Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 204: Hot and Cold

Autumn day scent-track:
Bittersweet decaying leaves
With frosty top notes

You know, like a soundtrack for your nose. I walked through the park at dusk yesterday evening. The air was just starting to turn from the warm mugginess of day to the cool freshness of night. The smell of decomposing leaves was hot and vaguely nauseating -- but the evening air contained the slightest, crystalline hint of winter.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 203: Avoiding Another Year of the Swine

My aching left arm
Remembers the needle's glint
Recalls its blunt bite

Last fall I managed to contract not only the swine flu, but also a case of bronchitis so severe I was put on bed rest for a week. So today I nipped flu season in the bud and got a flu shot. It was a tough decision. Not because I have a problem with needles, or because I think the flu vaccine is a conspiracy, but because I don't have health insurance or a full-time job. I know $24.99 doesn't sound like a lot, but right now it feels like a lot. Still, it's cheaper than the $100+ I'll have to pay to see a doctor if I get sick.

I have the gall to be an uninsured low-wage worker. Let's hope I don't have the gall to get sick. I can't afford it.

Day 202: Elegy for a Squab

Tragic baby bird
Tumbling from your nest to die
In a murky pool

The sizable pigeon population in the overpass near my subway stop is now one less. I'm not sure if the fall killed it or if it drowned in the scummy flood left by the latest deluge, but there it was in the giant puddle -- its small beak wrenched open in a silent baby pigeon scream. Entwined with my sadness for the tiny creature was a small, guilty thrill at seeing a baby pigeon for the first time. I'd always thought pigeons emerged, full-grown and covered in filth, from the gates of hell by way of the storm drains.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 201: Avert your eyes

Broken mangled trees
Speak of nature's violence
With their naked roots

I walked through the park two days after the tornadoes. The damage was amazing. There's something about seeing a tree ripped out of the earth, its top sheared off and its roots exposed for all to see. It's like you're seeing something you shouldn't. I felt like I caught Mother Nature in her underwear on laundry day.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 200: (Brief) Awakening

In the aftermath
Of a devastating night
We bow to nature

Living in a city like this, surrounded as we are by concrete, bricks, control freaks, and more concrete, it's easy to forget that we are not actually in charge of our own environment. Mother Nature delivers periodic and emphatic wake-up calls, but we always manage to forget.

On a completely different note, I'd like to take a moment and pat myself on the back for posting my 200th HAIKU! I'm like a haiku tornado. I'm rather proud of myself.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 199: More storm coverage

Like the hand of god
Lightning forks across the sky
And grabs an old tree

The trees of the outer boroughs took quite a hit during the tornadoes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 198: Weather theater

A harsh green curtain
Of rain and ferocious wind
Drops on Brooklyn's stage

The Sept. 16 tornado actually wasn't my first Brooklyn tornado. We had an impressive one back in August 2007. My block was untouched, but the surrounding area was a mess. In addition to the streets filling with water, the entire subway system flooded, causing a close approximation of total chaos. Last Thursday, our living room window was a front row seat for some epic weather. We got to watch the clouds sweep across the sky and basically attack the streetscape. It was pretty cool.

Day 197: It's a twista!

Auntie Em dropped in
Bringing two black tornadoes
Leaving Toto home

I don't know if you all heard about the two tornadoes that hit the outer boroughs last week, but they were pretty big news around here. So big, in fact, that I can't stop writing haiku about it. Brace yourself for a few days of severe weather here on A Life in 5-7-5.

196: We should be moving shortly...

After ten minutes
There is solidarity
In a stalled train car

Maybe the City of New York periodically causes trains to stall on purpose. You know, to get us all to forget our differences and unite against a common enemy -- the MTA.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 195: Infant communication

You want a bottle?
Mommy's got a Blackberry
Just send her a text

Wouldn't it be great if babies could do that? Think of the screaming and tears that would be saved. I'm sure Park Slope is piloting a Baby Blackberry program already. Baby texting classes are going to be the new baby sign language classes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 194: Bananagram

A banana peel
Dropped on a subway platform
This will not end well

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 193: Catch of the day

Stoic old-timers
Hook silvery-scaled fish from
Coney's ancient pier

My grandfather used to fish off the Steeplechase Pier at Coney Island when he was a kid in the 1920s. There is still an active fishing culture on the pier, although there are now signs warning you not to eat anything that you catch (damn mercury). For a good little article about the pier, check this out, and for some great pictures, click here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 192: Please stop.

She's not reading Kant?
Your toddler needs a tutor
Or no Yale for you

Initially, the last line of this haiku was "or no Yale for her." Then I remembered that for most of these parents, the child's interests are secondary at best. You thought your baby was ahead of the game because she cut her teeth early -- but she hasn't mastered baby sign language? Psshhhh. You're not red shirting your 5-year-old son? Gasp! Your children are going to be playing catch-up for the rest of their lives.

P.S. A special thanks to the Times for publishing both of the stories to which I have linked. I can't imagine how I would keep up with the troubles of rich White Manhattanites without their help.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 191: Mmm. Sticky.

Dozing on the bus
Tiny fingers poke my back
And play with my hair

It was actually kind of cute. See? I don't really hate kids after all. I just have to try hard not to think about the fact that those little fingers may have recently been up little noses.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 190: 9 years later

One day ev'ry year
We suffer from collective
Post-traumatic stress

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 189: for the woman who drives the B67 bus

She's got the sunshine
Greets each rider with a bright
"How you doin' love?"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 188: More on parenting

Overindulged spawn
Needs only whine to receive
Her small heart's desire

I'm not actually a kid-hater. I know I come off as one, but deep down I think kids are okay. What I can't stand are the two extremes of parenting that I see on a daily basis: one the one hand you have the completely checked-out parents who treat their child like a social life-hampering out of season accessory. On the other you have the hovering, private-kindergarten-admissions-obsessed, "I can't believe your baby doesn't know sign language and what do you mean you have an English-speaking nanny?" crowd. They are equally tiresome, but whichever type of parent is closest to me at a given time (on the street, in the park, on the train) is the worst kind.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 187: the tenth commences the law suit

A child skins her knee
Nine helicopter parents
Rush to make it right

This is why we will soon have an entire generation of people who cannot make simple decisions or use the toilet unaccompanied. Plus, when you over-parent your child this happens. As Intrepid Boyfriend often says, "Park Slope just needs to stop."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 186: Is there an app for that?

Your child tugs your hand
But who needs parenting when
You have an iPhone?

Day 185: Like nails on a chalkboard

A tinny click and
Your fingernail clippings fall
To the subway floor

Call me old-fashioned, but I think that if a behavior is something you'd usually do in the privacy of your bathroom, it doesn't belong on the subway. This includes obvious culprits like eyebrow plucking, nose hair trimming, flossing, and shaving, and the lesser offenses of hair brushing and elaborate makeup application. I saw a woman clip her toenails once. I still haven't recovered.

Day 184: Nice tonsils

You yawn in my face
Not bothering to cover
Your cavernous mouth

It's not just that I'm a germaphobe (which I am), it's also that no one likes to start their day with a close, unobstructed view of a stranger's uvula in a crowded subway car.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 183: St. George of the Subway

Wreathed in vibrant ink
The old man's arms tell stories
Of dragons and skulls

I often wonder how elderly people feel about the tattoos that seemed so timeless and bad-ass when they were 19. This man was well into his 70s, but his saggy, spindly arms were covered in the full sleeve tattoos of a young heavy metal roadie. And you know what? It made him look pretty bad-ass.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 182: Lost and Found

Lacy pink panties
Perched atop an iron fence
Waiting to be claimed

They were gone by the next morning.