When Friends Come to Visit (And Then What Happened)

we say what we can

tell each other

who we are with stories:

my mother worked for a man she

met playing bridge with

Maury Isaacs  in New Haven

she worked for Maury Isaacs

he had a friend named Harry who’d come to meet

Maury for lunch. Harry would

ask my mother for a date

she wouldn’t go because she was

engaged to Irving and still Harry persisted

so my mother fixed up Harry

with Sophie and then

what happened to make her become

my mother (she did not

marry Harry).






In summer

we work from the porch candles

every day not just Friday

time not what we were told

hours and minutes not what life is

Friday although a good word

as good as Wednesday or Sunday

Friday another beginning another ending

and now and now



Plan B (Real Meditations)

Still summer.  Don’t worry that summer

will be over.  Summer is never over.

Memory is as real as summer.  My father

bought a beach house with his Cornell roommate

Solly Stein inventor of the Puritron.   Big

duplex on top of a sea wall on the Jewish beach

in Woodmont Connecticut next door to the Italian beach

though we rarely crossed over to the Italian side.

Those summers  much longer than summers are now

slow days swimming lying on the rocky beach

imagining  other summers  when I

was older when I had a real life (I didn’t know those summers

were real life then) when I had a lover maybe even

a child or two when I had a good job and had seen

Africa Egypt Italy Israel when I could read

as much as possible even write my own sentences.

Abby and I would draw our lives on those rocks and

when the tide changed the rocks would be washed

clean and the next day we would draw our lives again.


Going to the AZORES (3,4,5,6)


Five hour flight to San Miguel

biggest island of  9.  We’ll stay there

this time.  Watched Big Little Farm

Amy Sedaris and Doctor Ruth.  They all

had their plusses.  Especially Doctor Ruth

and Amy Sedaris.  I wondered what they’d

think of each other.




We drive south to Vila Franco do Campo

for breakfast.  8 in the morning Azores time.

Small medieval town right on the water.  4,000

people.  God plays a big role, as do pineapples.  We

eat on a rooftop  overlooking the sea.  This

could not be more beautiful.  Azorean men

drink coffee outside.   Laughing and smoking

cigarettes.  They look happy to be right here.



We drive through miles of astounding hydrangeas.  Really.

And then arrive in Furnas, where we stay.

Furnas is  home to three volcanoes,

geysers, hot springs, fumaroles.

A fumarole (I  didn’t know the word so looked it up)

comes from fumus in Latin,

meaning smoke. Smoke comes out of the earth.

Furnas stews, even eggs, are cooked underground.

Our hotel has four thermal pools.  You just sit

in them and feel better.  More or less instantly.



The hotel also makes gin and tonics.  Anthony Bourdain

made fun of Azores gin and tonics on a show he did

ten years ago and although i love Anthony Bourdain

I don’t agree with him here.  They use cucumber

and star anise and juniper berries.  We drank

many good gin and tonics.  ( I will try to make them too.)



The man at the desk is named NuNu.  He

tells us what we might want to do:  milk goats, visit gardens,

lakes, mountain paths.   NuNu was born in Mozambique.

“Or you can stay right here and talk to me,” says NuNu.

“It’s your vacation.”



Home from The Azores (Part One)

Funny what people say when they come back from vacation.  Usually a version of

It Was Great.

Or Great But.

I’ve always been obsessed

with What We See and What We Say, and How.



A travel story starts  before the plane.  In the ride to the airport,  the driver is often a precursor.  A Harbinger.

Fred from Jamaica picks us up.  Old fashioned good natured driver (29 years he’s been driving.  Mostly to the airport and back.) He met his wife in Kingston.   She owned a restaurant and his brother took him there to eat.  That was that, said Fred.

Fred likes to eat and so does she.  He especially enjoys hamburger deluxe at an old fashioned diner on Jericho Turnpike. He gets both fries and onion rings.

Where can we eat good Jamaican food we asked Fred.

The Door. It’s on Baisley Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens. No contest said Fred.

Would you and your wife like to join us when we come back?

Maybe said Fred.  Give us a call.



Try not to talk to everyone at the airport said Peter.

We are on vacation.  I said OK and it wasn’t my fault and he agreed

when Melba from Trinidad and East Pasadena came over to say

she was going back to East Pasadena (she didn’t like New York

very much too many people) but she wanted to tell me that I

looked very much like her deceased Aunt May, who was half

Jewish.  Same face said Melba.  Was she happy?  I asked.

She had three kids said Melba.  Does that mean happy?



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