A crescent wrench, a moose, a coral reef
The Cosmological Eye
Just as a piece of matter detaches itself from the sun to live as a wholly new creation so I have come to feel about my detachment from America. Once the separation is made a new orbit is established, and there is no turning back. For me the sun had ceased to exist; I had myself become a blazing sun.
Let me start with gratitude: The world is broken in ten thousand places. Can I be thankful for the brokenness? How else can I learn to love the broken world?
With the people, for the people, by the people — I crack up when I hear it. I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful, because that’s what really happens.
We Are Not Worth More, They Are Not Worth Less
The Odyssey Of S. Brian Willson
I think of myself as a recovering white male, recovering from my early conditioning about how to be successful. The value system I was raised with dehumanized me to the point that I followed an order to travel nine thousand miles to participate in destroying another people. It’s incredible that I could do that, and without really thinking much about it. That’s why I wrote the book — to understand how it was so easy for me to do that.
In my family, as in many families, there is a moment we all remember but never speak about. It’s the moment in which my oldest brother went around the dining-room table and smashed every dinner plate, then tried to punch our father, who punched his firstborn son in the face.
What If You Were Right?
Something like this can really mess you up, you know? You could spend quite a while feeling bad and acting worse. You could hitch up a train of bad poems and lost weekends and therapy sessions, and whoosh — there goes 1982.
Before I fell in love with my husband, I fell in love with his mother’s china. It was a frigid February night, my second date with my husband-to-be, who’d asked me to a concert in New York City, an hour’s drive from Princeton, where I was a seventeen-year-old freshwoman (as we called it in those days) and he was a sophomore.
Adopt A Bench
Not everyone can afford to adopt a Central Park bench and personalize it with a plaque, but it costs nothing to sit on one. My favorite bench, near Conservatory Water, is inscribed with “Tell Me Something You Promised You Wouldn’t Tell” and dedicated to a woman named Helen, who lived for nearly a century.
The Winter Of My Discontent
January 10: My wife and I recently moved from suburban New Jersey back to the heart of New York’s Catskill Mountains: the town of Phoenicia. It’s difficult returning here in winter. Everyone we meet has a lost, distracted look, as if they’ve already watched their entire video collection twice and now spend their evenings staring up at the spot where two walls meet the ceiling.
In The Valley Of The Kings
I was eleven the summer the fire broke out. In the spring of 1967 my mother, my father, and I had moved to Umberland, Pennsylvania. An old miners’ neighborhood sprawled across the southern half of town, and its residents burned their garbage in a used-up strip mine, a pit of shale and sandstone scraped clean by bulldozers.
The Magic Of Macy’s
I am nineteen, standing behind the Coach / counter at Macy’s Herald Square. / This feels like my first real job: I take / a bus to the city; I wear a suit; / I ask strangers if I can help them, / even though I actually can’t help them, / since I know so little about leather goods.
Graduation was awful. When I handed Jholie her diploma, / that idiotic, oversized black mortarboard slid down my forehead / & covered my eyes & out in the stands everyone started to laugh