Ancient Art of Stone by Andreas Kunert & Naomi Zettl
My sister remembers wondering, when she was a kindergartner, if the sky really looked like her classmates’ drawings of it: a blue stripe on the tops of their papers with white space separating it from the stick figures below. She remembers having a significant childhood realization when she looked out the window and saw that the sky was not only above her, but all around her. From then on, she colored her entire paper blue.
My own recent adult realization is that I look at the sky less often in New York than in any other place I’ve lived. Although this city puts me in more elevators and skyscrapers than anywhere else, I feel as far away from the sky as those stick figures. An abundance of eye level shapes and movements keep my gaze from drifting up to what looks empty.
Read more of “A Museum in the Mind of Someone Contemplating the Sky,” as Dale Megan Healey explores the fact that “…we often look at the sky the same way we look at art: from a distance and without entering it. We forget that we are also walking around in our own part of the atmosphere.”
In every family, traditional portraits are hung up or carried around: cousins arrayed before a monument, parents holding their grandchildren, long-gone ancestors smiling from a black and white beyond. Though we cherish their aura, the faces and places remain static.
By contrast, Rachel Barrett composes images that could be candid or staged, but we often cannot guess which. Her portraits are sometimes not even of people. In projects as seemingly clinical as her NYC Newsstand Project, born of a desire to document the soon-to-be homogenized newsstands sprinkled across Manhattan, we find a loving portrait of an icon glowing in its snowflake-like singularity. In Bowery and Pell SW Corner, 2011, we see a shed with the battered face of a retired fighter, all swollen angles and bent supports. The sweet rust-red lacquer of Chrystie & Grand Streets, NW Corner, 2009 reaches out lovingly to grasp its green awninged neighbor in friendship. Even the shabbier newsstands stand proudly, as though their position and usefulness in this city affords them strength. […]
Click here to see more of Rachel Barrett’s “sweet and scarred” portraits of place.
The pop-up coffee place will open September 17 at 199 Lafayette Street so twentysomethings can hang out and discuss their love lives ad nauseam before heading home to an oversized Manhattan apartment that they definitely can’t afford.
This is very exciting for some of us at TC! What other fictional places from pop culture would you like to see made real?
I’m carting a 55-inch flat-screen
to the car when I’m surprised
by sounds I haven’t heard
for some time and can’t believe
I’m hearing here—the nasally peent, peent
of a woodcock broadcasting its call
from the fields beside this new Wal-Mart.
Read more as Robert Kording observes “a bird doing what a bird does / with spring inside him” in an unlikely location.
A vinyl sombrero. A needlepoint rendition of Gainsborough’s Blue Boy. A macramé lawn chair. If you go to the thrift store with a specific item in mind, you probably won’t find it. You’ll find something else. I forage for the else.
My relationship with the thrift store started a few months after my life-partner died and I dropped off the first bag of clothes he wouldn’t be wearing any more. Before that, in the early weeks of mourning, I couldn’t let anything go. Taking bookmarks out of his books, or emptying his pockets of keys or chapstick, could capsize me. I had no sense of what to hold and what to disown, what was essential and what was peripheral. Everything seemed important, even clothes that Rajiv hated or never wore. Everything he’d touched bore meaning. […]
Read more of “Things Left,” Deborah Thompson’s essay on grief and thrift stores.
Advice to young poets from Eloise Klein Healy.
To see more postcards from our 2012 Poets Via Post program, visit poets.org.
1. goose girl
I’m chatting away merrily to his back
About how my grandmother worked here
As a nursemaid. Little changes
On an island. Look, a goose girl
In a floppy bonnet, charges honking.
I follow him just as I follow
In her footsteps, leaving behind
A fist raised like a gust of wind
For the generous wingspan of an eagle,
Stillness moving, gliding silence.
We worry about the gifts. Unable to sleep, we think to ourselves how best to please her, what gift will be most memorable, anxiously turning over the pages of catalogues or searching the Internet—each of us in our own room, dark except for a ghostly light shed by the computer screen. Next morning we hurry to her house with some token or other purchased earlier, hoping to be among the first to knock at the door and, having been let inside the house by her son, to press into the old woman’s hands a porcelain thimble, a tortoise-shell comb, a bottle of the chocolate liqueur she favors—asking only that we be remembered by her. Not everyone visits her in the morning; some believe that to be among the last of the day’s visitors will leave a more durable impression. Few have nerve enough to forgo a visit even for a single day, especially now that she is failing, the consequences of which have been widely and fervently discussed. I side with those convinced of the worst-case scenario, but I am a habitual pessimist: one of the “doom and gloom camp,” says David, who has known me since childhood. His outlook may be sunnier than mine, but he never misses a visit to the old woman, and his gifts are generous.