Monday, January 19, 2009

For All the Snow-Deprived

Prospect Park
Originally uploaded by patbonck
For those of you whose winter has already ended or for whom winter means balmy in the mid-60s, here is a dose of winter snow. On a run through Prospect Park in Brooklyn earlier today, I snapped this set of photos. I almost stopped to sled down hills with some kids, but decided to run on since I was a few miles from home and wearing cotton clothing, which would have made for a long, cold run home.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Poem: The Smile

Across the many stretches of patched cement
On winding roads to reach your shared door
I travel lightly, leaving what’s passed behind me

You crack the door, but not to welcome me
And it’s okay, because the sun is warm today
Not icy cold and blinding, like where I came from

You peer through the sliver of openness
One round green eye flecked with flint
Shines in the sunlight, taking me in

But not letting me in, no, just looking
Weighing the costs of an encounter
Thinking how easy a debt was a pound of flesh

That is what I am thinking, not your thoughts
And all at once I see the whys and wherefores
I assumed I knew you, but I barely knew myself

Turning to go, ashamed at the recognition
I stop
And ask to see your face in full

You oblige, the reason I know not
Sun strikes you with radiant force
The smooth contours of your mask melt

Revealing what I could not have imagined
And I wonder if your view is any different
I smile without smiling, and so do you

Friday, January 16, 2009

Planting a Seed

More and more often I have found myself daydreaming about having and working a garden. Throughout my entire childhood, we had a huge vegetable garden in our backyard where my dad would spend hour upon hour roto-tilling, planting, weeding, and harvesting. My four siblings and I were convenient labor, and even if we were not held to the kind of disciplined schedule that a farm kid might be, we certainly did our part, though not without some grumbling. The grumblings were instantly forgotten when snapping into a freshly dug carrot, slicing a ripe tomato, picking and eating a juicy strawberry, or steaming just-picked green beans. It was something we took for granted, and that I now miss immensely. My grandparents had a garden, and my great-grandparents, and after losing my grandmother last year, and with my dad having moved to a Stepford-esque neighborhood on a golf course, the desire to continue that tradition has been a constant. Over Christmas, I was eyeing the fallow garden in my grandmother’s backyard. We haven’t sold her house, and most of us really do not want to. In all that time of working in the yard, I always thought I’d never want to do this as an adult. And yet here I am seriously contemplating it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Unbearable Rightness of Playlists

Sometimes a playlist drops in a song that I'd forgotten was there, but that ends up stopping me in my tracks just when I thought it couldn't anymore, when I thought that I'd developed an immunity, a new and tougher skin. But the illusion of safety dissolves, along with the distractions in the room, and collapse in all its forms takes over. And maybe I'll hit repeat once or twice, indulge the melancholy for awhile. But then new music takes its place, and maybe this one has me humming along or singing (awfully) and smiling.

A great Canadian solo artist, Hayden, caught me off guard tonight.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


My beloved Pacific Northwest has taken its hits this dreary winter: record snow, record floods, and the imminent death of perhaps Seattle's best newspaper. A trifecta of mood-killers that would drive, and if you take this Slog post at its word, has driven, the natives to drink heavily (as though that weren't always the case for a region that gets the least winter sunlight in the lower forty eight).

The Seattle P-I was always the best paper in town, especially editorially, with thoughtful and forward-thinking editorials on pretty much anything and everything Seattle and Puget Sound. And it is (was) home to David Horsey, one of the finest editorial cartoonists of (t)his time.

In destruction, however, there is always new creation, and something new will come out of this tragedy--hopefully something that embraces the utilities and speed of the web. Perhaps something like Knute Berger's Crosscut venture, part news-outlet, part blog (but, please, BETTER). The journalists who work at the P-I are some of the finest in Seattle, and if they love Seattle as much as they do journalism, some of them might just decide to stick around and try new things. It's risky, of course, but I hope some of them have the wherewithal to make a go of it.

For now, we wait to see if the P-I can come out of the coma, or whether the plug will be pulled in 60 days.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


In an odd twist of...something, I'm back working at the hotel. Yes, the very same hotel from which I was laid almost exactly two months ago to the day. And I also had a pretty great interview at Theatre Communications Group for a Development position today. I really enjoyed the Development Director and think I would really like working with him. And TCG is a great organization (for all you readers of American Theatre or the numerous pulitzer prize winning plays they've published). So after two months of jobless flailing about, I may actually end up having choices. Weird.