Luisa’s poem from last Saturday seemed like a good match for a video I shot on my iPhone through the dusty window of a Greyhound bus as I was leaving Newark, New Jersey on Monday. The light was wonderful and evocative, as were the murals on the wall below the train tracks.
Footage shot from car, bus and (especially) train windows is exceedingly common in videopoetry, but I’m hoping my use of moving text saves this instance of it from cliche.
Here in the UK, “orientate” is actually an acceptable verb. And it’s one they use often. Continue reading “Finding my way in London”
Though there’s a short street in London named after him, the actual spot where Samuel Pepys lived and worked on Seething Lane has been converted into a garden—or had been. It’s now part of a massive construction site. The above poster appears on the hoarding. Continue reading “On the trail of Samuel Pepys”
On Saturday, I was invited to join a sort of huntless hunt in the wilds of darkest England. The local beagle club assembled next to the barn on a big estate belonging to a member of the titled aristocracy who had given permission for us to ramble over hill and dale, following a well-trained pack of beagles who were in turn following a scent trail laid down the day before. This is known as beagling. Since the actual hunting of hares with beagles was banned in 2004, this is the best that the beagle clubs can do. I’ve always been wary of sports with too many rules and I like to walk, so it suited me just fine. Continue reading “Beagling”
Isis or Oasis? This ship of fools we’re on has no permanent mooring. Continue reading “London in December and other absurd notions”
Every time I stay in London, I pay a visit to Hampstead Heath—which, despite its name, is in fact more like what we Yanks would call a forest with a few large meadows (while many of the historical “forests” around the UK are, I gather, more like heaths). Continue reading “Return to Hampstead Heath”
They call this place Fisherman’s Paradise. The fish must look forward to winter as a respite from all the fly fishermen. “Of course, you can’t actually eat the fish here,” my brother Mark said. “They’re much too full of toxins from agricultural runoff.”
Continue reading “Thanksgiving walk in Spring Creek Canyon”
For any American who grew up during the Cold War, Berlin was a city torn between two worlds: the Kodachrome present of Western consumerist culture and what we imagined to be the gray, regimented East, still scarred by the war and therefore to be pictured in the grainy black-and-white of old newsreels.
Continue reading “Berlin in black-and-white”
The first thing to know about Berlin is that it has many walls — and there is graffiti on almost all of them. Continue reading “On Berlin walls”
Sweden’s Arlanda airport is an $40 train ride from the Stockholm city center ($80 round-trip), and thanks to congestion at JFK, my eight-hour layover had dwindled to just five-and-a-half hours, not all of it in daylight. I weighed my options as I ate lunch in a randomly selected airport restaurant. Then I noticed the flowers on my table were real, and moreover were seasonal wildflowers — some kind of native aster, it appeared, along with a sprig of spearmint. If these people are as nuts about nature as I’d always heard, surely it must be possible to go walking right outside the airport, I thought. Continue reading “A nature walk at the airport”