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Celebrating Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919 – 2021)

MARY NELL AND HER HUSBAND STOPPED TO TAKE ONE LAST PHOTO BEFORE LEAVING SAN FRANCISCO.

Ferlinghetti was the author of more than thirty books of poetry and the founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco, California.  

These are Mary Nell Hawk’s 2017 photos of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookshop. 

As you see, on the outside was a big illustrated mural-poem:

NOTHING 

IS HARDER

ON THE SOUL

THAN THE

SMELL

OF

DREAMS

WHILE 

THEY ARE

EVAPORATING

STOP

THE

DEPORTATIONS

POEM / READING:   Poetry as Insurgent Art (I am signaling you through the flames)

POET / AUTHOR:   Lawrence Ferlinghetti   (1919-2021)

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?

What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words….

SAME SCENE, DIFFERENT SHOT.

NYMYSTERIES.COM

 NYMYSTERIES  February 19,  2021

Some Judsonites are keeping track of how often the former president’s name is mentioned in the New York Times. When I lived in Rome I learned about damnatio memoriae. Loosely translated that’s destroying the remembrance of an evil person. It usually applied to public figures such as senators and emperors. The next time you’re in Rome or any other ancient Mediterranean place, check out monuments that have had inscriptions destroyed and portraits of illustrious personages in which one is missing. Memory was an important part of learning in the ancient world. Who read? So it was equally important to erase the memories of felons, according to their accusers. Some example are Caracalla who erased Publius Septimus Geta, his younger brother. Another example is Constantine erasing Maxentius in 312 AD. In modern times Stalin destroyed photos of people out of favor. Do we practice damnatio memoriae when we remove statues from public exhibit? i.e. Robert E. Lee.

Geta has been removed from mural.
Now you see Nikolai Yezkov, Now you don’t.

NYMYSTERIES.COM

 NYMYSTERIES  February 12,  2021

At Judson Memorial’s Sunday service, Rev. Holly talked about Sam Cooke. an African American singer and songwriter known as the King of Soul.  1n 1963 his entourage was in Louisiana. They could not find a room. No one would take them in. Cooke became angry. He and his group left and went to a nearly town where he and his entourage were followed by the police and arrested for disorderly conduct.  He wrote “A Change is Coming”. 1964, the same year he died. Fifty seven years later, is his belief finally coming true? 

Sam Cooke

Chick Corea died at 79. He claimed that jazz was a little window where you explore. He thought of himself as a composer as well as a pianist. Corea was known for Jazz + Spanish, Cuban technique and along with Miles Davis, Jazz fusion. He is quoted as saying, “Play anything you hear. If you don’t hear it, don’t play it.” 

Chick Corea

Winter is still here. Wally Wentink’s dawn photo proves it.

Chilly NYC sunrise Wally Wentink

NYMYSTERIES.COM

SNOW! We have had a mild winter until this past week. Lots of weather chatter and talk about staying inside. After Monday’s big storm snowmen – oops – snow people cropped up. The adventurous, not the snow people,  took to Central Park and Thompkins Square Park. Most of us saw the giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, sliding down a snowy incline and loving it. 

Thompkins Square Park

Snowy Night by Mary Oliver

Last night, an owl

in the blue dark

tossed

an indeterminate number

of carefully shaped sounds into

the world, in which,

a quarter of a mile away, I happened

to be standing.

I couldn’t tell

which one it was –

the barred or the great-horned

ship of the air –

it was that distant. But, anyway,

aren’t there moments

that are better than knowing something,

and sweeter? Snow was falling,

so much like stars

filling the dark trees

that one could easily imagine

its reason for being was nothing more

than prettiness. I suppose

if this were someone else’s story

they would have insisted on knowing

whatever is knowable – would have hurried

over the fields

to name it – the owl, I mean.

But it’s mine, this poem of the night,

and I just stood there, listening and holding out

my hands to the soft glitter

falling through the air. I love this world,

but not for its answers.

And I wish good luck to the owl,

whatever its name –

and I wish great welcome to the snow,

whatever its severe and comfortless

and beautiful meaning.


Ann Heron Central Park

NYMYSTERIES.COM

NYMYSTERIES  January 29,  2021

After a scrumptious Saturday breakfast at Cafeteria, 7th Avenue and 17th Street, we strolled down 17th Street feeling full and lazy. We bumped into the Rubin museum. I’d heard about it for years and here it was. I was in Nepal and India many, many years ago. A muted interested in their art and architecture was born. Miracle of miracles, the Rubin was open. The museum was dark, somber and almost deserted. We appreciated the glorious map of the Middle and Far East before concentrating on the Gateway to Himalayan Art. What a treat. No fuss, no bother and then to be transported to the glorious, mysterious, Himalayan world.

150 West 17 Street
The Rubin
The Rubin: the all-knowing buddha

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 NYMYSTERIES  January 23,  2021

Bring Jean Home!

Jean Montrevil is a Judson Memorial Church member who was deported three years ago. He is an example of a courageous person who keeps going in spite of life’s injustices. His work with immigrants caught the attention of ICE and Jean was deported abruptly to Haiti in 2018. This January Judson is running a campaign to have Jean Montrevil pardoned and brought home to his family, friends and church. Please check out judson.org.

My cousin, Molly Heron, is an accomplished photographer who highlights Central Park flora and fauna. She brings them to life for me. I look at them much more closely than I do in real life. 

Molly Heron Central Park
Molly Heron Central Park
Molly Heron Central Park

NYMYSTERIES.COM

 NYMysteries  Jan. 16,  2021

Welcome to vaccine madness. It reminds me of the Guy and Dolls floating crap game. 

A bright spot was my first time Tarot reading. It was a Zoom Tarot session. I was a little nervous but Victoria Gardina guided me sweetly and smoothly through the 60 minutes. I wanted guidance about the way I’m my own worst enemy. In other words, how do we get out of our own way?  The beautiful Tarot cards were visual tools that helped me see what I couldn’t see on my own. Victoria recommended taking notes. I’m glad she did. I scribbled down Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, highly recommended by Victoria. 

Victoria Giardina’s Tarot cards
Victoria Regina’s Tarot cards


NYMYSTERIES.COM

 NYMysteries  Jan, 8,  2021

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So much for dry January. Jan. 6 – The Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the three wise men at the creche. It will also be remembered for the horrifying vandalism assaulted on the U. S. Capitol. 

NYMYSTERIES.COM

 NYMysteries  Jan, 2,  2021

The New York Mets Home Run Apple Wikipedia

 While reading Liane Moriarty’s “The Husband’s Secret” for the second time, I came across an Australian character wondering why NYC is referred to as the big apple. Who knows? Wikipedia knows.

It was used by John J. Fitz Gerald who wrote horse-racing columns for The New York Morning Telegraph. He first heard two African Americans in New Orleans referring to New York’s racetracks as the big apple. In 1929 Fitz Gerald wrote, “The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There’s only one Big Apple. That’s New York.” By the 1950s the term was considered old fashioned, out-dated. It was revamped in the 1970’s during NYC’s financial crises and has been popular ever since. 

Big Apple Corner – West 54 Street Wikipedia

NYMYSTERIES.COM

 NYMysteries  Dec. 26,  2020

George Lloyd Courtesy Ben Crum Law

 A tribute to George Lloyd.

“I can’t breathe.” were the only words I heard George Lloyd say before he died, murdered by members of the Minneapolis police. On May 25, 2020, Mr. Lloyd brought home to me how difficult and dangerous it is to be black in  the USA. His suffering forced me to examine my own prejudice. A black family lives in my apartment building. The father always gets into the elevator first, smiling and wishing all a Good Morning. He shields his big black son from the white passengers’ hostile, frightened expressions. Minute by minute, day by day Blacks have to watch their step wherever they are: in their own homes  (Breonna Taylor), driving a car, existing. “Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Minneapolis Mayor Frey said. But it is. Thank you, George Lloyd, for waking me up.