In my words, April 15 – 21


When I got home from work Monday afternoon, the news from Boston came over the Internet and spread so quickly that when I went to teach my evening class at PS 188, the security guards were talking about it. You could see on their faces they were sure the terrorists were coming. And the week just got worse after that. There was dead little Martin Richard on Tuesday holding his peace sign for us all to read and the people who’d come to watch a race who lost their legs. Then on Wednesday, gun control legislation didn’t pass because a handful of senators from unpopulated states were afraid to buck their NRA spooked constituents. Rural ruled, the least dictating to the most. Gun advocates also fear the foreign terrorist. You can hear it in their anti-immigrant rhetoric. Speak English! But it’s all one concussion, isn’t it? In the Middle East U.S. drones are killing people even as I write. I’ve elected politicians who have decided it is better to kill innocent bystanders with the terrorists than not to kill the terrorists at all.


No More hurting PeOPle Peace

Here is a list of children who have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, the report compiled by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

PAKISTAN

Name | Age | Gender

Noor Aziz | 8 | male
Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
Noor Syed | 8 | male
Wajid Noor | 9 | male
Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
Ayeesha | 3 | female
Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
Shoaib | 8 | male
Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
Maezol Khan | 8 | female
Nasir Khan | male
Naeem Khan | male
Naeemullah | male
Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
Ziauddin | 16 | male
Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
Ilyas | 13 | male
Sohail | 7 | male
Asadullah | 9 | male
Khalilullah | 9 | male
Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
Khalid | 12 | male
Saifullah | 9 | male
Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
Nawab | 17 | male
Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
Abdullah | 18 | male
Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
Shahbuddin | 15 | male
Yahya Khan | 16 |male
Rahatullah |17 | male
Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
Shahjehan | 15 | male
Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
Numair | 14 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Taseel Khan | 18 | male
Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
Alam Nabi | 11 | male
Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
Rahmatullah | 14 | male
Abdus Samad | 17 | male
Siraj | 16 | male
Saeedullah | 17 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Salman | 12 | male
Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
Iftikhar | 17 | male
Inayatullah | 15 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Adnan | 16 | male
Najibullah | 13 | male
Naeemullah | 17 | male
Hizbullah | 10 | male
Kitab Gul | 12 | male
Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
Zabihullah | 16 | male
Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
Shabir | 15 | male
Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
Shafiullah | 16 | male
Nimatullah | 14 | male
Shakirullah | 16 | male
Talha | 8 | male

YEMEN

Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female
Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female
Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female
Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female
Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male
Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male
Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female
Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female
Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female
Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female
Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male
Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female
Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female
Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female
Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female
Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male
Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female
Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female
Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male
Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male
Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female
AbedalGhani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male
Abdel- Rahman Anwar al Awlaki | 16 | male
Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki | 17 | male
Nasser Salim | 19 | male


Me and my friend Tom

Friday I walked through Central Park with two old friends. We began on 96th Street and walked along the stream and little lakes on our way to the Conservatory Garden. There was a slight drizzle for about twenty minutes, but nobody ran for cover, not the children playing or the picnickers on the hill. Mallards were everywhere, showing us their feathery butts, diving, dunking in the lakes. Oh the colors! Robins bathed and ate worms, grackles splashed iridescently and cardinals and blue jays bent the budding branches swinging in the breeze. The gardens were abundantly beautiful too. Tulips, daffodils, trees in blossom. Magnolia petals fell on my friends Tom and Martin as they sat on a bench. It was just what they wanted. After an awful week, the soothing blossoms coming on the wind were very comforting. “The immortality of Flowers must enrich our own,” Emily Dickinson wrote, “and we certainly should resent a Redemption that excluded them.” The flower binds us all bringing joy when it blooms, sadness when it falls petal after petal; although we can return to joy again when we remember what ends begins, and what we choose to do with that depends.

“In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle – and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.”

Walt Whitman

“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tom and I





The writer, Djelloul Marbrook, recently told me a personal story. Years ago when he was a journalist working in Washington DC, he got very depressed and nothing, not booze or drugs would do the trick. At lunch, he started to go to the National Gallery of Art. There he saw paintings by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot that gave him solace and he continued to return to them. He was particularly lifted by the way Corot painted the undersides of leaves and wrote a poem about it, realizing too that the artist had painted this for him. He was the reason, Corot’s raison d’être. In a world like that, Djelloul could no longer be depressed and decided to get on with it. Here is his poem

Undersides of leaves

Painter of undersides of leaves,
shuddered cubist light, Corot
held seconds in his hands,
listening to their murmurings.

Aspens were his populace.
Conspiring with their haste to go,
he daubed their babbling whispers
with scents of sisters fled.

The cool nostalgias of your genes
confide Corot is your native due.
Before you came as hostages here
you were notes struck upon the air.


Ville D’Avray by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot


Walking down my block today, good old East 9th Street, I looked at the blossoming trees and the trees whose buds were about to burst into leaves. They didn’t appear out of nowhere. Back in the early 90s, a man who lived in my building, Paul Terry, saw to it that the trees were planted by the city. He did all the politicking to have it done. Back then, the devastated block with buildings burnt and vacant lots, didn’t have any trees on the street from C to B. Later Paul died of AIDS. I’ve looked for a photo of him and can’t find one, but here are his blossoms, his trees as real as Corot’s leaves, as real as the people in Boston who ran toward the explosion, not away from it, aware that at any moment another one might occur, but that didn’t stop them, no, they bent attending to the victims who lay there unconscious or moaning with and without legs among all the chaos and the world just strewn.

4 Comments

  1. Posted 22 Apr ’13 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Well done, Don.

  2. Posted 30 Sep ’13 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Reading through your evocative posts to try to get reacquainted after all these years. Your story about Marbrook reminded me that Corot taught Berthe Morisot, eventually one of the few female French Impressionists. He introduced her to plein air painting (She later talked Manet into painting outdoors.) She would no doubt have loved your friend Paul’s trees.

    • Posted 30 Sep ’13 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      I will have to look at her paintings soon.

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