!) in Santiago, Chile, where patrons drink cappuccino
served by women wearing thongs.
• • •
NOTES OF A NEW YORK SON 645
• • •
Zekes and Dadas, the territorial gangs of Kingston. Sometimes they lose their
heads, literally. So says Melinda.
Death of Theresa Schiavo. Like Molly Malone, “she died of a fever, and no one
could save her.” Beyond the issues of compromised mortality, her beauty drew forth
• • •
Seeded throughout Stoppard’s Coast of Utopia, little nuggets from which you
draw hope. As in Bakunin’s counter to Hertzen’s despair:
“Reaction is only the optical effect of the river running backwards on the tide,
while the river runs always to the sea, which is boundless and indivisible.”
• • •
Download 7.05 Mb.
Do'stlaringiz bilan baham:
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling