Saturday, May 31, 2008


in the back of a pickup
picking up speed
grabbing at memories as they race by
but they’re slippery, slick as ice
frozen now in black and white
soon to yellow and fade with age
telling the story of what was
what will not be

a wall of people all around
their stories stacked to the heavens
smack the pavement as they crumble
from their fragile perches
heads no longer in the clouds

here the weird lament begins
braying out across the ruins
waves of sorrow
ebb and flow
the moon’s revenge

even as summer approaches
instinct whispers, “hole up!”
hibernation lulls drowsy eyes
away from the absence

dreams will nourish
for only a time
a season of discontent

ears ring with the din
that fades only as the heartbeat slows

hope for wakefulness

Friday, May 30, 2008

Boo hoo

Miserable day. Tomorrow's gotta be better, right?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Parks for All

As excited as I am at the prospect of a new park in my neighborhood, when I read articles like this in the the Daily News, I can't help thinking the the families in East Flatbush and Bushwick could use parkland and open space much more than the childless rich folk inhabiting Brooklyn Heights. Kids should be able to walk--safely--to a park in their neighborhood.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

I regularly run along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and recently noticed that the city has finally begun demolishing the old piers to make way for the new Brooklyn Bridge Park along the East River. Take a look at the plans here. This is very close to my neighborhood, and I hope I'm still living close by when it's finished, because the plans for it are spectacular. It would make summers in New York and in my neighborhood much more bearable!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Coming to America

Picture 022
Originally uploaded by patbonck
My dad was in town for a few days last week and we took the opportunity to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. It was an absolutely miserable day, drenching rain and wind made it cold and obscured the usually spectacular views from the islands. It was a godsend when we reached Ellis Island and spend hours in the museum drying off while learning all about the immigrant experience at the turn of the century. It was sobering. We saw cots that were stacked three or four high in the room, which could then be folded up to give extra space during the day. These were for immigrants who were detained. The miserable day suddenly seemed a whole lot more bearable.

Later, we were able to search for family, and I found my great-grandfather (Pasquale "Patrick" Martelli) and my great-uncle (Alessandro "Alex" Martelli). My great-grandfather arrived in 1915 at the age of 14, and was detained for awhile because he had eczema. Eventually, he made his way out west, working on the railroads and was able to sponsor uncle Alex to follow him in 1921 (at the age of 16). Uncle Alex's ship's manifold listed that his brother, Pasquale, was sponsoring him and listed an address in Oregon.

Great-grandpa's name was also on the honor wall (the only family member we could find, probably because he came here on a wing and a prayer, with no family here to speak of). The wall has some 500,000 names on it, and is set up in a giant circle with names on both the inside and outside. That's his name on the wall in the flickr photo.

Happy 125th Birthday

to the Brooklyn Bridge. One of the first marvels of modern engineering, some 100,000 vehicles, 1000 bikes, and 2000 pedestrians still cross the bridge every day. Her birthday was celebrated with a bang: