Here’s the latest Rozan Report, all about my writing workshop in Assisi. Come to Assisi!
Archive for Journal
Bizet’s “Pearl Fishers” on the stereo, a cup of tea on the desk, a draft of a chapter just finished in my new novel, the radiator hissing. Basketball this morning, and the makings of dinner already in the fridge so I can admire the great thick snow through my office window without having to go out in it. A collection of things to be grateful for.
Crumpled white ice floes
To end of pilings. Beyond,
Glass-smooth clear water.
Low-flying geese soar,
Look for landing, see their spot,
Settle on snow bank.
Single tug glides past,
Curves to ferry terminal,
Leaves river empty.
I know more important things are happening. But this, to me, deserves mention. I met him once, when I was seventeen and a crazed fan girl. He couldn’t have been kinder. LLAP, both Mr. Spock and Mr. Nimoy. You’ll be missed.
I said we didn’t, down here, but I was corrected. The Coast Guard ship the Sturgeon Bay (dreaming a bit big, are we?) breaks up the ice from here to Albany all winter. What does it do in the summer? Just one of the mysteries of the river.
White ice, gray water,
Racing north through dark morning,
Striping the river.
Cotton cloud of steam
Stretches into pale pearl sky,
Thins and disappears.
Bright dots on far shore.
Streetlights not yet extinguished
Glow into the day.
The Hudson, at least downtown where I am, is ice-covered all the way to the middle. I’ve never seen this before. At the turn of the last century the river used to freeze solid and people would walk across it to New Jersey, just for an outing. Today — 7F with a -10F windchill — it’s covered with ice floes, but nothing you could stand on. Still impressive as all hell, and beautiful, all that white and gray ice under a bright blue sky. Some of the ferries are running; I understand the tugboats are being used to cut channels to the ferry docks. Well, it’s not like we have icebreakers down here. I don’t know where the ducks and geese are, except the buffleheads. They’re happily fishing at the edge of the ice. This must remind them of home.
Meanwhile, up at the gym, equally impressive if less beautiful is the repair work where the geyser was. Unfortunately they’ve covered all the glass that gives onto the space. I think they should let us watch. Think how educational it would be for the kids. But as for the work itself, the next morning after the flood they were completely open. To get to the offices, studios, and women’s locker room they’ve had to lay down a path against the wall in one of the basketball courts. You can still play half-court, but the guys who play squash are screwed until it’s all fixed. That’s supposed to be early next week, though. Good job all around, I say.
Finished the day’s writing about 1:30 and headed to the gym. It’s seven degrees with a wind chill and all that but I’m tough, you know? Get there, feeling good, pumping iron (still no running because of the sprained ankle, but I’m killing those weights) and suddenly, blare blare blare, strobe strobe strobe, young persons in McBurney Y shirts striding everywhere shouting, “Exit the building! Exit the building!” Exit the BUILDING? In our gatkes? Which is Yiddish for underwear, very little more than which most of us are wearing. Blare blare, strobe strobe. They’re pulling people out of the pool. Those folks will turn into blocks of ice if they have to go outside. Are we on fire?
No, next worst thing. The gym’s on two floors, the ground floor and the basement. By the time we’d all piled upstairs to the ground floor they said we could stay inside at the entry area — where we watched from behind the glass as a huge burst water pipe in the double height ceiling inundated the lounge below. I mean, folks, this was a geyser. The blare blare strobe strobe and the spewing and the flooding went on for about ten minutes. The FDNY came and walked around; the Y staff opened the doors to the pool and tried to sweep the water from the floor into the pool drains before it flooded the basketball court, which would have meant replacing that floor. They succeeded, too.
What was it that happened? The damn pipe actually froze and burst. This is a big main, I mean six inches. So you see, it really is cold here in NYC. I wonder how long it’ll be before the residential building upstairs has water…
Finally they let us down in small groups to wade through the water to get our stuff from the locker rooms and exit through the emergency stairs. So much for my workout. But hell, as long as your heart gets pounding, one way or another, right?
Five sleeping brown geese
Rise and fall with water’s swell
Each on its own floe.
Wide white field of ice
Stretching into dark river
Under pale gray sky.
Crossing lowered clouds:
Helicopter, seagull, hawk.
Sky’s full, then empty.
Rise shining out of river,
White in bright sunlight.
Gull on gray ice floe
Standing on two orange feet
Flaps black wings, lifts off.
Floats toward near shore, retreats back,
As swells rise and fall.