Feel as if the top of my head were taken off

In 1870, Emily Dickinson was said to describe poetry this way:

 “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”

 And, then you read a book, that does exactly that.

[Read more…]



I told Miyazaki I love the “gratuitous motion” in his films; instead of every movement being dictated by the story, sometimes people will just sit for a moment, or they will sigh, or look in a running stream, or do something extra, not to advance the story but only to give the sense of time and place and who they are.

“We have a word for that in Japanese,” he said. “It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally.”

Is that like the “pillow words” that separate phrases in Japanese poetry?

“I don’t think it’s like the pillow word.” He clapped his hands three or four times. “The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness, But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb.”

~ Roger Ebert, from “Hayao Miyazaki Interview,” RogerEbert.com (September 12, 2002)

Credits: Quote – Improve is Easy. Photo by Bruno via Mennyfox55.

Driving I-95 S. Miracle? All of it. 


7 am.
Clear. 50° F. Blue skies.
I’m flowing down I-95 S.
I lower the windows and rest my arm on the door frame.
The gusts fill the cabin. November chill.

70s on 7 is spinning Neil Sedaka and Bad Blood.
Doo-ron, doo-ron, di di, dit, do-ron-ron

To hell with these nonsensical lyrics. I plug my own.

I do what I want to do.
I hear want I want to hear.
I See. Thank God I can See.
Good Blood. Good Blood. Good Blood.

And the brain train starts to pull,
the steel couplers snap between the rail cars,
the words begin to slide down the rails.
And here they come. [Read more…]

Growing more itchy and agitated by the day

Sven Birkerts

“Sven Birkerts is an anxious man. By turns he is frightened, terrified, alarmed, filled with dread. On one occasion he shudders in his core; mostly he is just plain worried. What concerns him, a concern he is eager to transmit to us, is the rapid spread of computer, Internet and telephone technologies and more specifically what those technologies are doing to our minds. Forever glued to screens of one kind or another, clicking compulsively on the links others provide for us, we are losing the ability to concentrate, growing more itchy and agitated by the day, allowing our consciousness to be fragmented and dispersed.”

~ Tim Parks. Read his full NY Times review of Sven Birkerts new book here: “Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age.”

Amazon’s Book Summary: “After two decades of rampant change, Birkerts has allowed a degree of everyday digital technology into his life. He refuses to use a smartphone, but communicates via e-mail and spends some time reading online. In Changing the Subject, he examines the changes that he observes in himself and others–the distraction when reading on the screen; the loss of personal agency through reliance on GPS and one-stop information resources; an increasing acceptance of “hive” behaviors. “An unprecedented shift is underway,” he argues, and “this transformation is dramatically accelerated and more psychologically formative than any previous technological innovation.” He finds solace in engagement with art, particularly literature, and he brilliantly describes the countering energy available to us through acts of sustained attention, even as he worries that our increasingly mediated existences are not conducive to creativity. It is impossible to read Changing the Subject without coming away with a renewed sense of what is lost by our wholesale acceptance of digital innovation and what is regained when we immerse ourselves in a good book.”

Be silent. Listen. Let it overflow.



Driving the East River Drive. Every risk, shimmering.


It was Tuesday. Yes, Autumn. Yes, New York City. But it certainly didn’t look or feel anything like this. Add 5,000 cars.  And move the map to the FDR, the East River Drive.

I’m one hour and 20 minutes on the road and Waze is signaling that I’m still 30 minutes away. 1:50 for a 0:45 min ride. And now, the crush of the morning rush.  My lower back is stiff.  There’s a nagging kink in my neck. And, I can’t settle. I shift left, then right. I grab my water bottle, take a pull. Tap my fingers on the console.  I glance at my watch. I’m going to be late. Didn’t count on this delay. I push the pace. DK won’t be late.

If you’ve never driven the East Side Highway, think Daytona 500 with a crudely straightened 3-lane track.  Three lanes made for 2.5.  Traffic, sardines, tightly packed. There’s zero room for a slip, no room for wandering. Hugging your left shoulder is a 4-foot cement girder offering a bumper car cushion. Drains (sink holes) are distributed every 1000 feet to release rain water.  Off your right shoulder, another car – open your window and finger brush the door panel.  You grip the wheel, white knuckles, and Glare, eyes panning up front, left, right and down (especially down to avoid the abyss) and then back again. The Gotham Death March.  I push the pace with the cabbies, we dart in and out, looking to gain one car length, maybe two.

SiriusXM is spinning 70s on 7. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning: That mysterious, fiery line


Between two musical notes there exists another note, between two facts there exists another fact, between two grains of sand, no matter how close together they are, there exists an interval of space, there exists a sensing between sensing—-in the interstices of primordial matter there is the mysterious, fiery line that is the world’s breathing, and the world’s continual breathing is what we hear and call silence.

~ Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.

Notes: Quote: The Distance Between Two Doors. Photo: Sweet Senderipity

Driving I-95 S. With The Unbearable Lightness of Being.


4:35 am. Wednesday.
It’s leaden, and anchored behind the eyes. Throbbing.
I squeeze them tight. And exhale.
No. Not today. No. 
I grab the Tylenol.

71° F.
The flirty British Lady on Waze calls out Let’s Go!
39 miles. 42 minutes.
Skies clear.  Roads dry.  Traffic light.
Manhattan bound.

Cockpit is lit with the soft glow of fluorescents.
It’s dark but for the tail lights from hulking semis.
Speed lane is clear.

I adjust my right foot on the accelerator. Flying on cotton.
It’s silent but for the soft hum of the engine and the faint spinning rotation of the Goodyears.
The A/C streams in at maximum comfort level.
Sir, you’re in First Class today. Our cruising altitude will be 39,000 feet and we’ll be flying 500 mph.  
I loosen my tie.
And grab my water bottle. [Read more…]

My dog most certainly is god spelled backward.


My dog most certainly is god spelled backward.
He is sublimely present.
No fatigue.
He loves.
He licks.
He chases and wags.
Eats, shits, leaps like a dolphin for his Frisbee.
Sleeps and guards.
Snorts in his sleep and awake,
begs for orts of cheese, smackerels of beef crumb.
A belly rub, an ear massage.

~ Melissa Pritchard, Decomposing Articles of FaithA Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, And Write (The Art of the Essay)


Miracle? All of it. 


“I can’t feel anything in my fingertips,” Manning said. “I’ve talked to a doctor recently who said, Don’t count on the feeling coming back.

The ESPN pundits were chattering about the NFL preseason in the background.  Upon hearing Fingertips – Feeling – Not coming back, my attention moves from the morning paper, to the broadcast. I listen.

“It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back. So you wake up every day thinking, Today’s the day! Then it’s not.”

I gently release my grip from the newspaper, and with feather touch brushes I slide my fingertips over the paper. Back and forth and then again.  And again. And again.

Skin on paper.

A boy, hand in his pocket, fingers his favorite polished stone.

The paper is dry, smooth.

I release.

A trace of ink stains both fingertips.

Today’s the Day!

Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”