New York City Top Ten

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A few days ago my sister Megan sent me her top ten
New York moments. In no particular order, here are mine.

The hilarious woman seated behind me at the Lives of the Saints.
She was blind but proclaimed she had the best view in the house.

The crispy fish tacos at El Presidente on West 24th.

The eight high school boys on a school trip, all of them
shopping for running shoes while I tried on fuchsia converse.
Contact sport meets Disney Land.

The Christmas morning look on Megan’s face
when she found the perfect grey dress at Macy’s.

Melinda, from my hotel, who saw me in the lobby
on my last night and wished me a good flight.

The crisp bright light and laughter on the High Line
the morning Meg and I had our photos taken.

Helen Mirren and the cast of The Audience.

A charming taxi driver from Jamaica.

Talking with Jun about writing novels.

Walking home in the rain {how quickly a place
becomes home} and the man who helped me cross the street.

Be not afraid.


Tumbling out onto the steps
of the Lincoln Centre
after the King and I,
we cross through growing puddles
of liquid light, hundreds of
well-dressed theatre-goers
plus three guys in jeans.

At Columbus Circle
a sea of black umbrellas
surges towards seven
yellow taxis.

25 blocks. Nothing
for a New Yorker but for me
armed only with a small umbrella
and my best pair of red shoes,
it’s an odyssey.

Around 55th Street
halfway to my hotel
I stop at the light.
A young man crosses
against the red.
He stops. Stares at me.

Oh Shit.

“Hey, lady! You can cross.
I promise you it’s perfectly
safe. I’ll stand right here
while you cross.”

I look both ways
and enter the intersection
where the young man stands

We laugh.

I wave from the other side
of the street.

He disappears into the rain.

The problem with inappropriate

inappropriate problem


I find this word lacking
in the departments of:
1. specificity
2. helpfulness
3. compassion

This word
{which thinks so highly of itself}
lets everybody down.

When we tell a teenager
her actions are not
we might as well
be speaking from Mars.

The megaphone doesn’t help.

Ways of Seeing


The woman found herself seated beside
actors Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman.
At intermission Danny whispered
to Rhea, his wife,
“Look, I’m not complaining
but I think it’s weird that
no one has recognised us.”

What he did not know
was that he was surrounded
by a group of blind people.

The Audience


In the first place
it was Helen Mirren
{Helen Freaking Mirren}
who plays the Queen
more convincingly
than the Queen herself.

Second of all
how lucky were we
to afford this ticket,
to have someone give this as a gift
or to find a ticket on the sidewalk.

Third of all
the woman who placed her coat
over the back of her seat
was in her eighties,
not in her thirties
like you.

Fourth of all
her small jacket did not
cross the boundary, enter into
the territory you felt
to be yours.

Fifth of all
when you said, “Excuse me”
in a voice of sharp rocks
and rage, when you pushed
her coat into her seat
as she watched wide-eyed,
you told us everything
we needed to know.