Birthday. Good wishes. Balloons. Happy birthday to you singing. Retrospective. Assessing.
I wanted to have a memorable birthday. The only one I remember is one in Budapest. 1997. After a performance an American couple waited backstage to talk about my play and I ended up walking with them up in the Old City. The lady was overweight and Hungarian people were calling her names, astounded.
They invited me to their place and we ate together. When it came out it was my birthday, they stuck two burning incense sticks in the red flesh of a watermelon and I was happy.
2017. My son gave me an entire Sunday.
So I set about experiencing the beauty and richness of New York City together.
We headed to the Metropolitan Museum.
When we got off the bus I noticed a sign on a table Free Poetry. A mother with her child got up so I sat at the table in front of the unsmiling poet. He wanted me to talk about myself and after I did that he typed this poem:
my son may oppress
the haters of the city
he can wear
what expouses his tats
my son may enter
and leave everyone jealous
so long as he knows
that brought us
for our dreams
to realize btwn limestones...
for the reason to explore
to fall on beds
to wake up
and try this game again
i have played
with the park
thru the baritone
of my phone
to get from here
to a brave new curb
and every year i celebrate
to continue at stride
from harlem to the harbor
and fortunately i have
the loves of my life
to steer my hopes
to a later time
where i may blow
and wish for many more yrs of smiles
On the steps of the museum life was beehiving. The security worker asked me to either drink my bottle of home-made limeade or throw it to the garbage because only bottles of clear water were allowed in the museum. So I drank it in one long swig. As if I was in a contest, Nathan's Hotdog, stretching my body's ability to ingurgitate.
We saw two exhibitions.
Irving Penn retrospective. He had cycles of photos. Famous people. Working class. Headless nudes like landscapes. Cigarette buts. Exotic people. Kitchen still life.
Here goes a picture of the picture of a lady with a hat covered in stuffed roosters. My sister loves her chicken and especially the red rooster, who unfortunately my late father's dog Pufi pulled out his beautiful tail feathers. My sister rescued the rooster from the dog's mouth.
The second exhibition was about de/reconstructive couture. One ensemble seemed to be built in the shape of the Guggenheim Museum.
Others reminded me of a dress I made out of a pair of jeans, the waistband turning into the head opening. I was a teenager. Mom passed by me on the street without recognizing me.
We headed to Astoria Ditmars Blvd.On the N train a boa constrictor and a python residing in a blue bag asked for donations in return for letting us touch them or drape them around our necks.
They had a large family at home. The grandparents were 18 feet long. Ate a chicken a month. The mother was full of infants.
A lady entangled in them said laughing alarmed to get the snakes off her. She had no donation to give, unless they wanted her $20,000 graduate student loan debt.
When we got off my son said as if we arrived in Europe. That was the plan. Eat Romanian food. We couldn't locate a Romanian restaurant, so we settled for a Greek tavern. Delicious meal. I asked the waitress if patrons still smashed plates at parties. She laughed and said only when they had bazookas. Live music I assumed.
Then we crossed the street and entered the QED edifice. I wanted to hear myself tell a story that nagged me to strangers.
The emcee took pieces of paper with names scribbled on that were dropped in her bucket half an hour before the event. My son did that for me while I waited at the tavern for our order.
All the nations of the world got on stage. Egyptian, West Indian, Chinese, Irish, Israeli. They were interesting. Some bemoaned their sex lives, or the harshness of going thru a divorce, others made fart jokes. It was all good as long as my son was laughing non-stop.
My turn came and I got off my chest an eulogy for my late father's dog Pufi, which I hope to write about tomorrow.
We went then shopping at the Parrot. They carry my mother's foods. Zacusca, feta cheese, baklava, Hungarian salami, sausages, Turkish delight, that is rahat, sunflower seeds oil, halva, Borsec, Romanian mineral water, stuffed cabbage rolls, etc.
Back on the subway. A girl was playing a violin concerto. On the train again the nations of the world sat down patiently together.
In our neighborhood we escaped a hollering beggar we passed by at the corner liquor store. When we didn't give him money he hissed after us that that's why nobody liked us. What does he mean?! His face was tumefied/swollen with alcohol. As we walked away to the end of the block his voice worked itself into a state, screaming that baseball bats would descend on us. Thank you so very much. I advised my son who was marveling how could the beggar hope for alms when he was standing in front of the liquor store, I suggested we should let mean words enter through one ear and get out of the other, without nesting in your brain. In and out. Empty air.
Don't engage in misery.
I forgot to take a picture of a sidewalk green space enclosure in Astoria. Instead of flowers they planted cacti with long thorns.
Rosamunda sniffed eagerly at the shopping bags when we reached home safely.