Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Iris Brossard a neurologist introduced me to Doug Koch a biologist. Doug and Iris are foodies and Doug took us to Café Apamate, a tapas bar with no liquor license. Tapas was invented to be just the right size to keep dust out of your wineglass. In any case, “apamate” means cocoa, and their cocoa tapas are tops. Apamate is good but noisy.

My doctor back in New York was a D.O. rather than M.D. Doug works at PCOM. That’s PCOM.edu. I thought it should be PCOM.com. It’s the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Doug says they’re stuck with PCOM. edu


I forgot my wallet so Doug had to take me to the surprisingly healthy and tasty PCOM cafeteria. Then he showed me around the College. I liked Stan best. Currently the most famous painting in Philadelphia is Eakins’ Gross Clinic. That’s a painting of an anatomy lesson. Doug said the college was on spring break so they weren’t dissecting anybody. He showed me a half dozen brains, then he introduced me to Stan.

Stan’s a robot who is yet capable of every illness. He lies on a table wearing pajamas with a sheet up to his chin. Stan possesses, however, an extensive wardrobe. He breathes. His eyes respond to light. He bruises. He responds to every drug. Stan is, in sum, standard. Brian, who is Stan’s boss, sits behind a one-way mirror monitoring the medical students and speaking as Stan. Doug showed me how to inject certain drugs into Stan. This was great!

How are you feeling now, Stan?

“Unfortunately, Doctor Andre, I fear you gave me too much of the wrong drug and I am afraid that soon, yes -- wait -- I feel terrible pain -- I’m certain that soon -- yes, even now, I am, finally and agonizingly, dead.”

Medical error.

We didn’t have time to see Noelle the Gal. Apparently she can get pregnant and give birth. I wonder how she resembles a certain lady robot advertised on-line?

[Doug Koch and Javier Dominguez have a Philadelphia restaurant and food blog http://blogs.myspace.com/djkoch ]

Friday, March 27, 2009

hit him hit him hit him

I saw the Penguins and Flyers play Saturday afternoon. It was a good game, the Penguins winning 5-4. At its start, the crowd would abruptly chant HOCKEY SUCKS. I thought that was odd, but it turns out they were actually chanting CROSBY SUCKS whenever one Stanley Crosby touched the puck. Crosby eventually scored the winning goal. A lot of Pittsburgh fans wore Penguin regalia. Two obvious friends in front of me wore respectively a Pittsburgh Lemieux 66 and a Philadelphia Lindros 88 jersey. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are more than cross-state sports rivals. But brawls on the ice were amplified by a brawl in the stands. I asked an usher between periods if brawls were common. He said, “Oh no: the Penguin fans come into the Philadelphia building wearing Penguin colors and they know Philadelphia is the murder capital of America, so they are just asking for it.” Are there brawls in the stands at other games? “Oh no, not really: the Ranger and Devil fans sometimes come in here asking for it, but they’re the only ones.” There was also a HIT HIM HIT HIM chant I’d never heard anywhere else. And there was an obscene chant which I won’t repeat. It did seem inappropriate for a Saturday afternoon game filled with children. What is there to say? Tut tut? Baseball starts in April.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I go back and forth to Manhattan but Unmuzzled OX and my things at 105 Hudson are such a mess that I get lost in it. I go to the gym for my shower. I eat. I move shit around the basement and go to Staples and the Container Store for supplies. But I have yet to see a single friend, visit a gallery or museum, view a movie or play. In New York I’m a ghost or maybe a memory.

Meanwhile I go to press conferences in Philly, have lunch at obscure but old Pennsylvania colleges with friends of friends, write verse, and gawk.

[BULLETIN: A press conference March 23 announcing Hidden City, a festival of performance art, was held at the Metropolitan Opera House. That’s right; Philly has a Met. It was closed 40 years ago, but the ruin is magnificent. The ground floor functions as a church. Nine other venues are similarly underknown or forgotten or “hidden.” The festival will really roll in June. http://www.hiddencityphila.org/]

The art scene is trickier to get to know than I anticipated. The live theatre, on the other hand, is right outside my door. I’ve seen plays and operas; I’ve seen movies at the three hip Ritzes and at an astoundingly gigantic multiplex: 30 effing movies for the price of one, basically. An order of popcorn could feed Zambia for a year. Have you eaten a whiz cheesesteak? The citizens of Philadelphia may be the fattest in the USA. (I was wrong about the Bronx. My apologies.)

Philadelphians also love their sports. Seen any Ranger games lately? The mob in South Philly is more than a memory.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday, December 7, 1941

Every day is Pearl Harbor Day when you marry a J.A.P. Both my former wives are Jewish. A bad marriage is a joint disease.

Solitude is the only one I love -- and my son. He lives in another country. I change cities to escape intimacy. I am no desert father.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


OX: Harry Smith published a magazine called The Smith. He started it long before Unmuzzled OX, long before my foolish abandonment of Canada for corrupt America. The word “genius” died in 1929 with, perhaps, the Crash. Other words for the “canon” such as “great” and “major” are also outmoded. Let me opine only that Harry is a wonderful poet. Little Things has just been published by Prensa. I asked Harry to name his favorite poem in Little Things.

SMITH: Different days I’d probably make different choices, depending on my bent in the period or what commands my attention at the moment.

While most people wouldn’t single it out, a poem called ‘Inner Landscape’ came immediately to mind when I read your email. It’s in a class of poetry where the music precedes the words, and where I find the words for the inner music. From the beginning, a significant fraction of my poetry has been in that realm.


The flooded woods,
the redding buds
which herald
winter’s end
wound my heart
with yearning
white as snow,
and memories
of run off years
rise with sighs,
and I go
gently borne
here & there
like a seed on the rivulets of spring.