May Thoughts

May 29

At the gym something a little strange just happened. I was doing some bicep work and looked up to see a t-shirt with an adorable white bunny on it gnawing on a skull and making a sound I suppose that sounded like NOM NOM NOM. When I was a little kid still pretty much a baby when my mother fed me she’d say to encourage me, “Nom nom nom.” And when she wanted to know if I wanted to eat, she’d ask, “Do you want some Nommy noms?” And my father would say that to the cat when the cat was staying with him too: “Do you want your Nommy noms?” Baby talk I thought peculiar to my parents appears out of nowhere on a t-shirt, perhaps a message from the great beyond, bunny munching on a skull going “NOM NOM NOM.” Should I stay or run?


May 27

Messages on 14th Street between A and First yesterday morning walking to Union Square and the R train to work, the last class before next week’s final. Teaching is a performance; good teachers are good performers; keep those students on the edge of their seats without them even knowing; crack that whip without them hearing it is even cracking. I love to teach. May I live to be a hundred doing it.

You can see from my shadow in the photo that the sun is shining on my back from Brooklyn over the East River. As far as I know, the sun rises in Brooklyn. It was a lovely morning yesterday.

No sun today shining from Brooklyn; in fact, it was raining, but that hasn’t stopped the noisy soggy, but happy party on Avenue C from going on celebrating Loisaida Day. There’s going to be a lot of music. ¡Baila!

Every day, no matter what some might say, is different.


May 22

“Barbara Barg, left this world for eternity this morning at 2am. She left a hole no one can fill. But she also left a legacy of creative brilliance and tireless work for justice, peace, and all that is strange and good. I’ll treasure her friendship always. Fly free, Barb, see you one day on the other side.” Maggie Dubris

Fly on, sweet angel.


Barbara Barg, April 29, 1947 – May 22, 2018


As for me
I am still thirsty.

This strange vibratorium
in which we sing
and weep
through icy nights
without a fire still drinking
of steaming stardust.

I’m down with it
and have been
all these many years.

Beyond clueless evil
the endless unconcerned
breathes poetry
multi verses
as if nothing really happens
in that unhurried blink
of the bottomless eye.

by Barbara Barg

You can check out more of Barbara’s words and thoughts by clicking on her blog below:

May 20

Walking east toward Tompkins Square.

A serendipity of stripes


May 13

(1948?) We mostly come from a kiss.

Mom and Dad kissing


May 8

Frog Rain by Akram


Actually there is.

May 6

I asked if anyone would know if this is a poem by Li Bai? And if so, what is the translation? It was a gift from a student at Wuhan University many years ago. I used to know, but time has told, that I’ve forgotten. Anyway, I’m not throwing it.

A Facebook friend, Jan Wells, replied, a professor of Chinese I believe somewhere in Canada. He said: “This is Ode to a Knight-Errant by Li Bai. As far as I can find through an extensive search, there is only one available English translation:



Ode to a Knight by Li Bai, translated by Liao Kang

A knight from Kingdom Zhao wearing a Hu style tassel
And a curved blade which was shiny like frost and snow
His steed was white and matched by a silver saddle
Galloping as fast as a shooting star could go.
He traveled hundreds of miles; none could stop his steed.
With every ten steps he cut down and killed a foe.
He tidied his robe after he did the heroic deed,
Then he disappeared thoroughly incognito.
In his leisure he came to drink with Duke Xinling.
He took off his sword and rested it on his knees.
He ate barbecue with Zhu Hai and drank with Hou Ying,
Whose aspiration soared to the highest degrees.
After three cups they made him a pledge so solemn
That it was weightier than the five mountains sacred.
Their eyes were dim and each ear a burning column
They breathed a song into air, their souls were elated.
They began saving Kingdom Zhao with a hammer blow.
The city of Handan’s shocked by its quick release.
The two men thus became heroes as we’d later know,
Their names are carved with pride on the town-hall altarpiece.
Even though the knight’s gone, his fame is perpetuate.
In heaven he’d not be second to any man.
Who could write down his deeds to fill the honored slate
But gray-haired Yang Xiong who wrote the Book of Taixuan.

You can read the text and hear it here:

May 5

Haven’t even shaved or brushed my teeth this morning—Well, shaving one can forget, but not the teeth. The hallway is full of boxes waiting for the Salvation Army to pick up—I know, I know the Salvation Army is not politically correct, but they still do pick stuff up.

Remember when they told us CDs would last forever unlike the old fashioned tapes and records that scratched and ripped? But why have eternal DVDs and CDs when you don’t even have the earthly players anymore?

These photo are just the tip of the iceberg. If I only had all the money from the original value in all of the boxes in the long hall, I could go and retire in Mexico, and swing in a hamaca all day long.



I am even throwing out mementos, old friends and lovers that over the years I just couldn’t let go of. Sorry, dear clinging memories of happinesses and regrets, there just isn’t any room anymore: YOU JUST DON’T FIT. An empty room may not remember, but can the mind forget? Actually, the answer is yes.

Do you think this bottle of Bolla from 1986 would still be any good? From an old dear friend, Jim Tobin—a wonderful artist who used to hang out a Life Cafe; he inherited millions and basically gave it all away, casting his pearls mostly before the swine, dying a very poor man all alone on a hill in San Miguel one sunny day. Who but a handful remembers him?

Ravi Shankar and Schubert are on Youtube now along with Billie, Mozart and Sonny and Terry emanating from the TV screen coming from the ether one after the other as I do what humans do: clean and organize, work, remember and forget. Shall we drink to that? Perhaps it’s best to drink to emptiness.

One Comment

  1. Posted 31 May ’18 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Frog Rain by Akram. Wonderful! Thank you.

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